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

Saturday, December 22, 2018


Yale Center for British Art
Plate 76
Matthew 28
[16] Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 
[18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  

In Jerusalem, Plate 62 Blake has informed us that we are participating in a visionary experience. It is not the time frame of the natural world but of the Eternal world. Although the incidents and characters exist in the physical world the action is in the Eternal dimension.

The conversation has gone from Mary to Joseph, then back to Mary with a new consciousness. Jerusalem enters to take up the passage through the world of Joy & Woe into which the infant Jesus was thrust. This final segment transfers our attention to the Eternal Jesus who in his Resurrected Body joins Jerusalem in her journey.

The passage is through the world of Luvah and Vala where the turmoil of the emotions is acted out in physical conflict and suffering. Although there is mental and physical pain to be endured, it need not be carried alone. Faith, Trust and Love will sustain those who rely not on 'individual perception' but who 'Die & pass the limits of possibility.'

The panoply which has been spread before us is witnessed by Los - the ability to perceive through Imagination. He has the ability to see beyond the destructive forces of Annihilation to the creative events of renewal.
Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
"Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities.
Tho thou art taken to prison & judgment, starved in the streets
I will command the cloud to give thee food & the hard rock       
To flow with milk & wine, tho thou seest me not a season
Even a long season & a hard journey & a howling wilderness!
Tho Valas cloud hide thee & Luvahs fires follow thee!
Only believe & trust in me, Lo. I am always with thee!

So spoke the Lamb of God while Luvahs Cloud reddening above      
Burst forth in streams of blood upon the heavens & dark night
Involvd Jerusalem. & the Wheels of Albions Sons turnd hoarse
Over the Mountains & the fires blaz'd on Druid Altars
And the Sun set in Tyburns Brook where Victims howl & cry.

But Los beheld the Divine Vision among the flames of the Furnaces
Therefore he lived & breathed in hope. but his tears fell incessant
Because his Children were closd from him apart: & Enitharmon
Dividing in fierce pain: also the Vision of God was closd in clouds
Of Albions Spectres, that Los in despair oft sat, & often ponderd
On Death Eternal in fierce shudders upon the mountains of Albion 
Walking: & in the vales in howlings fierce, then to his Anvils
Turning, anew began his labours, tho in terrible pains!"

Friday, December 21, 2018


Yale Center for British Art
  Plate 26
John 20
[11] But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
[12] And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
[13] And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
[14] And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
[15] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
[16] Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
[17] Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
[18] Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Blake shifted his attention from situations around the birth of Jesus to developments around the religion introduced by Jesus. Of concern to Blake was how Christianity in the person of Jerusalem who received the infant from Mary, found that control of the message passed out of her hands. Although the life of Christ was within her, the world was not prepared to receive her. Under the conditions which existed she was an outcast observing the consequences of the material side dominating the spiritual nature implicit in the incarnation.

Instead of seeing spiritualizing of the material she found that the spiritual became materialized.

Jerusalem was the emanation of Albion and as an emanation was incomplete without her counterpart. Until there was an awakening of Albion (representing Humanity) who had turned away from consciousness of the Divine, Jerusalem was condemned to being treated as an outcast. This was the status which Blake saw in his lifetime: England had turned away from traditional Christianity toward Deism with its concept of a distant God who is unconcerned with the affairs of man.

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212)
"Mary leaned her side against Jerusalem, Jerusalem received
The Infant into her hands in the Visions of Jehovah. Times passed on
Jerusalem fainted over the Cross & Sepulcher She heard the voice
Wilt thou make Rome thy Patriarch Druid & the Kings of Europe his
Horsemen? Man in the Resurrection changes his Sexual Garments at will
Every Harlot was once a Virgin: every Criminal an Infant Love!
Plate 62
Repose on me till the morning of the Grave. I am thy life.

Jerusalem replied. I am an outcast: Albion is dead!
I am left to the trampling foot & the spurning heel!
A Harlot I am calld. I am sold from street to street!
I am defaced with blows & with the dirt of the Prison!
And wilt thou become my Husband O my Lord & Saviour?
Shall Vala bring thee forth! shall the Chaste be ashamed also?
I see the Maternal Line, I behold the Seed of the Woman!
Cainah, & Ada & Zillah & Naamah Wife of Noah.
Shuahs daughter & Tamar & Rahab the Canaanites:                  
Ruth the Moabite & Bathsheba of the daughters of Heth
Naamah the Ammonite, Zibeah the Philistine, & Mary
These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death
But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body
Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day!
I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations
Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend."


Thursday, December 20, 2018


Philadelphia Museum of Art
Tempera on Copper
Luke 1 
[46] And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 
[47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 
[48] For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 
[49] For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 
[50] And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 
[51] He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. [52] He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 
[53] He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 
[54] He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 
[55] As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212)
"Then Mary burst forth into a Song! she flowed like a River of
Many Streams in the arms of Joseph & gave forth her tears of joy
Like many waters, and Emanating into gardens & palaces upon
Euphrates & to forests & floods & animals wild & tame from
Gihon to Hiddekel, & to corn fields & villages & inhabitants
Upon Pison & Arnon & Jordan. And I heard the voice among
The Reapers Saying, Am I Jerusalem the lost Adulteress? or am I
Babylon come up to Jerusalem? And another voice answerd Saying   

Does the voice of my Lord call me again? am I pure thro his Mercy
And Pity. Am I become lovely as a Virgin in his sight who am
Indeed a Harlot drunken with the Sacrifice of Idols does he
Call her pure as he did in the days of her Infancy when She
Was cast out to the loathing of her person. The Chaldean took
Me from my Cradle. The Amalekite stole me away upon his Camels
Before I had ever beheld with love the Face of Jehovah; or known 
That there was a God of Mercy: O Mercy O Divine Humanity!
O Forgiveness & Pity & Compassion! If I were Pure I should never
Have known Thee; If I were Unpolluted I should never have        
Glorified thy Holiness, or rejoiced in thy great Salvation."
A burden was lifted from Mary when she knew that she and Joseph were both recipients of God's grace of forgiveness as were God's people Israel. Mary's response was one of awareness and gratitude. She knew that God's mercy becomes recognizable to those who are most desperate. It was because she was polluted that she knew in her total being the God offered 'Forgiveness & Pity & Compassion.'

The individual Mary has assumed the role of archetype. She becomes Blake's character Jerusalem. She becomes the Savior. She becomes all who follow the path of suffering to arrive at a glorious treasure to share with humanity. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Woman Taken in Adultrey
Blake turns from Mary's understanding of her situation to Joseph's perception. His initial reaction was anger, but what followed was sadness and a desire to comfort Mary. His thoughts then turned to the training which he he had received from studying the prophetic insights of his religion. He become conscious in a dream of the Angel of the Presence speaking to him.

Joseph realized that forgiveness was not received in exchange for payment of a debt. He did not need to extract from Mary a confession or a promise to mend her ways. Jehovah forgave Jerusalem although she was disobedient. The nature of God is to forgive. The response of man to God's forgiving him is not to try and pay God back but to practice forgiving his neighbor and enemy and anyone who has disappointed or wounded him.

This forgiving results from overcoming one's fear that good will not come from seeking reconciliation. Faith too is necessary: faith that there is a larger picture than is visible to one's limited consciousness.
Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 211)
"Ah my Mary: said Joseph: weeping over & embracing her closely in
His arms: Doth he forgive Jerusalem & not exact Purity from her who is
Polluted. I heard his voice in my sleep O his Angel in my dream:
Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall
Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity
That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven
Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the    
Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation
Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins
In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold!
There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant 
Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You:    
That He Himself may Dwell among You. Fear not then to take
To thee Mary thy Wife, for she is with Child by the Holy Ghost"
 The Old Testament book of Hosea symbolizes the relationship between Jehovah and Israel with the command of the Lord that Hosea marry a whore. The children which Gomer bears to Hosea have the potential of becoming God's people through the mercy which is offered to them.
Hosea 1
[2] The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
[3] So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
Hosea 2
[23] And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

Hosea 6
[1] Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
[2] After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
[3] Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018


British Museum
Sketch for Frontispiece of Book of Ahania

Plates 61 and 62 of Jerusalem present a long passage relating incidents found in the Bible with the myth which Blake developed based on his own experience of seeking to live in a world fraught with a struggle to resolve contraries. He begins with the story of incidents around the birth of Jesus as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Luke 1
[30] And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
[34] Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
[35] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Matthew 1
[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
[19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
[20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
[21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Blake invites us to enter the Visionary state and behold with him the dynamics through which salvation is enacted. He begins by viewing from Mary's perspective. If Joseph would not marry her, she would be seen as a 'Harlot & an Adulteress' when her pregnancy was publicly known. Mary did not claim purity but plead for love and forgiveness. She likens herself to the people Israel who were forgiven by Jehovah when they fell away. Mary was able to call upon Joseph to recall the behavior of Jehovah: although the anger of Elohim Jehovah was aroused by the disobedience of his people, he did not cast them out. Mary appeals to Joseph, not trying to justify herself, but recognizing that love is stronger than anger. She sees that passing through the fiery furnace forges stronger ties than those based on the semblance of righteousness.
Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 211)
"Behold: in the Visions of Elohim Jehovah, behold Joseph & Mary   
And be comforted O Jerusalem in the Visions of Jehovah Elohim

She looked & saw Joseph the Carpenter in Nazareth & Mary
His espoused Wife. And Mary said, If thou put me away from thee
Dost thou not murder me? Joseph spoke in anger & fury. Should I  
Marry a Harlot & an Adulteress? Mary answerd, Art thou more pure
Than thy Maker who forgiveth Sins & calls again Her that is Lost
Tho She hates. he calls her again in love. I love my dear Joseph
But he driveth me away from his presence. yet I hear the voice of God
In the voice of my Husband. tho he is angry for a moment, he will not      
Utterly cast me away. if I were pure, never could I taste the sweets
Of the Forgive[ne]ss of Sins! if I were holy! I never could behold the tears
Of love! of him who loves me in the midst of his anger in furnace of fire." 
In the Biblical account Joseph, finding his espoused wife pregnant, intended to break off their relationship quietly. It took the reassurance by an angel to reconcile him to Mary. In his Book of Ahania, Blake describes a couple who were unable to resolve their differences over another issue. Ahania was thrown out by Urizen for her honest attempt to make him aware of the consequences of his behavior. Urizen was unable to forgive and so lost his emanation, an essential aspect of his whole self.
Book of Ahania, Plate 4, (E 88)
2: And the voice cried: Ah Urizen! Love!
Flower of morning! I weep on the verge
Of Non-entity; how wide the Abyss
Between Ahania and thee!                      

3: I lie on the verge of the deep.
I see thy dark clouds ascend,
I see thy black forests and floods,
A horrible waste to my eyes!

4: Weeping I walk over rocks                 
Over dens & thro' valleys of death
Why didst thou despise Ahania
To cast me from thy bright presence
Into the World of Loneness
Plate 5
14: But now alone over rocks, mountains
Cast out from thy lovely bosom:                          
Cruel jealousy! selfish fear!
Self-destroying: how can delight,
Renew in these chains of darkness