Title

Blake's "Milton" as Kabbalistic Vision

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 1993

Abstract

In Milton, Blake confronts a problem most Christian mystics avoid: how to describe life in this world. The majority of Western esoterica focuses on the non-material plane, describing spatially what is above and below, and temporally that which occurred before time and that which will exist after time. Thus, it leaves the material cosmos to the exoterically inclined, who prefer, instead, to delineate our state of existence in the phenomenological here and now. What is missing from much mystical literature, therefore, is the bridge spanning the distance between what is below and above, the gap between past and future. While most forms of mysticism posit the ethical life as the means of getting from "here" to "there," ethics generally is defined in terms of a moral code, a system of do's and don't's, which Blake pointedly denigrates as a Tree of Moral Virtue. Consequently, most mystical systems lack the kind of mythic representation of a theological system which would appeal to the iconoclastic Blake.