Your Devil is tending to other important business this week and has brought Timothy in to work off a sin or two.
In more ways than you might think, we can unknowingly write ourselves into our characters. It’s quite natural, but it can also lead to a sameness. One character resembling the next character resembling the next, different only in physical description. Strong character dynamics need more than physical descriptions. Our love interest should never be a duplicate of the protagonist, as our villain should be more than a scowling version of ourselves. Admittedly however, the blank slate of character development can be quite daunting. So if you sense this may occasionally happen in your writing, consider astrology, as it’s fundamentally an ancient art of personality definition, and as finely detailed as you chose to dive. Follow me now for a bit of stargazing and help your characters find that clarity and individuality you so want to give them.
I am what I am
An example. A happy Leo is where the party is, he’s the boss. And If not the center of attention, defiantly the hub around which other characters rotate. Consider the sun, Leo’s ruling planet, of which all other planets revolve. King Arthur is a classic example of a Leo He assembled the roundtable of the knights of Camelot with 12 seats, aka 12 signs. I should add however, that “he and she” in astrology, represent male and female energy, not gender.
The sun is masculine energy as the moon is feminine. So if it were our Leo queen “masculine energy” visiting the male fortune teller by moonlight “feminine energy” this would play out symbolically just peachy. As the masculine looks to the feminine energy for guidance of the spirit, the feminine looks to the masculine energy for guidance in tactical action. The gender of ether makes no difference. While this probably seems contrary to popular media and film, as it so often single tracks characters to stereotype for easy, albeit thoughtless comprehension. I’ll go deeper into this in another article, as it deserves full focus in its own right.
King Leo, aka Arthur, and his Pisces bride Guinevere, who is having a long-standing affair with Lancelot, who happens to be the dearest friend of Arthurs, creating the classic love triangle. While Arthur’s marriage is viewed in public view as a perfect union “as seen in sunlight”. Guinevere and Lancelot, both negative signs, express their heart’s desire in the shadows. The heart wants what it wants, and how it gets it through masculine or feminine expression, brings a bit more interest to your characters. I also want to point out that negative does not equal bad in astrology, but hidden or not in full view.
Every character has a hidden side
Want to know a secret about Arthur? Early in his kingship, it was foretold to Arthur that Camelot’s usurper will be born this year. To insure his reign, Arthur secretly sent out assassins to kill those particular babies. The one baby who wasn’t killed was Mordred, Arthur’s own bastard son, who eventually became his undoing. Rarely is an interesting character flawless. We all have our secret life, personal life, intimate life, and public-facing life, “But killing babies? really?” Your characters will fight in their own unique sun sign/moon sign way, to protect every aspect of them self and who/what they hold dear. And even when they lose, you can offer them a death as unique as their life.
The sun and the moon walk into a bar
As the sun determines who your character is, their moon sign defines who they feel they are. Our moon sign is determined by what solar house “constellation” the moon was passing through at the time of birth. The moon is all about how we feel, and while feelings can lead to actions, the context between the two, can at times only make sense to that character. In tragedy, this situation lends the adage: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Our moon sign is how we feel, our internal reactions to external drama. How each of our psyches translates that into action is why your bank robber funds a petting zoo, or why your perfect Mom has a gambling addiction.
Your eternal fascination with interpersonal disconnect, and yea, you know who you are.
Within astrological terms, the quality of a relationship is in how we respond to each other’s moon. In a healthy light, the moon defines how we nurture. In an unhealthy but very interesting light, it’s the playground of personal destruction and disfunction. So when your partner wants a new camera with a telephoto lens for nature and wildlife photography, don’t buy them a hunting rifle. However, when your character wants the same camera for the same reason, make damn sure their partner buys them a hunting rifle.
Should I go 3D or 2D
A Taurus sun and a Scorpio moon might make sure the house and alarm system are in perfect order, because the basement opium den should never disturbed by prowlers. Your characters Aquarius sun and Capricorn moon might never give their kids desert but will spend every last cent making sure they are in the best schools. Three-dimensional characters are built with contradictions. But, what happens when your character has a Aries sun and a Aries moon? A fantastic secondary character that’s what. Any sign doubled with the same sun and moon creates the classic engaging, but not too engaging, 2 dimensional character. The perfect henchman, minion, lovestruck sidekick, or cranky loyal partner to name a few. The single-minded comedic, benevolent, over the top, or malevolent force in your story that keeps your main characters on track.
So while your protagonist and antagonist require a healthy or unhealthy dose of contradiction, they also might require a bit of consistent support. For example, Shriek, had striking contradictions, as his journey arch pushed him to grow and change. Donkey on the other hand, while consistently over the top, had no such arch. He was already fully himself. Shrek however, like any contradicted protagonist, is always becoming.
So, go play
You don’t have to follow or believe in astrology to see how helpful 144-character definitions to draw from can be. Also noteworthy, you needn’t worry that you are cook booking your story, as you will interpret these influences through your own personality and view of the world. As a result, your characters remain uniquely your own. There are many books and websites on sun and moon signs, and I suggest you explore till you find what works best for you and of course your characters.
It also may be helpful to remember, no reader need ever know that you’ve drawn your actors from astrology, the tarot, or baseball cards for that matter. It’s all about you, developing crisply defined characters that practically speak for themselves. Your tools are your own. Play and experiment with these combinations and you may discover character options today, that you’ve never imagined before.
Try a web search for sun signs and moon signs to find fuller descriptions that might be less, err, opinionated than my own below. As for books, most of the Sun and Moon Signs I’ve found as e-books are only 3 or 4 dollars. I see happy writing and character development in your future. Please leave a comment if you’d like more articles like this for creatives. Or, of course, a problem for the Devil.
A quick and wine biased reference.
The sun is who your character is,
while the moon is how your character feels.
Happy Matching !
Aries: The Ram
(Mar 21-Apr 19)
Headstrong infant of the group often has visible scars from running face first into brick walls. Innocent, even when burning down the house. Fearlessly fights for what they mindlessly feel is right.
Taurus: The Bull
(Apr 20-May 20)
The gardener of the zodiac, calm and protects for those they love. While the rest of us don’t bother, they clearly write out the little plant tags knowing where all the bodies are buried. Be nice and bring wine. Blazing internal fire.
Gemini: The Twins
(May 21-Jun 20)
Multi-personality Spends much time and effort just trying to hold themselves together. Mentally brilliant, most likely a supervillain or a 20-year-old violinist prodigy who takes up advanced physics as a hobby, and still finds time to plot your demise. Dualistic in nature.
Cancer: The Crab
(June 21-July 22)
Homebuilder and control freak, fiercely protective and loyal. Holds murderous grudges. Wonderfully devilish temperament when on their good side. You’re on their good side, right? personality ebbs and flows with the tides.
Leo: The Lion
(July 23-Aug 22)
Total drama queens and the men are worse. But, they are where the party is. Try the veil, the host got it on sale and if you don’t at least taste it there will be no second invite. Vegans beware! This is where the social order comes to roost. They take their self assigned social responsibility very seriously.
Virgo: The Virgin
(Aug 23-Sep 22)
They can do it better than you and will let you know in the most subversive of ways. Also, very helpful, but you will still want to smack them for it. Mental clarity, highly skilled and a total pain in the ass. Their deep mental processing can often lead to anxiety.
Libra: The Scales
(Sep 23-Oct 22)
Bouts of crazy industriousness only to be followed by doing lazy like it’s nobody’s business. They know how to live life and don’t only go with the flow, they are the flow. Oh, yea and they are laughing at the rest of us, so screw ’em. Amiably secretive.
Scorpio: The Scorpion
(Oct 23-Nov 21)
If you are using Scorpios in your story or screenplay it’s going to be about sex, perverts, inappropriate staring, a murder or two, and cute kittens. Nothing bad happens to the kittens, just the strange people. Save Scorpios for your existentialist experimental phase.
Sagittarius: The Archer
(Nov 22-Dec 21)
You get one chance and one chance only to agree with these high minded judgmental chowderheads, after that, you are on their list. But no worries, they keep losing the list. Adventurer of the intellect is how they prefer to see themselves. Famous Sag, Don Quixote.
Capricorn: The Goat
(Dec 22-Jan 19)
Cheerless scougely suckers up of all that is fun and delightful. The trouble is, they are right, we all are going to die some day. Oh, but they also become great fun in old age. Famous Capricorns, the Devil and Richard Nixon.
Aquarius: The Water Bearer
(Jan 20-Feb 18)
You know that uber vegan psycho liberal who needs to point out how many microscopic life forms you kill with each step? well yep, that’s an Aquarius. The only sign that needs a substance abuse issue just to lighten up.
Pisces: The Fish
(Feb 19-Mar 20)
Funny how the most talented psychics have the worst gas. Dreamers extraordinaire and no, they have no idea where they parked the car. Compassionate, imaginative and creative, cause honestly, they just don’t care.