We are Light and Shadow

by George Breed

Self Portrait by George Breed

This morning I read an excerpt from “Temple and Contemplation” by Henry Corbin, that wonderful master of languages and translations (English, French, Arabic) and cross-spiritual shaman epistemologist; frequent presenter at Jung’s Eranos conferences in Switzerland:

“Light is their being, their ‘matter’, and Mercy is their dimension of shadow. All beings, on whatever level, are composed of this Light and this Matter.”

We tend to believe we are meat sacks marching to the will of politicians and our sensory organs. Corbin, like others before him and even now, says we are Light and Shadow. And in the spiritual realm, our Shadow is Mercy.

A dictionary definition of mercy is “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm:”

I don’t know about you but my tendency is to show more mercy to others than toward myself. And then I remember (bring all my members back together): Light is my being and Mercy is my shadow. Everything I cast shade on receives mercy and that includes little Georgie.


George Breed is a long time resident of Flagstaff and denizen walking the streets of Flagstaff with camera in hand recording the life of our bustling town. We will hear more from him as time goes on.

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