#J758 Eugene Gladstone O’Neill playwright

The Prelude:

Eugene O’Neill was a famous American playwright and father in law to Charlie Chaplin via the latter’s last wife Oona O’Neill. His father was a famous stage actor, James O’Neill, who met his mother, Mary Ellen (Ella) Quinlan, while travelling on tour through Ohio, though they had resettled there from New London, Connecticut where Ella had been born. The parents objected but Ella ran away with James, who was ten years older and hailed from Kilkenny Ireland.  She married him nonetheless after her father died of tuberculosis.  They had three children, James jr., Edmund who died of measles and then Eugene.  He and James were ten years apart in age.

                                                          The Stage

He is a bucket with the moon in the seventh house of opportunities and relationships but is missing a core opposition¹. The Moon does create a t-square with the rim planets of Jupiter in the fourth against Pluto or Neptune in the tenth &  (Pluto was undiscovered at his birth) brings a grave bearing on his life, giving O’Neill almost an addictive fascination with fantasizing his home life usually in bleaker than accurate strokes.  His repudiation of reality (thanks to the T=-Square in Moon and lack of earth planets ) was unknown to the writer  himself — he could not see the difference between what he wrote, what he experienced, and what he intuited were other’s motives — they were of a piece.

Saturn sextile to Neptune encouraged that delusion, as the Neptunian artist developed saw or more likely wished for conflicts in his house on epic levels.  His play, shown below, a Long Day’s Journey into Night, captures this melodrama in stark Attic terms.


Saturn in the twelfth conjunct the ascendant of 28 Leo enjoyed this majestic tableau, and O’Neill discovered that it fed into his art making everyone else the enemy.  In return, his family were appalled to be painted in such harsh strokes and be seen by the public as his personal Eumenides.  But Mars conjunct the Galactic Center (not shown) gave him a pen mightier than their complaints, as critical accolades piled up, he found that he had created a personal monster worse than anything  Mary Shelley had feared.

O’Neill’s 2nd wife,Agnes Boulton O’Neill, son Shane and him c. 1922.  Oona their other child was not yet born until 1925.

                                                              The main scene

Their complaints meaningless, O’Neill continued his personal imagery of him as St. George fighting the dragon.  But the toll of such constant and excitable fears took a personal toll –their demands added to his already heavy cross to bear against a tyrannical father (the Leo ascendant at Regulus) & alcohol ate at his psyche spawning new demons for him to fight.  The tuberculosis did not help and when his parents and older brother Jamie all died within 3 years of each other their ghosts haunted him.

He was the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, a few years after Pluto was discovered. His two sons committed suicide, that Mars in the fourth house took its toll,  and his last wife, Carlotta, became an opiate addict, like his mother who had become addicted to morphine after a difficult delivery with Eugene.  He died as he was born:  in a hotel room.

Marc Jones lists O’Neill with the correct day and place but no time; astrodatabank supplied that.


  • A core opposition is a Cosmic Cross found at the angle a planet in house 1 is opposite a planet in 7 and a planet in house 4 opposes a planet in house 10.  Jones believed that this one was of the hardest angles to have in a chart as the native find themselves in perpetual motion gravitating to one crisis after another.

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