"...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.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Imaginal Cosmos - Online Course

The Imaginal Cosmos - Taught by Dr. Angela Voss through the online Phoenix Rising Academy

Registration for the April course is now open - [see this page]

Course Description: To introduce the imagination as the faculty of perception and knowledge of the soul, through studying key texts and images of the Western esoteric traditions; to learn about specific historical and cultural contexts, but also to consider the relevance of an imaginal perspective for our own life, work and creativity, and to gain an understanding of transpersonal and participatory approaches to research. In neoplatonic understanding, soul or psyche is envisioned as the mediator between two modes of being called ‘divine’ and ‘human’. Taking this as our central image, we will begin with Plato, whose creation myth in the Timaeus establishes the soul as the intelligent, primary substance of the cosmos, and the human being as partaking of this intelligence. We will then discover how the image of the anima mundi and revelation of the divine order develops through neoplatonic cosmology and ritual, the early Christian hermeneutic of the four senses of interpretation, the Sufi tradition as interpreted by Henry Corbin, the revival of Platonic and Hermetic mysteries in the Renaissance, and finally through the 20th century rebirth of soul-based knowledge in archetypal and depth psychology. Each theme will give rise to the question of the relationship of cosmos and consciousness, the nature of revelatory knowledge as opposed to human reason, and the role played by ritual, visual image and active imagining in accessing modes of understanding beyond the rational. Of central concern will be the question of academic and scholarly approaches to this material, for example, how can one study the ‘experiential’ moment of revelation or realisation, and bring such experience to bear on rational discourse ‘about’ it? Is creative engagement with poetic or art forms a bone fide research method? Is it possible to combine contemplative and critical modes in research? How can the integrity of individual participation and practice be incorporated into historical or cultural models? MORE DETAILS HERE

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