Friday, August 03, 2018


Yale Center for British Art
Plate 73

Perhaps we can get a better grasp of Urthona and Los by reading of the Greek god Hephaestus in The Eternal Drama; The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology by Edward F Edinger. You will notice both similarities and differences in the two beings who left heaven to become blacksmiths on earth. Edinger was speaking as a Jungian analyst and as a student of Greek mythology, without reference to Blake's poetry. Blake, of course, had absorbed quantities of mythology - Greek, Norse - Hindu - native American - before his own original mythopoeic poetry took form.
The Eternal Drams:The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology, Page 34-36:
"Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, was the master of fire and its operations - a metallurgist, a craftsman. He was the son of a single parent, as was Athena, and he was rejected at birth by his mother, Hera, because of his ugliness and lameness, and was thrown out of heaven, down to earth.
Hephaestus if the only god who has a major relation to earth which became his realm, and he thus signifies the divine power that has descended to earth and become connected with earthly reality...Hephaestus is a worker in concrete reality, since he is earthbound, and stands for the archetypal factor which operates within the personal and concrete. He is the inventor of useful, cunning and beautiful devices, and a creative artist.
Hephaestus represents creativity that develops out of defect or out of need; he is the only manifestation of imperfection in this whole Olympian realm of perfect beings. This makes him particularly precious, at least to man, since it gives him a partner in the divine realm, a partner related to creativity. Psychologically this indicates that an archetypal power has entered into personal reality and has brought the creative principle to the earthly realm. It suggests that creativity is born out of defectiveness or inadequacy that requires extraordinary effort as a consequence...Although he was married to Aphrodite, she had a love affair with Ares, so Hephaestus is the archetypal cuckold.
As we look over the masculine side of the Pantheon, setting aside Zeus and his brothers, we can see Apollo, Hermes, Ares, and Hephaestus as the four principles of masculine psychological functioning."
In this passage we learn that Urthona leaned on Tharmas as a consequence of his fall, recalling Hephaestus' ejection from heaven and his lameness.
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 137, (E 405)
"The Eternal Man darkend with Sorrow & a wintry mantle   
Coverd the Hills   He said O Tharmas rise & O Urthona

Then Tharmas & Urthona rose from the Golden feast satiated
With Mirth & joy Urthona limping from his fall on Tharmas leand
In his right hand his hammer Tharmas held his Shepherds crook
Beset with gold gold were the ornaments formed by the sons of Urizen 
Then Enion & Ahania & Vala & the wife of Dark Urthona
Rose from the feast in joy ascending to their Golden Looms
There the wingd shuttle Sang the spindle & the distaff & the Reel
Rang sweet the praise of industry. Thro all the golden rooms
Heaven rang with winged Exultation" 
We learn from Wikipedia of some of Hephaestus' craftsmanship and the distinctly essential role he played among the gods:
"Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. Hephaestus had his own palace on Olympus, containing his workshop with anvil and twenty bellows that worked at his bidding. Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods, and almost any finely wrought metalwork imbued with powers that appears in Greek myth is said to have been forged by Hephaestus. He designed Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite's famed girdle, Agamemnon's staff of office, Achilles' armor, Heracles' bronze clappers, Helios's chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros's bow and arrows."  

Los too forged weapons of war in the hope that they may be beaten into plowshares as was Isaiah's hope.
Isaiah 2
[4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 

Jerusalem Plate 8, (E 151)
"Hand has absorbd all his Brethren in his might
All the infant Loves & Graces were lost, for the mighty Hand
Plate 9
Condens'd his Emanations into hard opake substances;
And his infant thoughts & desires, into cold, dark, cliffs of death.
His hammer of gold he siezd; and his anvil of adamant.
He siez'd the bars of condens'd thoughts, to forge them:
Into the sword of war: into the bow and arrow:                   
Into the thundering cannon and into the murdering gun

I saw the limbs form'd for exercise, contemn'd: & the beauty of
Eternity, look'd upon as deformity & loveliness as a dry tree:
I saw disease forming a Body of Death around the Lamb
Of God, to destroy Jerusalem, & to devour the body of Albion     
By war and stratagem to win the labour of the husbandman:
Awkwardness arm'd in steel: folly in a helmet of gold:
Weakness with horns & talons: ignorance with a rav'ning beak!
Every Emanative joy forbidden as a Crime:
And the Emanations buried alive in the earth with pomp of religion:          
Inspiration deny'd; Genius forbidden by laws of punishment:
I saw terrified; I took the sighs & tears, & bitter groans:
I lifted them into my Furnaces; to form the spiritual sword.
That lays open the hidden heart: I drew forth the pang
Of sorrow red hot: I workd it on my resolute anvil:              
I heated it in the flames of Hand, & Hyle, & Coban
Nine times; Gwendolen & Cambel & Gwineverra
Are melted into the gold, the silver, the liquid ruby,
The crysolite, the topaz, the jacinth, & every precious stone,
Loud roar my Furnaces and loud my hammer is heard:               
I labour day and night, I behold the soft affections
Condense beneath my hammer into forms of cruelty
But still I labour in hope, tho' still my tears flow down.
That he who will not defend Truth, may be compelld to defend
A Lie: that he may be snared and caught and snared and taken     
That Enthusiasm and Life may not cease: arise Spectre arise!

Thus they contended among the Furnaces with groans & tears;
Groaning the Spectre heavd the bellows, obeying Los's frowns;
Till the Spaces of Erin were perfected in the furnaces
Of affliction, and Los drew them forth, compelling the harsh Spectre.         
Plate 10                          
Into the Furnaces & into the valleys of the Anvils of Death
And into the mountains of the Anvils & of the heavy Hammers
Till he should bring the Sons & Daughters of Jerusalem to be
The Sons & Daughters of Los that he might protect them from
Albions dread Spectres; storming, loud, thunderous & mighty      
The Bellows & the Hammers move compell'd by Los's hand." 
In these passages Los is called the Vehicular Form of Urthona or the Vehicular Terror. He engages in building Golgonooza which when viewed externally is a city but when seen within is the operation of the bodily functions. 
Milton, Plate 17 [19], (E 110)
"It is a cavernous Earth 
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of opakeness
And finishes where the lark mounts; here Milton journeyed
In that Region calld Midian among the Rocks of Horeb
For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza.           

Los the Vehicular terror beheld him, & divine Enitharmon
Call'd all her daughters, Saying. Surely to unloose my bond
Is this Man come! Satan shall be unloosd upon Albion
Los heard in terror Enitharmons words: in fibrous strength
His limbs shot forth like roots of trees against the forward path
Of Miltons journey. Urizen beheld the immortal Man,
Plate 18 [20]                               
And Tharmas Demon of the Waters, & Orc, who is Luvah"      

Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 202)
"But Los, who is the Vehicular Form of strong Urthona
Wept vehemently over Albion where Thames currents spring
From the rivers of Beulah; pleasant river! soft, mild, parent stream
And the roots of Albions Tree enterd the Soul of Los
As he sat before his Furnaces clothed in sackcloth of hair       
In gnawing pain dividing him from his Emanation;
Inclosing all the Children of Los time after time.
Their Giant forms condensing into Nations & Peoples & Tongues 
Translucent the Furnaces, of Beryll & Emerald immortal:
And Seven-fold each within other: incomprehensible               
To the Vegetated Mortal Eye's perverted & single vision
The Bellows are the Animal Lungs. the hammers, the Animal Heart
The Furnaces, the Stomach for Digestion; terrible their fury
Like seven burning heavens rang'd from South to North
Here on the banks of the Thames, Los builded Golgonooza,   
Outside of the Gates of the Human Heart, beneath Beulah
In the midst of the rocks of the Altars of Albion."

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (120)
"So Los spoke. Furious they descended to Bowlahoola & Allamanda
Indignant. unconvincd by Los's arguments & thun[d]ers rolling    
They saw that wrath now swayd and now pity absorbd him
As it was, so it remaind & no hope of an end.

Bowlahoola is namd Law. by mortals, Tharmas founded it:
Because of Satan, before Luban in the City of Golgonooza.
But Golgonooza is namd Art & Manufacture by mortal men.          

In Bowlahoola Los's Anvils stand & his Furnaces rage;
Thundering the Hammers beat & the Bellows blow loud
Living self moving mourning lamenting & howling incessantly
Bowlahoola thro all its porches feels tho' too fast founded
Its pillars & porticoes to tremble at the force                  

Of mortal or immortal arm: and softly lilling flutes
Accordant with the horrid labours make sweet melody
The Bellows are the Animal Lungs: the hammers the Animal Heart
The Furnaces the Stomach for digestion. terrible their fury"