Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Green Man, Earth Angel

Green Man, Earth Angel: The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World. (SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions) (2005)

Tom Cheetham has written a remarkable book that has the power of shifting our way of imagining the world ... He is one of the most courageous thinkers I have ever read ... I hope you enter into a study of a work that certainly does not belong to the world of throwaway books. This book requires slow reading, for as you read these living words you are undergoing a transformation. At the end of reading, the world will not be the same. -
from the Foreword by Robert Sardello

Nowhere does this far ranging and sophisticated survey of the loss of the world soul allow for easy summary; it is far too baroque in architecture and in thematic interests... - enough to rattle anyone's caged thoughts into new territory. One of [Cheetham's] clarion calls is to return to thinking as an imaginal act... [his] style and manner is scholarly-poetic for he calls on the reader to imagine his work with him... [He] argues that the world's languages need to be heard once more by ears grown deaf by dogma, closed by arthritic credos and waxed over by wandering abstractions that bypass the world soul's desire to be recognized on its own terms. – Dennis Patrick Slattery, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Author of The Wounded Body (full review HERE)

Particularly affecting is the final essay, ‘Harmonia Abrahamica’ (a reference to Corbin’s vision of uniting the three Religions of the Book), in which Cheetham meditates with great feeling on the problems crystallized in the mysterious post-war meeting between Jewish poet Paul Celan (whose parents died in the Holocaust) and philosopher Martin Heidegger (notorious for his Nazi sympathies). Anyone interested in phenomenology and Indo-European mysticism will inevitably have to tackle associations with varying degrees of dubious politics. I don’t think any degree of resolution is possible here that would satisfy those who habitually relate mystical preoccupations with reactionary politics. However, this essay is an especially poignant example of Cheetham’s ability to apply intellectual vigour and profound compassion to the problems posed to anyone unable to lose sight of the liberating value of deep spiritual vision and the need for a human-centred idea of community. - The Dreamflesh Library. Read the Review.

Green Man, Earth Angel explores the central role of imagination for understanding the place of humans in the cosmos... Central to this re-imagining is an examination of the place of language in human life and art and in the worldview that the prophetic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - presuppose. Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies

A passionate cry for the reclamation of the imaginal realm denied by the dualistic cosmologies of the Abrahamic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam ... Green Man, Earth Angel is a very engaging read. Cheetham ... brings ... much-needed attention to the ground-breaking work of Henri Corbin in the field of Sufism and provides throughout ... a learned and cogent exposition of Islamic esoteric thought in the work of Ibn 'Arabi. - Melinda Weinstein in Esoterica

This book speaks trenchantly to themes that I have returned to time and again in my writings and throws new light on them. It is a very important addition to the ongoing discussion of where we are in human history." - Huston Smith, Author of The World's Religions

Dennis Patrick Slattery's Full Review is in Spring Journal 76 and can be read online HERE.

The Corbin Trilogy
By Tom Cheetham

Reviewed by M. Ali Lakhani
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SUNY Press