The Imago Templi in Confrontation

In his philosophical exegesis Answer to Job, Carl Gustav Jung introduced the idea of a progressive transformation of the Imago Dei as a result of changes in the consciousness, the recipient and participant agent in man, throughout time. He attempted not to relativize the Sublime in view of cultural influx and trends, but to address.

I think I should explain where I was going with that lenghty excerpt from Henry Corbin‘s excellent survey on the Imago Templi in Confrontation with the Profane. It has less to do with any fascination with Jacques de Molay and the recurrence of a full-fledged moral or initiatic Templar knighthood – and

more to do with our effort to somehow approach the Gnosis, and if we have received a “glimpse”, to hold on to its effective grace.

With the fall of the Temple of Solomon an entire culture experienced to be ejected right back into the terrible ordeal of being a people without a central sanctuary, without its axis mundi. As moderns we may recognize the situation as our own, it does not only have to do with the Sacred, mystical notions about a concentration of a Divine presence withinn a locality of one kind or another;

but loss of identity at a more profound and subtle level than the sociological. Corbin warns against going too far in the direction of a psychological inflation of mere ideas, notions and

personal hermeneutic into carriers or vessels of the Divine –

yet he returns again and again to events which is only intimate,only personal, only subjective – that is to say, which is exclusively and unrepressibly

dependent on radical intimacy at the level of the Solitary.

It is only you who can traverse past the ordeals and travel upon that steep and narrow path which leads to the Mountain of Vision, the “meeting-place of the two seas”.Just as the rebuilding of the Temple occurs in the human heart before it takes form any other place.

Henri Corbin, the Mundus Imaginalis – On the Mountain of Vision, paraphrasing Suhravardi‘s Recital of the Occidental Exile;

“The mountain of Qaf is the cosmic mountain constituted from summit to summit, valley to valley, by the celestial Spheres that are enclosed one inside the other. What, then, is the road that leads out of it? How long is it? “No matter how long you walk,” he is told, “it is at the point of departure that you arrive there again,” like the point of the compass returning to the same place. Does this involve simply leaving oneself in order to attain oneself? Not exactly. Between the two, a great event will have changed everything; the self that is found there is the one that is beyond the mountain of Qaf a superior self, a self “in the second person.” It will have been necessary, like Khezr (or Khadir, the mysterious prophet, the eternal wanderer, Elijah or one like him) to bathe in the Spring of Life. “He who has found the meaning of True Reality has arrived at that Spring. When he emerges from the Spring, he has achieved the Aptitude that makes him like a balm, a drop of which you distill in the hollow of your hand by holding it facing the sun, and which then passes through to the back of your hand. If you are Khezr, you also may pass without difficulty through the mountain of Qaf.”

It is to Pilgrimage we are called, not architechture, whether of mind or psyche. Wherein we recover the Other, who has been a stranger to us and with whom we have contested – without knowing him, nor discerned the reason for our struggle. For the ancients all impressions from their interaction with changing Nature, contrasted with the lasting things intuitively understood by them – created a dimension to their lives which allowed an appreciation of wholeness, truth, beauty in their Ideal forms. To them the world was already a great domed temple, the great firmament above stretched out like a tent – which they elaborated as a way of orientating themselves, interiorily and through the medium of primitive art. The situation has changed – we can say with the haunting Knights of the Chapel of Gavornie, “woe unto us, the Temple is destroyed”; while visibly all seems to be in order, the interior integrity of the Temple has been broken – it is no longer a sanctuary, but a place of exile.

Now, the World is _not_ the Temple. Not anymore. To the seekers everywhere, a visit

to “Jerusalem”, as the conjunction of the imaginal Jerusalem and the actual, geo-cultural

city-architecture of contemporary, “actual” Jerusalem – will provoke a reaction akin to what

Jung reports about his noctural visitors from the other side – in his Seven Sermons to the

Dead:

The Dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought.

Many have sought that particular, special thing which seekers go and seek after in Jerusalem;

From an eagles perspective much of what comprised the early and central stages of the Middle Ages appears to be centered about Jerusalem, or at least the idea of Jerusalem – many a pilgrim looking down upon a mirage, a fatah morgana.. a building in the sky reaching

beyond where our eyes of flesh – the fires was lit, but it was physical fire, and it consumed not

only the air, but the flesh, its host.

The Diaspora seems to stretch across all the known ages, the Prophecies which foresaw it appears arcane, pre-historical, mythical and lost to our understanding of history

and time alltogether. What better example of this – than the recurring theme: The Bruchion brought

to the fire out of arrogance, the Alexandrine Library destroyed – not once, but three times, the destruction of the First Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar

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1 thought on “The Imago Templi in Confrontation

  1. My comment is more of a question than a comment. Can someone please elaborate further on this paragraph from above: ”Corbin warns against going too far in the direction of a psychological inflation of mere ideas, notions and

    personal hermeneutic into carriers or vessels of the Divine –

    yet he returns again and again to events which is only intimate,only personal, only subjective – that is to say, which is exclusively and unrepressibly

    dependent on radical intimacy at the level of the Solitary.”

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