Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I HASTE AWAY

Before Larry left this mortal life in December 2016 he was fond of repeating a few simple lines from Blake which elucidated the attitude which was appropriate for us to have toward the approach of death in this world:
Gates of Paradise, Keys, (E 268)
"13   But when once I did descry 
     The Immortal Man that cannot Die
14   Thro evening shades I haste away 
     To close the Labours of my Day
15   The Door of Death I open found                             
     And the Worm Weaving in the Ground
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"  
He published this in a post in March of 2015. 
The term, Death Eternal, means something far different from the conventional intonation. To Blake it meant captivity to the Material for someone completely oblivious to the realm of Spirit.
Wikimedia Commons
Jerusalem    
Frontispiece 
The word die is carefully avoided by most of us; when a loved one dies, we say he/she passed away. The question is - what dies? The Roman Empire died; the British Empire died? But those were not people per se; they were states, conglomerates of materiality. So death is relative - from what to what? Ellie asked a workmate if he considered himself a body or a spirit; "a body", he said; "a spirit", she said.So what dies? A body or a spirit or both? (In mortal life our bodies are said to actually die (cell by cell) and be renewed every 7 years.)

So at the end of mortal life what dies? the body of course, the garment that we acquired when we descended into the Sea of Time and Space and the 'daughters of Enitharmon' began to cut and splice it.

When Odysseus (or Luvah) threw the garment back to the sea goddess, he was on his way back to Eternity, where we all go sooner or later.

In the French Quarter in N.O. a black friend told me about her dead son; he had had an incurable and painful disease; he came to her and asked her permission to die, which she of course granted. In one of Charles Williams' delightful metaphysical thrillers two characters are especially memorable: a saintly lady fully in tune with the life of the Spirit, and a man who generations before had been hanged; his spirit still hung around that locale, which happened to be outside her window. She met him there and gave him permission to depart in peace.

In the play called William Blake Meets Thomas Paine we witness a conversation that Will Blake had with his brother Robert (long deceased), and we are led to believe that this was commonplace in Blake's life.

"Every Death is an improvement in the State of the Departed." (Letters, 74 - to Linnell; Erdman 774)

By Death Eternal Blake implied descent into mortal life.
By Life Eternal he meant return to our Eternal Origin.
But what, we ask, have you and I learned here in our mortal life?
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