The occult meaning of Blake’s poem about Jerusalem

In the book I’m currently writing, Stories in the Land, I am describing the Mystery Rites in which I analyse William Blake’s poem “And did those feet in ancient times …” through an alchemical lens, and I reach a conclusion about its meaning which may surprise you.

Here is the relevant extract.

Initiation into the Greater Mysteries is all about ignition. If you visualise the human body as a parked car, it is about putting the key in the lock and sparking the engine. Suddenly, the Ferrari is totally alive and is raring to go, as the energetic serpents raise their heads and then course up the body to reach the chalice of the hypothalamus. Here, they rest their heads upon the rim of the “cup” and secrete red and white drops of nectar that fall on to the pineal gland. This causes the illumination of the crown of the head into a “thousand points of light” which grant Sovereignty.

So this spark comes from no ordinary fire.

The alchemists of old recognised four grades of fire: elementary fire, celestial fire, central fire and secret fire. The fire of the Greater Mysteries is the secret fire of which the 18th century Benedictine mystic Dom Pernety wrote:

“In allegories and fables, the philosophers have given to this secret fire the names sword, lance, arrows, javelin etc. It is the fire which Prometheus stole from the heaven, which Vulcan employed to form the thunderbolts of Jupiter and the golden throne of Zeus.”

He might have added William Blake’s poem “And did those feet in ancient time… “ which, since being set to some chest-thumpingly patriotic music by Hubert Parry, has been much misunderstood. If you have read my latest book, Stories in the Stars, you’ll know that the hero in most ancient myths is traversing a zodiac, and he passes through three fire initiations – at Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. So now let’s examine Blake’s poem through the eyes of the initiate into the Mysteries, which he surely was.

ARIES (Symbol: Lamb or Ram)
And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

LEO (Symbol: The Sun)
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

SAGITTARIUS (Symbol: The Archer)
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

The “dark Satanic Mills” are actually the Mills of the Gods and, in particular Saturn, the god who governs Time that creates the parameters of the alchemical container, or metered-out life span, within which the trials of the mythological hero unfold.

Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion

William Blake’s Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion.

About my book, Stories in the Stars

Word press bookStories in the Stars is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and all good online book stores.



Annie Dieu-Le-Veut is a shaman and story archaeologist who digs up the originals of the ancient epic tales that were drawn in the glittering night skies of the last Ice Age. She brushes them off and then breaks down their meanings in the simplest of terms, so that we can unlock the doors of our perception with their metaphorical keys.

Once we understand the substance of the messages our ancestors left for us thousands of years ago, we can realise the value and meaning of human life and finally know what to do with it. Her books are available on Amazon and other good online bookstores.


How to read my books

By Annie Dieu-Le-Veut

If you’re thinking of getting one or more of my books, can I give you a bit of a steer? There are two ways to receive my teachings, and each augments the other.

If you wish to go down the fictional route, and become inspired in your dreams and imagination by the coded magical keys, symbols and metaphors hidden in mytho-poetic romantic adventures, can I suggest that you read The Bright World of the Gods first, and then The Grail Mysteries? They are actually the first two books of a trilogy, although they work as standalones too. I haven’t written the third yet.

However, if you feel you need some help with unravelling the meanings of the symbols and metaphors found in ancient myths, my non-fiction more theoretical works are straightforward accounts that explain it all in plain language.

Reclaiming Sovereignty is largely about the historical and mythological evidence, going back thousands of years, for the practice of shamanic sex magic, which brought wisdom and enlightenment to the newly-crowned king on the night of his coronation. There is also a step-by-step guide for practising it yourself.

What you learn from Reclaiming Sovereignty will then stand you in good stead for when you get to the fire initiations in Stories in the Stars. Also, the upcoming book, Stories in the Land, will go into how Celtic myths based on shamanic sex magic are found in the landscape of Avalon.

NB. I should add, the predominance of sex magic in ancient myths was not because our ancestors were sex mad – and neither am I. These sagas, by the shamanic grandmothers and midwives, were about the serpents’ firing of wisdom, enlightenment and transfiguration that supports fertility and the creation of new worlds at the turning of the ages with the birth of the Radiant Child which, these days, we think just happens automatically. It doesn’t.

If you liked this article, or have any comment about it, please do give me some feedback here.

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