#6 My Re-Enchantment Story

A robber fly feeds on a cabbage moth on the arm of a chair. The Asilidae are the robber fly family, also called assassin flies. I think the Moth is Pieris rapae is a small- to medium-sized species of the family Pieridae.

A few years ago, I discovered the work of Henri Corbin, a French philosopher who focused on Islamic knowledge and spirituality. He believed that the imagination is how best to engage the creation, and coined the term “imaginal”. “Imaginal” refers to a realm between reality (body) and spirit. (Less dense than the physical world, but more than the spiritual world.) Corbin was careful to keep his new word “imaginal” separate from “imaginary” which about fantasy and making things up. The Imaginal world is very real. It’s where we find meaning in the physical world, where we connect natural phenomena to their symbols. My dragonfly obsession began when I dreamed about one, after which I began encountering them wherever I went. The physical world mixed with my dream world. I discovered the “Imaginal realm” and Corbin while trying to make sense of that dragonfly in my dream. Now they not only fascinate me as physical material wild beings, but as archetypes and symbols, the subject of stories told across the world and across time. I realized, on further inquiry, that I must be an “Imaginal ecologist”, or one who ‘does’ Imaginal Ecology.” In his essay “Imaginal Ecology”* Kevin Richtscheid wrote, “When we recognize that an ecological movement that focuses solely on the material aspect of things is subject to the limitations of a materialistic paradigm, we can realize the necessity to look beyond the outer shape of things, toward the imaginal, which is more ‘real’ if in its own way.” He feels that Imaginal ecology is not opposed to traditional ecology, but complementary. An “enchanted” world, it seems to me, encompasses the complete world consisting of the physical, imaginal, and spiritual dimensions. *http://www.sacredweb.com/online_articles/sw17_richtscheid.pdf