Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Albion has a composite character second to none. It means (originally) England, but at a deeper level it means the cosmos, which is a man!. (In this Blake agrees with the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah, the Heavenly Man of Philo, St. Paul's heavenly man, the second Adam, and the cosmic man of Gnostic mythology, and the Hindu god, Krishna.) These are all facets of what Blake meant by Albion.

Albion, the eternal man, fell asleep into mortality in Beulah. We read at the beginning of Night 2 of The Four Zoas these ominous words:

    "Rising upon his Couch of Death Albion beheld his Sons
    Turning his Eyes outward to Self, losing the Divine Vision. Albion called Urizen & said: "Take thou possession! take this Scepter! go forth in my might
    For I am weary, & must sleep in the dark sleep of Death."
He divides and divides into four parts, the four zoas (strangely similar to the four functions promulgated a hundred years later by Carl Jung).

This dissolution of the cosmic man, described at the beginning of The Four Zoas, passes through the Circle of Destiny, and at the end of The Four Zoas he awakens from his mortal sleep and resumes his place in Eternity. That in essence is a thumbnail account of Blake's myth: descent from Eternity, struggle, and eventual return.

Albion was present in the beginning, coming down from Eternity into Beulah for R and R, sleeping through the who drama and awakening at the end:

PLATE 96 (of Jerusalem; Erdman 255-6) "As the Sun & Moon lead forward the Visions of Heaven & Earth
England who is Brittannia entered Albions bosom rejoicing
hen Jesus appeared standing by Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form

A Man. & they conversed as Man with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los
Albion said. O Lord what can I do!
my Selfhood cruel Marches against thee deceitful from Sinai &
rom Edom Into the Wilderness of Judah to meet thee in his pride
I behold the Visions of my deadly Sleep of Six Thousand Years
Dazling around thy skirts like a Serpent of precious stones &
gold I know it is my Self. O my Divine Creator & Redeemer
Jesus replied Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me
This is Friendship & Brotherhood without it Man Is Not
So Jesus spoke! the Covering Cherub coming on in darkness Overshadowd them &
Jesus said Thus do Men in Eternity
One for another to put off by forgiveness, every sin
- 255 -
Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship &
Brotherhood I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend
Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood
So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour
Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities &
Counties Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad
So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became Fountains of Living Waters
Howing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers,
and All The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds
Waking from Sleep Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into Albions Bosom:
Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds Of Heaven
ourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity"

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