Wednesday, February 05, 2020


British Museum
Detail Preludium
From an earlier post:

The children to whom the first book was addressed may be the innocents, those who had not travelled far along the journey. Gates of Paradise is not presented as an account of violent activities such as those portrayed in The Book of Urizen. Instead it's a roadmap to psychic development. Blake is trying to lead us through the process of psychological evolution, but he does not express himself in clear rational language in either the first or second version. The reader is asked to use his intuition to retrieve from his unconscious, archetypal content to associate with the images supplied. The second version addressed To the Sexes seems to recognize that it is those who are in the stage of 'generation' who will benefit from these insights.

In his book Symbol and Image in William Blake, George Wingfield Digby, presented a thorough psychological commentary plate by plate. On page 6, Digby says: 'But the purpose of this form of communication is not to make explicit statements. It is to evoke and direct attention to psychological events and states of consciousness by means other than that of the intellectual concept, which is rooted in dualism.'"

Kay Parkhurst Easson and Roger Easson wrote on page 135 of William Blake: Milton the following:
"Initiating a spiritual journey requires realization of error and the loving acceptance of the journey and the teacher."

And on Page 136:
"Spiritual travel includes confrontation with error, a testing process. Throughout his journey Milton confronts projections of his selfhood, images of his error, obstacles to the pilgrims spiritual growth."

If the individual reaches the level of consciousness where he is unfulfilled by the perspective of experiencing life as an unrelenting cycle of getting and spending, of beginning and ending without anything to give meaning, he may be ready to begin a spiritual journey. In this image we see one who is ready to cast aside the paradigm about which his life has been structured and to explore the unfamiliar.

The traveller on the spiritual journey sets forth into the unknown. He has prepared with his backpack and walking stick, but he hides behind his back the secrets which he prefers not to reveal to himself and others. The sinister factors which he projects on the outer world are hidden, too, in the cave of his mind waiting for opportunity to attack when he is least suspecting.

All Religions are One, (E 1)
As none by traveling over known lands can find out the unknown.
So from already acquired knowledge Man could not acquire more."

Songs of Innocence, (E 25)
Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done."

Milton, Plate 17 [19], (E 111)
"For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza."

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 232)
"Let every Christian as much as in him lies engage himself openly & publicly before all the World in some Mental pursuit for the Building up of Jerusalem"

Sampson, (E 445)
"The aged woman walked into the field, and lo, again the angel came! Clad as a traveller fresh risen on his journey, she ran and called her husband, who came and talked with him.--O man of God, said he, thou comest from far! Let us detain thee while I make ready a kid, that thou mayest sit and eat, and tell us of thy name and warfare; that when thy sayings t come to pass, we may honour thee. The Angel answered, My name is wonderful; enquire not after it, seeing it is a secret: but, if thou wilt, offer an offering unto the Lord.
                                        THE END."

Songs and Ballads, (E 483)
The Mental Traveller
"I traveld thro' a Land of Men
A Land of Men & Women too
And heard & saw such dreadful things
As cold Earth wanderers never knew

For there the Babe is born in joy
That was begotten in dire woe
Just as we Reap in joy the fruit
Which we in bitter tears did sow"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 556)
"These States Exist now Man Passes on but States remain for Ever he passes thro them like a traveller who may as well suppose that the places he has passed thro exist no more as a Man may suppose that the States he has passd thro exist no more   Every Thing is Eternal>  In Eternity one Thing never Changes into another Thing
Each Identity is Eternal"

Blake's Chaucer: Prospectus, (E 569)
"The Pilgrims, if sick or lame, on their journey to and from his Shrine, were received at this House. Even at this day every friendless wretch who wants the succour of it, is considered as a Pilgrim travelling through this Journey of Life."

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