Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Circle of Destiny II

The last post included a link to the Arlington Tempera. You may see it as an excellent portrayal of the Circle of Destiny.

One of the common names for the picture is The Sea of Time and Space. However Damon suggested The Circle of Life as a more appropriate term.

The sea in the picture is only one of several vital scenes; it occurs in the left foreground. The right hand part portrays the Cave of the Nymphs, found in the 13th book of the Odyssey. In fact it's from an interpretation of the cave by Porphyry, a 3rd century a Neoplatonist philosopher.

The upper left portrays Eternity. The center shows two prominent characters. The man kneeling on the shore has been given several names: Odysseus by Kathleen Raine, Luvah by Damon, Albion/Jesus by Digby, or better yet, Everyman (you and I). He has gotten close to completion of the circle of destiny; without looking at the sea he is throwing the girdle of Leucothea which she had lent him to be able to swim ashore (Blake used Book 5 of the Odyssey for this feature).

Behind 'Everyman' stands a woman, perhaps Athene (Raine), Vala (Damon), the anima (Digby). (This shows how Blake says different things to different people -- much like the Bible!)

On the right side of the picture there's an image you might imagine as a double escalator with the right side going down and the left up. Down the northern come the souls with a hankering for mortal life. Up the southern may go Everyman:
"when once he did descry

the immortal man who cannot die
Through evening shades he hastes away
to close the labors of his day."

We can only suppose that Everyman, responding to the radiant woman's signal, looked up and moved!

There's a lot more to the circle of destiny; if anyone shows an interest, I'll be glad to expand on it.

Tell me what you think.

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