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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Spectre

In the cold early pre-dawn, sitting beside the fire, full of joy at all life's goodness I wished that I could "annihilate my Selfhood"; then came this Vision straight from Our Heavenly Father:

Like all Blake's metaphors the Spectre has many names:

THE SELFHOOD: you'll find the word 3 times in Milton, Plate 14/15 , but the best statement is at:
Jerusalem, Plate 5

"Trembling I sit day and night, my friends are astonish'd at me. Yet they forgive my wanderings, I rest not from my great task! To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity Ever expanding in the Bosom of God, the Human Imagination, O
Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness &love:
Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all
my life!"
THE SERPENT: In this picture we see the serpent as the tempter, wrapped around the 'human' form; he might be called Lucifer.

SATAN pervades Blake's works where it occurs 250 times. Here are a few:

In MHH Plate 5 we have the ironic viewpoint of a young Blake. Thereafter his use of Satan varies remarkably through the rest of Blake's works.

The Four Zoas [Nt 4], 56. 19-22 Erdman 338:
"And first he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan
In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand
And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam
While yet those beings were not born nor knew of good or Evil"

We can only puzzle about this one (for a post in the future).

FZ8-113[1st].1-3; E376:
" We behold with wonder Enitharmons Looms & Los's Forges
And the Spindles of Tirzah & Rahab and the Mills of
Satan & Beelzeboul
In Golgonooza Los's anvils stand & his Furnaces rage"

We're in Ulro here, and Los's creative work is competing with the nihilistic "Mills of Satan & Beelzeboul" in his (our) attempt to bring about "God's kingdom on Earth" (But it won't happen!)

FZ8-107[115].22-27; E380:
" And this is the manner in which Satan became the Tempter
There is a State namd Satan learn distinct to know O Rahab
The Difference between States & Individuals of those States
The State namd Satan never can be redeemd in all Eternity
But when Luvah in Orc became a Serpent he des[c]ended into
That State calld Satan"

And you will find many other rich indications of the meanings of Satan for Blake.

"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]"

There are many others:

All Satan has to do is to keep our minds fixed on materiality and off of anything else.

What it boils down to is that all of these things are in you and in me, and in our community, in our world as well.

on Erdman's Plate 41 of Jerusalem:

"Every man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that hour
When his Humanity awake
And cast his Spectre into the Lake."
(The mirror image of this appears in the picture.)

1 comment:

  1. For more about the limits of opacity and contraction see:

    This vast puzzle called 'studying Blake's work' is assembled piece by piece.