Messengers in the Rye

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

In 1765, a little boy named William Blake, aged eight, had his first vision of them while walking on Peckham Rye. "A tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars".

In both the Jewish and classical tradition angels are messengers of the Divine. Their role is neutral nevertheless they often have a specific task to complete.

Gabriel encounters a young woman in Galilee to communicate the exceptional destiny of her son. Hermes (Mercury for the Romans) was sent to inform the nymph Calypso about the Gods decision to have Odysseus back to Ithaca.

Blake’s angels do not always appear as the pure beings living in celestial spheres.

Like elves, they may possess different natures. William Blake knew it well. Lucifer is not just the "morning star", it is the principle that brings light into the dark.

Every morning, when I also walk Peckham Rye, I wonder, with a little hesitation, which face of the Divine I am due to encounter today.


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