The Flame of Things: Lessons in Pyrotechnics
[I]maginal love … does not reach only towards unifying as we have been so tediously taught. When we love, we want to explore, to discriminate more and more widely, to extend the intricacy that intensifies intimacy.—James Hillman
Many of us have lost contact with the primal immersion in reality where all things are marvellous and strange, both familiar and unexpected. That world is saturated with an incandescent fire, as in the first morning of creation. There are many ways to recover the beginner’s mind that reveals the flame of things. If we imagine the fiery heart to be the organ of both Imagination and sensation, as certain traditions have held, we can know the nature of our task. Fire is magical and dangerous. It is spirit and life, conflagration and despair. It is hearth and hellfire both. Our challenge is to master the pyrotechnics of art and of alchemy, of knowledge and of love. Then we might enact new forms of life that reveal the wonder and mystery in all things. In this lecture author Tom Cheetham (author of Imaginal Love: The Meanings of Imagination in Henry Corbin and James Hillman, All the World and Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings, Green Man, Earth Angel, The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism, and After Prophecy: Imagination, Incarnation, and the Unity of the Prophetic Tradition) will try to help us take a few small steps towards that end.
Tom Cheetham is the author of five books on the imagination in religion, psychology, the arts and sciences, and one book of poems. He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy in London, and was Adjunct Professor of Human Ecology at the College of the Atlantic, and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Wilson College. He teaches and lectures in the US and Europe. He and his wife live on a homestead in rural Maine. They have two grown children.