Monday, July 4, 2011

Lecture One: MYTH

The Myth
(Erdman 153 Jerusalem)

Look at MHH,: “PLATE 11 The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could percieve. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country. placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounced that the Gods had orderd such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.”

We could discuss that at length, but look at a later one:
“I must create a system or be enslavd by another Mans I will not reason and compare, my business is to Create”(Jerusalem; E153)

In a manner of speaking Blake's Myth involved a re-creation of the Bible. Both works proceed as follows: A worldly creation, including making of Man A fall leading to expulsion from the Garden. In Blake's Version the dire consequences of eating of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. Blake denied any reality to Good and Evil; instead he used the terms: Truth and Error. Men don't sin, he says. They make errors. Forgiveness, the most powerful word for Blake wipes out the error. In his Reflections of A Vision of the Last Judgment he made this statement:
“ What are all the Gifts of the Spirit but Mental Gifts whenever any Individual Rejects Error & embraces Truth a Last Judgment passes upon that Individual”, which of course in my book amounts to Universalism in the original sense of the word."

“Hell” is presented at great length in The Four Zoas and in Jerusalem. He called it Ulro. Starting with Eternity newborns inhabit Beulah (on dry land). However they more or less always find themselves in the Sea of Land and Sea. (ILLUSTRATE) (Picture is in the back of Blake and Antiquity.)

A better way is to speak of Albion (equivalent to Adam) Beulah is an earthly place where the eternals resort for R&R from the “severe contentions of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro”.
“And War & Hunting: the Two Fountains of the River of Life"
Blake's myth is an alternative version of the Bible myth:

Creation: Albion, the Eternal Man, Adam lived in Eternity, but becoming tired of the fierce contentions of Friendship dropped down to Beulah. Unfortunately he fell asleep, divided into the four zoas:

Tharmas: our basic physicality.
Urizen: our reasoning faculty
Luvah: our feeling function
Urthona/Los: our imagination (intuition)

We all have those Jungian functions. One is called the dominant function; another is our inferior function.

The zoas got into all sorts of conflict with one another and with their Emanations (their female dimension). The emanations are wonderful until they fall into spidery dominating elements.

All of them have descended from Beulah to Ulro (Blake's name for Hell).
Here we languish until love and forgiveness heal us through generation, then regeneration, then redemption, then awaking in Eternity.

That's Blake's myth in a nutshell. We might devote an hour to it some time in the next month.

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