Friday, October 08, 2010

The Vision

Blessed from birth with free and spontaneous Visions (as we all were until conditioned by conventionality) Blake happily wrote, drew, etched and painted until at age 29 (in 1786) he lost the gifts of innocence (start at "I have entirely reduced that spectrous Fiend), opting for the 'main chance' (which is to say 'the way of the world'). That period lasted for 20 years and ended while he was at Felpham.

Blake's years with Hayley (search for Hayley), were a 'trial by fire', a fire that tempered his psyche and made him strong enough to stand up against the world in a decisive and emphatic way. Henceforth he would not work for Hayley, but for God. The year 1804 was essentially a rebirth (of which we may have many if we're fortunate).

Blake's life followed closely the Circle of Destiny (page 5, lines 8-12) that described his myth. Every day is (or should be) a reenactment of the lifelong cycle of life. In the still of morning seek the silence until the mind becomes a blank, especially if you can 'annihilate' your personal Spectre. Now you're ready to hear and see God and respond to him(her,it).

The Savior gave the pattern for morning prayer:
1. Our Father: you realize you're not your own, but like a soldier under orders.
2. The Kingdom Come: you want more than the goodies you've promised for yourself.
3. Thy will be done: two wills always operate in my life: mine and God's; that's the struggle of life.
3. We seek daily bread: for me that's the Vision, the work I've been assigned, the project I'm to work on today.
4. Forgive us as we forgive. That was a monumental task for Blake, for me and you. We must forgive ourselves, God, and neighbor. Blake had threefold forgiving problems (just like we do).
5. Lead us not into temptation; in retrospect Blake realized that the temptation of Hayley, to which he had succumbed, was actually the agency of his salvation; unlike the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness Blake had fallen to his devil, Hayley, but he 'got smart' and found the better way.

(Blake loved and respected the Lord's Prayer, but he was sheerly disgusted with its performance by corrupt priests leading it for the devout 'Elect' who would immediately continue preying on the poor.  Writing marginalia on Robert John Thornton's pious book about it    Blake parodied the misuse of The Lords Prayer (Erdman 667-70) by the Conventional Religious Establishment.)

After his three years at Felpham, released, he and Catherine went back to London and poverty; the Visions flowed freely and led to his greatest work.  He knew he had lost twenty years; that led to his exhortation to industry found at Plate 77 of Jerusalem  (line 11ff; he had undoubtedly read Wesley's writing on "redeeming the time"). He began to etch and paint those magnificent plates of Milton and Jerusalem, a closer representation of God's Kingdom than the thousands of words he had written during that (dismal?) 20 years of trying to 'succeed'.

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