Book of Urizen
In his mind Blake found that there was more that he could represent by selecting from the original image. By blotting out the two elements fire and earth before he engraved the plate, Blake made a picture of only water and air: Tharmas and Urizen. So now the image can be seen as the emergence of consciousness. From Thamas, the development of the senses, evolved reason: the ability to process and relate sensory data. The rising sun tells of the arrival of reason which will lift man from the unconscious to the conscious state.
A visit to the beach is an opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the functioning of the four elements in microcosm. The sand is earth, the waves are water, the heat and light of the sun are fire, and the wind is air. The constant interplay of the elements in their naked forms fascinates the alert viewer. The sand is moved by the water and wind, heat dries the sand and alters its properties, the waves are tossed or soothed by the wind, the light creates ever changing shadows and reflections on the sand and water. What is external is internal; what is internal is external.
Letter to Trusler,(E 702) "Some See Nature all Ridicule & Deformity & by these I shall not regulate my proportions, & Some Scarce see Nature at all But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is So he Sees. As the Eye is formed such are its Powers You certainly Mistake when you say that the Visions of Fancy are not be found in This World. To Me This World is all One continued Vision of Fancy or Imagination & I feel Flatterd when I am told So. What is it sets Homer Virgil & Milton in so high a rank of Art. Why is the Bible more Entertaining & Instructive than any other book. Is it not because they are addressed to the Imagination which is Spiritual Sensation & but mediately to the Understanding or Reason Such is True Painting and such alone valued by the Greeks & the best modern Artists. Consider what Lord Bacon says "Sense sends over to Imagination before Reason have judged & Reason sends over to Imagination before the Decree can be acted."
Gates of Paradise, (E 261)
2 Water Thou Waterest him with Tears 3 Earth He struggles into Life 4 Air On Cloudy Doubts & Reasoning Cares 5 Fire That end in endless Strife 6 At length for hatching ripe he breaks the shell