Ginsberg on Blake continues – 69

William Blake – from Jerusalem – The Emanation of The Giant Albion (c.1821) –  from copy in the collection of the Yale Center For British Art

Allen Ginsberg’s 1979 Naropa class on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here 

Student:  And there’s an illustration in the Book of Urizen  that shows that.  Isn’t that that right?
Student (2):  Of which?
Student:  Of a man, I forget who he is, but he’s sort of stretched up like this and there’s some stars and planets and stuff …
Student (2):  Oh, that’s in another…
AG:  Jerusalem
Student:  Jerusalem
AG:  Jerusalem, yeah
Student (2):  …. Fates or the three (figures) drawing …
AG:  I think it’s….
Student (2):  ... (straight)  out of his belly-button.
AG:  Yeah.

Student:  I thought that’s what the image is.  That the body was Vala was imposed, but in terms of this….
AG:  Well, that might … that actually is not a bad …
Student:  That’s the way I see it.
AG:  … that’s not at all a bad vision of this line, because Luvah‘s….
Student:  …Albion….

AG:  What is happening there?  Is it Vala drawing out….
Student:  What?  In that picture?
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  Yeah.

AG:  Who are the three figures?
Student:  Three of the Emanations are drawing out … I always interpreted it as….
AG:  Three Emanations above him …
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  … that are putting him on this rack of …
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  …  (the) material world.
Student:  Yeah, he’s kneeling down and he has …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  … the whole universe on his limbs …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  … because he’s the Universal Man, and then they’re pulling up the thread from his bellybutton, like they’re pulling …
AG:  Yeah.  Making him into a….
Student:  … internal umbilical cord.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  Or making him….
AG:  A material….

Student:  Yeah.  And they’re counting every little fiber of his being, too.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  In the later.  Tharmas complained about earlier.
AG:  Yeah.

“And the dark Body of Albion left prostrate upon the crystal  pavement..” – (Why a crystal pavement?  You got any idea?  Well, that would be, at least that might be that world of rhomboids and trapezoids that Urizen created”  (Anyway, coverd with boils from head to foot” – (from the) – “…terrible smitings of Luvah’ – (his passions) – “Then frownd the Fallen Man & put forth Luvah – (Passion) – “…from his presence. (I heard him: frown not Urizen: but listen to my Vision)” – [from Jerusalem] – (So this is still Ahania talking).

And “the Fallen Man” said to Luvah – “…Go & die the Death of Man for Vala the sweet wanderer/ I will turn the volutions of your…” – (The “Death of Man” is being born as a man, actually.  Being born into the human form, I think.  Dying from eternity and being born into a kind of mortal, perishing form, Go & die the Death of Man for the Illusion of the world – for Vala) – “sweet wanderer/I will turn the volutions of your Ears outward, & bend your Nostrils/ Downward; & your fluxile Eyes englob’d, roll round in fear/Your withring Lips & Tongue shrink up into a narrow circle/Till into narrow form you creep..” – (Into the senses.  into the narrow chinks of the senses) – “… Go take your fiery way/And learn what ’tis to absorb the Man you Spirits of Pity &  Love..” – (And Urizen, hearing this, turns pale) – “O Urizen why art thou pale at the visions of Ahania/Listen to her who loves thee lest we also are driven away..” – (So, actually, she’s making some sense)

“they heard the…” – (This is her continuing now.  I believe this is still her voice, Ahania’s voice, the voice of Spirtual Beauty or Spiritual Understanding, analyzing.  The beauty of Intellectual Understanding, or Intellectual Pleasure, analyzing there fixed Elohim)

“They heard the Voice & fled swift as the winters setting sun/And now the Human Blood foamd high. I saw that Luvah & Vala/Went down the Human Heart where Paradise & its joys abounded/In jealous fears in fury & rage, & flames roll’d round their fervid feet/And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent play’d before them..” – (That’s like a classic L.S.D. experience –  “And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent play’d before them.”  But it’s also the vast bum trip of all time,  of seeing the entire world as a living energy serpent or a monster of some sort, writhing in its own energy).

“And as they went in folding fires & thunders of the deep/Vala shrunk in like the dark sea that leaves its slimy banks/ And from her bosom Luvah fell far as the east & west..” – (emotions and body, maybe?) – “And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent roll’d between..” – (It’s like the end of Moby Dick  What’s that last line of Moby Dick? –  and the vast sea rolled on as it had rolled a thousand years before? [Editorial note – “and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago“] –  Nature took over.  After all, there’s human fury and passion, everybody was drowned in the vast ocean roll.  It closed over the conflict.

(“And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent roll’d between..” – she ended – So now we know it was her speech all along).

to be continued 

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at eighty-two-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately eighty-nine minutes in.


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