Tuesday, April 19, 2011


___________________Book of Ahania, Sketch and Frontispiece

Although Los, Luvah and Tharmas seek reunion with their
emanations, Urizen actively rejects and casts out his emanation Ahania. Ironically Blake provides us with a picture of the two intimately bonded in poses of repentance and forgiveness. Considering their mutual history the image may remind us that each of the two is incomplete without what the other brings to the relationship. The loss of Ahania drove Urizen to the false reasoning which replaced the complete intellect of the 'first born Son of Light.'

In the Book of Ahania Urizen casts out his gentler self and names her 'sin'.

Book of Ahania , Plate 2, (E 84)
"7: Dire shriek'd his invisible Lust
Deep groan'd Urizen! stretching his awful hand
Ahania (so name his parted soul)
He siez'd on his mountains of jealousy.
He groand anguishd & called her Sin,"

She laments the loss of the pleasure and joy which the two had formerly experienced together.

Book of Ahania , Plate 5, (E 89)
"But I wander on the rocks
With hard necessity.

6: Where is my golden palace
Where my ivory bed
Where the joy of my morning hour
Where the sons of eternity, singing

7: To awake bright Urizen my king!
To arise to the mountain sport,
To the bliss of eternal valleys:"

We learn in the Four Zoas events which led to the casting out of Ahania. It began with Urizen's inflation in which he declares himself the only God.

Four Zoas , Page 42, (E 328)
"Am I not God said Urizen. Who is Equal to me
Do I not stretch the heavens abroad or fold them up like a garment

He spoke mustering his heavy clouds around him black opake
PAGE 43,
Then thunders rolld around & lightnings darted to & fro
His visage changd to darkness & his strong right hand came forth
To cast Ahania to the Earth be siezd her by the hair
And threw her from the steps of ice that froze around his throne

Saying Art thou also become like Vala. thus I cast thee out
Shall the feminine indolent bliss. the indulgent self of weariness

The passive idle sleep the enormous night & darkness of Death
Set herself up to give her laws to the active masculine virtue
Thou little diminutive portion that darst be a counterpart
Thy passivity thy laws of obedience & insincerity
Are my abhorrence. Wherefore hast thou taken that fair form
Whence is this power given to thee! once thou wast in my breast
A sluggish current of dim waters. on whose verdant margin
A cavern shaggd with horrid shades. dark cool & deadly. where
I laid my head in the hot noon after the broken clods
Had wearied me. there I laid my plow & there my horses fed
And thou hast risen with thy moist locks into a watry image
Reflecting all my indolence my weakness & my death
To weigh me down beneath the grave into non Entity

Shrinking & shrinking from her Lord & calling him the Tempter
And art thou also become like Vala thus I cast thee out."

There are many ways in which the 'fall' is described by Blake and one of them is the separation of the emanation. The fall may be seen to take place in stages. The first described by Blake takes place when reason and emotion separate themselves from the totality. As each of the aspects of the personality establishes a discrete identity, it further divides into its active and receptive modes (contraries). The 'feminine' receptive mode is the emanation. Problems result from the attempts of the receptive to dominate the active. Urizen's problem, however, is not domination by the feminine but her loss and absence.

The repose which Ahania had provided to Urizen was sought and valued by him until he saw the gift she offered as reflecting his own indolence, weakness and death. The qualities he rejected in himself were projected onto Ahania and he rejected her. The repose of the emanation is required by the intellect to maintain its vitality.

Four Zoas, PAGE 52, (E 335)
"But Urizen slept in a stoned stupor in the nether Abyss
A dreamful horrible State in tossings on his icy bed
Freezing to solid all beneath, his grey oblivious form
Stretchd over the immense heaves in strong shudders. silent his voice
In brooding contemplation stretching out from North to South
In mighty power."


No comments: