"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Imagination in the Middle Ages

Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages

Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages
280 pages | 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2011
In Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages, Michelle Karnes revises the history of medieval imagination with a detailed analysis of its role in the period’s meditations and theories of cognition. Karnes here understands imagination in its technical, philosophical sense, taking her cue from Bonaventure, the thirteenth-century scholastic theologian and philosopher who provided the first sustained account of how the philosophical imagination could be transformed into a devotional one. Karnes examines Bonaventure’s meditational works, the Meditationes vitae Christi, the Stimulis amorisPiers Plowman, and Nicholas Love’s Myrrour, among others, and argues that the cognitive importance that imagination enjoyed in scholastic philosophy informed its importance in medieval meditations on the life of Christ. Emphasizing the cognitive significance of both imagination and the meditations that relied on it, she revises a long-standing association of imagination with the Middle Ages. In her account, imagination was not simply an object of suspicion but also a crucial intellectual, spiritual, and literary resource that exercised considerable authority.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

News from Egil Asprem


Problem of Disenchantment in paperback

Cover Asprem PoD
Soon with a new cover – and nicer price tag.
Today I have signed a contract for the paperback version of my second book, The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900–1939. With a list price of $240, the hardback (Brill, 2014) hasn’t exactly been a coffee table book. (Content-wise it probably still isn’t.) The paperback will appear with SUNY Press (who also published my first book, Arguing with Angels), and hopefully we can cut the price close to 1/10th of the existing edition. Publication date still to follow.
Why should one eagerly await this book? If you don’t trust the blurb, there have been a few reviews that tell you why. There has also been a roundtable discussion, and even some controversy. That can’t hurt, right?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Corbin in Bulgarian

With ABWA's collaboration

'The Absent Imam' published in Bulgarian

  • News Code : 814210
  • Source : ABNA24 Exclusive

In collaboration with Ahlul Bayt World Assembly and Islamic culture and relations, the book "Imaam Qaaeb" (The Absent Imam) was translated and published in Bulgarian language.

According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency – ABNA – with the efforts of Ahlul Bayt World Assembly’s department of international affairs and cultural consultation of Islamic republic of Iran in Bulgaria, the book "Imaam Qaaeb" (The Absent Imam) by Henry Corbin was translated and published.
Professor Wolinbolf is the translator of this book who translated it from French to Bulgarian and organized it in 10 volumes and 273 pages.
The book, which contains the studies and discoveries of a famous French Iran expert and Islamic scholar about Imam Mahdi, was cited by western researchers and scholars as a philosophical and religious work.... READ MORE

TC - I think this must be this French volume:

L’Imâm caché (comprenant les textes d’Henry Corbin publiés dans le Cahier de l’Herne, 1981-4). Paris, L’Herne, 2003.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

New MA in Myth & Ecology at Schumacher College

MA Myth and Ecology – The Mundus Imaginalis

An invitation

The most powerful way to effect change in this world is to address the one that underpins it
– The Mundus Imaginalis

I'll be teaching a one week course in September
Details TBA

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Esotericism and Cognitive Science

from The Heterodoxology Blog:

"The latest issue of Aries has just been published: A special issue on Esotericism and the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR), edited by Markus Altena Davidsen and myself. As we explain in our editorial, “What Cognitive Scienece Offers the Study of Esotericism”, Western esotericism and CSR have developed in parallel over the past couple of decades, each, in their own ways, pushing the academic study of religion into new territory. Given that esotericism is full of psychologically rich sources (from visions and trances to hidden correspondences and esoteric hermeneutic techniques), it seems that much could be gained from bringing these two fields together. My Occult Minds project has already been taking steps in this direction. The intention behind the Aries special issue, however, is to push this agenda in a collaborative way, by publishing articles on esoteric subject matter informed by a range recent theories of cognition, together with a response article by someone in the field of CSR. We were happy to get Jesper Sørensen in this role, a central figure in the “Aarhus school” who has worked on problems that are  directly relevant to esotericism." ... READ MORE

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fascist Traditionalists in the News

Corbin has sometimes been accused of coming from the same right-wing tradition as Julius Evola. Although he did have some elitist tendencies, and his political sensibilities were entirely undeveloped and naive, the whole tenor and intention of Corbin's ecumenical and inclusive work stands in stark opposition to the fundamentalism and ethnic supremacism of the "fascist Traditionalists" who used religion as justification for their vile political intentions.


ROME — Those trying to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon's dark and at times apocalyptic worldview have repeatedly combed over a speech that Mr. Bannon, President Trump's ideological guru, made in 2014 to a Vatican conference, where he expounded on Islam, populism and capitalism.
But for all the examination of those remarks, a passing reference by Mr. Bannon to an esoteric Italian philosopher has gone little noticed, except perhaps by scholars and followers of the deeply
taboo, Nazi-affiliated thinker, Julius Evola. "The fact that Bannon even knows Evola is significant," said Mark Sedgwick, a leading scholar of Traditionalists at Aarhus University in Denmark.... READ MORE

Sedgwick has a relevant post on Corbin etc HERE

Friday, February 3, 2017

Imaginal Love

If a butterfly in Brazil can change the weather of the Americas and by extension the world (and even if it cannot), the great hope animating this fine book is that the sheer beauty of thought can transform the beleaguered weather of our human conditon. Such courage is exemplary and inspiring. And real. In addition, the reader of Imaginal Love will get a clear picture of the profound and productive, yet complex, relation between Hillman and Corbin and gain an appreciation for the latter’s influence on the more purely artistic milieux of the later 20th century North American scene. Beautifully written, Cheetham's book gives us a taste for the sacramental value of metaphor and therefore transformation: a splendid reading experience. - Todd Lawson, Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Philosophy in Islam: The Concept of Shiʿism as a Philosophical Genre
It has been recently argued that there are problems in identifying Islamic philosophy with Shiʿism. This is despite the fact that many Islamic philosophers were actually Shiʿi. An interesting and connected question is whether there is such a thing as Shiʿi philosophy, and many commentators use this term. It looks plausible that a particular theological and religious orientation would be reflected in philosophy. After all, all these views are theoretical and abstract and need to be connected logically, so it would seem likely that they would all be aligned in some way. However, there are problems with such a view, and these rest on two main points. Firstly, theology does not necessarily bring along with it a metaphysics, and so different theological views may be linked with contrary or similar philosophical approaches. To give an example, both Mullā Ṣadrā and Mīr Dāmād were philosophers, and both were Shiʿi, yet they defended entirely different ontologies. Secondly, theology does not necessarily involve a particular style of writing. Some theologians are interested in writing in such a way that only those sympathetic to them understand what they are saying, but many are not. Some direct their work to a particular audience while others seek to address a more general audience. In fact, Shiʿi philosophers often make sure that there is nothing Shiʿi about their work since they want to resonate with the Islamic world as a whole, not only the Shiʿi minority. If we look at a range of Shiʿi philosophers, it will be argued that it is difficult to detect a specific theological line that they embody in their philosophies, and so we should be careful about using the concept of Shiʿi philosophy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Imaginal World and Modern Oblivion: Kiarostami’s Zig-Zag by Joan Copjec

The Imaginal World and Modern Oblivion: Kiarostami’s Zig-Zag

Joan Copjec

Filozofski vestnik | Volume XXXVII | Number 2 | 2016 | 21–58

A zigzag path carved into a hill winds from base to crest, where it is crowned by a lushly-leafed tree standing solitary and upright like a kind of hieratic bouquet: this image recurs in three ¨lms – Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987); Life and Nothing More (1992); and Through the Olive Trees (1994) – which critics refer to as “the Koker trilogy,” simply because they are all set in the same location, the village of Koker in Northern Iran. Easily mistaken for a “found” image, part of the natural geography of the films’ actual setting, the recurrence of the image would seem to raise no questions nor require explanation. And yet there can be no confusing this image with natural geography, for as we learn from interviews, the films’ director, Abbas Kiarostami, did not just stumble upon this peculiar landscape while scouting locations. He had his ¨lm crew carve the pronounced zigzag path into the hill. An artiœcial landscape, then, inserted by Kiarostami into the natural setting, it replicates, as it turns out, a miniature found in a manuscript executed at Shiraz in southern Persia at the end of the fourteenth century. In the miniature, just as in the Koker trilogy, a sinuous path curls up the side of a hill atop which sprouts a single, °owering tree. This miniature graces the cover of Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, a book on Islamic philosophy in which the book’s author, the infuential Iranologist, Henry Corbin, praises the miniature as “the best illustration… which has come down to us today” of what he calls “visionary geography.” Distinct from natural geography or physically “situated space,” which is organized according to pre-established coordinates, visionary geography is, instead, “situative.” Neither purely abstract nor purely concrete and sensible, visionary geography is a “third” or intermediary realm between the abstract and •ƒ–the sensible; it functions as a creative forecourt of sensible reality, as the origin of [actual] spatial references and [that which] determines their structure.” In this realm the sense-perceptible is raised and pure intelligibility lowered to the same level, matter is immaterialized and spirit corporealized or, “to use a term currently in favor,” Corbin adds, “an anamorphosis is produced.” In Arabic this intermediate space is called alam-al-mithal: Corbin translated it: monde imaginal, the imaginal world...


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Traversing The Imaginal Knowledge

“The Possibility of Traversing The Imaginal Knowledge- Remarks of Muhammad B. Abd Al-Jabbār Al-Niffarī on Vision (Ru’yah) and Absence (Ghaybah)” 

Koltaş, Nurullah,
Journal of Faculty of Theology of Bozok University, 
10, 10 (2016/10) pp. 165-183.


Among the various aspects those make the Sūfī world view unique, the lore or the knowledge attained through the purification of the self plays a vital role. For, it has its roots in Revelation. Despite the diversity in methods (usūl), many representatives of Sūfī thought are in agreement concerning the nature of this profound knowledge. The ways differ in accordance with the capacity of the ones who demand it. However, the authenticity of it enables seekers to lead a life akin to that of the Perfect Man. In order to gain this sort of inward knowledge, the sufīs appeal to the opinions of the masters of theoretical Sufism (irfān-i nazarī) who define the ways to understand the truth that lies behind the veils. One of these masters is Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbār al-Niffarī, the writer of al-Mawaqif wa al-Mukhatabat. Niffarī’s work consists of mawqifs those written in an almost abstruse language. Niffarī explains many sufi terms including the staying, veil, gnosis, vision, etc. skilfully. In this article, we will try to explain the nature of veils and unveiling in the context of vision as a suprarational means of attaining the truth. Then we will try to find out the role of vision through imagination. Finally, we will try to explain the relation of vision with the absence. 

Keywords: Staying, vision, absence, gnosis, veil

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Unseen Partner (update)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Unseen Partner by Diane L. Croft 

The Unseen Partner

by Diane L. Croft

Giveaway ends January 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

The Unseen Partner
Love & Longing in the Unconscious
Diane Croft

Don't miss this gorgeous book! I have waited years with great anticipation for this book. 
It is even more beautiful than I expected. It's really a volume to treasure. My congratulations
to the author for the perfect completion of a long labor of love. Here's my 
contribution to the small flood of positive reviews:

"In the tradition of Jung’s Red Book and Edinger’s The Living Psyche, Diane Croft’s The Unseen Partner is a beautifully illustrated, gorgeously produced and deeply moving account of personal transformation. Croft’s presentation of her own visionary recital in the company of the invisible guide who dictated these poems will be inspiration and solace to all who find themselves suddenly strangers in the strange and often frightening realm of the autonomous psyche. We should be grateful for such a gift." - Tom Cheetham

Visit the website for more reviews and details about this book. Here is an introduction:

The Unseen Partner records one woman's descent into the collective unconscious, a universal field of reality transcending time, space, and matter. For three years, the author recorded the primordial poetry she found there. It took almost two decades of struggle to make sense of the experience and to write about it in this book.

Drawing heavily on the discoveries of C.G. Jung, as recounted in his Red Book, this book explains our human need for the transcendent -- a dimension not somewhere else, but inextricably a part of us. Her living account demonstrates that we live in both a physical world and a spiritual realm simultaneously.

It is also available on amazon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Octopus: A Meditation on Creative Imagination 

by Tom Cheetham

Phi Beta Kappa Lecture 
The Connecticut College Department of Philosophy, 
Blaustein Center for the Humanities, 
March 29, 2013

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Spiritual Light in the work of James Turrell

Cosmopolis, no. 3-4, 2016

Daniel Proulx

Daniel Proulx, philosophe et religiologue. Spécialiste de la pensée de Henry Corbin et du rôle de l’imagination dans l’expérience spirituelle, il tente de contribuer à un renouveau des études sur Henry Corbin en valorisant l’aspect philosophique de son œuvre. Il poursuit actuellement un doctorat de philosophie à l’Université catholique de Louvain sur la conception de l’histoire chez Henry Corbin. Il est membre actif des associations des amis de Henry Corbin et de Gilbert Durand.


En reversant le rapport usuel à l’espace et à la lumière James Turrell, ne propose pas une simple modification ou altération d’un espace, il propose, en faisant de la lumière, non pas ce qui fait voir une œuvre, mais l’œuvre elle-même, une véritable transfiguration qui laisse un instant transparaître ce que l’on pourrait facilement caractériser comme la nature spirituelle d’un espace. Ce texte propose une analyse de l’œuvre de Turrell en se demandant si son travail n’est pas une représentation visuelle, mais aussi expérientielle pouvant aider les philosophes à comprendre les nombreuses descriptions mystiques qui font appel à la lumière.