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Contents Introduction 11 Abbreviations 13 Part I Ê1. Background 19 Ê2. Boehme, Blake and Tradition 31 Ê3. Communion, the Prophetic and the Living Bible 44 Progressive Independence 44 Prophetic Vision and Activity 46 Husks, Histories and the Inner Bible 52 Ê4. Obscurity, Difficulty, and Awakening 58 Necessary Obscurity 58 Rousing the Faculties to Act 64 Ê5. Expression, Creation, and Manifestation 69 Symbolic Vision and the Stubborn Structure 69 Creation and the Individual 75 Part II Ê6. Theogony: From Nothing to Something 83 Introduction 83 The Ungrund 85 Separation, Contrariety and Fire 88 The Seven Properties 93 Ê7. The First Four Propertiesx 101 The First and Second Properties 101 The Third Property 105 The Fourth Property 110 Ê8. The Fifth and Sixth Properties 120 The Fifth Property 120 The Sixth Property 129 Mercury 134 Ê9. The Seventh Property and the Cycles of the Seven 139 The Seventh Property 139 The Cycles of the Seven 149 10. The First and Second Principles 159 The First Principle 159 The Second Principle, Separation and Interdependence 164 The Fall of Lucifer 171 11. The Third Principle 179 Hard Matter, Creation and Adam 179 The Fall of Man 188 12. Incarnation and Judgment 199 Mercy 199 Incarnation 204 The Last Judgment 211 Conclusion 219 Notes 221 Bibliography 235 Index 249 Introduction There are many notable similarities between William Blake and Jacob Boehme, affinities that in many ways mark them out as peculiarly kindred spirits. Converse in the Spirit explores the relationships and correspondences between their writings. While suggesting in detail the extent of Boehme's influence on the poet, this book intends to breathe life into the dynamic spir- itual interplay between their writings, and through this realize the value of studying such individuals in the light of one another. In so doing, it gives a glimpse of the vital importance of a living tradition, of a community of vision and aspiration that provides support, guidance, and inspiration. Accordingly, I also suggest the close and necessary relationship between spiritual and artistic activity, as is conveyed, for instance, in the many cor- respondences drawn between Boehme's vision and the content of Blake's poetry and prose. This in turn works toward a fuller appreciation of both the spiritual and creative possibilities offered to the reader through an active engagement with Blake and Boehme, an ongoing "converse in the spirit." It is hard to place Boehme. He was a mystic, a visionary, and a philosopher. At the same time, his thought and vision are imaginative, symbolic and mythopaeic. His work may be seen, as Waterfield proposes, as esoteric psychology or "psychology of the depths."1 Warren Stevenson has suggested that there is an "avant- garde" aspect to him:2 it can be argued that in his writings Boehme created his own individual art form. Boehme's and Blake's views of the spiritual are unconventional. Boehme's God, for instance, occupies no place or space, does not exist in time, cannot be thought of and is Nothing. Their mysticism is one that is opposed to a literal belief in an overseeing God in the heavens. For them, such a view reified the divine. As William Law stated, "there is nothing that is supernatural, however mysterious."3 To regard this another way, for Blake and Boehme everything was supernatural or spiritualized. It is quite possible to have entirely rejected belief in the God of orthodox religion and nonetheless perceive the divine and sacred as Blake and Boehme apprehended it. In fact, this can be as good a point as any from which to start, to understand the living, if elusive spirit that animates their writings.
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication: Blake, William,, 1757-1827 Philosophy, Bčohme, Jakob, 1575-1624 Influence, English poetry German influences, Creation (Literary, artistic, etc, )Philosophy in literature, Mysticism in literature, Visions in literature, Philosophy, German