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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

BLAKE & SCIENCE II

In Fearful Symmetry Northrup Frye has this to say about Blake's use of the word science:
"By 'Science' he means what he means elsewhere when he says: 'The Primeval State of Man was Wisdom, Art and Science.' That is, wisdom consists of the mental war which is art and the mental hunting which is science, and these constitute the eternal life of a Man who is God. Art is human but it is also divine because God is a Creator. Science is human, but it is also divine because God can hardly be the lazy and inert Omniscience which a lazy and inert mind is apt to envisage." Page 271

Jerusalem Plate 3, (E 146)
"Poetry Fetter'd, Fetters the Human Race! Nations are Destroy'd,
or Flourish, in proportion as Their Poetry Painting and Music,
are Destroy'd or Flourish! The Primeval State of Man, was Wisdom,
Art, and Science."

 
In The Blake Dictionary, Foster Damon informs  us that for Blake: "Science is divided into Bowlahoola [assimilation] and Allamanda [communication]. Science can assimilate its material and communicate it, but it cannot create." 


Library of Congress 
Europe
Title Page, Copy E
When Jered Diamond wrote Collapse he was attempting to cause his readers to see what was clearly visible all around them as symptomatic of a larger, more threatening process being enacted. Blake interpreted what he saw in the London, the Britain, the Europe, the world of his time equally as symptoms of the collapse of the systems which sustain civilization. Diamond used examples of disintegration from history over time and space to create his image of our own civilization crumbling under the weight of inappropriate decisions. Blake created images which, if assimilated, could re-form the mind into a vehicle for imagination which would not accept the conditions which made man less than human.  

In this passage from Milton, Blake begins with the wine-press as his image of the conditions man endures in this world. The ultimate of suffering results from becoming subject to the emotional acting-out which can be observed in our lives, and in the schools, and neighborhoods, and courts and prisons around us. Contrasting with the wine-presses is Allamanda and Golgonooza and the labors of the Sons of Los. Golgonooza, the mind functioning in the imaginative mode is supported by Allamanda which collects and distributes the ideas which the mind needs as raw material for creation. The strenuous labors of the Sons of Los (the Imagination) work against the efforts of the Sons of Urizen (fallen Reason). The efforts of the Imagination striving to maintain the Vision of Eternity fall under the   heading of Science which is the remnant in the world in which we live of the Eternal Art of Architecture.   
  
Blake tells us that Religion, Law, and Physic & Surgery in the fallen world are the remains of Poetry, Music and Painting which result from the survival of Eternal Architecture as Science in the world of time and space.


We see from this analysis that Science became a inclusive image, right alongside Art as having the potential for redeeming the fallen world. 


Milton, PLATE 27 [29], (E 124)
"But in the Wine-presses the Human grapes sing not, nor dance  
They howl & writhe in shoals of torment; in fierce flames consuming,
In chains of iron & in dungeons circled with ceaseless fires.
In pits & dens & shades of death: in shapes of torment & woe.
The plates & screws & wracks & saws & cords & fires & cisterns
The cruel joys of Luvahs Daughters lacerating with knives        
And whips their Victims & the deadly sport of Luvahs Sons.

They dance around the dying, & they drink the howl & groan
They catch the shrieks in cups of gold, they hand them to one another:
These are the sports of love, & these the sweet delights of amorous play
Tears of the grape, the death sweat of the cluster the last sigh 
Of the mild youth who listens to the lureing songs of Luvah

But Allamanda calld on Earth Commerce, is the Cultivated land
Around the City of Golgonooza in the Forests of Entuthon:
Here the Sons of Los labour against Death Eternal; through all
The Twenty-seven Heavens of Beulah in Ulro, Seat of Satan,       
Which is the False Tongue beneath Beulah: it is the Sense of Touch:
The Plow goes forth in tempests & lightnings & the narrow cruel
In blights of the east; the heavy Roller follows in howlings of woe.
Urizens sons here labour also; & here are seen the Mills
Of Theotormon, on the verge of the Lake of Udan-Adan:            
These are the starry voids of night & the depths & caverns of earth
These Mills are oceans, clouds & waters ungovernable in their fury
Here are the stars created & the seeds of all things planted
And here the Sun & Moon recieve their fixed destinations

But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions

Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery: 

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men.
And Science is divided into Bowlahoola & Allamanda.
Plate 28 [30]
Some Sons of Los surround the Passions with porches of iron & silver
Creating form & beauty around the dark regions of sorrow,
Giving to airy nothing a name and a habitation
Delightful! with bounds to the Infinite putting off the Indefinite
Into most holy forms of Thought: (such is the power of inspiration)
They labour incessant; with many tears & afflictions:
Creating the beautiful House for the piteous sufferer."
In spite of the obstacles presented by a world in which most men have lost the ability to perceive the Eternal, materials are provided with which one's imagination may build a beautiful house with windows from which eternity is visible. Through Science the ideas necessary for the process are assimilated and communicated.
.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

BLAKE & SCIENCE

The Eternal purpose of Science is stated in the final lines of the Four Zoas:

Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 139, (E 407) 
The Sun arises from his dewy bed & the fresh air, 
Play in his smiling beams giving the seeds of life to grow
And the fresh Earth beams forth ten thousand thousand springs of life
Urthona is arisen in his strength no longer now
Divided from Enitharmon no longer the Spectre Los                
Where is the Spectre of Prophecy where the delusive Phantom
Departed & Urthona rises from the ruinous walls
In all his ancient strength to form the golden armour of science
For intellectual War The war of swords departed now
The dark Religions are departed & sweet Science reigns"  
Blake begins the Four Zoas by quoting on Page 3, Ephesians 6:12 in Greek.

Ephesians 6
[10] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
[11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
[12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
[13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
[14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
[15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
[16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
[17] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
[18] Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints


Ackland Art Museum
University of North Carolina
A Breach in a City, the Morning After the Battle
The armour of God which man wears to protect himself from the 'rulers of the darkness of this world' is called by Blake: Science. 

Science is the outer garment formed by the imagination to conduct the intellectual war. 'Nature is a Vision of the Science of the Elohim' (Milton, Plate 29).  The Elohim to Blake can represent the creative aspect of God as in the creation of Adam by the Elohim. So Science gives the material form to images which arise in the imagination. Art and Science are both present in the Eternal world as well as on the Earth, but the Earthly form may be degraded into what may seem to be a parody of  the  Heavenly original.   


Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 128)
"But Rahab & Tirzah pervert
Their mild influences, therefore the Seven Eyes of God walk round
The Three Heavens of Ulro, where Tirzah & her Sisters            
Weave the black Woof of Death upon Entuthon Benython
In the Vale of Surrey where Horeb terminates in Rephaim
The stamping feet of Zelophehads Daughters are coverd with Human gore
Upon the treddles of the Loom, they sing to the winged shuttle:
The River rises above his banks to wash the Woof:                
He takes it in his arms: be passes it in strength thro his current
The veil of human miseries is woven over the Ocean
From the Atlantic to the Great South Sea, the Erythrean.

Such is the World of Los the labour of six thousand years.
Thus Nature is a Vision of the Science of the Elohim.            

                 End of the First Book."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

WAR & HUNTING

media.mutualart.com
Illustrations to Dante
Empyrean
Drinking at the River of Life
 




Eternity is not closed to the man of imagination. He may drink at the River of Life as Blake himself did. He tells us that the Two Fountains of the River of Life are War & Hunting. Not war and hunting experienced in the vegetative body but in the Eternal or Imaginative Body; not enclosed under the 'shaggy roof' of the skull but open to  an 'immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five'.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 5, (E 35)
  "When I came home; on the abyss of the five senses, where a
flat  sided steep frowns over the present world. I saw a mighty
Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock,
with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now
perceived by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.       

   How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
   Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?"
 
 What might be the war engaged in as a Fountain of the River of Life? Blake's answer is 'Mental Studies & Performances.' The war of ideas exchanged with mutual appreciation and respect breaks no bones and sheds no blood. The conflict of ideas need not lead to external conflict unless the Selfhood defensively arms itself for a battle which need not come. In The Poison Tree the enemy is created externally as an expression of internal fears, self-pity, and deceit. It is not the Selfhood but the Holy Ghost which is an Intellectual Fountain.
 
Hunting too is said to be a Fountain of the River of Life. In hunting or searching man pursues 'Art & Science' through which the imagination is experienced in the material world.

Milton, Plate 34 [38], (E 134)
"And Ololon looked down into the Heavens of Ulro in fear
They said. How are the Wars of Man which in Great Eternity
Appear around, in the External Spheres of Visionary Life
Here renderd Deadly within the Life & Interior Vision
How are the Beasts & Birds & Fishes, & Plants & Minerals
Here fixd into a frozen bulk subject to decay & death[?]
Those Visions of Human Life & Shadows of Wisdom & Knowledge
Plate 35 [39]
Are here frozen to unexpansive deadly destroying terrors[.]
And War & Hunting: the Two Fountains of the River of Life
Are become Fountains of bitter Death & of corroding Hell
Till Brotherhood is changd into a Curse & a Flattery
By Differences between Ideas, that Ideas themselves, (which are  
The Divine Members) may be slain in offerings for sin
O dreadful Loom of Death! O piteous Female forms compelld
To weave the Woof of Death,"

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
"Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more.  The Apostles knew of no other Gospel.  What were
all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy
Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the
Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours? What is that Talent which it
is a curse to hide? What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are
to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than Mental Studies &
Performances? What are all the Gifts. of the Gospel, are they not
all Mental Gifts? Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in
Spirit & in Truth and are not the Gifts of the Spirit Every-thing
to Man? O ye Religious discountenance every one among
you who shall pretend to despise Art & Science! I call upon you
in the Name of Jesus! What is the Life of Man but Art & Science?
is it Meat & Drink? is not the Body more than Raiment? What is
Mortality but the things relating to the Body, which Dies? What
is Immortality but the things relating to the Spirit, which Lives
Eternally! What is the joy of Heaven but Improvement in the
things of the Spirit? What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance,
Bodily Lust, Idleness & devastation of the things of the Spirit[?] 
Answer this to yourselves, & expel from among you those who
pretend to despise the labours of Art & Science, which alone are
the labours of the Gospel: Is not this plain & manifest to the
thought? Can you think at all & not pronounce heartily! That to
Labour in Knowledge. is to Build up Jerusalem: and to Despise
Knowledge, is to Despise Jerusalem & her Builders." 

Jerusalem, Plate 91,(E 251)
"Go to these Fiends of Righteousness
Tell them to obey their Humanities, & not pretend Holiness;
When they are murderers: as far as my Hammer & Anvil permit
Go, tell them that the Worship of God, is honouring his gifts
In other men: & loving the greatest men best, each according
To his Genius: which is the Holy Ghost in Man; there is no other
God, than that God who is the intellectual fountain of Humanity; 
He who envies or calumniates: which is murder & cruelty,
Murders the Holy-one: Go tell them this & overthrow their cup,
Their bread, their altar-table, their incense & their oath:
Their marriage & their baptism, their burial & consecration:"

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction 
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep
Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires    
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into
Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds
Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

GOLDEN NET



Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem
Plate 25, Copy E
Blake's little poem, The Golden Net, from his notebook (which came to be called The Pickering Manuscript) comments on the circumstances of man fallen from Eternity into the world of time and space. The outward, feminine world of matter is represented by the 'Three Virgins': chaste and cruel but presenting an appealing, exciting exterior.  They hold the very Golden String which may lead man through 'Heavens Gate built in Jerusalem's wall', but it has been woven into a net for entrapment. The Soul of our young man is 'melted away'; that is his ability to perceive the Eternal (the Fourfold) has been lost in his focus on the illusions of 'love & beauty' which have been materialized in the Threefold sexual world of these three virgins. 
The process through which the three beautiful virgins have become visible as reflections in the water of materiality rather than as mental images created by the imagination or reasoning is stated, then it is repeated as the young man turns away from the perception of the infinite. This is imaged as the young man straying underneath the net. By involving himself emotionally with the illusions which appear to him, he creates a world exterior to his mind and assigns to it the substance which belongs to the infinite, eternal existence of imagination.  
The three virgins appear in Blake mythopoeic system under the names of Vala, Rahab, and the Shadowy Female. Vala's daughter Tirzah is part of the family too. They exist as long as the mind cedes primary reality to the images it creates instead of the ability to create images.
The Pickering Manuscript, (E 483)
"     The Golden Net    
Three Virgins at the break of day
Whither young Man whither away
Alas for woe! alas for woe!
They cry & tears for ever flow
The one was Clothd in flames of fire    
The other Clothd in iron wire           
The other Clothd in tears & sighs       
Dazling bright before my Eyes
They bore a Net of Golden twine
To hang upon the Branches fine    
Pitying I wept to see the woe           
That Love & Beauty undergo
To be consumd in burning Fires
And in ungratified Desires
And in tears clothd Night & day    
Melted all my Soul away
When they saw my Tears a Smile
That did Heaven itself beguile
Bore the Golden Net aloft
As on downy Pinions soft                
Over the Morning of my Day              
Underneath the Net I stray
Now intreating Burning Fire             
Now intreating Iron Wire  
Now intreating Tears & Sighs   
O when will the morning rise"    
. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

SOFT SEXUAL DELUSIONS

Visions of Daughters of Albion
British Museum
Plate 2, Copy O







All of Blake imaging of the fall is away from unity into division; none more so than Vala's fall into love expressed through "the opposite sexes". The characteristics of the generated world are dualistic. What were easily reconciled contraries in Beulah become warring factions in Generation.








 
Milton, Plate 2, (E 96)
"Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poets Song
Record the journey of immortal Milton thro' your Realms
Of terror & mild moony lustre, in soft sexual delusions
Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose
His burning thirst & freezing hunger! Come into my hand    
By your mild power; descending down the Nerves of my right arm
From out the Portals of my Brain, where by your ministry
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine. planted his Paradise,
And in it caus'd the Spectres of the Dead to take sweet forms
In likeness of himself. Tell also of the False Tongue! vegetated
Beneath your land of shadows: of its sacrifices. and
Its offerings; even till Jesus, the image of the Invisible God
Became its prey; a curec, an offering, and an atonement,
For Death Eternal in the heavens of Albion, & before the Gates
Of Jerusalem his Emanation, in the heavens beneath Beulah" 

Milton, Plate 4, (E 97)
"Beneath the Plow of Rintrah & the harrow of the Almighty
In the hands of Palamabron. Where the Starry Mills of Satan
Are built beneath the Earth & Waters of the Mundane Shell
Here the Three Classes of Men take their Sexual texture Woven
The Sexual is Threefold: the Human is Fourfold"        

Milton, Plate 35 [39], (E 135)
"but they
Could not behold Golgonooza without passing the Polypus
A wondrous journey not passable by Immortal feet, & none         
But the Divine Saviour can pass it without annihilation.
For Golgonooza cannot be seen till having passd the Polypus
It is viewed on all sides round by a Four-fold Vision
Or till you become Mortal & Vegetable in Sexuality
Then you behold its mighty Spires & Domes of ivory & gold        

And Ololon examined all the Couches of the Dead.
Even of Los & Enitharmon & all the Sons of Albion
And his Four Zoas terrified & on the verge of Death"

Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E 143)
Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro.

Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 175)
"And this is the cause of the appearance in the frowning Chaos[.] 
Albions Emanation which he had hidden in jealousy
Appeard now in the frowning Chaos prolific upon the Chaos
Reflecting back to Albion in Sexual Reasoning Hermaphroditic"

Quoting from Blake's Visionary Forms Dramatic, edited by Erdman and Grant; chapter by W. J. T. Mitchell, Page 62:
"In Blake's myth, the sexes do no exist as part of the ultimate reality, but are the product of pride and egotism: 'When the Individual appropriates Universality / He divides into Male & Female' (J 90:51-52). The danger is, according to Blake, that this sexual polarity will be mistaken for the final nature of things: 'when the Male & Female / Appropriate Individuality, they become Eternal Death' (J 90:52-53). That is, in terms of space and time, when space becomes an individual, an end in itself, it becomes a prison-house, the 'Mundane Shell' of matter which is mistakenly supposed to be independent of consciousness. In like manner, time becomes a nonhuman phenomena, an endless Heraclitean flux or the 'dull round' of a fatal, mechanistic determinism."
.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

VALA'S LOVE

British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
The prevailing emotion of Eternity is love: love of God and love of one another. The universal love of Eternity is not preferential or limited. We are unfamiliar with this kind of love in our world of generation. We offer and receive a degree of love according to closeness of relationships. We seek a mate with whom the highest degree of love will be exchanged. In Eternity such an exclusive bonding would destroy our ability to practice universal love.

The Zoa of emotion Luvah and his Emanative portion Vala, in Eternity were the expression of this universal, comprehensive love. The love of Eternity is called by Blake 'Brotherhood.' Blake was following Jesus in recognizing that there would be no marrying or giving in marriage in Eternity. Everyone loves all others completely eliminating the need for spouses or the sexual differentiation of the generative world.  

Luke 20 
[34] And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 
[35] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 
[36] Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.


When Vala begins to function as an aspect of matter or nature, love loses its Eternal characteristics and becomes selfish, jealous and cruel. It becomes 'a pretence of love to destroy love.'

Jerusalem, Plate 17, (E 161)
"Vala would never have sought & loved Albion
If she had not sought to destroy Jerusalem; such is that false   
And Generating Love: a pretence of love to destroy love:
Cruel hipocrisy unlike the lovely delusions of Beulah:
And cruel forms, unlike the merciful  forms of Beulahs Night

They know not why they love nor wherefore they sicken & die
Calling that Holy Love: which is Envy Revenge & Cruelty           
Which separated the stars from the mountains: the mountains from Man
And left Man, a little grovelling Root, outside of Himself."
The relationship of sexual beings is the love which Vala has 'created'. Vala claiming for herself all that exists in the natural world of generation assumes power to replace Brotherhood with sexual love.

Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 176) 
"I emanated from Luvah over the Towers of Jerusalem
And in her Courts among her little Children offering up
The Sacrifice of fanatic love! why loved I Jerusalem!
Why was I one with her embracing in the Vision of Jesus
Wherefore did I loving create love, which never yet              
Immingled God & Man, when thou & I, hid the Divine Vision
In cloud of secret gloom which behold involve me round about
Know me now Albion: look upon me I alone am Beauty
The Imaginative Human Form is but a breathing of Vala
I breathe him forth into the Heaven from my secret Cave          
Born of the Woman to obey the Woman O Albion the mighty
For the Divine appearance is Brotherhood, but I am Love
PLATE 30 [34]
Elevate into the Region of Brotherhood with my red fires

Jerusalem, Plate 54, (E  204)
"Then Albion drew England into his bosom in groans & tears
But she stretchd out her starry Night in Spaces against him. like
A long Serpent, in the Abyss of the Spectre which augmented
The Night with Dragon wings coverd with stars & in the Wings     
Jerusalem & Vala appeard: & above between the Wings magnificent
The Divine Vision dimly appeard in clouds of blood weeping.
PLATE 55
When those who disregard all Mortal Things, saw a Mighty-One
Among the Flowers of Beulah still retain his awful strength
They wonderd; checking their wild flames & Many gathering
Together into an Assembly; they said, let us go down
And see these changes! Others said, If you do so prepare         
For being drived from our fields, what have we to do with the Dead?
To be their inferiors or superiors we equally abhor;
Superior, none we know: inferior none: all equal share
Divine Benevolence & joy, for the Eternal Man
Walketh among us, calling us his Brothers & his Friends:         
Forbidding us that Veil which Satan puts between Eve & Adam
By which the Princes of the Dead enslave their Votaries
Teaching them to form the Serpent of precious stones & gold
To sieze the Sons of Jerusalem & plant them in One Mans Loins
To make One Family of Contraries: that Joseph may be sold        
Into Egypt: for Negation; a Veil the Saviour born & dying rends.

But others said: Let us to him who only Is, & who
Walketh among us, give decision. bring forth all your fires!

So saying, an eternal deed was done: in fiery flames
The Universal Conc[l]ave raged, such thunderous sounds as never
Were sounded from a mortal cloud, nor on Mount Sinai old
Nor in Havilah where the Cherub rolld his redounding flame.

Loud! loud! the Mountains lifted up their voices, loud the Forests
Rivers thunderd against their banks, loud Winds furious fought
Cities & Nations contended in fires & clouds & tempests.         
The Seas raisd up their voices & lifted their hands on high
The Stars in their courses fought. the Sun! Moon! Heaven! Earth.
Contending for Albion & for Jerusalem his Emanation
And for Shiloh, the Emanation of France & for lovely Vala.

Then far the greatest number were about to make a Separation     
And they Elected Seven, calld the Seven Eyes of God;
Lucifer, Molech, Elohim, Shaddai, Pahad, Jehovah, Jesus.
They namd the Eighth. he came not, he hid in Albions Forests
But first they said: (& their Words stood in Chariots in array
Curbing their Tygers with golden bits & bridles of silver & ivory)   
Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect Integrity
At will Contracting into Worms, or Expanding into Gods"

Monday, March 18, 2013

VALA FALLS


Yale Center for British Art
 Jerusalem
Plate 23

From Page 172 of Kathleen Raine's Blake and Tradition:
"Here we must return, yet again, to the figure of Vala. We have seen her mythological antecedents as the soul Psyche; and we have see how in Jerusalem she became an independent figure, the material shadow of the soul who has become 'animated' with a life of her own. This animation of 'nature' as an externalized shadow of the soul we can more perfectly understand in its  relation to the sensible world. Blake in entitling his poem Vala, was indicating his central theme: man's lapse into a mistaken belief in the substantiality of the phenomena."

In the following account of the fall, told by the Spectre of Urthona, Albion succumbs to the appeal of Vala. From his union with her Urizen is born as the first to be born to the generated world - opening up the expression of the soul in material form. Albion perceives Vala now as half of split being: Luvah the Zoa, and Vala the Natural World which is the Zoa's reflection. Vala is given power to turn the emotions into destructive forces when she is seen as a function of matter and not of soul or spirit. Blake make it clear that what we see as Vala - natural phenomena - is a 'sweet delusion', covering and hiding from sight the real and Eternal world.


Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 82, (E 358)  
[Spectre of Urthona to Shadow of Enitharmon]
"But the next joy of thine shall be in sweet delusion  
And its birth in fainting & sleep & Sweet delusions of Vala  

The Shadow of Enitharmon answerd Art thou terrible Shade
Set over this sweet boy of mine to guard him lest he rend
PAGE 83 
His mother to the winds of heaven Intoxicated with
The fruit of this delightful tree. I cannot flee away
From thy embrace else be assurd so horrible a form
Should never in my arms repose. now listen I will tell
Thee Secrets of Eternity which neer before unlockd 
My golden lips nor took the bar from Enitharmons breast
Among the Flowers of Beulah walkd the Eternal Man & Saw
Vala the lilly of the desart. melting in high noon
Upon her bosom in sweet bliss he fainted   Wonder siezd
All heaven they saw him dark. they built a golden wall  
Round Beulah   There he reveld in delight among the Flowers
Vala was pregnant & brought forth Urizen Prince of Light
First born of Generation. Then behold a wonder to the Eyes
Of the now fallen Man a double form Vala appeard. A Male
And female shuddring pale the Fallen Man recoild    
From the Enormity & calld them Luvah & Vala. turning down
The vales to find his way back into Heaven but found none
For his frail eyes were faded & his ears heavy & dull

Urizen grew up in the plains of Beulah   Many Sons
And many daughters flourishd round the holy Tent of Man     
Till he forgot Eternity delighted in his sweet joy
Among his family his flocks & herds & tents & pastures

But Luvah close conferrd with Urizen in darksom night
To bind the father & enslave the brethren Nought he knew
Of sweet Eternity the blood flowd round the holy tent & rivn   
From its hinges uttering its final groan all Beulah fell
In dark confusion mean time Los was born & Enitharmon
But how I know not then forgetfulness quite wrapd me up
A period nor do I more remember till I stood
Beside Los in the Cavern dark enslavd to vegetative forms    
According to the Will of Luvah who assumed the Place
Of the Eternal Man & smote him."
. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

ETERNAL VALA

British Museum
Illustrations for Young's Night Thoughts
Narcissa 



These are words Blake used to describe the Eternal Vala the Emanation of Luvah, the Zoa of emotion before she became expressed in outward forms and began her descent. She is the 'sinless soul', the 'sweet wanderer', the 'loveliest of the daughters of Eternity.'


The description of the gentle Thel as a reflection in a glass, a shadow in the water, and a lilly are apropos for Vala in her Eternal form:

 
 
 
 
Thel, Plate 1, (E 3)
"Ah! Thel is like a watry bow. and like a parting cloud.
Like a reflection in a glass. like shadows in the water.
Like dreams of infants. like a smile upon an infants face,       
Like the doves voice, like transient day, like music in the air; 
Ah! gentle may I lay me down, and gentle rest my head.          
And gentle sleep the sleep of death. and gentle hear the voice 
Of him that walketh in the garden in the evening time.

The Lilly of the valley breathing in the humble grass"
She and Jerusalem were like sisters when they cooperated in giving bodies and souls to Jerusalem's children.

Jerusalem, Plate 18, (E 163)
"(For Vala produc'd the Bodies. Jerusalem gave the Souls)" 

Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 175) 
"Vala replied in clouds of tears Albions garment embracing        

I was a City & a Temple built by Albions Children.
I was a Garden planted with beauty I allured on hill & valley
The River of Life to flow against my walls & among my trees
Vala was Albions Bride & Wife in great Eternity
The loveliest of the daughters of Eternity when in day-break

I emanated from Luvah over the Towers of Jerusalem
And in her Courts among her little Children offering up
The Sacrifice of fanatic love! why loved I Jerusalem!"
Under ideal conditions Vala enjoyed all the contentment of Beulah, but this was when her emotions are not projected outward but remain unexpressed possibilities.

 Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 128, (E 397) 
"My Luvah here hath placd me in a Sweet & pleasant Land
And given me fruits & pleasant waters & warm hills & cool valleys
Here will I build myself a house & here Ill call on his name
Here Ill return when I am weary & take my pleasant rest

So spoke the Sinless Soul & laid her head on the downy fleece 
Of a curld Ram who stretchd himself in sleep beside his mistress
And soft sleep fell upon her eyelids in the silent noon of day

Then Luvah passed by & saw the sinless Soul
And said   Let a pleasant house arise to be the dwelling place
Of this immortal Spirit growing in lower Paradise 

He spoke & pillars were builded & walls as white as ivory
The grass she slept upon was pavd with pavement as of pearl
Beneath her rose a downy bed & a cieling coverd all

Vala awoke. When in the pleasant gates of sleep I enterd
I saw my Luvah like a spirit stand in the bright air 
Round him stood spirits like me who reard me a bright house
And here I see thee house remain in my most pleasant world
...
And on the rivers margin she ungirded her golden girdle
She stood in the river & viewd herself within the watry glass
And her bright hair was wet with the waters She rose up from the river
And as she rose her Eyes were opend to the world of waters
She saw Tharmas sitting upon the rocks beside the wavy sea
He strokd the water from his beard & mournd faint thro the summer vales

And Vala stood on the rocks of Tharmas & heard his mournful voice
...
Then Vala lifted up her hands to heaven to call on Enion
She calld but none could answer her & the Eccho of her voice returnd

Where is the voice of God that calld me from the silent dew
Where is the Lord of Vala dost thou hide in clefts of the rock
Why shouldst thou hide thyself from Vala from the soul that wanders desolate

She ceas'd & light beamd round her like the glory of the morning
PAGE 130 
And She arose out of the river & girded on her golden girdle"

I am reminded of Botticelli's Venus rising from the sea.
. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

VISIONARY

Kathleen Raine's Blake and Tradition, published in 1968, represented a breakthrough is connecting Blake's thought to the long tradition of esoteric literature. Following the thread of Blake's sources Raine demonstrates how Blake "always responded when reading any abstract work" by creating images with a "concrete visual quality." (Page 221)
 

On page 228 we read: "Again we find Blake's most visionary, most living figure of Los, his atributes and his operations, deeply rooted in a traditional metaphysical theme. Blake's imagination was at all times ready to be kindled by such themes, often in themselves abstract and recondite; and from such germinal ideas we can follow the growth and ramifications of his myths. For Blake no idea seemed to fully exist until it found expression in being, and being in action. For him there were no abstractions; every abstraction he saw (and personified in the figure of Urizen) as a mode of being. 
...
Thus Blake, in the myth of Los creating the sun of nature, re-creates Swedenborg's doctrine of 'influx'. Spiritual light and fire descend from the spiritual world to be molded by Los into the orb of the natural  sun:

British Museum
Song of Los
Plate 8, Copy A 
4: And first from those infinite fires
The light that flow'd down on the winds
lie siez'd; beating incessant, condensing
The subtil particles in an Orb.                    

5: Roaring indignant the bright sparks
Endur'd the vast Hammer; but unwearied
Los beat on the Anvil; till glorious
An immense Orb of fire be fram'd

6: Oft he quench'd it beneath in the Deeps        
Then surveyd the all bright mass. Again
Siezing fires from the terrific Orbs
He heated the round Globe, then beat[,]
While roaring his Furnaces endur'd
The chaind Orb in their infinite wombs     

7: Nine ages completed their circles
When Los heated the glowing mass, casting
It down into the Deeps: the Deeps fled
Away in redounding smoke; the Sun
Stood self-balanc'd. And Los smild with joy.        
He the vast Spine of Urizen siez'd
And bound down to the glowing illusion

8: But no light, for the Deep fled away
On all sides, and left an unform'd
Dark vacuity:"
Book of Los, Plate 5, (E 94) 
. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

FALLING OUTWARD


British Museum
  Book of Urizen
Plate 13, Copy D








By falling into the outer world of matter man is turned outward from a clear perception of the Divine Vision which resides within his bosom. Inward is the true man, outward is the Self which appears as his divided functions struggling for expression of their individual interests.

 

 




 

   
 
 
 
Four Zoas, Night II, Page 23, (E 313)
"Rising upon his Couch of Death Albion beheld his Sons
Turning his Eyes outward to Self. losing the Divine Vision
Albion calld Urizen & said. Behold these sickning Spheres
Whence is this Voice of Enion that soundeth in my Porches
Take thou possession! take this Scepter! go forth in my might    
For I am weary, & must sleep in the dark sleep of Death  
Thy brother Luvah hath smitten me but pity thou his youth
Tho thou hast not pitid my Age   O Urizen Prince of Light

Urizen rose from the bright Feast like a star thro' the evening sky
Exulting at the voice that calld him from the Feast of envy     
First he beheld the body of Man pale, cold, the horrors of death
Beneath his feet shot thro' him as he stood in the Human Brain
And all its golden porches grew pale with his sickening light
No more Exulting for he saw Eternal Death beneath
Pale he beheld futurity; pale he beheld the Abyss                
Where Enion blind & age bent wept in direful hunger craving
All rav'ning like the hungry worm, & like the silent grave
Page 24 
Mighty was the draught of Voidness to draw Existence in

Terrific Urizen strode above, in fear & pale dismay
He saw the indefinite space beneath & his soul shrunk with horror
His feet upon the verge of Non Existence; his voice went forth

Luvah & Vala trembling & shrinking, beheld the great Work master
And heard his Word! Divide ye bands influence by influence
Build we a Bower for heavens darling in the grizly deep
Build we the Mundane Shell around the Rock of Albion"

Four Zoas, Night VI, Page 70 (FIRST PORTION), (E 346)    
"Los brooded on the darkness. nor saw Urizen with a Globe of fire
Lighting his dismal journey thro the pathless world of death
Writing in bitter tears & groans in books of iron & brass
The enormous wonders of the Abysses once his brightest joy

For Urizen beheld the terrors of the Abyss wandring among        
The ruind spirits once his children & the children of Luvah
Scard at the sound of their own sigh that seems to shake the immense
They wander Moping in their heart a Sun a Dreary moon
A Universe of fiery constellations in their brain
An Earth of wintry woe beneath their feet & round their loins 
Waters or winds or clouds or brooding lightnings & pestilential plagues
Beyond the bounds of their own self their senses cannot penetrate
As the tree knows not what is outside of its leaves & bark
And yet it drinks the summer joy & fears the winter sorrow
So in the regions of the grave none knows his dark compeer       
Tho he partakes of his dire woes & mutual returns the pang
The throb the dolor the convulsion in soul sickening woes"      

The heart (Luvah), the brain (Urizen), the loins (Urthona) and senses (Tharmas) expressed as outer projections cannot penetrate the inner psyche. Nor can they comprehend one another. Each is bound by his own sickness and woe to his own isolation.

.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

MORTAL PART

Yale Center for British Art
Wikimedia Jerusalem
Plate 95



For Blake there is no division between God and man. Within man himself the Divine Image is providing through mercy the means through which he may complete the circle and return to immortality following his journey through death.
 
Christ became incarnate in the body of Jesus. The immortal took on mortality to facilitate the return of the mortal to immortality.







 
 
 
Jerusalem, Plate 13, (E 156) 
"(But whatever is visible to the Generated Man,
Is a Creation of mercy & love, from the Satanic Void.)"
Four Zoas, Page 34, (E 321)
"For the Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Vision
Permitted all lest Man should fall into Eternal Death

For when Luvah sunk down himself put on the robes of blood
Lest the state calld Luvah should cease. & the Divine Vision
Walked in robes of blood till he who slept should awake
Thus were the stars of heaven created like a golden chain
To bind the Body of Man to heaven from falling into the Abyss"

 

  The Robe of Blood is the image Blake chose to represent the Body of Man as it became incarnate in flesh. This is the garment which is to be cast off to reveal the Human Form Divine.

Phillips New Testament
2nd Corinthians
5:1-4 - We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God. In this present frame we sigh with deep longing for the heavenly house, for we do not want to face utter nakedness when death destroys our present dwelling - these bodies of ours. So long as we are clothed in this temporary dwelling we have a painful longing, not because we want just to get rid of these "clothes" but because we want to know the full cover of the permanent house that will be ours. We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal.
 

5:5-8 - Now the power that has planned this experience for us is God, and he has given us his Spirit as a guarantee of its truth. This makes us confident, whatever happens. We realise that being "at home" in the body means that to some extent we are "away" from the Lord, for we have to live by trusting him without seeing him. We are so sure of this that we would really rather be "away" from the body (in death) and be "at home" with the Lord.
5:9-10 - It is our aim, therefore, to please him, whether we are "at home" or "away". For every one of us will have to stand without pretence before Christ our judge, and we shall be rewarded for what we did when we lived in our bodies, whether it was good or bad.
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 52, (E 30) 
"To Tirzah            
Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth,
Must be consumed with the Earth
To rise from Generation free;
Then what have I to do with thee?

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride
Blow'd in the morn: in evening died
But Mercy changd Death into Sleep;
The Sexes rose to work & weep.

Thou Mother of my Mortal part.
With cruelty didst mould my Heart. 
And with false self-decieving tears,
Didst bind my Nostrils Eyes & Ears.

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay
And me to Mortal Life betray:
The Death of Jesus set me free, 
Then what have I to do with thee?

[text on illustration: It is Raised a Spiritual Body]"
 
Jerusalem, Plate 95, (E 254)
"Her [Brittiannia's] voice pierc'd Albions clay cold ear. he moved upon the Rock
The Breath Divine went forth upon the morning hills, Albion mov'd
Upon the Rock, he opend his eyelids in pain; in pain he mov'd
His stony members, he saw England. Ah! shall the Dead live again

The Breath Divine went forth over the morning hills Albion rose 
In anger: the wrath of God breaking bright flaming on all sides around
His awful limbs: into the Heavens he walked clothed in flames"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

REGENERATION

 When Spectres are given bodies and enter time and space, the world of generation is created for them to occupy. Before they may return to Eden they must gain experience in the physical world. The most troublesome connotation of Generation is that physical life is accompanied by physical death which is unknown in Eden and Beulah. The physical is not infinite or eternal. To facilitate the return Blake introduces regeneration - 'Resurrection from the dead' - as the return path from generation to Eden.   

The image of entering generation as passing through death's door is seen in the frontispiece of Jerusalem. Blake tells us that we do not enter alone:

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter 
And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Eternity
Till they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes lying
That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Fathers House"  

Wikimedia
Blair's The Grave
Irene Langridge
William Blake: A Study of His Life




















Death to Generation becomes birth to Eternity. The world of generation becomes the 'void outside of existence' which becomes the womb in which the spiritual body is readied for birth to Eternity. Generation has become the image of regeneration.
Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 203)
"Here on the banks of the Thames, Los builded Golgonooza,   
Outside of the Gates of the Human Heart, beneath Beulah
In the midst of the rocks of the Altars of Albion. In fears
He builded it, in rage & in fury. It is the Spiritual Fourfold
London: continually building & continually decaying desolate!
In eternal labours: loud the Furnaces & loud the Anvils          
Of Death thunder incessant around the flaming Couches of
The Twentyfour Friends of Albion and round the awful Four
For the protection of the Twelve Emanations of Albions Sons
The Mystic Union of the Emanation in the Lord; Because     
Man divided from his Emanation is a dark Spectre                 
His Emanation is an ever-weeping melancholy Shadow
But she is made receptive of Generation thro' mercy
In the Potters  Furnace, among the Funeral Urns of Beulah"

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 3, (E 301)
"Los was the fourth immortal starry one, & in the Earth
Of a bright Universe Empery attended day & night                 
Days & nights of revolving joy, Urthona was his name
Page 4                                            
In Eden; in the Auricular Nerves of Human life
Which is the Earth of Eden, he his Emanations propagated
Fairies of Albion afterwards Gods of the Heathen, Daughter of Beulah Sing
His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity
His fall into the Generation of Decay & Death & his Regeneration 
     by the Resurrection from the dead"         

Milton, Plate 31 [34], (E 130)
"And all the Living Creatures of the Four Elements, wail'd
With bitter wailing: these in the aggregate are named Satan
And Rahab: they know not of Regeneration, but only of Generation
The Fairies, Nymphs, Gnomes & Genii of the Four Elements         
Unforgiving & unalterable: these cannot be Regenerated
But must be Created, for they know only of Generation
These are the Gods of the Kingdoms of the Earth: in contrarious
And cruel opposition: Element against Element, opposed in War
Not Mental, as the Wars of Eternity, but a Corporeal Strife"   
Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E 142)
"These are the destroyers of Jerusalem, these are the murderers
Of Jesus, who deny the Faith & mock at Eternal Life:
Who pretend to Poetry that they may destroy Imagination;
By imitation of Natures Images drawn from Remembrance
These are the Sexual Garments, the Abomination of Desolation
Hiding the Human lineaments as with an Ark & Curtains
Which Jesus rent: & now shall wholly purge away with Fire
Till Generation is swallowd up in Regeneration.

Then trembled the Virgin Ololon & replyd in clouds of despair

Is this our Femin[in]e Portion the Six-fold Miltonic Female      
Terribly this Portion trembles before thee O awful Man
Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro.
Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity! & now remembrance
Returns upon us! are we Contraries O Milton, Thou & I            
O Immortal! how were we led to War the Wars of Death
Is this the Void Outside of Existence, which if enterd into
Plate 42 [49]      
Becomes a Womb? & is this the Death Couch of Albion
Thou goest to Eternal Death & all must go with thee"    
Jerusalem, Plate 7, (E 150)
"Los answer'd...
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.
O holy Generation! [Image] of regeneration!   
O point of mutual forgiveness between Enemies!
Birthplace of the Lamb of God incomprehensible!"

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
"Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

LOOMS & FURNACES

British Museum
Book of Urizen
Plate 26
Copy D



Industrialization was taking place at a fast pace during Blake's lifetime which extended from 1757 to 1827. The two processes at which we have been looking as images for the transformation of man's psyche, the furnaces and the looms, were rapidly developing as means by which society and the economy were entering a new age. The technical advances made possible by inventions and applications, and the might of empire, spread the means of automated manufacture throughout Britain. Blake latched onto the powerful images of the industrial revolution as symbols for the trauma which modify the inner workings in the brain.

 
 
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 55, (E 33)
A DIVINE IMAGE
[An early Song of Experience included in one late copy] 
"Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror, the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge."

Milton, Plate 6, (E 100)
"But now the Starry Heavens are fled from the mighty limbs of Albion

Loud sounds the Hammer of Los, loud turn the Wheels of Enitharmon
Her Looms vibrate with soft affections, weaving the Web of Life
Out from the ashes of the Dead"
But the furnaces and looms likewise were used by Blake to symbolize the loss of human values as mechanization replaced manual skills. Blake saw that the souls who were the inhabitants of Britain were thrown into the furnaces and woven in the looms 'among the dark Satanic wheels.'

Jerusalem, Plate 15, (E 159)
"But first Albion must sleep, divided from the Nations

I see Albion sitting upon his Rock in the first Winter           
And thence I see the Chaos of Satan & the World of Adam
When the Divine Hand went forth on Albion in the mid Winter
And at the place of Death when Albion sat in Eternal Death
Among the Furnaces of Los in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom
PLATE 16
Hampstead Highgate Finchley Hendon Muswell hill: rage loud
Before Bromions iron Tongs & glowing Poker reddening fierce
Hertfordshire glows with fierce Vegetation! in the Forests
The Oak frowns terrible, the Beech & Ash & Elm enroot
Among the Spiritual fires; loud the Corn fields thunder along  
The Soldiers fife; the Harlots shriek; the Virgins dismal groan
The Parents fear: the Brothers jealousy: the Sisters curse
Beneath the Storms of Theotormon & the thundring Bellows
Heaves in the hand of Palamabron who in Londons darkness
Before the Anvil, watches the bellowing flames: thundering       
The Hammer loud rages in Rintrahs strong grasp swinging loud

Round from heaven to earth down falling with heavy blow
Dead on the Anvil, where the red hot wedge groans in pain
He quenches it in the black trough of his Forge; Londons River
Feeds the dread Forge, trembling & shuddering along the Valleys 

Humber & Trent roll dreadful before the Seventh Furnace
And Tweed & Tyne anxious give up their Souls for Albions sake
Lincolnshire Derbyshire Nottinghamshire Leicestershire
From Oxfordshire to Norfolk on the Lake of Udan Adan
Labour within the Furnaces, walking among the Fires              
With Ladles huge & iron Pokers over the Island white.

Scotland pours out his Sons to labour at the Furnaces
Wales gives his Daughters to the Looms; England: nursing Mothers
Gives to the Children of Albion & to the Children of Jerusalem
From the blue Mundane Shell even to the Earth of Vegetation      
Throughout the whole Creation which groans to be deliverd.
Albion groans in the deep slumbers of Death upon his Rock."

Jerusalem, Plate 65, (E 216)
"Then left the Sons of Urizen the plow & harrow, the loom
The hammer & the chisel, & the rule & compasses; from London fleeing
They forg'd the sword on Cheviot, the chariot of war & the battle-ax,
The trumpet fitted to mortal battle, & the flute of summer in Annandale
And all the Arts of Life. they changd into the Arts of Death in Albion.
The hour-glass contemnd because its simple workmanship.
Was like the workmanship of the plowman, & the water wheel,
That raises water into cisterns: broken & burnd with fire:
Because its workmanship. was like the workmanship of the shepherd. 
And in their stead, intricate wheels invented, wheel without wheel:
To perplex youth in their outgoings, & to bind to labours in Albion
Of day & night the myriads of eternity that they may grind
And polish brass & iron hour after hour laborious task!
Kept ignorant of its use, that they might spend the days of wisdom
In sorrowful drudgery, to obtain a scanty pittance of bread:
In ignorance to view a small portion & think that All,
And call it Demonstration: blind to all the simple rules of life."
Alfred Kazin in his introduction to Blake: The Viking Portable Library provides this insight into Blake's first-hand experience of changes induced by the industrial revolution:
"Blake was only one of many Englishmen who felt himself being slowly ground to death, in a world of such brutal exploitation and amid such inhuman ugliness, that the fires of the new industrial furnaces and the cries of the child laborers are always in his work. His poems and designs are meant to afford us spiritual vision; a vision beyond the factory system, the hideous new cities, the degradation of children for the sake of profit, the petty crimes for which children could be hanged. 'England,' a man said to me on V-E day, 'has never recovered from its industrial revolution'; Blake was afraid it could not survive it; the human cost was already too great. He never saw the north of Britain, but the grey squalor of the Clydebrook, the great industrial maw of Manchester and Liverpool, the slums the broken families are remembered in the apocalyptic rant of Jerusalem, where
'Scotland pours out her son to labour in the Furnaces;
Wales gives her daughters to the Loom.'"

.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

URIZEN'S LOOMS

British Museum
Book of Urizen
Plate 23
Copy D


Here, in the Four Zoas, Blake turns the furnaces and looms in a different direction. In the hands of Urizen the furnaces and looms operate in the Caverns of the Grave (the recesses of the unconscious) as instruments of division. The looms  are set to create nets and traps to alter the instinctive energies of of the mind into patterns of abstract reasoning, and sense based weighing and measuring. But were it not for the eagles of imagination bringing light to the deep, the work would not be able to continue. The mind deceives itself by finding delight in thought patterns which will only later reveal their cruel deception.

The cruelest deception is that the mind and body can be separated into two intellects, a male and a female, each with a will of its own. There follows from this illusion the desire to possess and control the opposite nature. Spreading from Urizen and his emanation Ahania, to Los and Enitharmon, and to Luvah and Vala, the disease of a selfish and jealous Selfhood has been established.



Four Zoas, Night II, (E 318-20)
"Then siezd the Lions of Urizen their work, & heated in the forge 
Roar the bright masses, thund'ring beat the hammers, many a pyramid
Is form'd & thrown down thund'ring into the deeps of Non Entity
Heated red hot they hizzing rend their way down many a league
Till resting. each his [center] finds; suspended there they stand
Casting their sparkies dire abroad into the dismal deep          
For measurd out in orderd spaces the Sons of Urizen   
With compasses divide the deep; they the strong scales erect
PAGE 29 
That Luvah rent from the faint Heart of the Fallen Man
And weigh the massy Cubes, then fix them in their awful stations                    
And all the time in Caverns shut, the golden Looms erected
First spun, then wove the Atmospheres, there the Spider & Worm
Plied the wingd shuttle piping shrill thro' all the list'ning threads  
Beneath the Caverns roll the weights of lead & spindles of iron
The enormous warp & woof rage direful in the affrighted deep

While far into the vast unknown, the strong wing'd Eagles bend
Their venturous flight, in Human forms distinct; thro darkness deep
They bear the woven draperies; on golden hooks they hang abroad  
The universal curtains & spread out from Sun to Sun
The vehicles of light, they separate the furious particles
Into mild currents as the water mingles with the wine.

While thus the Spirits of strongest wing enlighten the dark deep
The threads are spun & the cords twisted & drawn out; then the weak   
Begin their work; & many a net is netted; many a net
PAGE 30
Spread & many a Spirit caught, innumerable the nets
Innumerable the gins & traps; & many a soothing flute
Is form'd & many a corded lyre, outspread over the immense
In cruel delight they trap the listeners, & in cruel delight
Bind them, condensing the strong energies into little compass 
...
When Urizen returnd from his immense labours & travels  
Descending She reposd beside him folding him around
In her bright skirts. Astonishd & Confounded he beheld           
Her shadowy form now Separate he shudderd & was silent
Till her caresses & her tears revivd him to life & joy
Two wills they had two intellects & not as in times of old
This Urizen percievd & silent brooded in darkning Clouds
To him his Labour was but Sorrow & his Kingdom was Repentance    
He drave the Male Spirits all away from Ahania
And she drave all the Females from him away

Los joyd & Enitharmon laughd, saying   Let us go down
And see this labour & sorrow; They went down to see the woes
Of Vala & the woes of Luvah, to draw in their delights    

And Vala like a shadow oft appeard to Urizen
PAGE 31 
The King of Light beheld her mourning among the Brick kilns compelld
To labour night & day among the fires, her lamenting voice
Is heard when silent night returns & the labourers take their rest"  
.