Robert Graves was a towering figure in 20th Century literature with his WW1 war memoirs (Goodbye to All That), poetry, historical novels (I, Claudius, The Golden Ass) and writing on mythology (The White Goddess). Yet he was irrevocably scarred by his experiences in World War One, where he was wounded at the Somme. He knew Siegfried Sassoon well and another writer Edmund Blunden, though both fell out with him over his recollections of the war in Goodbye to All That.
Grave was physically fragile and mentally troubled after the war and embarked on a messy affair and menage a trois with his secretary and his wife. Laura Riding his secretary was none too stable either and she at one point threw herself off the balcony of the four-storey flat. Graves had to foot the bill for her hospital stay which prompted him to write his best-selling war memoir which he regarded as a pot-boiler.
He was born 24 July 1895 4.26am Wimbledon, England, and had the signature generational Neptune Pluto in Gemini square his Venus which would not make for a settled or conventional emotional life. His ‘shell shock’ made him hyper-active sexually and his relentlessly prolific output suggests he was driven to write and create as well. The world got the benefit but he was not a contented man. He had a Leo Sun on his Ascendant square a 4th house rigidly conscientious Saturn in Scorpio and he had an impatient Moon Mars in Leo.
That generation were marked by the Neptune Pluto conjunction which together creates a fey, mystical mix of energies, wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Historically the combination is connected with the rise of great powers with epically brutal leaders; with art, especially erotic literature; with scientific advances in such intangibles as electricity, radio and telephone; with religious events; and with scandals.
His 12th Harmonic chart of the sacrificial victim is marked with a Grand Trine, T Square and the brutal Mars opposition Pluto.
Edmund Blunden, 1 November 1896, was a writer and poet, who survived two years on the front through Ypres, Somme and Passchendaele without injury though he was gassed and suffered mentally for the rest of his life.
He had his Sun in Scorpio with Uranus Saturn conjunct in Scorpio as well and probably his Virgo Moon square Neptune Pluto which opposed his Venus. His victim 12th harmonic is also strongly aspected with a Neptunian Grand Trine and a stark Saturn opposition Jupiter square Pluto.
Sassoon’s 12th harmonic is similarly prominent with a Grand Trine, formed into a Kite by a war-like Saturn opposition Pluto and destructive Pluto square Mars.
What is clear from Graves’ chart was the effect of tr Neptune moving into Leo which was moving to conjunct his Sun and and Ascendant and square his Saturn as the war got underway. And both Blunden and Sassoon were debilitated by tr Neptune in the immediate aftermath of the war when their psychological damage hit home. Neptune in Leo is traditionally associated with the Roaring Twenties and the giddy inflation and flamboyance which followed the carnage of WW1 but less so with its insidious effects on those with front line experience.