T S Eliot On Inspiration

Sunday September 28th 2014
TS Eliot 1923 by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Wikimedia Commons

TS Eliot 1923 by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Wikimedia Commons

When I read the following thoughts on creativity from the pen of the poet TS Eliot, I asked myself what’s happening in his 12th house?

“I know, for instance, that some forms of ill-health, debility or anaemia, may (if other circumstances are favourable) produce an efflux of poetry in a way approaching the condition of automatic writing — though, in contrast to the claims sometimes made for the latter, the material has obviously been incubating within the poet, and cannot be suspected of being a present form a friendly or impertinent demon. What one writes in this way may succeed in standing the examination of a more normal state of mind; it gives me the impression, as I have said, of having undergone a long incubation, though we do not know until the shell breaks what kind of egg we have been sitting on. To me it seems that at these moments, which are characterised by the sudden lifting of the burden of anxiety and fear which presses upon our daily life so steadily that we are unaware of it, what happens is something negative: that is to say, not ‘inspiration’ as we commonly think of it, but the breaking down of strong habitual barriers — which tend to re-form very quickly. Some obstruction is momentarily whisked away. The accompanying feeling is less like what we know as positive pleasure, than a sudden relief from an intolerable burden. … This disturbance of our quotidian character which results in an incantation, an outburst of words which we hardly recognise as our own (because of the effortlessness), is a very different thing from mystical illumination. The latter is a vision which may be accompanied by the realisation that you will never be able to communicate it to anyone else, or even by the realisation that when it is past you will not be able to recall it to yourself; the former is not a vision but a motion terminating in an arrangement of words on paper.”

This quotation came via Brainpickings

How perfect for a famous poet to have Mercury and Venus conjunct and straddling his Ascendant. Sun, Uranus and Venus in the 12th, trining Moon, Pluto and Neptune in the 8th. Eliot spent a lot of time pottering around the inside of his head. The 12th house is the house of retreat and spiritual connection, but also of ill health.

data from astrodatabank

data from astrodatabank

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  1. bp says:

    is Moon opposite the Great Attractor degree, viewing from all directions, around to rear,above&below
    Acute degrees sextile Saturn/Uranis mp Virgo where opposit T/Neptune Chiron now
    Sun in degree of Super Galactic
    Mercury/Venus in safe have portion via combusta with Spica, bright illumination
    Acute opposition Jupiter strong Neptune Gemini, could not know what he saw in trine his Sun
    Mars is stong with Antares, a might force
    His Mercury so square his nodes, coming in and dprtg activating two different worlds he lives in
    which i see has grounded. Saturn in Leo’s have know are strong, dependable and dedicated to max
    Conj Neptune/Pluto would like to understand, because Pluto takes us home, ready or not
    The 30th dgr gift on MC/IC nothing could interfer with drive to express gifted heritage, did it so perform ? Was he driven
    The squares accomplish and all need somewhere the trines may have let it slip away naturally
    The 8th cusp is considered by some, turmoil
    From memory not all stars observed/studied
    1888 was a rare production numistmatically
    once owned ONE. CC mint won out
    Just noticed opposition btwn Mars and Moon, did he lose maternal early – his Moon was in the 8th could be the clue as we know those whom did, not all calm
    Know of this hero, but have not read in depth.

  2. Iris says:

    An unhappy marriage which his sister-in-law reportedly says ruined him as a man but made him as a poet. That’s an apt (& poignant) expression of 12h venus/mercury conjunction in libra.

    • Christina says:

      Yes. She was institutionalised in the end — which made me wonder about the Lilith placement in this chart so I looked it up. It’s at 26° Taurus, which means the tightest aspect in the chart — a quincunx — is between Lilith and Mercury on the Ascendant. How is that for astrology speaking… You could almost say that sums up his writing – Lilith in the 8th (stream of consciousness, subconscious). It’s so strange the way he channels those different voices in The Wasteland.