Tuesday, May 27, 2014

origin 3 Urthona/Los


   "Earth owner": the creative imagination of the individual is the Damon first describes Urthona. He is the contrary of Urizen: In Blake's generation students of Kant and of other philosophers postulated "a form of intelligence superior to the rational mind" (Percival page 37), which eventually went by the name of the unconscious. Blake referred to it as the poetic genius and ascribed it to Urthona.
   Urthona is dark, but it isn't the darkness of fallenness; it's a creative darkness--the kind of darkness we find in The Cloud of Unknowing. The dark Urthona and Urizen are a pair: the dark (unconscious) superior intelligence and the light plodding, legalistic mind. With the initial Fall Urizen took control of the universe, but he soon made a mess and was succeeded by Los, Urthona's earthly manifestation.

   It might be appropriate to define Urthona as intuition. Blake used the word only once, in Annotations to the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (whom he disliked), but the quotation is juicy:
  • Demonstration Similitude & Harmony are Objects of Reasoning
  • Invention Identity & Melody are Objects of Intuition. 
       (Annotations to Reynolds page 200, 659)
   You might also say that Urthona brought whatever we have of Eternity to Earth. His creative work took place in his earthly manifestation, Los.
  • In the Fourth region of Humanity, Urthona namd,
  • Mortality begins to roll the billows of Eternal Death
  • Before the Gate of Los. Urthona here is named Los. 
       (Jerusalem 35: 7-9 181)
   Urthona's fall brought forth a triad:
      Enitharmon, Los' emanation,
         the Spectre: (Pure negativity, totally commited to absolute materialism negating any spiritual reality. Inventing good and evil the Spectre reveled in the evil (of others) and saw none in himself.)     
Blake saw, and hated the continually intrusive spectre in himself, who doubted, who judged, who forgot Eternity. The spectre condemns us to Ulro where Eden and Beulah are alike forgotten and acting as 'realists', we evaluate life as dismal. There is a spectre in every man, and his unwelcome presence is most acutely suffered (night and day) by men of discernment.


  • Los was the fourth immortal starry one, & in the Earth
  • Of a bright Universe Empery attended day & night
  • Days & nights of revolving joy, Urthona was his name 
       (Four Zoas 1-3:9-11; 301)
   Los is "the expression in this world of the creative imagination" (Damon, 246), and in Beulah his name reverts to Urthona.

   A master smith, worker in metal, Los worked at the furnaces, hopefully changing iron to gold; this happens, but it's realized only at the end of time. Los, master of time, is trying to work himself out of a job, and at the end he is in fact reabsorbed into Urthona, the poetic genius. (For that we're still waiting.)

   In Ulro Urizen's sun has virtually gone out; Los labors to create a worldly sun (Sun is Los backward).
  • Then wondrously the Starry Wheels felt the divine hand.
  • Limit Was put to Eternal Death Los felt the Limit & saw
  • The Finger of God touch the Seventh furnace in terror
  • And Los beheld the hand of God over his furnaces
    Beneath the Deeps in dismal Darkness beneath immensity 
               (Four Zoas 4-56:23-26 338)

    The paradoxical significance of the furnace is borne out in the Bible with Shadrach, Meshach. and Abednego.
  Once escaped from Ulro Los, the master builder, proceeded to build Golgonooza, representing material progress. Los builded it and builded it 'time on time'; each time a society went into eclipse, Golgonooza must be built again. This of course is a figure for worldly progress, all very good, but not in the same dimension as the City of God.
   However Blake wrote to Hayley: "The Ruins of Time builds Mansions in Eternity." (Letter 9), referring to the final transformation of the best of Golgonooza into Jerusalem, which is the meaning of the Last Judgment.

Children of Los and Enitharmon

  Their first born was called Orc; he represented Revolution. We can surmise that Blake was much attached to Revolution in his early years, but with the debacle of the French Revolution his attitude changed.

   Blake had important 'prophecies' re America and The French Revolution.
   The Book of Urizen, especially chapters vi and vii, gives much insight into the mythical identity of Orc. (This little prophecy in fact is an excellent introduction to some of the important threads of 4Z.)

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