|Yale Center for British Art|
When man loses sight of the spiritual dimension, the world discernible by the senses replaces it. This is the world of Vala, the outer appearances which compose her veil or 'film of matter which covers all reality'. (Damon) The veil is constructed not only of sense data, but is built of the false reasoning which supplies the Moral Law to replace the 'perception of the infinite'.
The Vegetable Glass of Nature is what man perceives to be his world after the loss of his ability to see the Divine Vision. Unable to see through the covering veil which hides the infinite and eternal, he sees projections formed by his own limited mind reflected back by the Vegetable Glass of Nature.
Milton O Percival, on Page 265, of William Blake's Circle of Destiny writes of the sinister web woven when Albion turns away from the inward, active masculine to the outward, passive, feminine aspect:
"Matter begins its spurious existence in the mind as Albion began to fall. He moved from the inward into the outward, the feminine and the natural; he believed in it; he even set up the passive feminine, in its various aspects, as his ideal of good. In doing so he he moved into darkness and doubt, for, as Plotinus says, 'The unbelieving element is sense; it is the other, the Intellectual Principle that sees.' At the same time he confers upon the feminine a spurious life and independence. Enion found, when she first wove the web of nature, that it was 'perverse and wayward,' with a will of its own. Out of this feminine self-assertion come the Daughters of Albion, who weave the perception as narrowly as possible, and fold the world according to their will. But that will or power - an irrational thing - was conferred on them by the irrational mind. A falsity itself, it was created by a falsity. The unlit matter which the Daughters create is the product of the unlit soul. It would vanish if the soul were 'awake.'"
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 555) "Reality was Forgot & the Vanities of Time & Space only Rememberd & calld Reality ... This world of Imagination is the World of Eternity it is the Divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the Vegetated body This World is Infinite & Eternal whereas the world of Generation or Vegetation is Finite & [for a small moment] Temporal There Exist in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing which we see are reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature"
Milton, Plate 21 , (E 115) "And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot, As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold: I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."
Milton, Plate 29 , (E 127) "Wher'eer he goes & all his neighbourhood bewail his loss: Such are the Spaces called Earth & such its dimension: As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner, As of a Globe rolling thro Voidness, it is a delusion of Ulro The Microscope knows not of this nor the Telescope. they alter The ratio of the Spectators Organs but leave Objects untouchd For every Space larger than a red Globule of Mans blood. Is visionary: and is created by the Hammer of Los And every Space smaller than a Globule of Mans blood. opens Into Eternity of which this vegetable Earth is but a shadow:"
Jerusalem, Plate 19, (E 164) "And Los was roofd in from Eternity in Albions Cliffs Which stand upon the ends of Beulah, and withoutside, all Appear'd a rocky form against the Divine Humanity. Albions Circumference was clos'd: his Center began darkning Into the Night of Beulah, and the Moon of Beulah rose Clouded with storms: Los his strong Guard walkd round beneath the Moon And Albion fled inward among the currents of his rivers."
Jerusalem, Plate 29 , (E 175) "So spoke the Spectre to Albion. he is the Great Selfhood Satan: Worshipd as God by the Mighty Ones of the Earth Having a white Dot calld a Center from which branches out A Circle in continual gyrations. this became a Heart From which sprang numerous branches varying their motions Producing many Heads three or seven or ten, & hands & feet Innumerable at will of the unfortunate contemplator Who becomes his food[:] such is the way of the Devouring Power 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 Albion spoke. Who art thou that appearest in gloomy pomp Involving the Divine Vision in colours of autumn ripeness I never saw thee till this time, nor beheld life abstracted Nor darkness immingled with light on my furrowd field Whence camest thou! who art thou O loveliest? the Divine Vision Is as nothing before thee, faded is all life and joy 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! 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"