This article is a prelude to a workshop I'll be giving at Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W Belmont, next Sunday the 24th from 1-4pm. Details and registration here.
What creates us, moment to moment? From the pairing of tiny gametes to the full ripening of our being, there is a mysterious power of creative will that animates our life from beginning to end. We are at once a vessel and arbiter of this creative power. There is nothing that we do that is not creative, since all action, no matter how small, serves the creation of the world we live in. We are created beings, thus we seek to create.
When speaking of creativity, many people think of art, music, theater, writing or various forms of craftwork. But if we take a closer look, we can see that even our most basic day to day activities — speaking, working, cooking, parenting, how we dress, how we decorate our homes, how we treat our partners — all of these things have a creative element to them. Being creative does not have to mean doing something lofty or as a profession. We can be creative by simply doing anything that gives our life meaning and purpose.
Astrology looks at creativity as a force seeking to express itself through every area of the natal chart. The astrological symbols most often linked with creativity are the 5th and 12th Houses, their cusp rulers, and the placements of the Sun, Moon, Venus and Neptune. These areas are where we find creative drive, sensitivity to beauty, visioning and power of expression.
But creativity is not limited to any particular set of symbols. The entire chart is a mandala of creative energy, and any prominent planet, sign, and house combination can be a focal point for creative expression.
This article assumes a basic level of astrological knowledge. If you don't have your natal chart but you know your birth time, you can cast a free chart at astro.com.
The Actors, the Sets, the Stage
If you're interested in better understanding and nurturing your own creative abilities, start by looking at the placements of your Sun, Moon, Venus and Neptune as well as the rulers of your 5th and 12th Houses. The Sun indicates your raw creative will, the Moon is the memory and emotional content you can draw from, Venus is your sense of beauty and balance and Neptune is your imaginal connection to the creative muse. Each planet's sign tells you the "dressing" that gives it its flavor, and the house tells you where in your life that planet is exerting its influence. A more advanced analysis will also take into account the aspects those planets make to the rest of the planets in the chart.
If you find these planets strongly influenced by Jupiter, Sagittarius, Neptune or Pisces, then you might find your creative nature expressed best through visual arts like painting, photography or film. If the influence leans more towards Mercury and Gemini then you may have talents as a writer or public speaker. Sun, Leo or 5th House elements combined with Venus, Mercury, Taurus or Gemini emphasis is linked with acting and stage performance. Pisces or Neptune combined with Venus, Libra or Taurus typically indicates musical talent. Cancer and the Moon with a Taurus or Venus influence can indicate natural culinary abilities. Influences from Taurus, Libra, or Venus in combination with Aries or Mars can indicate an affinity for dancing.
If you have your chart but you're unsure of the planetary rulers of your 5th and 12th Houses, you can use this table as a reference guide.
Every planet plays a role in determining creativity. Jupiter will point to philosophical, cultural or esoteric influences as well as the means by which you tap into "right brain" imaginal realms. Saturn will show the types of discipline you will need to develop in order to give structure to your un-manifested creative urge. Mercury is your guide for how best to communicate your art, Uranus shows your unique brand of personal inventiveness and Pluto will point to the bottom line desires that motivate you to create in the first place.
Take for example the chart of Stephen King. His Gemini 12th House is ruled by Libra Mercury (writing) and his Scorpio 5th house is ruled by 1st House Leo Pluto (horror genre, need to actualize personal destiny). His Virgo Sun and Libra Venus in the 3rd House restate the theme of being a writer, while the Libra dimension allows him to create relatable human experience within wildly imaginative situations (Moon in Sagittarius). Painters Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo both have 5th House on Sagittarius (imagination, wide cultural influence) and 12th House on Cancer (spiritual imagery). Both of these House positions lend well to painting ability, and their respective rulers in Taurus — Picasso's Jupiter and Kahlo's Moon — suggests the physical externalization of the Sagittarian/Cancerian imaginal forms. Dancer and choreographic innovator Twyla Tharp has a Libra 12th House ruled by a Cancer Venus that sextiles her Taurus Saturn, suggesting discipline of physical form, and a 5th House Mars in Aries, where she finds her creative leadership and command of physicality.
We'll conclude in Part 2 by exploring the timings of transits and progressions that indicate when to harvest and cultivate creative output as well as the mystical side of creative inspiration.