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William Blake and the British Israelite Tradition

This talk consider the mystical influences upon William Blake and ask how much the British Israelite Tradition played a part in this.

The year 2007 marks the 250th Anniversary of the birth of William Blake, London's famous mystical poet and artist. Yet little is understood of the mystical influences that inspired him. He had a profound interest in the teachings of the Illuminati like Paracelsus; Jacob Boeheme; Swedenborg; Bacon and Newton. But was this interest the result of an encounter early in his life? He was sent to Westminster Abbey, a young apprentice engraver and had a to make graphics of all the relics and royal effigies for months on end because he argued too much in the workshop. Did the oracle stir his fertile imagination as he sat often alone in the sacred inauguration place of monarchs of these islands? Did he seek thereafter the arcane knowledge beloved of Freemasonic and esoteric groups, which is known as 'The British Israelite Tradition'? This theme certainly appears in his work and particularly in his last great epic, the illuminated books on Milton and Jerusalem and its most memorable verse, "and did those feet in ancient times….". What heart is not moved by Albion? that Angelic muse of the English-speaking peoples when enmasse they sing, "I will not cease from mental fight nor shall my sword sleep in my hand till we have built Jerusalem on England's green and pleasant land".

Joseph Mac Dermott was apprenticed in a building trade. After 6 years in a monastic community, he returned to a building restoration firm. In the early 1980s he became a project officer for offenders supervised by the Probation Service and is now retired. He has been a R.I.L.K.O. member for 30 years, and remains a keen student of all things esoteric.


Joseph Mac Dermott | talks


Date and Time:

20 April 2007 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation
41 Queen's Gate
South Kensington
020 7602 0173
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Organised by:

Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation
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£7 (members £5)

Available from:

On the door.

Additional Information:

The RILKO AGM (6.45-7.15pm) will precede the the Robert Cowley Memorial Lecture at 7.30pm which the public are warmly welcomed to attend. Doors close at 7.45pm.

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