Milton 37 - Blake's voluminous and extravagant figures of the Covering Cherub, the 27 Churches, etc. are all various ways in which he attempted to name the evil around him.
One of the most ubiquitous ways of dealing with evil is to attempt to ignore it, shut it out of consciousness, pretend that it doesn't exist. The only reason tyrants have their way is that their underlings play this game and join the conspiracy. A certain secretary who is presently 'fighting for her life' may well be the child who says the emperor has no clothes.
I guess one thing that most attracted me about Blake was, like Amos, he insisted upon calling things by their true names. Like the Spanish painter who painted the queen like a whore.
That is surely one of the most fundamental problems of life - when we take our part in the corrupt games around us, we lose our integrity.
|Yale Center for British Art|
In a reflective mood and looking at life in a long term sense, I see the primary undertaking of life in terms of learning to live in fallen world with minimal participation in the fallenness. That has been my struggle and the struggle I see in our children.
Milton, PLATE 37 , (E 137) "The Virgin answerd. Knowest thou of Milton who descended Driven from Eternity; him I seek! terrified at my Act In Great Eternity which thou knowest! I come him to seek So Ololon utterd in words distinct the anxious thought Mild was the voice, but more distinct than any earthly That Miltons Shadow heard & condensing all his Fibres Into a strength impregnable of majesty & beauty infinite I saw he was the Covering Cherub & within him Satan And Raha[b], in an outside which is fallacious! within Beyond the outline of Identity, in the Selfhood deadly And he appeard the Wicker Man of Scandinavia in whom Jerusalems children consume in flames among the Stars Descending down into my Garden, a Human Wonder of God Reaching from heaven to earth a Cloud & Human Form I beheld Milton with astonishment & in him beheld The Monstrous Churches of Beulah, the Gods of Ulro dark Twelve monstrous dishumanizd terrors Synagogues of Satan. A Double Twelve & Thrice Nine: such their divisions. And these their Names & their Places within the Mundane Shell In Tyre & Sidon I saw Baal & Ashtaroth. In Moab Chemosh In Ammon, Molech: loud his Furnaces rage among the Wheels Of Og, & pealing loud the cries of the Victims of Fire! And pale his Priestesses infolded in Veils of Pestilence, border'd With War; Woven in Looms of Tyre & Sidon by beautiful Ashtaroth. In Palestine Dagon, Sea Monster! worshipd o'er the Sea. Thammuz in Lebanon & Rimmon in Damascus curtaind Osiris: Isis: Orus: in Egypt: dark their Tabernacles on Nile Floating with solemn songs, & on the Lakes of Egypt nightly With pomp, even till morning break & Osiris appear in the sky But Belial of Sodom & Gomorrha, obscure Demon of Bribes And secret Assasinations, not worshipd nor adord; but With the finger on the lips & the back turnd to the light And Saturn Jove & Rhea of the Isles of the Sea remote These Twelve Gods. are the Twelve Spectre Sons of the Druid Albion And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens & their Churches Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech: these are Giants mighty Hermaphroditic Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the second, Salah, Heber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, these are the Female-Males A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine Luther, these seven are the Male-Females, the Dragon Forms Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub The Spectre of Albion in which the Spectre of Luvah inhabits In the Newtonian Voids between the Substances of Creation For the Chaotic Voids outside of the Stars are measured by The Stars, which are the boundaries of Kingdoms, Provinces And Empires of Chaos invisible to the Vegetable Man The Kingdom of Og. is in Orion: Sihon is in Ophiucus Og has Twenty-seven Districts; Sihons Districts Twenty-one From Star to Star, Mountains & Valleys, terrible dimension Stretchd out, compose the Mundane Shell, a mighty Incrustation Of Forty-eight deformed Human Wonders of the Almighty With Caverns whose remotest bottoms meet again beyond The Mundane Shell in Golgonooza, but the Fires of Los, rage In the remotest bottoms of the Caves, that none can pass Into Eternity that way, but all descend to Los To Bowlahoola & Allamanda & to Entuthon Benython The Heavens are the Cherub, the Twelve Gods are Satan"Ellie:
In the commentary for Plate 75 in William Blake: Jerusalem, The Emanation of the Giant Albion edited by Morton Paley, a passage from Thomas Paine gives enlightenment on the reasoning for Blake's opposition to the established, state sponsored religion of his day and throughout history. If the church is seen as a fallen institution propping up a debased culture, its failures should be revealed openly. Larry reminds us that our personal integrity is eroded if we don't find ways to influence the system which sustains oppression.
Rights of Man
"By engendering the church with the state, a sort of mule-animal, capable only of destroying, and not of breeding up, is produced, called the Church established by Law. It is a stranger, even from its birth, to any parent mother, on whom it is begotten, and whom in time it kicks out and destroys. The inquisition in Spain does not proceed from the religion originally professed, but from this mule-animal, engendered between the church and the state. The burnings in Smithfield proceeded from the same heterogeneous production; and it was the regeneration of this strange animal in England afterwards, that renewed rancour and irreligion among the inhabitants, and that drove the people called Quakers and Dissenters to America. Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly-marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity."
 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.