Friday, October 30, 2009


The psychic energy of humans is said to come from the Id, the instinctual first principal which allows the infant to survive. In Freud's system the Superego and Ego are built on that fundamental structure of the psyche. Later developments of the psyche limit the expression of the Id, but it would be disastrous if the Id were completely suppressed for that would leave no energy with which to fuel the operation of other aspects of the psyche.

So it is with Blake's Tharmas. As the body, he is the Zoa who is the source of energy. In MHH 4 Blake says "Energy is the only life, and is from the body."

In the Sixth Night of the Four Zoas, we find Urizen wandering through the unsatisfactory world he has created. Urizen is weakened; Urthona occupies a throne in a world of solid darkness; the east, Luvah's realm, is a void. Tharmas, however is full of energy rolling his billows in ceaseless eddies as he seeks his Emanation Enion. Desiring death Tharmas bargains with Urizen : The Four Zoas, Night Six, 69.10; E346

"That I in vain in various paths have sought but still I live
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"
The function of Urizen is to produce light which he can provide to the other Zoas; it is up to Tharmas to provide the food or energy which the other Zoas are now lacking. Urizen has other ideas, so the bargain is not made nor could it be, because the Eternal Man will be renewed.

Tharmas threatens to starve Urizen in this passage: The Four Zoas, Night Six, 69.21; E 346

"Thou shalt pursue me but in vain till starvd upon the void
Thou hangst a dried skin shrunk up weak wailing in the wind
So Tharmas spoke but Urizen replied not."

Urizen makes this threat concerning Tharmas: The Four Zoas, Night Six, 68.22; E345

"I will give Chains of dark ignorance & cords of twisted self
And whips of stern repentance & food of stubborn obstinacy
That they may curse Tharmas their God & Los his adopted son"
So this is an explanation for the energy of Los; the alliance between Tharmas and Los gives Los the tremendous creative energy which he expends producing children, building cities and seeking to provide the conditions which will result in regeneration.

Blake as the 'vehicular form of Los' very likely tapped into the Id as instinctive energy to fuel his prolific output. His libido enjoyed a satisfying sexual relationship in his marriage to Catherine. The physical nature of his artistic activities involved his body in functioning as it should. The 'Tharmas' in him was not neglected but engaged as an essential partner, ready to provide energy for Blake's pursuits.

Enion, Enitharmon, Los and Tharmas

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