11/25/10

Photograph as Icon: Window onto the Invisible World


The Photograph as ICON Part I
Window onto the Invisible World





Introduction
In this project, consisting of eight parts, I continue my exploration of Sacred Art in relationship to my creative process, and I continue to be fascinated with and inspired by the writings of Henry Corbin and Tom Cheetham.  It seems I can't get enough of their ideas and a palpable, attractive, creative energy I feel when I contemplate their writings.  I discovered their work in 2011 after I returned home from a visit to Turkey where I discovered the power and beauty of Islamic Sacred Art.  I at once began a very intense period of study for a project about sacred art and I would keep running into the name "Henry Corbin" as I worked two years on what become "An Imaginary Book."  Corbin's name, and Cheetham's begin to show up frequently in my texts for the last few chapters of the Book.  

Cheetham has so far written a series of four books about Henry Corbin (philosopher, theologian, a professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris).  His most recent, entitled All the World An Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings, has been a very important book for me.  In fact the very title of the book inspired the idea for this project as a whole and the photographs within it all of which are Four-fold symmetrical photographs.  The images, I think, have the "character" of sacred mandalas like those used in the Vedic and Buddhist traditions as a visual aid to prayer and contemplation.  Also, in the early days of the Eastern Christian Church the Icon had been used in a similar way.  

I had made symmetrical photographs for several other earlier projects, and my continued interest in making even more of them for this project was sparked by a series of photographs I had made in September of 2014, of rocks and tide pools in Acadia National Park.  Those images became even more meaningful to me when I discovered a relationship between their imagery and a mandala that was discussed in a book I had been studying by Swami Kripananda, a teacher of Siddha Yoga.  I have been practicing Siddha Yoga since 1987 and had been trying to find ways to bring my yogic studies and practices into the discussion of my creative process in photography.  Swami Kripananda's book, The Guru's Sandals: Threshold of the Formless has done just that: her book has shown me how the sacred mantra and the mandala are directly related to each other and awakened me to the possibility that my symmetrical photographs are related to mandalas and mantras.  click here  



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I encourage you to become familiar with a fairly recent project of mine entitled The Angels which, along with this project and "An Imaginary Book" form something like a trilogy.  It seems to me each of these projects should be seen in the context of the other two.  Cheetham, who explores Corbin's ideas with a poet's sensibility, brings those ideas to life for me in a very accessible way.  Both writers are at the very heart of this trilogy of projects: I am grateful for Corbin's amazing insights, and Cheetham's insights into Corbin.  I am looking forward to two more books by Cheetham which are due out early this year (2015): a book of his own poetry, and the other, entitled The Meanings of Imagination In Henry Corbin and James Hillman.  Perhaps they will become the inspiration for yet another photography project.  


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The symmetrical images of rocks and tide pools have also been a very important stimulus for this project.  They can be seen in Part II and the Epilogue of the Arcadia project, and in the Epilogue ("Rock Flowers") to the Angels project.  The ancient rocks and pools I encountered on the virgin shores of Acadia National Park were perfectly suited to the transfiguration that occurs with the Four-fold symmetrical process.  On the other hand, when I contemplated the title and meaning of Cheetham's book, All the World An Icon, and after re-reading Corbin's ideas about the Icon (he said the entire world of appearance is an iconostasis) I felt challenged to make symmetrical images with less archetypal (natural) subject matter.  'Could I make images as powerful as the symmetrical rock Icon photographs with any subject matter immediately available to me?' (for example, our washing machine, a garage window, a refrigerator door, some tree limbs in a neighbor's back yard garden?)  

You will notice that the symmetrical images in the present project have not been given titles; they are numbered and I have parenthetically provided information regarding the source imagery used in making each symmetrical images.  I did not want to impose my interpretations of the images on you by giving them titles.  Icons are not, and should not be, limited in meaning;  the important thing is that they open the hearts of their contemplators and thus function as thresholds onto the Formless, onto the Invisible World.    

Welcome to the timeless archetypal-celestial interior world of the Icon.



  



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ICON
In his book All the World an Icon Tom Cheetham explains there is an important difference between a picture and an Icon:

In the space of a Renaissance painting the lines of perspective disappear into infinity.  This is the infinite public space in which external, objective reality "takes place."  A drama with a meaning common to all can appear.  An icon is an object of a different order altogether.  It is not a "picture," and the "space" is not behind the plane of the panel.  It is a dialogical reality, and the lines of perspective converge on the person engaged in dialogue with the reality of the symbol displayed.   

To clarify and expand upon this brief statement: an Icon is not a "picture" -- that is to say, a representation of world appearances, rather it is a symbol; and the Icon's "space" is not behind the picture plane or panel upon which the image has been painted, rather its "space" is a dialogical reality, a silent conversation which takes place between the viewer--the contemplator--and the image.  This "dialogue" is of a very inward, personal nature; in fact, it takes place in the Heart of the contemplator, which Corbin says is the organ of the Active Imagination.  The heart, says Corbin, "at once produces symbols and apprehends them."

Corbin asserts that the central principle in all spiritual disciplines is this dialogue, which is an intuitive process of "reading" or interpreting the symbols of a (spiritual) image or text.  Importantly, in the mystical aspect of Islam, Sufism, it is understood that the entire world is a "book," and every thing is a divine sign, a "spiritual text" that requires interpretation or ta'wil, which is the Arabic word for the act of turning the things of this world into symbols, and then, through the interpretation of the symbols, returning the image to its divine Origin. 

Ta’wil transmutes the world into symbols which by their very nature transcend the distinction between the outer and the inner, the subject and the object, and by interiorizing the cosmos, by revealing the Imago mundi [the Imaginal world], transform and lead the soul beyond the literal understanding of the world to its truth . . . its origin.
Tom Cheetham: The World Turned Inside Out:  Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism

According to Corbin ta'wil "enables men to enter a new world, to accede to a higher plane of being."  The apprehension and interpretation of Icons requires that the contemplator enter into an extraordinary mode of perception and at the same time an extraordinary mode of being, for indeed we are transformed when we engage a symbolic image, an Icon in a concentrated, silent, contemplative dialogue.   Our union with the image becomes a return, a re-union with the divine Origins of the image.  The Icon--a revelation of the soul's innermost being--is the divine Self (God) in a theophanic form--an image of the Creative Imagination unique to each individual person who contemplates the Icon.  

Corbin would say one's whole preoccupation should be to transmute all the things and persons of this world into Icons.  The transmutation opens us, writes Cheetham, "onto the profound mystery that envelopes the human person."  That is to say, there is hidden divine knowledge, a secret message of the soul--gnosis--inside each of us, every object, and everything that happens in our world; but it is how we see the world, and our silent dialogue with it, that will make the "hidden treasure," the divine mystery, accessible to us.  It is our inward images or the outward world, the Icon, that will aid us in this necessary task.


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Throughout this project, intermingled with the texts, I will present Four-fold symmetrical photographs, which for me function as Icons.  In a later chapter I will offer some personal commentaries on select images from the project.  


 Icon #1  (source image: looking into a washing machine) 


Circular Structure
According to the Corbin and his Sufi mystics, our created world is a manifestation of the divine Creative Imagination which has descended from a higher plane of Origin known in some traditions as the heavenly, paradisal garden.  My Icon photographs mirror the structure of the traditional Islamic paradisal garden.  Visit my chapter entitled "Celestial Gardens"  in "An Imaginary Book."    

The transmutation of the things of this "lower" world into Icons is a way of ascending vertically and returning to the "higher" world of Origin.  This basic structure of descent, Creation and ascent, or Ta'wil, forms an archetypal circle.  Each of the two realities, above and below, mirror each other, and they merge into "one" when articulately aligned in the imaginative corresponding forms of an Icon.  This "round" unitary reality functions something like a window through which the eyes of the heart has opened onto a world of meaning that is at once unsayable and indeed unknowable but nonetheless apprehendable within the heart of the soul of the contemplator.  The experience, however--and it must be said again, for it is critically important--is unique for each person according to their individual capacities, for each soul is singularly unique.

I knew intuitively since I was ten years old, that I would devote my life to making photographs.  By the early 1970's, it became very clear to me that my dharma, my duty, my primary life's work was to create photographs--and not just any photographs, but images that function as symbols, or Icons; images that unveil the mystery of existence of my Self and my world.  I like the way Cheetham addresses this in the excerpt that follows, which is full of themes that will be explored throughout this project:  

Every creative act comes out of darkness and requires us to stand on the edge of the unknown . . .  That place of unknowing is sacred . . . because it entails a willingness to sacrifice who we think we are and what we think we know . . .  Every creative act is a prayer born of love and longing . . .  Henry Corbin teaches us that "prayer is not a request for something: it is the expression of a mode of being, a means of existing and of causing to exist."  It is the attempt to fill that pregnant darkness.  Corbin says "Prayer is the highest form, the supreme act of the Creative Imagination."  Longing and nostalgia are the energy of ta'wil, the energy of prayer--they draw the soul through the darkness and toward the flame.  Cheetham: All the World an Icon 


 Icon #2  (source image: looking through an office window, blinds, decorative plant leaves) 


Sacred Window onto the Invisible World
Photographs have often been characterized throughout its history (beginning in 1839) as "windows on the world" in the sense that they mechanically, chemically, optically render the appearances of the (visible) world objectively, scientifically, as if looking though a window.  We tend to "believe" photographs because of their purported and apparent objectivity.  Tom Cheetham explains that in the Catholicism that Corbin knew, and in the Western Church in general, the religious image had long been harnessed by the Church as a tool for teaching stories to the illiterate laity.  The narrative image (and later, similarly, the photograph) had become a didactic tool for the education (and social manipulation) of the masses into doctrine and rule.  Cheetham writes: 

In the Eastern Church, on the other hand, there long remained a tradition of the Icon as a sacred window onto the invisible world.  The religious art of the West was about meaning.  The Icon [of the Eastern Church] is about being.  Corbin was deeply attached to this iconic interpretation of the Imagination.   Cheetham: All the World an Icon 

Cheetham references a book, Iconostasis, written in 1922 by the Russian Orthodox priest, theologian, philosopher, and scientist Pavel Florensky, who was killed fifteen years after publishing the book by the Soviet secret police.  I became curious by the mention of the book and decided to read it.  I will be providing for you, below, some extraordinary excerpts about the Icon and iconostasis from the first fifty pages of Florensky's book.  (By the way, the story of Florensky's life, which is outlined in Donald Sheehan's Introduction of the book's 1996 paperback edition, is fascinating reading in itself.)  All the texts that follow are Florensky's words:

Division of Creation into Two 
In the beginning of Genesis--"God created the heavens and the earth"--we have always recognized as basic this division of all creation into two.  Just so, when we pray the Apostle's Creed, we name God as "Maker of all things visible and invisible."  These two worlds--visible and the invisible--are intimately connected, but their reciprocal differences are so immense that the inescapable question arises: what is their boundry?  Their boundary separates them; yet, simultaneously, it joins them.  How do we understand this boundary? 

The Invisible and the Visible 
Within ourselves, life in the visible world alternates with life in the invisible, and thus we experience moments . . . when the two worlds grow so very near in us that we can see their intimate touching.  At such fleeting moments in us, the veil of visibility is torn apart, and through that tear--that  break we are still conscious of at that moment--we can sense that the invisible world (still unearthly, still invisible) is breathing; and that both this and another world are dissolving into each other.  

Ascent and Descent  Art as materialized dream
Dreams are the images that separate the visible world from the invisible [the imaginary]--and at the same time join them. . .  What we say about the dream holds true abut any movement from one sphere to another.  In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly; there, free of all images, the soul is fed in contemplation by the essences of the highest realm, knowing the permanent noumena of things; then, satiated with this knowing, it descends again to the earthly realm.  And precisely at the boundary between the two worlds, the soul's spiritual knowledge assumes the shapes of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make permanent the work of art.  Art is thus materialized dream, separated from the ordinary consciousness of waking life.  

A crystal of time in an imaginal space
. . . At the point of descent and re-entry . . . the images are experiences of mystical life . . . a crystal of time in an imaginal space.  [Symbolic art] . . .  born of the descent, incarnates in real images the experience of the highest realm; hence this symbolic imagery attains a super-reality.

Countenance : Divine Prototype
Face is nearly synonymous with the world appearance. . .  When we see a face we see its objective reality only.  . . .  On the other hand, the countenance of a thing manifests its ontological reality.  In Genesis, the image of God is differentiated from the likeness of God. . .  We are beholding a countenance whenever we have before us a face that has fully realized within itself its likeness to God: and we then rightly say, Here is the image of God, meaning: Here is depicted the prototype of Him.  When we contemplate this holy countenance, we thus behold the divine prototype; for those among us who have transfigured their faces into countenances proclaim--without a word and solely by their appearance to us--the mysteries of the invisible world.  In Greek, we remember, countenance is called idea, for idea is precisely the meaning of countenance: the idea of revealed spiritual being, eternal meaning contemplatively apprehended, the supreme heavenly beauty of a precise reality, the highest prototype, the ray from the source of all images: such are the meanings of idea in Plato.

Authentic Reality : The Illuminated Face 
This art is the practice of selfless asceticism, wherein the devoted practitioner . . . comes to bear witness and prove the truth of authentic reality. . .  "the works of your beauty", i.e., the light bearing and harmonious manifestations of spiritual personality and, above all, the illumined face whose beauty arises from the dispersal of inward light into the outward appearance; and the light of this face so overwhelms those who behold it that they glorify the heavenly Father whose image corresponds to this brightness before them. . . .  For here, in the essential light, dwells the word of God, and by this word is established the direction of ascetic and spiritual practice.  

Iconostasis 

The wall that separates two worlds is an iconostasis.  click here  One might mean the boards or bricks or the stones.  In actuality, the iconostasis is a boundary between the visible and the invisible worlds . . .  Iconostasis is vision.  Iconostasis is a manifestation of saints and angels--angelophania--a manifest appearance of heavenly witnesses . . .  If everyone praying were wholly spiritualized, if everyone praying were truly to see, then there would be no iconostasis other than standing before God Himself, witnessing to Him by their holy countenances and proclaiming His terrifying glory by their sacred words.

Opening Windows
The iconostasis points out to the half-blind the Mysteries of the altar, opens for them an entrance into a world close to them by their own stuckness, cries into their deaf ears the voice of the Heavenly Kingdom . . . The material iconostasis does not, in itself, take the place of the living witnesses . . .  rather it points toward them, concentrating the attention of those who pray upon them. . .  The iconostasis opens windows in this wall, through whose glass we see what is permanently occurring beyond: the living witnesses to God.

Icons
We never see, however, the flights of angels . . . not even as the quick shadow of a distant bird flying between us and the sun;  . . . we can experience these great motions only as the very faintest breathing.  An icon is the same as this kind of heavenly vision; yet it is not the same, for the icon is the outline of a vision.  A spiritual vision is not in itself an icon, for it possesses by itself full reality; an icon, however, because its outline coincides with a spiritual vision, is that vision within our consciousness; finally, therefore, the icon--apart from its spiritual vision--is not an icon at all but a board.  Thus a window is a window because a region of light opens out beyond it; . . . the window is that very light itself . . . which, undivided-in-itself and thus inseparable from the sun, is streaming down from the heavens. . .  If a symbol as carrier attains its end, then it is inseparable from the superreality it reveals.

Icons are . . . "visible images of mysterious and supernatural visions."  An icon is therefore always either more than itself in becoming for us an image of a heavenly vision, or less then itself in failing to open our consciousness to the world beyond our senses--then it is merely a board with some paint on it. . . 

What Florensky says to the iconpainter:
"It is not you, O iconpainter, who has created these images; it is not you who has shown to our joyous eyes these vividly alive ideas; no, they themselves have appeared within our contemplation, and you have simply taken away the obstacle that blocks their light from us, for you have helped strip away the scales that covered our spiritual sight.  And since you helped us, we now see--no longer your masterpiece--but the wholly real images themselves. . . "

The Icon's power to Remind and to Manifest experience
Icons remind those who pray of the icons' prototype . . .   In one beholder . . . the icon will stir the dreams that lie deeper in the subconscious, awakening a perception of the spiritual that not only affirms that such seeing is possible but also brings the thing seen into immediately felt experience.   Thus, at the highest flourishing of their prayer, the ancient ascetics found that their icons were not simply windows through which they could behold the holy countenances depicted on them, but were also doorways through which these countenances actually entered the empirical world.



Experiences have occurred . . . to persons who were not following any ascetic practice of prayer at all: that is, a sharp penetration of a spiritual reality into the soul, a penetration almost like a physical blow or sudden burn that instantly shocks the viewer who is seeing, for the first time, one of the great works of sacred iconpainting. . .  Like light pouring forth light, the icon stands revealed. . . Our seeing rises above everything around us, for we recognize that we are, in this act of seeing, existing in the icon's space in eternity.  "Yes" we say, ". . . my eyes cannot believe what they're seeing": such we testify to the icon's triumphant beauty overwhelming everything.

An icon necessarily authenticates perception of the world beyond the senses through an always authentic spiritual experience.

Revelations of the world as sacred
We could organize icons into four categories, depending upon their point of origin:  Biblical icons; Portrait icons; Icons from the Holy Traditions; and Revealed icons.

Revealed icons are ones wherein the iconpainter records his own spiritual experience arising from either direct vision or from mystical dream.  Practically speaking--only the fourth category really applies. . .  All icons are revealed icons.

Iconpainting is a transfixing, an annunciation that proclaims in color the spiritual world; therefore iconpainting is the occupation of a person who sees that world as sacred.




Icon #3   (source image:  garage window surrounded by leaves) 


Seeing with the Eyes of Prayer ~ Eyes that regard the Icon
All the world is sacred.  All the world is an Icon.  It is not the case that the objective world defines who we are, writes Cheetham, "on the contrary, we participate in the creation of our world.  The psyche creates reality every day.  And the psyche is not in us--we are in the psyche. . .   It is up to us to see the world with the eyes of prayer, the eyes that regard the icon.  All things are images, and an image can be viewed as a icon if only we ourselves are transformed into imaginal persons--persons who can see imaginal realities."

Corbin in turn writes:  "The Image raised to the rank of icon is the Image invested with its theophanic function.  Then the whole universe of theophanic forms becomes one immense iconostasis."  Corbin uses the word theophanic to mean seeing the divine, the sacred, the Creative Imaginative Life inside the things of the world.  This requires a process, a mode of perception and a mode of being, he calls interiorization.  Corbin's explanation that follows informs us of his own true mystical nature:

It is a matter of entering, passing into the interior and, in passing into the interior, of finding oneself, paradoxically, outside. . .   

But an odd thing happens: once this transition is accomplished, it turns out that henceforth this reality, previously internal and hidden, is revealed to be enveloping, surrounding, containing what was first of all external and visible, since by means of interiorization one has departed from that external reality.  Henceforth it is spiritual reality that contains the reality called material.  Corbin: Mundus Imaginalis, quoted in Cheetham: All the World An Icon.    

Through interiorization the seer is transformed into an imaginal person--a person who can see imaginal spiritual realities, a person who is living inside the Creative Imagination.    "The psyche is not in us--we are in the psych."  Interiorization is seeing with the eyes of the heart, the eyes of prayer, the eyes which regard the Icon.  

Regarding my creative process in these terms, then, when I am making photographs I am seeing intuitively through the "window" of the photographic medium and simultaneously through the "window" of my heart "with eyes of prayer, with eyes that regard the Icon, with eyes opened by grace onto the infinite space of the Imaginal World.  "Henceforth [writes Corbin] it is spiritual reality that contains the reality called material."



Icon #4   (source image:  looking into the reflections in a stainless steel refrigerator door) 


Test of the Veil  &   Idolatry
To come into being at all, as creatures distinct from the Creator, writes Cheetham, we must exist at some remove from the source of our being, there must be a separation which then gives birth to our individual person.  This separation gives rise to what the Sufis call the Test of the Veil.  It's as if a curtain separates us from everything divinely created.  The separation exists even within ourselves.  Cheetham writes:

To paraphrase Corbin, the Test of the Veil is this: when the creatures contemplate the Light that gives them life, they are both different from and identical with that glory.  In order to see God, they must be other than God, and yet it is from God that they have their very being--for they are nothing, they have nothing, in themselves.  This is their radical poverty.  In so far as any being is contemplated in its difference from God, it will appear to be self-subsistent.  This is when we are most at risk of idolatry.  For an idol is any being understood as a totality unto itself, self-sufficient, independent.  Any being uderstood as an end it itself is an idol.  To idol-ize . . . is a way of seeing and of acting, an inability to perceive the transcendent dimension of the world.  

Insofar as anything is perceived as determinate and comprehensible, to that degree it is a Veil of the divinity.  And yet in truth all things are masks of the infinite, and their being is the gift of God.  All things are organs by which God contemplates Himself and are not other than He.  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.  Cheetham: All the World an Icon 

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The Four-fold symmetrical photographs presented in this project are for me larger than life, much more than the appearances which were my picture-making starting point.  The process of transformation which occurs in the symmetrical image begins in me with a palpable feeling of divine presence in the things I photograph.  But when I make the exposure in the camera I am no longer seeing the world before me; rather I am seeing with the eyes of the heart, the eyes that regard the Icon; I see the potential, Imaginal image that will be manifested through the Four-fold process.  When the symmetrical photograph has been fine-tuned, articulated, the completed image unveils that presence, that mystery of the hidden, the unknown Origin, source of all creation.  I have entered through the symbol that functions for me as an Icon, into the invisible world.  In other words, the image functions for me as threshold onto the Formless, the world that lies "beyond" in a higher plane of essential existence.  

Though these Icon images are deeply alive for me, I understand they may not function for you in the same way: we all must find our own vision of the world, the imagery that coincides with our uniquely individual capacities.  Still, I offer these photographs to you in the spirit of gratitude for what I have been given, and in the hope that they will function for you as Icons as well--if not now, then perhaps in some future time.  



Icon #5   (source image: butterflies and oranges) 


The Sacred Work of Poets
Tom Cheetham writes: If Imagination is the central faculty of human beings, and if imaginal reality is fluid and changeable, then no literal interpretation we can ever give of the world will do it justice. There is no one complete Truth that is visible to everyone.  The cosmos cries out for interpretation [ta'wil] because it is infinite, everywhere and always, from the tiniest grain of sand to the greatest cluster of galaxies, from the tiniest living cell to the infant sleeping in its mother's arms.  We need all the interpreters we can find . . . physicists, biologists, anthropologists, painters, architects, poets, lovers, parents.  

It is a basic doctrine shared by all the Abrahamic religions, the religions of the Book, that all of Creation is a cosmic Text written in the languages of God.  That account places language at the center of reality, and makes the craft of the poet, the creator in language, a sacred work. . .   These are the words of the American poet Mary Oliver:

"No poet ever wrote a poem to dishonor life, to compromise high ideals, to scorn religious views, to demean hope or gratitude . . .  On the contrary, poets have, in freedom and in prison, in health and in misery, spent their lives examining and glorying life, meditation, thoughtfulness, devoutness, and human love.  They have done this wildly, serenely, rhetorically, lyrically, without hope of answer or reward.  They have done this grudgingly, willingly, patiently, and in the streams of impatience.  They have done it all for all and any of the gods of life, and so the record of their doing belongs to each and every one of us."   Cheetham: All the World an Icon 


Icon #6   (source image: plastic sheeting over window, construction site) 


The Fiery Face of Angelic Grace
The Face of the Angel is crucial to Corbin and his mystical world view.  It is challenging, and yet necessary for me to include the Corbin's angelology in my exploration of the Icon and my creative process in photography, though I have devoted an earlier project to this entitled The Angels.   Seeing the divine face, the sacred in the world of things, persons, events, is a psychic transformative epiphany, a mystical, magical moment of grace in which "the soul visualizes its own archetypal image, that Image whose imprint it simultaneously bears within it, projects, and recognizes outside itself." Henry Corbin: Avincenna and the Visionary Recital  

Corbin's theology of the Angel states that "we are necessary partners in the creative, intimate, personal relationship with the transcendent."  We cannot exist without the Creator, the Angel Holy Spirit "whose fiery face opens out into a myriad theophanies to bring to light the diversity of creation" for it is the grace of the Angel that allows us to see "all the world as an Icon."   And yet, it is also we who give birth to God and the world itself as a personal vision.  And it is Imagination as it takes form in the Icon which provides the necessary meeting place between this world and the Divine.     

The Sufi mystic, the Christian Iconpainter, the contemporary poet becomes ". . . the eye with which God contemplates himself; he himself, in his being, is the witness by which God witnesses himself, the revelation by which the Hidden Treasure reveals itself to itself."  The person of the Angel is infinite and iconic--that is, the succession of transcendences never stops . . . the true self opens upwards, and forever.  The power of the creative imagination, the gift of Gabriel, the Angel Holy Spirit, enables each of us, if we consent, to give birth to the Angel, whose grace allows us to see all the world as an icon.  For we give birth not only to God, but the world itself, transfigured in the light of a personal vision.  Tom Cheetham: After Prophecy  



Icon #7   (source image: tree limbs, garden lawn)


  

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This first of several parts of my project regarding the Icon was first
posted ithe"Latest Addition" section of my Website's 
"Welcome Page"  0n January24,  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.




























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