Lower left portion of Arlington Tempera
Following the clockwise circle of life, the soul having been clothed in the garment of flesh, is prepared to enter the Sea of Time and Space. Human life flows into the river of time to be under the dominion to the three fates. Providing the cord with which the fates will allot the life span of each individual, is Blake's Zoa Tharmas. Here is the third male in the picture. In Blake's myth he represents the body including the senses; his element is water. This portion of the Arlington Tempera represents the entry of the soul into the mortal world. The body is experienced as divided from the soul and subject to death.
The three fates are seen allocating the thread of life, measuring it and determining its length. Through the fates we are introduced to the death of the physical life.
Four Zoas , Night IV. PAGE 56, (E 337)
"The Corse of Albion lay on the Rock the sea of Time & Space
Beat round the Rock in mighty waves & as a Polypus
That vegetates beneath the Sea the limbs of Man vegetated
In monstrous forms of Death a Human polypus of Death"
Milton O. Percival, who wrote William Blake's Circle of Destiny, helps us to connect entry into the wartry world of Tharmas with the division into the contraries of spirit and matter; male and female:
"Henceforth the world will know both good and evil and the rigors of vengeance for sin.
Still, Tharmas is not satisfied. Though, as the principle of life within the physical universe he scorns matter, he cannot live with out it. Separated from Enion, he finds himself little more than a formless and meaningless will to be. What is more, he can find no release from his suffering; he is now "immortal in immortal torment." Deathless in his despair, he wanders seeking oblivion. Enion alone can provide it. It is to satisfy this hunger of one contrary for another that the mortal world is made. It is built at Tharmas's command in forms of "death and decay," in the hope that "some little semblance" of Enion may return. In short a mortal world is the logical answer to a dualism of spirit and matter. It is the only conceivable world that will take account of both the physical contraries, one of which has been driven into matter." (Page 184)
Four Zoas , Night IV, Page 48, (E 332)
"Deformd I see these lineaments of ungratified Desire
The all powerful curse of an honest man be upon Urizen & Luvah
But thou My Son Glorious in brightness comforter of Tharmas
Go forth Rebuild this Universe beneath my indignant power
A Universe of Death & Decay. Let Enitharmons hands
Weave soft delusive forms of Man above my watry world
Renew these ruind souls of Men thro Earth Sea Air & Fire
To waste in endless corruption. renew thou I will destroy
Perhaps Enion may resume some little semblance
To ease my pangs of heart & to restore some peace to Tharmas
Los answerd in his furious pride sparks issuing from his hair
Hitherto shalt thou come. no further. here thy proud waves cease"