William Blake and the Sexual Basis of Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven: William Blake and the Erotic Imagination

When I first Married you, I gave you all my whole Soul

I thought that you would love my loves & joy in my delights

Seeking for pleasures in my pleasures, O Daughter of Babylon

Then thou wast lovely, mild & gentle, now thou art terrible

In jealousy & unlovely in my sight, because thou hast cruelly

Cut off my loves in fury till I have no love left for thee.

Thy love depends on him thou lovest & on his dear loves

Depend thy pleasures which thou hast cut off by jealousy.

— Milton (1804-10), plate 33

In 1863 Alexander Gilchrist corrected the claim made by J.T. Smith, a friend of Blake, that the artist and “his beloved Kate” lived in “uninterrupted harmony”. Such harmony there really was; but it had not always been unruffled. There had been stormy times in years long past, when both were young; discord by no means trifling while it lasted. But with the cause (jealousy on her side, not wholly unprovoked), the strife had ceased also. Read More

The 40 Rules of Love, by Shams Tabrizi – Part 2

Mystical Islam: Integrating the Left and the Right

The original post exploring the ’40 Rules of Love’ by the great Persian mystic and Sufi, Shams Tabrizi, has been the most viewed of all the posts on The Human Divine. The earlier blog, which is available here, only covers the first ten of the ‘rules’ though, so here’s the next ten of his observations, a continuation and elaboration of his teachings.

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The influence of Jacob Boehme on the work of Blake, by Bryan Aubrey

Blake, Boehme, and Left Brain Verstand 

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Boehme’s influence on Blake, although often acknowledged, is frequently underestimated and has never been comprehensively investigated. Much modern criticism regards Blake’s work as non-transcendental, even secular. This is partly a reaction against earlier criticism, which was more sympathetic to Blake’s connection with the mystical tradition. The argument of this article, however, is that Boehme exerted a continuous and pervasive influence on Blake, and that recognition of this can illumine some of the most difficult and contradictory elements in Blake’s work. These include the attitude to the body and the senses, and the metaphysical status of the selfhood and the created world.

Boehme’s system represents a synthesis of many different currents of thought, including the Dionysian via negativa, the Hermetic tradition, the Kabbalah and the Lutheran faith. It is emphasized, however, that his philosophy arose from intense mystical experience rather than academic study, and that he chose to express it in symbolic and mythological terms rather than rational concepts.

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