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Articles tagged with: Sufi

Word of the Spell: Apprentice

catching hold, holding on

Word of the Spell: Apprentice

It seems appropriate that this spell's word should be


since we're talking about undertaking an herbal apprenticeship, and about apprenticing to the plants. There's a nice parallelism, word-wise, event-wise, life-wise, with my recent initiation into the Sufi order--both are part of my "spell" nexus, and both involve setting aside my own judgments, preconceptions, and stories, and opening my ears and heart to guidance.

The "surrender" piece is so important, but let's take a look at the etymology of "apprentice" and see how there's another side to the story.

The Sufi's Deathday as Divine Marriage

god is love, lover, and beloved

The Sufi's Deathday as Divine Marriage

Eighty-eight years ago today Hazrat Inayat Khan died--inspired musician, messenger of the divine, and bringer of the Sufi message to the West.  It's a day of celebration, called Urs, which is nothing to do with bears but literally means "wedding anniversary."

The death of a Sufi saint is understood as the transmutation of their physical existence into union with the Divine. (It's interesting that early Christianity had this metaphor also, although in that case Christ was the bridegroom and the Church, the collected body of worshippers, was beloved bride.)

What I appreciate about the metaphor of marriage between departed saint and God, aside from the gender-neutral conception of marriage contained therein, is its reciprocity. By means of the marriage--a union--not only is the saint taken closer to God, but God is brought closer to the world of the saint--whatever God means, whatever the world means to you. You are "this" close to the divine--and to death.

Framing the Framing; Always More to Learn

keeping one foot in the worldly

Framing the Framing; Always More to Learn

Irony of the day: I have so much to say on the subject of framing, I've been having trouble getting started (choosing a frame of reference)!

Perfect, right?

The plot thickened and deepened with the etymology of "frame," discussed in the previous post, and how it carries that positively oriented baggage of advantage/benefit. Round and round my thoughts have gone.

Then, too, this blog is a frame, but I also need to carefully frame this blog. Like pictures looking back at you from their frames, this business of providing, defining, refining context can be a two-way street.

Initiation; Practicing toward Ecstasy

choosing the channel, digging the well

Initiation; Practicing toward Ecstasy

This past weekend I was on retreat with the Sufis, with beloved teacher Aqdas. It is amazing how much of a teacher's energy comes through in the context of a retreat that rings with silence. It is astonishing how much silence comes through the Sufi practices, many of which involve the vocal cords, repeating prayers and phrases, embodied with physical movements.

On Sunday evening at the end of the retreat, I stood in the courtyard (the edge of cold now gone from the days here) with Aqdas and two others, and she initiated me into the Sufi order. The two witnesses were the regional representative for the Sufi Order, and the gentleman who has agreed to be my guide.

So, within the cycling beginning-ing of the days of my Gong and life, here is another beginning. That's what "initiation" means. What else does it mean?

Interlude: Visiting with the Relics

objects, focus, regeneration

Interlude: Visiting with the Relics

There's a couple posts still to come on the changing face of the book, but it's time to talk about objects. 

A big difference in today's bookscape from what went before lies in the material objectiveness of the book itself. Instead of a huge, ornate, unique work of art, a book now can exist solely in electronic form, immaterial in the sense that it's not composed of "matter."

I would suggest that when something is immaterial, non-physical object, it's less likely to be objectified. How appropriate, then, to go visit a touring exhibit of Buddhist relics, where the whole of devotion and spiritual consciousness is focused into pieces of body.

"Mastery"--Two Books, Commonalities

--by Hazrat Inayat Khan, and by Robert Greene

Two books, both titled MasteryOne was written recently, by an American author in his 50s. The other (which I can't find anywhere in the format I own) was written by an Indian Sufi who died in 1926, before he even made 50 years old. One would be classed as "personal development." The other would be shelved in the religious section.

One I've never owned but have borrowed from the library both as audio and print books. The other, I've carried around with me my whole adult life, through all the many places I've lived, starting well before the newer "Mastery" was even written.

Synchronicity: Nostrils and Nervous Systems

"syn" + "chronos" -- "timed together"

Synchronicity: Nostrils and Nervous Systems

Synchronicity is something I mean to write about regularly--weekly--on this blog. Events that happen "timed together," which also means "spaced together" which also means "in the eye of this beholder at this time together" are messages as subtle and emergent as the appearance of an eye in a peacock feather. Yes, I see it because I'm looking for it... but that's always true! What I see is a reflection of who I am. My belief is that the more aware we can be of the lenses through which we look and see, the more intentional we can be about the kind of world we experience.

I like today's synchronicity because not only does it involve a confluence of ancient wisdom and modern science; it has to do with something I already wrote about on this still-quite-new blog!

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