Blake opens this section of Jerusalem, "To the Christians", with a
promise. He intends to lead us through 'heavens gate' if we follow the 'golden string' which he places in our hands.
Jerusalem, Plate 77
"I give you the end of a golden string,
Only wind it into a ball:
It will lead you in at Heavens gate,
Built in Jerusalems wall."
The 'golden string' used only once in Blake's poetry, is an image which is rich in associations. It recalls the string which Ariadne gave to Theseus to lead him out of the maze of the Minotaur. It reminds us of the thread which measures the length of life and is cut by the Fates. Moirae - Wiki It leads us to think of the path we travel through life with all its twists and turns.
But Blake's image goes beyond that. It postulates that the end of the golden string is given to us and we have more to do than follow it. We actively wind it into a ball. If we don't keep the string taut and keep winding it, we may lose our way and
wander off into unknown territory. But by winding it and following, it will lead us to our to our destiny or destination.
We are headed toward Jerusalem:
Jerusalem PLATE 54
"In Great Eternity, every particular Form gives forth or Emanates
Its own peculiar Light, & the Form is the Divine Vision
And the Light is his Garment This is Jerusalem in every Man
A Tent & Tabernacle of Mutual Forgiveness Male & Female
And Jerusalem is called Liberty among the Children of Albion"
River of Life
This image articulates the cutting of the thread, the flow of the stream, the guidance of Jesus, the tree of life, the rising sun, and company of angels and much more.
Four Zoas, Page 33
"Thus were the stars of heaven created like a golden chain
To bind the Body of Man to heaven from failing into the Abyss
Each took his station, & his course began with sorrow & care"