TED HUGHES’S SHAMANIC JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF THE RIVER
Author: Maha Qahtan Sulaiman
Keywords: river, shaman, nature goddess, salmon, regeneration.
Ted Hughes’s shamanic exploration of aquatic landscapes is addressed from the
the perspective of man’s hubristic crimes against naturethat reflect the damage inside man’s own nature. Hughes’s poetic interest in the aquatic landscapes is an attempt to bridge
the gap between man and nature, in the belief that nature is a divine spirit to which
man belongs, and from which modern man has been estranged. He poetically examines
destruction in the place and the means of regeneration, and consequently comprehends
the oneness of God’s creation. Hughes believes that the natural energy constitutes the
essence of man’s prehistoric, uncivilised self, which stands for his instincts and nourishes
his emotions and imagination. Hughes is of the opinion that acknowledging this wild
natural energy helps to balance against man’s other, rational self, while suppressing it
renders man weak, enslaved by his rational civilisation, and disconnected from the healing
energy of the Nature Goddess. Therefore, the basic thread that runs throughout Hughes’s
River is the mythical quest of the wounded hero in search of the source of the purgative
and restorative power of the natural world.