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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress
Plate 6
Christian Drawn out of the Slough by Help
Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan

{31} "Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone: but still he endeavoured to struggle to that side of the slough that was still further from his own house, and next to the wicket-gate; the which he did, but could not get out, because of the burden that was upon his back: but I beheld in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him, What he did there?

CHR. Sir, said Christian, I was bid go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come; and as I was going thither I fell in here.

{32} HELP. But why did not you look for the steps?

CHR. Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way, and fell in.

HELP. Then said he, Give me thy hand: so he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way. [Ps. 40:2]

{33} Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the City of Destruction to yonder gate, is it that this plat is not mended, that poor travellers might go thither with more security? And he said unto me, This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond; for still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place."

In one of my earliest posts, I used this quote from Edward F Edinger, a Jungian psychologist, who wrote THE ETERNAL DRAMA: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology:
"Nothing new can emerge unless one is willing to dip into chaos and pull it out.
Once it is out it promptly splits in two, into earth and sky in terms of the myth. This is something we see whenever something is coming into awareness: the very process of achieving consciousness involves a split into opposites. Things can remain in their state of oneness only as long as they are unconscious. When they reach consciousness, they must divide into opposites and then we have the experience of conflict." (Page 10)
"At first, the encounter with the Self is indeed a defeat of the ego; but with perseverance, /Deo volente,/ light is born from the darkness. One meets the  'Immortal One' who wounds and heals, who casts down and raises up, who makes small and makes large - in a word the one who makes one whole."

In Blake's sixth illustration to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress he portrays the assistance one receives when one is willing to endure the encounter with the darkness of the unconscious which is labeled sin by the superego.

In Dark Figures in the Desired Country, Gerda Norvig makes this statement about the healing powers which are called forth when one engages in the process of individuation:
"Blake seems to be giving here graphic expression to a common psychological rule that goes beyond Bunyan's: the rule that active differentiation of the contents of the dark side of the self precedes spiritual assistance, but also literally creates a space for the healing powers of the psyche to move into as they well up from archetypal dimensions recognized as existing deep in the background of our mental landscape." (Page 148)

In this passage from Jerusalem, divisions within Albion had distorted the functioning of his Zoas until they expressed attitudes which are opposite to their eternal natures. The source of help for Albion come from Los who represents the Creative Imagination functioning in this world.
Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 184)
"They saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other
To prevent Albion walking about in the Four Complexions.      

They saw America clos'd out by the Oaks of the western shore;
And Tharmas dash'd on the Rocks of the Altars of Victims in Mexico.
If we are wrathful Albion will destroy Jerusalem with rooty Groves
If we are merciful, ourselves must suffer destruction on his Oaks!
Why should we enter into our Spectres, to behold our own corruptions
O God of Albion descend! deliver Jerusalem from the Oaken Groves!

Then Los grew furious raging: Why stand we here trembling around
Calling on God for help; and not ourselves in whom God dwells
Stretching a hand to save the falling Man: are we not Four
Beholding Albion upon the Precipice ready to fall into Non-Entity:
Seeing these Heavens & Hells conglobing in the Void. Heavens over Hells
Brooding in holy hypocritic lust, drinking the cries of pain
From howling victims of Law: building Heavens Twenty-seven-fold.
Swelld & bloated General Forms, repugnant to the Divine-
Humanity, who is the Only General and Universal Form         
To which all Lineaments tend & seek with love & sympathy
All broad & general principles belong to benevolence
Who protects minute particulars, every one in their own identity."

No comments:

Post a Comment