Category: Ordinary person
George or Georgie Yeats was the wife of W B Yeats. She is on this site because she was herself gifted spiritually and furnished Yeats with the material for one of his most misunderstood and discussed works – A Vision.
A Vision: An Explanation of Life Founded upon the Writings of Giraldus and upon Certain Doctrines Attributed to Kusta Ben Luka, was privately published in 1925. Yeats wrote the book while experimenting with automatic writing with George. She ‘received’ the information and wrote it down whilst in a trance condition, he then attempted to interpret it and eventually put it in book form. Yeats published a second edition with alterations in 1937.
All the received wisdom was in English, and was highly complex, as such I think we can conclude that a living bodied soul was communicating to George, with a good command of English, but who that living bodied soul was is unknown. It must have been someone with whom she had been able to form a bridge.
Like WB Yeats, Georgie Hyde Lees (1892-1968) was a student of esoteric and occult matters and her interests embraced astrology and Renaissance Hermeticism, including the works of Pico della Mirandola. We can thus conclude that, like Yeats, there may have been an element of inherited ability.
According to her recollection, Yeats and she first met in May 1911 and he sponsored her joining of the Golden Dawn in 1914; they talked of marriage in late 1915, in such a way that Georgie regarded it as an engagement, while WB Yeats apparently did not, since he later proposed again to Maud Gonne and then her daughter, Iseult. He proposed properly to Georgie on 26 September 1917 and they were married shortly after her twenty-fifth birthday on 20 October 1917.
She was almost thirty years his junior and the marriage started inauspiciously, particularly since WB Yeats was still besotted by Maud Gonne and her daughter – both of whom had rejected his marriage proposals. His purpose for marrying her was to get an heir, so poor Georgie was being used by Yeats as a baby machine. He didn’t treat her any better after they married and had a number of affairs during their time together. She was however, a good soul and bore all this with fortitude preferring to see the good in him. She was loyal and faithful right up to the day he died.
According to popular accounts of their marriage, George decided to bring in ‘external’ confirmation that he had made the right choice in her. She suggested that they attempt some automatic writing, which initially was in fact far from automatic, as she obliquely but very deliberately wrote that WB Yeats had made the right decision.
But, as she told Virginia Moore later, what followed was a complete surprise, as the next thing she knew she felt her hand ‘seized by a superior power’.
“On the afternoon of October 24th 1917, four days after my marriage, my wife surprised me by attempting automatic writing. What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer, and after some half-dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences. ‘No,’ was the answer, ‘we have come to give you metaphors for poetry.’ [‘Introduction to “A Vision” ’ from ‘A Packet for Ezra Pound’ (1937)]
So this initial communication started three years of sessions of automatic writing, often daily, where WB Yeats was the questioner and George the medium – the means by whom the messages were sent; these were followed by rather less frequent ‘sleeps’ where George would speak from a trance in sleep. The main mechanisms were thus a form of lucid dreaming, coupled occasionally by Relaxation.
George became understandably tired of the sessions, as she was ultimately being ‘used’; often she was unaware what had been said or written. WB Yeat’s enthusiasm, however, continued unabated. The birth of their children, Anne in 1919 and Michael in 1921, gradually helped her to persuade Yeats to reduce the amount of time he was asking her to spend in a trance state and the ‘system’ began to reach a form of completion.
The material produced in these sessions was fragmentary and disordered, but provided the basis for a vast, all-encompassing esoteric description of ‘reality’ as Yeats perceived it, much of which was presented in the two versions of A Vision. George can certainly be seen as a joint author of A Vision, although she had no wish for her part to be known, and legally the copyright resides with WB Yeats, except for a few places where he quotes the Script directly.
Given that this is inter composer communication between two living bodied souls, the communication is of interest principally as a record of what can be achieved by a gifted communicator to an open subject. It cannot be regarded as ‘the truth’ as the source is living, although it may have been a living person of great wisdom for all we know. My suspicion is that it was a member of the Golden Dawn, trying to get their ideas through to a writer who would give them authenticity.
ReferencesMore information on A Vision can be found by following this LINK
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- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - 1 On death
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - 2 Meditation
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - 3 Dreaming back
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - 4 Shifting
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - Civilisation is hooped together
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - Many times man lives and dies
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - On masks
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - Roles
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - Sweet smells
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - The cones and the diamond
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - The Phases of the Moon
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - The song will have it
- Yeats, Georgie - A Vision - Twas said that she all shapes could wear