Saturday, August 08, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.
6) Bromion,Oothoon,Theotormon

   Sunday, March 10, 2019

Wikipedia Commons Songs of Innocence & of Experience Plate 40, Copy L
This is an extract from Chapter Two of Ram Horn'd With Gold by Larry Clayton. 

A very elementary lesson about love confronts the reader of "The Clod and the Pebble". It shows with stark simplicity the two kinds of love, divine and demonic.

Two kinds of love! Blake will explore the pebble's love with its infinite variety of forms before he allows us to rest again in the love of God. Blake's poem,Visions of the Daughters of Albion, (Look also at the Plates) begins with the words, "I loved Theotormon".

The heroine, Oothoon, thus describes the first significant act in a life of horror. Before the consummation of her love for Theotormon she is raped by Bromion. Then Theotormon won't have her; well named, he's tormented by God. Woman as a possession makes life hell for everyone. Here we find Blake's first full manifestation of the "torments of love and jealousy".

At the climax of this strange love song, with the irony all spent, Oothoon properly assesses conventional love and brands it,

"self-love that envies all, a creeping skeleton With lamplike eyes watching around the frozen marriage bed."

     Those are hot, passionate words of righteous indignation at what fallen men have made of love. Oothoon then proceeds to offer a happier form of married love:

"But silken nets and traps of adamant will Oothoon spread, And catch for thee girls of mild silver, or of furious gold. I'll lie beside thee on a bank & view their wanton play In lovely copulation, bliss on bliss, with Theotormon"

With these extravagant images the young poet shocks his reader into an awareness of love's spectrum of value. In the ironic language of 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' the first, jealous love, is the love of Heaven or Restraint, and the second, the selfless love, is that of Hell or Eternal Delight. This version of values set the style for Blake's use of the word. It became in his hands a sharp sword penetrating to the core of society's ills.

The subtitle of The Four Zoas begins, "The Torments of Love & Jealousy". Violent and passionate feelings characterize the entire epic. As soon as the reader can envision 4Z as a whole, he will perceive that all these passionate feelings in all of these characters have a common destructiveness and alienating effect, until the Moment of Grace recorded in Night vii. Love, hate, fear, pride, humiliation, all are united in this common fallenness.

In Night i the primeval pair, Los and Enitharmon, set the tone for the meaning of love in this fallen world. (They all too aptly portray the emotional universe of many married couples):

"Alternate Love & Hate [filled] his breast: hers Scorn & Jealousy". Enitharmon believes love to be a one way street. Speaking to Los of their parents: "...if we grateful prove They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots."

And in Night ii she announces her philosophy of the relations between man and woman: "The joy of woman is the death of her most best beloved Who dies for Love of her

In torments of fierce jealousy & pangs of adoration."

There you have love at its worst! This fairly represents Blake's ironic use of the word in his major work. In Blake's symbolic structure of thought love is most often a function of woman, who is a symbol of fallenness . Not until 'Jerusalem' do we meet the feminine embodiment of the Christian graces, among them love divine.

The notebookpoem which begins, "My Spectre around me night and day" merits study as an approach to understanding the use of Blake's symbolism to express his deepest feelings about life. I quote the climax of it. In the first verse Blake means by 'love' very much what Paul in Romans 8 meant by 'flesh'. In the second, without using the word, he expresses in the fullest possible way what divine love meant to him:   

"Let us agree to give up Love,
And root up the infernal grove;
Then shall we return & see
The worlds of happy Eternity.

& Throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me.
As our dear Redeemer said:
This the Wine & this the Bread."

As these lines suggest, Blake had a strong sense of reticence about using the sacred words in the sacred sense, perhaps because he had so exhaustively explored their profane senses. Nevertheless in the poem "William Bond" from the Pickering Manuscript he gave an exquisite portrait of romantic love, purified of fallenness and filled with the divine. Read the last two verses: 

"I thought Love liv'd 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 another's care,
In the darkness of night & the winter's snow,
In the naked & outcast, Seek Love there!"


Tuesday, August 04, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

5) Accusers

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Wikipedia Commons
Small Book of Designs
Copy A, Plate 11

This is an extract from Chapter Four (FAITH) of Ram Horn'd With Gold by Larry Clayton.

"Whosoever of you are justified by the law: ye are fallen from grace" Galatians 5:4

Just as he redefined hell, so Blake redefined sin. The only sin for Blake in hindering, oneself or another: "Murder is Hindering Another, Theft is Hindering Another." To subvert one's individuality is the sin against the Holy Spirit. "He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence".

The responsibility for hindering another falls upon the Lawmaker and Enforcer, who has polluted life with his prohibitions: "over the doors Thou shalt not" (EUROPE, a Prophecy, 12.28; Erdman 64). One could say that Blake took Paul's letters to the Romans and to the Galatians too seriously. Luther had taken those epistles seriously enough to throw off the Roman yoke. Blake took them more radically and threw off the mosaic yoke--as Paul had suggested.

Paul had identified the Law with the flesh and opposed it with the Spirit. Our poet took with utmost seriousness these stirring passages calling the Christian to freedom from the Law. He didn't have the benefit of the 'interpretations' of such ideas afforded by the educational process. Sin stems from our ideas of morality, which Blake called hindering. When we presume to know what someone else should or must do, we have entered the state of Caiaphas, the Pharisee, who crucified Jesus, but "was in his own Mind/a benefactor to Mankind."

We lay down the law to another--our law--and thus violate the other's nature: "One law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression". We tell him what to do, and then we use the power of the Accuser, the God of this World, to compel him to do it and to punish him for his failures. This is sin, the way life happens in Ulro. As we have seen, Blake didn't call it life, he called it Eternal Death. Paul had said, "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life."

The categories of sin and righteousness divide mankind. The division often proceeds to the point of physical violence. Corporeal war always rests upon a base of self righteousness and condemnation of the sins of the enemy. Religion too often allies itself with those attitudes and their violent results. Long before the peaceniks of the sixties Blake said in effect, "Make love, not war!" He said it at great length in dozens of different ways. He saw war as the ultimate end of hindering another. In the Book of Urizen we read how Urizen, the great Lawgiver (who lives in all of us!) discovers that none of his children can obey his laws, "for he saw that no flesh nor spirit could keep His iron laws one moment" (Cf There is none righteous, no, not one).

Annotations to Lavater, (E 601)
"Every mans leading propensity ought to be calld his leading Virtue & his good Angel But the Philosophy of Causes & Consequences misled Lavater as it has all his contemporaries. Each thing is its own cause & its own effect Accident is the omission of act in self & the hindering of act in another, This is Vice but all Act from Individual propensity is Virtue. To hinder another is not an act it is the contrary it is a restraint on action both in ourselves & in the person hinderd. for he who hinders another omits his own duty. at the time Murder is Hindering Another Theft is Hindering Another Backbiting. Undermining Circumventing & whatever is Negative is Vice But the origin of this mistake in Lavater & his contemporaries, is, They suppose that Womans Love is Sin. in consequence all the Loves & Graces with them are Sin."

So we see that Blake opposed the idea of sin; he opposed morality; he opposed Law. Paradoxically Blake lived a very law abiding life. Only such a person can afford the luxury of antinomianism without losing his integrity. For example Blake despised the marriage laws--and lived as a faithful and dutiful husband for forty years. But beyond the surface absurdities of his anarchism Blake tells us something profound about life: Goodness cannot be compelled; goodness grows only in a context of freedom. "To the pure all things are pure". Blake was basically pure; one of his mottoes was "everything that lives is holy". That in itself would have been enough to make him famous.

If we can suspend our judgments about people's conduct and stop tormenting ourselves because of our failures to do the good which we have laid upon ourselves, if we can accept what we have called bad, but which may be simply disowned facets of our true nature, in Blake's terminology if we can forgive, then we can put sin behind us and receive the gift of eternal life. Blake, drinking deeply from the primary fountains of scripture, intuitively expressed these universal truths in poetic terms. One hundred years later Jung came along and clothed them with the respectability of a scientific jargon.

From what has been said it is obvious that Blake didn't believe in Sin as it is commonly understood: "Satan thinks that Sin is displeasing to God; he ought to know that Nothing is displeasing to God but Unbelief & Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil". Jerusalem, Blake's symbol of the redeemed and pure consciousness, speaking to Vala, his symbol of the fallen mind, expressed Blake's candid evaluation of Sin as such: "Oh Vala...what is sin but a little error & fault that is soon forgiven?" (Jerusalem, 20.22; E165)

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 654)
"Christ comes
as he came at first to deliver those who were bound under the
Knave not to deliver
the Knave He Comes to Deliver Man the [Forgiven] Accused & not Satan the Accuser we do not find any where that Satan is Accused of Sin
he is only accused of Unbelief & thereby drawing Man into Sin
that he may accuse him. Such is the Last Judgment a Deliverance from Satans Accusation Satan thinks that Sin is displeasing to God he ought to know that Nothing is displeasing to God but Unbelief & Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil
Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have
curbed & governd their Passions or have No Passions but because they have Cultivated their Understandings.
The Treasures of Heaven are not Negations of Passion but Realities of Intellect from which All the Passions Emanate Uncurbed in their Eternal Glory The Fool
shall not enter into Heaven let him be ever so Holy. Holiness is not The Price of Enterance into Heaven Those who are cast out Are All Those who having no Passions of their own because No Intellect. Have spent their lives in Curbing & Governing other Peoples by the Various arts of Poverty & Cruelty of all kinds Wo Wo Wo to you Hypocrites"


Saturday, August 01, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

4) Oothoon Chained
Saturday, January 09, 2016  
Wikimedia Commons
Marriage of Heaven & Hell
Plate 1, Copy I

Associated with each of the Zoas is an Emanation, the female counterpart of the male. Ahania is the feminine nature of Urizen, Enion of Tharmas, Vala of Luvah, and Enitharmon of Los who stands in for Urthona. Blake is not reluctant to picture the Emanations as they appear in the natural world but their appearance in Eternity is beyond even Blake.

Blake was indebted to the heterodox tradition for his development of the concept of emanation. A Christian Gnostic theologian of the third century presented the idea of emanation descending from God into lower forms of existence. The emanations were "not separate existencies so much as personified agencies." However, like Blake, Valentinius saw the the emanative portions falling into "only a partial knowledge of the hidden God."

As we read in Frye's Fearful Symmetry, "The word "emanation" in Blake means the object-world; creature in Eden, female in Beulah, object or nature in Generation, abstraction in Ulro." (Page 127). We follow in Blake the descent of the emanation through the four levels of spiritual consciousness as she attempts to reascend to "depth which the understanding cannot fathom."

Brief Analysis of the Sects, Heresies, and Writers of the First Three Centuries PRINTED FOR JAMES COOPER, TRINITY STREET, in 1857 elucidates the concept of emanations:

From Page 29 read the words of Valentinus. To read the Greek words go to the website.

"The theory of emanations, which was in some measure adopted by all Gnostics, received considerable increase from the fertility of his speculative powers. He supposed a Supreme Being, infinite, invisible, incomprehensible, and therefore called the depth which the under- standing cannot fathom, who, having spent numberless ages in repose, resolved to reveal himself, and for this purpose employed his thought, Evvota, also called silence, who alone had dwelt with, or within him. The first manifestations, or AEons, produced, were intelligence, and  truth. These AEons are to be considered only as revealed forms of the Supreme Being ; not separate existencies so much as personified agencies, whose combination constituted the Plenoma, or fulness, of the attributes and perfections of the Godhead. They comprised altogether thirty AEons, of whom half were supposed to be males, active agencies, and the other half females, i.e., passive principles. In proportion as these AEons were removed from the Supreme God, they decreased in knowledge and perfection. The lower AEons had, therefore, only a partial knowledge of the hidden God, and the desire of one of them in particular, 'Siorjyiaj to know more of him produced a concision in the Pleroma, one result of which was that Jioia gave birth to an imperfect being, who was incapable of remaining in the Pleroma, and was cast out into Chaos. This being, called Achamoth, formed the Demiurgos, by whom the world was made, and reduced to a rude and shapeless mass of matter to some degree of order.

Jerusalem, Plate 92, (E 252) 
"Los answerd swift as the shuttle of gold. Sexes must vanish & cease
To be, when Albion arises from his dread repose O lovely Enitharmon:
When all their Crimes, their Punishments their Accusations of Sin: 
All their Jealousies Revenges. Murders. hidings of Cruelty in Deceit
Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary Space and Time.
In the shadows of Possibility by Mutual Forgiveness forevermore
And in the Vision & in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & Avoid
The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment. Beholding them 
Displayd in the Emanative Visions of Canaan in Jerusalem & in Shiloh
And in the Shadows of Remembrance, & in the Chaos of the Spectre" 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 562 
"Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are
seen all around him Infants emanating from him   these represent
the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity   A
Rainbow surrounds the throne & the Glory in which youthful
Nuptials recieve the infants in their hands   In Eternity Woman is
the Emanation of Man she has No Will of her own There is no such
thing in Eternity as a Female Will"

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

3) Orc 

Friday, May 28, 2010


None of Blake's characters is more complex or contradictory than is Orc. You may remember him as the first son of Los and Enitharmon who so aroused his father's jealousy that he was taken to a mountainside and chained to a rock. Los as prophecy was jealous of Orc as revolution. However Rintrah (just wrath), Palamabron (pity), Theomorton (frustrate desire), and Bromion (logic) are also identified as Los's first four sons which Damon explains as representing an analysis of Orc. (A Blake Dictionary, Page 309)

Orc's body became so enrooted to the rock that when his parents later tried to release him, they were unable to do so. As this passage notes he was the embodiment of the 'fires of Eternal Youth'.

Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 127)
"But Rintrah & Palamabron govern over Day & Night
In Allamanda & Entuthon Benython where Souls wail:
Where Orc incessant howls burning in fires of Eternal Youth,
Within the vegetated mortal Nerves; for every Man born is joined
Within into One mighty Polypus, and this Polypus is Orc."

In this picture Orc is both the chained youth in the cruciform position and the figure enclosed underground in a fetal position. Orc has taken on his function as revolution which must be controlled. The potential for revolution which has erupted in the colonies and threatened Europe was expressed by Orc in the book America. Revolution which had been attractive to Blake in theory became repulsive to him when he saw it in actual practice in France.


America, PLATE 8, (E 54)
"The terror answerd: I am Orc, wreath'd round the accursed tree:
The times are ended; shadows pass the morning gins to break;
The fiery joy, that Urizen perverted to ten commands,
What night he led the starry hosts thro' the wide wilderness:
That stony law I stamp to dust: and scatter religion abroad
To the four winds as a torn book, & none shall gather the leaves;
But they shall rot on desart sands, & consume in bottomless deeps;
To make the desarts blossom, & the deeps shrink to their fountains,
And to renew the fiery joy, and burst the stony roof.
That pale religious letchery, seeking Virginity,
May find it in a harlot, and in coarse-clad honesty
The undefil'd tho' ravish'd in her cradle night and morn:
For every thing that lives is holy, life delights in life;
Because the soul of sweet delight can never be defil'd.
Fires inwrap the earthly globe, yet man is not consumd;
Amidst the lustful fires he walks: his feet become like brass,
His knees and thighs like silver, & his breast and head like gold.
And Satan is the Spectre of Orc & Orc is the generate Luvah"

As the generate form of Luvah (emotion) which came into being as a result of the fall, Orc came under the dominion of Urizen the great lawgiver. As the dragon form, 'red Orc' is supressed energy seeking release. Suffering under the restraints of Urizen's system Orc explodes into revolution.

Milton Percival in William Blake's Circle of Destiny gives us this insight: "But, though the rational mind fears the fiery form of Orc, the imaginative mind knows that it is not evil, but rather an indictment of evil, a revelation of the mistaken character of the authority which has brought it into being. Orc is the personification of a deathless phenomenon, the spirit of revolution that arises when energy is repressed."

Urizen diverts Orc's energy into false religion, the Tree of Mystery, whereon Orc becomes the serpent and subsequently enters the state of Satan.

Four Zoas, Night viii, (E 380)
"The State namd Satan never can be redeemd in all Eternity
But when Luvah in Orc became a Serpent he des[c]ended into
That State calld Satan"

In the apocalypse Orc reverts to his eternal form Luvah and joins Jesus in ushering in the new age.


As always we can see the psyche of Blake being dealt with in his characters. Forces within seek expression in Blake's life; prophecy or imagination cannot let revolution take over dominance. The energy or revolution is a valuable asset but unfortunately cannot be released at will. Reason, the conventional, conservative force may be able to control revolution, but to do so revolution's energy must be diverted in another direction since it can't be eliminated. This may lead to deeper degrees of error, since error given the freedom to act, will go to the extreme. Revolution is not permanent; it either subsides or or leads to a breaking up of the cycle and the initiation of a new paradigm.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Library of Congress
Book of Urizen
Plate 9

Blake's Book of Urizen recounts events related to the book of Genesis as a traumatic splitting of the original unity to form self-conscious entities who make a world of alienation, oppression, uncertainty. Pierre Berger in William Blake: Poet and Mystic describes in his own terms a scenario for the first division which leads automatically to a second division. The roles of Urizen and Los have been defined; the mental wars will ensue.

"It would be of little use were we to count the individual cells that make up the human body. Not one of them is conscious of its individuality; but all share equally in the complete knowledge of our existence, and all combine in us to make one. But suppose one of these cells to become conscious of its own existence, and to say, 'I exist, independently of the body as a whole.' This thought would be the beginning of a separate creation, the formation of a personality, the first fall of man from unity. Must not something analogous occur when the newly conceived being begins to live a conscious life even in its mother's womb? In such wise came the first fall from Eternity, the first separation of something from the Divine whole, the phenomenon of creation, which, at bottom, is only a division. One of the thoughts of God separated itself from Him, as it is written in the Gospel of St. John: this Thought became the Word, which has been with Him from the beginning, and before the beginning, the word which was God. "Et verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat verbum" And the word became the Fiat, and had its echo in Eternity: the created universe was its emanation.
Blake says no more than this, though he may say it differently. According to him, there was a spirit who separated himself from Eternity, from that infinite Unity constituted by the Spirit of Universal Man, both All and One, and who thus became a personality different from the Eternals, who are one though many. In separating from them, he created a kind of abstract void between them and himself: he wrenched himself away from them, diminishing both himself and the Eternal Infinite at the same instant.
Thus began the existence of Urizen, the firstborn of Eternity, who plays so great a part in the works of Blake. We shall have to study him in many shapes; but for us now he is only the first conscious being, disembodied still, but nevertheless the first creation, the first " I " as distinguished from the All, the Ancient of Days.
The first existence of a separate personality is pregnant with consequences. We have now two distinct beings : Eternity and Urizen. But the birth of Urizen marks a definite moment in Eternity. There is therefore a date, the beginning of something. And as, in the Bible, the first great act of creation marks the first day, so the breaking away of the first personality from the great " All " marks the beginning of time. Time is created simply by the birth of a separate Will. His name, in Blake's great mythical system, is Los. From henceforward the history of Urizen will belong no more to Eternity, but to Time. It will be Los's task, therefore, to separate this new-born personality from the Eternals. He is the smith who will bind Urizen in the chain of Days and Years."

Book of Urizen, Plate 5, (E 73)
" 8. And Los round the dark globe of Urizen,
Kept watch for Eternals to confine,
The obscure separation alone;                                 
For Eternity stood wide apart,
Plate 6
As the stars are apart from the earth

9. Los wept howling around the dark Demon:
And cursing his lot; for in anguish,
Urizen was rent from his side;
And a fathomless void for his feet;
And intense fires for his dwelling.

10. But Urizen laid in a stony sleep
Unorganiz'd, rent from Eternity 

11. The Eternals said: What is this? Death
Urizen is a clod of clay."      

Saturday, July 25, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse. 

1) Albion Rose

Friday, August 30, 2013


Courtesy of Wikimedia
Illustration to Blair's The Grave
Descent of Man into the Vale of Death

Blake is convinced that humans are not separate entities but portions of one body. Because man is a member of the one body (Albion), his every act is influenced by those with whom be interacts, and his acts impinge upon all others. If he becomes a punisher, he punishes himself as well as all of humanity. Every member of the body is responsible for caring of every other member. Only by doing so can the body provide for each member. Each member is harmed by the selfishness of another because all are necessary for the body to function optimally.     

Jerusalem, Plate 47, (E 196) 
"Hark! the mingling cries of Luvah with the Sons of Albion
Hark! & Record the terrible wonder! that the Punisher
Mingles with his Victims Spectre, enslaved and tormented         
To him whom he has murderd, bound in vengeance & enmity
Shudder not, but Write, & the hand of God will assist you!
Therefore I write Albions last words. Hope is banish'd from me."
Jerusalem, Plate 45 [31], (E 194)
"What shall I [Los] do! what could I do, if I could find these Criminals
I could not dare to take vengeance; for all things are so constructed
And builded by the Divine hand, that the sinner shall always escape,
And he who takes vengeance alone is the criminal of Providence;
If I should dare to lay my finger on a grain of sand
In way of vengeance; I punish the already punishd: O whom
Should I pity if I pity not the sinner who is gone astray!
O Albion, if thou takest vengeance; if thou revengest thy wrongs
Thou art for ever lost! What can I do to hinder the Sons
Of Albion from taking vengeance? or how shall I them perswade.
These were his [Albion's] last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon the Rock of Ages."

Jerusalem, PLATE 31 [35], (E 177)
"Then the Divine hand found the Two Limits, Satan and Adam,
In Albions bosom: for in every Human bosom those Limits stand.
And the Divine voice came from the Furnaces, as multitudes without
Number! the voices of the innumerable multitudes of Eternity.
And the appearance of a Man was seen in the Furnaces;            
Saving those who have sinned from the punishment of the Law,
(In pity of the punisher whose state is eternal death,)
And keeping them from Sin by the mild counsels of his love.

Albion goes to Eternal Death: In Me all Eternity.
Must pass thro' condemnation, and awake beyond the Grave!
No individual can keep these Laws, for they are death
To every energy of man, and forbid the springs of life;
Albion hath enterd the State Satan! Be permanent O State!
And be thou for ever accursed! that Albion may arise again:
And be thou created into a State! I go forth to Create           
States: to deliver Individuals evermore! Amen.
So spoke the voice from the Furnaces, descending into Non-Entity
[To Govern the Evil by Good: and States abolish Systems.]"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"In Hell all is Self
Righteousness there is no such thing there as Forgiveness of Sin
he who does Forgive Sin is Crucified as an Abettor of Criminals.
& he who performs Works of Mercy in Any shape whatever is punishd
& if possible destroyd not thro Envy  or Hatred or Malice but
thro Self Righteousness that thinks it does God service which God
is Satan"
Love, mercy, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and gratitude: when these are the measure which is given, they will be the measure which is returned.

Romans 2
[4] For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,
[5] so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
[6] Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
[7] if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching;
[8] he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
[9] Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;  

Luke 6
[35] But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.
[36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
[37] "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
[38] give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back." 

Thursday, July 23, 2020


National Gallery
                     WB inv 1780                           
"Albion rose from where he labourd at the Mill with Slaves
Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of
Eternal Death"
After Blake collected a group of images from works he had already printed to comprise the Small Book of Designs for Ozias Humphry, he composed another group known as the Large Book of Designs. The order which Blake intended these images to follow is unknown. I have chosen an order that follows the pattern of disintegration of the whole person in a series of stages. The final image introduces the possibility of reversing the process by increasing consciousness.   

1) Albion Rose
2) Urizen Falling
3) Orc
4) Oothoon Chained
5) Accusers
6) Bromion, Oothoon,Theotormon
7) Thiralatha
8) Preaching to the inhabitants of Britain

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Wikipedia Commons
Gates of Paradise: For the Sexes 
Plate 14
Does thy God O Priest take such vengeance as this?

David Erdman recognized that Blake was not unscathed by the brush with possible imprisonment and death which became his lot when his opposition to military action was expressed against the Dragoon who was ensconced in his garden. Erdman specifies changes in the way that Blake felt free to express himself after he came so close to losing his own liberty. Blake became more careful about expressing publicly what his prophetic vision revealed to him.

In Prophet Against Empire David V Erdman wrote on Page 414:

"The most immediate poetic record of Blake's mental suffering in time of trial, however, is the plaintive notebook ballad partly incorporated into the preface of the third chapter of Jerusalem and partly transcribed into another manuscript as The Grey Monk. The story of a tortured pacifist who will not recant is associated with Blake's trial by the fact that the Gothic courtroom of Chichester was known to have been the chancel of the Grey Friars convent church. The monk's martyrdom is that of the honest man who has written against war and empire and whose writings were found out. He has been accused of sedition, jailed by 'War' personified (the fourfold Scofield?) and has been temporarily allowed (on bail) to visit the mother of his children (Blake's only children being his 'Giants and Fairies')".
Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)
" I saw a Monk of Charlemaine     
Arise before my sight 
  I talkd with the Grey Monk as we stood 
In beams of infernal light

  Gibbon arose with a lash of steel      
And Voltaire with a wracking wheel
  The Schools in clouds of learning rolld   
Arose with War in iron & gold.

  Thou lazy Monk they sound afar            
In vain condemning glorious War             
  And in your Cell you shall ever dwell     
Rise War & bind him in his Cell.

  The blood. red ran from the Grey Monks side
His hands & feet were wounded wide
  His body bent, his arms & knees          
Like to the roots of ancient trees

  When Satan first the black bow bent
And the Moral Law from the Gospel rent
  He forgd the Law into a Sword
And spilld the blood of mercys Lord.
  Titus! Constantine!  Charlemaine!               
  O Voltaire! Rousseau! Gibbon! Vain
 Your Grecian Mocks & Roman Sword  
Against this image of his Lord!

  For a Tear is an Intellectual thing;     
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King
  And the bitter groan of a Martyrs woe 
Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow!"

Songs and Ballads, (E 489)
"The Grey Monk 

I die I die the Mother said
My Children die for lack of Bread      
What more has the merciless Tyrant said
The Monk sat down on the Stony Bed     

The blood red ran from the Grey Monks side 
His hands & feet were wounded wide
His Body bent his arms & knees
Like to the roots of ancient trees

His eye was dry no tear could flow
A hollow groan first spoke his woe 
He trembled & shudderd upon the Bed            
At length with a feeble cry he said

When God commanded this hand to write
In the studious hours of deep midnight
He told me the writing I wrote should prove      
The Bane of all that on Earth I lovd             

My Brother starvd between two Walls
His Childrens Cry my Soul appalls
I mockd at the wrack & griding chain              
My bent body mocks their torturing pain           

Thy Father drew his sword in the North
With his thousands strong he marched forth 
Thy Brother has armd himself in Steel      
To avenge the wrongs thy Children feel     

But vain the Sword & vain the Bow 
They never can work Wars overthrow
The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear
Alone can free the World from fear

For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing         
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King 
And the bitter groan of the Martyrs woe  
Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow

The hand of Vengeance found the Bed      
To which the Purple Tyrant fled
The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head 
And became a Tyrant in his stead"  
Prophet Against Empire, Page 415:  
"To write against War has nevertheless been his duty as a soldier of Christ, and he is ready to endure the tortures of the 'wrack & gitding chain' for the sake of his 'Brother,' the poor man, 'starved between two walls' (that is to say in the street) and the poor man's children, whose cry ever 'my Soul appalls.'

In continuing to write, Blake does of course defy the rack and chains. Yet their marks are ever upon this ballad, for he mutes 'Seditious Monk', to 'Thou lazy Monk' before transferring it to the public text of Jerusalem."


Saturday, July 18, 2020


British Museum
HAND                                      JERUSALEM
To come before the machinery of the law under the threat of imprisonment, focuses the attention on one's vulnerability. Blake was not immune to the feeling that he had been unjustly accused and might be unjustly punished. He knew of several good and just men who had spent time in prison: among them the apostles Peter and Paul, Fox, Bunyan, Milton, Paine and his publisher friend Joseph Johnson. Being a prophet and a poet Blake reacted by incorporating his experiences and his emotional reactions to his precarious situation into his poetry. When we read the names 'Skofeld and Kox' in Jerusalem we know that Blake was not referring just to two men who accused him, but to the organization of government which can deprive a man of his liberty. He may lose his freedom by being sent to prison, or by being forced to endure the insecurity of anxiety, suspicion, hostility, and isolation through being the accused. Blake's own acquaintance with the troubles of man formed the framework of his prophetic poetry and impelled him to look for a way for man to escape from his predicament . 

The predicament of man facing the troubles of his outer world was not the only difficulty.  The clash with the law and its implications revealed to Blake painful fractures in his own psyche which he realized would plague him continually if he could not arrive at a spiritual solution. 

The accusers and judges whom Blake encountered at his trial became for a time more real to him than the world of spirit and imagination which was his milieu. They were able to divide his psyche so that he could not distinguish his projections from his identity which was his true self.

If he could not gain release from being captive to his own faulty reasoning by gentle means, he would try to enlist their energies to use against them. By this means he only succeeded in resorting to using the weapons of war to oppose what was essentially a mental not a physical fight.  

Condensed from Plates 7,8 and 9 of Jerusalem:
"Scofiel, Kox, Kotope, & Bowen
To separate a Law of Sin

Los answer'd
I know that Albion hath divided me

Thou art my Pride & Self-righteousness: I have found thee out:   
Thou art reveald before me

but now I am living

strike thou alternate with me: labour obedient
Hand & Hyle & Koban: Skofeld, Kox  &  Kotope, labour mightily
In the Wars of Babel & Shinar,"

Jerusalem, Plate 7, (E 150)
"Vala comes from the Furnace in a cloud, but wretched Luvah
Is howling in the Furnaces, in flames among Albions Spectres,
To prepare the Spectre of Albion to reign over thee O Los, 
Forming the Spectres of Albion according to his rage:
To prepare the Spectre sons of Adam, who is Scofield: the Ninth
Of Albions sons, & the father of all his brethren in the Shadowy
Generation. Cambel & Gwendolen wove webs of war & of
Religion, to involve all Albions sons, and when they had         
Involv'd Eight; their webs roll'd outwards into darkness
And Scofield the Ninth remaind on the outside of the Eight
And Kox, Kotope, & Bowen, One in him, a Fourfold Wonder
Involv'd the Eight--Such are the Generations of the Giant Albion,
To separate a Law of Sin, to punish thee in thy members.         

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 
Jerusalem, Plate 8, (E 151)
"Thou art my Pride & Self-righteousness: I have found thee out:   
Thou art reveald before me in all thy magnitude & power
Thy Uncircumcised pretences to Chastity must be cut in sunder!
Thy holy wrath & deep deceit cannot avail against me
Nor shalt thou ever assume the triple-form of Albions Spectre
For I am one of the living: dare not to mock my inspired fury 
If thou wast cast forth from my life! if I was dead upon the mountains 
Thou mightest be pitied & lovd: but now I am living; unless
Thou abstain ravening I will create an eternal Hell for thee.
Take thou this Hammer & in patience heave the thundering Bellows
Take thou these Tongs: strike thou alternate with me: labour obedient
Hand & Hyle & Koban: Skofeld, Kox  &  Kotope, labour mightily
In the Wars of Babel & Shinar, all their Emanations were
Condensd. Hand has absorbd all his Brethren in his might
All the infant Loves & Graces were lost, for the mighty Hand
Plate 9
Condens'd his Emanations into hard opake substances;
And his infant thoughts & desires, into cold, dark, cliffs of death.
His hammer of gold he siezd; and his anvil of adamant.
He siez'd the bars of condens'd thoughts, to forge them:
Into the sword of war: into the bow and arrow:                   
Into the thundering cannon and into the murdering gun
I saw the limbs form'd for exercise, contemn'd: & the beauty of
Eternity, look'd upon as deformity & loveliness as a dry tree:
I saw disease forming a Body of Death around the Lamb
Of God, to destroy Jerusalem, & to devour the body of Albion     
By war and stratagem to win the labour of the husbandman:

The infection represented by the processes of becoming involved in the system of anger, fear, retribution and condemnation is not easily limited. It spreads to those who observe it, and as they attempt to flee from its consequences, they take it with them.

Jerusalem, Plate 32 [26], (E 178)
"The Seven Nations fled before him they became what they beheld
Hand, Hyle & Coban fled: they became what they beheld            
Gwantock & Peachy hid in Damascus beneath Mount Lebanon
Brereton & Slade in Egypt. Hutton & Skofeld & Kox
Fled over Chaldea in terror in pains in every nerve
Kotope & Bowen became what they beheld, fleeing over the Earth
And the Twelve Female Emanations fled with them agonizing.

Jerusalem, Plate 46 [32], (E 195)
"Los was all astonishment & terror: he trembled sitting on the Stone
Of London: but the interiors of Albions fibres & nerves were hidden
From Los; astonishd be beheld only the petrified surfaces:    
And saw his Furnaces in ruins, for Los is the Demon of the Furnaces;
He saw also the Four Points of Albion reversd inwards
He siezd his Hammer & Tongs, his iron Poker & his Bellows,
Upon the valleys of Middlesex, Shouting loud for aid Divine.

In stern defiance came from Albions bosom Hand, Hyle, Koban,     
Gwantok, Peachy, Brertun, Slaid, Huttn, Skofeld, Kock, Kotope 
Bowen: Albions Sons: they bore him a golden couch into the porch
And on the Couch reposd his limbs, trembling from the bloody field. 
Rearing their Druid Patriarchal rocky Temples around his limbs."

This passage seems to consider the difficulty of attempting to correct the inner reaction to solving the problem of anger and judgement. However, without simultaneously giving love and not hate to the poor souls whom one find unacceptable, the task is impossible. 

Jerusalem, Plate 67, (E 220)
"Hiding Albions Sons within the Veil, closing Jerusalems
Sons without; to feed with their Souls the Spectres of Albion
Ashamed to give Love openly to the piteous & merciful Man
Counting him an imbecile mockery: but the Warrior           
They adore: & his revenge cherish with the blood of the Innocent
They drink up Dan & Gad, to feed with milk Skofeld & Kotope
They strip off Josephs Coat & dip it in the blood of battle"

When one's perspective is changed and one views Albion's land from above, it is seen as a shadow, and the sons of Albion have no substance. External appearances are illusions but seem real when you enter into the shadowy image they present. Looking within yourself you find your own heaven and earth through your visionary imagination.
If one is unable to distinguish between the spiritual realities and their corporeal shadows, one is in the grip of th false reasoning power or Satan.

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One!              
He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells
To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death."

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.

And these the Names of Albions Twelve Sons, & of his Twelve Daughters
With their Districts. Hand dwelt in Selsey & had Sussex & Surrey
And Kent & Middlesex: all their Rivers & their Hills, of flocks & herds:
Their Villages Towns Cities Sea-Ports Temples sublime Cathedrals;
All were his Friends & their Sons & Daughters intermarry in Beulah
For all are Men in Eternity. Rivers Mountains Cities Villages,
All are Human & when you enter into their Bosoms you walk
In Heavens & Earths; as in your own Bosom you bear your Heaven
And Earth, & all you behold, tho it appears Without it is Within
In your Imagination of which this World of Mortality is but a Shadow."

Jerusalem, Plate 90, (E 250)
"And his Maternal Humanity must be put off Eternally
Lest the Sexual Generation swallow up Regeneration
Come Lord Jesus take on thee the Satanic Body of Holiness

So Los cried in the Valleys of Middlesex in the Spirit of Prophecy
While in Selfhood Hand & Hyle & Bowen & Skofeld appropriate    
The Divine Names: seeking to Vegetate the Divine Vision
In a corporeal & ever dying Vegetation & Corruption
Mingling with Luvah in One. they become One Great Satan"