Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CONTENTIONS

British Museum              Illustrations to Young's Night Thought

Matthew 10
[26] Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
[27] What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
[28] And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
[29] Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
[30] But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
[31] Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
[32] Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
[33] But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
[35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
[36] And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
[37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
[38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
[39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.


It seems that Blake discerned that true friendship involved contention. Differences needed to be exposed and have their validity recognized. If uniformity were the goal there need be no interaction. Variety results not from cloning existing individuals but for combining disparate individuals.

Think of the elements which you became aware of in Chemistry class. Although there are a limited number of elements, when they interact they produce the complexity which comprises the material world of our acquaintance. When elements have opposite characteristics they combine to produce compounds which are unlike either of the originals.

Marriage of Heaven& Hell, Plate 21, (E 43)  
"When he had so spoken: I beheld the Angel who stretched out
his arms embracing the flame of fire & he was consumed and arose
as Elijah.
  Note.  This Angel, who is now become a Devil, is my
particular friend: we often read the Bible together in its
infernal or diabolical sense which the world shall have if they
behave well  
  I have also: The Bible of Hell: which the world shall have
whether they will or no.

  One Law for the Lion & Ox is Oppression"
Milton, Plate 30 [33], (E129)
               "MILTON: BOOK THE  SECOND
There is a place where Contrarieties are equally True
This place is called Beulah, It is a pleasant lovely Shadow
Where no dispute can come. Because of those who Sleep.
Into this place the Sons & Daughters of Ololon descended
With solemn mourning into Beulahs moony shades & hills           
Weeping for Milton: mute wonder held the Daughters of Beulah
Enrapturd with affection sweet and mild benevolence" 
Milton, Plate 41 [50], (E 143)
"Then trembled the Virgin Ololon & replyd in clouds of despair

Is this our Feminine Portion the Six-fold Miltonic Female      
Terribly this Portion trembles before thee O awful Man
Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro.
Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity! & now remembrance
Returns upon us! are we Contraries O Milton, Thou & I            
O Immortal! how were we led to War the Wars of Death
Is this the Void Outside of Existence, which if enterd into
PLATE 42 [49]    
Becomes a Womb? & is this the Death Couch of Albion
Thou goest to Eternal Death & all must go with thee"
Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43],(E 185)
"And the two Sources of Life in Eternity[,] Hunting and War,
Are become the Sources of dark & bitter Death & of corroding Hell:
The open heart is shut up in integuments of frozen silence
That the spear that lights it forth may shatter the ribs & bosom
A pretence of Art, to destroy Art: a pretence of Liberty      
To destroy Liberty. a pretence of Religion to destroy Religion
Oshea and Caleb fight: they contend in the valleys of Peor
In the terrible Family Contentions of those who love each other:
The Armies of Balaam weep---no women come to the field
Dead corses lay before them, & not as in Wars of old.        
For the Soldier who fights for Truth, calls his enemy his brother:
They fight & contend for life, & not for eternal death!
But here the Soldier strikes, & a dead corse falls at his feet
Nor Daughter nor Sister nor Mother come forth to embosom the Slain!
But Death! Eternal Death! remains in the Valleys of Peor."   

Jerusalem, Plate 91 (E 251)
"I have tried to make friends by corporeal gifts but have only    
Made enemies: I never made friends but by spiritual gifts;
By severe contentions of friendship & the burning fire of thought.
He who would see the Divinity must see him in his Children
One first, in friendship & love; then a Divine Family, & in the midst
Jesus will appear; so he who wishes to see a Vision; a perfect Whole        
Must see it in its Minute Particulars; Organized & not as thou
O Fiend of Righteousness pretendest; thine is a Disorganized
And snowy cloud: brooder of tempests & destructive War"

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 When 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"

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 20, (E 42)
 So the Angel said: thy phantasy has imposed upon me & thou oughtest to be ashamed.
  I answerd: we impose on one another, & it is but lost time
to converse with you whose works are only Analytics.

                 Opposition is true Friendship."

Milton, Plate 31 [34], (E 130]
"And all the Living Creatures of the Four Elements, wail'd
With bitter wailing: these in the aggregate are named Satan
And Rahab: they know not of Regeneration, but only of Generation
The Fairies, Nymphs, Gnomes & Genii of the Four Elements         
Unforgiving & unalterable: these cannot be Regenerated
But must be Created, for they know only of Generation
These are the Gods of the Kingdoms of the Earth: in contrarious
And cruel opposition: Element against Element, opposed in War
Not Mental, as the Wars of Eternity, but a Corporeal Strife"  

Milton, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human
That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe
Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels:
This is the only means to Forgiveness of Enemies              
Therefore remove from Albion these terrible Surfaces
And let wild seas & rocks close up Jerusalem away from
PLATE 50
The Atlantic Mountains where Giants dwelt in Intellect;
Now given to stony Druids, and Allegoric Generation
To the Twelve Gods of Asia, the Spectres of those who Sleep:
Sway'd by a Providence oppos'd to the Divine Lord Jesus:
A murderous Providence! A Creation that groans, living on Death. 
Where Fish & Bird & Beast & Man & Tree & Metal & Stone
Live by Devouring, going into Eternal Death continually:
Albion is now possess'd by the War of Blood! the Sacrifice
Of envy Albion is become, and his Emanation cast out:
Come Lord Jesus, Lamb of God descend! for if; O Lord!"            

Jerusalem, Plate 74, (E 229)
I walk up and down in Six Thousand Years: their Events are present before me
To tell how Los in grief & anger, whirling round his Hammer on high  
Drave the Sons & Daughters of Albion from their ancient mountains
They became the Twelve Gods of Asia Opposing the Divine Vision

The Sons of Albion are Twelve: the Sons of Jerusalem Sixteen
I tell how Albions Sons by Harmonies of Concords & Discords
Opposed to Melody, and by Lights & Shades, opposed to Outline    
And by Abstraction opposed to the Visions of Imagination 
By cruel Laws divided Sixteen into Twelve Divisions
How Hyle roofd Los in Albions Cliffs by the Affections rent
Asunder & opposed to Thought, to draw Jerusalems Sons
Into the Vortex of his Wheels. therefore Hyle is called Gog      
Age after age drawing them away towards Babylon
Babylon, the Rational Morality deluding to death the little ones

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
    "Forgiveness of Sin is only at the Judgment Seat of Jesus the
Saviour where the Accuser is cast out. not because he Sins but
because he torments the Just & makes them do what he condemns as
Sin & what he knows is opposite to their own Identity 
     It is not because Angels are Holier than Men or Devils that
makes them Angels but because they do not Expect Holiness from
one another but from God only"
Your time will be well spent in reading this Thesis presented to the Department of English at McGill University by Donna Lynn George: The Severe Contentions of Friendship: Blake's System of Contraries and Negations in Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Milton, and Jerusalem.

Quotes:

"It is interesting that Blake uses the term "friendship" to describe the ideal relationship between men and women for it implies a degree of equality which few men can admit for it goes far beyond the male ego level of development." (Page 72)
...

"Blake's system of contraries and negations is never conveniently summarized by Blake in one concise model. The complexity of the system must be experienced by the reader in the minute particulars of the entire canon. That this Herculean task is Most probably never completed ironically demonstrates the manner in which Blake's non-system operates. Blake-Los is continually "Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems" (Jerusalem Plate 11, 5, p. 630). The entelechy of any system is an abstract, olympianized, logical, operator; however, Blake never reached that heretical point because the bare bones of his message cannot be abstracted from the flesh they informed. It is always tempting to abstract a complete model of the doctrine of contraries but to do so is to discover the reasoning negation: "God forbid that Truth should be Confined to Mathematica1 Demonstration"·: (Annotations ~ Reynolds, p. 474). There is no state in Blake's system which transcends the "severe contentions/Of Friendship" (Milton Plate 41, 32-33, pp. 533-534) consisting in the dialectical relationship of an identity and his emanation, the ultimate contraries. (Page 77)

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

WILLIAM & MARY

British Museum
Illustrations to Young'g Night Thoughts 
Songs and Ballads, Blake's Notebook, (E496) 
             William Bond
"I wonder whether the Girls are mad 
And I wonder whether they mean to kill
And I wonder if William Bond will die 
For assuredly he is very ill

He went to Church in a May morning                   
Attended by Fairies one two & three
But the Angels Of Providence drove them away
And he returnd home in Misery

He went not out to the Field nor Fold
He went not out to the Village nor Town           
But he came home in a black black cloud
And took to his Bed & there lay down

And an Angel of Providence at his Feet
And an Angel of Providence at his Head
And in the midst a Black Black Cloud      
And in the midst the Sick Man on his Bed

And on his Right hand was Mary Green
And on his Left hand was his Sister Jane
And their tears fell thro the black black Cloud
To drive away the sick mans pain 
                     
O William if thou dost another Love
Dost another Love better than poor Mary
Go & take that other to be thy Wife
And Mary Green shall her Servant be

Yes Mary I do another Love                          
Another I Love far better than thee
And Another I will have for my Wife
Then what have I to do with thee

For thou art Melancholy Pale
And on thy Head is the cold Moons shine               
But she is ruddy & bright as day
And the sun beams dazzle from her eyne

Mary trembled & Mary chilld
And Mary fell down on the right hand floor
That William Bond & his Sister Jane                    
Scarce could recover Mary more

When Mary woke & found her Laid
On the Right hand of her William dear
On the Right hand of his loved Bed
And saw her William Bond so near                       

The Fairies that fled from William Bond
Danced around her Shining Head
They danced over the Pillow white
And the Angels of Providence left the Bed

I thought Love livd in the hot sun Shine                 
But O he lives in the Moony light
I thought to find Love in the heat of day
But sweet Love is the Comforter of Night

Seek Love in the Pity of others Woe
In the gentle relief of anothers care               
In the darkness of night & the winters snow
In the naked & outcast Seek Love there"
To understand the reasoning of this poem I find it necessary to start from the end rather than from the beginning. In the last two verses Blake speaks openly of love, not the love of men and women for each other but the compassionate love that joins us together as the eternal brotherhood of humanity. This is not the love of passion or possession, but that of sharing in the joys and woes of the whole body of mankind. If William Bond is ill, it is with the sickness of directing his love according to the worldly principles of church doctrine or conventional norms.

The poem turns on the offer by Mary to be a servant rather than prevent William's love from being directed toward another woman. Mary as the earthly woman, like the moon lives by reflected light: 
"For thou art Melancholy Pale 
And on thy Head is the cold Moons shine" 
The heavenly woman like Jerusalem shines from her own internal light: 
"But she is ruddy & bright as day 
And the sun beams dazzle from her eyne"

If Mary will become the servant to William's wife or emanation, she not only is welcome to William's bed but becomes a vehicle for the fairies of imagination to dance around her head. Thus love is raised to another dimension, that of universal or inclusive love. 
"I thought Love livd in the hot sun Shine 
But O he lives in the Moony light 
I thought to find Love in the heat of day 
But sweet Love is the Comforter of Night
Seek Love in the Pity of others Woe
In the gentle relief of anothers care               
In the darkness of night & the winters snow
In the naked & outcast Seek Love there"
Love is no less in the 'Moony night' than in the 'hot sun Shine'. To find love one must offer oneself, and be willing to sacrifice to fulfil the need of another. As in the prayer of St Francis - in giving we recieve.

John.2
[1] And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
[2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
[3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
[4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
[5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

LAMENT IV

Four Zoas, Night VIII
Page 109
Enion's final lament appears late in Night VIII. Her laments have been silent since Night III because she has been wandering 'into the deep Where never yet Existence came.' But her wanderings have not been unproductive. Unlike Thel she accepted the challenge to explore the grave and death by entering into them and gaining experience of them not as observer but as a participant. As a generator of natural life she knew that she was also a generator of death in the natural world. Through entering into this desolation she learned to embrace what had once been the source of her fear and despair. This experience became a gate leading to an awakening to a new Enion who knew that the consciousness of immortality replaced the fear of mortality.

Blake was making the distinction between death as it is experienced in the natural world and death as a spiritual experience of entry into Eternal Life. The Circle of Destiny is a term Blake used for the cyclical process through which the natural world renews itself through a repetition of birth, life and death. Enion who had introduced such a process became aware of its futility. She saw that the culmination of humanity's journey through life was not to begin again the same dull round but to be transformed to an eternal dimension beyond the confines of natural life.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 113 [109], (E 384)
"Thus cries Ahania   Enion replies from the Caverns of the Grave

Fear not O poor forsaken one O land of briars & thorns
Where once the Olive flourishd & the Cedar spread his wings 
Once I waild desolate like thee my fallow fields in fear
Cried to the Churchyards & the Earthworm came in dismal state
I found him in my bosom & I said the time of Love
Appears upon the rocks & hills in silent shades but soon
A voice came in the night a midnight cry upon the mountains 
Awake the bridegroom cometh I awoke to sleep no more
But an Eternal Consummation is dark Enion
The watry Grave. O thou Corn field O thou Vegetater happy
More happy is the dark consumer hope drowns all my torment
For I am now surrounded by a shadowy vortex drawing 
The Spectre quite away from Enion that I die a death
Of bitter hope altho I consume in these raging waters
The furrowd field replies to the grave I hear her reply to me
Behold the time approaches fast that thou shalt be as a thing
Forgotten when one speaks of thee he will not be believd 
When the man gently fades away in his immortality

When the mortal disappears in improved knowledge cast away
The former things so shall the Mortal gently fade away
And so become invisible to those who still remain
Listen I will tell thee what is done in the caverns of the grave 
PAGE 114 [110] 
The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return
In Clouds & Fires around the rock & the Mysterious tree
As the seed waits Eagerly watching for its flower & fruit
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse
To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible army 
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beast
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows
He tries the sullen north wind riding on its angry furrows
The sultry south when the sun rises & the angry east 
When the sun sets when the clods harden & the cattle stand
Drooping & the birds hide in their silent nests. he stores his thoughts
As in a store house in his memory he regulates the forms
Of all beneath & all above   & in the gentle West
Reposes where the Suns heat dwells   he rises to the Sun
And to the Planets of the Night & to the stars that gild
The Zodiac & the stars that sullen stand to north & south
He touches the remotest pole & in the Center weeps
That Man should Labour & sorrow & learn & forget & return 
To the dark valley whence he came to begin his labours anew
In pain he sighs in pain he labours in his universe
Screaming in birds over the deep & howling in the Wolf
Over the slain & moaning in the cattle & in the winds
And weeping over Orc & Urizen in clouds & flaming fires 
And in the cries of birth & in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the Universe whereever a grass grows
Or a leaf buds   The Eternal Man is seen is heard   is felt
And all his Sorrows till he reassumes his ancient bliss

Such are the words of Ahania & Enion. Los hears & weeps"  
In Blake's Four Zoas: The Design of a Dream, Brian Wilkie and Mary Lynn Johnson emphasize that Enion is not referring to seasonal renewal in her fourth lament:

"Something starts things budding every spring, whether there is any point or not: something deathless stirs in mankind despite the grave, and that stirring promises human resurrection. But nature provides only an analogy, not a proof or a dynamic. The active force in renewal, according to both Shelley's and Blake's vision, is the human will acting on love whose ultimate source is imagination. The seeds of new life in the human world are small acts of goodness struggling, as in Enion's song, to grow; they flourish in spite of natural cycles, not because of them, and in defiance of the limits seemingly imposed by physical death.
...
Yet repeated failures like those described here are an indirect reminder that opportunities for regeneration are repeated, in fact are omnipresent. The blindness of instinct may be exactly what allows man to start over after failing again and again...Much of his laborious renewal comes through his identifying himself with the pain as well as the joy of the universe." (Page 203)

Wilkie and Johnson find that in the 15TH chapter of 1ST Corinthians Paul affirms the same insight: that our hope is the resurrection, new birth to a new life in Christ not a reappearance of the old man who died in the crucifixion.


First Corinthians 15 (RSV)
[12]Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
[13] But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;
[14] if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
[15] We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
[16] For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.
[17] If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
[18] Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
[19] If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
[20] But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
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Thursday, May 02, 2019

LAMENT III

British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Turning to the third lament of Enion which occurs near the end or Night III, we read words from 'the cold waters of despair.' One way that Blake expressed the situation in which Enion found herself was through the symbol of Atlantis, a lost continent which had been described by Plato. To Blake the deluge in which Tharmas and Enion were submerged could be represented by the mighty flood which wiped out a continent.

In Fearful Symmetry Northrop Frye gives us implications of what Atlantis symbolized to Blake:

"The fall of Albion included a deluge in which the center of Atlantis was overwhelmed and only fragments of the British Isles were left. The settlement of America by the English and revolt of America against the dead hand of English tyranny is therefore the dawn of a new age in which Atlantis begins to appear above the waves. In the meantime England still exists in the spiritual world as Atlantis, and Blake's engraved poems are on its mountains." (Page 126)
Enion's Third Lament 
Four Zoas, Page 44, Night III, (E 330)
"These are the words of Enion heard from the cold waves of despair

O Tharmas I had lost thee. & when I hoped I had found thee
O Tharmas do not thou destroy me quite but let
A little shadow. but a little showery form of Enion
Be near thee loved Terror. let me still remain & then do thou
Thy righteous doom upon me. only let me hear thy voice           
Driven by thy rage I wander like a cloud into the deep
Where never yet Existence came, there losing all my life
I back return weaker & weaker, consume me not away
In thy great wrath. tho I have sinned. tho I have rebelld
Make me not like the things forgotten as they had not been       
Make not the thing that loveth thee. a tear wiped away" 
Enion's lament in Night III expresses the further disintegration of the unified psyche. Together Tharmas and Enion were the most basic building block of the psyche. When Enion become too distant from Tharmas to hear his voice or know that he sustained her existence she asked only to be remembered.

When we think of the instinctual aspect of our minds as the Id, the part that initially incorporates the desire to maintain life itself, we get an intimation of the function of Tharmas and Enion. If Tharmas holds the desire for life to be expressed and Enion the ability to express that desire, their integration into a unit is necessary to their existence. Tharmas without Enion is a chaotic flood which submerges Atlantis. It is as if the disorganized unconscious was threatening to withhold all psychic energy from other portions of the mind. Enion was the first to experience this loss by traveling farther and farther into nonexistence and finding it harder and harder to return.

If ordinary consciousness is lost when someone becomes mentally ill, the unconscious may gain control. Tharmas and Enion are what dominates the unconscious. For Enion to be completely lost to Tharmas would cut off any avenue to restoring order and consciousness. If Tharmas can remember Enion, she may draw him into a connection with the means of healing which the conscious mind may supply. 
British Museum
Small Book of Designs
Copy A, Plate 8


Friday, April 26, 2019

LAMENT II




Four Zoas, Night II
Page 36
Enion's second lament focuses on the consequences of her withdrawal from Tharmas. Life in the external world does not work out like she may have expected it to. Her intentions may have been good but the results are the opposite. She knew that it was the decisions that she made which have led to suffering. Although the spoiled world may have been providing her with the experience she needed to arrive at wisdom, was the price too high if all that she has was required in exchange?

Enion was more than an observer in the world of life, she was the means by which the life inhabiting her world was generated. The multitude of lifeforms were her children. She understood that life lives on death but she couldn't grasp why that must be so. She was not one who found it easy to rejoice in a world where all do not share in the prosperity.

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34,  (E 324) 
"Thus livd Los driving Enion far into the deathful infinite
That he may also draw Ahania's spirit into her Vortex
Ah happy blindness Enion sees not the terrors of the uncertain 
Thus Enion wails from the dark deep, the golden heavens tremble
PAGE 35
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty
I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog
For a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale    
And I have caused the earth worm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 

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

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer
PAGE 36 
To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast           
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits & flowers

Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!"
What Enion experienced when she was separated from Tharmas was consciousness of mortality in a mortal world. What was within Enion was what she beheld in the void which she inhabited.

Paul of Tarsus, in the seventh chapter of Romans, reported experience of the same agony as portrayed in Enion's lament. He was conscious of being unable to act from the good which he mentally sought to follow. He also was conscious that he did the things that he hated. Blake explicitly stated the choices of Enion whose results were abhorrent to her. Her dilemma was that knowing what she had wrought, and finding it unacceptable; she hadn't the wisdom to find an escape. The best she could do was attempt to ignore the devastation which surrounded her. The easy way to gain experience is to ignore the unpleasant things that are generated by decisions to aggrandize oneself while others bear heavy burdens.
   
To some extent Enion's solution is one we often choose when confronted with conditions which are too upsetting to for us to allow ourselves to fully comprehend. Larry confessed to finding himself confronted with a level of suffering of which he had no experience when he saw Calcutta. As a young man he had traveled the world as a merchant seaman. He was 19 or 20 in 1946 when his ship reached Calcutta:

"At Calcutta we saw people whose only home was the street, people dying of cholera, etc. A rich man had opened his home to the Allies; it was like a museum, certainly not the kind of place you would want to live, but with European masterworks of art on the walls, big overstuffed sofas, everything associated with western affluence. We heard that he fed 150 beggars every day. We visited a temple with carvings of sexual intercourse in 50 different positions. We visited the burning ghats where the dead were brought. We saw one corpse being burned; the heat caused the tendons to contract and the poor body started to rise up. The attendant grabbed a stick and beat it back down. The sacred river was right there with all sorts of dead things in it and people bathing.

Dozens of children followed us around begging. I bought a leather suitcase from a merchant on the sidewalk. He asked $100 for it, but sold it for $10. I could probably have gotten it for less, but I had gotten tired of dickering with him.

Calcutta made a powerful impression on me. I felt the intense need to help that so many others had felt there. I knew that I had a choice, to dedicate the rest of my life to trying to help them, or to harden my heart. It's obvious which choice I took, since I left a few days later and never went back."

But he didn't forget. He couldn't rejoice in his own prosperity by wiping out consciousness of the suffering world.

Romans 7 (RSV)
[18] For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.
[19] For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.
[20] Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.
[21] So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
[22] For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self,
[23] but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.
[24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
[25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

LAMENT I

Four Zoas, Night I
Page 18

In the Four Zoas the first psychic division which takes place is between Tharmas and Enion. Blake uses these two characters to symbolize a mental division which is basic in the development of the operation of the human mind. I think of it in terms of the infant first being able to recognize that the mother whom he can touch, see, hear, and smell, and, most importantly, from whom he receives sustenance, is outside of himself. If Tharmas is the sensing being who becomes aware, Enion is the external world from whom the the sensations come.

Thinking about Tharmas and Enion in this way explains why Tharmas is constantly in pursuit of Enion who constantly flees. He seeks to return to that bliss of undifferentiated consciousness.She seeks to preserve the ability to step outside of self-reflection. It also indicates something of the underlying unity of the internal world with the external world: the unity to which Albion must return when he is restored to wholeness.

Sukie Colgrave in her book Uniting Heaven & Earth wrote of the process of separation from the totality and the desire to overcome the divisions which ensued:

"As humanity awoke millennia ago from its instinctive at-oneness with the cosmos, so each individual emerges, at some moment, from his or her own pre-conscious identity with the Mother. This initial loss coincides with the birth of human consciousness. It is followed by a struggle between the desire for freedom and knowledge and the longing for wholeness and peace. The tension between these two impulses propels the restless psyche ever onward in search of a kingdom in which freedom and unity belong together, in which understanding and peace are no longer in conflict." (Page 198)

The character Enion is best known for her laments of which there are four in the Four Zoas. In these she explores the implications of existence in matter as the field in which experience is gained. Her first lament in Night I finds her wandering desolate, acutely aware of the suffering and futility of the varied manifestations of life which have been generated in matter as a consequence of the origin of time and space which give matter definition.

Children early learn to use the question 'Why?' They find it a powerful tool with which to explore their world. With it they force their parents to explore their own assumptions and interpretations about how the world works. The question 'Why?' is a challenge to emphathize, to put oneself into the position occupied by another, to see and feel more than what is a part of our individual perception. If we stop asking that question we will never get to the root of the dual nature of humanity - an eternal spirit confined in a mortal body.

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 17, (E 310)
"Enion blind & age-bent wept upon the desolate wind  

Why does the Raven cry aloud and no eye pities her?
Why fall the Sparrow & the Robin in the foodless winter?
Faint! shivering they sit on leafless bush, or frozen stone 

Wearied with seeking food across the snowy waste; the little     
Heart, cold; and the little tongue consum'd, that once in thoughtless joy
Gave songs of gratitude to waving corn fields round their nest.

Why howl the Lion & the Wolf? why do they roam abroad?         
Deluded by summers heat they sport in enormous love
And cast their young out to the hungry wilds & sandy desarts     
PAGE 18
Why is the Sheep given to the knife? the Lamb plays in the Sun
He starts! he hears the foot of Man! he says, Take thou my wool
But spare my life, but he knows not that winter cometh fast.

The Spider sits in his labourd Web, eager watching for the Fly
Presently comes a famishd Bird & takes away the Spider           
His Web is left all desolate, that his little anxious heart
So careful wove; & spread it out with sighs and weariness.

This was the Lamentation of Enion round the golden Feast
Eternity groand and was troubled at the image of Eternal Death
Without the body of Man an Exudation from his sickning limbs"


Sunday, April 21, 2019

I BEHOLD

Wikimedia Commons
The Three Maries at the Sepulchre

Matthew 27
[55] And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
[56] Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
[57] When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
[58] He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
[59] And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
[60] And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
[61] And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
[62] Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
[63] Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
[64] Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
[65] Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
[66] So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Matthew 28
[1] In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
[2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
[3] His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
[4] And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
[5] And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
[6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
[7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
[8] And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
[9] And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
[10] Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 212) 
"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.

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!"

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Image of God


British Museum

Small Book of Designs

Copy A, Plate 1

 This is an extract (1) from Chapter Five (GOD) of Ram Horn'd With Gold by Larry Clayton.


"Thinking as I do that the Creator of this world is a cruel being, and being a worshipper of Christ, I have to say: "the Son! oh how unlike the Father": First God Almighty comes with a thump on the head; then J.C. comes with a balm to heal it." (Blake's Comments on A Vision of the Last Judgment, Erdman 565)


       To put it shortly the epigraph says it all. An esoteric alternative Protestantism nurtured Blake as a child. But what he said above aptly expresses the feelings of enormous numbers of people in our society today. "I don't care for the O.T. The N.T. suits me better": there is the understated strong consensus of many today, so extravagantly stated here by William Blake.


 
       It remains for us only to elaborate on the development of 'God-thought' in the thinker through the years of his spiritual growth. 
**************************************************

      The materialistic psychology dominant in Blake's age as well as our own portrays the real and the imaginative as opposites. But in truth there are only images of reality; all reality is mental, that is, mediated into consciousness by the mind. Our immediate experience is a chaos of sense perception from which we all create our own visions of reality. Like Blake "[we] must create our own system or be enslaved by another man's" (Jerusalem plate 10, line 20). An authentic person consciously creates his own vision of reality. He chooses to be who he is rather than to borrow his identity from a group or from a charismatic figure.

     
 Each person's ultimate reality is his God. There is no known objective God (the Russian cosmonauts assured us of that many years ago); there are only images of God. Some of the outstanding images of God that have shaped the life of the world came to us from Moses, Isaiah, Buddha, and Mohammed. Finally we have the vision of Jesus, whom Christians consider to be an incarnation of God. But perhaps equally influential upon the course of history have been the visions of Alexander, Napoleon, and Stalin. Their common vision of the dominion of power is near the opposite pole from that of the gentle Galilean.


       Blake was a total and confirmed visionary, and he evisioned all of the images of God listed above and quite a few others as well. He did this by pursuing his imaginative experience wherever it led. The uncanny freedom with which he followed "the wind where it listeth" led him on a strange and fascinating spiritual journey through some remarkable byways and paths, described in his poetry. At the end of his pilgrimage he came to a definite vision of God as Jesus, the Forgiveness. After almost two centuries it remains one of the highest and best visions of God that Christians have for their inspiration.


       Full understanding of Blake's vision of God depends upon a grasp of his concepts of time and eternity. For Blake the eternal is the realm of the real, while time is the dimension of Plato's mortal cave of phantasmal dreams. Although the eternal is immortal, it does not refer simply to the hereafter; that would be just a phantasmal portion of time stretched out indefinitely. The eternal is the Mental, the Imaginative, the world to which a man may awaken as soon as he realizes that the corporeal, temporal, materialistic framework of reality is an illusion.


       The rationalists of Blake's day with their radical materialism had closed themselves off from the eternal. They had imprisoned themselves in what he called the mundane shell (Milton plate 17 line 18ff). They were exclusively this worldly. Blake perceived that they worshiped the God of this World, no matter what they called him. They had most often called him Jehovah or Jesus. As a young man Blake renamed him Urizen . He spent half a lifetime studying this God of the timebound so he could cast him off and replace him with a more authentic image. Eventually he came to realize that this god's truest name is Satan. He also referred to him as the Selfhood (Jerusalem 5:21-23) and the Spectre.


       Blake tells us that radical materialism with its worship of the God of this World is a state of mind from which a man may awaken at any moment into a realization of the infinite and of his kinship with the Divine Man, Jesus. So these two Gods, the Satan of the World and the Jesus of Eternity remain in continuous opposition in men's minds, and they are best understood in contrast to one another.


       Jesus is the Lord of the Eternal realm, which is imaginative, creative, non-violent, gracious, and above all forgiving and uniting into life. Satan is God of this World, of power, might, law, man against man, separation, finally death. One is Lord of Life, the other the Lord of Death. Satan is actually not a person but a state and will eventually go to his own place, which is a way of saying that Jesus will eventually get him off our backs. This happens at the Last Judgment when all Error is burnt up.

The Journey

      We live in a secular age; the reality of God has been largely barred from the consciousness of most people. It is a significant experience for only a minority of the population. Of course many people understand that everyone has a God of some sort--his ultimate concern. But the biblical God, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is not a live issue in the minds of very many people today. Our foremost modern psychologist, C.G.Jung, quite properly placed God in our unconscious and encouraged us to seek there for him. Jung understood very well Blake's statement that "all deities reside in the human breast" (end of Plate 11 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell).


      The secular currents so powerful today were already flowing strongly in the late 18th Century in England. The prevalent deism put God back behind the present scene, a long way behind it. Strictly the Divine Architect, having made the world like a clock, he wound it up and left it to run on its own. He also left the deists to their own devices, and they were happy in this new freedom. They felt that they had learned to control their destinies without divine assistance.

Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201) 
"Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion
of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the
Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and
destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God. 
Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the
Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches
Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not
the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine
Name   Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God
of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and
Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or
Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart. 
This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus.  Deism
is the same & ends in the same."

     Blake lived in the midst of these currents, but he opposed them emphatically. Unlike the deists he experienced the immediate presence and pervasive reality of God in his life. He completely filled his poetry and pictures alike with metaphysical images because his mind dwelt almost exclusively upon spiritual themes. The material realm interested him only as a shadow of the eternal. He abhorred the materialism by which the deists lived. He might have been happier and more at home in the Middle Ages.


      But he was also a very modern man. He understood better than Jung that an external objective God is an unknown quantity, a projection of unsophisticated minds:

      "Mental things are alone Real....Where is the Existence Out of Mind or Thought? Where is it but in the mind of a Fool?" (Vision of the Last Judgment, page 565)


       The only God anyone can know is the image of God projected upon his mind or enclosed in his consciousness. Since time began, men have shared their visions of God with one another. All religions began in this way. The Bible makes most sense as an infinitely fascinating compendium of the visions of God shared by Moses, Isaiah, Paul and the other writers. This unfolding and composite vision has shaped western culture down to the present moment.

      Blake thoroughly surveyed this passing scene, not just the Bible, but every other religious document he could get his hands on, and related them all to his own direct and immediate visions. Over his lifetime he may have taken more liberties with God than any other systematic thinker ever did. He could do this because he so fully realized that all of these visions of God had come forth from human breasts like his own. Moses, Isaiah, and the others were his eternal brothers, and he joyously engaged with them in the eternal war, the intellectual war, which he called the "severe contentions of friendship" (Jerusalem 91:17).

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