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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Northrup Frye makes reference to Freud on page 301 of Fearful Symmetry: "In the human body, the imagination, Los, struggles to control the three fallen Zoas, Urizen, Thramas, and Livah, whom Blake identifies with the 'head' 'Heart' and 'Loins' respectively. These words are not very satisfactory: the modern reader familiar with Freud may substitute those of the newer myth of much the same shape, and read 'libido' for Luvah, 'id' for the stormy Tharmas, and 'superego' for the fanatical Urizen."
British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts

Frye points out that Blake's Zoas are analogous to Freud's divisions of the psyche. Since Freud's terminology is so familiar now that it is part of our everyday vocabulary, it can be helpful to think of Luvah as 'libido', Tharmas as 'id', and Urizen as 'Superego.' Blake, of course, adds a female component to each of his Zoas. The 'libido' must include Vala, the 'id' must include Enion and the 'superego' must include Ahania.    

If we apply Freud's divisions as being in a dynamic system that controls the thought and behavior of the individual, we better understand the interactions among the Zoas and their Emanations. Blake however adds dimensions drawn from history, philosophy, religion, geography and contemporary situations to augment the psychological portrait he paints. It is the layers of insight that makes Blake's challenging and engrossing.

Blake postulates a Fourfold humanity as man exists in Eden but when man descends to Beulah and his perception of Eternity becomes limited, his experience becomes 'sexual' or Threefold. Blake describes this in therms of the heart, head and loins. So it is Blake's fallen man to which we can apply the terminology and dynamics which were developed by Freud. 

A Glossary of Freudian Terms
Coagulated by Craig Chalquist, PhD,
Id (Es): the permanently unconscious motivational cauldron of the mind. From the id (the "it") originate all the drives that impel psychic life. A "residue of countless egos" inherited from prior generations, the id is the amoral beast within us that seeks only its own gratification through tension discharge. It is powered by the bodily instincts and is wholly irrational. Analogous to the job of the imperialist and the industrialist, the job of the ego is to dominate it. (The term id comes from Groddeck, who got it from Nietzsche.)
Libido: the psychosexual energy originating in the id. Libido is the electric current of the mechanism of personality. It powers all psychological operations, invests desires, and undergoes ready displacement. It is the basic fuel of the self. Because it is of a relatively fixed quantity, like gasoline in a tank, it obeys laws of psychical "economy" in that a surplus in one system means a loss somewhere else. It can be either free or bound (Breuer's term).
Superego (Uber-Ich): formed out of but less conscious than the ego, an agency that safeguards society from uncontrolled acting out by giving the person an internalization of all environmental inhibitions, particularly those of the parents. Developed as a result of millennia of monotheistic moralizing the resolution of the Oedipal complex, it fills you with guilt when you deviate from your internal standards. It's a kind of parent-within formed of reaction formations to unconscious sexual wishes; obeying it results in the secondary narcissism of pride, an expectation of being loved by a parent figure, and disobeying it creates guilt. One of the therapeutic tasks is to lower its demands, which emanate less from the parents than from the parents' superego.

The basic philosophical difference between Freud and Jung can be seen in terms of Jung's recognition of the world of spirit which has influences which are unpredictable and imperceptible to the five senses. Freud's system did not allow for a numinous milieu acting in the world and in human minds. Blake like Jung perceived of the psyche as including the intuitive faculty through which the imagination connected humanity with the unseen spiritual dimension.

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 5, (E 98)
"And this is the manner of the Daughters of Albion in their beauty
Every one is threefold in Head & Heart & Reins, & every one
Has three Gates into the Three Heavens of Beulah which shine
Translucent in their Foreheads & their Bosoms & their Loins
Surrounded with fires unapproachable: but whom they please
They take up into their Heavens in  intoxicating  delight" 

Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 257)
"The Druid Spectre was Annihilate loud thundring rejoicing terrific vanishing

Fourfold Annihilation & at the clangor of the Arrows of Intellect
The innumerable Chariots of the Almighty appeard in Heaven
And Bacon & Newton & Locke, & Milton & Shakspear & Chaucer
A Sun of blood red wrath surrounding heaven on all sides around 
Glorious incomprehensible by Mortal Man & each Chariot was Sexual Threefold  

And every Man stood Fourfold, each Four Faces had." 

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 87, (E 368)
"They Builded Golgonooza Los labouring builded pillars high 
And Domes terrific in the nether heavens for beneath
Was opend new heavens & a new Earth beneath & within
Threefold within the brain within the heart within the loins
A Threefold Atmosphere Sublime continuous from Urthonas world  
But yet having a Limit Twofold named Satan & Adam"

Crystal Cabinet, (E 488)
"Another Maiden like herself
Translucent lovely shining clear
Threefold each in the other closd 
O what a pleasant trembling fear

O what a smile a threefold Smile
Filld me that like a flame I burnd
I bent to Kiss the lovely Maid
And found a Threefold Kiss returnd 

I strove to sieze the inmost Form
With ardor fierce & hands of flame
But burst the Crystal Cabinet
And like a Weeping Babe became"

Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114)
"Seest thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain of sand?
It has a heart like thee; a brain open to heaven & hell,
Withinside wondrous & expansive; its gates are not clos'd,
I hope thine are not: hence it clothes itself in rich array;     
Hence thou art cloth'd with human beauty O thou mortal man.
Seek not thy heavenly father then beyond the skies:
There Chaos dwells & ancient Night & Og & Anak old:
For every human heart has gates of brass & bars of adamant,
Which few dare unbar because dread Og & Anak guard the gates     
Terrific! and each mortal brain is walld and moated round
Within: and Og & Anak watch here; here is the Seat
Of Satan in its Webs; for in brain and heart and loins
Gates open behind Satans Seat to the City of Golgonooza
Which is the spiritual fourfold London, in the loins of Albion   

Thus Milton fell thro Albions heart, travelling outside of Humanity
Beyond the Stars in Chaos in Caverns of the Mundane Shell."

Milton, Plate 14, (E 148)
"And Los beheld his Sons, and he beheld his Daughters:
Every one a translucent Wonder: a Universe within,
Increasing inwards, into length and breadth, and heighth:
Starry & glorious: and they every one in their bright loins:
Have a beautiful golden gate which opens into the vegetative world:  
And every one a gate of rubies & all sorts of precious stones
In their translucent hearts, which opens into the vegetative world:
And every one a gate of iron dreadful and wonderful,
In their translucent heads, which opens into the vegetative world
And every one has the three regions Childhood: Manhood: & Age:   
But the gate of the tongue: the western gate in them is clos'd,
Having a wall builded against it: and thereby the gates
Eastward & Southward & Northward, are incircled with flaming fires.
And the North is Breadth, the South is Heighth & Depth:
The East is Inwards: & the West is Outwards every way." 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Spectre Again

Orginally posted by Larry in Oct 2011

This subject has come up over and over in our blog. You might like to look at some of the earlier ones, such as this one. I owe this material to John Middleton Murry's book, William Blake, with extensive quotations from the book, where he quotes from Night VII of The Four Zoas:

Page 196-7:
"Soon after the moment when, in Night VII, Los is united with the Spectre, 'by Divine Mercy inspired', gives him 'tasks enormous' to fulfill. The two and a half lines which tell of them are a later addition. Originally the lines ran:
[added lines inserted in bold]

Four Zoas , Night VII, Page 87 (E 368)
"But mingling together with his Spectre the Spectre of Urthona
Wondering beheld the Center opend by Divine Mercy inspired
They Builded Golgonooza"
He in his turn Gave Tasks to Los Enormous to destroy
That body he created but in vain for Los performd
Wonders of labour

"The discarding of the previous version of Night VII, and the substitution for it of the Night which this union of Spectres is the culmination, marks the point of change in Blake's total conception of the work. This point of change is marked, psychologically and spiritually, by the union of the Spectre through Los's Self-annihilation; it is marked artistically and creatively, by the building of Golgonnoza. At some time not long afterwards Blake looked back, in the light of new experience and added two lines and a half [as shown above]."

Page 164
"..the psychological meaning is, that by being reconciled to the Spectre within himself, by recognizing and receiving Urizen as a part of his own Self, Los/Blake attains a new understanding, a new synthesis (as we might call it today). Not, of course, an intellectual synthesis; but a real and decisive act of a new spiritual understanding, involving a revolution of the total man - an act of the Self-annihilation which is Imagination. Blake understands now that Urizen is not a separate, demonic power, from whose dominion Blake alone is free; he is in Blake himself, a necessary element of Blake's being."

This image is from Blake's poem, For The Sexes Gates of Paradise. The poem begins at Erdman 259; the Epilogue is pictured here:


"To The Accuser Who is
The God of This World
Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce
And dost not know the Garment from the Man
Every Harlot was a Virgin once
Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan
Tho thou art Worshipd by the Names Divine
Of Jesus & Jehovah thou art still
The Son of Morn in weary Nights decline
The lost Travellers Dream under the Hill"

(The Spectre is not named,
but Blake is obviously pointing
to the Devil, Satan, and in this
case the personal Spectre.)



National Gallery 
Los and His Spectre 
c. 1804/1807
 Browsing through the online collection of Blake images in the National Gallery, I came across this sketch of Los and his Spectre which is familiar as the illustration on Plate 6 of Jerusalem. Viewing the sketch we can discern how the visual image was developing in Blake' mind and how he was coming to understand the dynamics between his Humanity and his Spectre.

Los served as the alter-ego of Blake. He tried to accomplish what Blake aspired to do and suffered the struggles Blake endured. The challenge which Blake faced in reconciling the demands of his body, mind and emotions in conjunction with his spiritual aspirations can be discerned in Los. The spirit was revealed to Blake in Vision from the time he was a young child. His desire was to serve with all his abilities the vision of God which he received. But he found that there were impediments which stood in the way of complete devotion to the Truth as he knew it. Foremost was the facet of the psyche which he called his Spectre.

Los became the battleground upon which a struggle between Blake and his Spectre was fought for the sake of reuniting divided Albion.

Jerusalem, Plate 5, (E 148)
"Los heard her lamentations in the deeps afar! his tears fall
Incessant before the Furnaces, and his Emanation divided in pain,
Eastward toward the Starry Wheels. But Westward, a black Horror,  
Plate 6
His spectre driv'n by the Starry Wheels of Albions sons, black and
Opake divided from his back; he labours and he mourns!

For as his Emanation divided, his Spectre also divided
In terror of those starry wheels: and the Spectre stood over Los
Howling in pain: a blackning Shadow, blackning dark & opake      
Cursing the terrible Los: bitterly cursing him for his friendship
To Albion, suggesting murderous thoughts against Albion.

Los rag'd and stamp'd the earth in his might & terrible wrath!
He stood and stampd the earth! then he threw down his hammer in rage &
In fury: then he sat down and wept, terrified! Then arose        
And chaunted his song, labouring with the tongs and hammer:
But still the Spectre divided, and still his pain increas'd!

In pain the Spectre divided: in pain of hunger and thirst:
To devour Los's Human Perfection, but when he saw that Los

Plate 7
Was living: panting like a frighted wolf, and howling
He stood over the Immortal, in the solitude and darkness:
Upon the darkning Thames, across the whole Island westward.
A horrible Shadow of Death, among the Furnaces: beneath
The pillar of folding smoke; and he sought by other means,       
To lure Los: by tears, by arguments of science & by terrors:
Terrors in every Nerve, by spasms & extended pains:
While Los answer'd unterrified to the opake blackening Fiend
Los answer'd. Altho' I know not this! I know far worse than this:
I know that Albion hath divided me, and that thou O my Spectre,
Hast just cause to be irritated: but look stedfastly upon me:
Comfort thyself in my strength the time will arrive,
When all Albions injuries shall cease, and when we shall         
Embrace him tenfold bright, rising from his tomb in immortality.
They have divided themselves by Wrath. they must be united by
Pity: let us therefore take example & warning O my Spectre,
O that I could abstain from wrath! 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!
The Dead despise & scorn thee, & cast thee out as accursed:
Seeing the Lamb of God in thy gardens & thy palaces:
Where they desire to place the Abomination of Desolation.        
Hand sits before his furnace: scorn of others & furious pride:
Freeze round him to bars of steel & to iron rocks beneath
His feet: indignant self-righteousness like whirlwinds of the north: 
Plate 8
Rose up against me thundering from the Brook of Albions River
From Ranelagh & Strumbolo, from Cromwells gardens & Chelsea
The place of wounded Soldiers. but when he saw my Mace
Whirld round from heaven to earth, trembling he sat: his cold
Poisons rose up: & his sweet deceits coverd them all over        
With a tender cloud. As thou art now; such was he O Spectre
I know thy deceit & thy revenges, and unless thou desist
I will certainly create an eternal Hell for thee. Listen!
Be attentive! be obedient! Lo the Furnaces are ready to recieve thee.
I will break thee into shivers! & melt thee in the furnaces of death;       
I will cast thee into forms of abhorrence & torment if thou
Desist not from thine own will, & obey  not my stern command!
I am closd up from my children: my Emanation is dividing
And thou my Spectre art divided against me. But mark
I will compell thee to assist me in my terrible labours. To beat 
These hypocritic Selfhoods on the Anvils of bitter Death
I am inspired: I act not for myself: for Albions sake
I now am what I am: a horror and an astonishment
Shuddring the heavens to look upon me: Behold what cruelties
Are practised in Babel & Shinar, & have approachd to Zions Hill"  

Monday, November 13, 2017


British Museum
Plate 15
Milton, Plate 9, (E 103)
"For Satan flaming with Rintrahs fury hidden beneath his own mildness
Accus'd Palamabron before the Assembly of ingratitude! of malice:
He created Seven deadly Sins drawing out his infernal scroll,
Of Moral laws and cruel punishments upon the clouds of Jehovah
To pervert the Divine voice in its entrance to the earth
With thunder of war & trumpets sound, with armies of disease
Punisbments & deaths musterd & number'd; Saying I am God alone   
There is no other! let all obey my principles of moral individuality
I have brought them from the uppermost innermost recesses
Of my Eternal Mind, transgressors I will rend off for ever,
As now I rend accursed Family from my covering.

Thus Satan rag'd amidst the Assembly! and his bosom grew     
Opake against the Divine Vision: the paved terraces of
His bosom inwards shone with fires, but the stones becoming opake!
Hid him from sight, in an extreme blackness and darkness,
And there a World of deeper Ulro was open'd, in the midst
Of the Assembly. In Satans bosom a vast unfathomable Abyss.   

Astonishment held the Assembly in an awful silence: and tears
Fell down as dews of night, & a loud solemn universal groan
Was utter'd from the east & from the west & from the south
And from the north; and Satan stood opake immeasurable
Covering the east with solid blackness, round his hidden heart   
With thunders utterd from his hidden wheels: accusing loud
The Divine Mercy, for protecting Palamabron in his tent." 

On Plate 9 of Milton Blake constructed a portrait of Satan which is useful in recognizing Satanic activities as they appear among men. Clues to noticing Satan's influence: 

Hides in others actions:
flaming with Rintrahs fury hidden beneath his own mildness 

Accus'd Palamabron before the Assembly of ingratitude! of malice: Creates appearance of sin: He created Seven deadly Sins

Prevents one from listening to one's conscience by providing distractions:
To pervert the Divine voice in its entrance to the earth
With thunder of war & trumpets sound,

Claims authority:
Saying I am God alone   
There is no other! 

transgressors I will rend off for ever,

Becomes opaque, indiscernible:
and his bosom grew     
Opake against the Divine Vision

Creates a distorted experience of reality:
And there a World of deeper Ulro was open'd

Blots out the light of truth as darkness descends and the inner man morns the loss:
and tears
Fell down as dews of night, & a loud solemn universal groan

Suppresses functioning of the Zoas:
universal groan
Was utter'd from the east & from the west & from the south
And from the north
Casts doubt on the Divine Vision's merciful activities.
and Satan stood opake immeasurable
Covering the east with solid blackness, round his hidden heart   
With thunders utterd from his hidden wheels: accusing loud
The Divine Mercy, for protecting Palamabron in his tent.
Satan's goal is to prevent the message of the Divine Vision (Poetic Genius) from being discernible in the minds of men. 

Looking inward we find that the same activities which we notice in Satan dwell within.

Romans 7
[22] For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
[23] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7 (Phillips translation)
- When I come up against the Law I want to do good, but in practice I do evil. My conscious mind whole-heartedly endorses the Law, yet I observe an entirely different principle at work in my nature. This is in continual conflict with my conscious attitude, and makes me an unwilling prisoner to the law of sin and death. In my mind I am God's willing servant, but in my own nature I am bound fast, as I say, to the law of sin and death. It is an agonising situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my sinful nature? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Sunday, November 12, 2017


Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 5, (E 36)
The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.
British Museum Book of Urizen Plate 15
The relationships among the terms wisdom, art and imaginative vision as used by Blake are clarified by Northrup Frye in this passage from Fearful Symmetry. Frye shows that these characteristics of the realized mind are not connected in a linear fashion. Perhaps the starting point is receptivity, being willing to receive, and expecting that openness will elicit a response. Blake's conviction is that the mind is prepared to receive because the 'image of reality' is imprinted within man who is made in God's image. There no road map which shows the route to follow if one seeks vision, art or wisdom. The opportunity to live, fully experiencing the joy and woe, leads where one needs to go.

"Wisdom is the application of the imaginative vision taught us by art. We conquer knowledge by forced marches, learning more and more as we continually press on. Wisdom is the unhurried expanding organic health of the powerful and well-knit imagination, and it depends on practice and relaxation. It is difficult for the man who has knowledge without imagination to relax his mind into receptivity in front of a picture or a poem. To him it contains a communicable residue of general statements called the meaning, and to clutch this and to carry it off is his sole desire...The wise man has a pattern or image of reality into which everything he knows fits, and into which everything he does not know could fit, and therefore his approach to knowledge is something that these dung-beetles of unorganized learning cannot ever grasp. "More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul," said Blake: "less than All cannot satisfy Man."

Art is suggestive rather than explicit: it make no attempt to persuade into general agreement or provide mediocre levels of explanation...the supremely suggestive and fertilizing quality of Plato's philosophy lies in the fact that that he was the only philosopher who was artist enough to master a visionary form, and hence par excellence the philosopher who suggests an infinity of responses instead of compelling a single one." (Page 86)
Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 203)
"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
From Surrey hills, thro' Italy and Greece, to Hinnoms vale." 
Letters, To Trusler, (E 702)
"I had hoped your plan comprehended All
Species of this Art & Especially that you would not reject that
Species which gives Existence to Every other. namely Visions of
Eternity You say that I want somebody to Elucidate my Ideas.  But
you ought to know that What is Grand is necessarily obscure to
Weak men.  That which can be made Explicit to the Idiot is not
worth my care.  The wisest of the Ancients considerd what is not
too Explicit as the fittest for Instruction because it rouzes the
faculties to act.  I name Moses Solomon Esop Homer Plato"

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 

If you account it Wisdom when you are angry to be silent, and
Not to shew it: I do not account that Wisdom but Folly.
Every Mans Wisdom is peculiar to his own Individu]ality
O Satan my youngest born, art thou not Prince of the Starry Hosts
And of the Wheels of Heaven, to turn the Mills day & night?  
Art thou not Newtons Pantocrator weaving the Woof of Locke
To Mortals thy Mills seem every thing & the Harrow of Shaddai
A scheme of Human conduct invisible & incomprehensible
Get to thy Labours at the Mills & leave me to my wrath,

Satan was going to reply, but Los roll'd his loud thunders."

Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E142)
"To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human
I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration
To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration
To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albions covering          
To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination
To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration
That it no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion of Madness
Cast on the Inspired, by the tame high finisher of paltry Blots,
Indefinite, or paltry Rhymes; or paltry Harmonies.               
Who creeps into State Government like a catterpiller to destroy
To cast off the idiot Questioner who is always questioning,
But never capable of answering; who sits with a sly grin
Silent plotting when to question, like a thief in a cave;
Who publishes doubt & calls it knowledge; whose Science is Despair   
Whose pretence to knowledge is Envy, whose whole Science is
To destroy the wisdom of ages to gratify ravenous Envy;
That rages round him like a Wolf day & night without rest
He smiles with condescension; he talks of Benevolence & Virtue
And those who act with Benevolence & Virtue, they murder time on time
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."

Jerusalem, Plate 70, (E 224)
"And this the form of mighty Hand sitting on Albions cliffs
Before the face of Albion, a mighty threatning Form.

His bosom wide & shoulders huge overspreading wondrous
Bear Three strong sinewy Necks & Three awful & terrible Heads
Three Brains in contradictory council brooding incessantly.      
Neither daring to put in act its councils, fearing each-other,
Therefore rejecting Ideas as nothing & holding all Wisdom
To consist in the agreements & disagree[me]nts of Ideas.
Plotting to devour Albions Body of Humanity & Love.

What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain"

Everlasting Gospel, (E 519)
"To teach doubt & Experiment       
Certainly was not what Christ meant
What was he doing all that time
From twelve years old to manly prime
Was he then Idle or the Less
About his Fathers business        
Or was his wisdom held in scorn
Before his wrath began to burn
In Miracles throughout the Land"

Annotations to Swedenborg, (E 603) 
  "He who Loves feels love descend into him & if he has wisdom
may percieve it is from the Poetic Genius which is the Lord
 Thought without affection makes a distinction between Love
& Wisdom as it does between body & Spirit"

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Los is the hero of Blake's myth as developed in the prophetic books. Among his many names are Eternal Poet and Eternal Prophet. As Blake's alter-ego he was the Creative Imagination, always expanding into new projects and endeavors. As a blacksmith he uses his furnaces to shape humanity through fire and the blows of his hammer. He holds the vision in times of trouble. He takes the materials at hand and puts them to the service of Jerusalem, the image of Divine Inspiration.

In describing this picture Erdman says: "The poet /blacksmith Los, naked with his steel hammer in a firm cushion of cloud, rests "wearied" from his intellectual labors, and regards the completed song/sun with anxious compassion."
British Museum
Song of Los
Plate 8, Copy A
Los as Time, together with Enitharmon as Space brings change. He represents evolution, not in the sense of progress but of opportunity. The information, structures, and insights developed by one generation are available for use by succeeding generations to build upon. Urizen sought fixed structure and predictability. Not so Los. Nothing for him would be more deadly than restating repeatedly the same ideas in different words or applying the same rules to every situation.

The huge advances in scientific thought have come not by using a template but by creating new ways of thinking, new avenues of questioning, new fields of research. Psychology itself had a burst of development when scientific techniques were applied to understand the mysteries of human behavior which had baffled the human mind from the time man became self-reflective. We are following Los when we seek new paths and expand the horizons of our pursuits.

As William Blake said in two of his early works:

All Religions Are One
As none by traveling over known lands can find out
the unknown. So from already acquired knowledge Man could not
acquire more. therefore an universal Poetic Genius exists"

There is No Natural Religion (b)
"I Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception. he
percieves more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover.
II Reason or the ratio of all we have already known. is not
the same that it shall be when we know more.
IV The bounded is loathed by its possessor. The same dull round
even of a univer[s]e would soon become a mill with complicated

Blake spoke of dark Satanic Mills.

Friday, November 10, 2017


All Religions are One, (E 1)
"Principle 1st 
That the Poetic Genius is
the True Man, and that
the body or outward form
of Man is derived from the
Poetic Genius."

A message delivered many years ago by a friend at a Quaker Meeting was essentially that what divides us is language and labels; what unites us is values and principles. The import of this statement is that divisions are created among us when we name someone or something as falling into the category of good or evil, acceptable or unacceptable. Avoiding giving an act or a person a label prevents it from being put it in a category which removes the necessity of responding from a personal evaluation. The object or activity is rejected or accepted without considering the context in which it occurs because it has previously been allocated its worth. If one looks deeper from the perspective of a structure of values and principles which are shared as common to humanity, the divisions can be overcome in order to conserve the fundamental universal truths. 

The Poetic Genius is the early terminology which Blake used to refer to the underlying truth which is shared because it is
common to all mankind. It is as if it were in the DNA.
This passage from Grammatical Man by Jeremy Campbell echos in scientific language something of the process which Blake envisioned in spiritual language:

"The message of DNA is intrinsic. If we speak in metaphor of the 'ideas' contained in it, then those ideas are innate. They do not come from outside, from the environment, even though external chemical messages certainly play a role in the development of the living system. The original script of the DNA message, the organism's lifelong store of information, specifying its structure and growth, is placed for safekeeping in the nucleus, at the quiet center of the cell, and is housed in long, thin strands called chromosomes. There is no direct traffic with the world outside. Its symbol systems are communicated to the chemical factories in the outer, working domain of the cell by another kind of nucleic acid molecule called messenger RNA, which carries a copy of sections of the DNA message to a place where proteins are assembled." (Page 93)

Blake saw that man's outer actions are determined by his inner proclivities which are derived from the Poetic Genius buried deep within his being. The Poetic Genius does not interact with the external world but depends upon expressing itself through ideas which arise in the minds of beings who act as vehicles for carrying them. The Poetic Genius, like the individual amino acids of a strand of DNA, is the shared heritage of all humanity. The individuals humans are bodies woven from particles of spirit separated from the Poetic Genius. Separation without communication, or breakdowns of linkages, lead to the finely woven web of life collapsing to a web of death.      

Awareness that there are hidden links which bind together the images of truth which inhabit our brains, releases a new stage of development which Blake calls the Babe. Whether we see our oneness as a function of our DNA, or the Poetic Genius, or the Holy Spirit, we can recognize that there is a transforming power in being linked in unseen ways that are active below the surface of ordinary consciousness.

Could we practice compassion, integrity and inclusiveness if love, honesty and connectivity were not dwelling within our Souls?

Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 123)
"And these the Labours of the Sons of Los in Allamanda:
And in the City of Golgonooza: & in Luban: & around
The Lake of Udan-Adan, in the Forests of Entuthon Benython       
Where Souls incessant wail, being piteous Passions & Desires
With neither lineament nor form but like to watry clouds
The Passions & Desires descend upon the hungry winds
For such alone Sleepers remain meer passion & appetite;
The Sons of Los clothe them & feed & provide houses & fields     

And every Generated Body in its inward form,
Is a garden of delight & a building of magnificence,
Built by the Sons of Los in Bowlahoola & Allamanda
And the herbs & flowers & furniture & beds & chambers
Continually woven in the Looms of Enitharmons Daughters          
In bright Cathedrons golden Dome with care & love & tears
For the various Classes of Men are all markd out determinate

In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities
So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate
But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because         
The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction
Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death
And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power.

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not
A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion      
Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory."

Jerusalem, Plate 20, (E 165)
"Jerusalem answer'd with soft tears over the valleys.

O Vala what is Sin? that thou shudderest and weepest
At sight of thy once lov'd Jerusalem! What is Sin but a little
Error & fault that is soon forgiven; but mercy is not a Sin
Nor pity nor love nor kind forgiveness! O! if I have Sinned      
Forgive & pity me! O! unfold thy Veil in mercy & love!
Slay not my little ones, beloved Virgin daughter of Babylon
Slay not my infant loves & graces, beautiful daughter of Moab
I cannot put off the human form I strive but strive in vain
When Albion rent thy beautiful net of gold and silver twine;
Thou hadst woven it with art, thou hadst caught me in the bands
Of love; thou refusedst to let me go: Albion beheld thy beauty
Beautiful thro' our Love's comeliness, beautiful thro' pity.
The Veil shone with thy brightness in the eyes of Albion,
Because it inclosd pity & love; because we lov'd one-another!
Albion lov'd thee! he rent thy Veil! he embrac'd thee! he lov'd thee!
Astonish'd at his beauty & perfection, thou forgavest his furious love:
I redounded from Albions bosom in my virgin loveliness.
The Lamb of God reciev'd me in his arms he smil'd upon us:

He made me his Bride & Wife: he gave thee to Albion.             
Then was a time of love: O why is it passed away!" 
Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (E 180)
"for Cities
Are Men, fathers of multitudes, and Rivers & Mount[a]ins
Are also Men; every thing is Human, mighty! sublime!
In every bosom a Universe expands, as wings
Let down at will around, and call'd the Universal Tent.          
York, crown'd with loving kindness. Edinburgh, cloth'd
With fortitude as with a garment of immortal texture
Woven in looms of Eden, in spiritual deaths of mighty men

Who give themselves, in Golgotha, Victims to Justice; where
There is in Albion a Gate of precious stones and gold            
Seen only by Emanations, by vegetations viewless,
Bending across the road of Oxford Street; it from Hyde Park
To Tyburns deathful shades, admits the wandering souls
Of multitudes who die from Earth: this Gate cannot be found
PLATE 35 [39]
By Satans Watch-fiends tho' they search numbering every grain
Of sand on Earth every night, they never find this Gate.
It is the Gate of Los. Withoutside is the Mill, intricate, dreadful
And fill'd with cruel tortures; but no mortal man can find the Mill
Of Satan, in his mortal pilgrimage of seventy years              

For Human beauty knows it not: nor can Mercy find it!"

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 100 (FIRST PORTION), (E 372) 
"From out the War of Urizen & Tharmas recieving them   
Into his hands. Then Enitharmon erected Looms in Lubans Gate
And calld the Looms Cathedron in these Looms She wove the Spectres
Bodies of Vegetation Singing lulling Cadences to drive away
Despair from the poor wandering spectres and Los loved them 
With a parental love for the Divine hand was upon him
And upon Enitharmon & the Divine Countenance shone
In Golgonooza Looking down the Daughters of Beulah saw
With joy the bright Light & in it a Human form
And knew he was the Saviour Even Jesus & they worshipped 

Astonishd Comforted Delighted in notes of Rapturous Extacy  
All Beulah stood astonishd Looking down to Eternal Death
They saw the Saviour beyond the Pit of death & destruction
For whether they lookd upward they saw the Divine Vision
Or whether they lookd downward still they saw the Divine Vision 
Surrounding them on all sides beyond sin & death & hell

Enitharmon wove in tears singing Songs of Lamentation
And pitying comfort as she sighd forth on the wind the Spectres
Also the Vegetated bodies which Enitharmon wove  -

Opend within their hearts & in their loins & in their brain 
To Beulah & the Dead in Ulro descended from the War
Of Urizen & Tharmas & from the Shadowy females clouds
And some were woven single & some two fold & some three fold 
In Head or Heart or Reins according to the fittest order
Of most merciful pity & compassion to the Spectrous dead"
Auguries of Innocence, (E 491)
"It is right it should be so 
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine 
A Clothing for the soul divine 
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands 
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight" 
There is more to the image from Plate 57 of Jerusalem than three lovely ladies extruding fibers that create links outside their bodies. Less noticeable than the figures is the globe of the earth which is mostly covered by text. The upper section bears the image of St. Paul's Cathedral (which Blake associated with the established church), and the words York and London which Blake saw as attempts to build God's kingdom in the natural world through material means. The lower section of the globe shows the image of a Gothic cathedral and the word Jerusalem, both symbols in Blake's lexicon for the unseen world of spirit. Thus the image represents outer and inner activities attempting to articulate and integrate the world of spirit and the world of matter, and to bring them together in cooperation. 

Monday, October 23, 2017


"I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans 
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create"
                                                     Jerusalem, Plate 11

 The system that Blake created was based on his ability to see a world in a grain of sand, a heaven in a wild flower. He could focus his attention beyond the appearance presented to him by the natural world and see the Eternal implications which were hidden by the outward creation. If our doors of perception were cleansed we could see everything as it is: Infinite. If instead we see only through narrow chinks of our cavern we will mix bad art with good art, we will confuse error and truth, we will accept the world our five senses perceive not as a veil covering reality but as reality itself.
The outward system in which Blake lived was one of political tyranny, social oppression and economic poverty. But he was able to transcend his circumstance by using his art and poetry to reveal truth, display beauty and spread joy. His plea was that we see not with tunnel vision but through eyes that opened to Eternity ever expanding like the eyes of the Immortals.
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"The Last Judgment is an Overwhelming of Bad Art & Science. 
Mental Things are alone Real 
what is Calld Corporeal Nobody Knows of its Dwelling Place 
it is in Fallacy & its Existence an Imposture  
Where is the Existence Out of Mind or Thought 
Where is it but in the Mind of a Fool.  

Some People flatter themselves that there will be No Last Judgment
& that Bad Art will be adopted & mixed with Good Art 
That Error or Experiment will make a Part of Truth 
& they Boast that it is its Foundation 
these People flatter themselves   

I will not Flatter them 
Error is Created Truth is Eternal 
Error or Creation will be Burned Up 
& then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear 
It is Burnt up the Moment Men cease to behold it 

I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation 
& that to me it is hindrance & not Action 
it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. 
What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises 
do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea 

O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host 
crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty 
I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight 
I look thro it & not with it."
British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts  


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts

The two limits set upon Man are the Limit of Contraction and the Limit of Opacity. These are the lower limits below which man will not sink. No upper limits are set: his mind is capable of comprehending all the thoughts of God. Likewise his vision is capable seeing everything as it is.

If there are limits to man's Expansion and Translucence they are self-imposed. If Man sees himself as a child of Adam, as living in a body which determines what he can sense, what he can understand, where he can go and what he can do, he is limited. But if he sees himself as a spirit temporarily associated with a particular body, material limitations lose their power. As the writer of the First Letter of John tells us:

"it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

Blake took John's statement seriously and admonished his reader to refuse to accept the limitations placed on his Eternal Spirit imposed by a physical body.

Blake perceived another limitation below which man would not fall; this was the Limit of Opacity named Satan. The salient characteristic of Blake's Satan is his inability to perceive the truth of the Spiritual dimension. Man's ability to recognize the reality of the non-material world, which Blake calls Translucence, opens him to the Infinite, Eternal world beyond our sense-perceived world within time and space. Blake uses the term Imagination to describe the ability of Man to connect with the ever-expanding consciousness of being united with Eternity.

In the beginning of Jerusalem Blake packed into a few words the purpose of all of his attempts to communicate:  
"I rest not from my great task!
To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination"

Book of Urizen, Plate 3, (E 71) 
"1. Earth was not: nor globes of attraction
The will of the Immortal expanded
Or contracted his all flexible senses.
Death was not, but eternal life sprung"

Book of Urizen, Plate 15, (E 78)                                     
"Thus the Eternal Prophet was divided
Before the death-image of Urizen
For in changeable clouds and darkness
In a winterly night beneath,
The Abyss of Los stretch'd immense:       
And now seen, now obscur'd, to the eyes
Of Eternals, the visions remote
Of the dark seperation appear'd.
As glasses discover Worlds
In the endless Abyss of space,            
So the expanding eyes of Immortals
Beheld the dark visions of Los,
And the globe of life blood trembling"

Jerusalem, Plate 13,(E 157)
"Around Golgonooza lies the land of death eternal; a Land         
Of pain and misery and despair and ever brooding melancholy:
In all the Twenty-seven Heavens, numberd from Adam to Luther;
From the blue Mundane Shell, reaching to the Vegetative Earth.

The Vegetative Universe, opens like a flower from the Earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell   
And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without,
And the abstract Voids between the Stars are the Satanic Wheels.

There is the Cave; the Rock; the Tree; the Lake of Udan Adan;
The Forest, and the Marsh, and the Pits of bitumen deadly:
The Rocks of solid fire: the Ice valleys: the Plains             
Of burning sand: the rivers, cataract & Lakes of Fire:
The Islands of the fiery Lakes: the Trees of Malice: Revenge:
And black Anxiety; and the Cities of the Salamandrine men:
(But whatever is visible to the Generated Man,
Is a Creation of mercy & love, from the Satanic Void.)"

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38],(E 180) 
"Saying. Albion! Our wars are wars of life, & wounds of love,
With intellectual spears, & long winged arrows of thought:       
Mutual in one anothers love and wrath all renewing
We live as One Man; for contracting our infinite senses
We behold multitude; or expanding: we behold as one,
As One Man all the Universal Family; and that One Man
We call Jesus the Christ: and he in us, and we in him,        
Live in perfect harmony in Eden the land of life,
Giving, recieving, and forgiving each others trespasses."

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38],(E 180) 
"for Cities
Are Men, fathers of multitudes, and Rivers & Mountains
Are also Men; every thing is Human, mighty! sublime!
In every bosom a Universe expands, as wings
Let down at will around, and call'd the Universal Tent."

Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
"There is a limit of Opakeness, and a limit of Contraction;
In every Individual Man, and the limit of Opakeness,             
Is named Satan: and the limit of Contraction is named Adam.
But when Man sleeps in Beulah, the Saviour in mercy takes
Contractions Limit, and of the Limit he forms Woman: That
Himself may in process of time be born Man to redeem
But there is no Limit of Expansion! there is no Limit of Translucence.   
In the bosom of Man for ever from eternity to eternity.
Therefore I break thy bonds of righteousness; I crush thy messengers!
That they may not crush me and mine: do thou be righteous,
And I will return it; otherwise I defy thy worst revenge:
Consider me as thine enemy: on me turn all thy fury              
But destroy not these little ones, nor mock the Lords anointed:
Destroy not by Moral Virtue, the little ones whom he hath chosen!
The little ones whom he hath chosen in preference to thee.
He hath cast thee off for ever; the little ones he hath anointed!
Thy Selfhood is for ever accursed from the Divine presence    

So Los spoke: then turn'd his face & wept for Albion."

Jerusalem, Plate 55, (E 205) 
"Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect Integrity
At will Contracting into Worms, or Expanding into Gods
And then behold! what are these Ulro Visions of Chastity! 
Or as the sweat upon the labouring shoulder: or as the chaff   
Of the wheat-floor or as the dregs of the sweet wine-press
Such are these Ulro Visions, for tho we sit down within
The plowed furrow, listning to the weeping clods till we
Contract or Expand Space at will: or if we raise ourselves
Upon the chariots of the morning. Contracting or Expanding Time! 
Every one knows, we are One Family! One Man blessed for ever

Silence remaind & every one resumd his Human Majesty" 

Jerusalem, Plate 71, (E 224)
"And above Albions Land was seen the Heavenly Canaan
As the Substance is to the Shadow: and above Albions Twelve Sons
Were seen Jerusalems Sons: and all the Twelve Tribes spreading
Over Albion. As the Soul is to the Body, so Jerusalems Sons,
Are to the Sons of Albion: and Jerusalem is Albions Emanation  
What is Above is Within, for every-thing in Eternity is translucent:
The Circumference is Within: Without, is formed the Selfish Center
And the Circumference still expands going forward to Eternity.
And the Center has Eternal States! these States we now explore."

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34, (E 322)
"For Los & Enitharmon walkd forth on the dewy Earth   
Contracting or expanding their all flexible senses               
At will to murmur in the flowers small as the honey bee
At will to stretch across the heavens & step from star to star
Or standing on the Earth erect, or on the stormy waves
Driving the storms before them or delighting in sunny beams
While round their heads the Elemental Gods kept harmony"

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 138, (E 406)
"The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning     
And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night     
And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day
The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold
The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds
One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars
Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun
Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy
Calling the Plowman to his Labour & the Shepherd to his rest
He walks upon the Eternal Mountains raising his heavenly voice   
Conversing with the Animal forms of wisdom night & day
That risen from the Sea of fire renewd walk oer the Earth" 
1 John 3
[1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
[2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  


Sunday, October 22, 2017


Wikimedia Commons
Joseph of Arimathea preaching to the inhabitants of Britain
Blake saw that the Perfect Unity of Homer's poetry was apparent in its parts (minute particulars) as much as in its totality. The unifying force came not from what the author included or omitted but from his own inner truth or spirit from which he was writing. The ability to trust his imagination instead of his reasoning power enabled him to connect with the underlying reality which transcends individual experience.

The Perfect Unity of Homer's poetry included the bad with the good. It was not about morality but about intrinsic character. Blake considered bad and good to be contraries whose differences would be reconciled when error was annihilated. The substance of poetry is furnished not by the Reasoning Abstract but by the Imagination which has access to the Holy Spirit - connecting the image of God within each with the one whose in whose image man is made. 

"Every Poem must necessarily be a perfect Unity, but why Homers is
peculiarly so, I cannot tell: he has told the story of
Bellerophon & omitted the judgment of Paris which is not only a
part, but a principal part of Homers subject
  But when a Work has Unity it is as much in a Part as in the
Whole. the Torso is as much a Unity as the Laocoon
  As Unity is the cloke of folly so Goodness is the cloke of
knavery  Those who will have Unity exclusively in Homer come out
with a Moral like a sting in the tail: Aristotle says Characters
are either Good or Bad: now Goodness or Badness has nothing to do
with Character. an Apple tree a Pear tree a Horse a Lion, are
Characters but a Good Apple tree or a Bad, is an Apple tree
still: a Horse is not more a Lion for being a Bad Horse. that is
its Character; its Goodness or Badness is another consideration.
  It is the same with the Moral of a whole Poem as with the Moral
of its parts Unity & Morality, are secondary considerations &
belong to Philosophy & not to Poetry, to Exception & not to Rule,
to Accident & not to Substance. the Ancients calld it eating of
the tree of good & evil.
  The Classics, it is the Classics! & not Goths nor Monks, that
Desolate Europe with Wars.
ON VIRGIL                            
Sacred Truth has pronounced that Greece & Rome as Babylon &
Egypt: so far from being parents of Arts & Sciences as they
pretend: were destroyers of all Art.  Homer Virgil & Ovid confirm
this opinion & make us reverence The Word of God, the only light
of antiquity that remains unperverted by War.  Virgil in the
Eneid Book VI. line 848 says Let others study Art: Rome has
somewhat better to do, namely War & Dominion
  Rome & Greece swept Art into their maw & destroyd it     a
Warlike State never can produce Art.  It will Rob & Plunder &
accumulate into one place, & Translate & Copy & Buy & Sell &
Criticise, but not Make.
  Mathematic Form is Eternal in the Reasoning Memory.  Living
Form is Eternal Existence.
  Grecian is Mathematic Form
  Gothic is Living Form"

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 544)
"The human mind cannot go beyond the
gift of God, the Holy Ghost.  To suppose that Art can go beyond
the finest specimens of Art that are now in the world, is not
knowing what Art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the

Vision of last Judgment, (E 554)
 "The Last Judgment when all those are Cast away who trouble
Religion with Questions concerning Good & Evil or Eating of the
Tree of those Knowledges or Reasonings which hinder the Vision of
God turning all into a Consuming fire  Imaginative Art &
Science & all Intellectual Gifts all the Gifts of the Holy Ghost
are [despisd] lookd upon as of no use & only Contention
remains to Man then the Last Judgment begins & its Vision is seen
by the [Imaginative Eye] of Every one according to the
situation he holds"

Milton, Plate 25 [27], (E 122)
"And you shall Reap the whole Earth, from Pole to Pole! from Sea to Sea
Begining at Jerusalems Inner Court, Lambeth ruin'd and given
To the detestable Gods of Priam, to Apollo: and at the Asylum
Given to Hercules, who labour in Tirzahs Looms for bread    
Who set Pleasure against Duty: who Create Olympic crowns
To make Learning a burden & the Work of the Holy Spirit: Strife."

Jerusalem, Plate 74 (E 229)
"The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated      
From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio
Of the Things of Memory. It thence frames Laws & Moralities
To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdoms & Wars

Teach me O Holy Spirit the Testimony of Jesus! let me
Comprehend wonderous things out of the Divine Law" 

Thursday, October 19, 2017


First posted on July 17, 2011

Ram Horn'd with Gold

A Blake Hypertext Commentary

The Spiritual Autobiography of William Blake

Edited by Larry Clayton

"Blake sent this poem to the one faithful Christian he knew who had befriended and loved him. The circumstances leave no doubt as to the identity of the One Man. The poem poetically expresses Blake's faith as it relates to God, Man and the relationship between the two. It expresses what the Christian faith has to say about the relationship as well as it can be expressed verbally. It also expresses with vivid eloquence the child like nature of the entrance to the kingdom of God. Blake here celebrates and confesses it. To interpret Blake's experience we could use any number of hackneyed phrases representing the various dialects of the language of Zion; suffice it to say that for most of them as for Blake this is the main event, the center of the Moment of Grace. At this point Jesus became and forever afterward remained the One and the ever present Reality which Blake had formerly known as the Infinite or Eternal. For Blake Jesus was a Man, the Reality of Life, and most ultimately the All. In all three instances Blake strictly followed Johnine and Pauline strains of the New Testament."

Letters, 16, Oct 1800, (E 712)  
"To my Friend Butts I write
     My first Vision of Light
     On the yellow sands sitting
     The Sun was Emitting
     His Glorious beams
     From Heavens high Streams
     Over Sea over Land
     My Eyes did Expand
     Into regions of air
     Away from all Care
     Into regions of fire
     Remote from Desire
     The Light of the Morning
     Heavens Mountains adorning
     In particles bright
     The jewels of Light
     Distinct shone & clear--
     Amazd & in fear
     I each particle gazed
     Astonishd Amazed
     For each was a Man
     Human formd.  Swift I ran
     For they beckond to me
     Remote by the Sea
     Saying.  Each grain of Sand
     Every Stone on the Land
     Each rock & each hill
     Each fountain & rill
     Each herb & each tree
     Mountain hill Earth & Sea
     Cloud Meteor & Star
     Are Men Seen Afar
     I stood in the Streams
     Of Heavens bright beams
     And Saw Felpham sweet
     Beneath my bright feet
     In soft Female charms
     And in her fair arms
     My Shadow I knew
     And my wifes shadow too
     And My Sister & Friend.
     We like Infants descend
     In our Shadows on Earth
     Like a weak mortal birth
     My Eyes more & more
     Like a Sea without shore
     Continue Expanding
     The Heavens commanding
     Till the jewels of Light
     Heavenly Men beaming bright
     Appeard as One Man
     Who Complacent began
     My limbs to infold
     In his beams of bright gold
     Like dross purgd away
     All my mire & my clay
     Soft consumd in delight
     In his bosom sun bright
     I remaind.  Soft he smild
     And I heard his voice Mild
     Saying This is My Fold
     O thou Ram hornd with gold
     Who awakest from sleep
     On the sides of the Deep
     On the Mountains around
     The roarings resound
     Of the lion & wolf
     The loud sea & deep gulf
     These are guards of My Fold
     O thou Ram hornd with gold
     And the voice faded mild
     I remaind as a Child
     All I ever had known
     Before me bright Shone
     I saw you & your wife
     By the fountains of Life
     Such the Vision to me
     Appeard on the Sea"
Image from:
Wikipedia Commons
America a Prophecy
Plate 9 

Another post: WHY RAM HORN'D?


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Haste Away

Before Larry left this mortal life in December 2016 he was fond of repeating a few simple lines from Blake which elucidated the attitude which was appropriate for us to have toward the approach of death in this world:
Gates of Paradise, Keys, (E 268)
"13   But when once I did descry 
     The Immortal Man that cannot Die
14   Thro evening shades I haste away 
     To close the Labours of my Day
15   The Door of Death I open found                             
     And the Worm Weaving in the Ground
16   Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb 
     Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
     Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife
     And weeping over the Web of Life"  

He published this in a post in March of 2015. 
The term, Death Eternal, means something far different from the conventional intonation. To Blake it meant captivity to the Material for someone completely oblivious to the realm of Spirit.

Wikimedia Commons

The word die is carefully avoided by most of us; when a loved one dies, we say he/she passed away. The question is - what dies? The Roman Empire died; the British Empire died? But those were not people per se; they were states, conglomerates of materiality. So death is relative - from what to what? Ellie asked a workmate if he considered himself a body or a spirit; "a body", he said; "a spirit", she said.So what dies? A body or a spirit or both? (In mortal life our bodies are said to actually die (cell by cell) and be renewed every 7 years.)

So at the end of mortal life what dies? the body of course, the garment that we acquired when we descended into the Sea of Time and Space and the 'daughters of Enitharmon' began to cut and splice it.

When Odysseus (or Luvah) threw the garment back to the sea goddess, he was on his way back to Eternity, where we all go sooner or later.

In the French Quarter in N.O. a black friend told me about her dead son; he had had an incurable and painful disease; he came to her and asked her permission to die, which she of course granted. In one of Charles Williams' delightful metaphysical thrillers two characters are especially memorable: a saintly lady fully in tune with the life of the Spirit, and a man who generations before had been hanged; his spirit still hung around that locale, which happened to be outside her window. She met him there and gave him permission to depart in peace.

In the play called William Blake Meets Thomas Paine we witness a conversation that Will Blake had with his brother Robert (long deceased), and we are led to believe that this was commonplace in Blake's life.

"Every Death is an improvement in the State of the Departed." (Letters, 74 - to Linnell; Erdman 774)

By Death Eternal Blake implied descent into mortal life.
By Life Eternal he meant return to our Eternal Origin.
But what, we ask, have you and I learned here in our mortal life?