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 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 terms 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." 

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