‘Alone with the Alone’: Henry Corbin and Visionary Experience

With limited time for writing this week, I am happily reblogging a post from “Conversations with Don Machinga” on Henri Corbin, the Imaginal realm and its parallels to ayahuasca visions.
Happy 2015. Enjoy!
Here’s an excerpt:
“Corbin is very interested, to put it mildly, in this intermediate world, which he calls ‘the Imaginal World’ – he never uses the word ‘imaginary’ as it suggests this world is not real. He says this is: “the world of Idea-Images, of archetypal figures [like our visions of Madre Ayahuasca and other plant spirits], of subtile substances, of “immaterial matter”…where the spiritual takes body and the body becomes spiritual.” It is a world in which symbols show their inner meaning.”

Conversations with Don Machinga and Other Beings

Ayahuma Gnosick 1 Ayahuma by Javier Iglesias Algora. Found at: http://www.gnosick.com/archivos/635

Nearly everyone drinking ayahuasca wants to have, and generally likes to have, visions – unless they are of hell. Certainly some of my most powerful moments with the medicine have been when I have been vouchsafed some form of revelatory vision, penetrating the veil of consensus-based reality that most of us slumber in.

However, as my good friend – who is a respected and very experienced Western medicine man with over fifteen years of experience of working with ayahuasca – says: “If people come to me looking for visions, I tell them to go elsewhere. The point is the cura.” What he is getting at is that within the particular tradition of Shipibo medicine that he has trained in (there are a number of different traditions even within one ethnic group like the Shipibo), the point is to heal people, not…

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5 thoughts on “‘Alone with the Alone’: Henry Corbin and Visionary Experience

  1. nicciattfield

    I read Benny Shannon’s book Antipodes of Mind, and he too spoke about the imaginal level and of particular interest to me, the fact that he went there believing there was no god, and now he has a different idea…perhaps not the same definition of the divine though. He also brought up the idea of ancestors. He is at Hebrew University,and shared visions of concentration camps. Also the fact that many people believed they were dying after drinking.


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