Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Rosenwald LC

Rosenwald LC

Thel 1
Rosenwald LC

Thel 2
Rosenwald LC

Thel 3
Rosenwald LC

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Plate 2 of MHH
LC  Rare books Rosenwald

As a new heaven is begun, and it is now thirty-

three years since its advent: 

the Eternal Hell revives. 

And lo! Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the 

tomb; his writings are the linen clothes folded up. 

Now is the dominion of Edom, & the return of 

Adam into Paradise; see Isaiah XXXIV & XXXV 

Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction 

and Repulsion, 

Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are 

necessary to Human existence.

From these contraries spring 
what the religious call Good & Evil. 

Good is the passive that obeys Reason. 
Evil is the active springing from Energy.  Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.

Why did Blake cite Isaiah 33 and 34 in this plate? Try Isaiah and Blake.

June Singer, a jungian authority wrote The Unholy Bible, 
Blake, Jung and the Collective Uncounscious; the title is a 
reflection of Blake's statement at the end of MHH:

"I have also The Bible of Hell, which the world shall have 
whether they will or no." 

Jung was a student of Blake and some say that the four zoas is reflected in Jung's four functions.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

mhh 1

Library of Congress
Rosenwald Collection

In Copy G the coloring is quite different than in this one. 
(Also in Copy I.)

Look at the omnipresent tree in the right border of the 
image. Two people (girls?) are climbing it. The upper one 
holds with her left hand to a limb of the tree and reaches 
down to the outstretched arm of the other one, standing on 
the ground and holding on with her other arm wrapped 
around the trunk of the tree.

In front of the upper girl's leg is an undetermined coiled up 
shape with the same color as the girls. (What might that 
be?)  Might it be the serpent; the poisoned apple, the tree 
of the knowledge of good and evil?

On the bottom border two naked figures are stretched out,  
joined at the bottom of their feet. The one on the left rests 
our head on her hand while the other one.

between the last three verses flying birds of various sizes 
and colors fill the empty space.
Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air; 
Hungry clouds swag on the deep
Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.
Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.
Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.
Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Some interpretations:

    Rintrah = Elijah, the angry prophet.  His roaring certainly seems energetic enough.

    "left the paths of ease, / To walk in perilous paths" = Christianity was perverted from its original power to become an institutional religion.

The just man is laughed to scorn (Job 12:4).
Perilous Path occurs three times in the text.  It obviously had a special meaning to Blake.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Little Black Boy

In Blake's day slavery was legal (I don't think it was as crude and 
vicious as it was in some Southern plantations, but the negro was 
generally considered inferior in polite society).  Actually Slavery 
was abolished in 1833, five years after Blake died.

From Wiki Commons

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;
White as an angel is the English child: 
But I am black as if bereav'd of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree 
And sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And pointing to the east began to say. 

Look on the rising sun: there God does live 
And gives his light, and gives his heat away. 
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning joy in the noonday.

And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love, 
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear 
The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice. 
Saying: come out from the grove my love & care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.

Thus did my mother say and kissed me, 
And thus I say to little English boy. 
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy: 

Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear,   
To lean in joy upon our fathers knee. 
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him and he will then love me.

Note the love the boy's mother feels in her response to his situation
and how she encourages his faith in a loving God. The shady
grove describes his circumstance, but God will melt the cloud

("Melt the clouds of sin and sadness and drive the dark of doubt
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!")

There is much more to be said about this beautiful poem, enough
for many posts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage of Heaven and Hell

From Wikipedia:

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the 

period of radical foment and political conflict immediately 
after the French Revolution.

 The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's
 theological work Heaven and Hell, published in Latin 33 
years earlier. Blake directly cited Swedenborg and criticized 
him in several places in the Marriage, as well as throughout 
his poetry.

(See Plates 3, 19, 21, and 22 of MHH as well as well as 
 Blake's annotations of three of Swedenborg's works; 
 Erdman 601-11))

Title page of
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
from LocGov Rosenwal

The title page is colored with a lot of detail:

On the borders you see several trees, merging at the top of the 
At the upper part of the picture, between the Marriage, drawn and 
Heaven, typed. you see a couple on the left and another one on the 
right.  The one on the left is strolling; on the right one is kneeling 
and the other reclining.

Below 'Heaven', clustered around the drawn 'of' are a series of 
'flying' figures, solitary ones at the upper left, but showing couples 
as you move over to the right part.
Below HELL is construed to be a single couple in a romantic 
embrace, the left one perhaps a naked girl and on the left what 
might be a clothed young man. Erdman in Alluminated Blake 
refers to this couple as an angel and a devil (much of the text in 
MHH involves a dialogue between an angel and a devil).

This figure may be thought to symbolize the Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

At this level the trees might be thought of as flaming, followed by 
a patch of blue and then darker branches leading to a black 
background. The flames seem to be consuming the trees, 
suggesting "the alchemical tradition  where truncated trees signify 
death, as an instrument of transformation, preparing the way for 
new life"

The concept of death and resulting life is very central in Blake's 
thought and values.  All of the elements of the picture described above are significant details of Blake's myth and values.


If you've read The Great Code, you should have some idea of the concept type/antitype.  Here's a sample:

One simple one is Moses as the type and Jesus the antitype.


Number 21:6-9:
"[6] And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
[7] Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
[8] And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
[9] And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

John 3:
[9] Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
[10] Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
[11] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
[12] If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
[13] And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
[14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
[15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

From Milton, Plate 21:
"Then the Divine Family said. Six Thousand Years are now
Accomplish'd in this World of Sorrow; Miltons Angel knew The Universal Dictate; and you also feel this Dictate.And now you know this World of Sorrow, and feel Pity. Obey The Dictate! Watch over this World, and with your brooding wings,Renew it to Eternal Life: Lo! I am with you alway"

From the Book of Urizen (Erdman 79):
"5. All day the worm lay on her bosom
All night within her womb                                        
The worm lay till it grew to a serpent
With dolorous hissings & poisons
Round Enitharmons loins folding,

6. Coild within Enitharmons womb
The serpent grew casting its scales,                             
With sharp pangs the hissings began
To change to a grating cry,
Many sorrows and dismal throes,
Many forms of fish, bird & beast,
Brought forth an Infant form                                     
Where was a worm before.

7. The Eternals their tent finished
Alarm'd with these gloomy visions
When Enitharmon groaning
Produc'd a man Child to the light.
8. A shriek ran through Eternity                    

Vison of the Last Judgmemt
Enlarge however you want to
At Erdman 556 we read a part of Visions of the Last Judgment:
"Satan is seen falling headlong wound round by the tail of the
serpent whose bulk naild to the Cross roud which he wreathes is
falling into the Abyss Sin is also representd as a female bound
in one of the Serpents folds surrounded by her fiends Death is
Chaind to the Cross & Time falls together with death dragged down

Look also at this.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Job 7

The left image is the engraving.

.                                                The right image is the picture.

Job 2:
[7] So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote 
Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

[8] And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat 

down among the ashes.

The sun is going down, which in Blake's terminology means we are 

leaving Eternity to sojourn in this dark dirty world.

Job lies there covered with boils while his wife bows at his feet and 

give him this awful advice in verses 9 and 10:
Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

[10] But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish 

women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, 
and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his 

What did Blake think of this passage?:

"The disease of Shame covers me from bead to feet: I have no hope

Every boil upon my body is a separate & deadly Sin.
Doubt first assaild me, then Shame took possession of me         
Shame divides Families. Shame hath divided Albion in sunder!
First fled my Sons, & then my Daughters, then my Wild Animations
My Cattle next, last ev'n the Dog of my Gate. the Forests fled
The Corn-fields, & the breathing Gardens outside separated
The Sea; the Stars: the Sun: the Moon: drivn forth by my disease 
All is Eternal Death unless you can weave a chaste
Body over an unchaste Mind! Vala! O that thou wert pure!"
(Jerusalem Plate 21-2; Erdman 166)

The disease he speaks of (boils?) is the false religion that 

Job has been afflicted with, a legalism instead of love and 
forgiveness. (He's actually not talking about Job; he's talking 
about himself, about you and me!)

Blake's Job realizes his self-righteousness, perhaps the only 
unforgiveable sin.
(cf Golgonooza 130-31)

And from Edward Edinger (28-31):

The broken pitcher in the bottom border of the engraving 
suggests that the ego as a container may break if more is 
poured into it than it can stand.

Cf a broken shepherd's crook at the bottom left suggests that 
Jehovah is not a very good shepherd- a facet of 
disillusionment with the conventional church.

Quoting Zechariah 6-10:
New Living Translation (NLT)
Likewise, I will no longer have pity on the people of the 
land,” says the Lord. “I will let them fall into each other’s 
hands and into the hands of their king. They will turn the land 
into a wilderness, and I will not rescue them.”

So I cared for the flock intended for slaughter—the flock 
that was oppressed. Then I took two shepherd’s staffs and 
named one Favor and the other Union. 

I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month.
But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, 

So I told them, “I won’t be your shepherd any longer. If you 
die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed. And let those 
who remain devour each other!”

10 Then I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, showing 
that I had revoked the covenant I had made with all the