Friday, July 31, 2020

Astrology of A Vision IV: Blending the Phases of the Moon with Astrology—Natal Astrology

George Yeats's book of horoscope ("map") templates,
from the National Library of Ireland's exhibition
Did the Yeatses try to square astrology with the system's phases of the moon? And if so, how?

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 Astrology

Traditionally 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.

A horary, "What will result of letter to Eamon De Valera be? April 16 1922", with judgments by GY and WBY on the verso, opposite another question "What will happen to Ireland in the near future" (May 7. 1922).
[GY's judgment]
I do not think this letter will cause DeValera to change his plan of campaign but I do think that it will cause him to modify it, changing from militarist factors to political strategy. I do not think WB will enter into public relations in the matter at all, but will probably be in communication privately & in personal relations with De V. & his party. The approach of [Venus] to [square Neptune] seems to me to indicate that it would be inadvisable for WB to take public part, as I take [Neptune] to be the <people> Country, then [square] of [Venus] to [Neptune] shows I think that <it> such action would <be> partly interfere with his creative power though I think the [sextile Jupiter Saturn] to [Neptune] indicates he would have personal success if he did take a public part (April 17)
Judgement by WBY
Writer to send letter & will have effect though indirect. No present practical effect ([Moon] going to [square Saturn]). [vis-matia?=?vis-major] or unknown causes ([Saturn] in XII) prevent. Should lead to some friends contact with recipient or others later on ([Moon] going to [trine Venus]). Figure powerful ([Saturn Jupiter] on asc[endant] & triple trine of [Neptune Mars Mercury]) & as [Venus] or radical [Neptune] & [Moon] & [Mars] on radical Jupiter impulse [Mars] write was well judged. (April 17)

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.

Natal Astrology

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:
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)
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.

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.
WBY's ascendant is placed at about 2 o'clock in the diagram to the right (the "usual" position of Phase 17). From the comments made about planets' positions (as well as cut-outs like the ones above), it seems that the Yeatses were using a circular house-based format of horoscope (where the the angle from Ascendant to Midheaven or Nadir is always 90 degrees, however many zodiacal degrees there are), with the planets placed in the corresponding phases. However, the analysis that arises from the Yeatses' own horoscopes, the only ones that they went into any detail on, provide little illumination of either horoscope or phases (see Colin McDowell, “Shifting Sands: Dancing the Horoscope in the Vision Papers,” YVEC 202–4).

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?
1. Yes

(2). Does take each planet with phase at which it happens to be.
2. Yes.

(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]
[Venus] 22

(4). How do [Sun Uranus] influence P[ersona of] F[ate]

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 dispersal
Mars against [Moon] dispersal primary dispersal

[9 —no question or answer]

(10).  would [Mars] without [Moon] be for despersal
10 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 images

17.  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 effect
19  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 on bringing out qualities of phase at which planet is?
23.  Yes

24. What does [Saturn] at 6 mean?
24. affects [Moon] by giving some of quality of 6

25. do you consider place of M.C.
25. no only if tenanted

26.  How does [Mercury] at 24 effect me?
26. work with 24
[Moon] at 18

27.  How has my choice of a wife been effected by phases?
27  Mars going to 4 mask of 18
But 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 lure of saught
PF implies love of seeker
18 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.

                 [back of page] Is aireffect

31.  Is Neptune [Neptune] propaganda?
31  Mystically psychically so
twas taking [Saturn] [Neptune] main effect

32.  You mean give to [Neptune] self assertion
32  Yes yes yes

33.  Which I notice you dislike?
33   Yes

34.  Define effect of [Saturn] at 6
34  Interest in mystical also steadies [Moon] & [Uranus]

35.  are connections between houses & phases important?
35  Yes very

36.  How 26 27 & 28 effect V House matters?
36.  Only from to when planets

37.  Do take [Mars] in connection with both 3 & 4?
37  When planet is halfway take both
it happens to be mediums mask
it no that comes from combination

38.  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.
[no answer]

yes wait

[mirror writing cancelled]

Vth house

Better go on tomorrow

[mirror cancelled]
which you what is two words before
yes writing
re ther bad number

[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? Georges

The 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.
The Ascendant is placed at Phase 18, the position of George Yeats's Will. This means that Jupiter aligns with Phase 1; Neptune with Phase 6; the Midheaven is at Phase 11, and the Moon and Venus at Phase 11 or 12; Saturn is at Phase 14; the Sun is at Phase 15 or 15, and Mercury at Phase 16; Uranus at 17, and Mars, at Phase 25, along with the Nadir. For her, the Will is at Phase 18, the Mask at Phase 4, the Creative Mind at Phase 12, and the Body of Fate at Phase 26.

          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.  Why?
          11.  At phase one & 15
                No only because at 15
                Yes always
                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
          13.  [Jupiter]

          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.  Why?
          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.
          29.  Yes

          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
(YVP1 272–74) 
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.

see also

Astrology of A Vision I

Astrology of A Vision II

Astrology of A Vision III

Astrology of A Vision V

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Delphic Oracle on Plotinus

To Yeats as a poet and magician, Plotinus is sometimes viewed less as the great exponent of Platonic philosophy than as the figure described by his disciple Porphyry in his biography: the man who saw his own Daimon and who was praised by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. 
Fyodor Bronnikov, Pythagoreans Celebrating Sunrise (1869)

Porphyry recounts how, when consulted by a follower about the fate of Plotinus's soul, the oracle spoke of how, after being buffeted by the waves of life and passion, his soul had arrived at last in Elysium:

Apollo was consulted by Amelius, who desired to learn where Plotinus' soul had gone. And Apollo, who uttered of Socrates that great praise, 'Of all men, Socrates the wisest'--you shall hear what a full and lofty oracle Apollo rendered upon Plotinus.

I raise an undying song, to the memory of a gentle friend, a hymn of praise woven to the honey-sweet tones of my lyre under the touch of the golden plectrum.
    The Muses, too, I call to lift the voice with me in strains of many-toned exultation, in passion ranging over all the modes of song:
    even as of old they raised the famous chant to the glory of Aeacides in the immortal ardours of the Homeric line.

    Come, then, Sacred Chorus, let us intone with one great sound the utmost of all song, I Phoebus, Bathychaites, singing in the midst.

Celestial! Man at first but now nearing the diviner ranks! the bonds of human necessity are loosed for you and, strong of heart, you beat your eager way from out the roaring tumult of the fleshly life to the shores of that wave-washed coast free from the thronging of the guilty, thence to take the grateful path of the sinless soul:
    where glows the splendour of God, where Right is throned in the stainless place, far from the wrong that mocks at law.

    Oft-times as you strove to rise above the bitter waves of this blood-drenched life, above the sickening whirl, toiling in the mid-most of the rushing flood and the unimaginable turmoil, oft-times, from the Ever-Blessed, there was shown to you the Term still close at hand:
    Oft-times, when your mind thrust out awry and was like to be rapt down unsanctioned paths, the Immortals themselves prevented, guiding you on the straightgoing way to the celestial spheres, pouring down before you a dense shaft of light that your eyes might see from amid the mournful gloom.
    Sleep never closed those eyes: high above the heavy murk of the mist you held them; tossed in the welter, you still had vision; still you saw sights many and fair not granted to all that labour in wisdom's quest.
    But now that you have cast the screen aside, quitted the tomb that held your lofty soul, you enter at once the heavenly consort:
    where fragrant breezes play, where all is unison and winning tenderness and guileless joy, and the place is lavish of the nectar-streams the unfailing Gods bestow, with the blandishments of the Loves, and delicious airs, and tranquil sky:

    where Minos and Rhadamanthus dwell, great brethren of the golden race of mighty Zeus; where dwell the just Aeacus, and Plato, consecrated power, and stately Pythagoras and all else that form the Choir of Immortal Love, that share their parentage with the most blessed spirits, there where the heart is ever lifted in joyous festival.
    O Blessed One, you have fought your many fights; now, crowned with unfading life, your days are with the Ever-Holy.
Rejoicing Muses, let us stay our song and the subtle windings of our dance; thus much I could but tell, to my golden lyre, of Plotinus, the hallowed soul.

Good and kindly, singularly gentle and engaging: thus the oracle presents him, and so in fact we found him. Sleeplessly alert—Apollo tells—pure of soul, ever striving towards the divine which he loved with all his being, he laboured strenuously to free himself and rise above the bitter waves of this blood-drenched life: and this is why to Plotinus—God-like and lifting himself often, by the ways of meditation and by the methods Plato teaches in the Banquet, to the first and all-transcendent God—that God appeared, the God who has neither shape nor form but sits enthroned above the Intellectual-Principle and all the Intellectual-Sphere.
Plotinus: The Ethical Treatises,
being the Treatises of the First Ennead with Porphyry's life of Plotinus...
translated by Stephen MacKenna

(London: Warner/Medici Society, 1917), 22–24.

Yeats radically condensed and versified this in "The Delphic Oracle upon Plotinus", the last poem in the series entitled "Words for Music Perhaps".

Behold that great Plotinus swim
Buffeted by such seas;

Bland Rhadamanthus beckons him,
But the Golden Race looks dim,
Salt blood blocks his eyes.

Scattered on the level grass
Or winding through the grove
Plato there and Minos pass,
There stately Pythagoras
And all the choir of Love.
(VP 530, CW1 269–70)

The drafts are in the "White Vellum Notebook" (catalogued as MBY 545 when it was in Michael Butler Yeats's collection and now in private hands), and the selection of details was almost unchanged from the first draft to the final version (see David R. Clark, "Words for Music Perhaps and Other Poems": Manuscript Materials [Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999], 558–563). The wording also found its final form relatively quickly, indeed phrases such as "stately Pythagoras" were already given by MacKenna's translation.
Fair draft of "The Delphic Oracle upon Plotinus", White Vellum Notebook, 141.
     Yeats removes almost all the metaphysical and spiritual elements of the oracle to focus on the physical and the mythic Isles of the Blessed. The brothers Rhadamanthus and Minos, two of the mythical judges of Hades, are foremost.* Plato and Pythagoras appear as figures of history and legend, rather than philosophers. The "blessed spirits" are not to "be sought within the the self that is common to all" (AVB 22; CW14 17) in mystical contemplation, but are presented as "the choir of Love", an evocation of harmony.
    The viewpoint shifts from an external view of Plotinus struggling through the seas to Elysium—"Behold"—to the swimmer's own eyes, which discern only a blurred image of the "golden race of mighty Zeus" through the water and the blood. The second stanza involves a slightly different set of shifts, presenting figures both stationary and moving, scattered and winding, with the verb "pass" which again implies a viewpoint. The scene is almost suspended in time, so that it is worth noting the timeless present tense of "pass" in comparison with the same verb in the final line of of "Sailing to Byzantium", where the golden bird may sing: "Of what is past, or passing, or to come" (VP 408, CW1 194).      
      Elements of the sea-passage and of "blood-drenched life" are also important in "Byzantium" and in Yeats's revisiting of this theme in "News for the Delphic Oracle", but that will be matter for another post.

Jean Delville, The School of Plato (1898)
*The adjective "Bland" is a little strange—presumably it indicates that Rhadamanthus is not in his role as a stern judge, as Porphyry comments that the brothers are seen not as holding Plotinus "to judgement but as welcoming him to their consort to which are bidden spirits pleasing to the Gods". Rhadamanthus is generally described as "just", but it is possible that Yeats knew the Homeric epithet of "blond Rhadamanthus" ('xanthos Rhadamanthus', Odyssey 4:564) and that MacKenna's phrase "blandishments of the Loves" made this association in Yeats's mind.