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

Friday, February 21, 2014

LARGE COLOR PRINTS 7

Daniel 4
[29] At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
[30] and the king said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"
[31] While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnez'zar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,
[32] and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will."
[33] Immediately the word was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnez'zar. He was driven from among men, and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.
[34] At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnez'zar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;


Nebuchadnezzar stood at the pinnacle of success and power as the ruler of an empire. He attributed to his own strength and wisdom all that belonged to him. But he was unaware of things in his life to which he had not given attention. There were unclaimed aspects of his psyche which needed to be acknowledged. When we read the quote from the Book of Daniel we realize that when his conscious mind laid claim to all of his achievements, another part of his mind, his unconscious, drove him into a dark and terrifying place. That surface patina of ego-consciousness was overwhelmed by the behavior of a beast of the field. His condition became that of one suffering from what we now call mental illness. 

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Large Color Printed Paintings
Nebuchadnezzar
 Blake's image of Nebuchadnezzar shows him deprived of human characteristics. In the sequence of the Large Color Prints which we have been following this represents a further descent from man's state in Eden. He had lost the ability to perceive the Divine Image and therefore appears as less than human. Blake used the term Ulro for the level of existence at which all memory of Eternity had been eradicated.  

Notice in the passage from Daniel that after seven times passed over Nebuchadnezzar three things happened: he lifted his eyes to heaven, his reason returned, and he blessed the Most High. Lifting his eyes to heaven is recognition of God as the source of all things. His reason returns when he has learned to process and put into order the content of both the conscious and unconscious levels of his mind. He reorders his life since he now knows what comes from himself and what comes from God and he is grateful.
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 135, (E 403)
"Attempting to be more than Man We become less said Luvah
As he arose from the bright feast drunk with the wine of ages
His crown of thorns fell from his head he hung his living Lyre
Behind the seat of the Eternal Man & took his way
Sounding the Song of Los descending to the Vineyards bright      
His sons arising from the feast with golden baskets follow
A fiery train as when the Sun sings in the ripe vineyards
Then Luvah stood before the wine press all his fiery sons
Brought up the loaded Waggons with shoutings ramping tygers play
In the jingling traces furious lions sound the song of joy       
To the golden wheels circling upon the pavement of heaven & all
The Villages of Luvah ring the golden tiles of the villages
Reply to violins & tabors to the pipe flute lyre & cymbal
Then fell the Legions of Mystery in maddning confusion
Down Down thro the immense with outcry fury & despair            
Into the wine presses of Luvah howling fell the Clusters
Of human families thro the deep. the wine presses were filld
The blood of life flowd plentiful Odors of life arose
All round the heavenly arches & the Odors rose singing this song
Page 136 
O terrible wine presses of Luvah O caverns of the Grave
How lovely the delights of those risen again from death
O trembling joy excess of joy is like Excess of grief

So sang the Human Odors round the wine presses of Luvah"

When man associates the contents of his conscious mind with good, and of the unconscious mind with evil he is in danger of an eruption of his buried or shadow side. The rejected content may surface as uncontrolled outbursts, moods of depression, or feelings of worthlessness. But when he retrieves from his shadow side discarded remnants from a totality which needs both darkness and light to define its outlines, he may indeed feel he is 'risen again from death.'

 
The following quote is from Meeting the Shadow, The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams:

"British Jungian analyst and astrologer Liz Greene points to the paradoxical nature of the shadow as both the container of darkness and the beacon pointing toward the light: “It is the suffering, crippled side of the personality which is both the dark shadow that won't change and also the redeemer that transforms one's life and alters one's values. The redeemer can get hidden treasure or win the princess or slay the dragon because he's marked in some way –he's abnormal. The shadow is both the awful thing that needs redemption, and suffering redeemer who can provide it."

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