DISCUSSION GROUP: The Tao of Islam: cosmic harmony, marriage of opposites and spiritual psychology
EVENT: DISCUSSION GROUP: The Tao of Islam: cosmic harmony, marriage of opposites and spiritual psychology
DATE: 5th February 2020
VENUE: Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2TH
WORKSHOP LEADER/S: Max Phillips
Most traditional world views recognize a universal polarity of opposites. In both Western and Chinese alchemy the active and passive principles of existence (yin and yang) are embodied as abstract concepts that embrace one another in equilibrium and correspond to the masculine and feminine duality on which the harmony of the universe depends. This cosmological notion is no simple academic scientific proposition but is intimately connected to human experience. In both Islamic Sufi tradition and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the micro- and macrocosmic worlds are interconnected by symbolic correspondences, and the ‘pairs, male and female included, must therefore tell us something about God’s own Self’.
At a time when perspectives on gender are being challenged, and rigid understandings of male/female, masculine/feminine categories freed from the constraints of societal and religious mores, this group will explore an alternative perspective based on Islamic Sufi teaching with its traditional, and yet subtle and flexible approach to gender symbolism, relationship and complementarity. Discussions will centre on selected readings from Sachiko Murata’s The Tao of Islam: a Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought. Supplementary texts may include C G Jung’s Mysterium Coniunctionis and Emanuel Swedenborg’s Conjugial Love, among other relevant material.