Sylvia Plath became famous only after her death by suicide in 1963. Her seminal work, Ariel, was published in 1965. Then in 1982 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her Collected Poems. Can we look at these events in her unfolding charts even though they occurred after her physical death?
Yes, absolutely we can!
The charts referred to appear in the gallery below, starting with Plath's natal chart. I have not included the progressions, as these are not 'charts' per se but rather a series of points. Also below is a key to the abbreviations I use.
Secondary Progressed to Jan 1, 1965 – Publication of Ariel
Prog Asc 24.46 Aries
Prog MC 12.57 Capricorn
Prog Sun 6.33 Sagittarius
Prog Moon 20.05 Sagittarius
Prog Fortuna 8.19 Taurus
Prog Spirit 11.14 Aries
Prog Love 27.41 Pisces
Progressed MC is 12.57 Capricorn. This 13th degree of Capricorn is the beginning of Jupiter terms, which run from 12.00 to 18.59 Capricorn. Jupiter is Plath’s natal Lord 10, showing us that career matters are coming to the forefront at this time. Jupiter’s natural significations include luck, wealth, and success, meanings which are clearly relevant at this time when the Ariel poems find an audience.
Progressed Love (the Venus part, ‘super-abundance’) begins the year at 27.41 Pisces. By progression it moves clockwise against the zodiac, so it will cross natal Spirit (25.00 Pisces) and also the antiscion of the natal Moon (21.30 Pisces) during this year. A shower of abundance and joy arrives for Plath’s ‘Me’ (Spirit and Moon) as her poems win acclaim!
Progressed Spirit, the Solar Arabic part (‘Me,’ and also ‘abundance’), begins this year at 11.14 Aries. Moving clockwise as it does, it will oppose the natal Moon (8.30 Libra) and conjunct the antiscion of natal Venus (6.22 Aries) this year—another symbolic combination of the solar, lunar, and venusian principles.
Progressed Fortuna (the lunar Arabic part) begins the year at 8.19 Taurus, conjuncting by antiscion both natal Mars (21.14 Leo/8.46 Taurus) and natal Victory (the Jupiter part, 20.23 Leo/9.37 Taurus). These two are conjunct in Plath’s birthchart, so when one is triggered the other always will be, too.
Natal Arc Necessity, the Mercury part, begins the year at 21.51 Taurus, opposing natal Mercury (21.28 Scorpio). This puts a big emphasis on Mercury matters, with obvious relevance for the publication of Plath's best-known written material.
Note that we do not draw meaning from Saturn’s placement at 0.42 Aquarius this year. At the rate Saturn progresses, it has been at 0 degrees of Aquarius for many years already.
Solar Return for 1965 (Oct 27, 1964 in Boston, MA) – Year Ariel is Published
Look at this: this SR MC is 16.36 Virgo, closely conjunct Plath’s natal Lord 10/South Node conjunction. If we needed confirmation that this pair is a key note in Plath’s chart, we have it here. Note that SR Pluto is highlighted at the MC. This seems relevant in that Plath is already deceased (Pluto being the mythical god who lives under the earth).
Natal Arc Fortuna (4.35 Scorpio) is conjunct Plath’s natal Sun (4.09 Scorpio). This is akin to a New Moon, with the sense of one major cycle ending while another begins.
SR Venus (25.27 Virgo) is conjunct natal Venus (23.38 Virgo) and very closely opposes natal Spirit (25.00 Pisces)--more closely here than in the radix, suggesting a time of fruition for this particular natal pattern.
The SR Moon (29.35 Cancer) is about to lose dignity. This may seem counterintuitive for a time when Plath’s wins fame. But look: by antiscion the Moon falls on the SR Descendant (0.14 Gemini), a place of emphasis for ‘Me’ as Plath's poems find their audience.
SR Saturn is 28.22 Aquarius Rx, conjunct Plath’s natal Ascendant (29.21 Aquarius), for a big emphasis on ‘Me’.
I have been unable to find out a date of publication, so I cannot do a lunar return for this event.
Secondary Progressed for 1982 – Year of Pulitzer Prize for Collected Poems
Prog Asc 20.19 Taurus
Prog MC 28.42 Capricorn
Prog Sun 23.49 Sagittarius
Prog Moon 26.01 Cancer
Prog Fortuna 22.32 Sagittarius
Prog Spirit 18.07 Libra
Prog Love 15.54 Pisces
The progressed MC (28.42 Capricorn) is conjunct natal Saturn (28.38 Cap), putting Plath’s ‘Me’ in a major spotlight.
Progressed Fortuna (22.32 Sagittarius) is conjunct the progressed Sun (23.49 Sagittarius), another joining akin to a New Moon. Both are square natal Venus at 23 Virgo. Progressed Venus (23.22 Scorpio) sextiles natal Venus for a big emphasis on ‘Venus stuff.’ By this time Plath had become a feminist icon due to the themes of womanood in her poetry.
Progressed Love (15.54 Pisces) opposes the natal Jupiter/South Node conjunction (16 Virgo) and is conjunct the natal North Node (16 Pisces), bringing the themes of love and career into the spotlight.
Progressed Spirit begins year at 18.07 Libra and will cross natal Moon (8 Libra) on its journey this year, in another repeat of the ‘new Moon’ theme.
Progressed Courage, the Mars part (29.22 Leo), picks up the natal Descendant (29.21 Leo) almost exactly! This conjunction seems important both for its exactitude and for the martial nature of Plath’s most famous poems. Both are on Regulus, a royal star, identifying this as a time when Plath's natal potential for fame is realized.
Solar Return for Oct 27, 1981 – Year of Pulitzer Prize
The Moon (2.22 Scorpio) is conjunct Plath's natal Sun here, repeating the ‘New Moon’ theme that we have seen several times already. Both of these are spot-lit at the SR MC (2.22 Scorpio). One of the other roles of the Moon is natal Lord 5, signifying Plath's creations (including her writing).
Natal Arc Love (27.48 Aquarius) is conjunct Plath’s natal Ascendant (29.21 Aquarius), putting Love—‘super-abundance’—in a major spotlight.
Natal Arc Spirit (2.09 Aquarius) is conjunct natal Fortuna (3.42 Aquarius) for yet another iteration of the New Moon theme. SR Uranus—an important father symbol highlighted in Plath’s radix—is closely conjunct by antiscion (28.48 Scorpio/1.12 Aquarius).
Lunar Return for April 7, 1982 – Month each year that Pulitzer awardees are chosen
The LR MC (6.52 Aries) picks up the antiscion of natal Venus (6.22 Aries), putting Venus in a major spotlight at the top of this chart.
NA Spirit (20.39 Leo) is conjunct natal Victory, the Jupiter part (20.23 Leo). This seems of great significance at this time when Plath's natal potential for career success and fame is realized.
NA Love (16.18 Virgo) is conjunct the natal Jupiter/SN conjunction (16 Virgo). Note that LR Mercury is also conjunct the two by antiscion (13.09 Aries/16.51 Virgo)—perhaps simply because we’re talking about a collection of poems.
LR Mars (7.35 Libra Rx)--Lord 10 here--is conjunct the natal Moon (8.30 Libra), bringing 'career' and 'Me' together.
LR Uranus (4.16 Sagittarius/25.44 Capricorn) falls at the LR Descendant (25.00 Capricorn). Given Uranus’s prominence in Plath’s natal chart I'm not surprised it shows up here! Remember that one of Plath’s most famous poems is titled “Daddy”.
LR Venus is newly exalted at 1.10 Pisces. It is as if Plath’s Venus at last finds a place of dignity and honor with the winning of the Pulitzer Prize for her poems.
The testimonies for Plath’s death in 1963 are remarkable in both kind and number. I will be sharing them here on the blog soon.
KEY FOR ABBREVIATIONS
Asc = Ascendant (1st house cusp)
Dsc = Descendant (7th house cusp)
LR = lunar return
MC = Midheaven (10th house cusp)
Prog = progressed
SR = solar return
PHOTO CREDITS: Above, "Sylvia Plath Bookshelf" by Mike Krzeszak (Flickr: CC). Below, "Sylvia Plath's Grave" by Jennifer Boyer (Flickr: CC).