Friday, June 29, 2012

Religion Hid in War

Blake probably knew Revelation by heart; he was deeply impressed by the 17th chapter:  "I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast"; you might say the woman was Religion and the beast was War.  He had seen how avidly the religious establishment supported the wars that afflicted Great Britain in his day.

"...Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine, Luther, these seven are the Male-Females, the Dragon Forms Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot. All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub.."

And again: Jerusalem, plate 89:
"...Thus was the Covering Cherub reveald majestic image of Selfhood, Body put off, the Antichrist accursed Coverd with precious stones, a Human Dragon terrible And bright, stretchd over Europe & Asia gorgeous.In three nights he devourd the rejected corse Hidden within the Covering Cherub as in a Tabernacle Of threefold workmanship in allegoric delusion & woe .........A Double Female now appeard within the Tabernacle, Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot Each within other, but without a Warlike Mighty-one Of dreadful power, sitting upon Horeb pondering dire And mighty preparations mustering multitudes innumerable of warlike sons..."


Blake wrote exhaustively about religion and war in the early decades of the 19th century;  in the middle of the century it was borne out succinctly by the Confederate Generals.  Stonewall Jackson was perhaps the most religious and certainly the most bloody.  

In a movie, Gods and Generals,  he was reflecting on the extreme amounts of blood expended; he expressed his conclusion:  the answer was to “kill them all".

(The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. has stain glassed windows of various saints; there was one of the saintly Robert E. Lee and another for ‘Stonewall Jackson’; that seemed odd when I visited the cathedral years ago.)

Soon after that statement Jackson was killed; like many of us he had never learned to ‘pray for our enemies’.  
wiki dragon red

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