When Larry retired from working for the government in Washington, DC, we left the 'fast lane' and removed ourselves to the foot of the mountains in South Carolina. For the first and only time in our lives we had a few acres of land to enjoy and to tend. This retreat from congestion, traffic and competition, Larry was fond of calling Beulah.
He was following the nomenclature of his hero, William Blake, who called the level of existence just below the level of Eden, by the name Beulah. From Beulah one may return to 'the severe contentions of eternity' after a period of stress-free relaxation in Beulah. If one got addicted to a life of ease and intellectual laziness, one might slip down into the level of Generation or Ulro. Beulah was meant to be a transitional state not a permanent way of life.
Here is a passage from Symbol and Image in William Blake, by George W Digby, Page 51:
"The 'Daughters of Beulah' are man's inherent powers of recovering his inner harmony and sense of direction. They hold him by secret threads and represent a sort of psychological umbilical cord. They represent the power of the imagination to throw up symbols and present them intuitively to the mind (as these symbols come from the region of the mind most remote and other than ego-consciousness, they appear to come from the unconscious.) By means of these symbols, which are the 'Daughters of Beulah', the lost man may be rescued. Although they may become more and more obscure and tenuous the farther he sinks into the meshes of maya, yet the threads are always there and do not break. The compassion of the 'Daughters of Beulah' endures, as does man's capacity for acceptance and assimilation."
Milton, Plate 30 (E129)
"But the Emanations trembled exceedingly, nor could they
Live, because the life of Man was too exceeding unbounded
His joy became terrible to them they trembled & wept
Crying with one voice. Give us a habitation & a place
In which we may be hidden under the shadow of wings
For if we who are but for a time, & who pass away in winter
Behold these wonders of Eternity we shall consume
But you O our Fathers & Brothers, remain in Eternity
But grant us a Temporal Habitation. do you speak
To us; we will obey your words as you obey Jesus
The Eternal who is blessed for ever & ever. Amen
So spake the lovely Emanations;"
Four Zoas, Night 1, Page 5, Line 29 (E303)
"There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest
Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely
Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep
Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around
On all sides within & without the Universal Man
The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams
Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death"
MILTON: BOOK THE SECOND, PLATE 30 (E129)
"There is a place where Contrarieties are equally True
This place is called Beulah, It is a pleasant lovely Shadow
Where no dispute can come. Because of those who Sleep.
Into this place the Sons & Daughters of Ololon descended
With solemn mourning into Beulahs moony shades & hills
Weeping for Milton: mute wonder held the Daughters of Beulah
Enrapturd with affection sweet and mild benevolence
Beulah is evermore Created around Eternity; appearing
To the Inhabitants of Eden, around them on all sides.
But Beulah to its Inhabitants appears within each district
As the beloved infant in his mothers bosom round incircled
With arms of love & pity & sweet compassion. But to
The Sons of Eden the moony habitations of Beulah,
Are from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant Rest."
In the Blake Dictionary, Damon states that Beulah is the subconscious. As such it is out of touch with what we call the 'real world' of conscious thought, sensation, and ego-control. Since what it presents to consciousness is non rational - dreams, fantasy, intuitions,and imaginary constructs - we tend to classify it as illusionary. Psychologists however have found it an avenue for healing the psyche by revealing hidden damage deeper within the unconscious.
An Image of Beulah
Blake seems to have recognized the healing nature of a state where ideas were not rejected or judged; where there was not pressure to produce or conform; where the darkness could appear but not harm; where one could feel that one was held in compassionate arms. Blake's Beulah could be entered through gates from his other worlds, to provide the healing which souls needed to progress along their journeys. Perhaps he saw himself as requiring such recovery from his trials and toils, and wanted to share with us his gentle place where his imagination could spread its wings.
Milton, Plate 42