"...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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Narjis Mirza, Auckland University of Technology
Performance Philosophy Journal Vol 4 no 2, 2019

Narjis Mirza is an installation artist and a PhD candidate at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Her practice-led research brings together philosophy and spatial experiments of light, highlighting the transcendent philosophy of a Persian Muslim philosopher Mulla Sadra Shirazi. Narjis plans to expand the dialogue through concept films and light installations. Narjis completed her masters’ degree in media and design from Bilkent University, Turkey. She also received distinction for her Bachelors in Fine Arts at the National College of Arts in Pakistan. Narjis lives and works in Sydney and Auckland.

Image 1: Narjis Mirza, Light Installation 2018 (photo credit Sam Hartnett)

Light in its unqualified sense bears many meanings according to the multitude, some meanings are equivocal, some literal and some metaphorical, such as light of the sun, light of the moon, light of the lamp, the light of intellect, the light of faith, the light of piety, the light of a ruby, the light of gold, the light of turquoise. (Sadra 2004, 35)

It is through light that we are able to reach out to the not-yet known, to the indistinct potential and the unrealised. Artist Derek Ventling suggests that light is a source for “continuous negotiation with our surroundings” (Ventling 2017, 19). The ephemeral force of light contours our perception and defines our physical and spatial surroundings. Light is significant for both art practice and philosophy. In the book The Practice of Light, Sean Cubitt ruminates on the performance of light and the “potential that lies curled up inside.” Light begins in the invisible black and performs as a mediation between the known and unknown world (2).

Sadr-ud-Din Muhammad Shirazi, famously known as Mulla Sadra, a 17 th-century Persian Muslim philosopher, begins his exegesis on the “light verse”[1] of the Quran by contemplating the multitude of meanings of light. Sadra draws light away from its physical temporal meanings towards a divine spiritual entity (al Munawwir) “that realizes all existence” (Sadra 2004, 43). Sadra equates existence with light by saying “the reality of light and existence is the same thing” (21).

There is a long history for the use of light to present God’s presence towards creation. Cubitt tracks a genealogy of such a light in early artworks dating as far back as the 1400s. He writes, “Light was a perfect symbol of God illuminating everything yet itself invisible” (Cubitt 2014, 46). As a contemporary artist, I use light as a research tool to trace the resonance of the unseen. For me, light is a medium of immense potential, that structures our perception of the visual world. Light is in constant movement, transient and transcendental.... READ THE ARTICLE

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Corbin and Poetry in America: another in the endless series...

Diane di Prima:
Visionary Poetics and the Hidden Religions

David Stephen Calonne

You can read pp 171-174 on Henry Corbin at Google Books

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Trifecta! Corbin / Twombly / Olson

Staying Open: Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences

Joshua S. Hoeynck (Ed.)

by Kirsty Singer (University of California: Irvine), Michael Jonik (University of Sussex), Seth Johnson Forrest (Coppin State University, USA), Joshua S. Hoeynck (Case Western Reserve University), Alexander Ruggeri (Tufts University), Daniel D. Fineman (Occidental College, USA), Joshua Gardner (University of North Carolina, Asheville), Michael Kindellan (University of Sheffield ), Jeffrey Gardiner, Nathanael Pree (The University of Sydney), Dylan J. Clark (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Jeff Davis


Chapter 1 Projective Verse and pedagogy
Michael Kindellan

Chapter 2 Olson’s poetics and pedagogy: influences at Black Mountain College
Jeff Gardiner

Chapter 3 Olson’s Dérive, near-far Boulez
Michael Jonik

Chapter 4 “By ear, he sd.”: open listening with Charles Olson and John Cage
Alexander Ruggeri

Chapter 5 “Mu-sick, mu-sick, mu-sick”: Olson’s stammer and the poetics of noise
Seth Johnson Forrest

Chapter 6 Shadow on the rock: morphology and voice in Olson’s later Maximus poems
Jeff Davis

Chapter 7 Charles Olson and his “post-modern” exploration
Joshua Gardner

Chapter 8 “what insides are”: history—gravitational and unrelieved
Kirsty Singer

Chapter 9 Revising the stance of “Projective Verse”: Charles Olson’s ecological vision of Alfred North Whitehead’s cosmology
Joshua Hoeynck

Chapter 10 Olson, Peirce, Whitehead, and American process poetics
Daniel D. Fineman

Chapter 11 Maximus and Aboriginal Australia: antipodean influences on the archaic proprioceptive epic
Nathanael Pree

Chapter 12 An Archaeologist of Morning in the Mayab, 1951
Dylan Clark


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Persianate World

Green, Nile. [Ed.]

The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca. 

University of Californai Press,
"Persian is one of the great lingua francas of world history. Yet despite its recognition as a shared language across the Islamic world and beyond, its scope, impact and mechanisms remain underexplored. A world historical inquiry into pre-modern cosmopolitanism, The Persianate World traces the reach and limits of Persian as a Eurasian language in a comprehensive survey of its geographical, literary, and social frontiers. From Siberia to Southeast Asia, and between London and Beijing, this book shows how Persian gained, maintained, and finally surrendered its status to imperial and vernacular competitors. Capturing the Persianate as process, fourteen essays trace Persian's interactions with Bengali, Chinese, Turkic, and Punjabi, to identify the forces that extended 'Persographia,' the domain of written Persian. Spanning the ages' expansion and contraction, The Persianate World offers a critical survey of both the supports and constraints of one of history's key languages of global exchange"

The Persianate world. Rethinking a shared sphere.

Abbas Amanat; Assef Ashraf [Eds.]
Leiden : Brill 2018.
Iran studies, 18.

"The Persianate World: Rethinking a Shared Sphere is among the first books to explore the pre-modern and early modern historical ties among such diverse regions as Anatolia, the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, Western Xinjiang, the Indian subcontinent, and southeast Asia, as well as the circumstances that reoriented these regions and helped break up the Persianate ecumene in modern times. Essays explore the modalities of Persianate culture, the defining features of the Persianate cosmopolis, religious practice and networks, the diffusion of literature across space, subaltern social groups, and the impact of technological advances on language. Taken together, the essays reflect the current scholarship in Persianate studies, and offer pathways for future research."

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tom Cheetham - Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

February 15, 2019

The Flame of Things

Lessons in Pyrotechnics

Lexington Community Education

Lexington, Massachusetts


April 26 & 27, 2019

The Spirit of Fire and the Missing Yellow:

Imagination & the Lumen Natura

C.G. Jung Society of Montreal,

Montreal, Quebec

September 13-15, 2019

The Rowe Center

Rowe, Massachusetts

Attending to Earth

An Approach to a Psychoecology

Monday, December 10, 2018

New from Mohammad Rustom


Neo-Orientalism and the Study of Islamic Philosophy: 
An Interview with Professor Mohammed Rustom 

Mohammed Rustom and Soroosh Shahriari 
Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, 
Vol. 3, No. 1 (May 2018), pp. 112-119

After attending Professor Rustom's advanced seminar on Ibn Sina at Carleton University in winter 2017, doctoral candidate Soroosh Shahriari of McGill University, Canada, "brought up the possibility of. .. [posing] some 'hard' questions concerning the contemporary study of Islamic philosophy." Rustom's in-depth knowledge of the method and spirit of traditional Islamic education and Islamic metaphysics helps us navigate the complexities inherent in the study of Islamic philosophy in the modern academy.

ʿAyn al-Quḍāt between Divine Jealousy and  Political Intrigue 

Journal of Sufi Studies 7 (2018) 47–73 
Mohammed Rustom 
Carleton University (Canada) 

Abstract Modern scholars have been interested in the great Persian Sufi martyr ʿAyn al-Quḍāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131) for over six decades. Despite this fact, many aspects of his life and thought still remain terra incognita. Our knowledge of  the circumstances sur-rounding his death is a case-in-point. Although we have a fairly good understanding of the factors which led to ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s demise, there are other “causes” which simul-taneously complement and problematize this understanding. Chief amongst these are the underlying reasons for ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s critique of the Seljuk government, as well as something which ʿAyn al-Quḍāt saw as a more subtle cause for his death several years before his anticipated state execution.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Corbin Course Deadline

Register by December 20 to guarantee your place.


Henry Corbin - Turkey, 1942

All the World an Icon
An Introduction to the Thought of Henry Corbin

An Online Course with Tom Cheetham

We meet once a week for 8 weeks in either of two sections:

Section 1: Tuesdays 2:30pm EST [7:30pm GMT] !
Begins January 8, 2019
- for those in Europe -
Section 2: Wednesdays 7pm EST [12am GMT] !
Begins January 9, 2019
- for those in W. Hemisphere -

Register or inquire about details by contacting me directly:

Tuition: $50 per 90-minute live class session. $400 for the course.

*Sliding scale: No one will be turned away because of inability to pay.*

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tafsir as Mystical Experience: Intimacy and Ecstasy in Quran Commentary

New from Todd Lawson

Tafsir as Mystical Experience

"The Orientalist" - A Documentary About Henry Corbin!!!!!

From the Tehran Times

Orientalist Henry Corbin subject of “The Eastern” director’s new film

December 2, 2018

TEHRAN – Masud Taheri, the Iranian director of the documentary film “The Eastern” about Japanese expert on Islam Toshihiko Izutsu, plans to make his new film on French philosopher, theologian and Orientalist Henry Corbin (1903-1978).

The film entitled “The Orientalist” will be co-produced by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center and Chehrdad Film, Taheri said in a press release on Saturday.

“The documentary is typically a sequel to ‘The Eastern’ and will focus on the thoughts of Henry Corbin who, like Izutsu, was tracking illumination in the East,” he added.

“Iran was the common ground between the two philosophers who came together in the country before the victory of the Islamic Revolution for most of the months of a year to discuss various issues,” he stated.

Shooting of the documentary will begin in the near future and is expected to be completed in late spring.

Joan Copjec on Corbin & Schelling and more!

Her most recent work, which is focused on the cinema of Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian filmmaker, and medieval Islamic philosophy, will be published in her next book, tentatively titled Cloud: Between Paris and Tehran.

Cloud, Precinct of the Theological-Historical

Joan Copjec

Psychoanalysis and History, Volume 20 Issue 3, Page 277-291, 
ISSN 1460-8235 
Available Online Nov 2018

Keywords: imaginal world, Cloud, tautegory, expression, Corbin, Lacan, Laplanche, Freud, Schelling, abyss, Abgrund, après-coup, Nachträglichkeit, tautegory



Regarded by many as the pre-eminent Islamicist of the twentieth century, Henry Corbin is also the subject of much criticism, aimed primarily at his supposed overemphasis on the mythological aspects of Islamic philosophy and his idiosyncratic privileging of the concept of the imaginal world. Taking seriously an unusual claim made by Steven Wasserstrom in Religion after Religion that the redeployment of Schelling's concept of tautegory by Corbin reveals all that is wrong with his work, this essay seeks to defend both the concept and Corbin's use of it. Developed by Schelling in his late work on mythology, the concept of tautegory turns out to be, for historical and theoretical reasons, a revelatory switch point. Not only does it make clear why the imaginal ‘locus’ is key to understanding the unity of God – the oneness of his apophatic and revealed dimensions – it also gives us profound insights into the links connecting Islamic philosophy, German Idealism, and psychoanalysis, which all take their bearings from the esoteric or mystical idea of an unconscious abyss.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Lexington Community EducationLexington, Massachusetts
February 15, 2019, 7pm

The Flame of Things: Lessons in Pyrotechnics

[I]maginal love … does not reach only towards unifying as we have been so tediously taught. When we love, we want to explore, to discriminate more and more widely, to extend the intricacy that intensifies intimacy.—James Hillman
Many of us have lost contact with the primal immersion in reality where all things are marvellous and strange, both familiar and unexpected. That world is saturated with an incandescent fire, as in the first morning of creation. There are many ways to recover the beginner’s mind that reveals the flame of things. If we imagine the fiery heart to be the organ of both Imagination and sensation, as certain traditions have held, we can know the nature of our task. Fire is magical and dangerous. It is spirit and life, conflagration and despair. It is hearth and hellfire both. Our challenge is to master the pyrotechnics of art and of alchemy, of knowledge and of love. Then we might enact new forms of life that reveal the wonder and mystery in all things. In this lecture author Tom Cheetham will try to help us take a few small steps towards that end.
Tom Cheetham is the author of five books on the imagination in religion, psychology, the arts and sciences, and one book of poems. He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy in London, and was Adjunct Professor of Human Ecology at the College of the Atlantic, and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Wilson College. He teaches and lectures in the US and Europe. He and his wife live on a homestead in rural Maine. They have two grown children.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Online Class: An Introduction to Henry Corbin - Jan-Feb 2019

Henry Corbin - Turkey, 1942

All the World an Icon
An Introduction to the Thought of Henry Corbin

An Online Course with Tom Cheetham

We meet once a week for 8 weeks in either of two sections:

Section 1: Tuesdays 2:30pm EST [7:30pm GMT] !
Begins January 8, 2019
- for those in Europe -
Section 2: Wednesdays 7pm EST [12am GMT] !
Begins January 9, 2019
- for those in W. Hemisphere -

Register or inquire about details by contacting me directly:

Tuition: $50 per 90-minute live class session. $400 for the course.
*Sliding scale: No one will be turned away because of inability to pay.*


Recordings of the live classes will be available for all registered students.
You do not have to attend a live session.

Classes will be via Zoom online meeting host.

Texts & Schedule

Henry Corbin. Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn'Arabi. Translated by Ralph Manheim,Princeton: Princeton University Press / Bollingen Series XCI, [1969], 1997.
Tom Cheetham. The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism, Spring Journal Books, New Orleans, LA, 2003. Suggested reading.

Chapter 1
Chapter I
Chapter 2
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Prologue & Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Corbin & American Poetry #??

Michael Boughn on Charles Olson at the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference:

"The happening that Olson staged—and trust me, he knew exactly what he was doing—broke every rule of conference etiquette in the book. He got drunk in front of the audience. He wouldn’t read a whole poem all the way through. He continually followed the digressions of his thinking in order to be open to revelation rather than force his thinking into a proscribed etiquette. It was a ta’wil, a revelatory spiritual event, not a “reading,” and that really pissed a lot of people off, including good friends such as Duncan, who left. But Olson didn’t care. He saw what was coming. Have you been to one of those verbal circle jerks they call poetry readings these days? Talk about institutionalized, from the form—three readers, no more than 10-15 minutes to show your stuff, open mic at the end (the open mic is to be sure someone comes)—down to the generic poetry reading rhythm and the stifling silence of the audience. He tried to stop it before it took root, to smash the institution right there, on the spot."


with Michael Boughn and Kent Johnson conducted by Steven Manuel

in Chicago Review.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Corbin in English: Jung, Buddhism, and the Incarnation of Sophia

Jung, Buddhism, and the Incarnation of Sophia
Unpublished Writings from the Philosopher of the Soul
By Henry Corbin

We're not getting much info from the publisher - who is the translator? - but this is the same book published in French by Entrelacs in 2014 as Autour de Jung. I'm delighted it has been translated. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Online Courses in 2019: Corbin, Archetypal Psychology, Psychoecology

I'm going to offer some online classes beginning in January 2019 - not through an accredited institution, but simply online via Zoom or some other such platform. I will make the tuition voluntary and ask people to pay what they feel they can afford and make it possible to pay per session. Class size will be limited to no more than 12 per class. I have three topics in mind as of now:

An Introduction to Henry Corbin
An Introduction to James Hillman
An Introduction to Psychoecology

Classes will be recorded and made available to those whose time zone makes real-time attendance difficult.

Anyone with interest should contact me via email to get on the class list and receive updates: