What was Blake saying with this Picture?
It's about the world, and about everyone:
The biblical source is obvious (Genesis 3), the Garden scene:
Adam and Eve and the snake! Just before the fatal meal that
made us all mortal. But who's the 3rd figure above our
ancestors with the snake all coiled around him? Well Genesis
3 mentions a third figure called "cherubim and a flaming
sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of
Now look at Blake's myth:
The third figure has a thousand faces: serpent, Satan, Covering Cherub...Urizen! above all the Spectre, the Selfhood!
Blake, the world, you and I are three: masculine, feminine,
Man and woman work together amicably-- with love;
the spectre, (Satan, Lucifer, Urizen, the Covering Cherub!)
is jealous; his thoughts are evil.
The Fall of Man began Blake's myth, and he wrote many ends (the Bible does as well). One of Blake's earliest and most dramatic ones come in Plate 14 of MHH:
"The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.
For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite, and holy whereas it now appears finite & corrupt."
Once again the poem, My Spectre Round me Night and Day tells the whole story in microcosm.