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At the age of 29 Henry Corbin traveled to Sweden where he visited Georges Dumezil and H. S. Nyberg. While in Dalecarlia on the shores of Lake Siljan he wrote this short meditation, which he called Theology by the Lakside.
Everything is only revelation; there can only be re-velation. But revelation comes from the Spirit, and there is no knowledge of the Spirit.
It will soon be dusk, but for now the clouds are still clear, the pines are not yet darkened, for the lake brightens them into transparency. And everything is green with a green that would be richer than if pulling all the organ stops in recital. It must be heard seated, very close to the Earth, arms crossed, eyes closed, pretending to sleep.
For it is not necessary to strut about like a conqueror and want to give a name to things, to everything; it is they who will tell you who they are, if you listen, yielding like a lover; for suddenly for you, in the untroubled peace of this forest of the North, the Earth has come to Thou, visible as an Angel that would perhaps be a woman, and in this apparition, this greatly green and thronging solitude, yes, the Angel too is robed in green, the green of dusk, of silence and of truth. Then there is within you all the sweetness present in surrender to an embrace that triumphs over you.
Earth, Angel, Woman, all of this is one thing that I adore and that is present in this forest. Dusk on the lake: my Annunciation. The mountain: a line. Listen! Something is happening! The anticipation is immense, the air is quivering under a fine and barely visible rain; the houses that stretch out along the ground, their wood red and rustic, their roofs of thatch, are there, there on the other side of the lake.
Something will begin this evening, something promised, in that I believe. Ah! This evening? When, then, this evening? If it were truly in a few hours, it would never be, because it would have to end, and then, begin again, and so would always end and never begin. Do you know what it means to wait, and do you know what it means to have faith?
The Mystery of Holy Communion where you will be ushered in, where all the beings will be present - yes, you can only say it in the future. Because at each moment where you read in truth as now what is there before you, where you hear the Angel, and the Earth and Woman, then you receive Everything, Everything, in your absolute poverty. But as soon as you have read and have received, as soon as you consider, as you want to understand, as you want to possess, to give a name and restrain, to explain and recover, ah! then there is only a cipher, and your judgment is pronounced.
For at every instant you are judged, and you must die. So you die, when your existence is decided and realized, for then it is over: what was is not - you want without renouncing, renounce without wanting.
No, you are the poor one, you are man; and he is God, and you cannot know God, or the Angel, or the Earth, or Woman. You must be encountered, taken, known, that they may speak, otherwise you are alone, and perhaps it is better thus, and will be always thus, always, that is, there would be no eternity for you. Because you were born in a sin that was sinned before you, and as Thou you have had fear, great fear, and you have cried, cried because the Earth is immense, cried because the Woman was too beautiful, cried because the Angel was invisible, and because as Thou you were Adam, and Adam would want to live.
Adam established Love, poetry, religion, for he wanted life, that is, he wanted-to be-God, and then to speak as he would want the three beings. To Question; Alas! and he alone responded. To listen; Alas! to give a concert to himself alone.
But then suddenly surging from this lake comes a cortege of beautiful beings. They sing the funeral chant of Adam; and because Adam is dead, it will be a chorale of blended voices with anguish in every instant: “Christ is born! Christ is Risen!”
Henry Corbin Leksand en Dalecarlie au bord du lac de Siljan 24 August 1932, 18:00