Monday, August 31, 2009

JUNG AND SPIRIT

Some people question the Christianity of Carl Jung.
He divided his religious life from his professional life,
but in later years he became more open about revealing
his inner relationship to God . Although he never
spoke of his religion in the conventional religious
terminology that had been used by his family for
generations, he said enough to show that he had a
faith that was deep and personal.

"When John Freeman asked Jung in a 1959 BBC interview
if he believed in God, he answered, "I don't need to
believe....I know," thereby landing himself in
controversy again."

"The divine Presence is more than anything else. There
is more than one way to the rediscovery of the 'genus
divinum' in us. This is the only thing that matters....I
wanted the proof of a living Spirit and I got it....Don't
ask me at what price....I don't want to prescribe a way
to other people, because I know that my way has been
prescribed to me by a hand far above my reach. I know
it all sounds so damned grand. I am sorry that it does,
but I don't mean it. It is grand and I am only trying to
be a decent tool and don't feel grand at all."

Letter to FR.Victor White

This sounds like a man who knew the Spirit within.
Jesus didn't ask for more than that.

'The Descent of Peace' from On the Night of Christ's Nativity.

Quotes from CARL JUNG: WOUNDED HEALER
OF THE SOUL by Claire Dunne

Link to Wounded Healer


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blake and Jung

Most Blake students have a passing acquaintance with
psychology, and especially with jungian psychology.
Although coming from very different backgrounds,
Blake and Jung had a great deal in common:

Jung was the son of a minister, the grandson of two
ministers, the nephew of dozens of them. Nevertheless
when he was four he dreamed that a gigantic turd had
fallen from the sky upon the local cathedral.

Blake was the son of a draper -- from a lower middle
class family. When he was four he ran screaming to
his mother to report that he had seen an ugly God in
his window. His religious experience presumably
sprang from the "radical dissenter" values and beliefs
of his mother.

The ugly God dominated Blake's thoughts for the next
three decades. The pages of his poetry were filled
with description of the ugly God: in
Urizen;
Nobodaddy was another name he used.

So we may say that both men had a prophetic role
against the established religion of their day. However
both of them are very popular among people who, like
them, deplore the corruption and excesses of so much
of popular religion.

To gain a close acquaintance with Jung and especially
to see how closely he resembled Blake, you need to
read Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Visions of Jung and Blake

After returning from a long, near fatal illness C G Jung
experienced a state where visions absorbed his nightly
pursuits. MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS
(PG 295,296)


"We shy away from the word "eternal," but I can describe
the
experience only as the ecstasy of a non-temporal state
in which
present, past, and future are one. Everything
that happens in
time had been brought together into a
concrete whole. Nothing
was distributed over time,
nothing could be measured by temporal
concepts. The
experience might best be defined as a state
of feeling, but
one which cannot be produced by imagination.
How
can I imagine that I exist simultaneously the day before
yesterday, today, and the day after tomorrow? There would
be
things which would not yet have begun, other things
which
would be indubitably present, and others again
which would
already be finished and yet all this would be
one. The only
thing that feeling could grasp would be
a sum, an iridescent
whole, containing all at once
expectation of a beginning,
surprise at what is now
happening, and satisfaction or
disappointment with the
result of what has happened. One is interwoven
into an
indescribable whole and yet observes it with complete
objectivity."

Milton, Plate 32 Erdman says of this image "Knowing it will be impossible to receive the full inspiration of Milton by the mind alone, Blake has to go and catch a falling star."

Blake's experience of visions, which must have been
similar to Jung's,
are conveyed to us in a totally
different way. Jung used an
intellectual, objective
way to describe an emotional, subjective experience.
Blake involves us in his experience by evoking
suggestive images to allow
us a perception of the
non-temporal, simultaneous, interwoven wholeness.


An example from Blake's MILTON, plate 39:

"Suddenly around Milton on my Path, the Starry Seven
Burnd terrible! my Path became a solid fire, as bright
As the clear Sun & Milton silent came down on my Path.
And there went forth from the Starry limbs of the Seven: Forms
Human; with Trumpets innumerable, sounding articulate
As the Seven spake; and they stood in a mighty Column of Fire
Surrounding Felphams Vale, reaching to the Mundane Shell, Saying
Awake Albion awake! reclaim thy Reasoning Spectre. Subdue

Him to the Divine Mercy, Cast him down into the Lake
Of Los, that ever burneth with fire, ever & ever Amen!
Let the Four Zoa's awake from Slumbers of Six Thousand Years"

Friday, August 28, 2009

IMMORTAL GAIN

From a letter of consolation which Blake wrote to his
friend Hayley we read:

"good many other softenings to the whole--I know that
our deceased friends are more really with us than when
they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years
ago. I lost a brother & with his spirit I converse daily &
hourly in the Spirit. & See him in my remembrance in
the regions of my Imagination. I hear his advice & even
now write from his Dictate--Forgive me for expressing
to you my Enthusiasm which I wish all to partake of
Since it is to me a Source of Immortal Joy even in this
world by it I am the companion of Angels. May you
continue to be so more & more & to be more & more
perswaded. that every Mortal loss is an Immortal Gain.
The Ruins of Time builds Mansions in Eternity."

Blake's brother Robert as shown in the poem Milton.

Larry expressed the sentiment that, "every Mortal loss
is an Immortal Gain," at our Quaker Meeting recently.
Or perhaps he used this similar quote, "I verily believe
it Every Death is an improvement of the State of the
Departed." What a comfort to be confident as Blake was
that our loved ones have gone on to better things when
they leave us.

The Ascension
.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Children of the Future Age

In Blake there are no simple answers and no single
answers. In his Introduction to A BLAKE DICTIONARY,
Damon says:

"Blake was not content only to record: he wanted to
force his reader to think along with him. No great work
of art has its meaning on the surface, ... He was
determined not to have his own meanings sidetracked
by surface meanings. So he removed surface meanings."

We struggle to figure out what Blake meant as he wrote
it, what his imaginative insights mean to us, what they
mean to others, what they would mean if applied to the
psyche or the society.

The poem to which this quote is prefaced:
Link to Blake Archive with multiple copies
Link to Plate and Text

"Children of the future age
reading this indignant page
know that now in former time
love, sweet love
was thought a crime."

This brings to my mind how our children will see and
experience the world differently from the way we do.
Our indignation is different from theirs. Love, sex,
and criminality play different roles in society in
different ages.
Blake is interested in a New Age where the reasoning
power will not dominate the imagination, where many
values will be inverted, where forgiveness will replace
wrath. But he didn't give us a map to guide us into the
world to come, just a myth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WHOLENESS

Quotes from Edward F Edinger a Jungian psychologist :
THE ETERNAL DRAMA: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology

"Nothing new can emerge unless one is willing to dip into chaos and pull it out. ...
"Once it is out it promptly splits in two, into earth and sky in terms of the myth. This is something we see whenever something is coming into awareness: the very process of achieving consciousness involves a split into opposites. Things can remain in their state of oneness only as long as they are unconscious. When they reach consciousness, they must divide into opposites and then we have the experience of conflict."

"At first, the encounter with the Self is indeed a defeat of the ego; but with perseverance, /Deo volente,/ light is born from the darkness. One meets the"Immortal One" who wounds and heals, who casts down and raises up, who makes small and makes large - in a word the one who makes one whole."

Blake is willing to dip into that chaos and endure the splitting. He follows the process through its inner and outer manifestations and describes the unification process on the other side at a higher level of consciousness.

In plate 96 of JERUSALEM Blake writes:

"Then Jesus appeared standing by Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form
A Man. & they conversed as Man with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los"

This passage is symbolically dense. Practically every word in it is pregnant with meaning. Focus on any word within its context and it leads toward the transcending of divisions which is about to be achieved. From the oneness of unconsciousness, through recognition, awareness, sifting, and integration the Divine Appearance (unification) is being activated.

Think of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Fourfold in humanity encountering the Eternal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ROBES OF BLOOD

Larry wrote:  KNEELING MAN AT THE SHORE
The features and meanings in the
Arlington Tempera
are subject to various interpretations; that's true in fact of all works of art. In particular color representations of this picture reveal things lost to monochrome viewers. The kneeling man at the shore wore a crimson robe. The red robe contributes to Damon (A BLAKE DICTIONARY) seeing the red-robed man kneeling on the shore as Luvah, the Zoa who represented the emotions to Blake. Raine viewing the scene from the Greek mythological perspective, saw him as Odysseus, Digby (SYMBOL AND IMAGE IN WILLIAM BLAKE) saw him in a function of Blake's larger mythological structure as Albion and Jesus who represent the total Humanity.

The contrast between Raine's (BLAKE AND TRADITION) and Digby's interpretations of the picture show how full is the meaning conveyed by the artist to two scholars in very different disciplines. The Greek origin of the setting comes out in Raine's identification of the images(and the total story) as very clearly an adaptation of the Odyssey. Cave of the Nymphs Meanwhile the same images lend themselves in a more direct sense to the system that Blake created; to a great degree a psychological one. (Digby perceived the Greek story told here in strictly Jungian terms.)

In all likelihood Blake portrayed this image to convey all
three facets of the complex character: the red robed man on the shore should be seen as by Damon as Luvah; and as by Raine as Odysseus; and as by Digby as Albion and Jesus. Since the kneeling man is wearing a red robe he suggests to Blake readers a recurring image whether we see him as Odysseus, Luvah, Jesus or Albion.

Blake used 'robes of blood' as a major symbol in his poetry. Look at:

FOUR ZOAS 1-13.8-9; E308:
"Eternity appeard above them as One Man infoldedIn Luvah[s] ROBES OF BLOOD & bearing all his afflictions"

FOUR ZOAS 2-32.13-14; E321
"The heavens were closd and spirits mournd their bondage night and day And the Divine Vision appeard in Luvahs ROBES OF BLOOD"

FOUR ZOAS 7a-87.43-4; E369|
"Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs ROBES OF BLOOD descending to redeem"

Blake undoubted knew well the account in Rev. 19 of the appearance of the Christ at the end times, including verse 13: "And he was clothed with a VESTURE DIPPED IN BLOOD: and his name is called The Word of God." (KJV)

And finally we come to plate 42 in MILTON including:

"Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic'd in Felphams Vale
Around the Starry Eight: with one accord the Starry Eight became
One Man Jesus the Saviour. wonderful! round his limbs
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a GARMENT DIPPED IN BLOOD
Written within & without in woven letters: & the Writing
Is the Divine Revelation in the Litteral expression:
A Garment of War, I heard it namd the Woof of Six Thousand Years"

We may suppose that Digby's acquaintance with these
accounts led him to name the man on the shore Albion - Jesus.
Would anyone care to exegete this last passage? (Damon suggested spiritual war)

Ellie's reply:
I've heard it said that life is a struggle. We can't expect to get through it without being battered and bruised. In our daily relationships we endure wounds and inflict wounds, inadvertently as well as deliberately. Most of our wounds are to our psyches, both our own and those whom we attack through our own unconscious defensiveness or projection.So we ourselves can be seen as the bloodied robes. Our psyches as well as our bodies are 'a clothing for the Soul Divine'. Joy and Woe In as far as we can see ourselves as members of the 'body of Christ'(1st Corinthians 12:27), as participants in the Divine Humanity which Blake called Albion, we also are the bloodied robes which Blake spoke of in regard to Luvah and Jesus. Sacred though these raiments be, they can be washed and mended and rewoven into unsullied garments suitable for entry into Jerusalem.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blake's Image of Saints in Dante

Toward the end of his life William Blake began a series
of illustrations for Dante's DIVINE COMEDY for his
patron and friend John Linnell. Blake left 102 of these
watercolor illustrations when he died: seventy-two for
the Inferno, twenty for the Purgatorio, and ten for the
Paradiso. Blake's designs are said to be not mere
illustrations but commentary on Dante's text.
(Martin Butlin)

One illustration for the Paradiso particularly caught my
attention in the Blake Archive:
Link to Blake Archive

In Martin Butlin's WILLIAM BLAKE, published by the
Tate, he makes these comments on the picture I noticed:
"Blake illustrates the successive appearances of
St. Peter, St. James and St. John. St. Peter, who
questions Dante on Faith, is represented by Blake's
type for Urizen; St. James, who questions Dante on
Hope, as Luvah; and St. John, who questions Dante on
Love, as Los or the Poetic Genius. Together they
represent Reason, Feeling and Imagination. The
overlapping of the three globes in which they are
shown, embracing Dante and Beatrice whose echoing
gestures reflect harmony, is a marvelously vivid image
of reunion of Man's various elements that is requisite
of true salvation."

Quite a summation of the Bible, Blake's myth, religion
and psychology!

The picture named 'St. Peter, St. James, Dante and
Beatrice with St. John also' can be found at:

Blake's image from Dante

In this picture it is fascinating to see how Blake
integrated Dante's poetry into his own visual
vocabulary.

Dante's three conversations with St. Peter, St. James
and St. John about faith, hope and love respectively
are amalgamated into one scene. Blake himself
wouldn't be left out of the creative process, so he gives
the three saints correspondence to three of his Zoas.
He skews the character of the Zoas to align them with
the saints .

Urizen is a pretty good fit with St. Peter since Blake has
identified Urizen with the fallen church consistently.
The association of Urizen with faith is perhaps by his
building a structure to try to make sense of being.
Peter's first recognition of Jesus as the Messiah is a
prime example of his faith. The identification of Peter
with Urizen is implied by his facial appearance which is
congruent with multiple images of Urizen as he is
associated with the vengeful God of the Old Testament,
and by the faint image of the scroll which Peter holds in
his left hand.

For a rare image of the Four Zoes together, see:

4z's in Book of Urizen

If Luvah is paired with St. James, it might be on the
basis of putting into practice the spiritual truth we
receive, which is emphasized in the New Testament
'Letter of James.' I don't know why hope would be
associated with either St. James or Luvah.

Los, the Eternal Prophet, pictured as the descending
Holy Spirit becomes in the picture, St. John, the author
of the Apocalypse or 'Book of Revelation.' Although it is
not the characteristic usually assigned to Los, love is
entirely appropriate to him in his role as the Poetic
Genius opening the world to imagination. St. John
exemplifies love as the author of the gospel stressing
unity among men, and between God and man.

In his characteristic way of making his figures
ambiguous or subject to multiple interpretations, Blake
may have been thinking of the lower central image of
Dante and Beatrice as Albion, (Humanity as realized in
the one Man) or as Tharmas the fourth of the Four
Zoas, who can be associated with the senses or the
physical body.

Better students than I, of Dante, Blake and the Bible
should be able to see much more in this picture than I do.

Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Reading this little book gives you an ideal introduction to William Blake's values and writing style.

Rusty Shell is a long term scholar of Blake. His blog on MHH gave us a good, detailed, down-to-earth introduction to the early Blake. Read it and if you're really interested in MHH you'll find a bonus in the shape of a PDF (file), essentially a lesson plan for a class in William Blake's famous book.

If you want to go straight to MHH click on this site.

If you have questions, use the comment option.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BLAKE: PHENOMENON OR VISIONARY

Was Blake widely read and influential among his contemporaries? NO.

Did he build institutions to transform society? NO.

Did he establish a school of thought to perpetuate his ideas? NO.

Was he a leader who changed his little corner of the world? NO.

Did he have wealth, power or success? NO.

Did he leave a legacy, a body of work in words and pictures, that is becoming recognized as a treasure for developing the human mind and spirit? YES!

When I look at the resources that have been made available for the study of this obscure artist and poet who lived about the time America was being born, I am delighted. Who else has all his poetry and prose available online. Who else has an online concordance to his work to make it immediately searchable for every word or phrase. Who has a web site devoted to displaying his graphic output in the most technologically sophisticated and artistically sensitive way.

So why have all this effort and all these resources been devoted to this artist whose books were produced by the two, or threes, sometimes by the dozens or left in manuscript form only?

Is he becoming known now because he is difficult to read and produces images which are mystifying at first glance? Or can we find some other reasons. Effort is being made into figuring him out. Some study him objectively to describe how he fits in the body of English literature, or how he was influenced by traditions of multiple sorts, or how the times in which he lived determined his understanding of the world. The structure of his work; the techniques he used; his relationship to philosophies, psychologies, religions; how he fits into various structures of thought in science, politics, aesthetics - all ways in which he is being studied as an object from every direction.

But there is another way to study him - subjectively. By looking at what he taught through his poetic visions and graphic images, by looking at the content, not just the form of his output; we can engage in the process of absorbing into our psyches what he had to teach. Of course one wouldn't want to allow someone to influence one's psyche unless one was convinced of the benevolence of the artist, poet or teacher.

So one way to get started on Blake is through becoming familiar with quotes from his works which encapsulate some of his original expressions of archetypal ideas.

"Everything possible to be believed is an image of truth."

"Eternity is in love with the productions of time."

"I give you the end of a golden string
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in through heavens gate
built in Jerusalem's wall."

" Man was made for joy and woe
And if this he rightly know,
He through life may safely go,
Joy and Woe woven fine,
A clothing for the Soul Divine."

If we become convinced that we want to gain access to his insights, of course we will let him speak to us directly through the words of his poetry and the visual images. Of course we will get help in understanding his complex mythology from scholars and Blake enthusiasts. But we shouldn't allow ourselves to be drawn into making our studies objective rather than subjective. If we don't come to see Blake as a great man, with a gift of genius from God "to raise the consciousness on men to a perception of the Infinite", we will have missed the reason for studying him, and for all the effort that has been made to make him available to us.

EUROPE, Plate 13 "Till the night of holy shadows and human solitude is past!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beginning Blake

.
A Place to Begin

Anyone may learn to known and love William Blake. Small steps include reading, asking questions, making comments about posts made here (or anywhere else for that matter). We are ordinary people interested in Blake and anxious to meet and converse with any others.

Tip 1:
The primary text for Blake is on line. The url is Contents

Tip 2:
If you want to locate a quote (or a word or phrase) click on the Concordance.

Tip 3:
If you have a question just comment on this (or any) post and ask it.

Rusty's God Blog: William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Rusty's God Blog: William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

WB's CONVERSION

Here is an account of William Blake's conversion experience which he included in MILTON a POEM in TWO BOOKS. The experience he describes took place near the end of his sojourn in Felpham where he had been sorely tried by outer circumstances and inner doubts.

MILTON 21.4

"But Milton entering my Foot; I saw in the nether
Regions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth,
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments.

And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity.

MILTON 22.4

While Los heard indistinct in fear, what time I bound my sandals
On; to walk forward thro' Eternity, Los descended to me:
And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close

Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold.
Los stood in that fierce glowing fire; & he also stoop'd down
And bound my sandals on in Udan-Adan; trembling I stood
Exceedingly with fear & terror, standing in the Vale
Of Lambeth: but he kissed me and wishd me health.
And I became One Man with him arising in my strength:
Twas too late now to recede. Los had enterd into my soul:
His terrors now posses'd me whole! I arose in fury & strength."

These are the phrases which lead me to call this a conversion
experience:
1) "reveal the secrets of Eternity"
2) "I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."
3) "And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold."
4) "And I became One Man with him arising in my strength:"
5) "Twas too late now to recede. Los had enterd into my soul: His terrors now posses'd me whole! I arose in fury & strength"

Since Los to Blake is the Prophet of Eternity, the expression of the creative Imagination, and Blake is speaking in his own voice in these words; I call it an account of a conversion experience, a decisive turning toward the Eternal.