Observations placeholder

Blake, William - The Flea

Identifier

000986

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

John Varley – an artist, astrologer and close friend of Blake – reported in his Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy (1882) that Blake once had a spiritual vision of a ghost of a flea and that ‘This spirit visited his imagination in such a figure as he never anticipated in an insect.’ While drawing the spirit it told the artist that all fleas were inhabited by the souls of men who were ‘by nature bloodthirsty to excess’. In the painting it holds a cup for blood-drinking and stares eagerly towards it.

A description of the experience

The source of the experience

Blake, William

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Theatre

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References