Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

BLAKE & WHOLENESS

Jerusalem, PLATE 63, (E 213)
"Jehovah stood among the Druids in the Valley of Annandale
When the Four Zoas of Albion, the Four Living Creatures, the Cherubim
Of Albion tremble before the Spectre, in the starry likeness of the Plow
Of Nations. And their Names are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona"

Milton Percival, author of William Blake's Circle of Destiny, was capable of revealing psychological meaning in Blake's poetry and pictures. He understood that Blake was depicting internal dynamics as he presented his Four Mighty Ones in the one giant body of Albion.

On page 20 we read:
"It is in his presentation of the Zoas that much of the power of Blake's myth lies. They are not the bloodless abstractions common to allegory. Blake believed in them. They are in consequence realities of the imagination, with power to terrify us as they terrified their creator. No other poet has given us so profound a sense of the helplessness of man before the primal forces of life; and no other poet, so passionate a denial of that helplessness. He fears these forces, because he sees them as demonic, with power over him; but he takes hope from the fact that these forces are in him - that they are himself. When man shall have brought them again into harmony, they will become his willing servants."

Jung touches on several of the same paradigms of psychic development as does Percival in this passage from his Psychological Commentary in Tibetan Book of the Dead, Edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz:

"Fear of self-sacrifice lurks deep in every ego, and this fear is often only [of] the precariously controlled demand of the unconscious forces to burst out in full strength. No one who strives for selfhood (individuation) is spared this dangerous passage, for that which is feared also belongs to the wholeness of the self -- the sub-human, or supra-human world of psychic ‘dominants’ (archetypes) from which the ego originally emancipated itself with enormous effort, and then only partially, for the sake of a more or less illusory freedom. This liberation is certainly a very necessary and very heroic undertaking, but it represents nothing final: it is merely the creation of a subject, who, in order to find fulfillment, has still to be confronted by an object. This [object], at first sight, would appear to be the world, which is swelled out with projections for that very purpose. Here we seek and find our difficulties, here we seek and find our enemy, here we seek and find what is dear and precious to us; and it is comforting to know that all evil and all good is to be found out there, in the visible object, where it can be conquered, punished, destroyed, or enjoyed. But nature herself does not allow this paradisal state of innocence to continue for ever. There are, and always have been, those who cannot help but see that the world and its experiences are in the nature of a symbol, and that it really reflects something that lies hidden in the subject himself, in his own trans-subjective reality."

In the beginning of the Book of Urizen Blake expresses a recognition of the disturbance in the psyche which has given power to a force which is 'Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.' He gladly hears the call to have the 'dark visions of torment' revealed to him.

Urizen, PLATE 2, (E 74)
"PRELUDIUM TO THE [FIRST] BOOK OF URIZEN

Of the primeval Priests assum'd power,
When Eternals spurn'd back his religion;
And gave him a place in the north,
Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.

Eternals I hear your call gladly,
Dictate swift winged words, & fear not
To unfold your dark visions of torment."

Entering in the dark, unknown aspects of the psyche changes the occupation of the mind to the experience of emotional states which are both pleasant and painful and which appear to be outside of the mind.

Jerusalem, Plate 68, (E 222)
"Sometimes I curse & sometimes bless thy fascinating beauty
Once Man was occupied in intellectual pleasures & energies
But now my soul is harrowd with grief & fear & love & desire
And now I hate & now I love & Intellect is no more:
There is no time for any thing but the torments of love & desire
The Feminine & Masculine Shadows soft, mild & ever varying
In beauty: are Shadows now no more, but Rocks in Horeb"

To be torn asunder, to be under the control of one's own wrath, to experience fury, anguish and terror - these are the 'far worse' things of which Los and Blake know. But they know too that Albion will be made whole.

Jerusalem, Plate 7, (E 150)
"Los answer'd. Altho' I know not this! I know far worse than this:
I know that Albion hath divided me, and that thou O my Spectre,
Hast just cause to be irritated: but look stedfastly upon me:
Comfort thyself in my strength the time will arrive,
When all Albions injuries shall cease, and when we shall
Embrace him tenfold bright, rising from his tomb in immortality.
They have divided themselves by Wrath. they must be united by
Pity: let us therefore take example & warning O my Spectre,
O that I could abstain from wrath! O that the Lamb
Of God would look upon me and pity me in my fury.
In anguish of regeneration! in terrors of self annihilation:
Pity must join together those whom wrath has torn in sunder,
And the Religion of Generation which was meant for the destruction
Of Jerusalem, become her covering, till the time of the End."

The reunification of Albion, the archetype of the complete (individuated) individual and of the undivided mankind, restores the connection between humanity and the 'Universal Father' in 'Infinitude.'

Jerusalem, PLATE 97, (E 256)
"Awake! Awake Jerusalem! O lovely Emanation of Albion
Awake and overspread all Nations as in Ancient Time
For lo! the Night of Death is past and the Eternal Day
Appears upon our Hills: Awake Jerusalem, and come away

So spake the Vision of Albion & in him so spake in my hearing
The Universal Father. Then Albion stretchd his hand into Infinitude."



Image from Jerusalem, Plate 99

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