"...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


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dark Church - (Terra Lucida IX-XII)

I am delighted to announce the publication of Joseph Donahue's newest book. It is magnificent. 

Keeping vigil through the night in the realm of the Terra Lucida, which, according to Islamic scholar Henry Corbin, is "the land that secretes its own light," Joseph Donahue's DARK CHURCH lures a pilgrim fraught with memories of modernity and childhood, and who aspires to stand in its temple where ritual adherents drowse in dreams of healing and oracular pronouncements intimate a destiny belonging both to this world and the next. "Long ago, / the truest part of you… / began to approach / the condition of stone." At once vatic, nostalgic, cryptic, and clear, DARK CHURCH is a book of unremitting visionary power.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

11e Journée Henry Corbin - 2015

Chère Amie, Cher Ami

J’ai le plaisir de vous inviter à participer à la 11e Journée Henry Corbin qui se tiendra lesamedi 28 novembre 2015, à l’EPHE - Auditorium, 190 av. de France, 75013 Paris, sur le thème : « Raison philosophique et expérience mystique ».

Les interventions prévues sont les suivantes :

Matinée :

9h30 -10h30, Christian JAMBET (EPHE) : « L’intellect et la mystique chez Sohravardî »

10h30 – 11h30 : Daniel PROULX (Université catholique de Louvain) : « Les écrits théologiques de Henry Corbin, jeune philosophe protestant »

11h30 – 12h30 : Souâd AYADA (Inspection générale de philosophie) : « Pourquoi Ibn 'Arabî, mystique, est-il aussi un philosophe ? »

Après-midi :

14h30 – 15h30 : Serge MARGEL (Université de Lausanne) : « Les émotions mystiques. Réflexions sur la rationalité d’une expérience limite »

15h30 -16h30 : Vincent GOOSSAERT (EPHE) : « Ecriture révélée et production doctrinale en Chine (16e – début du 20e siècles) »

En nous réjouissant de vous rencontrer à cette réunion.


Daniel Gastambide, président, 7 rue Nicolas Houël, 75005 Paris (adresse pour la cotisation annuelle de 25 euros) danielgastambide@gmail.com
Pierre Lory, secrétaire général, lorypierre@gmail.com
Marc Gastambide, trésorier
Daniel Proulx, webmestre http://www.amiscorbin.com

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hillman Symposium 2015


The Dallas Institute's 2015James Hillman Symposiumtakes as its subject Hillman's decades-long interest in the archetypes of the puer (the youth) and the senex (the old man). He viewed them as two faces of the same figure and suggested that our psyches are split between them, the twofold truth of identity.

What matters is the little syllable "re" -- that's the most important syllable in psychology: remember, return, revision, reflect . . . (James Hillman)

REGISTER today for

The 2015 James Hillman Symposium

16-17 October

Join leading scholars in diverse fields of psychology, art, theater, literature, and film—united in their appreciation of James Hillman’s innovations—in lively, stimulating discussions that will deepen your understanding of what it means to be human, flawed yet potentially healed.


To register and learn more about this year's symposium visit:

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ibn 'Arabi Conference October 2015

2015 Annual Conference of the Ibn 'Arabi Society USA

A Living Legacy: Ibn 'Arabi in Today's World 

October 23-24, 2015

Columbia University, New York

For the 850th anniversary of the birth of Muhyiddin Ibn ’Arabi, the Ibn ‘Arabi Society in the U.S. is pleased to announce a major conference on his legacy.
As one of history’s greatest universal mystics and interpreters of the human condition, Ibn ’Arabi’s teachings can offer us a window into a form of Islam that we in the West are rarely exposed to, as well as a more sophisticated understanding of the more exalted aspects of the Islamic cultural heritage.
This conference will explore Ibn 'Arabi's legacy as a living reality with profound implications for the modern world.
This year's conference, the third in a series on the same theme after those held in Murcia, Spain and Oxford, England, includes talks and workshops from some of the foremost experts on Ibn 'Arabi, poetry readings from Ibn 'Arabi's works, and a musical performance.
The Ibn 'Arabi Society is pleased to partner this year with the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, Columbia University.

Where & When

Davis Auditorium, The Schapiro Center, Columbia University, NY 10027
October 23-24, 2015Friday, October 23, 2015, from 7:00pm to 9:30pm (EST)
Saturday, October 24, 2015, from 9:00am to 5:00pm (EST)


We pleased to host some of the most respected speakers and scholars in the field.
William Chittick Jane Clark Hossein Kamaly Zahra Langhi Todd Lawson Pierre Lory James Morris


Eventbrite - A Living Legacy:  Ibn 'Arabi in Today's World
Early Bird discount ends August 30. Take advantage now of the special $100 rate while it lasts!
A check can also be mailed to the Society for registration. Further details, including Sponsorship, on the registration page.


For all inquiries, please send email to the Secretary at mias.usa@ibnarabisociety.org

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Corbin & American Poetry: Ken Irby

As I hope I have mentioned here in the past Ken Irby is one of the many poets influenced by Corbin. Here is a footnote from an essay by Robert Bertholf in the Jacket2 issue on Irby:

In an article, Peter Bertollette cites Henry Corbin’s books Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth andCyclical Time in Mazdaism and Ismailism in support of a very useful comment about Irby’s idea of home: Irby’s use of homeplace and “the heartland” “fits in with Corbin’s notion that the home is an organ of perception, where the heart lies, a place to be planted in, and shoot forth from.” See Peter Bertollette, “Ken Irby,” Credences 7 (February 1979): 28, and Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth: From Mazdean Iran to Shi’ite Iran, trans. Nancy Pearson, Bollingen Series XCI:2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977). Don Byrd also adds a fine perception about Irby’s idea of home: “To make a play stay put by knowing what its uses is what Irby means by making a home.” Don Byrd, “Ken Irby and the Missouri-Kansas Border,” Credences 7 (February 1979): 9.

Monday, June 22, 2015

NEW! The Spring Journal Issue on Eranos

Spring, A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Vol. 92, Spring 2015
Spring, founded in 1941, is the oldest Jungian psychology journal in the world. Published twice a year, each issue explores from the perspective of depth psychology a theme of contemporary relevance and contains articles as well as book and film reviews. Contributors include Jungian analysts, scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, and cultural commentators.
Spring 92
Eranos – Its Magical Past and Alluring Future: The Spirit of a Wondrous Place
Spring, A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Vol. 92, Spring 2015
Editor-in-Chief: Nancy Cater
Guest Editor: Riccardo Bernardini
ISBN: 978-1-935528-69-2
500 pp.
Price: $32.95
More than eighty years have passed since the founding of Eranos by Fröbe-Kapteyn in 1933 in Ascona, Switzerland. The Eranos Conferences, a pioneering endeavor of interdisciplinary presentations and dialogues, have been properly recognized as “one of the most creative cultural experiences in the modern Western world” and “one of the richest centers of intellectual and spiritual interchange known to our century.” Eranos’ influence has been documented in a number of fields of knowledge, ranging from psychology to the history of religions, from philosophy to Eastern studies, from theology to anthropology, from biology to physics.

Spring has had a longing-standing connection to Eranos, and has published through the decades articles by many of the key figures who presented at the Eranos conferences: C. G. Jung, Karl Kerényi, Mircea Eliade, Heinrich Zimmer, Erich Neumann, Henry Corbin, Gilbert Durand, James Hillman, David Miller, and Wolfgang Giegerich, among others.

This Eranos issue of Spring focuses on Eranos’s history, cultural heritage, and future perspectives. It gathers a series of contributions by renowned specialists, together with a series of essays by great authors of the past, whose gratitude to Eranos is testified to in their writings. Historical essays re-published here are by Carl Gustav Jung, Henry Corbin, Mircea Eliade, Adolf Portmann, and Rudolf Ritsema. We are also honored to publish for the first time an article by the founder of Eranos, Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, entitled The Psychological Background of Eranos (1939), originally presented at the Analytical Psychology Club in New York. In addition more than fifty previously unpublished photographs from the Eranos Archives have been made available toSpring through the Eranos Foundation for this celebratory volume.

We hope you enjoy learning more about Eranos—past, present, and future!
A Note from the EditorNancy Cater
Guest Editor’s IntroductionRiccardo Bernardini
The Psychological Background of EranosOlga Fröbe–Kapteyn
Eranos: A Space and a Time for ThoughtFabio Merlini
Eranos: A Counter Current to The Common Intellectual History of the 20th Century?Hans Thomas Hakl
American Eranos Volume: IntroductionCarl Gustav Jung
Carl Gustav Jung: His Life Before His WorksGian Piero Quaglino
The Analytical Leitmotif of the Eranos ConferencesAntonio Vitolo
Eranos as DreamStephen Aizenstat
Encounters at AsconaMircea Eliade
On the Edge of the Round Table: Eranos and Theological StudiesDavid L. Miller
Eranos: The Study of Religion as a Religious PhenomenonBernardo Nante
Archetypes and Androgynes at EranosMoshe Idel
The Time of EranosHenry Corbin
Remembrances of EranosMichel Cazenave
The Missing Link: From Jung to Hadot and vice versaRomano Màdera
Non-Duality: The Deep Challenge of Bringing Together Ancient and Modern Ways of Knowledge in an Epistemic World ViewGrazia Shogen Marchianò
Eranos and its MeaningAdolf Portmann and Rudolf Ritsema
The Enlightening Role of Adolf PortmannSigurd von Boletzky
Eranos, Synchronicity, and the I Ching: A Personal JourneyAugusto Shantena Sabbadini
Our Relation to Nature Determines Our Worldview—Eranos and Today’s Great Cultural ChallengeHRH Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Historical Photographs 
Kristine Mann: Jung’s “Miss X” and a Pioneer in PsychoanalysisBeth Darlington
Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, by Hans Thomas HaklRobert Hinshaw
The Solar Myths and Opicinus de Canistris: Notes of the Seminar given at Eranos in 1943,
by C . G. Jung, edited by Riccardo Bernardini, Gian Piero Quaglino, and Augusto Romano
Keiron Le Grice
The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Vol. 1, The Making of a Psychologist, by Dick RussellStanton Marlan
Books by Erel Shalit:Steve Zemmelman
The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego 
The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel, Revised 
Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path 
Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return 
The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey 
How and Why We Still Read Jung: Personal and Professional Reflections, edited by Jean Kirsch and Murray SteinRoderick Main
Jung and Moreno: Essays on the Theatre of Human Nature, by Craig E. StephensonRobert Macdonald
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-LeeAnn Kutek
Creases in Culture: Essays Toward a Poetics of Depth, by Dennis Patrick SlatterySusan Rowland
Appendix I: Eranos Yearbooks (1933–2014) 
Appendix II: Eranos Round Table Sessions (1990–2002) 
Appendix III: Proceedings of the Associazione Amici di Eranos (1990–2012) 
Appendix IV: Proceedings of the Verein zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Tagungen von Eranos (2001–2014) 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Final Book in the Corbin Series Available Now!

The Meanings of Imagination
in Henry Corbin & James Hillman

 Tom Cheetham

Spring Publications

I will not forget this book. It has subtly but, I suspect, permanently shifted the way I look at reality, the way I listen to language. - Cynthia Bourgeault, retreat leader and author of The Wisdom Way of KnowingThe Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, and Mystical Hope.

Cheetham’s book is a jewel that returns us to the “wild energies of creation” through his lucid and passionate dedication to the necessity of imagination for soul. His book offers the essence of these thinkers as alchemical transformers of being in the anima mundi. Imaginal Love returns psyche to cosmos: as organ of imag(e)inging where we embody the angels. Susan Rowland Ph.D. Pacifica Graduate Institute. Author of Jung as a Writer and The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolution, Complexity and Jung.

Imaginal Love is a work of vital imagination, at once personal, formally audacious, penetrating, and richly insightful. Beginning with the premise of the inherent and initiatic complexity of Henry Corbin’s thought, and building on the intricately laid foundation of the four previous volumes in his Corbin Quartet, Tom Cheetham brings his considerable learning and experience to bear on a dynamic, psychocosmological reading of Corbin’s mighty influence on the work of archetypal psychologist James Hillman, and those modern and contemporary poets, including Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, some of whose works have been guided significantly by Hillman’s ideas. For anyone interested in the overlapping open fields of depth psychology and Projective Verse, Imaginal Love is essential. - Peter O’Leary, poet and author of The Phosphorescence of Thought, and Gnostic Contagion: Robert Duncan and the Poetry of Illness

Imaginal Love radically reframes the ancient question of the nature of love, in particular as a path for a consciously realized life. Tom Cheetham drives passionately, sympathetically, and lucidly between the intertwined yet critically antithetical paths of Henry Corbin, the great mystical French exegete of Sufi “psychocosmology,” and James Hillman, the great American heretical transformer of Jungian psychology. And he does it by way of his long personal journey, showing that any realization of “imaginal love” can only happen within the person, actual singular being. At the same time he profoundly engages the paradox that such intensively lived singularity is also the site of non-limiting multiplicity and visionary openness. It’s a vision as well of a higher function of language, implicitly a poetics of alchemical intensity, yet which can only occur within the deepening process of life itself.
George Quasha, poet and author most recently of Axial Stones: An Art of Precarious Balance and The Daimon of the Moment.

Tom Cheetham shows the heights that independent scholars outside academia can achieve. His prior work has virtually defined independent scholarship on Henry Corbin. In Imaginal Love, he has turned his gifts to "the meanings of imagination in James Hillman and Henry Corbin." The result is a powerful contribution to our understanding of the full meaning of imaginal love -- and the central role of such love in human life. - Michael Lerner, President, Commonweal.

The text is studded with breath-taking virtuoso passages, as when Cheetham feels his way through the nuances of relationship with the Angel, the Face of the Divine that is individual to each of us; or the shattering experience and alchemical transmutation of, autonomous ‘feeling-toned complexes.’ After such passages you just want to stand up and cheer. (full review) - Belinda Hunt, Artist and Writer, Winchester, UK

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Boundary Violations - Poems from Tom Cheetham

Shipping Now from

It doesn’t get any more honest than this. Tom Cheetham, long known for his dedicated and engaged scholarship on Henry Corbin, here reveals another side to his lively intelligence. The poems in Boundary Violations address us to the ordinary that Emerson proposed as America’s gift to the world. Sitting at the feet of the familiar, the low, Cheetham finds himself face to face with wonder and generously leads us into its glow. - Michael Boughn

Coming from a rogue scholar of the imagination in esoteric Islam, a book of poems should be of no surprise, but this one sure is. Tom Cheetham plunges us deep into the imaginative realities of a life as far from Mecca as Maine. By turns ludic, dark, elegant, honest, with an enviable sense of the absurd, and with generosity towards existence, Cheetham is ever faithful to the turns of thought and feeling, interleaving the planes of the real into his continuous and wonderfully whacked-out song. ​- Joseph Donahue

There is a madcap intelligence at work in these poems, an intelligence that has given itself permission to go as far as it can. Tom Cheetham calls his book Boundary Violations (the boundaries of the voice, of the poetic line, of standard poetic discourse, of literary propriety…), but it could also be said that here, all poetic boundaries have been entirely dissolved. Charles Olson meets Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle meets Rocky the Flying Squirrel. But like other poets who insist on violating boundaries (think: Rimbaud; think: Frank O’Hara), Cheetham is absolutely serious and playing for keeps (OK, maybe not absolutely serious). In any case, I encourage you to join him in observing “the mysterious energies of life exploding off the pages…” - Norman Finkelstein

In Boundary Violations nature is signaling to Tom Cheetham that "it’s closing time." Like Charles Olson, Cheetham knows that “the soul / is an onslaught.” Thus his mission is to awaken to “the beat beat beat of the tom-tom” by smelling the coffee in Kali’s cup. Reflecting back on the 20th Century’s mimetic ecosystem, he meditates night and day upon the cartoon characters and the cultural download that violated his boundaries. Within the wonder of natural and unnatural kingdoms, he explores his own evolution, feeling the ominous burn of a trans-human future. Put on final notice, the exuberant woof of a monkey-mind warped by predictive programming is playfully reclaimed for poetry in this thoroughly stimulating collection. - Kenneth Warren

Monday, April 6, 2015

Corbin & Russian Religious Thought (cont'd)

Last year I posted Hadi Fakhoury's wonderful thesis  Henry Corbin and Russian Religious Thought (see this post). It is being published in two parts in the journal Dionysus. Part one is available in Dionysus XXXII, 173-218. The thesis has been revised and updated (with exclusive materials from the Corbin archives in Paris) and is a must read for all students of Corbin. The second part will appear in the next issue. Don't miss either!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Back in Print! The World Turned Inside Out

From the reviews:

A deep reading of Tom Cheetham's The World Turned Inside Out could have the effect of turning the reader inside out! Not only will a person discover in this book a thorough understanding of the remarkable and important vision of Henry Corbin, the great French scholar of Iranian Islam. The reader will also be engaged by a politically useful understanding of the religion of Islam generally, of mystical and negative theology, of monotheism, of the philosophy of imagination, of language and the textures of textuality, and of the nature of reading and thinking. Among other things, a careful reading of this book can inform current interpretations of the politics of terrorism, its wars and the wars against it. In short, there exists here a shaking of the foundations of human perspectives that comes to nothing short of a radical revisioning of all attempts to make sense of the life and meaning of being in the world. - David L. Miller, Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Syracuse University, Core Faculty Member, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Author of Christs, Three Faces of God & Hells and Holy Ghosts.

A remarkable creative synthesis of the genius of Henry Corbin, the silent precursor of archetypal psychology. Tom Cheetham gives the gift of a metaphysics of interiority balancing pervasive, destructive, suffocating, spectator consciousness. And it is a convivial interiority, filled with spiritual presences. The soul can breathe again because it has found its homeland, the Soul of the World. - Robert Sardello, author of Freeing the Soul from Fear

This book does an absolutely splendid job of opening up Corbin's thought to the general reader. Corbin's work addresses our contemporary situation in a most direct way as this book shows, and the author has made an important contribution to both the philosophy of religion and the history of religions. This is an interesting, careful and important piece of work that I hope will gain the recognition that it deserves. - Charles J. Adams, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Corbin & American Poetry - The Continuing Series

As readers of this blog will know Robert Kelly, George Quasha and Charles Stein are among the most important poets to have been explicit about the influence of Henry Corbin on their work. George Quasha and Charles Stein published Ta'wil or, How to Read in conjunction with Kelly in 1973.

Kelly has written:

A fundamental exercise in ta’wil is to study what happens to you when you write the world down. When you say it aloud. / How does the world change when the word is made? / A poem is the ta’wil of the first word written down. / The intercourse of sound and sense is trivial on ay analytical level. It means in a different way. I mean it means in a different world. / It is the other side of the consensus. - Kelly, A Voice Full of Cities, 2014, 284.

I am delighted to have the author's pemission to present here a link to a remarkable essay by George Quasha on Kelly's book of poetry Uncertainties.


To be published in the companion volume to A Voice Full of Cities
titled A City Full of Voices, due out this year.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Post from Ismaili Gnosis

with multiple excerpts from Corbin's Temple & Contemplation:

"Consider the cubic form of the Temple, which totalizes and interconnects spiritual and material realities, as a unique Emanation proceeding from the supreme Principle; that is to say, as a human person, as the Anthropos who is God’s Vicar with regard to what he envelops and contains eminently within himself. In other words, the figuration of the Temple of the Ka‘bah is likewise the figuration of Shiite prophetology and Imamology, because in both cases the same functional relationships are preserved."
Henry Corbin,
(Temple and Contemplation, 219)