Chapter 14
Dark Night of the Soul : Wilderness




The Sufis




- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Wilderness | pg. 2 - Prince Rupert Awakes | pg. 3 - The Sufis
pg. 4 - And there a Swan is Born | pg. 5 - Reels of Dream Unrolled | pg. 6 - The Peacock's Tale
pg. 7 - The Tibetan Book of the Dead | pg. 8 - Dawn Song | pg. 9 - Night Enfolds Her Cloak of Holes
pg. 10 - The Battle of Glass Tears | pg. 11 - Prince Rupert's Lament

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Illumination | Dervishes


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The Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi, and Frederick II were contemporaries.

Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Frederick II (1194 - 1250)

"Rumi was born in Afghanistan to a family of learned Persian theologians. Escaping the Mongol invasion, Rumi and his family travelled extensively in the Muslim lands, performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia (Turkey), where he succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious sciences.

In 7 books, and 24,660 couplets, in Farsi and some Arabic, Masnavi is Rumi's most famous work . This work is also commonly referred to as the Persian Quoran."

- Life of Mevlana Jalalluddin Rumi

"Rumi taught two ways of knowing reality: the intellectual (solar) consciousness and the intuitive (lunar) consciousness."

- Islamic Mysticism

Frederick II may have been a Sufi.

"There was even less reason to fight against his Arab Muslim brothers. He is said to have been initiated into the Sufi mysticism of Islam."

- The Bloodless Crusader

"For now Prince Rupert's tears of glass
Make saffron sabbath eyelids bleed"


As discussed in Chapter Five, for Prince Rupert (Frederick II) to have "saffron sabbath eyelids", means that his perceptions are limited by both the Islamic (Eastern) and Christian (Western) perspectives. But saffron is, more specifically, related to Sufism.

". . .traditional Kashmiri legends state that saffron first arrived sometime during the 11th and 12th centuries AD, when two foreign and itinerant Sufi ascetics, Khwaja Masood Wali and Hazrat Sheikh Shariffudin, wandered into Kashmir. The foreigners, having fallen sick, beseeched a cure for illness from a local tribal chieftain. When the chieftain obliged, the two holy men reputedly gave them a saffron crocus bulb as payment and thanks. To this day, grateful prayers are offered to the two saints during the saffron harvesting season in late autumn. The saints, indeed, have a golden-domed shrine and tomb dedicated to them in the saffron-trading village of Pampore, India."

- History of Saffron Wikipedia

"Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (1142-1236), founder of the Chishti Order, was a Persian from Khorasan, but settled among the Hindus of Rajasthan. His followers adopted the saffron color of the robes of the Hindu sages for their own coarse robes, and generally interchanged ideas and rituals with and even adopted the habits of the Hindu sadhus (mendicants)."

- Sufism and the Struggle Within Islam
by By Khaleb Khazari-El


And Lizard is an album steeped in Sufic philosophy.

Three basic tenets of Sufism:

"Removal of wahm 'opinion' 'conjecture' 'illusion' or the veil of ignorance...attain the 'vision of the heart' (ru'yat al-qalb), direct spiritual intuition

Goal of Fana' 'extinction' or 'annihilation' in God, 'Whatever exists is perishing (fanin), except His Face.' (Qur'an 55:27)

"To taste the sweet and the sour"

Haqiqah or Truth...the Goal, a mystical experience, called dhawq "tasting" the immediate reality of God (al-Ghazali)"

- Sufi Mystica

"The "Sufis were the ecstatic mystics who defied the authoritarian, fundamentalist, rational-minded theologians of the Islamic Church. It began around 800 AD with a group that formed around a woman called Rabi'a, a poet and ascetic and Bayazid of Bastami who started the "Baghdad School".

"Prophets chained for burning masks"

"By around 922 AD. the Sufis were seen by the establishment as heretical and more importantly a serious threat to the political stability of the region. As a result many Sufis went on to martyrdom by being executed for their beliefs. At the centre of Sufi philosophy is the idea of "Tawhid" which means literally "making one."

-Islamic Faith

"The second great sufi, disciple of the first and also of Basra, was a woman - Rabia al-Adawiyyah (d. 801), whose teachings emphasized the power of love. The idea of a woman as spiritual leader was itself an affront to the ulema, and to make matters worse, she was a former slave. Dhul Nunal-Misri (d. 861) was arraigned before Caliph Mutawakkil for espousing the doctrine of irfan - direct knowledge of the divine, usually translated as 'gnosis." Hussain b. Mansur, better known as al-Hallaj, a wool-carder, was accused of heresy and beheaded for his veneration of Jesus and his declaration "I am the truth." His followers thereafter disavowed - and often defied - all worldly authority. The noted sufi theoretician Yahaya Suhrawardi was executed on the orders of the great Saladin for of his refusal to adhere to orthodoxy. In the face of such repression, some sufis, such as Nuri (d. 907), preached renunciation from the world.
Ghazali himself was forced to flee Baghdad following a political upset and wandered as far west as Egypt."

- Sufism and the Struggle Within Islam
by By Khaleb Khazari-El


Frederick II corresponded with the Sufi Illuminist, Ibn Sabin.

"The teachings available to the astute European thinker
included such works as Ibn Sabin's Secrets of Illuministic
Wisdom and Suhrawardi's Wisdom of Illumination.
Frederick II von Hohenstaufen, ruler of Sicily,
corresponded with Ibn Sabin, Roger Bacon cites
Ibn Sabin in his own writings, and Suhrawardi's ideas
provided the foundation for Dante's works.
Illuminist teachers distinguish between
ordinary knowledge and a higher form of knowledge called
gnosis, direct knowledge, unveiling, witnessing, and tasting.

"He who tastes, knows."

- Knowledge Through Enlightening Experience

"He who will drink from my mouth will become like me."

- Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


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Words and Illumination by Peter Sinfield

"The Illuminist Tradition has taken many names over the
centuries such as Hermeticism, Philosophia, Neo-Platonism,
Alchemy, Cabala, Magic, Gnosticism, Esotericism, Sufism.
This Perennial Tradition has been the single stream of
initiatory teaching flowing through all the great schools of
mysticism."

The Illuminist Lineage

"The Illuminist "secret teachings" were passed from
generation to generation through the Illuminist line of
transmission:

Semitic and Persian sources.

Isaiah (8th century B.C.E.)

Zoroaster (6th century B.C.E.)

Oriental sources:

Gautama, the Buddha (563-483 B.C.E.)

Hinduism

Taoism

Hermes
(indeterminate)

Pythagoras (died
497 B.C.E.)

Empedocles
(492-432 B.C.E.)

Socrates
(470-399 B.C.E.)

Plato (427-347
B.C.E.)

Jesus (4-29 C.E.)

Dionysius the Areopagite (1st
century C.E.)

Marcion (85-144 C.E)

Valentinus (second century C.E.)

Clement (150-220 C.E.)

Origen (185-252 C.E.)

Plotinus (205-270 C.E.)

Augustine (354-430 C.E.)

Geber (721-766 C.E.)

Ibn Massarah (died 921 C.E.)

Gerbert d'Aurillac (Pope Sylvester II) (born 940 C.E.)

Hujwiri (died 1063 A.D) The Revelation of the Veiled

El-Ghazali (1059-1111 C.E.)

Shahabudin Suhrawardi
(1145-1235) Gifts of Deep
Knowledge

Shihab al-Din
al-Suhrawardi (1154-1191)
The Wisdom of Illuminism

Ibn el-Arabi (1164-1240
C.E.)

St. Francis (1182-1226
C.E.)

Frederick II (1198-1250
C.E.)

Rumi (1207-1273 C.E.)

Albertus Magnus (1206-1280 C.E.)

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 C.E.)

- Western Illuminism, The Perrenial Tradition
by Norman D. Livergood


Suhrawardi, incidentally, was a Sufi martyr, one of the "prophets chained for burning masks".

Another of the Sufi martyrs was Sohravardi.

"One of the first mystics (1150-1191) killed by Saladin."

- Islam Data

"Let us take the very beautiful tales-simultaneously visionary tales and tales of spiritual initiation-composed in Persian by Sohravardi, the young shaykh who, in the twelfth century, was the "reviver of the theosophy of ancient Persia" in Islamic Iran. These tales essentially illustrate the experience of the gnostic, lived as the personal history of the Stranger, the captive who aspires to return home.

At the beginning of the tale that Sohravardi entitles "The Crimson Archangel," the captive, who has just escaped the surveillance of his jailers, that is, has temporarily left the world of sensory experience, finds himself in the desert in the presence of a being whom he asks, since he sees in him all the charms of adolescence, "0 Youth! where do you come from?" He receives this reply: "What? I am the first-born of the children of the Creator [in gnostic terms, the Protoktistos, the First-Created] and you call me a youth?" There, in this origin, is the mystery of the crimson color that clothes his appearance: that of a being of pure Light whose splendor the sensory world reduces to the crimson of twilight. "I come from beyond the mountain of Qaf... It is there that you were yourself at the beginning, and it is there that you will return when you are finally rid of your bonds."

In the tale entitled "The Rustling of Gabriel's Wings," the figure again appears who, in the works of Avicenna, is named Hayy ibn Yaqzan ("the Living, son of the Watchman") and who, just now, was designated as the Crimson Archangel."

Mundus Imaginalis,
or
the Imaginary and the Imaginal
by Henri Corbin




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In light of all the "spinning", "revolving" and "turning" found in Cirkus and Happy Family it is also interesting to note that in 1231 Rumi founded the Sufi order known as the Whirling Dervishes, a sect which sought to find the knowledge which lies beyond Thinking and Feeling.

"...the people who attain to truth are those who know how to connect themselves with the reality which lies beyond both these forms of knowledge. These are the real Sufis, the Dervishes who have Attained."

- Ibn al Arabi

The attainment of this truth was achieved by arresting the psychological function of Sensation, "the greatest obstacle to Intuition".

"Of the available techniques which may have been used to
to open and facilitate the inner journey, one was similar
to what is known today as "sensory deprivation", another was
an induced trance akin to the Mesmeric Trance. The Whirling
Dervishes dissolved the surface consciousness by a technique
whereby they whirled around and around while doing an intense
mental concentration, a counting exercise which maintained their
point of awareness, while the surface consciousness was dissolved."

- The Allegory of Alchemy in King Lear

"Sensory deprivation IS effective, and for those who can will themselves into a state of such intense meditation as will exclude incoming signals from the environment, the computer model provides a simple analogy. The brain is always working, but as these outside signals cease coming through, the brain begins processing peripheral data, memories from the past, sense impressions of such subtlety that they are normally bypassed in favor of more vivid input signals which affect survival and so on."

- LSD and the Third Eye

Averroes and the Dervishes

In the doctrine espoused by Frederick II (the doctrine of Emanations or Averroism) the ego is known as the passive intellect and God, the Self, is manifested as the Active Reason.

"In every man Averroes perceived the existence of a passive intellect or reason, in relation to which the other Heavenly Intelligence, or Divine Wisdom, presented itself to him as the Active Reason : that in whose motions Thought was always accompanied by Power. The one was Impersonal and Eternal the other individual and perishable, yet Averroes taught that a close relation subsisted between them, and a consequent sympathy and attraction, in which the passive intelligence strove to unite itself with the active and thus achieve eternity and immortality.
This union was known as the ittisal : the supreme object of the wise man's desire. Gazzali boldly declared that the ittisal was only to be reached by an intellectual and spiritual confusion attained in the zikr , or the whirling dance of the Dervishes."

- Enquiry into the Life and Legend of Michael Scot
by Rev. J. Wood Brown
(p. 108)

As they are closely associated with the art of Ebru , or marbling as it is known in English, the Dervishes bring us back to the album's inner sleeve design.
In Europe marbled designs were once known as "turkish paper" because they were primarily imported from Turkish sources (Rumi's Dervish Order was founded in Turkey) and, in the Islamic world, marbling was commonly associated with Dervish artisans.

"The art of marbling had a significant importance in Islamic art.
Turks adopted Islam with great faith. As it was the case, they tried to express the DIVINE beauties in all branches of art. We see them looking after mystical beauty in architecture, music and ornamental art. At the time (XIV-XIX centuries) many theological scollos (dervish orders) became a kind of "Art Workshops" bringing up students by the master to apprentice method. Even no signature has been set at the foot of many works of art because of modesty coming from dervish precepts."

- The Art of Marbling

Considering that, in Turkey, Marbling was considered a form of abstract art, the swirling marble pattern found on the album's inner sleeve might not be just a design. It might represent the "whirling" technique by which the Dervishes "dissolved the surface consciousness".



"Turks envisaged marbling primarily as a WORK OF ART. The concept of color paper used in bookbinding was accessory. Within this scope, marbling was, since old times, framed and nailed to the wall like oil paintings.

...marbling was quite close to the contemporary concept of "Abstact Art"

- The Art of Marbling

"The Sufi movement also saw the rise of a distinctive style of architecture, and painting where swirling "arabesque" linear decoration played an important part. This ...introduced a viable alternative to what Islam essentially considered as primitive idolatrous representations of the wholly pure and divine image of God. Illuminated manuscripts featured elaborate scripts and detailed miniatures in bright colours displaying to the barbarian world that Islam had matured into one of the worlds' highest and influential civilisations."

- Islamic Faith

"The oldest illuminated manuscripts in Islam date only from the thirteenth century. Together with copies of the Koran, admirably illuminated with purely geometrical figures radiating symmetrically around a central motif like the design of a carpet, there is found especially in Persia, a fruitful school of painters which did not fear to depict the human face. Nothing is more picturesque than the varied scenes intended to illustrate the books of chronicles, legends, etc. Besides fantastic scenes ("Apocalypse of Mohomet", Paris, Bib. Nat., supp. Turk., 190) are found contemporary reproductions of scenes from real life which take us into the streets of Bagdad in the thirteenth century or permit us to follow an army or a caravan on the march ("Maqmt" of Hariri, Bib. Nat., Paris, supp. Arab., 1618). Eastern artists, whether Christian or Muslim, frequently portray their subjects on backgrounds of gold"

- The Catholic Encyclopedia








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