Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MY MORTAL PART Death of the Virgin
The pair of watercolors which Blake painted for Butts depicting the deaths of the parents of Jesus, like all of Blake's images, are meant to be read symbolically. Joseph was an earthly human, his death was the death of a natural man. When his body died his spirit was released to rejoin the Communion of Saints who cast off the Temporal to be Established in the Eternal.

The mother of Jesus was a somewhat different case. The physical nature of the Incarnate Christ had come to Jesus through her. Blake had Jesus address her as 'mother of my mortal part.' Jesus predeceased his mother when he was crucified on Golgotha. In Blake's image Death of the Virgin, Jesus stands with her. No earthly beings attend her; four angels minister at the head and feet to the body in repose.

Perhaps Blake's implication is that Mary's Natural Body had already been raised as her Spiritual Body: by becoming the mother of the mortal part of Christ her Spiritual Body was expressed in a unique way. In Blake's Milton he used the virgin Ololon as a symbol of the material, feminine part of man's nature which became integrated in the Unified, Redeemed Body of the complete Man.

Matthew 1
[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
[19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
[20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
[21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
[22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
[23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Isaiah 7
[14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

John 2 
[1] And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 
[2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 
[3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 
[4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 52, (E 30)
"To Tirzah             

Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth,
Must be consumed with the Earth
To rise from Generation free;
Then what have I to do with thee?

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride
Blow'd in the morn: in evening died
But Mercy changd Death into Sleep;
The Sexes rose to work & weep.

Thou Mother of my Mortal part.
With cruelty didst mould my Heart. 
And with false self-decieving tears,
Didst bind my Nostrils Eyes & Ears.

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay
And me to Mortal Life betray:
The Death of Jesus set me free, 
Then what have I to do with thee?

[text on illustration:] It is Raised a Spiritual Body"
Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 104 (SECOND PORTION), (E 377)
"He stood in fair Jerusalem to awake up into Eden
The fallen Man but first to Give his vegetated body    
To be cut off & separated that the Spiritual body may be Reveald"
Annotations to Berkley's Siris, (E 664)
"The Natural Body is an Obstruction to the Soul or Spiritual Body"

No comments: