Upholding Urizenic reasoning, or Negations, is what keeps contraries as distinct entities rather than parts of a whole. It is because we divide contraries along the the lines of reason that they are seen as separate. As a result,  only by breaking the “mind-forged manacles” of Negation can a body be fulfilled in all sensations of their being, spiritual and physical. The male-to-male oral sex illustrations in Blake’s Milton demonstrate that “The Negation must be destroyed to redeem the Contraries” (Pl 46; ln 33), which will allow the figures to self-annihilate and be whole.

The figures in each image look almost identical. The first may be Milton with his self or female emanation. Though the second is indicated as Los and Blake, they are also indistinguishable. These similarities are a reflection of the Selfhood, a “prideful self-righteousness” (Poetry and Designs 145) that inhibits a person from seeing beyond this image of themselves and progressing, and the need to annihilate it. Similarly, Negation “is a false Body: an Incrustation over the Immortal/ Spiritual” (Pl 46; ln 35). The erect bodies are positioned in a power stance over the other figures, implying their self-righteousness and governance by reason. However, as “false Bod[ies]” these dominant figures are false gods and also don’t experience the full senses of the body. Therefore, to overcome the states of limiting Negation, these bodies of reason and Selfhood “must be put off & annihilated alway” (ln 36). This will be done by the crouching bodies, which are seen as submissive and contrary to those standing, that will give them pleasure and sensations beyond their understandings.


Since the crouching figures are contraries to the others, the characters are one and the same person. As a result, oral sex is necessary in these instances between the figures because it is masturbatory and reflective:

“To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination

To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human,

I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration” (Pl 46-48; ln 37-2)

By being one with their opposing other, the standing figures are able to experience sex and the pleasure they barred themselves from. Through this experience of inspiration and self-annihilation, the figures are able to, literally and figuratively, excrete their inner life and realize that their being consists of more than reasoning and self-righteousness, becoming more human. As a result, they are more whole, like Milton’s unification with his emanation. Thus, the union of the two figures in each image demonstrates how only a person, by embracing all outlets of their being, can change their perceptions and terminate their Negation.

-Wendy Gutierrez