|George Yeats's book of horoscope ("map") templates, |
from the National Library of Ireland's exhibition
Yes, they did try to match the system's phases to the skies, but whether and how varied according to the type of astrology they were doing.
Types of AstrologyTraditionally there are four types of astrology—
—horary astrology, which asks a question and looks at the skies of that moment for an answer;
—inceptional or catarchic astrology, which looks at the timing of something to predict its character, or may even choose to start a venture at particular time to favour its future (electional);
—natal or genethliac astrology, which looks at skies for the birth-time of a person to discern their character and potentials in life;
—mundane astrology, which sees the cycles of the planets as corresponding with the trends and events of nations and the world at large.
The Yeatses' papers include examples of all four types, but they treated horary and inceptional as purely astrological and only natal and mundane are related to the phases of the moon and even then only experimentally and relatively unsatisfactorily. And the methods used for natal and for mundane astrology are very distinct. There is a movable scheme for people's birth charts, which involves aligning the horoscope's Ascendant with the phase of Will (initially at the beginning of the phase, later at the centre). In contrast, mundane astrology entailed a fixed correspondence of the phases to the zodiac, but seems to have been marked particularly by stars, so has strong sidereal elements. This post will examine Natal Astrology; Mundane Astrology will follow.
For individuals, the Yeatses aligned the zodiac with the phases by placing a person's Ascendant at the assigned phase, so the alignment varies and it also means that the chart per se cannot be used to give the phase—you need to know a person's phase to know where to locate their Ascendant. The first scripts seem to place it at the beginning of the relevant phase, while later on it is stated that it is the centre, so Yeats's Aquarius ascendant is placed at the centre of Phase 17, while George's Scorpio ascendant is placed at the centre of Phase 18.
If the fictional writer Giraldus was given W. B. Yeats's face in the portrait by Edmund Dulac, he was given George Yeats's Phase, and possibly horoscope. In one of the earlier drafts, Michael Robartes explains the diagram he is showing that includes Giraldus's birthchart:
Yeats was writing this early draft in 1918 and it seems that they were experimenting with these techniques from January 1918 for some months. Sometimes at least, they appear to have cut the chart out of a loose sheet version of the chart, in order to place it in a phase circle or alternatively to place phase attributions in the window left by cutting the chart out.Because Gyraldus, considered that he had himself been born was in the 18th incarnation of his cycle—it is his horoscope that is in the center. [?For] According to this astrologic system the ascendant of a horoscope is always placed before it & judged directly under the middle point of the phase of the native, & all the aspects are & planets are studied in relation to the phases at which they are placed. (YVP4 79; cf. 24)
|Iseult Gonne's horoscope, cut-out centre, and chart with window.|
(Though both for Iseult, these are actually different charts, one being natal and the the other progressed.)
As Colin McDowell notes, because the Yeatses used a form of horoscope diagram in which the mundane houses have a fixed width and the degrees of the zodiac are written in, this can lead to some distortion of the circle (see '"Shifting Sands": Dancing the Horoscope in the Vision Papers' on pages 194–216 of Yeats's 'A Vision': Explications and Contexts available for free download). In Yeats's chart, for instance, with the Ascendant in the first degree of Aquarius and the Midheaven is at 4 degrees of Sagittarius, the distance between them is approximately 56 degrees, and the Ascendant's distance from the Nadir (4 degrees Gemini) is 124 degrees, yet both these quadrants are presented as a 90-degree right angle in the chart, and placed as such according to the phases.
Examination of my horoscope with the 28 phases!
|WBY's chart in the centre, with phases around. WBY's ascendant is|
placed pointing to Phase 17, where his Will was.
This alignment, though distorted, corresponds more or less with what the Yeatses explored in the automatic script presented below. Going anti-clockwise from Phase 1: Mars is at Phase 3 or 4; Saturn at Phase 6 or 7 (along with the Moon's North Node); the Midheaven is at Phase 10; Jupiter at Phase 13; the Ascendant at Phase 17; the Moon is at Phase 18; Neptune at Phase 20; Venus at Phase 22; Mercury at Phase 24 (along with the Part of Fortune); the Sun is at Phase 26 or 27, close to Uranus, more clearly at Phase 27.
In terms of the Phases, Yeats's Will is at Phase 17 and his Mask at Phase 3, while his Creative Mind is at Phase 13 and his Body of Fate at Phase 27. The key points of contact therefore are the opposition of Mars and Moon along the Mask-Will axis, and Jupiter with Sun and Uranus along the Creative Mind-Body of Fate axis.
The Yeatses explored WBY's chart in a document that is listed in the Critical Edition of 'A Vision' (1925) (intro page xx), but, for some reason, not included in Yeats's 'Vision' Papers (see McDowell, 201–2). The script appears to date from January 1918 and the questions seem to indicate that this was one of the first times that they were trying to interpret the planetary positions of the chart through the phases.
The questions and answers are on separate sheets, but put together here. Because it was only the second or third month of the automatic script, early versions of terms are used, such as "Ego" for Will, "Creative Genius" for Creative Mind and "Persona of Fate" for Body of Fate, and I have given the equivalents in square brackets. And where the Yeatses used symbols for the planets, I've put the names in square brackets. (Incidentally, one of the less explicable oddities of Yeats's idiosyncratic spelling/handwriting is his repeated writing of "begging" for "beginning".)
Examination of my horoscope with the 28 phases!(1). Does one place As[cendant] always at begging [=beginning] of phase?
(2). Does take each planet with phase at which it happens to be.
(3). Would you care to chose planet & phase on which you will comment?
3. [Moon opp Mars] mask & ego [=Will]
[Sun Uranus] PF [=Persona of Fate, i.e., Body of Fate]
[Jupiter] Creative Genius & Evil Genius [=Creative Mind and False Creative Mind]
(4). How do [Sun Uranus] influence P[ersona of] F[ate]
4 Suddenness of loss mainly in romantic ways Strange turns of fate but always bringing luck to creative genius whether by people or artistic production(5). Is lack to C[reative] G[enius] because [Jupiter opp Sun Uranus]5. Yes(6). How does [Mars] effect Mask?6. Inclines strongly againts [sic] mask of intensity(7). Why?7 Because it is opposition [Moon](8) Is tendency to dispersal from [Moon]8. Yes [Moon] in ascendant strong but acting against dispersalMars against [Moon] dispersal primary dispersal[9 —no question or answer](10). would [Mars] without [Moon] be for despersal10 Intensity of passion(11) [Moon] & [Mars] both separately against dispersal together for?11 Yes because acting against each other for the same thing
(12) Define their separate operations?12 [Moon] anti passion & intensity [Mars] emotional passion & intensity(13) are [Moon] & [Mars] always anti & P[rimary].13 No passion only primary here because in a primary phase(14) How does [Jupiter] effect EG & CG?14 [Jupiter] gives richness to niative [sic] & passion & intensity obscurely though opposition [Sun] passion [Uranus]Evil through the dramatisation of the evil genius [=False Creative Mind]15. Why does [Jupiter] give dramatization?15. [Jupiter] the actor [Jupiter opposition Uranus] [?crossed out?]16. Why does [Sun] give obscurity?16 because it is in bad aspect it gives difficulty in clarity because it gives such varying images17. Is not that rather from [Uranus]17 No with [Sun] merely phantasy(18). How does [Sun] apart from [Uranus] effect PE [=False Mask].18 you cant take them separately(19). What is solar element in effect19 The bring of luck through enforced loss(20). Luck from [Sun]?20 Yes(21). What is effect of [Venus] at 22?21. That is I think quite clear enough(22) With horoscope & phase could you find my proffession?
(23).would you consider phase?22. Ascendant & aspects
Of course first of all.23. Do you consider aspects among planets as
bring onbringing out qualities of phase at which planet is?23. Yes24. What does [Saturn] at 6 mean?24. affects [Moon] by giving some of quality of 625. do you consider place of M.C.25. no only if tenanted26. How does [Mercury] at 24 effect me?26. work with 24[Moon] at 1827. How has my choice of a wife been effected by phases?27 Mars going to 4 mask of 18But that is most clearly shown in the dmns[=Daimon's] horoscope in phases
[on the back of the question page in WBY's handwriting]
Mask implies love
lureof saughtPF implies love of seeker18 loves yourr[??]17 mask it is your [Uranus] again[Uranus] gives love being your]28. What has softened [Mars] in VII.28 No only phases.29. Do you consider planets of second circle?[No answer]30. What is effect of [Neptune] in [Aries] at 20.30 PROPAGANDA
[back of page] Is aireffect31. Is
Neptune[Neptune] propaganda?31 Mystically psychically so
twas taking [Saturn] [Neptune] main effect32. You mean give to [Neptune] self assertion
32 Yes yes yes33. Which I notice you dislike?33 Yes34. Define effect of [Saturn] at 634 Interest in mystical also steadies [Moon] & [Uranus]35. are connections between houses & phases important?35 Yes very36. How 26 27 & 28 effect V House matters?36. Only from to when planets37. Do take [Mars] in connection with both 3 & 4?37 When planet is halfway take both
it happens to be mediums mask
itno that comes from combination38. How do 3 & 4 effect choice of wife?38 [Moon] & [Mars]39. Disposition generally.39 No she will never be at place of planet but it will be at her creative genius or mask or PF[=Body of Fate](40). When a woman is symbolized by a planet will she be primary if planet at primary phase?40 [long answer in mirror writing and crossed thru](40) [bis] Georges Mask M[aud] G[onne] PF[=Body of Fate] what is distinction.
[mirror writing cancelled]Vth house
Better go on tomorrow
[mirror cancelled]which you what is two words beforeyes writingre ther bad number???goodbye[wavy lines & spiral circle] (NLI 36,256/25)
As Colin McDowell notes, this "analysis . . . is hardly inspirational or incisive", and can be summarized as stating that having Body of Fate in connection with Uranus, associated with the unexpected and eccentric, may give suddenness of loss, while having the fortunate planet "Jupiter at Creative Mind will bring good luck through other people or in creative work". Furthermore Moon close to the Will, and opposite to Mars close to the Mask "gives dispersal by acting against intensity in the Mask. Yeats asks what is the effect of having Venus at Phase 22, and is told in no uncertain terms that he did not need to ask the question. Mercury at Phase 24 allowed him to work with Lady Gregory, whose Phase that is, whereas his Mars going to Phase 4 is correlated with the fact that Phase 4 is the Mask of Phase 18, which is George’s phase" (YVEC 203).
Whose horoscope? GeorgesThe treatment of George's horoscope a day or two later is little more revealing (18 January 1918, YVP1 272, and summarized YVP3 352). Because of the time of day she was born, there is slightly less distortion to the chart (the angles are 74 and 106 degrees).
|George Yeats's chart, with the Ascendant aligned with Phase 18.|
9. What planets do you select?
9. Primary planets [Mars Jupiter]
Anti [Uranus Sun Moon Venus]
10. What is effect of [Jupiter] at 1
10. [Jupiter] and [Sun] mediumship & clairvoyance
11. At phase one & 15
No only because at 15
There being conjunction [Uranus] it is accentuated
12. Do you especially connect [Sun] with clairvoyance
12. Yes especially with no opposition
13. Is [Sun] a great image maker
14. Does [Uranus] always accentuate image making power?
14. in this case [Jupiter] at one— [Sun] at 15
15. [Sun Uranus] in my case causes shifting of images?
15. different and from 12th to 6th house
16. Because in position of medium both planets are in phase of spirits
17. Does [opposition] effect result badly?
17. No opposition strengthens by giving to the mediumship & clairvoyance—[Sun] alone clair[voyance]
18. How is mediumship affected by its being [Jupiter]
18. other planets give psychism combination— [Sun] at 15 [Jupiter] at one as I said before—now go on
19. What is the [Jupiter] quality in this medium [Jupiter] in [Aries]?
19. unity vigour philosophy intensity etc
20. Does [Mercury conjunct Sun] [Mercury] at 17 affect result?
20. Clairvoyance image giving but mainly it does not affect
[Sun] but [Sun] affects it—being in a luring phase it is stronger than [Sun]
21. What do you mean by luring phase?
21. Fifteen and one are spirit phases
22. It is stronger than [Sun] & so [Sun] effects it Why?
22. Yes because it attracts [Sun] instead of reverse
23. How does [Uranus] at 18 effect things
23. The only primary strength in horoscope
24. Yet you put [Uranus] among anti planets?
24. Yes but it is the only planet which can act primarily because [Mars] is at 24— [Jupiter] at one [Sun] at 15 [Moon Venus] 13 & 12 between
25. What quality of strength does [Uranus] give?
25. objectively can use [Mercury] —mostly it goes to [Mars] & [Venus Moon] antithetically but should be used primarily
26. What quality will P[rimary] use give?
26. Astrologically you can judge it with [Mercury] at 17— I need not do that
27. give quality of [Mercury] at 17?
27. It would be artist or literary but strength of [Uranus] rather stunts it
28. Can that stunting be prevented?
28. If [Mars] is strengthened
29. Will strengthening of [Mercury] interfere with mediumship.
30. what do you advise?
30. This will be finished
31. I think of asking medium to help with plays etc. If so should I postpone it?
31. Not good—not enough constructive ability
32. Do you mean she cannot design costumes Etc.?
32. not well done
33. Will you speak of [Moon Venus]
33. She cant do anything till this is done—no good trying plenty of activity but we use it all
34. Can you show how I come into horoscope.
34. At her evil & creative genius [False and True Creative Mind]
I had better go into something else-- I am getting no help
35. What does her [Mars] signify.
35. [Venus] at your Creative & Evil G[enius] or [Moon]?
[Mars] where your [Jupiter] is
36. Can you define my relation to that self suppression.
36. In her case self suppression because at 24
37. Could you go on with Maurice [=Iseult Gonne] here?
37. You are too unwell—better go on another day do you think
no it is not regular work & is disturbing
38. Would her mere presence interfere.
38. No I would rather not & it will be better for a rest—next week I will take all circles
Again, what is clear here is not particularly informative or revealing, while what is unclear seems confusing or confused, with contradictory elements that are never really resolved here or elsewhere. Colin McDowell explores the subject of primary and antithetical planets fully in his essay, yet at the end of the analysis the Yeatses don't seem to have gained any sense of how a primary planet operates differently from an antithetical one or what effect these had on the expression of a phase.
Though neither version of A Vision includes this astrological element, there is a sense that the two systems do work alongside one another. Yeats comments that Phase 20’s creative multiplicity gives to the man of action “the greatest possible richness of resource where he is not thwarted by his horoscope” (AVB 152-53); George Russell was diverted from the natural “abstract opinion” of Phase 25 towards the “ideal conventional images of sense” of his art, “because of the character of his horoscope” (AVB 176). Even in the supernatural incarnations, where it is unclear what the process of birth entails, the stars have a role, so that, in order to see how the specifics of the being’s nature will manifest at Phase 1, we must also take into account “cycle and horoscope” (AVB 183-84). And this aspect is particularly significant in making character and the details of a person's traits the functions of the horoscope, not the Faculties which are rather fundamental biases and drives expressed through the temperament delineated by the birthchart.