Silence & Symbol

Silence  Symbol   

Tom Cheetham:  All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings
The fountain of human creativity is the poetic basis of mind--from it comes all that we are.  From that source, there flows both Sound and Silence.  Poetry is language that always stays near the source and hears the coursing of that primal Silence.  Poetry is born on the edge of silence and listens into and speaks out of that Void.

Corbin shared Jung's conviction that a true symbol is an expression of something essentially unknown.  He wrote:  "The symbol announces a plane of consciousness distinct from rational evidence; it is a "cipher" of a mystery, the only means of saying something that cannot be apprehended in any other way; a symbol is never explained once and for all, but must be deciphered over and over again."

The symbol mediates between our world and the immensity of the worlds beyond.  We cannot know of that beyond in any other way--we are speechless in the presence of that darkness.  Corbin says, "the symbol is mediator because it is silence, it speaks and does not speak; and precisely thus, it states what it alone can speak."   

The function of the symbol is the function of the Angel of Revelation, and that is to be the "hermeneut of the divine silence--that is, the annunciation and epiphany of the impenetrable and incommunicable divine transcendence."

The figure of Sophia is also exactly this mediating figure, standing on the boundary between the known and the unknowable.  She is the guardian of the Fountain of Life, the Spring from which poetry and symbols flow.  Corbin says:  "Because she is a guide who always leads the mystic toward the beyond, preserving him from metaphysical idolatry, Sophia appears to him sometimes as compassionate and comforting, sometimes as sever and silent, because only Silence can "speak," can indicate transcendences."


                                          Listen, if you can stand to.
                                          Union with the Friend means not being who you've been,
                                          being instead silence: A place: A view
                                          where language is inside seeing.



Frithjof Schuon: Language of the Self
All the static forms of existence were determined by a concentric archetype: centered in this qualitative, "totemic," almost impersonal ego, the Indian tends towards independence  and so towards indifference with regard to the outward world; he surround himself with silence as with a magic circle, and this silence is sacred as being the vehicle of the heavenly influences.  It is from this silence -- of which the natural support is solitude -- that the Indian draws his spiritual strength; his ordinary prayer is unvoiced" what it requires is not thought but consciousness of the Spirit, and this consciousness is immediate and formless like the vault of heaven.  

The supernatural value of sacred art arises from the fact that it conveys and communicates an intelligence which is lacking in the collectivity.  Like virgin nature it has a quality and function of intelligence which it manifests through beauty because in essence it belongs to the formal order;  sacred art is the form of the Supra-formal, it is the image of the Uncreate, the language of Silence.  

An art is sacred, not through the personal intention of the artist, but through its content, its symbolism . . .

Also visit:

     The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism 2003  (first book in a series of 4)
     All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings 2012 (book #4 in a series of 4)
     click here

    Sacred Art, Sacred Knowledge which is a work in progress consisting primarily of 
    a collection of quotes by Islamic Scholars on the traditions of the sacred in art and all 
    aspects of Islamic culture. 

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.