Sunday, 31 May 2015

Guest post: Rehan Qayoom reviews Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath.

Thanks to Rehan Qayoom for sending me on a review of Julia Gordon-Bramer's new book on Sylvia Plath, Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Julia at the most recent Sylvia Plath conference and wish her all the very best with this book. Such an interesting and fresh look at what inspired Plath and informed her poetry. I look forward to reading this book in the near future!

'Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath shows that looking at Plath's Ariel through the lens of tarot and mysticism opens the poems up to amazing new--and quite obvious--meanings. Critics and scholars have long looked at the mysticism in her husband Ted Hughes' work.

Sylvia Plath virtually worshipped her husband, letting him hypnotize her, cast her astrological chart and horoscope, teach her to meditate, and together they visited local witches, regularly practiced with the Ouija board, tarot, crystal ball, and other occult objects. Yet until now, no one has thought to look at Plath's work in this light.

In Ariel, Plath made each of her poems hold up against at least six different-yet-corresponding interpretations in perfect Qabalah/tarot order and meaning, and she did this forty times. If this was an intentional effort, Sylvia Plath was one of the greatest literary geniuses to have lived.

If this was unintentional and subconscious, let's call it "channeling," then we have a divine ordering to the universe laid out before our eyes'.

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