For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise |
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 9, (E 263)
"9 I want! I want!"
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 268)
"9 On the shadows of the Moon Climbing thro Nights highest noon"
The picture shows a man beginning to ascend a ladder which reaches from the earth to a crescent moon. His path will lead him through the stars and away from an embracing couple. He is impelled by a desire strong enough to cause him to undertake such a task.
The caption on the image issued when Blake republished For the Children as For the Sexes remained the same: simply "I want! I want!". The object of the desire is not specified. He could be pursuing material goods, power, success or any facet of achievement in the natural world. But he is leaving the earth and going to the moon which is a feminine symbol associated with love.
The Key to this gate alerts us to the dangers for the man of coming under the influence of the state of repose which the feminine represents. There is the back side of the moon which never shows its face to earth. And there is the Night of unconsciousness through which man must climb to reach a zenith. But perhaps he will return with a treasure from the feminine which he can integrate rather than either rejecting it or succumbing to it.
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 5, (E 303) "There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around On all sides within & without the Universal Man The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death The Circle of Destiny complete they gave to it a Space And namd the Space Ulro & brooded over it in care & love They said The Spectre is in every man insane & most Deformd Thro the three heavens descending in fury & fire We meet it with our Songs & loving blandishments & give To it a form of vegetation But this Spectre of Tharmas Is Eternal Death What shall we do O God pity & help So spoke they & closd the Gate of the Tongue in trembling fear"