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Tuesday, 21 January 2014



Chinvat Bridge, Gallicanta, Montemolin, Extremadura: photo by Angel (Angel. G-), 23 July 2004

It is not in the power of a human being to destroy his celestial Idea; but it is in his power to betray it, to separate himself from it, to have, at the entrance to the Chinvat Bridge, nothing face to face with him but the abominable and demonic caricature of his 'I' delivered over to himself without a heavenly sponsor.

Henry Corbin (1903-1978): The Paradox of Monotheism, 1976

The Path from Endarkenment (Beckton Park, London): photo by Ian Tindale, 28 August 2008

Every physical or moral entity, every complete being or group of beings belonging to the world of Light...has its Fravarti. What they announce to earthly beings essentially dual structure that gives to each one a heavenly archetype or Angel, whose earthly counterpart he is.

Corbin: Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, 1977

General Warehouse by night (Richmond, California): photo by efo, 12 January 2014

The history of the modern West is the history of "l'homme sans Fravarti."

Corbin: The Paradox of Monotheism, 1976

General Warehouse by night No. 2 (Richmond, California): photo by efo, 12 January 2014

It is this Fravarti which gives its true dimension to the person. The human person is only a person by virtue of this celestial dimension, archetypal, angelic, which is the celestial pole without which the terrestrial pole of his human dimension is completely depolarized in vagabondage and perdition.

Corbin: The Paradox of Monotheism, 1976

Berkeley forge. Heavy industry in Berkeley: photo by efo, 5 January 2014

I saw myself present in a world of light. Mountains and deserts were iridescent with lights of all colours... I was experiencing a consummate nostalgia for them; I was as though stricken with madness and snatched out of myself by the violence of the intimate emotion and feeling of the presence. Suddenly I saw that the black light was invading the entire universe. Heaven and Earth and everything that was there had wholly become black and, behold, I was totally absorbed in this light, losing consciousness. Then I came back to myself.

A Persian Sufi, Lahiji, quoted in Corbin: The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, 1971

Summer, Gallicanta: photo by Angel (Angel. G-), 23 July 2004 leave this world, it does not suffice to die. One can die and remain in it forever. One must be living to leave it. Or rather, to be living is just this.

Corbin: Cyclical Time in Ismaili Gnosis, 1983

The Search for Enlightenment (Berkeley): photo by efo, 27 June 2008

Sometimes Outside My Window (Stockholm): photo by Mikael Jeney, 13 January 2014


ACravan said...

This has been with me since shortly after you posted it today and is going to stay with me, certainly, because that's how mystery is. When I first saw it, I immediately focused on a song that's been going through my head for the past couple of days, Kirsty MacColl's great "Angel." I'm hearing it now and the snow is falling outside my window. Curtis

Hazen said...

During my brief recent sojourn in Albuquerque I went out one night and watched the full moon rise over the Sandias. There were stars standing out with me that not even the lights of the city could wash out. The desert—or I should say deserts, for I have been privileged to know a few—has for me always been alive with meaning. In South America I came across a low-growing vine called the muere-vive, the dies-and-lives. You’d step on it and the leaves would curl up and wither. Then, a short while later, they would spring back as though nothing had happened. Perhaps “ . . . to be living is just this.”

You’ve piqued my interest in Henry Corbin, of whom I’d not heard. The photos . . . well, what can I say . . .

The Cinvat Bridge of mythology is said to be as narrow as a razor’s edge. One either crosses over or falls into perdition.

Thanks Tom.

Nin Andrews said...

Beautiful post. The Sufis are so interesting. It's hard to hold onto the kind of insight, but to have had it at all . . . I spent my college years reading the mystics, wishing I were one of them, and I expected to go on in philosophy but somehow I lost interest along the way. Not in the philosophy, but in the degree.

TC said...

The abyss that bridge spans may be razor thin, but my one ride toward the other side seemed to go on forever. I could say I was unable to negotiate the crossing because my angelic sponsor was not present, but that would be a lie, for she was right there, in the front seat of the wailing emergency vehicle. But then again, I did not know that.

Anyhow, entry refused, eternal return, back to perdition, which I can't imagine enjoying in finer company.

Mose23 said...

That "demonic caricature" we're served up isn't up to much, fravarti or no fravarti.

The photos are so beautiful.

Here's to all heavenly sponsors.

TC said...

One might imagine a very sooty angelic sponsor sleeping rough in one of those rolling bins at Berkeley Forge.