William Blake is well known for his writings (like Milton) and paintings but was his work influenced by occult fraternities? In many of his works Blake hid the occult meanings of ancient knowledge making them only visible to those with eyes to see. Blake himself was not well recognized while he was living and was often scrutinized because of his work. So much so that after his death his friend Linell erased sexual images from some of Blake’s drawings. Other works that seemed too radical were burned by Frederick Nathan after he had inherited them. Blake was considered a heretic because he told people he spoke directly with God. For Blake God and Christianity composed the intellectual nucleus of his writings, he drew inspiration for his works through these two topics. Blake was sure that he was instructed by Archangels to create his artistic works. Today a lot of his paintings and written pieces are used by Freemasons and Rosicrucians alike as references to occult knowledge. Although it has not been proven that Blake was a Rosicrucian or Freemason himself there is record that he was involved with various individuals of both fraternities.
To see a World in a Grain of SandAnd a Heaven in a Wild FlowerHold Infinity in the palm of your handAnd Eternity in an hourAuguries of Innocence, by William Blake
1. To Blake Jacobs ladder was a gate to heaven that was closely tied to the anatomy of the ear. He called the passages of ear “the endlessly twisting spiral ascents to the Heaven of Heavens(…).” Swedenborg cleared that “the opening of the inner ear” is a precursor for making contact with higher worlds.
2. The four intersecting globes within the egg are inscribed with four names or Zoas. The Zoas are apocalyptic creatures that represent the elemental forces of the universe. The word of Los or imagination ascends from the center of chaos and it forms illusory space-opacity Satan and Material condensation Adam. They obstruct mans ability to see things as they really are.
1. Urthona-Imagination 2. Luvah-Passion 3. Urizen-Reason 4. Tharmas-The Body
3. Blake understood reason to be the outer limit of energy. If this energy was separated from its center which is imagination, it would become polluted or Satanic. Here the God Urizen (Saturn) is creating the mute sphere in which man runs in circles while trapped in an earthly body.
4. In This painting Newton is sitting in the gloomy waters of Ulro while constructing a physical eye. “The whole world is God’s organ of perception.” Newton-Opticks Blake believed that Newton’s observation was to him “simple vision’ because he believed that the infinite was in all things not only the ratio.
5. Progress is always slow in the emotional ascent of the soul. This picture is the story of the souls re-union with the body. Manly P. Hall sums it up as so, “The struggle of man’s inner Self for liberation from the ego is an age-old problem, difficult to overcome, but as long as the individual can honestly feel that he is going in the right direction, there is no cause for dismay.”
Excerpts for paintings from Alexander Roob