Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Notes 5


In Blake's poetry Rintrah is mentioned 48 times, first
in MHH, then in Europe, the Four Zoas, Milton, and
Jerusalem.  He obviously had a special meaning to
Blake, but shades and nuances of the meaning occurred

1, At the beginning (and end) of MHH Rintrah roared;
perhaps in his mind at that moment Rintrah represented
the angry young man who would write the revolutionary
material just ahead.  

2. In plates 5 and 8 of Europe Rintrah is pictured as a
mailed knight of the queens of England and France,
daughters of Enitharmon, who entice Rintrah into the
hideous war between the two countries.

3. Rintrah's identity is best seen in The Four Zoas:

And these are the Sons of Los & Enitharmon. Rintrah Palamabron
Theotormon Bromion Antamon Ananton Ozoth Ohana
Sotha Mydon Ellayol Natho Gon Harhath Satan
Har Ochim Ijim Adam Reuben Simeon Levi Judah Dan Naphtali
Gad Asher Issachar Zebulun Joseph Benjamin David Solomon
Paul Constantine Charlemaine Luther Milton
       (FZ8-107.6 Erdman 380) 

4. At the beginning of Milton (Plates 3-7)  we have The Bard's 
Song.  Rintrah has a prominent place here.  Enitharmon - The 
Shadowy Female - has brought forth all Los's Family: Orc, Rintrah,
Palamabron, and finally Satan.  We see these last three in 
Plate 10. Satan is the fiery one; Rintrah is next, and behind
Rintrah is his peaceable brother, Palamabron.

(Elsewhere Blake referred to Satan as a state, not an
individal.  He is the 'state of Error'.) 
       The Selfhood is one of many super complex metaphors that fill Blake's works. We can see three different levels in which he used it:
       1. At the moral level it represents the egocentricity, the term Blake gave for the fallen man, He also calls it the Spectre and Satan. In modern psychological parlance it has the meaning of the egocentric self as opposed to the Self, which Jung equated with Christ- the Divine Image.
       2. The blindness to the spiritual (Eternal) shown by the person (or culture) who depends exclusively upon the material, the life that one lives in the Sea of Time and Space.
       3. A necessity to act in the material world. This led to Blake's understanding of the necessity to continually annihilate and continually regenerate the Selfhood. The Selfhood acts in the light of good and evil, chooses good to adhere to and evil to abhor or confront. In Eternity this is no longer necessary, but in this vale of tears there's no other way to interact.
       Christ gives the Christian work to do, and it must be done in the realm of materiality. Mortal life means materiality (among other things of course).
       (For an introduction to Self-Annilation look at Plate 40 of Milton. To read this is a difficult assignment, but it abounds in the particular Blake ideas that will help you understand the whole bit.)

       For Blake (and before him for Swedenborg) states are the stages or conditions through which we pass in our journey through life. Blake had colorful designations for the various states. For example Satan is the state of Death, Adam, Abraham, and many other biblical figures serve to designate various states we may pass through in time. Jesus was the Divine Humanity, the final and perfect state that we achieve.
       According to Damon (page 386) "States are stages of error, which the Divine Mercy creates so that the State and not the individual in it shall be blamed."
       Once you realize that a person is not a state, but in a state, it becomes possible to forgive. Forgiving is the characteristic of the Divine Humanity (Jesus), the one state that is not error.
       Blake did not consider Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc. to be merely individuals in history. No, they were types of states through which we may pass in our journey upward or downward. Christ is the ultimate state toward which we aspire, a state of forgiveness rather than judgment.
       The states represent "all that can happen to Man in his pilgrimage of seventy years" (Jer 16:67 E161).

Satan has varying identities in Blake's poems, but Friedlander, describing Blake's Milton indicated Satan was "any person who thinks himself "righteous in his vegetated spectre, holy by following the laws of conventional piety". (Thus he is very close to Jesus and Paul, both of whom considered self-righteous judgment as the Ultimate human evil.)
       Another word for this is the limit of opacity.
    And first he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan
    In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand
    And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam
    While yet those beings were not born nor knew of good or Evil
                  (Four Zoas, Night 4 56:20 Erdman 338)

(From Damon, page 386): "the stars symbolize Reason"; they belong to Urizen; in Eternity they were part of Albion, but with the Fall they fled, and formed the Mundane Shell. Blake also provided a redemptive dimension to stars.

       Time and Space are creatures like Adam and Eve. Blake tells us that Los created time and Enitharmon space. The magnificent Arlington Tempera is often called the Sea of Time and Space.
       Water symbolizes matter or the material world. In Genesis God moved over the face of the waters. Here it stands for chaos. Creation was made out of chaos, but in Blake's myth water continuously symbolizes the fall from Eternity into materiality. Narciss fell in love with his watery shadow-- and chose it for his life. Albion did the same in his descent from Eternity into the water of material life.


Notes on Thel: Har is the place of primeval innocence where Thel lived until her unhappy journey into time and space. (Damon p. 174) (Har has an entirely different meaning in the poem, Tiriel.)

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