Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Each of the Four Zoas seems to have constant problems with his Emanation/wife/Anima. Tharmas endlessly follows his wife Enion who has withdrawn from him and continually flees. Urizen expels his wife Ahania because she confronts him with unpleasant truth. Luvah's wife Vala thwarts and obscures all he tries to do. Los the regent for Urthona, has a mixed relationship with Enitharmon, his sister/wife who is the only Emanation to take on mortal, vegetated form (Damon page 124.)

A reason for the Emanations causing trouble for their males may be that they see themselves as having been 'dealt weak hands.' They compensate by attempting to dominate by underhanded techniques, such as jealousy, withholding affection, withdrawing, secrecy, allying with the enemy and other devious methods.

The weakness of the positions of the Emanations results from their being associated with materiality. For Blake spirituality is the ideal state, the goal toward which all activity should lead. Unfortunately the route to the spiritual must go through the material. So the Emanations represent aspects of materiality through which man must pass as he recovers from the fall which divided him and separated him from Eternity. As aspects of a struggle, the Emanations are the means of gaining experience.

Enitharmon and Los
Yale Center for British Arts

On Plate 85 of Jerusalem, Blake incorporates a picture of Los and Enitharman working together, a pleasant enough scene until we look more closely. Notice the sun, a male symbol, on Enitharmon's side of the picture; the moon a female symbol on Los's side. The two characters look in opposite directions (division), and Enitharmon has her back turned to us (secrecy.) The vines which Enitharmon holds are attached to Los in the area of heart and loins. Los's star is traveling away from him rather than toward him. Their knees are touching so there is still communication. Los, time, and Enitharmon, space, are intended to work together but they are at cross purposes. She wants to extend in space expanding materiality; he to foster spirituality as a function of time or prophecy.

Percival, in Circle of Destiny has this to say about the masculine and feminine relationship: "'Mental things alone are real' - this is the basic Blakean philosophy. Nature must be explained by man, body by soul. Form is the gift of inspiration. Moral good emanates spontaneously from brotherhood. The spiritual life, however you look at it, is rooted firmly in the energetic masculine. The unspiritual life is built upon the passive feminine."

The differences between Los and Enitharmon are overcome. From Percival again: "Deliverance will come only when the feminine emotions forego their separate identity as Good, and become the spontaneous expression of the imaginative mind."

Near the end of the Four Zoas we find Los and Enitharmon, not at odds but together pursuing the work of Eternity, (The Four Zoas, Eighth Night, 114.30, E385):

"And Los & Enitharmon took the Body of the Lamb Down from the Cross & placd it in a Sepulcher which Los had hewn For himself in the Rock of Eternity trembling & in despair Jerusalem wept over the Sepulcher two thousand Years"

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