A vision of the Emerald City can be found in the dreams and legends of many peoples. From Sheherezade's 1001 Nights to Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz, it has never ceased to fascinate and to attract. Like the Heavenly Jerusalem of Christianity (which is a fractioned image of it) The Emerald City stands for the fullest expression of the human heart: the qualitative space where nothing less than Life's irrational fullness can be lived out and expressed.
Islamic Shi'ite traditions are the richest sources of our knowledge of this metropolis. They speak not of one, but of two emerald cities, of Jabarsa and Jabalqa, situated in an interworld between the sensory and the intelligible realms, ie., between pure matter and pure spirit. They are capable of being perceived only by the organ of the creative imagination (which is not the imagination of fancy or wish fulfillment, but the Imaginatio Vera of the Alchemists, the organic mirror where images from the material world and archetypal forms from the world of the intellect are able to come together and co-exist. It is in this mirror of the imagination, this dramatic space, that the real living theatre of Life is staged, bubling up into the conscious mind in the form of myth and legend.
Logic will find no comfort here, of course, for this is a world freed from all misleading and perishable sensory data. For all that, it is nevertheless a world with which we are familiar: but only as the heart perceives it, and as it will appear one day transfigured and glowing with meaning. In the meantime, out inadequate language is able only to confine it to the "once-upon-a-time" of fairy-tale where facts are immediate, not yet completed and hence, alive.
"These things never happened,
but are, always." Sallust 30BC
"...for all our mental constructions, all our imeratives, all our wishes, even the love which is consubstatial with our being - all that would be nothing but metaphor without the interworld of the Emerald Cities, the world in which our symbols are, so to speak, taken literally". Henry Corbin
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