GRANITE CITY — Julia Gordon-Bramer, a poet and tarot card reader, will appear at BSR Books in Granite City to speak about her new book.
“Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath” uses symbolism from tarot and the Kaballah to decode Plath’s renowned poetry collection, “Ariel.”
The fresh look at Plath from a mystical perspective comes as a natural outgrowth from a woman who has been honored as one of St. Louis’ best local poets and psychics.
Bramer describes the new book as the culmination of a lifelong journey.
“I got my first (tarot) deck when I was 16 and back then I always knew I was intuitive. It all came together in a very strong way in my 40s, when I became a professional tarot card reader. And making the Plath discovery has changed my whole life. It’s a blessing I never expected and brought me to a whole new area of mysticism,” she said.
It’s widely known that Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, dabbled in mysticism. According to Bramer, no one thought to approach Plath’s literary work in that way.
“The first 22 poems in ‘Ariel’ cover the major Arcana (of tarot). Her first poem, ‘The Morning Song,’ aligns with the Fool. Her last poem, ‘The Courage of Shutting-Up,’ aligns with the World card. If you learn how to read Plath through tarot and Kaballah, you’ll see that we got her wrong and held her in this box as a depressed, suicidal woman,” she explains.
Bramer considers her own experience as a professional tarot card reader as a blessing.
“Most of my clients are repeat and a lot of them have become close friends,” she said. “We’re growing together on this journey. They have a lesson to teach me at the same time. Sometimes we’re both sitting there crying. It can be heavy. But they are good tears. It’s really beautiful.”
“Tarot works because we’re all alive and connected to a system Carl Jung called the ‘collective unconscious,’” Bramer explained. “It’s up to us if we want to tap into it or not.”
The author will be appearing from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at BSR Books in Granite City. The date is the anniversary of the Doolittle raid on Japan, an important turning point in World War II. Bramer will demonstrate how “Ariel,” the title poem of Plath’s collection, can be understood as a nod to the famous raid.
BSR Used Books is located at 1400 Niedringhaus Ave. in Granite City. “Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath” is published by Texas A&M University Press and available at online booksellers and from the author. Private tarot consultations can be scheduled by calling Bramer at (314) 517-0158.