William Blake: prince of imagination, vision, and faith

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.”

by Jon Rappoport

July 21, 2021

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Since I’ve been writing about the individual inventing his own reality, and having posted a piece about Ayn Rand, I now turn to a quite different person of a different time, the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827). No doubt Blake would take vigorous issue with my simple claim that he created his own reality; nevertheless…

Aside from the fact that Blake mercilessly criticized organized religion, there is no other poet in the English language possessed of greater faith; the form of that faith, and whether it changed substantially over the years are subjects for scholars. I view Blake, first and foremost, as a poet, who set down what he saw, envisioned, imagined, believed, and questioned.

Here is a question (was it rhetorical?) he raised in one of the greatest poems in any language:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Blake also wrote: “And now let me finish with assuring you that, Tho I have been very unhappy, I am so no longer. I am again. Emerged into the light of day; I still & shall to Eternity Embrace Christianity and Adore him who is the Express image of God; but I have travel’d thro’ Perils & Darkness not unlike a Champion. I have Conquer’d, and shall still Go on Conquering. Nothing can withstand the fury of my Course among the Stars of God & in the Abysses of the Accuser. My Enthusiasm is still what it was, only Enlarged and conform’d.”

And he wrote this: “The ancient poets animated all objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity; Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of, & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounc’d that the Gods had order’d such things. Thus men forgot that all deities reside in the human breast.”

And this: “It is not because Angels are Holier than Men or Devils that makes them Angels but because they do not Expect Holiness from one another but from God only.”

“Thinking as I do that the Creator of this World is a very Cruel Being & being a Worshipper of Christ, I cannot help saying: ‘the Son, O how unlike the Father!’ First God Almighty comes with a Thump on the Head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it.”

Make of that powerful brew what you will; I just keep reading Blake’s lines of poetry:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt
They’d immediately go out.

Love to faults is always blind,
Always is to joys inclined,
Lawless, winged, and unconfined,
And breaks all chains from every mind.

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

Blake went to school only until he was ten. He was then educated at home by his mother.

His religious faith was equaled by his faith in imagination. Perhaps to him they were the same.

There is no other voice like his in the history of poetry. It is unique, in part, because he never wavered from his own vision. He took jobs and commissions, but they never distracted him from the ocean of his work.

He had “a genius of the ear.” He could hear a nursery rhyme and then raise it to the door of his heaven without ever dropping back into a trace of syrup or sentimentality.

A hundred years later, Yeats read Blake’s most magic lines and realized that modern poems could be filled with them. Magic? Here is what I mean:

Yeats: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

Blake: What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Yeats: Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Blake: When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

I mention Yeats for another reason. There is a story told about his marriage. There are several versions. The one I prefer illustrates what I mean when I say: no one can predict what reality an individual will create when left to his own devices, when freed from the restraints of what he is supposed to believe. The story also illustrates the lengths to which individuals will go to forge a unique vision.

For almost 30 years, Yeats pursued the love of his life, Maud Gonne. She refused to marry him. A year after she turned him down for the last time, in 1916, grief-stricken and at the end of his rope, at age 52, he married Georgie Hyde-Lees, who was 25.

Almost immediately, Georgie saw their marriage was doomed to fail. Four days after their wedding, she suddenly told Yeats she could perform automatic writing. “Instructors” dictated highly esoteric texts to her. This intrigued Yeats. Together, they began to work out myriad systems to make metaphysical sense of the huge cascades of strange pages Georgie began setting down—-eventually resulting in the 1925 book, A Vision.

Their marriage endured. They had two children. Yeats dug deeply into the automatic texts and extracted images and phrases which he used and reworked in his late poems.

In my preferred version of this story, Georgie, desperate to hold on to her husband, invented both the pretext of her ability to perform automatic writing AND invented the ensuing mystical texts.

It worked. Once the new alliance with her husband was formed, the marriage survived; and Yeats, his writing up against a brick wall of exhaustion, suddenly found new sources and material and inspiration.

New life, new poetry, new partnership, new love.

Georgie decided to risk everything, and she won.


Exit From the Matrix

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Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

16 comments on “William Blake: prince of imagination, vision, and faith

  1. Paul says:

    “Thus men forgot
    that all deities
    reside in
    the human breast.”

    To be torn & brought alive,
    by the hooks of happenstance.


    EDITING & 1st TAKES.

    Wait for Brando.

    You’ll have to suffer thru Miss Connie.

    Tho’ she does offer contrast.

    Not dissimilar, to that contrast, offered by oiled brushes/pens.


    Way back in the day, when I saw this interview, I nicknamed my cat Fritz, “Timmy,” as a gentle ode to Brando.

    Fritz answered to both names.

    He was most playful when I called him Timmy.

    Cats are known to possess a Secret Name too. One they will never reveal.





    “Speak the Truth in humility
    to all people.
    Only then can be a True Man
    & free of your chains.”


    “In the kingdom of the blind…”

    Dance !
    To shed the gathered weight.

    ~ Thank you Poet.

  2. ReluctantWarrior says:

    One of my favorites:

    “He who binds to himself a joy
    Does the winged life destroy;
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies
    Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
    ― William Blake

  3. stu z says:

    Despite the images adorning numerous greeting cards in our vulgar age, Blake’s wood carvings are also indelible and marvelous.

    Nice piece, Jon!

  4. Tim says:

    The sun is not a burning ball in the sky, it’s the portal, the hole in this finite Truman Show(anti-reality) bubble of consciousness. Who was “Kristoff”? Christ off. off Christ. Anti Christ. Imposter “Creator”.(miscreator).
    The Sun-The Son. Representation.

    It’s like when in one of the Matrix movies Trinity and Neo break through the clouds and *see*….. “…it’s beautiful…”.
    “The real world” depicted in the movie was not The Real World, they were still stuck in a layer of The Matrix because it is not physical. Obviously.
    Though “they” are attempting to make it physical, to control thoughts and feelings more and reduce or eliminate communications and awareness(of) from The BEYOND.
    The movie “Tron” is another good symbolic/metaphorical expression

    “the Matrix is a system…” a system of belief.

  5. Need A Ladder says:

    Blake might also have criticized the fake clean energy from wind and solar that devours our landscapes providing a net loss of energy that are 100% dependent on fossil fuels and our dollar energy in subsidies and the hunting expeditions on fake viruses that do not exist that transfer so much of our energy all of which are organized religious cults as they are based on illusions.

  6. Eluard says:

    You had me at Blake, Jon 😉

    I love the man like a second father. He’s been my lodestar since I was sixteen. Reading his shorter poems are like taking a bath in crystalline springs. The longer works, Book of Urizen, etc., are like a journey through territories and cities that you vaguely remember having traveled through or at least heard about.

    Neville Goddard, master of the Law of Assumption, i.e. using Imagination to create your life as you desire, very often quoted Blake in his books and lectures. Here’s one from a lecture called Eternal States: “Eternity exists and all things in eternity independent of creation which was an act of mercy. By this you will see that I do not consider either the just or the wicked to be in a supreme state, but to be everyone of them states of the sleep which the soul may fall into in its deadly dreams of good and evil when it leaves paradise following the serpent.”

    Ah, Blake. He evokes in me both nostalgia and future visions. You can’t beat that. Thanks much, Jon. Spirits lifted!

  7. Roundball Shaman says:

    “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.”

    Everything IS infinite ALL THE TIME. It is the cloudy and murky and downward gaze of the eyes and perceptions of humans that makes things appear dark and confusing and limited.

    When will humankind realize that they are their own worst enemy? That THEY are their own devils? That they themselves are the biggest threats to their own future? That all the answers they purport to seek are always in the palms of their hands? That it is they that constructs the prisons that they then doom their lives to live inside of? What the hell is wrong with us and why do so few even care to fix this?

    “It is not because Angels are Holier than Men or Devils that makes them Angels but because they do not Expect Holiness from one another but from God only.”

    Humankind should not be expecting ‘Holiness’ from each other. But we should live joyfully and courageously in the knowledge that we were not born to be perfect but we were born to live with our gaze to the horizon and The Heavens and with the desire to always be more than we think we can be. It is said that Source God does not dwell on our faults but only sees from Divine eyes of love of caring. Maybe we should take a a clue here? Maybe we should stop Canceling each other and criticizing each other and finding fault with each other and tearing each other apart and instead look upon each other from eyes of love and caring? Isn’t that what all the great Sages and Mystics and Teachers tell us? Has anyone come up with a better way?

    Every person wakes up each morning with a question and a to-do list: What am I going to make of this day? Am I going to make a bit of Heaven, or more Hell?

  8. yerba buena says:

    One of the jewels of Blake poetics is the book William and Catherine Blake created,
    “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. Produced by the inferno method (lithography) from
    engraving to printing and then hand painted with watercolours the lettering and the
    illustrations and interlineals, Catherine and William gave the world a beautiful
    child full of sweet wisdom and other delicacies, such as the Proverbs of Hell, a
    sample of Blakes’ literary genius and intuition.

    Such insight! “Energy is Eternal Delight” The Fool Sees Not the Same Tree a Wise
    Man Sees” “Exuberance is Beauty” “The Walls of Prisons are Built from the Bricks
    of Brothels” and many more.

    Also, “I had to create a System, or else be enslaved by another Mans'” and, one of
    my favorites, “How do you Know but that Ev’ry Bird that Cuts the Airy Way is not
    an Immense World of Delight, closed by your Senses Five?”

    William and Catherine loved to sun bathe au naturel in their backyard, to the
    outraged sensibilities of their London neighbors…

  9. Paul says:

    I must say Jon, I don’t know if you are aware of the depth of the well that you are writing from this last month. It is extremely saturated & vibrant. It has been exhausting, in the best sense of the word. Like long oar rowing, in a shell boat. After the experience, you are exhausted, yet, filled with energy. It is difficult for me to stick words to it, because I don’t even understand it quite yet. But I know it is rich. I have not read your other reader’s posts because I don’t want to become distracted. I can only imagine other wellsprings. Thank you seems trite. But not meant to be so. Like sitting in one’s shell, on normal seas, & a huge, unnoticed, silent wave raises the vessel. This raises one above the horizon. It has an overcoat of a spell. But a spell that is revealing & bright. Enclosing but awakening. Beating, like a blood filled heart. Wed. 7-21-21 6:33 pm ET.

  10. Sailors Delight says:

    May be of interest to some
    Sept 2021 shipping, Book Authored by RFK.

    Title: The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health

    Robert F. Kennedy (Author)

    Looks like he has many sellers on board, not just A m a z

  11. CK says:

    A lawsuit was just filed against the EUA of the vaccines in the US. A whistleblower is willing to testify that at least 45,000 Americans have died from the vaccines.



  12. Alan says:

    Truth is stranger than fiction. No one will believe the story I am going to tell.

    When the Second Coming of Christ occurred, most did not notice it. But after much difficulty and struggle, he managed to gather a sizable following.

    And then when he died, his entire church fell into idolatry. His son and appointed heir managed to salvage a small following.

    And then Satan struck with a worldwide scam, and the heir idolatrously believed the scam, and led his church into idolatry with him. So God sent a prophet to warn him, but he did not listen.

    So here we are, the world in deep shit.

    Most religious followers do not recognize the idolatry of today: believing in something untrue and ungodly, such as communism/socialism, and false science such as false tmedicine. Hence, Those who are most fond of criticizing others of idolatry are themselves the worst idolators, true to Matthew 7:1-3.

  13. Paul says:

    “Do you choose to be lost midst the challenge of being one”


    “On the darkest night so painful
    Do you hunger for love
    midst the torture of being one
    On the passing light of easing
    Have you seen you inside
    midst the being of everyone
    To the common goal of freedom
    Where we offer ourselves…”

  14. Greg C. says:

    A true poet, Blake, choosing “doors” and not the more obvious “windows” for his metaphor. The best metaphors leave us to puzzle them out. I think Blake learned this from the Bible. Jesus loved his non-obvious metaphors to the extent that his listeners almost never understood him. He intentionally hid his meaning in this way. His words were doors, not windows. You had to open them. Blake understood that it took much effort to see beyond the mundane. Most people would rather look out of windows.

  15. Build Back Botter says:

    “Life feels itself.” “Healing the universe is an inside job.”

    Excerpt from the brilliant film Mindwalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BSC2ExTUhU

  16. Lauran says:

    Jon,… you are pulling from the depths in these last 2 weeks. This was even more intriguing than the work on Rand. Blake was a visionary in his explanation of God, as seen, perhaps, while looking in the eyes of an animal. I see the Creative force when I look at my small (somewhat domesticated) cat; and recall this poem many times.

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