The Cosmic Egg and the Fourfold Human
While I was browsing some of Blake’s paintings on the internet, looking for his illustration of how the spirit of Milton entered him to accompany the interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce as per my comment in the last post, I also came across another illustration of Blake’s interpretation of the fourfold human form. The only difference between this one and the one I’ve commented upon in the past is that this one is in simple black and white. And I noticed, of course, how appropriate it was also to illustrate Pearce’s notion of “the crack in the cosmic egg”, which was the title of Pearce’s first book (The Crack in the Cosmic Egg is available online).
Again, what is striking about Blake’s illustration is that it depicts the true “energy form” of the human — as being egg-shaped. And if you are familiar with Castaneda’s writings you will recall that Castaneda also described <i>seeing</i> the human form as a “luminous egg” or luminous sphere, which Blake has depicted as an egg-shape surrounded by fire.
Surrounding the egg-shape of the luminous form and intersecting with it are four fields of energy. The fields are named Tharmas, Urizen, Luvah, and Urthona. These are the “four Zoas” of his mythology which, in all likelihood, conform to Jung’s four psychological types or consciousness functions, called willing, thinking, feeling, and sensing. They may very well correspond with Gebser’s structures of consciousness also — as archaic, magical, mythical, and mental-rational. But in Blake’s terms, the Zoas (the word means “beasts”) are very likely the same “four beasts” who surround the throne of God in the vision of St. John. They are also, very likely, related to Rumi’s four nafs or “animal spirits”. In their fallen state, the Zoas are the nafs.
The rooster of lust, the peacock of wanting
to be famous, the crow of ownership, and the duck
of urgency, kill them and revive them
in another form, changed and harmless
The four energy fields intersect with the human form and also overlap with each other. The human form is also depicted as furthermore divided between “Adam” and “Satan”, with the Satanic strongly associated with Urizen, who is Reason in his positive aspect but Satan in his negative aspect as “rationality”. But the only Zoa, or energy field, that doesn’t share in Satan’s nature to some extent is Uthrona. Luvah and Tharmas also appear to have their negative aspect where they intersect with Satan.
Urthona is one of the Zoas who, in his “fallen” form, is called Los (an anagram of Sol). Los is called “the Eternal Prophet” and is the Zoa Blake most strongly identified with and the Zoa most strongly identified with “Imagination” and with the City of Imagination, Golgonooza. In some respects, Los bears a resemblance also to Prometheus. But of the four Zoas, Los is the only one who remembers their original unity, which the other Zoas have forgotten in their fallen state. Los is also in constant struggle with Urizen. Urizen, in his fallen form, is the god Moloch.
Los is also the father of Orc. Orc is the “spirit of revolution”.
Los is the Zoa, or spirit, that is of most interest to us because he is the one who still remembers the primordial unity and also because he is strongly associated with the ecological also in respect of that memory. As the Wikipedia entry describes him,
“Los is the divine aspect of the imagination. After he becomes more mechanical and regular in his actions, he falls and becomes part of the material world. In the fallen state, he becomes the creator of life and of organic systems. He also creates reproduction and the sexes, with his own partner Enitharmon soon after being created. He then creates consciousness through evolution, which leads to the creation of humans. Los is particularly focused on humans and he uses them to breed art and use their imaginations. Eventually, it is through the evolutions of the world that Orc is formed. Like Orc and Orc’s cycles, Los is part of cycles as he tries to create the Golgonooza at the beginning of time and the image appears constantly in art. Los’s imagination is also connected to the natural cycle, and art within the individual is developed through natural cycles. Art is mimetic of nature but order within nature. Los represents the progression through life to the conscious state”
This only scratches the surface of the fullness of Blake’s mythology of the Zoas, of course. But I wanted to bring up the subject of the luminous form of the human again not just in the way it is described both by Blake and by Castaneda, but also in reference to Joseph Chilton Pearce’s “cosmic egg” theme.