Thursday, December 12, 2013


British Museum 
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise
Plate 1

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 16, (E 267) 
"16 I have said to the Worm: Thou art my mother & my sister"  

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 269) 
"16 Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife And weeping over the Web of Life"

It could be said that the Journey through the Gates leading to Paradise is presented as an exercise in self-knowledge. But the final plate is not the Paradise at which we may have expected to arrive. We are presented with an underground cavern occupied by a hooded, seated figure. The face stares into the unknown with a look of sadness and concern. The figure hold a stick in her right hand; around her coils a worm which emerges from further underground. Barely discernible near the left hand are faces of bodies buried more deeply underground. 

A process has been taking place in the inward man although it is pictured in images from our natural experience. The process is the Birth of the Spiritual Body. The worm is an image of a body which as a separate entity must be relinquished when the Spiritual Body is formed. The worm preforms the task of assisting in the work of transforming death to life. The worm, however, in Blake's myth assumes the form of the serpent and and the dragon. As such he plays havoc with man's essential undertaking  of uniting heaven and earth, spirit and matter, eternity and time.

But the worm too must be embraced and forgiven. He must be recognized as another self with a contribution to make to the integrated whole. Man experiences life as a series of challenges which open the way to new abilities which allow him to accomplish the next challenge. The process involves weeping because the false self must be forgiven before the true self can take form. The worm must be accepted as Mother and Sister before the natural body woven in the threefold sexual world can be replaced by the fourfold spiritual body of Eternity.
Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E 240)
"Gwendolen saw the Infant in her siste[r]s arms; she howld
Over the forests with bitter tears, and over the winding Worm
Repentant: and she also in the eddying wind of Los's Bellows
Began her dolorous task of love in the Wine-press of Luvah     
To form the Worm into a form of love by tears & pain.
The Sisters saw! trembling ran thro their Looms! soften[in]g mild
Towards London: then they saw the Furna[c]es opend, & in tears
Began to give their souls away in the Furna[c]es of affliction.

Los saw & was comforted at his Furnaces uttering thus his voice. 

I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion! my brother!"

Milton, Plate 38 [43], (E 139)
"In the Eastern porch of Satans Universe Milton stood & said

Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to annihilate
And be a greater in thy place, & be thy Tabernacle               
A covering for thee to do thy will, till one greater comes
And smites me as I smote thee & becomes my covering.
Such are the Laws of thy false Heavns! but Laws of Eternity
Are not such: know thou: I come to Self Annihilation
Such are the Laws of Eternity that each shall mutually     
Annihilate himself for others good, as I for thee[.]
Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trembling & fear, terror, constriction; abject selfishness
Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on            
In fearless majesty annihilating Self, laughing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors, shaking down thy Synagogues as webs
I come to discover before Heavn & Hell the Self righteousness
In all its Hypocritic turpitude, opening to every eye
These wonders of Satans holiness shewing to the Earth     
The Idol Virtues of the Natural Heart, & Satans Seat
Explore in all its Selfish Natural Virtue & put off
In Self annihilation all that is not of God alone:
To put off Self & all I have ever & ever Amen"
First Corinthians 15
[35] But some one will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?"
[36] You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
[37] And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
[38] But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
[39] For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
[40] There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
[41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
[42] So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.
[43] It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
[44] It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.

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