Friday, January 15, 2021

LAST JUDGMENT 4

(For detail of image, right click on picture, select open in a new window, click on image, close window to return)  

National Gallery of Art
The Last Judgment
Pen & Ink drawing
1809

In Blake's images of the Last Judgment he was portraying the passage of man through states. The individuals in the images are not distinct humans but mental conditions through which a person may pass along his journey. We each have an image of oneself. When we reflect on our lives we may recognize that we are not the same person we were previously. For instance when I was a student in college I was focused on my own intellectual development. As young mother of three little boys I turned toward nurturing the growth of the children who were in my care. I have passed through various states without relinquishing my identity as a Soul created in the image of God.

Along our journeys we may fall into states of selfishness, greed, prejudice, guilt, hostility, self-righteousness or other errors which cause a falling away from the Truth which is Eternal. Blake's image of the Last Judgment shows that falling away when an individual has entered a state of error. But the individual is not consigned to remain in hell; he may be released to continue in the upward phase of the cycle. States are a mercy which are created that man may become aware of his error and may be delivered to his Eternal Humanity.

On page 153 of Golgonnoza, Kathleen Raine states:

"The heavens, the hells, all the possible states of the soul, are ever present possibilities through which men pass. Blake did not believe that either the heavens or hells are once-for-all assigned to human souls, but rather that man is a 'mental traveller' who explores all the possible states...But lost though he be in the hells, the Traveller is not is not bound to remain in these dark states.

"...it will be seen that I do not consider either the Just or the Wicked to be in a Supreme State but to be every one of them States of the Sleep which the Soul may fall into in its Deadly Dreams of Good & Evil when it leaves Paradise following the Serpent" (E 641)

... The 'State called Satan' cannot be redeemed, but individuals can be redeemed from that state. There is, besides, a 'supreme state,' and this is the Divine Humanity, who is, for Blake, the God within."

Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Yet they are blameless & Iniquity must be imputed only           
To the State they are enterd into that they may be deliverd:
Satan is the State of Death, & not a Human existence:
But Luvah is named Satan, because he has enterd that State.
A World where Man is by Nature the enemy of Man
Because the Evil is Created into a State. that Men               
May be deliverd time after time evermore. Amen.
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" 

Milton, Plate 23 [25], (E 119)
"We were plac'd here by the Universal Brotherhood & Mercy
With powers fitted to circumscribe this dark Satanic death
And that the Seven Eyes of God may have space for Redemption.
But how this is as yet we know not, and we cannot know;
Till Albion is arisen; then patient wait a little while,"

Jerusalem, Plate 13, (E 157)
(But whatever is visible to the Generated Man,
Is a Creation of mercy & love, from the Satanic Void.)"  

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

O Vala what is Sin? that thou shudderest and weepest
At sight of thy once lov'd Jerusalem! What is Sin but a little
Error & fault that is soon forgiven; but mercy is not a Sin
Nor pity nor love nor kind forgiveness! O! if I have Sinned      
Forgive & pity me! O! unfold thy Veil in mercy & love!

Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 198)
"O! I have utterly been wasted! I have given my daughters to devils

So spoke Albion in gloomy majesty, and deepest night
Of Ulro rolld round his skirts from Dover to Cornwall.

Los answerd. Righteousness & justice I give thee in return
For thy righteousness! but I add mercy also, and bind            
Thee from destroying these little ones: am I to be only
Merciful to thee and cruel to all that thou hatest?
Thou wast the Image of God surrounded by the Four Zoa's
Three thou hast slain! I am the Fourth: thou canst not destroy me.
Thou art in Error; trouble me not with thy righteousness.      
I have innocence to defend and ignorance to instruct:
I have no time for seeming; and little arts of compliment,
In morality and virtue: in self-glorying and pride."

Jerusalem, Plate 76, (E 231)
"But Jesus breaking thro' the Central Zones of Death & Hell
Opens Eternity in Time & Space; triumphant in Mercy

Thus are the Heavens formd by Los within the Mundane Shell
And where Luther ends Adam begins again in Eternal Circle
To awake the Prisoners of Death; to bring Albion again           
With Luvah into light eternal, in his eternal day.

But now the Starry Heavens are fled from the mighty limbs of Albion"


Michelangelo and states.

 

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

LAST JUDGMENT 3

Last Judgment
William Blake
Enhanced Detail

In his images of the Last Judgment Blake was using symbolic language through the medium of graphic figures. He was not commenting on specific individuals but on people who have passed through various stages of development along the journey through life. Blake read the Bible not to learn what events had taken place in the past. He wanted to know what was going on in his own mental development by knowing how biblical characters were transformed. He wanted his readers to think about what they could learn by considering what Abraham had done or what Moses had done, not to imitate their behavior but to discern their motivation. Consciously thinking in symbols is an introspective process.

In Golgonooza by Kathleen Raine we are shown the contrast between writing history and presenting vision.

"This difference Between Michelangelo's Judgment, conceived as history and taking place in this world, and Blake's conception of the Apocalypse as a vision of the inner worlds accounts for many differences in composition and conception." (Page 146)

"[Blake's] purpose is not to represent nature but invisible inner worlds." (Page 147)

Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 228)
"but around
These, to preserve them from Eternal Death Los Creates           
Adam Noah Abraham Moses Samuel David Ezekiel
[Pythagoras Socrates Euripedes Virgil Dante Milton]  
Dissipating the rocky forms of Death, by his thunderous Hammer
As the Pilgrim passes while the Country permanent remains
So Men pass on: but States remain permanent for ever"       

Kathleen Raine in Golgonooza states:

"Blake's symbolic figures are with very few exceptions Biblical, and in the infernal caverns reign not the Classical Hades but the seven-headed Satan of ST. John's Apocalypse. Nor did Blake attempt, as did both Dante and Michelangelo, to make his painting a political commentary on his own time by introducing living or recent historical figures...Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Abraham and Noah are not for Blake historical figures but rather symbolical." (Page 150) 

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 556)
"it ought to be understood that the Persons
Moses & Abraham are not here meant but the States Signified by
those Names the Individuals being representatives or Visions of
those States as they were reveald to Mortal Man in the Series of
Divine Revelations. as they are written in the Bible these
various States I have seen in my Imagination when distant they
appear as One Man but as you approach they appear
Multitudes of Nations." 


Although Michelangelo painted to represent the condition of man and the outcome of failing to conform to the expectations of religious beliefs, he was more inclined to focus on his contemporaries. The consequences of offending or sinning led to agony.

This information is from Secrets of Michelangelo's Last Judgment:

"When Michelangelo began work on The Last Judgment mural, Pope Paul III instructed his Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, to keep an eye on its progress. Biagio was a conservative man and, upon discovering the wall covered in nude figures, he attempted to persuade the Pope to have the figures covered.

Unfortunately for him, Michelangelo convinced the Pope to let him carry out his vision and, as an added touch, Biagio was later added as a portrayal of Minos, the judge of the underworld, with donkey ears and a snake wrapped around his groin. When Biagio returned to the Pontiff to ask for his face to be removed, Paul III jokingly explained that his jurisdiction did not extend to hell!"

Last Judgment 
Michelangelo
Group of the damned 
with Biagio da Cesena as Minos at right

.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

TRANSFORM THINKING

Philosophers give a lot of thought and study to the question of external existence and and the access we have to it. We tend to think of the images we have in our minds as having external referents, and we take sense data as being the evidence of that. But we 'know' that sense data is highly processed by the mind before it enters our consciousness. The mind has created a symbol which we can read as an object. So we postulate one of the first levels of 'symbol'; the processed data as opposed to the raw data with which we were originally bombarded. If the external world is the source of raw data, the question becomes what is the organization inherent in the external world or is there any. Does the organization (form) have an independent existence or was it created by us, through us, for us? We tend to think of the latest concept of perceiving as being the true representation of the outer world. But we can recognize that any representation is a symbol and not the object symbolized. 

The contrast between Jesus and the Christ demonstrates some of how symbols work. We take Jesus as less a symbol than Christ, because a historical person named Jesus had accounts written of his activities in the world we recognize as our exterior world. Christ is altogether symbol because it is an idea, a force, a constellation of characteristics, an archetype, a non-sensory entity. We can clarify our thinking by understanding our symbols: where we are coming from, how many layers of processing they have been through, what purpose they are serving, what meaning they convey to others and how they may be expressed in less symbolic language. But this is understanding symbols from the outside. 

Many think that Blake lived in a symbolic world to which few have access. Those learning a new language using words, undergo a transition to mastering the new language without translating from the original language. Those learning to process information in the symbolic language must learn to think in the language of symbols before they have a mastery of it. We translate ideas to and from symbols as an exterior exercise, Blake understood them through the very structure and organization of his mind.

Jerusalem
Plate 100
Urizen, Los, Enitharmon
Many students of Blake tell us the same thing in different ways: the crux of reading Blake is in a transformation of one's thinking - not what you think but how you think. As I have said before Blake doesn't want us to go out the same door we came in.  
 
Pierre Berger, William Blake: poet and mystic, (Page 107) gives us an idea of how Blake developed the characters, Urizen and Los, as a symbols carried by a particular personalities: 
"By the same process, the Eternal Man has become a definite personality. The birth of Urizen is not merely a mystical representation of the world's creation : it symbolizes also the creation of man as a distinct being. Like Urizen, the Spirit of Man broke away from that of the Eternals, and found itself closed up in Time and Space. But, in this second interpretation, Los is no longer only symbolical of Time : he is also the Prophet of Eternity, the prophetic Spirit in humanity, sent by the Eternals to watch over man, even while he separates him from them. And as he fulfills this task, he cannot help retaining a remembrance of the Eternals, and a clear consciousness of their existence. His mission of separation reminds him perpetually of his former union with them. Consequently, he keeps alive in man's spirit the recollection of his first state, and a vague longing to return to it. He is the spirit of the Seers, the spirit that will later on inspire the poets and the artists, and speak by the mouth of the prophets. By him comes all that constitutes the Ideal, all that reaches us from the unseen world. He is at the root of all the arts and of all true religion ; for religion and art are nought but visions of Eternity. He it was who spoke through Milton. He it is who will enter into Blake, and dictate his words." 
 
Blake built his symbols by reaching into archetypal experience and incorporating mythopoeic images into poetic form.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

LAST JUDGMENT 2

Wikipedia Commons
Michelangelo's Last Judgment
Detail of Jesus

On Page 148 of Golgoonoza Kathleen Raine explains the background of the culture in which Michelangelo worked on his image of the Last Judgment. His Jesus was the product of the religious mindset of Renaissance Italy in which he lived. The Reformation was underway but Jesus was still perceived a figure of wrath not mercy.

"The vision of the Apocalypse was for Michelangelo and for his time rather one of terror and of this world's ruin rather than of spiritual resurrection. So it has remained in the imagination of Christendom as a whole, and so it must be always for this secular world, whose foundations are to be shaken and overthrown. That Michelangelo's figure of Jesus comes rather as a figure of wrath than of serenity clearly reflects Michelangelo's own political bitterness at the Roman See.

...Michelangelo's vision considers the great event from the standpoint of this world."


National Gallery of Art Washington DC
Last Judgment
c 1809
Pen and Ink

Reine tells us on Page 149 of Golgonooza of the contrary perspective of Blake in presenting the Son of God. "Jesus is less a supreme ruler than a permeating presence, the heart of the great circulation of human figures ascending and descending in unbroken flow from the heavens down to the hells, and again rising upwards into the heavens.

...Blake's Jesus is not so much an individual as the heart of the light which emanates from a divine center."


There are several images of the Last Judgment by Blake which still exist including a drawing and watercolor images . He worked on a large image said to include "upwards of one thousand figures" in "exquisite finishing" until the end of his life but it is untraced since 1848. (Stranger from Paradise, G. E. Bentley, Jr, Page 355)

The pen and ink drawing in the National Gallery of Art can be viewed in detail by opening in a new window. -
Rt click on image, select open in a new window, left click on image for enlargement. Use directional arrows to view specific areas of the picture. Close window to return.

The image in the National Gallery is closest to the description which Blake wrote in a letter to his friend Ozias Humphry.


The Design of The Last Judgment, (E 552)

          "To Ozias Humphry Esqre

     The Design of The Last Judgment which I have completed by
your recommendation [under a fortunate star] for The
Countess of Egremont [by a happy accident] it is
necessary to give some account of & its various parts ought to be
described for the accomodation of those who give it the honor of
attention
     Christ seated on the Throne of judgment [The Heavens in
Clouds rolling before him & around him] before his feet &
around him the heavens in clouds are rolling like a scroll ready
to be consumed in the fires of the Angels who descend  
with the Four Trumpets sounding to the Four Winds Beneath Earth is convulsed with the labours of the Resurrection--in the Caverns of the Earth is the Dragon with Seven heads & ten Horns chained by two Angels & above his Cavern on the Earths Surface is the Harlot siezed & bound by two Angels with chains while her Palaces are falling into ruins & her councellors & warriors are descending into the Abyss in wailing & despair Hell opens beneath the Harlots seat on the left hand into which the Wicked are descending [while others rise from their Craves on the brink of the Pit] The right hand of the Design is appropriated to the Resurrection of the Just the left hand of the Design is appropriated to the Resurrection & Fall of the Wicked Immediately before the Throne of Christ is Adam & Eve kneeling in humiliation as representatives of the whole Human Race Abraham & Moses kneel on each side beneath them from the cloud on which Eve kneels [ & beneath Moses & from the Tables of Stone which utter lightnings] is seen Satan wound round by the Serpent & falling headlong the Pharisees appear on the left hand pleading their own righteousness before the Throne of Christ & before the Book of Death which is opend on clouds by two Angels & many groupes of Figures are falling from before the Throne & from before the Sea of Fire which flows before the steps of the Throne on which is seen the seven Lamps of the Almighty burning before the Throne many Figures chained & bound together & in various attitudes of Despair & Horror fall thro the air & some are scourged by Spirits with flames of fire into the Abyss of Hell which opens [to recieve them] beneath on the left hand of the Harlots Seat where others are howling & [descending into the flames & in the act of] dragging each other into Hell & in contending in fighting with each other on the brink of Perdition Before the Throne of Christ on the Right hand the Just in humiliation & in exultation rise thro the Air with their Children & Families some of whom are bowing before the Book of Life which is opend on clouds by two Angels many groupes arise in exultation among them is a Figure crownd with Stars & the Moon beneath her feet with six infants around her She represents the Christian Church Green hills appear beneath with the Graves of the Blessed which are seen bursting with their births of immortality Parents & Children Wives & Husbands embrace & arise together & in exulting attitudes of great joy tell each other that the New Jerusalem is ready to descend upon Earth they arise upon the Air rejoicing others newly awakend from the Grave stand upon the Earth embracing. & shouting to the Lamb who cometh in the Clouds in Power & great Glory The Whole upper part of the Design is a View of Heaven opened around the Throne of Christ in the Cloud which rolls away are the Four Living Creatures filled with Eyes attended by the Seven Angels with the Seven Vials of the Wrath of God & above these Seven Angels with the Seven Trumpets these compose the Cloud which by its rolling away displays the opening seats of the Blessed on the right & left of which are seen the Four & Twenty Elders seated on Thrones to Judge the Dead Behind the Seat & Throne of Christ appears the Tabernacle with its Veil opened & the Candlestick on the right the Table with the Shew bread on the left & in [the] midst is the Cross in place of the Ark [with the two] Cherubim bowing over it On the Right hand of the Throne of Christ is Baptism On the left is the Lords Supper the two introducers into Eternal Life Women with Infants approach the Figure of an aged Apostle which represents Baptism & on the left hand the Lords Supper is administerd by Angels from the hands of another Apostle these kneel on each side of the Throne which is surrounded by a Glory many Infants appear in the Glory representing the Eternal Creation flowing from the Divine Humanity in Jesus who opens the Scroll of Judgment upon his knees before the Living & the Dead Such is the Design which you my Dear Sir have been the cause of my producing & which but for you might have slept till the Last Judgment WILLIAM BLAKE [18 January 1808] Feby 1808"
 

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

LAST JUDGMENT

Wikipedia Commons
Michelangelo
Last Judgment
Sistine Chapel

Wikimedia Commons 
The Vision of the Last Judgment Petworth House, The National Trust

William Blake and Michelangelo each created images of the Last Judgment. Despite Blake's admiration for Michelangelo, he interpreted the scene in a different style to portray different content. Michelangelo's primary art was his sculpting which influenced his painting. Blake was trained as an engraver which determined the way that he painted.

Michelangelo's figures have bulk and weight while Blake's are light and flowing. The physical body is displayed by Michelangelo, the ethereal body by Blake. The image of Jesus shown by Michelangelo is that of a human man in the center of the drama. Blake's Jesus is clothed in light and reigns in heaven removed from the earthly activity. 

Kathleen Raine in Golgonooza: City of Imagination states that "in comparing Blake's Vision of the Last Judgment with that of Michelangelo - to whom Blake was so obviously and so deeply indebted - we are comparing a historical and ecclesiastical with a mystical understanding of the Apocalypse. As we compare the works of these two great Christian artists, each totally dedicated to the religion they professed, we discover that the many differences of overall conception and of detail do correspond to differences in each 'according to the situation he holds.'"(Page 145)

Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 554)
"The Last Judgment when all those are Cast away who trouble
Religion with Questions concerning Good & Evil or Eating of the
Tree of those Knowledges or Reasonings which hinder the Vision of
God turning all into a Consuming fire    Imaginative Art &
Science & all Intellectual Gifts all the Gifts of the Holy Ghost
are 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
    The Last Judgment is not Fable or Allegory
but Vision"

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 544)
 "Poetry as it exists
now on earth, in the various remains of ancient authors, Music as
it exists in old tunes or melodies, Painting and Sculpture as it
exists in the remains of Antiquity and in the works of more
modern genius, is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed; it is
perfect and eternal.  Milton, Shakspeare, Michael Angelo, Rafael,
the finest specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting, and
Architecture, Gothic, Grecian, Hindoo and Egyptian, are the
extent of the human mind.  The human mind cannot go beyond the
gift of God, the Holy Ghost.  To suppose that Art can go beyond
the finest specimens of Art that are now in the world, is not
knowing what Art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the
spirit."

Friday, December 25, 2020

JOHN THE BAPTIST

Fitzwilliam Museum
Virgin Hushing Young John the Baptist
Painting

The first words that Blake engraved as a statement in an Illuminated Book were "The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness". They appear on the first page of ALL RELIGIONS are ONE. This can be seen as an announcement that Blake identified with John the Baptist and with Isaiah before him. Like John he knew himself to be outside of the establishment, in the wilderness where the patterns of civilization had not been imposed. His voice would cry out from the place where most people did not venture. His insistent message would be that change was required. He brought not his own message but the word that came to him from the 'poetic or prophetic character.' The message which he intended to deliver was that 'He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God.'

 ALL RELIGIONS are ONE, (E 3)
"VII The desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite
& himself Infinite
     Conclusion,   If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic
character. the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the
ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat
the same dull round over again
     Application.   He who sees the Infinite in all things sees
God.  He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.

Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is"
Isaiah 40
[1] Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
[2] Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
[3] The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
[4] Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
[5] And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Luke 3
[1] Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
[2] Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

[3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
[4] As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
[5] Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
[6] And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

John the Baptist was the son of a priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth who was a cousin of Jesus' mother Mary. Blake does not write about John but shows him in pictures with Jesus. There are two images of the child John with the child Jesus and several images of John baptizing Jesus in the Jordan river before Jesus retreated to the wilderness and was tempted by the devil.

In this passage Jerusalem turns to Jesus for guidance in understanding how mankind may be released from the cycle of physical life and physical death. Jesus and Jerusalem play the role played by John the Baptist. They carry the concern for making it possible for Albion, mankind, to make the return journey. The alienation will not be overcome at the 'last day' but by following the path that Jesus followed: 'I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears To individual perception.'  The route is through the 'wilderness' but the individual does not travel alone for Jesus invites him to 'come with me', to 'walk' in the paths of experience, and promises that he is 'always with thee.'

We read in the words of Isaiah and Luke that this traveling through distance and difficulties will be eased by the knowledge that what shall be revealed in the end is nothing less than glorious.

John 11
[25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:


Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
"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! So spoke the Lamb of God while Luvahs Cloud reddening above Burst forth in streams of blood upon the heavens & dark night Involvd Jerusalem. & the Wheels of Albions Sons turnd hoarse Over the Mountains & the fires blaz'd on Druid Altars And the Sun set in Tyburns Brook where Victims howl & cry."

Luke 1
[11] And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
[12] And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
[13] But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
...
[18] And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
[19] And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
...
[26] And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
[27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
[28] And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
[29] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
[30] And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
...
[34] Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
[35] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
[36] And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
[37] For with God nothing shall be impossible.
[38] And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
[39] And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
[40] And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
[41] And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
[42] And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
[43] And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
[44] For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
[45] And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Luke 2
[11] And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
[12] And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
[13] But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
[14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
[15] For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
[16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
[17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

READING WITCUTT 7

Wikimedia Commons 
The Vision of the Last Judgment
Petworth House, The National Trust

(For detail of image, right click on picture, select open in a new window, click on image, close window to return) 

This post wraps up Larry's reaction to Blake: A psychological Study by W. P. Witcutt. Reading Witcutt was a consciousness expanding experience which opened his mind to the intuitive understanding of the contents of the psyche. It acted as a gate into the vast inner unconscious world which is open to the intuition and closed to thought, emotion and sensation.

Final on Witcutt Page 123 - appendix

What to thought is an abstract concept appears to intuition as a symbol; thus Blake personifies thought as the kingly figure of Unizen...

The intuitive introvert is the symbolist par excellence. He lives in a dream world where symbols have in waking life as much vitality as an ordinary man sees in dreams...To him the symbol appears as unrelated to anything else; they live their own lives as unearthly semi-divine figures see in the mind's eye.

Larry - 5-28-78

Jung is interesting; Blake is exciting. They addressed the same problems, Jung under cover of 'science'; Blake as a poet and artist. Blake thus more free and creative. Jung tried to bring all of his intuitions under the hegemony of reason. Poetry is the highest form of truth. In Answer to Job and Memories, Dreams and Reflections Jung almost broke out of the straight jacket his chosen role had placed upon him. He had deep yearnings as a prophet, but never quite took the leap of faith into radical responsiveness to Intuition. Instead he founded a school.

The meaning of life is the struggle for consciousness. We struggle against unconsciousness but not against the Unconscious: it is as large an infinity. We struggle for a relationship with the Unconscious, for dialogue between ego and Self, the psychological corollary of prayer. We struggle to love - with heart, mind, soul and strength - Luvah, Urizen, Los and Tharmas.

Deuteronomy 6
[5] And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
[6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 

Luke 10
[27] And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Witcutt Page 18

The great value of Blake's poetry is that it provides a kind of outline of the unconscious mind. Blake explored this strange region more thoroughly than any before or since, and what is, more he knew what he was doing.

 "I rest not from my great task!
To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity" (Jerusalem 5)

And the point is that the things he discovered in the inner worlds, the godlike figures and the symbols, were not peculiar to himself. They are to be found - altered in inessentials - in the inner world of every man. For the inner world is for each of us the same. [Jung gave it a name: 'The Collective Unconscious.']


Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 84, (E 360)
"Thou knowest that the Spectre is in Every Man insane brutish 
Deformd that I am thus a ravening devouring lust continually
Craving & devouring but my Eyes are always upon thee O lovely
Delusion & I cannot crave for any thing but thee not so     
The spectres of the Dead for I am as the Spectre of the Living   
For till these terrors planted round the Gates of Eternal life
Are driven away & annihilated we never can repass the Gates"

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp 
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.
When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body
From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come?
Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death. 
I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.       
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate
And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood"

Milton, Plate 38 [43], (E 139)
"In the Eastern porch of Satans Universe Milton stood & said

Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to annihilate
And be a greater in thy place, & be thy Tabernacle               
A covering for thee to do thy will, till one greater comes
And smites me as I smote thee & becomes my covering.
Such are the Laws of thy false Heavns! but Laws of Eternity
Are not such: know thou: I come to Self Annihilation
Such are the Laws of Eternity that each shall mutually     
Annihilate himself for others good, as I for thee[.]
Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trembling & fear, terror, constriction; abject selfishness
Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on            
In fearless majesty annihilating Self,"

 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

READING WITCUTT 6

Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion
Detail of Plate 92

The struggle to accomplish a unified psyche in which each portion of the whole man is expressed in in its proper relationship to the others will be realized through Reintegration. What Jung calls Individuation is accomplished when the Zoas, the Emanations, the Spectres are valued and accepted as contributing to the Eternal Man who will be alive and awake and rejoicing as all participate in 'Universal Iove & Brotherhood.'

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212)
"Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall
Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity
That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven
Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the    
Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation
Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins
In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold!
There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant
Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You:    
That He Himself may Dwell among You."

Witcutt Page 93 - Reintegration

A complete human personality should contain consciously, all the functions in their proper hierarchy, thought, love, imagination, and the powers of sensing. The incomplete (though norma) personality stresses one and represses the others, often so far into the unconscious that it forgets all about them and is incapable of consciously using them. The Anima is the symbolic representation of these repressed functions.

Thus Blake, perfectly correctly from the psychological point, says to the Anima:

"Thou art the soft reflected Image of the Sleeping Man" (Jerusalem 85)

and tells us that:

"Man divided from his Emanation is a dark Spectre                 
His Emanation is an ever-weeping melancholy Shadow" (Jerusalem 53)

The Anima in Blake's case is Jerusalem, the heroine of his last and greatest epic. Jerusalem and Vala are connected figures. They both represent love, but whereas Vala is selfish natural love, Jerusalem is spiritual, unselfish love.

"Vala produc'd the Bodies, Jerusalem gave the souls." (Jerusalem 18)

"Vala would never have sought & loved Albion If she had not sought to destroy Jerusalem; such is that false And Generating Love: a pretence of love to destroy love:" (Jerusalem 17) 
... 
Vala is Nature "She is our Mother! Nature!" and in gazing on her 
Albion feels himself encompassed by the cycle of birth and death. ...
In repressing Vala, Albion has also repressed his capacity for love of any kind.  
...
In order to achieve reintegration the two halves of the soul must be reunited; the Anima must be readmitted to consciousness...In the Seventh Night of  Four Zoas Los has lost his Emanation Enitharmon, and his Spectre has some advice to give him on this point.
"Thou never canst embrace sweet Enitharmon terrible Demon. Till
Thou art united with thy Spectre...
be assurd I am thy real Self  
Tho thus divided from thee & the Slave of Every passion
Of thy fierce Soul Unbar the Gates of Memory look upon me
Not as another but as thy real Self I am thy Spectre" (Four Zoas VII) 

Blake recognizes his Spectre as himself, and this disarms it. For he who recognizes his shadow only in another is thoroughly under its power. 

...

This is the formula by which the elder Blake sought to reconcile Christianity with his earlier rejection of the Moral Law. He would not depart from his earlier position; instead he sought a reconciling formula in the doctrine of forgiveness of sins.

"Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious          
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood" (Jerusalem 96)
...

At this the Four Zoas return into their proper places, subordinate to Albion, the Self.


Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21, (E 311)
"The Eternal Man wept in the holy tent Our Brother in Eternity Even Albion whom thou lovest wept in pain his family Slept round on hills & valleys in the regions of his love But Urizen awoke & Luvah woke & thus conferrd" Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 51, (E 334) "Tharmas before Los stood & thus the Voice of Tharmas rolld Now all comes into the power of Tharmas. Urizen is falln And Luvah hidden in the Elemental forms of Life & Death Urthona is My Son O Los thou art Urthona & Tharmas Is God. The Eternal Man is seald never to be deliverd I roll my floods over his body my billows & waves pass over him The Sea encompasses him & monsters of the deep are his companions Dreamer of furious oceans cold sleeper of weeds & shells Thy Eternal form shall never renew my uncertain prevails against thee"
Four Zoas, Night VIII,  Page 134, (E 385)
"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"

Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 133, (E 401)
"The Eternal Man arose he welcomd them to the Feast
The feast was spread in the bright South & the Eternal Man
Sat at the feast rejoicing & the wine of Eternity
Was servd round by the flames of Luvah all day & all the night"


Monday, December 14, 2020

READING WITCUTT 5

America
Plate 3

Blake, of course, used the names of his Four Zoas to portray the interactions of the functions, and he was describing events which took place in Eden, Beulah, Generation and Ulro to narrate scenarios. As an intuitive introvert Blake experienced visionary images within his mind which he transferred to the words and pictures of his Illuminated Books. Witcutt's book encourages us to focus on the interactions which we see and read about in Blake works as taking place in our own minds and happening in the world which is more familiar to us. 

Witcutt Page 69

After the disintegration of the Self there follows conflict among the Zoas. The functions, displaced from their true positions, are now in conflict with each other.

"And the Four Zoa's clouded rage... 
In opposition deadly, and their Wheels in poisonous 
And deadly stupor turn'd against each other..."(Jerusalem 74)

"They saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other" (Jerusalem 43)

Witcutt Page 70-71

The Conflict between Intuition and Thought

The eighteenth century, the age into which Blake was born, called itself the Age of Reason. It was an unpropitious time for an intutive....

(Blake) repressed passion as well as thought, Luvah as well as Urizen. And he did this by means of a third function, imagination of intuition. Those who possess dominant intution are comparatively rare; so it is not everyone who can do this!

"a Boy is born of the dark Ocean 
Whom Urizen doth serve... 
that Prophetic boy 
Must grow up to command his Prince" (Four Zoas III)

Witcutt Page 73

The Conflict between Thought and Feeling  

See Reading Witcutt 4
https://woeandjoy.blogspot.com/2020/12/reading-witcutt-4.html

Witcutt Page 82

The Conflict between Intuition and Feeling

This conflict is played out in the fractured relationship between Los representing Intuition and his son Orc representing Feeling.

"But when they came to the dark rock & to the spectrous cave 
Lo the young limbs had strucken root into the rock & strong 
Fibres had from the Chain of Jealousy inwove themselves 
In a swift vegetation round the rock & round the 
Cave And over the immortal limbs of the terrible fiery boy 
In vain they strove now to unchain. In vain with bitter tears 
To melt the chain of Jealousy. not Enitharmons death 
Nor the Consummation of Los could ever melt the chain 
Nor unroot the infernal fibres from their rocky bed  
Nor all Urthonas strength nor all the power of Luvahs Bulls 
Tho they each morning drag the unwilling Sun out of the deep 
Could uproot the infernal chain. for it had taken root" ( Four Zoas V)  

Witcutt Page 86  

The Conflict between Intuition and Sensation

Tharmas is the most repressed and unconscious of the Zoas, and his actions are correspondingly hard to understand.

"Now thou dost know what tis to strive against the God of waters 
 So saying Tharmas on his furious chariots of the Deep 
Departed far into the Unknown & left a wondrous void 
Round Los. afar his waters bore on all sides round. with noise 
Of wheels & horses hoofs & Trumpets Horns & Clarions" (Four Zoas IV)

Witcutt Page 89  

The Conflict between Thought and Sensation

So in the right state of affairs, Urizen supplies Tharmas with light, and Tharmas Urizen with food. This is perfectly correct symbolism. Thought enlightens sensation, and sensation provides thought with the matter to brood upon.

"The Body of Man is given to me I seek in vain to destroy 
For still it surges forth in fish & monsters of the deeps 
And in these monstrous forms I Live in an Eternal woe 
And thou O Urizen art falln never to be deliverd 
Withhold thy light from me for ever & I will withhold 
From thee thy food so shall we cease to be & all our sorrows 
End & the Eternal Man no more renew beneath our power" (Four Zoas VI)

Witcutt Page 90  

The Conflict between Feeling and Sensation

These are the two most repressed functions, and their conflict takes place in the lowest depths of the unconscious. Los (the Ego) is quite unaware of it.

"Luvah slew Tharmas the Angel of the Tongue ...
Los knew not yet what was done: he thought it was all in Vision 
In Visions of the Dreams of Beulah among the Daughters of Albion Therefore the Murder was put apart in the Looking-Glass of Enitharmon." (Jerusalem Plate 63)
 
Witcutt Page 91
 
Blake is the poet of the inner world of man, and peculiarly of these symbolic representations of the four functions which he calls the Four Zoas.

 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

READING WITCUTT 4

Library of Congress 
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Detail from Plate 5

Whether on not William Blake had experienced a trauma in his youth which left a residue of unresolved guilt, it does seem clear that he was constantly attempting to understand how his mind worked. Getting a grasp of Albion, the Four Zoas, their Emanations and Spectres was his way of expanding his consciousness.

In Witcutt's chapter 'The Anatomy of Disintegration' he works with some of the breakdowns in the initial interactions of the Zoas before beginning the process of restoring completeness. 

Witcutt Page 59

The object of the innumerable hero-questors is to find the castle, to witness the manifestations of its symbols, and to restore the Priest King to life and health.

Larry's comment

Speaking of the Grail legends - in which as in Blake the sick king is the Self. The search is the only worthwhile purpose in life - to awaken - to achieve identity, to find (and enter) the kingdom of heaven, to become conscious, to know what one is doing, thus to have the power to cease from evil and learn to do good. This is the true meaning and purpose of building Golgonooza. Hurrah. Thanks, Lord, for showing me the way.

The Way is the attempt to become conscious and the first step is to realize that you are asleep, confess your sin.

Witcutt Page 60

The Trauma causes the displacement of the Four Zoas, except Urthona in the north, whose place remains constant. Blake often depicts the four functions as facing the four cardinal points of the compass; a very common way of delineating them, as every psychiatrist knows.

Larry's comment

Urizen in the west means he fell like the setting sun. In fact he is about to die.

Four Zoas, Night VI, Page 74, (E 351)
Thus Urizen in sorrows wanderd many a dreary way
Warring with monsters of the Deeps in his most hideous pilgrimage
Till his bright hair scatterd in snows his skin barkd oer with wrinkles
Four Caverns rooting downwards their foundations thrusting forth
The metal rock & stone in ever painful throes of vegetation
The Cave of Orc stood to the South a furnace of dire flames
Quenchless unceasing. In the west the Cave of Urizen             
For Urizen fell as the Midday sun falls down into the West
North stood Urthonas stedfast throne a World of Solid darkness
Shut up in stifling obstruction rooted in dumb despair
The East was Void. 
...
But in Eternal times the Seat of Urizen is in the South    
Urthona in the North Luvah in East Tharmas in West"

Witcutt Page 66

...Before the Trauma...He was not troubled by the stern moral law which Urizen afterwards maintained against the revolt of Luvah, for Luvah had not yet revolted, was still the sweet prince of love who glided in the sunny beams.

Larry's comment:

The Law of course comes after the Fall; hence it is always associated with Fallenness. The angels only delight in doing God's will. The Law is fallen Urizen's attempt to redeem the mess.

Thus our self righteousness - the foolish delusion is that our conformity to some ideal has made us right. Carried to the logical extreme it contains the delusion that we were never wrong.

Thought and feeling had an illegitimate transaction - uglifying, maddening, depraving both.

Four Zoas, Night VI, PAGE 78 (E 353)
"For Urizen fixd in Envy sat brooding & coverd with snow
His book of iron on his knees he tracd the dreadful letters
While his snows fell & his storms beat to cool the flames of Orc
Age after Age till underneath his heel a deadly root
Struck thro the rock the root of Mystery accursed shooting up   
Branches into the heaven of Los they pipe formd bending down
Take root again whereever they touch again branching forth
In intricate labyrinths oerspreading many a grizly deep

Amazd started Urizen when he found himself compassd round
And high roofed over with trees. he arose but the stems          
Stood so thick he with difficulty & great pain brought
His books out of the dismal shade. all but the book of iron
Again he took his seat & rangd his Books around 
On a rock of iron frowning over the foaming fires of Orc

And Urizen hung over Orc & viewd his terrible wrath "             

Witcutt Page 68

The Trauma thus causes the disintegration of the Self, viewed symbolically as the separation of Albion from his children and possessions.

Larry's comment:

[The teachings of] 'The moral law ... was the reason for the repression of thought, the Fall of Urizen.' Ah, recall the young Jung: the law strictly enjoined him from thinking that giant thought, but the thought broke through. That was certainly a sort of a Fall also, but he interpreted it as grace - and rightly so.

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 79, (E 355)
"But Urizen remitted not their labours upon his rock
Page 80
And Urizen Read in his book of brass in sounding tones   

Listen O Daughters to my voice Listen to the Words of Wisdom
So shall [ye] govern over all let Moral Duty tune your tongue 
But be your hearts harder than the nether millstone
To bring the shadow of Enitharmon beneath our wondrous tree   
That Los may Evaporate like smoke & be no more
Draw down Enitharmon to the Spectre of Urthona
And let him have dominion over Los the terrible shade"

Book of Los, Plate IV, (E 94)
"7: Nine ages completed their circles
When Los heated the glowing mass, casting
It down into the Deeps: the Deeps fled
Away in redounding smoke; the Sun
Stood self-balanc'd. And Los smild with joy.        
He the vast Spine of Urizen siez'd
And bound down to the glowing illusion

8: But no light, for the Deep fled away
On all sides, and left an unform'd
Dark vacuity: here Urizen lay                        
In fierce torments oil his glowing bed

9: Till his Brain in a rock, & his Heart
In a fleshy slough formed four rivers
Obscuring the immense Orb of fire
Flowing down into night: till a Form            
Was completed, a Human Illusion
In darkness and deep clouds involvd.

                   The End of the
                    Book of LOS"