Leo Tolstoy

With a series of the epic novel War and Peace currently under way on the BBC, I thought I would look at the chart of its writer Leo Tolstoy to see how his chart reflects the themes of his work.  I should say at the outset that we had an abridged copy at home when I was growing up, and I never managed to get into it.  I applaud all those who have!

His Birthchart

0 planets in Air suggests an appeal to instinct in his work, and 6 (out of 10) Earth planets establishes a tendency to getting bogged down in reality – his genre is listed as “realist fiction”.

He had the Sun in Virgo, so liked to go into detail (a must have for writing a huge volume), in this context a detailed history of the French invasion of Russia.  War and Peace is one of the longest novels ever written.  It was finely and heavily researched.

Being born on a New Moon, gave him a sustaining energy, through years of writing!

Moon conjunct Mercury was excellent for combining imagination with rational thought, well suited to the writing of novels.  This triple conjunction of Sun/Mercury/Moon occurs in the 3rd House of Writing, engendering a prolific output.  The 3rd House is also associated with Education, and he founded 13 schools for Russian peasants.

His Ascendant was in Cancer, traditionally the province of imaginative novel reading and writing, and history.  However, Tolstoy was quoted as saying that War and Peace was “not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle”.

The War is much in evidence in Tolstoy’s chart, with the Sun trine Mars (the Inner Warrior) square Pluto (explosiveness).  Pluto sits at the top of the chart, squaring the Ascendant exactly!  Mars is in the 7th House of Marriage and close relationship – this gives forcefulness in relationship, which he exerted to the detriment of his wife Sophia.

Mars sextile Jupiter exactly lent endless energy for writing a magnum opus.  Mars conjunct Neptune denotes a complex sexuality: he had had a murky sexual past before marrying Sophia.  The more negative qualities of Neptune were here in evidence in his dissolute past.  But he also had Mars trine exactly Chiron, a healing quality to his energy, which may be transmitted to avid readers.  Jupiter was in his 5th House of Creativity and Children, and he had 13 children, and gargantuan novels.

Venus was conjunct Saturn in his chart, implying a difficulty in relationships, mirrored in his own life as well as reflected in his literature.  On a deeper level, Venus was trine his Pluto – so there is also a depth of feeling, transmitted to the reader, and a sense of values about what is important in life.  Pluto is at the end of his 9th House of Philosophy, so he had an idealistic depth about philosophy and relationships, but in his personal life did not live up to some of the ideals he professed.  Saturn was opposite Uranus in his chart – he  knew about schisms, internal and external.

The Sun in his chart was forming a close trine with Neptune – a spiritual inspiration and sustenance, and a high degree of creativity.  In his later years, he was described as a “spiritual anarchist”.

Well, I found plenty of War in his chart, but where is the Peace?  He will have been working towards fulfilling his North Node karmic mission in Libra, trying to solve the riddle of peace.  His Nodal Axis squared Neptune, so he would have understood some of its complexity.  His South Node is in the sign of Aries (War), so the title of his book reflects exactly the struggle of his Nodal Axis.


Historically, Tolstoy would not have had the novel to write had it not been for Napoleon, who looms large as a central character in much of the book.  The connections between their charts are astonishingly exact, so Napoleon was a powerful Archetype in Tolstoy’s mind.  Tolstoy’s Uranus is exactly conjunct Napoleon’s Moon, so he had a sense of intrigue about Napoleon’s personality.  Tolstoy’s Pluto was exactly trine Napoleon’s Mercury, so there was a psychological interest in unravelling Napoleon’s mindset.  Napoleon’s Venus was exactly conjunct Tolstoy’s natal Ascendant, giving a personal attachment (even if that attachment professed to be a negative view).  But Tolstoy’s Pluto squared Napoleon’s Venus, and that provided the strength of feeling on which to base his thesis.  Tolstoy’s Neptune was exactly sextile Jupiter, so he may have had a sensitive interest in Napoleon’s trajectory of luck in the run up to the Russian conflict.  Tolstoy’s Mars was exactly trine Napoleon’s Uranus, so there was a shared mutual interest in the machinations of man’s war instincts and use of energy.  Tolstoy’s Jupiter was exactly opposite Napoleon’s Uranus, which reinforces this passion.  And the final exact interaspect was Tolstoy’s Neptune exactly sextile Napoleon’s Ascendant, a sensitive reading of Napoleon’s personality and life path.  It could be said that Napoleon was his Muse.


I squirmed last week to bring you such a difficult set of aspects to start the year.  Today I am beaming because it’s all good to go for this week!  Rarely can I say that.

You may still be smarting at some of the slings and arrows of last week, but today it’s a new start, with the New Moon in Capricorn at 19 degrees.  You may be reaping the rewards of hard work from last week, or be beginning a new project or starting anew psychologically.  Mentally, clear your desk, and set your highest aspirations for the week and year.  Even if you have slipped slightly with your resolutions, you can start completely afresh today.  Leo Tolstoy was born on a New Moon, and had that ability to renew himself constantly to sustain his energies.

There is no individual aspect for Tuesday (12th), but it is a good week for the Junior Doctors to strike, and make their voice heard in relation to a government which does not seem to be able to find a compassionate heart.  [Sorry about this non-astrological digression; I will be off to my local Labour Party meeting that day, to see what can be done.]

On Wednesday (13th) Venus trines Uranus, which socially and financially can bring unexpected benefits.  With the exception of Thursday’s conjunction, all the aspects this week occur either in the very early hours of the morning or very late at night, so can be worked on with the subconscious, e.g. in dreams or in the half-waking state of consciousness.  You can combine the power of the waking and dream consciousness, or meditative consciousness, to good effect.  Venus trine Uranus favours social meeting and interaction, so you can set up the tone of any meetings for Wednesday in advance, to be favourable to all concerned, and a good time may be had by all (remember there is not a cloud in the sky astrologically this week!).  In the Arts, the power of surprise and creative originality triumph.

Late that night, the Sun trines Jupiter, which is always one of the most favourable aspects of the year.  Jupiter expands anything, and the Sun connects us to the source of our being.  Come from the heart, feel lucky…It’s a positive thinking fest! You can go to bed with a feeling of elation, and experience sweet dreams.  (Are you beginning to miss my usual doom and gloom prognostications?)

On Thursday (14th) the Sun conjuncts Mercury at 23 degrees Capricorn at late lunchtime.  Train your mind with great concentration and focus on your ambitions, projects, aspirations and resolutions.  Great insights could come your way, in laser like fashion!

We end the week with a lovely trine between Mercury and Jupiter on Friday (15th).  This bodes success for all sales, business, learning projects, travel, and generally broadening the mind.   It is a day to find rationales for hope, not just wishful thinking or ideals.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – a new start
  • Wednesday – social excitement and luck
  • Thursday – supreme concentration
  • Friday – success