Thursday, November 18, 2010


The parallels are so apparent in the thinking of Jung and Blake that we must recognize that they were under many of the same influences. I have been looking for ways in which Jung's insights are apparent in Blake's writing and have found what I was looking for. Each of the men had immersed himself in the perennial philosophy. Each was introverted and intuitive. Each had experienced a mid-life crisis which involved new self-awareness and new prioritization. The internal and external experiences of the two men led them to understand their own mental landscape and to extrapolate it to humanity. Coming from different perspectives and using different disciplines, they were each led to awareness of congruent interpretations of the nature of man and God.

I have found it a worthwhile enterprise is to read Blake looking for Jungian ideas, and to read Jung looking for Blakean ideas. The minds of two giants give insight into the messages of the other.

David L. Hart writing in The Cambridge Compannion to Jung, edited by Polly Young-Eisendrathand Terence Dawson gives an overview of the process of psychological development as seen by Jung on page 100:

"In a general way the whole development of an individual's life is seen by Jung as a gradual emergence out of the ego's control and into the realm of the Self - out of merely personal values and into those of more impersonal and collective meaning. The first half of life normally devoted to establishing a secure place in the world; education, profession, family, a personal identity. But at mid-life that crisis threatens whose ubiquity and importance Jung helped to clarify in the public mind. It is at bottom a spiritual crisis, the challenge to seek and discover the meaning of life. To meet this challenge, none of the tools of the first half of life are adequate. It is not a question of further conquests or acquisitions; it is more a question of exploration of the soul, for its own sake, letting go of the familiar demands of the ego to be fed and gratified. Therefore it is often felt as a loss, and is often powerfully resisted; and yet the psyche, with its own powerful demand to be realized, will persist in confronting consciousness with new and unheard-of views of life's meanings and possibilities. It is here that Jung sees the real work of individuation beginning, for from this point on, everything depends on the broadening of consciousness. Without a real sense that this change carries the true meaning of one's life, and a willingness to take on the inner voyage of discovery, one can fall into despair and a repetitive existence, which in effect only marks time until the end. The challenge of the second half of life is to prepare for death in a questioning, seeking, and conscious way accepting both the pain of disillusionment and the wonder of growth into ever new views of spiritual and psychological reality."

The following passage can be seen as describing Los's mid-life crisis. It focuses on Los' recognition of the contribution he made to his alienation from Enitharmon, the benefits he becomes aware of in cooperation, and the positive outcome that results from working together. Blake uses this incident as a turning point in his myth leading to the climactic restructuring of regeneration.

Four Zoas
, Page 98 [90], (E 369)
"O Enitharmon
Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright
When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries
Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain
Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror
Come hither be patient let us converse together because
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said
O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide
Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights
If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night
And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews
Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms
That vanish again into my bosom but if thou my Los
Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime
Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into
They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live...
But Los loved them & refusd to Sacrifice their infant limbs
And Enitharmons smiles & tears prevaild over self protection
They rather chose to meet Eternal death than to destroy
The offspring of their Care & Pity Urthonas spectre was comforted
But Tharmas most rejoicd in hope of Enions return
For he beheld new Female forms born forth upon the air
Who wove soft silken veils of covering in sweet rapturd trance
Mortal & not as Enitharmon without a covering veil

First his immortal spirit drew Urizen[s] Shadow away
From out the ranks of war separating him in sunder
Leaving his Spectrous form which could not be drawn away
Then he divided Thiriel the Eldest of Urizens sons
Urizen became Rintrah Thiriel became Palamabron
Thus dividing the powers of Every Warrior
Startled was Los he found his Enemy Urizen now
In his hands. he wonderd that he felt love & not hate
His whole soul loved him he beheld him an infant
Lovely breathd from Enitharmon he trembled within himself

End of The Seventh Night "

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