1. Publication details on the endpage of Capriccio: Poems by Ted Hughes, Engravings by Leonard Baskin, The Gehenna Press, 1990.)

2. Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, Gollacz, London, 2000. pp.51-2.

3. In Cabbala, 3 is the number of the Goddess at Binah, and of the Path of the High Priestess in Tarot. It is a mystical number which combines the divine power of 1 with the force of 2 and brings them into dynamic equilibrium. 6 = 3 x 2: the Goddess’s powers doubled. It is common Cabbalistic practice to refer to numbers by digits rather than by words.

4. Ann Skea, diary notes of a conversation with Ted Hughes in 1995. These notebooks are now in the British Library archives.

5. Carol Bere noted it in a scholarly paper in 1992, but her paper did not appear in print until 2004. Bere, C. ‘Complicated with Old Ghosts’, in Moulin (Ed.) Ted Hughes: Alternative Horizons, Routledge, London, 2004. pp. 29-37.

6. Heline, C. The Sacred Science of Numbers, DeVorss, CA, 1997. p. 93. This book will be referred to in the text as SSN.

7. Crowley discusses the Cabbalist’s Sword in detail in Ch. VIII, ‘The Sword’, of his Magick, Book IV.

8. Scholem, G. On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism, Schocken Books, New York, 1969. pp. 128-9.

9. Carol Bere noted that the tone of the narrative voice in Capriccio is less “intimate” and “conversational” than in Birthday Letters and Howls & Whispers and that “the speaker tends to be more of a passive respondent”. ‘Complicated with Old Ghosts’, op.cit. p. 37.

10. ‘Canticles’ appears in the original 1990, Gehenna Press publication. Ted changed this to ‘Song of Songs’ in Ted Hughes: New Selected Poems 1951-1994.

11. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Encyclical, ‘God is Love’. Catholic Encyclopedia (

12. Scholem’s discussion of this aspect of Cabbala in On the Kabbala and its Symbolism, op. cit. pp. 104-9, is invaluable background reading for understanding Ted’s linking of Assia with demonic powers in Capriccio.

13. The Zohar or Book of Splendour is a collection of texts which are mostly commentaries on the Jewish Torah and on the unseen mysteries therein. It is generally believed to have been transcribed from earlier documents by the Spanish Jew, Moses de Leon in the 13th century.

14. Scholem, On the Kabbala and its Symbolism, op. cit. p. 59.

15. ibid. p.107.

16. Feinstein, E. Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 2001, p. 120.

17. Raphael Patai, Sitrei Torah 1:147b-8, at (

The male is called Sam’ael
his female is always included within him.
Just as it is on the side of holiness,
so it is on the other side.

18. Ibid. Zohar 3:76b-77a

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid. 1:147b-148b.

21. It is said that King Solomon became convinced that the seductive and exotic Queen of Sheba was actually Lilith, because of the hair on her legs.

22. Zohar, op. cit. 3:76b-77a.

23. Ibid.

24. Graves, R. Greek Myths, Cassell, London, 1955.

25. ‘Familiar’ (C 18).

26. Seals have always conveyed power. Seals are still used to authorize documents, and to represent the authority of a person or even, in business, an incorporated body. Similarly, magical seals are believed to convey the power of whichever god’s symbol (or ‘signature’) is on them.

27. In Christian iconography, both star and moon are commonly associated with the Virgin Mary: the Goddess’s eight pointed star often appears on her robes; the crescent moon beneath her feet.

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