Blake uses the Zoas as a means of presenting the aspects of the psyche which he sees internally and recognizes as the structure of the human mind. Early in Blake's life he recognized that there were internal divisions within himself. Reason, desire, imagination and sensation each tried to claim the uppermost position in the allocation of his time and resources. Blake personified these abstractions as the 'Four Mighty Ones in Every Man.'
The beginning of the Four Zoas brings to our attention the four mighty ones who do battle:
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 3, (E 300)
"The Song of the Aged Mother which shook the heavens with wrath
Hearing the march of long resounding strong heroic Verse
Marshalld in order for the day of Intellectual Battle
Four Mighty Ones are in every Man;"
Later Blake identifies the Four Zoas and their positions in the Eternal World.
Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 74, (E 351)
"But in Eternal times the Seat of Urizen is in the South
Urthona in the North Luvah in East Tharmas in West"
Laurens van der Post, in Jung and the Story of Our Time, speaking of Jung's observation that the conflict between the conscious and unconscious forces in the mind led to mental illness notes that :
"The trouble started only when the part of the human personality which was conscious behaved as if it were the whole of the man. There was nothing this unconscious world abhorred more than one-sidedness. When one extreme of spirit attempted a monopoly for itself another extreme sooner of later rose titanic in the unconscious to overthrow it. That is why the history of man was so much a swing from one opposite of spirit into another as Heraclitus had observed millenniums before." (Page 209)
The trouble starts in Blake's myth when the positions of the Zoas are altered by the deal between Urizen and Luvah. The harmonious balance is ruined.
Milton, PLATE 19 , (E 112)
"Four Universes round the Mundane Egg remain Chaotic
One to the North, named Urthona: One to the South, named Urizen:
One to the East, named Luvah: One to the West, named Tharmas
They are the Four Zoa's that stood around the Throne Divine!
But when Luvah assum'd the World of Urizen to the South:
And Albion was slain upon his mountains, & in his tent;
All fell towards the Center in dire ruin, sinking down.
And in the South remains a burning fire; in the East a void.
In the West, a world of raging waters; in the North a solid,
Unfathomable! without end. But in the midst of these,
Is built eternally the Universe of Los and Enitharmon:
Towards which Milton went, but Urizen oppos'd his path."
Van der Post writes of the collective unconscious and archetypes of Jung as the patterns of the mind which organize its form and put to use the psyche's energy.
"He [Jung] revealed how in this collective unconscious of the individual man were infinite resources of energy, organized in definite patterns. Each of these patterns had at its disposal its own form of energy and somewhere located, as it were, in the center, between the unconscious and the conscious, there was a master pattern to which all the others subscribed and all their other energies could be joined in one transcendental orbit. He called these patterns, first of all, 'primordial images,' ... but later changed to 'archetypes,' an idea rediscovered from Saint Augustine, and before him from Hermes Trimegistus, who proclaimed in the Poimandres, 'You have seen in your mind the archetypal image!'" (Page 209)
In Jerusalem we learn the Zoas have lost their original abilities and exemplify the opposite characteristics:
Jerusalem, Plate 38, (E184)
"They [the Four Zoas] saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other
To prevent Albion walking about in the Four Complexions."
Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Because the Evil is Created into a State. that Men
May be deliverd time after time evermore. Amen.
Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human
That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe
Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels:
This is the only means to Forgiveness of Enemies"
Blake and Jung both sought consciousness of the internal dynamics of the psyche, awareness of the forces seeking expression or dominance, and recognition of 'the Eternal Human That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe.'
Frontispiece to Bürger's "Leonora" (London, 1796)
Designed by Blake, Engraved by Perry
Van der Post explains Jung's concept of wholeness:
"Wholeness was the ultimate of man's conscious and unconscious seeking; indeed consciousness was so important because it was the chosen instrument of the unconscious seeking the abolition of partialities in a harmony of differences that is wholeness." (Page 219)