"...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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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

- Egil Asprem

Correspondences 4 (2016) 1–34   
ISSN: 2053-7158 (Online) correspondencesjournal.com

Abstract Scholars agree that the imagination is central to esoteric practice. While the esoteric vis imaginativa is usually attributed to the influx of Neoplatonism in the Italian Renaissance, this article argues that many of its key properties were already in place in medieval scholasticism. Two aspects of the history of the imagination are discussed. First, it is argued that esoteric practice is rooted in a broader kataphatic trend within Christian spirituality that explodes in the popular devotion literature of the later Middle Ages. By looking at the role of Bonaventure’s “cognitive theology” in the popularization of gospel meditations and kataphatic devotional prayer, it is argued that there is a direct link between the scholastic reconsideration of the imaginative faculty and the development of esoteric practices inspired by Christian devotional literature. Secondly, it is argued that the Aristotelian inner sense tradition of the scholastics left a lasting impression on later esoteric conceptualizations of the imaginative faculty. Examples suggesting evidence for both these two claims are discussed. The article proposes to view esoteric practices as an integral part of a broader kataphatic stream in European religious history, separated out by a set of disjunctive strategies rooted in the policing of “orthopraxy” by ecclesiastical authorities.

and this is very worthy of note:

– February 20, 1981
by James Engell 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Unseen Partner - a book not to be missed!

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.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam

Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam: 
Qur'an, Exegesis, Messianism and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion
(Iranian Studies) 
by Todd Lawson
Routledge, 2011.

From the publisher: Of the several works on the rise and development of the Babi movement, especially those dealing with the life and work of its founder, Sayyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi, few deal directly with the compelling and complex web of mysticism, theology and philosophy found in his earliest compositions.


Somehow it seems I never posted a note on this when it appeared. It is replete with references to Henry Corbin. Among them:  "The whole offers a perfect dramatic example of one of Corbin’s resounding insights: in Shi‘i Islam, the angel of revelation is identical with the angel of interpretation."

Review of Todd Lawson, Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam: Qur’an, Exegesis, Messianism, and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion by Christopher Buck

Buck's Review concludes: "The present work is a refinement of Lawson’s doctoral dissertation (1987) at McGill University, Canada. It has aged, matured and sophisti-cated like fine wine in the barrel of Lawson’s subsequent work, and is inter-spersed with insights arising in subsequent studies. Thus, it is a work of original research on an original figure prismed by an original mind. Gnostic  Apocalypse and Islam is an instant classic in Babi/Baha’ studies. It is foundational to the academic study of Babi/Baha’i history and doctrine. Not only did it take a scholar with a command of Arabic and of the history, doctrine and arcane philosophy of Shi‘i Islam to write Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam. It took a gnostic."