Add author J.K. Rowling’s name to the list of exceptional writers whose literary genius was inspired by astrological symbolism.
Rowling is author of the Harry Potter books, which have sold more than 400 million copies in several languages. In an article posted on his website British astrologer Robert Currey points out that astrology “lurks in the background” in all the Harry Potter books.
“Astrology provides the structure and basis of the characterization for the Harry Potter series. One of the first clues is that the author provides every major character in the books with a birth date,” he points out.
Like his creator J.K. Rowling, Harry was born on July 31. He is a Leo and personifies the heroic qualities of this Sun sign, Currey says.
“The Potter books cover Harry’s heroic inner and outer battles to find his courage and destiny and to ‘own’ his own fame. Along this journey he undergoes a gradual process of individuation as he learns to accept his serpentine ‘shadow’ side.”
Currey says Harry’s friend Hermoine was born on September 19. Her “studious, brilliant, observant and critical nature is in line with her Virgo Sun sign.”
Devoted sidekick Ron is poles apart. He was born on March 1.
“Ron’s emotionally volatile and sensitive nature complies with Pisces. He feels insecure about his lack of recognition compared to his illustrious friend,” Currey says.
Early on, few suspected Rowling’s novels had anything to do with astrology. But
Currey was among the first to publicly comment on this possibility.
The sale of a rare unpublished work by Rowling on the BBC TV series Antiques Roadshow a few years later confirmed his suspicions.
The rare “book” offered for sale on the TV program was an illustrated 12 page type-written natal analysis (horoscope reading) Rowling prepared for the son of a woman she befriended as the pair awaited the births of their first children. At the time, astrologer Rowling was otherwise preoccupied writing her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which published in 1997.
“While J.K. Rowling may not be an accomplished astrological consultant it is clear that she has a deep understanding of astrology and mythology well beyond her studies of the classics at Exeter University. And she has used this knowledge to great effect in her novels,” Currey believes.
For example, in the Harry Potter books the protagonist is taught by Firenze, a Centaur who foretells the future using his observations of the heavens. According to an article in the Sunday Mirror newspaper Rowling said the Firenze character was inspired by real-life astrologer Steve Eddy, co-author of The New Astrology: The Art and Science of the Stars with Dr. Nicholas Campion.
Eddy was Rowling’s English teacher when she was ll years old at Wyedean comprehensive school in Sudbury, Gloucestershire. At the time she wasn’t using initials to mask her given names.
Eddy was quoted in the Sunday Mirror article:
“Joanne’s work always showed impressive imagination and in class she was always bright and enthusiastic, much in the way of Hermione in the Potter books. But when it came to her stories, they were always about elves, pixies or fairies.
“I was constantly telling her that she was at an age where she should be writing about grittier, more real-life things. Thank goodness she never heeded my advice.”
Currey says anyone familiar with J. K. Rowling’s style of writing will know that every detail has meaning. “She writes about a magical Neoplatonic world, not a random, meaningless, muggle universe.”
Astrologers will identify with the four school houses at Hogwarts because their qualities seem remarkably like the four astrological elements: fire, air, earth and water.
Also, members of the Black family are all named for fixed stars or constellations.
“Harry’s godfather Sirius Black is able to transform into a dog (his animagus).
Ancient Egyptians called Sirius the Dog Star after their god Osiris, whose head in pictograms resembled that of a dog.”
But Rowling’s subtle, nuanced references to astrological symbolism will not be apparent to most readers.
“Perhaps wisely, the author didn’t hook her wagon to stargazing from the start as there is plenty of prejudice and ignorance that could have adversely affected sales of her outstanding books,” Currey said.
Nevertheless, he thinks Rowling joins the ranks of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) and C.S. Lewis (Narnia) “in an illustrious group of writers who were inspired by astrology.”
More information and birthdates for characters in the novels can be found at: www.astrology.co.uk/news/News.htm.