Monday, March 18, 2013


Yale Center for British Art Jerusalem
Plate 23

From Page 172 of Kathleen Raine's Blake and Tradition:
"Here we must return, yet again, to the figure of Vala. We have seen her mythological antecedents as the soul Psyche; and we have see how in Jerusalem she became an independent figure, the material shadow of the soul who has become 'animated' with a life of her own. This animation of 'nature' as an externalized shadow of the soul we can more perfectly understand in its  relation to the sensible world. Blake in entitling his poem Vala, was indicating his central theme: man's lapse into a mistaken belief in the substantiality of the phenomena."

In the following account of the fall, told by the Spectre of Urthona, Albion succumbs to the appeal of Vala. From his union with her Urizen is born as the first to be born to the generated world - opening up the expression of the soul in material form. Albion perceives Vala now as half of split being: Luvah the Zoa, and Vala the Natural World which is the Zoa's reflection. Vala is given power to turn the emotions into destructive forces when she is seen as a function of matter and not of soul or spirit. Blake make it clear that what we see as Vala - natural phenomena - is a 'sweet delusion', covering and hiding from sight the real and Eternal world.

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 82, (E 358)  
[Spectre of Urthona to Shadow of Enitharmon]
"But the next joy of thine shall be in sweet delusion  
And its birth in fainting & sleep & Sweet delusions of Vala  

The Shadow of Enitharmon answerd Art thou terrible Shade
Set over this sweet boy of mine to guard him lest he rend
PAGE 83 
His mother to the winds of heaven Intoxicated with
The fruit of this delightful tree. I cannot flee away
From thy embrace else be assurd so horrible a form
Should never in my arms repose. now listen I will tell
Thee Secrets of Eternity which neer before unlockd 
My golden lips nor took the bar from Enitharmons breast
Among the Flowers of Beulah walkd the Eternal Man & Saw
Vala the lilly of the desart. melting in high noon
Upon her bosom in sweet bliss he fainted   Wonder siezd
All heaven they saw him dark. they built a golden wall  
Round Beulah   There he reveld in delight among the Flowers
Vala was pregnant & brought forth Urizen Prince of Light
First born of Generation. Then behold a wonder to the Eyes
Of the now fallen Man a double form Vala appeard. A Male
And female shuddring pale the Fallen Man recoild    
From the Enormity & calld them Luvah & Vala. turning down
The vales to find his way back into Heaven but found none
For his frail eyes were faded & his ears heavy & dull

Urizen grew up in the plains of Beulah   Many Sons
And many daughters flourishd round the holy Tent of Man     
Till he forgot Eternity delighted in his sweet joy
Among his family his flocks & herds & tents & pastures

But Luvah close conferrd with Urizen in darksom night
To bind the father & enslave the brethren Nought he knew
Of sweet Eternity the blood flowd round the holy tent & rivn   
From its hinges uttering its final groan all Beulah fell
In dark confusion mean time Los was born & Enitharmon
But how I know not then forgetfulness quite wrapd me up
A period nor do I more remember till I stood
Beside Los in the Cavern dark enslavd to vegetative forms    
According to the Will of Luvah who assumed the Place
Of the Eternal Man & smote him."

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