BLAKE & INDIVIDUATION
Image from Book of Urizen
‘Eternity shutter’d when they saw
Man begatting his likeness
On his own divided image.”
The process of individuation was developed by Carl Jung to make the unconscious known to the conscious mind in order to reveal the whole person. It has been called a process of self-actualization.
Claire Dunne, who wrote Carl Jung, Wounded Healer of the Soul, explains individuation thus:
“Individuation is the experience of a natural law, an inner self-regulating process by which man becomes a whole human being acknowledging and living the total range of himself. In the process the ego is ultimately faced with something larger than itself, a force that it yields to and serves. The human being thus recognizes itself as both material and spiritual, conscious and unconscious.” (Page 61)
She quotes Jung in this statement on Page 62:
“Individuation does not only mean that man has become truly human as distinct from animal, but that he is to become partially divine as well. That means practically that he becomes adult, responsible for his existence, knowing that he does not only depend on God but that God also depends on man.” (L2, P316, letter to Elined Kotschnig)
Jung’s process of individuation involves the willingness to recognize components of the unconscious, to look at how they they relate to the conscious mind and integrate then into a whole which is larger than the ego’s domain. Blake describes the recognition of multiple internal forces which must be acknowledged and assimilated into a functioning whole. Both men are preoccupied with the process of taking apart the buried influences which direct and control the outer man and reassembling them consciously into a true man in touch with the Totality beyond the individual.
The dividing, subduing, and restoring is repeated in Blake uncountable times; here’s one example:
Jerusalem, PLATE 17, (E 161)
“His Spectre divides & Los in fury compells it to divide:
To labour in the fire, in the water, in the earth, in the air,
To follow the Daughters of Albion as the hound follows the scent
Of the wild inhabitant of the forest, to drive them from his own:
To make a way for the Children of Los to come from the Furnaces
But Los himself against Albions Sons his fury bends, for he
Dare not approach the Daughters openly lest he be consumed
In the fires of their beauty & perfection & be Vegetated beneath
Their Looms, in a Generation of death & resurrection to forgetfulness
They wooe Los continually to subdue his strength: he continually
Shews them his Spectre: sending him abroad over the four points of heaven
In the fierce desires of beauty & in the tortures of repulse! He is
The Spectre of the Living pursuing the Emanations of the Dead.
Shuddring they flee: they hide in the Druid Temples in cold chastity:
Subdued by the Spectre of the Living & terrified by undisguisd desire.
For Los said: Tho my Spectre is divided: as I am a Living Man
I must compell him to obey me wholly: that Enitharmon may not
Be lost: & lest he should devour Enitharmon: Ah me!
Piteous image of my soft desires & loves: O Enitharmon!
I will compell my Spectre to obey: I will restore to thee thy Children.
No one bruises or starves himself to make himself fit for labour!“