Saturday, March 31, 2012


S. Foster Damon's book A Blake Dictionary, is always an excellent source for acquiring a grasp of Blake's idiosyncratic meanings. On Page 295 we read:
"Nature is an external visualizing of the Individual's emotions. Vala (who is Nature) is the Emanation of Luvah (the Emotions). But Vala is now covered with her Veil of matter, which (in another symbol) is the shell of the Mundane Egg, the starry heavens.
Blake anticipated the cruel world of Darwin: Nature is 'A Creation that groans, living on Death, where Fish & Bird & Beast & Man & Tree & Metal & Stone live by Devouring, going into Eternal Death continually' (J 50:5; cf. Rom viii:22)."

And on page 344:
"The worldly religions were all derived from Nature. The Deists drew their conclusions by logic from the material world, but before that, the poets had drawn theirs by imaginative insight."

Religion for Blake was either true religion, developed through revelation of the Eternal; or false religion, which came from replicating the operation of the observed natural world using data from the senses. Vala, as the projection of the emotions outwardly, became the progenitor of false religions based on Nature or matter. Just as the Eternal Reason externalized became attached to the material world in Urizen, the Eternal Emotions became attached to the material world as Vala. Both Vala and Urizen engaged in activities which sought to control the outer world and shape it to aggrandise their own self-images. The two weapons in Vala's arsenal were sex and cruelty which she combined in various ways to impose her will.

The religion of the law (Jews), the religion of sacrifice (Druids), the religion of nature (Natural Religion), and the religion of rationalism (Deism) were all schemes of Vala to turn outward the consciousness of man which was in Eden open inward to the Eternal dimension.

Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)
" Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion
of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the
Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and
destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God.
Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the
Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches
Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not
the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine
Name Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God
of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and
Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or
Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart.

This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus. Deism
is the same & ends in the same."

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem, Plate 63
Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 175)
"Vala replied in clouds of tears Albions garment embracing

I was a City & a Temple built by Albions Children.
I was a Garden planted with beauty I allured on hill & valley
The River of Life to flow against my walls & among my trees
Vala was Albions Bride & Wife in great Eternity
The loveliest of the daughters of Eternity when in day-break

I emanated from Luvah over the Towers of Jerusalem
And in her Courts among her little Children offering up
The Sacrifice of fanatic love! why loved I Jerusalem!
Why was I one with her embracing in the Vision of Jesus
Wherefore did I loving create love, which never yet
Immingled God & Man, when thou & I, hid the Divine Vision
In cloud of secret gloom which behold involve me round about
Know me now Albion: look upon me I alone am Beauty
The Imaginative Human Form is but a breathing of Vala
I breathe him forth into the Heaven from my secret Cave
Born of the Woman to obey the Woman O Albion the mighty
For the Divine appearance is Brotherhood, but I am Love"

Four Zoas, Night III. Page 42, (E 328)
"O Urizen why art thou pale at the visions of Ahania
Listen to her who loves thee lest we also are driven away.

They heard the Voice & fled swift as the winters setting sun
And now the Human Blood foamd high, I saw that Luvah & Vala
Went down the Human Heart where Paradise & its joys abounded
In jealous fears in fury & rage, & flames roll'd round their fervid feet
And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent play'd before them
And as they went in folding fires & thunders of the deep
Vala shrunk in like the dark sea that leaves its slimy banks
And from her bosom Luvah fell far as the east & west
And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent roll'd between.

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