William Blake as a Visionary of the New Age: Comparing the New Age Concepts of Eckhart Tolle’s Mind-Body-Spirit Books with Blake’s Illuminated Works
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Although William Blake was overlooked in his time, today he is considered a visionary who created worlds with his mythology and encrypted symbolic language. Scholars such as Mark Lussier and David Weir have connected the poet to the religious practices in Buddhism and Hinduism, since parts of his poems include symbols that can be connected to both Eastern religions. His connection to these specific religions has been, by scholars, investigated with the inclusion of his dreams and visions that inspire his work and include deceased loved ones and angels, with the result that Blake has been seen as a mystic. However, Blake’s at times otherworldly concepts go beyond traditional religion and mysticism and can be connected to the New Age movement, more specifically, to the concepts that stem from New Age Thought. His poetry has been quoted by supporters of the New Age in the 1960’s (also coined as the The Age of Aquarius movement) and his work continues to be displayed on tarot cards as well as New Age streaming networks. His mythology does not just explore religious or spiritual concepts, but dives deep into thought patterns of the mind itself and how to alter our states of thinking. Blake demonstrates a curiosity to reform and reprogram the mind through perception and consciousness similarly to the New Age spiritual teachers, authors and influencers we know today. Eckhart Tolle, a popular mind-body-spirit self-help author and spiritual teacher/speaker explores reconstruction of the mind through thought patterns that at times hold similarities to Blake’s understanding of perception that he expresses in his poems and other works. Tolle’s spiritual self-help books will be compared to Blake’s poetry, prose and illuminated pages. Though there are some major differences to address when comparing these two writers, the purpose of this comparison is to explore the idea that Blake could be considered a visionary of the New Age (even before the New Age period) while investigating if his works can then be read as Mind-Body-Spirit texts to assist in the altering of our perspective that New Age authors strive towards. Blake in his lifetime worked towards changing the world through his art and more importantly, strove to change the minds of humankind to achieve a higher state of being, much like mind-body-spirit texts.
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Alexandra Battaglini (2023). William Blake as a Visionary of the New Age: Comparing the New Age Concepts of Eckhart Tolle’s Mind-Body-Spirit Books with Blake’s Illuminated Works. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19706