Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes – ecstasy and anguish



The poet Sylvia Plath became a feminist icon after her suicide in 1963 with much vitriol being aimed at her then separated husband Ted Hughes, who had left her for another woman. For years he remained a hate figure; and his resurrection in recent years came as a relief to their daughter who said she was appalled at the way in which outsiders took over her mother’s story and made judgements.

Now letters have surfaced from Plath to her therapist in which she alleges that Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child and that he wanted her dead. As well as a suspicion that she had just been rejected by another man after a brief liaison just before her death.

Neither were easy personalities. Plath, 27 Oct 1932 2.10pm Boston, Massachusetts, was a manic depressive (bi-polar), with an 8th house Scorpio Sun square Saturn; with Saturn in a bleak opposition to Pluto squaring onto an unpredictable Uranus. Her Mercury in Scorpio squared onto Mars in Leo and trined Pluto so she wouldn’t hold back in getting her point of view across. She had attempted suicide several times in her life, at least once before she met Hughes; and in the months before her death had been on a creative high, writing most of the poems on which her reputation is based; then she sank into another depression.

Hughes, 17 Aug 1930 1.12am Mytholmroyd, Eng, had a 4th house Leo Sun trine Uranus, sextile Mars in Gemini; and a Cardinal Grand Cross of Venus in Libra opposition Uranus square Jupiter opposition Saturn. His Taurus Moon was square his Sun. Highly restless, with a life of revolving crisis especially in his emotional relationships, certainly volatile.

His Saturn was in his 7th suggesting close relationships would require effort and responsibility and perhaps also an indication of his attraction to depressive partners. His second wife also committed suicide.

Plath’s Mars was conjunct his Sun for a fiery attraction and arguments; her Libra Moon was conjunct his Venus for affection and nurturing; his Moon trined her Jupiter also for support. So there were positives.

But their relationship chart was beyond difficult with a volcano of rage, unpredictability and fight for control with a composite Mars Pluto Moon; with Mars Pluto opposition Saturn square Uranus opposition Mercury. Plus a highly affectionate composite Sun Venus. A stark example of can’t-live-with-them, can’t-live-without-them. Her Uranus opposed her Sun/Moon midpoint and his Saturn opposed his Sun/Moon so marriage was not a state which either found easy.

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