William Blake's Sexual Path To Spiritual Vision

William Blake's Sexual Path To Spiritual Vision

Inner Traditions

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The secret and mystical sexual practices at the heart of William Blake’s creative and spiritual life
  • Reveals newly discovered family documents connecting Blake’s mother and Blake himself to Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation
  • Shows Blake had access to kabbalistic and tantric techniques of psychoerotic meditation, which used sexual arousal to achieve spiritual vision

William Blake (1757-1827) has long been treasured as an artist and poet whose work was born out of authentic spiritual vision. The acutely personal, almost otherworldly look of his artwork, combined with its archetypal casting and depth of emotion, transcend societal conventions and ordinary experience. But much of the overtly sexual work has been destroyed or altered, deemed too heretical by conservative elements among the mystic Moravians and Swedenborgians, whose influence on Blake has been uncovered only recently.

The author’s investigation into the radical psychosexual spiritual practices surrounding William Blake, which includes new archival discoveries of Blake family documents, reveals that Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation fueled much of Blake’s creative and spiritual life. Drawing also upon modern art restoration techniques, Marsha Keith Schuchard shows that Blake and his wife, Catherine, were influenced by secret kabbalistic and tantric rituals designed to transcend the bonds of social convention. Her exhaustive research provides a new context for understanding the mystical practices at the heart of Blake’s most radical beliefs about sexualized spirituality and its relation to visionary art.

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William Blake (1757-1827) has long been treasured as an artist and poet whose work was born out of authentic spiritual vision. The acutely personal, almost otherworldly look of his artwork--combined with its archetypal casting and depth of emotion--transcends social convention and ordinary experience. In this book, Marsha Keith Schuchard breaks new ground with her investigation of the psychosexual practices that surrounded this famous artist. Her fastidious research includes new archival discoveries of Blake family documents and reveals how early Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation fueled much of Blake’s creative and spiritual life and found expression in the explicit sexual imagery of his art. Much of this was lost to posterity, however, when religious conservatives pressured Blake’s pious executor to suppress the more overtly sexual aspects of his work, which were subsequently altered or destroyed.

Schuchard’s latest findings, combined with advances in photographic techniques used in modern-day art research, reveal this previously censored imagery. The recovery of these elements supports the belief that Blake explored kabbalistic and tantric extramarital sexual practices that were designed to transcend the bonds of social convention and that he pressured his wife to join him in these explorations. author’s exhaustive research provides a new context for understanding the mystical practices at the heart of Blake’s most radical beliefs about sexualized spirituality and its relation to visionary art.

Marsha Keith Schuchard received a Ph.D. in British literature for her explorations into the esoteric-erotic underground traditions of seventeenth- to twentieth-century secret societies and their influence on British and Irish poets and artists. She is the author of Restoring the Temple of Vision and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


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