Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bulgakov and astrology

Russia is a dream and fate is in the stars. Bulgakov brought the devil to Moscow in Master and Margarita, and a thread throughout his novels is just that destiny is in the stars. The devil in disguise as the mystery man Woland announces to the poor Soviet writer Berlioz that he will be beheaded because; “Mercury in the second house, moon passed… accident…” The episode is Russian literary history; Annushka spills sunflower oil over a tram crossing. Berlioz slips, falls and is beheaded by the wheel of the tram. The determinism is coined by Woland’s phrase “Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil”.

In Bulgakov’s other classic, the White Guard, a winter battle between white and red forces in the Ukraine is accompanied by the pulsating radiance of Mars, whom we know from Roman mythology as the god of war.

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