Yeats, William Butler

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Yeats, William Butler Gender: M
born on 13 June 1865 at 22:40 (= 10:40 PM )
Place Dublin, Ireland, 53n20, 6w15
Timezone LMT m6w15 (is local mean time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 22°51' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 19°47 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 00°48'

William Butler Yeats


Irish writer, a poet and dramatist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He was first published at age 21 with elaborate early work. As Yeats became noted as a poet and novelist, his works became more simplified, while his own philosophy developed in complexity. His most noted works included "The Wind Among the Reeds," 1899, "Responsibilities," 1912 and "The Tower," 1927.

The complex man was at once courteous and self-centered, gregarious, and spiritually and intellectually questing. He was a hobby astrologer with a very active interest in mysticism. At the same time, he believed that "the sexual principle lies at the heart of all behavior as well as history." His lovers were a spur to his poetry, taking him and his readers to a brink "beyond human notes nor words to dwell upon the soul's destiny."

On 1/30/1889, he met Maud Gonne at his dad's shabby house in Bedford Park, London. A tentative, dreamy 23, he later wrote that "the trembling of my life began." Though only a few months younger than he, Maud was already involved in the welfare of the cause of Irish nationalism. She came to the Yeats home with a letter from an old friend, and was so sophisticated that she actually traveled by a hansom cab which she instructed to wait outside. It was said by no less than George Bernard Shaw that Maud was "outrageously beautiful." Yeats wrote, "But even at the starting post, all sleek and new, I saw the wildness in her."

For 30 years Yeats dreamed of marrying Maud, initially blind to the fact that she carried another man's child soon after they met. They remained friends with an erotic overtone; indeed reporting dreams in which they were sated by each other's love and entering a "spiritual marriage" in 1898. Yet each time he proposed marriage, he was refused. Their spiritual marriage did descend from the astral into the physical bed in 1906 when they managed to spend a night together. Apparently reality did not approach the imaginary, as the episode was not repeated.

Yeats, at 52, felt an astrological imperative to be wed by October 1917. He had transferred his love for Maud Gonne to an adoration of Maud's 22-year-old daughter, Iseult, and felt that she should be his bride. Despite their strong friendship, she, as her mother before her, said no to his pleas. At short notice, he chose Bertha Georgie Hyde-Lees, a 25-year-old English girl, "strikingly beautiful in a barbaric way." He had known her for years and attended séances together. Georgie had been sponsored by Yeats into the Hermetic Order of the Golden dawn, a secret society of mystics devoted to the rituals of magic. Moreover, she had her own secret voices telling her they might marry. Though Yeats did have pre-marital jitters, "fearing that the malice of Neptune was at work," they married on 10/21/1917. Georgie immediately began her work of automatic writing, penning messages from the spirit masters, her "controls," eventually filling 3,600 pages of script. She was wife, secretary, medium and scribe, as well as mother, giving birth to their daughter, Anne, February 1919 and their son, Michael, in August 1921. Eventually she tired of her mystic role and went into retreat. As the busy household absorbed her time, her conversations with the spirit world ceased. They moved between Galway and Dublin where Yeats wrote and revised incessantly, plays, poems, articles. He ran the Abbey Theatre, became a senator of the Irish Free State and disavowed his republican inclinations.

His somewhat astrological work, "A Vision," 1925, resulted from a collaboration with his wife. Georgie's automatic writings fueled the work that involves a unique approach to the twenty-eight phases of the Moon.

The Yeats children went to boarding school and Yeats and Georgie moved to Rathfarnam, where he could be insulated from the excitement of theatre and politics. For his health they began to winter on the French and Italian Riviera's. Georgie began to feel dispensable, more so as Yeats' dreams had begun to be of young women. There followed a succession of English ladies and among Dublin gossipmongers, Yeats was said to have gone "sex-mad." After a variety of liaisons, he met 53-year-old Edith Shackleton Heald, in whom he found a blend of spiritual virtue, intense desire and poetic inspiration. His last days were spent with Georgie, but with Edith nearby for his recreation and inspiration. The two women sat together with him when he fell into a coma, Yeats died on 1/28/1939 near Nice, France. In his last months, he wrote his own epitaph - "Cast a cold eye On Life, on death. Horseman, pass by!"

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • parent->child relationship with Yeats, Anne (born 26 February 1919)
  • (has as) other hierarchical relationship with Gonne, Maud (born 21 December 1866). Notes: Gonne was Yeats' muse


  • Work : Prize 1923 (Nobel Prize for Literature)

Source Notes

LMR quotes Sheila Lindsay in Dublin, 1990, who had a letter from Yeat's son and daughter-in-law with the time that was written in the family Bible. He was born in Sandymount, a suburb of Dublin. The data was on a horoscope in his own hand found among his papers. He was an astrologer, but did not like to do his own math. Fagan gives the same data in AA, 1/1964, probably from Yeats personally as they were acquainted. Same data from Willbie in "Yeats, A Heroic Harvest"

Sy Scholfield notes that Yeats' astrological chart in his own handwriting showing 10:40pm is reproduced in the article, "W. B. Yeats' map in his own hand," by Elizabeth Heine, Biography 1.3 (Summer 1978), p. 38.

Brenda Maddox, "Yeat's Ghosts: The Secret Life of W.B. Yeats," HarperCollins.


  • Traits : Personality : Mystical
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Metaphysical (Occult study)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Theosophy/Vedanta (Theosophist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction
  • Vocation : Writers : Playwright/ script
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Notable : Awards : Nobel prize (For Literature)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book