As in B.U. Orc is bound in the Chain of Jealousy, but his tormented cries
awaken Urizen, who concludes Night v (of The Four Zoas with the "Woes of
Urizen". His suffering has brought him to a point of self-recognition; he has
come to himself in a way reminiscent of the Prodigal Son's moment of truth:
"I will arise", which Blake took directly from the story in Luke. Urizen thus
shows himself to be human.Unfortunately it's only a temporary lapse, for in
Night vi he explores his dens,faces all the brokenness and horror of a ruined
universe and as his solution comes up with the "Net of Religion ". Since pure
political tyranny won't work, he turns to a form of religious control.
We come to the climax of this epic in Night vii when Urizen has
approached Orc's prison and induced him to climb the "Tree of Mystery ", turning
into a serpent. This sets the stage for the Genesis account of the Fall, which
Blake sees as the beginning of the Return. Enitharmon, attracted by the cries of
her son, Orc, comes down to the "Tree of Mystery", where she meets the Spectre
of Urthona (FZ7a-82.23; E358). The Spectre closely corresponds to Jung's
'shadow', and like a skilled analyst Blake brings about the reconciliation of
shadow and anima on the way to wholeness).
From the union of Spectre and Enitharmon two things ensue. The good news
is that Los begins to get himself together with his Spectre and his Emanation.
From this integration comes forth Jerusalem and from Jerusalem will proceed the
Lamb. The bad news is the immediate birth of Rahab, the most sinister female of
Blake's pantheon. She personifies all the evils of deceit, treachery, and
hateful female pride that most appalled Blake about life. Blake's Rahab is the
same character whom John of Patmos called "Mystery, the Whore of Babylon"; Blake
eventually gives her these names--and several others as well.
The Spectre of Urthona, a new idea on Blake's imaginative horizon,
foreshadowed the Moment of Grace which was to revolutionize his spiritual world;
these dynamics are dealt with elsewhere . Suffice it here to say that the
appearance of the Spectre marks Man's (and Blake's) dawning awareness that the
evils of the world, which he had so deplored, exist in his own psyche. It marks
what Jung referred to as the withdrawal of the projections, which Jung
considered vital to the survival of the world. Blake agreed about the
seriousness of the process; he stated it with great poetic intensity in the
reversed writing found in the illustration to 'Jerusalem', plate 41:
Each man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that hour
When his humanity awake
And cast his Spectre into the Lake
But in Night vii Los doesn't cast his Spectre into the lake; he embraces
it, which in a manner of speaking is the same thing. Los doesn't (yet) cast his
Spectre into the lake because his humanity is not yet fully awake, but only
beginning to awaken. As Blake aptly put, it complete redemption "was not to be
effected without Cares & Sorrows & Troubles of six thousand years of self denial
and of bitter Contrition". That beautiful line points to the redemptive
dimension of all the fallenness and horror we have been reading about. It was
Blake's way of saying what Paul said in Romans: "All things work together for
good to them that love God...." Blake and Jung and probably Paul would agree
that we begin to love God (and stop trying to be God!) when we recognize and
accept our own involvement in the horror around us. That's the moment when the
six thousand years of change begins.
The birth of Rahab and the integration of Los lead to an intensification
of a drama that has already stretched out for seven nights of excruciating
intensity. In Night viii the drama has not only intensified, but it has
clarified so that we can no longer fail to understand that the forces of life
and of death are in bitter conflict. It has become the old, old story, and Blake
leaves no doubt about who represents light and who darkness. Urizen resumes his
war for control and out of his ranks of War comes Satan. Rahab conspires to put
to death the Saviour who has come down from Heaven and emerged from Jerusalem.
The Christian knows that this death is foreordained for final victory, but
neither Rahab nor Jerusalem has that awareness, and near the end of Night viii
we read these richly evocative words:
Jerusalem wept over the Sepulcher two thousand years.
Rahab trimphs over all; she took Jerusalem
Captive, a Willing Captive, by delusive arts impell'd
To worship Urizen's Dragon form, to offer her own Children
Upon the bloody Altar. John saw these things Revealed....
Blake never forgot the involvement of the Christian Church in two
thousand years of bloodshed, but here, under the influence of grace, he has a
more understanding view of it than he has expressed elsewhere.