Friday, July 05, 2013


Plate 2 of MHH
LC  Rare books Rosenwald

As a new heaven is begun, and it is now thirty-
three years since its advent: 

the Eternal Hell revives. 

And lo! Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the 
tomb; his writings are the linen clothes folded up. 

Now is the dominion of Edom, & the return of 
Adam into Paradise; see Isaiah XXXIV & XXXV Chap:

Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction 
and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are 
necessary to Human existence.

From these contraries spring 
what the religious call Good & Evil. 

Good is the passive that obeys Reason. 
Evil is the active springing from Energy.  Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.

Why did Blake cite Isaiah 33 and 34 in this plate? Try Isaiah and Blake.

The text:
"As a new Heaven is begun..." the 33 years is reminiscent of the 33 years that Jesus lived; incidentally Blake was also 33 when he wrote this book.  Traditionally 33 years is generally considered to be the end of the first stage of life. The young Blake was turned outward in his political concerns.

Blake was relatively pacific at that point, but you might say he 'grew up' and began to look inward.

Swedenborg was fairly influential in Blake's early life.  He studied his work (Look at several annotations that Blake made of his works.) But looking inward he found much to criticize.  In this plate he says Swedenborg is the angel at the empty tomb and his work consist of the grave clothes. He depreciated Swedenborg with faint praise.

Here Blake "is rebelling at the one-sided view of Swedenborg that concerned only heaven" a one sided view likewise opposed by Jung and many others.

June Singer, a jungian authority wrote The Unholy Bible, 
Blake, Jung and the Collective Unconscious; the title is a 
reflection of Blake's statement at the end of MHH:

"I have also The Bible of Hell, which the world shall have 
whether they will or no." 

Jung was a student of Blake and some say that the four zoas are reflected in Jung's four functions.

At the top of the Plate a woman reclines in the midst of 
flames (like the bush that Moses saw).  She represents 
materiality and amorality (Blake came to call her Vala).

At the bottom left a woman is giving birth and the child stretching forward eagerly toward his father. On the right a man is fleeing-- and kissing his wife. (Explain the meaning of that if you can.)

You may find better images in Blake Archives

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