Friday, June 28, 2013

ANCIENT BLISS

Humanity is continually at the edge of the abyss contemplating the offer of growing into the fullness of the image of God in whose likeness he was created. His alternative is to create a fallen word in the likeness of his own reflection in the mirror of nature.
Courtesy of william-blake.org
An Allegory of the Bible

Northrop Frye in Fearful Symmetry makes these comments:
Page 255
"Now when a germ of life grows it recreates it original form: if there were no original form of the oak tree the acorn would not know what to do. Similarly, the original form of the germ of life that grew out of  the world long ago is most clearly indicated by the most mature and full-grown forms of life that exist in the world, that is, human societies."

Page 256
"Our present human society, then has evolved out of a seed of life dropped in a dead world from a preceding eternal human society, and we cannot ask where the eternal society in its turn came from, because that is pushing the idea of time further than it will go. If we study this image more carefully, we can see that the seed of life was the dead world, fallen from eternity, and that the seed will have achieved its original form when the dead world, including the sun and the stars, become again a city and a garden. The achievement of a permanent human civilization and culture is  the next stage in development, and if that is not the end, we shall see what the end is  more clearly from there."

Page 259
"Man stands at the level of conscious life: immediately in front of him is the power to visualize the eternal city and garden he is trying to regain; immediately behind him is the unconscious, involuntary and cyclic energy, much of which goes on inside his own body. Man is therefore a Luvah or form of life subject to two impulses, one the prophetic impulse leading him forward to vision, the other the natural impulse which drags him back to unconsciousness and finally to death." 


In the sixth chapter of Genesis we learn of God's disgust with the world of man turned away from the vision of God.  
Genesis 6
[5] And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
[6] And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
[7] And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
[8] But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Blake wrote these words on his Laocoon engraving as his understanding of verse six of the above quote:

"He repented that he had made Adam
(of the Female, the Adamah)
 & it grieved him at his heart"
For 'man' Blake uses the word 'Adam'; for the earth (or dust) he uses the word 'Adamah' which is feminine in the Hebrew. Blake's interpretation is that God repented of making man by assimilating matter, the feminine principle, into his creation of man. God attempted a new beginning with Noah wiping out all but a remnant. However that strategy was unsuccessful as have been many subsequent attempts to set man on the right path. 

Blake sees that the sorrows of man are the sorrows of God too. The brokenness of our world will begin to be mended when the scattered body of man reassembles into the image of God.
Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E242)
[Los speaking}
"And sometimes the Earth shall roll in the Abyss & sometimes 
Stand in the Center & sometimes stretch flat in the Expanse,
According to the will of the lovely Daughters of Albion.
Sometimes it shall assimilate with mighty Golgonooza:
Touching its summits: & sometimes divided roll apart.
As a beautiful Veil so these Females shall fold & unfold      
According to their will the outside surface of the Earth
An outside shadowy Surface superadded to the real Surface;
Which is unchangeable for ever & ever Amen: so be it!
Separate Albions Sons gently from their Emanations,
Weaving bowers of delight on the current of infant Thames 
Where the old Parent still retains his youth as I alas!
Retain my youth eight thousand and five hundred years.
The labourer of ages in the Valleys of Despair!
The land is markd for desolation & unless we plant
The seeds of Cities & of Villages in the Human bosom
Albion must be a rock of blood:" 
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 113 [109], (E 385)
"Listen I will tell thee what is done in the caverns of the grave 
Page 114 [110], 
The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return
In Clouds & Fires around the rock & the Mysterious tree
As the seed waits Eagerly watching for its flower & fruit
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse
To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible army 
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beast
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows
He tries the sullen north wind riding on its angry furrows
The sultry south when the sun rises & the angry east 
When the sun sets when the clods harden & the cattle stand
Drooping & the birds hide in their silent nests. he stores his thoughts
As in a store house in his memory he regulates the forms
Of all beneath & all above   & in the gentle West
Reposes where the Suns heat dwells   he rises to the Sun
And to the Planets of the Night & to the stars that gild
The Zodiac & the stars that sullen stand to north & south
He touches the remotest pole & in the Center weeps
That Man should Labour & sorrow & learn & forget & return
To the dark valley whence he came to begin his labours anew
In pain he sighs in pain he labours in his universe
Screaming in birds over the deep & howling in the Wolf
Over the slain & moaning in the cattle & in the winds
And weeping over Orc & Urizen in clouds & flaming fires 
And in the cries of birth & in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the Universe whereever a grass grows
Or a leaf buds   The Eternal Man is seen is heard   is felt
And all his Sorrows till he reassumes his ancient bliss

Such are the words of Ahania & Enion. Los hears & weeps"       

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