Photograph as Icon 5: The Place of Encounter

The Photograph as Icon  
The Place of Encounter   

The Most Sacred Place  
In the early Eastern Christian Church an iconostasis consisted of an entire wall of painted Icons which separated the entrance of the church from its most sacred space, the sanctuary which contained the alter.  Image below: Trinity Cathedral iconstasis , Trinity-St Sergius Monastery, 1425, Moscow

Henry Corbin said we must understand: the entire world is an iconostasis.  Each object, each place in the world is a divine sign, a message, an Icon which can function as a threshold through which we can pass from the ordinary world into the invisible world of the sacred.  Seeing all the world as an Icon is a mode of being; a mode of perception.  It's a matter of how we see the world.

Icons unite spirit with matter; Icon images are enlivened with himma--the mysterious creative power of the Heart--which can unveil for us the Unity of Being, the Origin of our being.  The Heart, says Henry Corbin and his Sufi mystic, Ibn 'Arabi, is the "sanctuary" for that which is most sacred.  The heart is the organ of true seeing, the "Eye" by which God reveals Himself to Himself.  

An Icon can serve to remind us of, and even transport us, to higher planes of reality.  Most importantly, Icons have the power to transform us, awaken us, move us into the center of our being, the Heart, that most sacred place--the place where we can encounter within ourselves the revelation of who we truly are.  How we experience an Icon, the nature of our encounter, depends on the capacity of our being, our willingness to allow ourselves to receive what the image wants to give us.  We are constantly being tested with this awesome  challenge.

The Encounter 
All things are masks of the infinite, and their being is the gift of God. . .  To overcome the Test of the Veil requires that we not become trapped in the literal face of any being, that we not idolize it, but rather see in it a Face of God.   Tom Cheetham, All the World An Icon

This is the final end toward which all mystic ways converge; it is the spiritual abode where the gaze of the one who contemplates [an Icon] with the inner eye, the eye of the heart, [realizes] "I am the mirror of thy face; through thine own eyes I look upon they countenance."  The Contemplated is the Contemplator and vice versa.  Henry Corbin, The Man of Light

There are, to be sure, other ways of becoming conscious, but as the Sufis say, "To know yourself is to know your Lord."    Tom Cheetham, After Prophesy

Icon 5 #1 (source image: cement blocks, pipe, plants, shadows)

Icon 5 #2 (source image: street scene viewed through tree branches)

Icon 5 #3 (source image: leaning tree in fog)

Icon 5 #4 (source image: river, bridge wall, reflections)

Icon 5 #5 (source image: plants behind steamy store window, reflections)

Icon 5 #6 (source image: nails in a spray painted piece of wood)


This part V of my project regarding the Icon  was first posted 
ithe"Latest Addition" section of my Website's 
"Welcome Page"  0n January 29, 2015

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.