William Blake 1979 Naropa Lectures continues – 11

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s Europe continues from here.  

AG: So, Plate 6 now, there are all these dancing couples above and they’ve had an orgy, incidentally..

Student:  You skipped Plate 5.

AG:  I’m sorry.  Europe (Plate) 3, Europe (Plate) 4.  I was on 4, that’s right. Now, I’m sorry, excuse me.  It’s not 6 yet.  I wanted to get to “Now comes the night of Enitharmon’s joy!”  Yeah, that would be Plate 5.  Well, Damon interprets, as I said, “the night of Enitharmon’s joy” (as) the night of female religion, of repression.

Now Blake is really taking off on a tangent which will continue on through his career because basically, see, the notion is that the principles or faculties or Zoas are, in a sense, non-sexual.  Or they are (a) combination of both sexes.  And when the Emanation is separated out from the Zoa, or when Enitharmon is separated from Los, then they’re both in a fallen state, and there might be a rivalry between the two of them for power or dominance, and in this case, this is the story of how Los goes to sleep and Enitharmon takes over in history.  At the end of Jerusalem – that’s the last book –  all the Emanations are united and become one form, one body, with the masculine.  And that’s kind of an interesting conception which might make this more coherent as we go through it.

Let me read you that one paragraph of Damon’s commentary on Emanations.  This is going way on ahead:

“To save the marriage, the Emanation must renounce her thirst for dominion and sacrifice her selfishness; just as the male must also kill his Selfhood and sacrifice himself, to be absorbed in the Brotherhood which is Jesus.  The marital troubles of Los and Enitharmon continue until her heart is broken and she becomes Los’s co-worker.  When Brittannia wakes at last, she denounces as ‘the Jealous Wife’.”

“The Emanation’s self-centered pride seeks domination over the male.  She is jealous of all his activities, and seeks to stop them by denying her husband his freedom” (in Jerusalem)   “She drives all females away from him, invents the theory of sin and the sense of guilt, and curbs him with the laws of chastity.  She denies herself to him, fleeing his embraces.  She murders all of his innocent pleasure, not knowing that she herself is the mother of these ‘Emanations’.  She is even jealous of her husband’s labors, which take his attention from her; so she prevents his working.  Meanwhile the male is left a selfish and ravening Spectre.  His rational power, unchecked by his lost Emanation, dominates him.  He denounces all delights as sin, and condemns Jerusalem as the mother of sin.  His only remaining pleasure is ‘what he imbibes from decieving a Victim’.”

Well, this is all way ahead in Jerusalem, and this is Damon’s commentary in A Blake Dictionary

“It will be noted that the Emanations, when they achieve a separate existence (and get names of their own, which the Spectres never do), exhibit all the characteristics of the personae of the split personality which modern science has discovered.  They seek for domination, can be dangerously destructive, and fight reintegration (which seems to them like annhilation); but the moment they are reabsorbed their voices cease at once.  In Eden, which is the ideal life of this earth, the male and female, when reconciled, cooperate..”

Okay.  So that’s sort of Blake’s ultimate vision, and his notion of this opposition between male and female has a cyclical nature, which is personified in various different characters who will be coming up now in Europe.  And it’s a cycle of sexual repression.

In the beginning there is Ethinthus, the body.  (This is all explained in Damon on page one- two-four, and actually even graphed out in a little mandala)

Ethinthus, the body, is the Emanation of sexual desire – Manathu-Varcyon.  You may have seen his name come up mysteriously, all of a sudden, in the middle of Europe in Enitharmon’s long speech.  That may lead to a situation where the male seed has to deal with female guilt –  Antamon dealing with Leutha – sexual guilt.  And that may lead to a situation where frustrated desire – Theotormon – has to deal with Oothoon – frustrated desire.  And that may lead to a situation where the masculine turns to the war, under the name Sotha, and the feminine just becomes an abstract erotic dream.

So that’s a cycle of interchange of tinctures – as some would call it – or progression.  A psychological progression of disorientation between masculine and feminine.  Is this not making sense?

Student:  No.

AG:  At all?  It’s actually very Freudian (or Buddhist) – Over-emphasis or clinging to sexual desire will create the body,  that body will then feel guilt and frustrate the male seed or spirit, the frustrated desire of the male would be matched by frustrated desire of the woman,  the woman will then have an erotic dream and create an illusory world and the masculine will turn to wrath and war.  That’s actually a Reichian exegesis, or it’s a Reichian notion, a Reichian syllogism –  Wilhelm Reich you know?  The Mass Psychology of Fascism.  (He) gave somewhat of an explanation of authoritarian fascism and war capacity as being repressed sexual freedom. Or sexuality repressed.

So, here Blake is now outlining, with very complicated symbols, the history of Christianity, seen from this symbolic point of view as being the dominance of chastity woman Earth Mother.  Earth Mother as chastity; repressed sex.

“Now comes the night of Enitharmons joy!/ Who shall I call? Who shall I send?/That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion? – (The virgin in this case meaning Mary, the Virgin, may have dominion. It’s the Mary concept of woman, right?  The Virgin) – “”Arise O Rintrah, thee I call…” (Rintrah….& Palamabron thee” – “Arise O Rintrah thee I call! & Palamabron thee!/Go! tell the Human race that Womans love is Sin!/That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters/ In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come..”  (Pie-in-the-sky when you die.  That’s (what that’s) about).

to be continued

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *