Monday, November 16, 2009

The Golden String

Here are the famous lines again:
"I give you the end of a golden string
Only wind it into a ball.
It will let you in at Heaven's gate
Built in Jerusalem's wall."
(Beginning Chapter 4 of Jerusalem (Erdman 231)

You may find many interpretations of this provocative poem. Roger Easson on page 313 ff of Blake's Sublime Allegory provided the one that inspired this post.

Blake gave us the end of the string; Ariadne got a thread that enabled her friend to negotiate the labyrinth. Blake's string was already laid out (sort of). With it we are able to find our way out (of the maze of life) and in (to the Eternal). In the vernacular out of the insidious consumer culture materialism into a life guided by Spirit, through Heaven's gate.

Blake offers us escape -- and salvation. Escape from single vision, from Ulro, from confining our life to the same old thing. The salvation is freedom-- to be creative and know we're alive.

The Minotaur is your Selfhood. To get free of it is life.

Easson pointed out Plate 37 or 43 of Jerusalem where at the bottom of the text we see poor old defeated Urizen with his head down and his book open with words you need a mirror to read, but they say:

"Each man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that hour
When his humanity awake,
And cast his Spectre into the Lake."

The Spectre is the Selfhood, and with his golden string Blake gave us the means to annihilate it.

1 comment:

Malcolm (Petroc) said...

I first came across that wonderful verse in a book by Fr Bede Griffiths. He was a monk who live in an ashram in South India.