Saturday, April 16, 2011


Gates of Paradise, Plate 18

Of the Shadowy Female, Damon (A Blake Dictionary) writes:

"The Shadowy Female is this material world, a fallen form of Vala ... She is the voice of the Darwinian world, the struggle for life, "consumed and consuming ... howling terrors ... devouring & devoured.'"

The Shadowy Female gains power through an abdication by Tharmas and Urthona. She binds all mortal things into permanent forms. But the purpose served is that 'the Divine Lamb who died for all And all in him died' may put off Death.

It is Ahania, the emanation of Urizen, who describes the sorry world which the Shadowy Female represents.

Four Zoas, PAGE 111 [107], (E 383)
"And Tharmas gave his Power to Los Urthona gave his strength
Into the youthful prophet for the Love of Enitharmon
And of the nameless Shadowy female in the nether deep
And for the dread of the dark terrors of Orc & Urizen

Thus in a living Death the nameless shadow all things bound
All mortal things made permanent that they may be put off
Time after time by the Divine Lamb who died for all
And all in him died. & he put off all mortality

PAGE 122 [108]
Tharmas on high rode furious thro the afflicted worlds
Pursuing the Vain Shadow of Hope fleeing from identity
In abstract false Expanses that he may not hear the Voice
Of Ahania wailing on the winds in vain he flies for still
The voice incessant calls on all the children of Men
For she spoke of all in heaven & all upon the Earth
Saw not as yet the Divine vision her Eyes are Toward Urizen
And thus Ahania cries aloud to the Caverns of the Grave

Will you keep a flock of wolves & lead them will you take the wintry blast
For a covering to your limbs or the summer pestilence for a tent to abide in
Will you erect a lasting habitation in the mouldering Church yard
Or a pillar & palace of Eternity in the jaws of the hungry grave
Will you seek pleasure from the festering wound or marry for a Wife
The ancient Leprosy that the King & Priest may still feast on your decay
And the grave mock & laugh at the plowd field saying
I am the nourisher thou the destroyer in my bosom is milk & wine
And a fountain from my breasts to me come all multitudes
To my breath they obey they worship me I am a goddess & queen
But listen to Ahania O ye sons of the Murderd one
Listen to her whose memory beholds your ancient days
Listen to her whose eyes behold the dark body of corruptible
Looking for Urizen in vain. in vain I seek for morning
The Eternal Man sleeps in the Earth nor feels the vigrous sun
And the Strong Eagle now with num[m]ing cold blighted of feathers
Once like the pride of the sun now flagging in cold night
Hovers with blasted wings aloft watching with Eager Eye
Till Man shall leave a corruptible body he famishd hears him groan
And now he fixes his strong talons in the pointed rock
And now he beats the heavy air with his enormous wings
Beside him lies the Lion dead & in his belly worms
Feast on his death till universal death devours all
And the pale horse seeks for the pool to lie him down & die
But finds the pools filled with serpents devouring one another
He droops his head & trembling stands & his bright eyes decay
These are the Visions of My Eyes the Visions of Ahania

Thus cries Ahania Enion replies from the Caverns of the Grave"

The role which Ahania plays is similar to that of the chorus of Greek plays; she observes, she comments, she doesn't participate, but she helps us understand the action. Without Ahania's speech the Shadowy Female would not make the vivid impression which it does.

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