Margaret Atwood Uses Astrology

Margaret Atwood, the poster-person for “born with Mercury Retrograde” genius, is an astrology-loving Scorpio. She also has the Moon conjunct Mars in Aquarius – possibly the perfect placement for cool eloquence in even the most dystopian literary realms. 

Natal Mercury Retrograde ensures you don’t really pick up on assumptions or inherited ideas. They fly straight by you so you’re scrabbling to fake everything, seen as an idiot savant (sometimes as just an idiot) or you’re trading in high-concept originality.  Her Moon-Mars in Aquarius squares the Sun in Scorpio, an edgy placement for peace of mind because you’re never satisfied and would hate it if you were.

It does, however, ensure epic objectivity and prescience. You can’t scry the zeitgeist if you’re biassed. Also, flipping between deep-water Scorpio emotion and Uranian sky-consciousness works for novel-writing…

The celebrated author sees it differently, attributing her Gemini Ascendant, at least in part. This is from the NY Times:

“I have Gemini rising,” says Atwood with a laugh. “Gemini is the twins, so if you have the twins as your rising sign, you’re not going to have a problem with multiple anything: careers, forms in which you write, personae.

Ms. Atwood, writing in longhand, creates a tree of characters and charts that pinpoint their birthdays, and even casts their horoscopes. She sees in astrology a device to get people to talk about themselves. “You  wouldn’t want your character to have the wrong horoscope any more than you would want them to have the wrong name,” Ms. Atwood said mischievously.

Note the “said mischieviously” snark – from Benjamin Franklin onward, every time a luminary cites astrology in a positive fashion or as an influence, it’s dismissed as a joke or strange personality quirk. Fuqers.

I love this snippet from The Robber Bride, a book with a thoroughly scorpionic Lilith-esque villainess:

“An arbitrary choice then, a definitive moment: October 23, 1990. It’s a bright clear day, unseasonably warm. It’s a Tuesday. The Soviet bloc is crumbling, the old maps are dissolving, the Eastern tribes are on the move again across the shifting borders. There’s trouble in the Gulf, the real estate market is crashing, and a large hole has developed in the ozone layer. The sun moves into Scorpio, Tony has lunch at the Toxique with her two friends Roz and Charis, a slight breeze blows in over Lake Ontario, and Zenia returns from the dead”

The Robber Bride


25 thoughts on “Margaret Atwood Uses Astrology”

  1. Lux Interior is My Co-Pilot

    She is amazing, and I LOVE that she is an astro fiend!

    Do you think you could get an astro-interview with her?

    Cats Eye is amazing. So is The Blind Assassin.

  2. haha……..I have Gemini rising with toooo many planets to mention conjuct in Scorpio. At the moment I am running 3 businesses and studying a masters and raising a teen on my own and…….well any number of other things… my good Gemini friend says ‘the more the merrier’…….some say ‘wow you’re really creative’, I say yes either that or crazy!

  3. The Blind Assassin by Ms Atwood is one of my favorite all-time books! Being a Scorp/Gem/Gem sheds some light on it for me, I never thought to look into her astro. <3 thanks

    1. Yeah yeah! Loved The Blind Assassin- especially the little Sci Fi stories Alex tells Iris. She and that grand Dame of Sci-Fi, Ursula le Guin (also a scorp) had a very interesting relationship conducted through critical essays on genre fiction. Atwood always insisted she WAS NOT a Sci Fi writer. Le Guin pretty much said ‘You can deny it til you’re blue in the face, but you ARE a Sci Fi writer, woman.’ Always got the feeling Atwood was a bit Ice Cold biatch-y, but she is a great writer. Also loved Alias Grace.

  4. Love her! She’s one of my favourite authors and all around inspirations but then again I’m Gem sun and Scorpio rising. She answered me in my own language in twitter a few weeks ago because I recommended her books to a friend of mine. I’m still over the moon.

  5. Scorporation, Inc.

    This has really got me thinking: I don’t think I’ve sat & read a novel in… 20 years?! Seriously, I’ve been too busy reading everything else & I don’t know where the time has gone. So thank you, Mystic, for putting this in my face! My upcoming hospital stay will be the perfect time to do some catching up 😉

  6. I like her non-fiction works more than I like her fiction. Her mind is powerful. Pay Back is a good one. Writing with Intent is another. Last week, I started to read her Sci-Fi book (short stories) but took a break to digest the ones I read.

    1. Payback is an excellent book. looks at the idea of debt on a number of levels. Your comment made me fetch my copy and just randomly picking through the book leads to a number of quotable quotes, viz ‘if your rebellion succeeds, it’s a revolution. Otherwise it’s just a rebellion.’ and this, from the last page,

      ‘Maybe it’s time for us to think about it [debt] differently. Maybe we need to count things, and add things up, and measure things, in a different way. In fact, maybe we need to count and weigh and measure different things altogether. Maybe we need to calculate the real costs of how we’ve been living, and of the natural resources we’ve been taking out of the biosphere. Is this likely to happen? Like the Spirit of Earth Day Future’s, my best offer is Maybe.’

  7. Ah, yes… Margret Atwood! Such an interesting, powerful and poetic writer. Would be very interesting to know where her Lilith is… I’m thinking she must have an intense Lilith, given her work (am thinking particularly of The Handmaid’s Tale, but really, applies to pretty much all of her work to date).

  8. Scorporation, Inc.

    I do believe that if the Great Lakes were the moon, the US borders would be the South Node & the Canadian ones would be the North. A bit of trivia: “Erie” is Algonquin for Cat Nation.

    The Mohawk Valley in New York is named of course for the Mohawk people, and they established relations there with the Dutch at present-day Schenectady (6 degrees of separation: Synecdoche, New York is one of my fave movies of all time, & a play on the town’s name where the movie takes place). For all the Mohawk presence in New York, their largest settlement was in Ontario, Canada.

    That tiny excerpt from The Robber Bride is insanely genius! Scorpio, Toxic, Rose, Charis, the current across that huge clear body of fresh water… Nailed.

    Synecdoche. Synchroni City.

    1. Scorporation, Inc.

      Oh– resurrection! I was amiss in not recognizing Atwood’s inclusion of such in that excerpt. Plutonian purrfection, Margaret.

  9. Oh, I loved the Robber Bride too! Time for a re-read. Atwood is truly great and she has a place in my heart slightly to the right and down a bit from Angela Carter.

    1. Angela Carter is my all time fav author, I really like Margaret too but Angela is so brilliant! I have always thought astro is a great tool for writers and now I know.

  10. Oh so impressed! Margaret is brilliant, I havent read all her work so thanks for reminding me. I saw her talking w Jennifer Byrne recently, still on the abc website, Margaret is a very saucy woman!

  11. I love Margaret Atwood. Pretty amazing research. I guess it gives you a very good way to set a scene. I would get confused with fictional characters enough, but then again . . . it’s a good way to give their character a believable ‘edginess’.

  12. thanks for posting this – yes she’s a great author and it sounds a truly fab tale – and I’m chuffed to add that my cousin Norman is directing the opera – called ‘Pauline’ in Vancouver (he’s super piscean…)

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