Thursday, September 04, 2014

VEGETABLE GLASS

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem

Plate 4
The post, Divine Vision, is the first of a series of posts on Blake's essential teachings. This, the second, is intended to demonstrate that Blake saw that the outer world which seems 'real' to us should be recognized as a 'soft sexual delusion' to 'delight the wanderer'. 

When man loses sight of the spiritual dimension, the world discernible by the senses replaces it. This is the world of Vala, the outer appearances which compose her veil or 'film of matter which covers all reality'. (Damon) The veil is constructed not only of sense data, but is built of the false reasoning which supplies the Moral Law to replace the 'perception of the infinite'.

The Vegetable Glass of Nature is what man perceives to be his world after the loss of his ability to see the Divine Vision. Unable to see through the covering veil which hides the infinite and eternal, he sees projections formed by his own limited mind reflected back by the Vegetable Glass of Nature. 

Milton O Percival, on Page 265, of William Blake's Circle of Destiny writes of the sinister web woven when Albion turns away from the inward, active masculine to the outward, passive, feminine aspect:

"Matter begins its spurious existence in the mind as Albion began to fall. He moved from the inward into the outward, the feminine and the natural; he believed in it; he even set up the passive feminine, in its various aspects, as his ideal of good. In doing so he he moved into darkness and doubt, for, as Plotinus says, 'The unbelieving element is sense; it is the other, the Intellectual Principle that sees.' At the same time he confers upon the feminine a spurious life and independence. Enion found, when she first wove the web of nature, that it was 'perverse and wayward,' with a will of its own. Out of this feminine self-assertion come the Daughters of Albion, who weave the perception as narrowly as possible, and fold the world according to their will. But that will or power - an irrational thing - was conferred on them by the irrational mind. A falsity itself, it was created by a falsity. The unlit matter which the Daughters create is the product of the unlit soul. It would vanish if the soul were 'awake.'" 

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 555)
"Reality was Forgot & the Vanities of Time & Space only Rememberd
& calld Reality
...
This world of Imagination is the World of
Eternity it is the Divine bosom into which we shall all go after
the death of the Vegetated body   This World  is
Infinite & Eternal whereas the world of Generation or Vegetation
is Finite & [for a small moment] Temporal    There Exist
in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing
which we see are reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature"    
Milton, Plate 21 [23], (E 115)
"And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."   
Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 127)
"Wher'eer he goes & all his neighbourhood bewail his loss:
Such are the Spaces called Earth & such its dimension:
As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner,       
As of a Globe rolling thro Voidness, it is a delusion of Ulro
The Microscope knows not of this nor the Telescope. they alter
The ratio of the Spectators Organs but leave Objects untouchd
For every Space larger than a red Globule of Mans blood.
Is visionary: and is created by the Hammer of Los                
And every Space smaller than a Globule of Mans blood. opens
Into Eternity of which this vegetable Earth is but a shadow:"   
Jerusalem, Plate 19, (E 164)
"And Los was roofd in from Eternity in Albions Cliffs
Which stand upon the ends of Beulah, and withoutside, all
Appear'd a rocky form against the Divine Humanity.               

Albions Circumference was clos'd: his Center began darkning
Into the Night of Beulah, and the Moon of Beulah rose
Clouded with storms: Los his strong Guard walkd round beneath the Moon
And Albion fled inward among the currents of his rivers."    
Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 175)
"So spoke the Spectre to Albion. he is the Great Selfhood
Satan: Worshipd as God by the Mighty Ones of the Earth
Having a white Dot calld a Center from which branches out
A Circle in continual gyrations. this became a Heart           
From which sprang numerous branches varying their motions
Producing many Heads three or seven or ten, & hands & feet
Innumerable at will of the unfortunate contemplator
Who becomes his food[:] such is the way of the Devouring Power

And this is the cause of the appearance in the frowning Chaos[.] 
Albions Emanation which he had hidden in jealousy
Appeard now in the frowning Chaos prolific upon the Chaos
Reflecting back to Albion in Sexual Reasoning Hermaphroditic

Albion spoke. Who art thou that appearest in gloomy pomp
Involving the Divine Vision in colours of autumn ripeness        
I never saw thee till this time, nor beheld life abstracted
Nor darkness immingled with light on my furrowd field
Whence camest thou! who art thou O loveliest? the Divine Vision
Is as nothing before thee, faded is all life and joy

Vala replied in clouds of tears Albions garment embracing        

I was a City & a Temple built by Albions Children.
I was a Garden planted with beauty I allured on hill & valley
The River of Life to flow against my walls & among my trees
Vala was Albions Bride & Wife in great Eternity
The loveliest of the daughters of Eternity when in day-break    

I emanated from Luvah over the Towers of Jerusalem
And in her Courts among her little Children offering up
The Sacrifice of fanatic love! why loved I Jerusalem!
Why was I one with her embracing in the Vision of Jesus
Wherefore did I loving create love, which never yet              
Immingled God & Man, when thou & I, hid the Divine Vision
In cloud of secret gloom which behold involve me round about  
Know me now Albion: look upon me I alone am Beauty
The Imaginative Human Form is but a breathing of Vala
I breathe him forth into the Heaven from my secret Cave          
Born of the Woman to obey the Woman O Albion the mighty
For the Divine appearance is Brotherhood, but I am Love"

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