Jean-Louis Michon

Jean-Louis Michon

Jean-Louis Michon (1924- ) is a French traditionalist scholar and translator who specializes in Islamic art and Sufism. He has worked extensively with the United Nations to preserve the cultural heritage of Morocco.


Born in France in 1924, Michon was in college at the advent of WWII. There he began studying religion with a group of fellow students.

cquote|I understood that if I wanted to go to God and practice very serious ways, the only way [in Catholicism] was to become a monk. And I had no vocation to be a monk… So I just waited until something appeared. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference (World Wisdom, 2007)] Already having two diplomas, (one in law, one in English literature), he moved to Paris and enrolled in a program for political science.

This something appeared in the guise of the works of French Traditionalist René Guénon. Greatly moved by Guénon’s writings, Michon felt the need to enter an initiatic tradition. Michon had a great personal affinity with Hinduism and Buddhism; particularly Zen Buddhism after reading the essays of D.T. Suzuki. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference (World Wisdom, 2007)] He longed to travel to Japan to find a Zen master, but Japan was currently at war with his country.

After four months of training, and a few days before the date set for departure to Japan, the atomic bomb was dropped and Japan capitulated. He returned to school to take his final exams and it there in the school library that he read in "La Revue Africaine" an article on the late Sufi master Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi (who had died over a decade before). The article, entitled "Mystic Modernist", mentioned that the late Sheikh had initiated several European disciples into the Sufi tradition. The next day Michon began attending prayers at the mosques, and, with the help of Michel Valsan, he converted to Islam. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference (World Wisdom, 2007)]

In 1946 he was offered a position in Damascus as an English teacher, which he took with an idea of furthering his studies in Islam. In 1949 he apprenticed to an architect draftsman and moved to Lausanne where he lives to this day. There he lived for many yeas next door to Frithjof Schuon and his wife. In 1953 he married. The Crow medicine man Thomas Yellowtail later adopted both Michon and his wife into the Crow tribe.


In July of 1946 Michon traveled to Lausanne to be initiated by the disciple of Sheikh al-Alawi, Frithjof Schuon. In attendance was Martin Lings (with whom he became particularly close).

During Michon’s first trip to Switzerland he traveled to Basel where he met two of Schuon’s closest disciples (and prominent members of the Traditionalist School); Titus Burckhardt and Leo Schaya.

Over Easter of 1947 he visited Guénon at his home, meeting his wife Fatima and children.

When asked what message he would give the next generation, he replied:

Work with the United Nations

He was the Chief Technical Advisor for 8 years to the Moroccan government on UNESCO projects for the preservation of the cultural heritage. He was part of an effort to coordinate the rehabilitation of traditional handicrafts that were endangered by industrialization. He was also greatly involved in the preservation and restoration of the casbahs of Morocco as part of a project designed to protect the city of Fez. [ [ Jean-Louis Michon: Life and Work] ]


*"Introduction to Traditional Islam", (World Wisdom, 2008)
*"Sufism: Love and Wisdom", (World Wisdom, 2006)
*"Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man." (World Wisdom, 2002)
*"Lights of Islam: Institutions, cultures, arts and spirituality in the Islamic city," (Lok Virsa, 2000)
*"The Moroccan Sufi Ibn 'Ajiba and His Mi'raj", (Fons Vitae, 1998)

He was also a contributor to the quarterly journal, Studies in Comparative Religion, which dealt with religious symbolism and the Traditionalist perspective.

ee also

*Traditionalist School
*René Guénon
*Frithjof Schuon

External links

* [ Jean-Louis Michon: Life and Work]
* [,%20Jean%20Louis UNESCO reports by Michon]


NAME = Michon, Jean-Louis
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Traditionalist scholar and Sufi practitioner.

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