Yeats and Maud Gonne: Marriage and the Astrological Record, 1908–09

  • Elizabeth Heine
Part of the Yeats Annual book series (YA)


OF ALL THE EXTANT astrological manuscripts recording Yeats’s relationship with Maud Gonne, the most important are those in the large, beautifully bound writing book which she gave to him in Paris in June 1908.1 Her gift marked the revival of their earlier ‘spiritual marriage’; in the course of the next year and a half Yeats used the book to record the dreams, visions, and planetary positions marking the development of their renewed partnership. This unusual journal provides not only basic biographical information but also extensive evidence of his techniques of meditation and prediction, both those stemming from his early training in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and those he was developing from his later practice of astrology. As he wrote to Florence Farr on 7 October 1907, ‘I am hoping to find in the aspects a basis of evocation, which is really what interests me.’ (L 500). The journal of 1908–09 preserves what is known of these evocations of the planets, while the surrounding astrological records testify to a mixture of vision and astrological inquiry surpassed only after Yeats’s marriage to Georgie Hyde-Lees in 1917, in the creation of his final metaphysical work, A Vision.


Journal Entry Primary Direction Love Affair Natal Chart Spiritual Union 
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  1. 2.
    The grades of the society are described by Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn (St Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1971). On 29 September 1910, Yeats wrote to Lady Gregory about Pollexfen’s funeral: ‘I found it hard to see George’s house again, every detail as it was when I stayed with him and worked at Astrology’. (L 553).Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    In particular, Virginia Moore, The Unicorn: William Butler Yeats’ Search for Reality (New York: Macmillan, 1954), p. 197;Google Scholar
  3. George Mills Harper, Yeats’s Golden Dawn (London: Macmillan, 1974), p. 168;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Nancy Cardozo, Lucky Eyes and a High Heart: The Life of Maud Gonne (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1978), p. 258.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Heine

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