This is a tricky question because there are so many famous writers and so few natal horoscopes available for them.
Why is that?
Writers are artists just like actors, musicians, dancers, painters and sculptors. Why can I find charts for these other artists and not writers?
Writers seem to be the stepchildren of the artistic world. While the other artists are off making loads of money, receiving the warmth of popularity and having wanton sex, writers sit at home over typewriters, computers and pads of paper ignored and lonely, dirty laundry piling up, bills unpaid.
Poor, poor writers.
The Third and Fifth Houses
February 7 was Dickens’ 200th birthday. I found a chart for him and also looked up one for Stephen King. I hit the jackpot. I found horoscopes for both and also found the traditional indicator of writing talent. (A true horoscope needs a time of birth and that is why they are difficult to come by).
Dickens had sun in Aquarius in the 5th house and moon in Sagittarius in the 3rd house.
King has sun in Virgo in the 3rd house and moon in Sagittarius in the 5th house.
Both men have Neptune in the 3rd house.
The third house rules communication, short-distance travels, siblings and neighbors. The 5th house is the house of creativity, self-expression, children and romance.
Writing ability is traditionally seen as stemming from 3rd house placements. Creative expression in general is seen as stemming from 5th house placements.
Planets in the Signs in the Houses
Planets in houses mean that the area of life indicated by the house is emphasized. We all communicate in some way but a planet in the 3rd means that communication is a “theme” in life. Planets in the 3rd at the least indicate some nosiness in the personality.
Planets in the 5th suggest that creative self-expression is a must in one’s life. Others might go through life just working and sleeping, but 5th house folks must shine in the spotlight.
A planet in a sign in a house is a sentence that goes like this:
What + How + Where
Dickens had sun (conscious self) in Aquarius (humanitarian focus) in the 5th house (creative expression). Dickens needed to consciously express his humanitarian focus through his creative expression.
King has sun (conscious self) in Virgo (discriminating mind) in the 3rd house (communications). Looking at King’s chart, I would have suspected a journalist or cookbook writer more than a horror writer.
Both Dickens and King have moon in Sagittarius which I call the “Charlie Sheen” moon and suggests a generous, fun but irresponsible and indulgent nature. Dickens had Neptune conjunct moon which is even more indulgent and out of control.
King had drug problems. I’m guessing Dickens did as well. Sagittarius is the “quest for the sublime” as one astrologer calls it. Drugs can make reality more interesting until crack in the psyche creates unbalance.
Both King and Dickens have Neptune in the 3rd house so both are daydreamers. Dickens’ placement was in Sagittarius so he must have longed for travel and adventure. King’s Neptune is in Libra so there is a romantic nature. I’m guessing King has some lovely poetry somewhere that is very different than his work produced with Virgo critical discrimination. King probably has some erotica out there too.
Different Types of Writers
There are different types of writers – journalists, novel writers, poets, political commentators, sports writers, etc. The planet(s) in the 3rd house can indicate the type of writing developed:
Sun – the Writer (capital W) who is known for writing
Mercury – the journalist
Venus – the poet
Mars – the political or sports writer
Jupiter – the philosopher
Saturn – the law or rule book writer
Uranus – the technical writer
Pluto – the erotic or taboo subject writer
Moon and Neptune in the 3rd
You’ve noticed that I left out two planets – moon and Neptune. These two planets in the 3rd seem to be the Writer as stereotype – the imaginative novel writer who sits in dirty clothes pumping out writing but too shy to appear in public.
King has Neptune in the 3rd, Dickens both moon and Neptune in the 3rd.
Why do these two planets drive one to writing?
The moon is the reactive principle. It’s where we go in reaction to life’s events. When trying to explain astrology, I always ask people what they do when they’ve had a bad day. Do you go out with friends? Watch a movie? Or do you hide under a blanket?
Moon in the 3rd retreats into communication. Your friend with the nose a book all the time probably has moon in the 3rd (especially in an earth or water sign).
Neptune is similar to the moon in some ways. While moon is reaction, Neptune is escape from the hum-drum world. Neptune seeks the divine.
Seeking the divine through communication may also send someone to the calligraphy pen to write some poetry. William Blake comes to mind as someone who would have Neptune in the 3rd.
Consulting Astrotheme, the chart for William Blake shows Neptune in the 1st with sun in the 5th. I don’t know if that time of birth is accurate or rectified (estimating time of birth based on observed personality and life events). If the chart is rectified, someone else agrees that Blake is under the influence of Neptune.
If you want to be a writer . . .
Writers appear to have planets in the 3rd house. The stereotypical novel writer has moon or Neptune in the 3rd.
Planets in the 3rd indicate writing ability and the 5th house is where we show it to others. There are lots and lots of writers out there who show their work to no one or just a few loved ones. Placements in the 5th house alone might not make one a writer.
If you want to start a writing career, transits to the 3rd house are a good time to do this.