Leo Tolstoy – unhappy and fruitful marriage, a cruel genius

Leo Tolstoy wrote two of the world’s best known novels -the epic War and Peace and Anna Karenina.  He was a towering talent though a truly terrible husband. Aged 34 he married the 16 year old Sophia and as a wedding gift presented her with his diaries, recording his multiple past sexual liaisons with prostitutes and servants.

He proceeded to father 13 children on her and she wrote bleakly in her diaries: ‘I am to gratify his pleasure and nurse his child, I am a piece of household furniture.’

Despite being suicidal (and homicidal) at times, she helped him with his novels, copying out War and Peace several times. Indeed it has been said she was pivotal to his success as a novelist.

Latterly he became an austere Christian-socialist and left all of the running of the finances, estate and children to her. She wrote: “If he had one iota of the psychological understanding which fills his books, he would have understood the pain and despair I was going through.”  She loved his genius and loathed the man.

Born 9 September 1828 10.52pm(?) Tula, Russia, he had a New Moon and Mercury in Virgo in his 4th house, so was a communicator though also self-sufficient and critical at a domestic level. He had Uranus in the 8th, which would drive his early need for sexual experimentation opposition Saturn Venus in Leo – making him autocratic, with a desire to be grand.

A 7th house Mars Neptune in Capricorn squared a 10th house Pluto – suggesting a need to dominate and possibly also a need to undermine a marriage partner to whom he was not fully committed.

Luckily for him, his wife had a backbone of steel. Born 22 August 1844 in Moscow, Sophia was a Sun Mars in Leo trine Pluto so brave and enduring. Her Sun Mars opposed Neptune so she’d enjoy the publicity his novels brought. Her Uranus Jupiter in Aries were conjunct his 10th house Pluto so she would bring luck to his ambitions and would be a catalyst. Her Venus in home-loving Cancer opposed his 8th house Uranus – so he would not provide her with the emotional support she needed.

Their relationship chart lays out graphically what AN Wilson described as one of the unhappiest marriages in literary history. A composite Moon Mars opposed Saturn which points to unkindness and downright cruelty at an emotional level. That opposition squared onto Neptune – so in many ways quite perverse, though finding an outlet in creativity. The composite Sun also opposed Uranus – so not well designed for intimacy.

His creative 5th and 7th Harmonics are strong (quintiles and septiles) and his writers’ 21st Harmonic is especially marked.

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