Birthday Letters: Poetry and Magic.

An analysis of Ted Hughes’ use of Tarot and Cabbala in Birthday Letters.

1. Introduction
‘Fulbright Scholars’, ‘Caryatids (1)’, ‘Caryatids (2)’.
Includes The Path of the Hanged Man
MEM - ‘Fidelity’, ‘Astringency’, ‘The Rag Rug’, ‘The Ventriloquist’.

2. The Path of The Fool
ALEPH - ‘Fulbright Scholars’, ‘Chaucer’, ‘Isis’, ‘Dreamers’.

3. The Path of The Magician
BETH - ‘Caryatids (2)’, ‘Ouija’, ‘Ephiphany’, ‘Fairy Tale’.

4. The Path of The High Priestess
GIMEL - ‘Caryatids (1)’, ‘The Earthenware Head’, ‘The Gypsy’, ‘The Blackbird’.

5. The Path of The Empress
DALETH - ‘Visit’, ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘A Dream’, ‘Totem’.

6. The Path of The Emperor
HE - ‘Sam’, ‘The Chipmunk’, ‘The Minotaur’, ‘Robbing Myself’.

7. The Path of The Hierophant
VAU - ‘The Tender Place’, ‘Horoscope’, ‘The Pan’, ‘Blood and Innocence’.

8. The Path of The Lovers
ZAIN - ‘St. Botolph’s’, ‘Flounders’, ‘The Error’, ‘Costly Speech’.

9. The Path of The Chariot
CHETH - ‘The Shot’, ‘The Blue Flannel Suit’, ‘The Lodger’, ‘The Inscription’.

10. The Path of Justice
TETH - ‘Trophies’, ‘Child’s Park’, ‘Daffodils’, ‘Night Ride on Ariel’.

11. The Path of The Hermit
YOD - ‘18 Rugby Street’, ‘9 Willow Street’, ‘The Afterbirth’, ‘Telos’.
12. The Path of The Wheel of Fortune
KAPH - ‘The Machine’, ‘The Literary Life’, ‘Setebos’, ‘Brasilia’.

13. The Path of Strength
LAMED - ‘God Help the Wolf after Whom the Dogs Do Not Bark’, ‘The Bird’, ‘A Short Film’, ‘The Cast’.

14. The Path of the Hanged Man
MEM - ‘Fidelity’, ‘Astringency’, ‘The Rag Rug’, ‘The Ventriloquist’.
This Path was dealt with as part of the Introduction.

15. The Path of Death
NUN - ‘Fate Playing’, ‘The Badlands’, ‘The Table’, ‘Life after Death’.

16. The Path of Temperance
SAMEKH - ‘The Owl’, ‘Fishing Bridge’, ‘Apprehensions’, ‘The Hands’.

17. The Path of The Devil
A’AIN - ‘A Pink Wool Knitted Dress’, ‘The 59th Bear’, ‘Dream Life’, ‘The Prism’.

18. The Path of The Tower
PE - ‘Your Paris’, ‘Grand Canyon’, ‘Perfect Light’, ‘The God’.

19. The Path of The Star
TZADDI - ‘You Hated Spain’, ‘Karlsbad Caverns’, ‘The Rabbit Catcher’, ‘Freedom of Speech’.

20. The Path of The Moon
QOPH - ‘Moonwalk’, ‘Black Coat’, ‘Suttee’, ‘A Picture of Otto’.

21. The Path of The Sun
RESH - ‘Drawing’, ‘Portraits’, ‘The Bee God’, ‘Fingers’.

22. The Path of Judgment
SHIN - ‘Fever’, ‘Stubbing Wharfe’, ‘Being Christlike’, ‘The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother’.

23. The Path of The World
TAU - ‘55 Eltisley’, ‘Remission’, ‘The Beach’, ‘Red’.

Poetry and Magic text and illustrations. © Ann Skea 2015. For permission to quote any part of any of the documents linked to this page contact Dr Ann Skea at

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