The Alchemy of William Blake

This book embarks on a profound exploration of the connection between William Blake and Jacob Boehme. The author meticulously dissects Blake's tempera painting 'An Allegory of the Spiritual Condition of Man' to comprehensively analyse his beliefs. The book carefully examines the painting as a whole and its constituent parts, exploring the relationships between them before reassembling it.

'An Allegory of the Spiritual Condition of Man' has rich potential for interpretation, encompassing both Kabbalistic and alchemical perspectives. The author skilfully incorporates these interpretations into the book's structure, leading readers on a fascinating journey of discovery and deepening their understanding and appreciation of the philosophical alchemy underpinning Blake's mysticism

 


 

 

 

The Alchemy Of William Blake

Jacob Boehme's three Principles are allegories of humanity's origins, birth, and rebirth and explain the existence of evil and injustice in the world. This is the secret teaching at the core of William Blake's cosmogony. If we consider that the Greater Lights of Boehme's metaphysical system are the same as Blake's, we can start to comprehend why humanity falls so short of its potentiality.

Author selling Books on Rosicrucianism and Books on Secret Traditions

Blake's painting is spiritual and gloriously esoteric. It presents a map of humanity's evolution and reintegration beyond the veil of death. Yet suffering is an integral part of that osmosis, and Blake understood this well. He must have been an extraordinary man. Not only could he compose poetry and create breathtakingly beautiful images using novel techniques, but his mind encompassed a universe of knowledge and understanding that only a true mystic could achieve. Therefore, we should never overlook the importance of symbolism in Blake's metaphysics. As he once remarked: 

“Allegory Address'd to the intellectual powers, while it is altogether hidden from the Corporeal Understanding, is My Definition of the Most Sublime Poetry.”

The llves of Jacob Boehme and William Blake were linked by a shared belief that life has a purpose and that human beings exist for a reason. They opposed the idea that the only pursuits worth undertaking are the accumulation of material wealth and enjoying power over others. They reasoned that such values contradicted the original teachings of Christ. The legacies of both men were therefore shaped by a desire to transform the perception of reality for others. This process illustrates the influence of art on religion and society, and its power to change who we think we are.

Author selling Books on Rosicrucianism and Books on Secret Traditions

Philosophical alchemy is the key, and in this painting Blake presents his entire theological system in allegorical form. It is evident why Blake would not only have identified with many of the ideas of Boehme, but also with the life of the man himself, living humbly, believing himself to possess great insights which is absolutely must share with his fellow man, even under the threat of persecution. This identification of Boehme as a source for Blake's inspiration has not entirely passed unnoticed before. Blake himself wrote to his friend John Flaxman, “Paracelsus & Behmen appear'd to me before the American Revolution.” 

Images (c) Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Text  (c) M.R. Osborne, 2024

 

 

 

              

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“A great affinity with William Blake and his abiding interest in the mystical Christian currents "

"I applaud Michael Osborne for bringing us a book which delves into this formerly obscure link between two religious visionaries. It is evident that the author feels a great affinity with William Blake, and that his abiding interest in the mystical Christian currents sometimes called Martinism or Martinezism would lead him to explore the legacy of an Englishman who had been profoundly influenced by the same currents which had inspired his near-contemporaries, Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and Abbé Pierre Fournié." 

Piers A. Vaughan