Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Astral and paranormal experiences, dreams and visions.
obnoxion
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Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Postby obnoxion » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:28 am

Thread split from Mahatma Letters Reading Group. – JN
Nefastos wrote:
Yinlong wrote:Since lately I have been starting to work more (or again) with inner images through meditation, which at least on my mind or what I have understood is what astral world broadly refers to. As a side note, I often find the related terminology confusing - and I also find especially confusing the debate what is what, and what should be called astral etc. according to one or the other tradition. This almost leading me to just not care too much.
"Astral" is most probably THE term for many different interpretations & associations. In a way that also is a part of astral's nature, and thus a good thing to note. Different parties see astral working differently, and may either use this and/or other words, or use the word "astral" in many meanings. Overall, it is good to just read "psychic phenomena" whenever astral is mentioned, and understand that with "psychic" is meant something not spiritual, but parapsychological (possibilities of pathological not excluded). The word spiritual has a connotation of ethical, pure and lofty, while "astral" is "spiritual" things without those connotations. Something being perceived "astrally" does not mean that the thing perceived is true, and this is one of the clashing points of theosophical ethics of absolute trutfulness and many other schools of occultism (e.g. New Age "everything goes" mentality) which do not seek Truth as their priority, but magick abilities instead. The latter means that the whole Work is based upon sand, not rock, which is also why our philosophy behind SoA is essentially theosophical, even though it often uses very different methods & mindsets.
Yinlong wrote:Writing that here just in case somebody is confused as I am with the terminology to describe and make somehow clear to other readers that I basically meditate the appearing inner images or dream-like landscape without being actually asleep.
Yes, this is a good example of neutral astral working. It is not "good" (spiritual) or "bad" (egotistical, forced or fanatical) by itself, but a psychic tool which brings either good or bad results depending how, when and by whom it is handled.

In his letter, Morya mentioned that the problem was of the "forced visions": the very point of "yoga" had been to bring about this kind of results. So, once again, we see that it is the intention that counts. Seeing astral landscapes can be very invigorating, helpful, restorative, uplifting & inspiring, but if we seek especially to see beautiful landscapes, we are basically occult tv-viewers, and thus will be also exposed to the influences of the astral "advertises" - those being even more subtle & manipulative than the ones in and between our tv programs.
There has been so many interesting things going on in this reading group, but this is something that I wanted to highlight. Because this sort dreamlike flow of symbolic images is something that describes my inner mode of cognition very accurately. I have recently found a very satisfying term for it, called "eidetic vision". For me, this has nothing to do with the eidetic memory, which is a related thing. I found out about this term when reading about William Blake in a book by Leo Damrosch, called "Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake". Damorsch writes that Blake was eidetic, and I really related to that. So Blake did not have hallucinatory visions (although he sometimes joked around with people, and pretended to paint some vivid vision that was right before him), but edetic visions, which are more like a dream or film that plays before the inner eye, and though the vision pregresses with certain inner laws, it is not an involuntary thing, and one can put it off one's mind or concentrate on it as one chooses.

This mode of thinking has many uses. For example, I use it to comprehend and memorize complex interactive wholes. In the early days of scinece, people used thechiques like the "Theatre of Memory", that I think are still very good methods when connected to this kind of eidetic thinking. I have sometimes thought how the world would be like, if consensus had sided with the "Theatre of Memory", and not, as it happened, had it actively disrecared it. I think that when words fail, you can still express complex ideas quite accurately by, for example, series of mandalas and other such devises.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Yinlong » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:21 pm

obnoxion wrote: Because this sort dreamlike flow of symbolic images is something that describes my inner mode of cognition very accurately. I have recently found a very satisfying term for it, called "eidetic vision". For me, this has nothing to do with the eidetic memory, which is a related thing. I found out about this term when reading about William Blake in a book by Leo Damrosch, called "Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake".
...
This mode of thinking has many uses. For example, I use it to comprehend and memorize complex interactive wholes. In the early days of scinece, people used thechiques like the "Theatre of Memory", that I think are still very good methods when connected to this kind of eidetic thinking. I have sometimes thought how the world would be like, if consensus had sided with the "Theatre of Memory", and not, as it happened, had it actively disrecared it. I think that when words fail, you can still express complex ideas quite accurately by, for example, series of mandalas and other such devises.
I don't remember if this was mentioned directly by you to me or through frater Nefastos or actually both. In any case, now that you put it there I really need to look into this. Just one small question by now - isn't this something that everybody can be capable of - or can train to be better at through meditation? Also, as a personal side note, I have felt that sort of cultivation of this vision can definitely have beneficial impact on one's dreams and mood - but can go wrong too, so I'm fairly careful.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:03 pm

For me it is something that has come with meditation, as a sort of by-product. I suppose such a thing would be available to most people, but I think it is a too subtle for most people to be of interest. One needs to be sort of decadent - that is, obsessive about deep psychological states - to perceive it and keep observing it.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Yinlong » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:44 am

obnoxion wrote:I suppose such a thing would be available to most people, but I think it is a too subtle for most people to be of interest.
You are very probably right there saying that!

Unless you already guessed, I think this is the very reason why I'm so interested in Henry Corbin's books (I just wasn't fully aware - or didn't understand the concept of eidetic vision). Well, isn't one of Corbin's titles Creative imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn ʻArabi - so not even hints needed about the main themes. I also heard that Henry Corbin has written a book named Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam. This is definitely in the next batch of books I'll order. Also, a reason why I like the scifi novels of Hannu Rajaniemi is that he seems to mix concepts like "memory palace" to vivid scifi storytelling including quantum physics and clever made-up cultures - also artificial intelligences.

Furthermore, a very shortened version of the creation story in Sufi tradition:
After creating the first man and woman, the Earth etc. from clay. A small piece of clay is left. From this leftover piece God creates the imaginary world, which can be accessed by all. For Sufis this creativity is the key to love and the inner fire.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:59 am

Was it not you who recently praised Martinus Rulandus' "A Lexicon of Alchemy"...? Therein imagination is explained as "The Star in Man", which is exactly how I feel. Imagination must be the most underrated resource available to mankind.

That Sufi story is, I think, pure gold. Also, what I find significant is the concept of Darsan in Hindu, but also Buddhist thought. So when you go to worship at a Hindu temple, you are briefly shown the image of the deity. Thus darsan means viewing the image, and I guess one could say that the there is a doctrine expressed on the aspect and the atributes of the images. And in Buddhism, a preliminary practice is establishing the right view, that is, the darsan.

When it comes to aniconic Traditions, I think it is a bit misguided to say these traditions are somehow visually barren. Restrictions, even prohibitions, can be used to unchain the oceanic deeps of imagination, as well as a rich visual culture can be used to enslave this awesome power.

Perhaps we should make up a new topic for this conersation, if we wish to continue... by the way, I have that "Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam", but haven't begun to read it yet. If one is interested in visual imagination and swedenborgian thought, one cannot go wrong with Adrienne Baxter Bell's "George Inness and the Visionary Landscape". Apart from many spiritual landscapes, it also has a photo from 1880's of William James (the author of "The Religious Experience") participating in a seance.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Postby Nefastos » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:33 pm

Yinlong wrote:Unless you already guessed, I think this is the very reason why I'm so interested in Henry Corbin's books (I just wasn't fully aware - or didn't understand the concept of eidetic vision). Well, isn't one of Corbin's titles Creative imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn ʻArabi - so not even hints needed about the main themes. I also heard that Henry Corbin has written a book named Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam. This is definitely in the next batch of books I'll order.


I am not familiar with Henry Corbin, but while reading Entering the Desert by Craig Williams I came across with his name immediately in the preface:

Entering the Desert wrote:In his work, Craig Williams invokes an incisive perception of Henry Corbin who felt compelled to use the word imaginal to distinguish the gnostic imagination from the imaginary, which merely designates the individual and collective minds at play and lacks higher import.


I have often thought that some new nomenclature to distinguish these two, the shallow & the deep possibilities for imagination, should perhaps be in need of making – even though such a line must always be a line drawn in water. As most of lines in religion, occultism, art, or any other "metasubjective" principles must always be.

In older occultism, e.g. in Reneissace works, the term "imagination" is almost always used very carefully. If a modern reader reads such secret doctrine with an untrained eye, he might just smile for the ignorance of those savages barely out of the dark middle ages. But when one understands this subtle & carefully implied nuance of imagination, everything changes, and it is the modern reader who tumbles down into his newly deepened darkness. For that "imagination" of the old was not the same as is our time's common escapist entertainment. Learning how the poles of dynamism & passivity play their changing, dancing roles, is the key – I believe – how the deeper realm, more honest vision, can be accessed.

obnoxion wrote:Was it not you who recently praised Martinus Rulandus' "A Lexicon of Alchemy"...? Therein imagination is explained as "The Star in Man", which is exactly how I feel. Imagination must be the most underrated resource available to mankind.


Which brings us back to the imagination (or "imaginal") as astral, i.e. star-like. Jung is, once again, a good "lost link" here, because he took seriously both alchemy, dreams, and modern approach. It seems that he didn't quite exactly get what is what in deeper initiatory occultism, which is fine, because his was another kind of dharma; but he made this precious bridge from the real "astral" experiences to modernity. Unlike so many other 19th or 20th (or 21st) century esotericist individuals, for whom it is enough to paint rainbows on the dorm's walls. There are two types – or two poles – of "astral" experiences, shallow & diminutive on the other hand and deep, rich & transpersonal on the other.

I too spent my yesterday working with these same ideas, for I was putting together a commentary of a fictional book, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, and quoted there both his ideas about being more like a scribe than just an author of made-up stories, and my own old writings about the subject, like Uuden aikakauden mytologiat ("Mythologies for the New Age") where I discussed this same challenge of "astrally perceived" archetypical, mythical or shared reality.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Postby obnoxion » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:27 pm

Nefastos wrote:I am not familiar with Henry Corbin, but while reading Entering the Desert by Craig Williams I came across with his name immediately in the preface
Corbin is, I think, one of the more interesting writers on imagination, along perhaps with James Hillman and Gaston Bachelard. We need minds that are attuned to the academic world, but who also have firm spiritual foundation. And, of course, the manner how fra Nefastos was immanently on the same page (pun intented) on what Henri Corbin is generally about when he enetered this discussion, brings us again to the important aspect of collectivity, and nautrally, to Jung...
Nefastos wrote:...the imagination (or "imaginal") as astral, i.e. star-like. Jung is, once again, a good "lost link" here, because he took seriously both alchemy, dreams, and modern approach. It seems that he didn't quite exactly get what is what in deeper initiatory occultism, which is fine, because his was another kind of dharma; but he made this precious bridge from the real "astral" experiences to modernity. Unlike so many other 19th or 20th (or 21st) century esotericist individuals, for whom it is enough to paint rainbows on the dorm's walls. There are two types – or two poles – of "astral" experiences, shallow & diminutive on the other hand and deep, rich & transpersonal on the other.
...who discusses our themes in this text:
https://carljungdepthpsychologysite.blo ... body-opus/

Jung writes "We have to conceive of these processes not as the immaterial phantoms we readily take fantasy-pictures to be, but as something corporeal, a “subtle body” ...semi-spiritual in nature." This seems to come close to the divide made by Jacob Boehme, when he speaks of higher imagination, and the lower phantasia, which is Lucifer in His fallen state.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Postby Yinlong » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:18 am

Dear frater Obnoxion, you seem to have an incredible finesse nudging me to look in the right directions :D Thank you so much for sharing that small linked text, I enjoyed it and I will re-read it with better time.

My opinion only, I am not sure did Jung understand this (fully):
lewislafontaine / on Jung / Jung? wrote:...an intermediate realm between mind and matter
Or it might be that he learned to study it from other members of Eranos or somewhere else - of course being a brilliant mind and having extensive experiences and studies of these projections and imagination. However, I think I can already say that Henry Corbin understood the depth of this at least couple of steps better.

What comes to the sea and the desert theme (I haven't read the book frater Nefastos mentioned, maybe I should), I believe it's ultimately the same: Forcing somebody to do a journey in a 360 degrees horizontal (inner/outer) landscape that forces one to two things (very shortly): 1. sensory deprivation and historical deprivation 2. trust oneself, one's guts - and inner vision. If you survive to tell something back, you already have achieved a lot.

In the sea I feel I belong there. In the desert I was a stranger. I can recommend both. If and when one feels the urge: Go alone, not with familiar friends.
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Re: Imagination & Eidetic Vision

Postby Yinlong » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:59 am

Yinlong wrote: What comes to the sea and the desert theme (I haven't read the book frater Nefastos mentioned, maybe I should), I believe it's ultimately the same: Forcing somebody to do a journey in a 360 degrees horizontal (inner/outer) landscape that forces one to two things (very shortly): 1. sensory deprivation and historical deprivation 2. trust oneself, one's guts - and inner vision. If you survive to tell something back, you already have achieved a lot.

In the sea I feel I belong there. In the desert I was a stranger. I can recommend both. If and when one feels the urge: Go alone, not with familiar friends.
Edit / additional note: It seems that Craig William's book is more about metaphorical desert of the soul, not actually going there and pondering inner and outer desert at the same time. For me personally these things go often hand in hand. Well, I think I'm an adventurer and a poor man's Corto Maltese, so I still recommend going for real for any other adventurous souls there. :D

Also, has anyone tried these blackened out salt water tanks where you can float without any sensory input? Could be interesting.
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