- wisdom of life: Learn to Live and Learn to Die:
Spiritual “Greenness”or “Viridity” for our times
“Isn’t it time that, loving,
we freed ourselves from the beloved, and, trembling, endured
as the arrow endures the bow, so as to be, in its flight,
something more than itself? For staying is nowhere”. –
-Rainer Maria Rilke ( Duino Elegies)
“Just as it would harm the stomach if it were always full or empty, it does the soul harm when the body lives in constant pleasure.” – Hildegard of Bingen
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” Quran (4:59)
Hildegard of Bingen thought of fasting as a panacea for good health. She considered the fasting exercise an opportunity to create new space, slow down, purify the body, lift ballast from the soul, detoxify the body and spirit, and come to terms with our inner-selves. At its core, fasting opens new doors to rediscovering our essential nature.
For Hildegard, and those of us believers, fasting represents much more than a temporary change of diet. Rather, it provides a window for inward reflection.
In our modern culture we satisfy virtually all of our needs at any time. We draw effortlessly from the inexhaustible resources available to us. As a consequence, we become weary of our abundance, eventually compromising our own vitality. Paradoxically, the fullness of our existence leads to emptiness in experience.
In the midst of all of our human progress, certain basic, natural rhythms get lost. The rhythms of sleeping and waking, working and resting, eating and fasting may fall out of the appropriate balance.
With all of its advantages, our modern society demands that we work too much, eat too much, and neglect the balance of our origin. Ultimately, our bodies force rest upon us, either through illness or exhaustion.
- Discretio: The Golden Mean It’s up to us to find our “golden mean”. Hildegard of Bingen would have each of us face the challenge of finding our unique “Discretio”. It’s not a one size fits all, but rather an independent balance that works for each of us, individually.
Each person carries the responsibility to find an accurate measure for him or herself. It requires first knowing thyself, and then managing thyself to identify the unique measure to apply.
According to Hildegard, we discover long-term health and well-being not through exaggerated severity or asceticism. Hildegard believed healthy discipline leads to overall improved quality of life.
“Moderation is the mother of all virtues for everything heavenly and earthly. For it is through moderation that the body is nourished with the proper discipline.” – Hildegard of Bingen, Book of Divine Works
Periodic Deconstruction The demands of daily life in a modern society have affected our compass in arriving at the right balance in life. We’ve insulated our true nature, and thereby made it harder to get to the core of ourselves. The exercise of deconstruction serves the worthwhile purpose of peeling away layers to find what lies beneath.
A fasting regimen following Hildegard of Bingen’s teachings helps correct our internal compass to arrive at our own personal “golden mean.”
Fasting is not starvation. Fasting is a manner of exploring our individual boundaries.
The term fasting derives from the Gothic, which means “holding on,” “watching over,” or “guarding.” The term hunger, on the other hand, describes a state of “burning desire,” “pain,” or “injury,” and is compelled by external circumstances. Fasting is a voluntary, selfprescribed refusal of food.
Know Thyself Fasting has long traditions in virtually every culture and religion. The practice serves as a means of accessing new perspectives and introspection. The point isn’t to agonize over physical obstacles, but rather to carefully observe yourself, get to know yourself, and discover new facets of your personality. Through this process, we expand our horizons, revealing new opportunities and pathways for living.
Habits & Dependencies During a fasting period, the body, mind and soul become particularly sensitive. It makes sense to honestly assess and recognize those habits that have tacitly formed in your life as dependencies. Use this as an opportunity to release yourself from anchors such as smoking, drinking coffee, and alcohol. Also consider pervasive habits like television, internet, social media or other technologies.
By recognizing and limiting external habits, we reduce potentially harmful influences, and lay a solid foundation for the desired cleanse. Ideally, a deliberate evaluation of our habits helps to shake the grip of certain behaviors that may not serve our highest cause.
Hildegard of Bingen described fasting as a panacea, which in addition to improving physical health, helps overcome conditions related to anxiety, worry, conflict, stress, and external pressures. At the end of the day, it’s up to each participant to take responsibility for understanding her own needs and what she wishes to accomplish with a fasting regimen.
Detoxifying Your Body Fasting creates the space for our bodies to perform their own natural cleansing process, eliminating longstanding waste and toxins. Through the fasting process, our contamination is formally ‘burned’ and excreted. As an added benefit, the body taps its fat reserves, resulting in weight reduction. A successful fast immediately produces greater agility and resilience in body and spirit.
A fast helps you feel healthier, happier, and more radiant. Even starting with a single fasting day per week can significantly reduce susceptibility to illness and disease. Fasting according to Hildegard of Bingen does not involve counting calories. Rather, Hildegard places emphasis on a basic holistic approach to diet and nutrition.
‘Since death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me but actually soothing and consoling.
I thank God for allowing me to understand that the fact of death is the key, which unlocks the door to true happiness.
I never lie down at night without reflecting that, young as I am, I may not live to see another day. Yet not one among my acquaintances could say that I am disgruntled or morose, and for this blessing I thank my Creator daily, and wish with all my heart that all my fellow-creatures could enjoy the same.’
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 4th April 1787, in a letter to his father (he was 31 year old) .
- Between two Nothingness
Mawlana says that by desiring to exist we pass into nonexistence. He speaks on the meaning of “Die before you die.”
Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani Sultanul Awliya
Here the Sohba/Discourse – Lefke Cyprus
Recorded: unknown, 1990’s
- Rediscovering the Sacred in our Lives and in our Times.
At the conference of 2006 – The Recovery of the Sacred—Tradition and Perennialism in the Contemporary World – A survey was presented concerning the influences of modernism and scientism in the contemporary world, and of the vital need for contemporary man to avail of the timely message of the timeless truths of Tradition by recovering the sacred, the true, the good and the beautiful, and to restore harmony to the inner and outer environment.
Prince Charles summarized it so:
“.. the subject of this Conference is indeed, a critique of the false premises of Modernity – a critique set out in one of the seminal texts of the traditionalists, René Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity. Many find this teaching difficult, not least because it asks us to question our very mode of being; and perhaps because it asks us to question an ideology, in the form of Modernism, that has become so set in our minds that any other way of being seems in some sense fanciful and “unrealistic”.
However, the teachings of the traditionalists should not, in any sense, be taken to mean that they seek, as it were, to repeat the past – or, indeed, simply to draw a distinction between the present and the past. Their’s is not a nostalgia for the past, but a yearning for the sacred and, if they defend the past, it is because in the pre-modern world all civilizations were marked by the presence of the sacred. As I understand it, in referring to Tradition they refer to a metaphysical reality and to underlying principles that are timeless – as true now as they have ever been and will be. And, by way of contrast, in referring to Modernism they refer to a particular (though false) definition of reality; a particular (though false) manner of seeing and engaging with the world that, likewise, is distinguished not by time, but by its ideology.”
For many years, I have been trying – often in the face of relentless criticism and ridicule – to draw attention to some of the elements of this crisis and to the ways in which they are linked to conventional values. At times, when in optimistic mood, I am encouraged to believe that we can come to our senses in time and change our ways of being before we are obliged to do so by catastrophic circumstances. But I am afraid that I do not always take this view. Often, I find myself convinced of the warnings given not only by Sir Martin Rees but also, of course, by sages and mystics of all faiths and of all time; warnings of the coming of a Dark Age, an age in which our ignorance and arrogance – a dangerous combination, surely – will lead us, indeed may already have led us, towards catastrophe. The present examples of pestilence, flood, famine, storm and climatic disruption are surely evidence enough. At the very least, they seem to foretell of conditions of chronic imbalance and disharmony – no doubt as much a part of our inner as our outer condition.
In all of this, the practice of modern science more or less ignores the question of what the ultimate goal and purpose of intelligence and knowledge is. Materialist science, it seems, more or less assumes that a continuous and progressive exploratory expansion of knowledge of the physical world will inevitably lead to a desirable end where all but a few of our problems will be solved. I note, however, that it does this in the face of very considerable evidence – evidence that science itself provides – that it will not.
Indeed, our ignorance in these matters seems to me to be in direct proportion to our obsession with information. More than ever before, we have information from everywhere and about everything – and it is available to us literally at the press of a button. But information, often it would seem for its own sake, is not knowledge; and knowledge is not wisdom. We have no lack of information but, with the loss of the values and principles of which Tradition speaks, we lose touch with that perennial wisdom to which this Conference is dedicated. In this, I am reminded of those prophetic lines from T. S. Eliot:
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust. 3
The traditionalist perspective is that we are living at the end of an historical cycle. At the beginning of this cycle all and every possibility is latent. However, as the cycle evolves or unfolds, these possibilities begin to manifest themselves in the world of time and space, beginning with the highest and gradually moving towards the lower. At the end of the cycle, the very lowest possibilities manifest themselves. The traditionalists tell us that at the cosmic level this process cannot be withheld or interrupted. It must take place. The cycle, they say, must exhaust itself before a new one can replace it.
I know that this might seem to suggest that we are entirely the passive victims of this cosmic unfolding. However, as I understand it, the traditionalists would go on to say that if this were the only reality then all attempts to pursue and align ourselves with spiritual realities and experience would be in vain. And that cannot possibly be. Indeed, it is precisely on the individual plane and through our understanding of and attachment to traditional norms of metaphysical doctrine and spiritual practice that we can, in a measure, transcend the baleful influence of the descent that is the eventual exhaustion and end of our cycle of history and prepare ourselves and the world for the beginning of the next. It is in this way, and perhaps only in this way, that we can overcome the mind-numbing despair of Modernism – not by false optimism, but by an understanding of and an attachment to the truly Real.
- Why are they not teaching Real Belief?
Shayṭān and its servants are under attack in the Heavens. Shayṭān is weak but when made welcome, harms. Scientists who cannot fathom the Heavens, theorize. They acknowledge only what their senses perceive, the material aspect of things. Who is the Creator and Controller of this planet? The existence of That One is beyond their imagination. First, there must be Belief. Reality, not nonsense theory, must be taught. Everything with a beginning comes to an end. We are weak servants. We must ask for heavenly protection. We must come to Real Belief. Why are they not teaching Real Belief?
- A Disclosure of Wisdom
An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning ‘un-covering‘), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. In the Book of Revelation (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου, Apocalypsis Ioannou), the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good over evil and the end of the present age. Today, it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general.
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.
Maieutic concepts historically have their origin in Plato’s dialogues of Socrates. In The Symposium, Socrates repeats the words of the priestess or wise woman Diotima of Mantinea who suggested that the soul is pregnant and wants to give birth, but the delivery requires assistance. Thus according to Plato, the role of the philosopher is to assist in this delivery, as would a midwife. From this dialogue comes the word “maieutics”, the “spiritual midwife.” to give birth to wisdom.
In Theaetetus, Socrates is presented as a “spiritual midwife” and in Meno, by posing questions to a slave who never learned geometry, Socrates leads him to “remember” how a square is doubled.
The human crisis of our time is immense. To meet this crisis, we need real thinkers and doers. We need people who are able to be persistent in asking good questions and willing to do the work needed to follow through, with great persistence, in seeking answers.
We do not want everyone to merely be robots who only know how to memorize and regurgitate the popular talk of the day. We cannot afford to have millions of citizens who are too uninspired, unable or unaware to continue working persistently for the sake of their own understanding. We need to cultivate sapient beings capable of leading their lives with excellent and original thoughtfulness.
read more On A Disclosure of Wisdom
Here The Relevation of John: A Disclosure of Wisdom
What is time and pre-eternity?
We change Reality By changing our perception of it
There is much to be learn about Eternity by living in Time
There is much to be learn about time by living in Eternerty
What is our Destiny:
Tthe sacred Tradition as Sufism an Islam explains the most important cause for misunderstanding the issue of qadar (destiny) is confusion about the concepts of “time” and “pre-eternity” and misinterpreting them.
People live in time and place and so they evaluate every event according to time and they make a mistake by assuming “pre-eternity” as the beginning of “time”. Misunderstanding qadar is the result of this wrong comparison.
Time is an abstract concept. It starts with the creation of the universe and many events happen in it. Time is divided into three parts: Past, present and future. This division is for creatures. Namely, the concepts such as century, year, month, day, yesterday, today, tomorrow are in question for creatures.
Pre-eternity does not mean before the beginning of the time. In pre-eternity, there is no past, present and future. Pre-eternity is a station where all times are seen and known at the same moment. Now, we will try to understand God’s attribute of pre-eternity through some examples from Sufism and Islam:
(Think of a straight line; let us call it the timeline.)
Suppose that this line is the timeline. The middle of the line is the present, that is, the time we are living in. The left point of the line is the past. At this point, the universe was created and then the first man, Adam, was created. And everything that was created from that time to the present existed between these two points which symbolize the past and the present.
The point at the right side of the line is the future. This point is the eternal life that include life in Paradise and Hell beyond the Day of Judgment. Between the present point and the future point, there are our grandchildren, their grandchildren and everything that will be created until the Day of Judgment; and even are revival after death, reckoning, the weighing of the deeds and passing the Sirat bridge.
Eternity is not the left side of the point of past in the timeline. The main cause of not being able to understand qadar is thinking that pre-eternity is at this point and placing pre-eternity in a place on the timeline. For, when we assume pre-eternity to be at this point, Allah will know tomorrow only when tomorrow comes according to this assumption. This assumption and misunderstanding the concept of pre-eternity will cause us to ask this question: “If Allah wrote that I was going to be a sinner in my qadar, what is my fault?”
When we show the concept of pre-eternity on our timeline, it will be understood how nonsensical this question is. Here is pre-eternity.
It is not the left side of the past. It is timelessness. It is a station that holds and sees the present, the past and the future at the same moment.
Therefore, Allah sees and knows today. Likewise, Allah sees tomorrow, the other day and everything until eternal life that includes Paradise and Hell along with today.
For Allah, there are no concepts such as present, past and future. These concepts are for people as they are dependent on time. Now, we will examine this issue through another example:
Suppose that this picture is our timeline. The middle is the present, that is, now; the left side is the past and the right side is the future. Now, we are holding a mirror on the time scheme. The mirror is close to the floor; so, only the present time is reflected on the mirror. The past and the future are not included. Now, we will lift the mirror a bit and in this position, the present time and a part of the past and the future are reflected on the mirror. When we lift the mirror a little more, the remaining part of the past and the future that are not seen in the previous position are also reflected on the mirror. That is, as we lift the mirror, the time period which appears on the mirror expands. Now, we will lift the mirror to the highest point.
At this point, the mirror encompasses the present, past and future as a whole. This point is called the point of pre-eternity, which sees all of the three times as a whole at the same moment. When we say, “Allah is pre-eternal”, we mean that Allah sees and knows all times and places at the same moment and that He is timeless.
Now, we will see the concept of pre-eternity in another example: We assume that three vehicles set out from Erzurum toward Istanbul. The first one is in Bursa. The second one is behind the first one in Eskisehir and the third one is behind them in Ankara.
Now, when we pay attention to these three vehicles, we see these: The vehicle which is in Bursa is at the front when it is compared to other vehicles. Namely, it is in the future because it passed the roads that other ones did not reach yet.
The vehicle in Eskisehir is in the past when it is compared to the vehicle in Bursa because the vehicle in Bursa already passed Eskisehir. However, it is in the future when it is compared to the vehicle in Ankara because this vehicle did not reach the other vehicle’s place yet.
The vehicle in Ankara is in the past when it is compared to the other two vehicles because these two vehicles already passed Ankara.
The words such as the past and the future are used about the vehicles, but these words that express time are not used for the sun which is on the top of them and enlightens three vehicles at the same moment. That is, we cannot say that the sun is in the past compared to this vehicle, or the sun is in the future compared to that vehicle because the sun enlightens these three vehicles and encompasses all of them with its light at the same moment. This state of the sun, that is, being independent of time, which is valid for the vehicles on the earth, and encompassing the three time periods at the same moment is an example of pre-eternity.
Likewise, we are in a point of the timeline that started with the creation of the universe. Everything that passed before us is in the past compared to the present time. The times after today and this moment and the creatures that will be created at those times are in the future compared to the present time. Now, our grandfathers became a thing of the past. However, before that, their grandfathers were also waiting for their grandchildren who would come in the future. Our grandfathers, who were in the future compared to their grandfathers’ time, came to this world, lived here and became a thing of the past. Similarly, we are in the future compared to our grandfathers’ time and we will also become a thing of the past. And our grandchildren, who are in the future compared to our time, will be in their present day.
As it can be seen, the concepts such as the past, the future and the present are used for us. However, there are no such concepts for Allah, who creates everything and time. Allah encompasses all these times at the same moment like the sun in the example with the light of His knowledge.
Then, we cannot say, “Allah wrote it; so we are doing it” because Allah encompasses all times at the same moment with His pre-eternity; so, Allah knows all our deeds that we will do with our free will and so Allah wrote whatever we will do during our life time in our qadar( destiny) book. We do not do deeds because Allah wrote them. On the contrary, Allah wrote them because Allah knows that we are going to do them.
To be able to understand this issue better, we will give a final example because understanding pre-eternity is a key to understanding the issue of qadar.
The first cause of misunderstanding the issue of qadar is being unable to understand Allah’s attribute of pre-eternity of and supposing that Allah is dependent on time.
If you know a poem as a whole, the relation of your knowledge to all lines of the poem is same. That is, as we have mentioned before, the sun encompasses the three vehicles at the same moment. Likewise, your knowledge about the poem encompasses all lines at the same moment. However, sequence is important for the lines of the poem. For example, the sixth line is after the fourth line and before the tenth line. When you finish writing the fifth line and start to write the sixth line, the fifth line becomes a thing of the past. The sixth line is at the present time. The tenth line is in the future. Namely, it has not come into being yet and it has not been written yet. However, this tenth line, which has not come to being yet, is available in your knowledge. Then, sequence is not in question for your knowledge.
Likewise, the nineteenth century and the people living in this century are in the future compared to the eighteenth century and the people living in this century and they are in the past compared to the twentieth century. However, for the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah, who is independent of time, all these centuries, the past, the present, the future are within the scope of His observation at the same moment.
That is, qadar, which we name as “pre-eternal knowledge of Allah”, is not a plan made in the past; it is a time out of plan. It is knowledge encompassing all past and future times at the same moment.
Then, saying, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” is an extremely wrong statement because Allah did not write in the book of qadar without knowing what we were going to do; and He did not force us to act according to this writing. On the contrary, Allah knows with His pre-eternal knowledge what we will choose with our partial free will and what deed we will do; so, Allah wrote them in the book of qadar.
The saying, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means”, which is uttered as an excuse is basically wrong because the book of qadar is a manifestation of the knowledge of Allah. His knowledge is not an attribute of forcing. The writing is only a declaration. For example, if I write a sentence like this, “You are going to turn off your television in fifteen minutes.” And if you turn off your television in fifteen minutes, can you say, “If there had not been that sentence, I would have not turned off my television”? You definitely cannot say that because it is only a sentence. It is a message. It is not enforcement.
Likewise, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means ” is extremely wrong. Our acts are not created by the knowledge of Allah; so, we cannot blame the book of qadar, which is the title of the knowledge of Allah.
Our acts are created by the power of Allah. The knowledge has no effect on this creation. Then, how can we hold the book of qadar, which has no effect on the creation of our acts, responsible? The person who asks such a wrong question only cheats himself.
For, if you say to this person, “Why are you going to school? You cannot change your qadar. If being a doctor is in your qadar, you will be a doctor in any case. You cannot prevent it. Even if you do not study, you will be a doctor. If it is not in your qadar, you can never be a doctor even if you study.” Or, if you say, “Why are you opening your shop? If earning much money today is in your destiny, you will earn in any case so there is no a necessity to open the shop. Earning much money today is not in your destiny; you will not earn even if you open your shop. You can never change your destiny.” If we say these sayings, if we say that he can never change his destiny so there is no a necessity for him to go to school, to open his shop, this person defends himself and says: “You will work so that Allah will give you something.” However, when the issue becomes related to doing religious duties and avoiding sins, this person uses destiny as an excuse, becomes submissive and blames qadar. This is nothing but cheating oneself.
However, as we have covered in the pre-eternity issue, Allah does not force us to commit any sin. Allah knows what we are going to do with His knowledge that encompasses all times and places and Allah wrote them in the book of qadar. Is the reason why we blame qadar due to our sins and the reason why we say, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah what we are going to do?
That is, if Allah had not known what we were going to do, we would have become responsible. Then, will we not become responsible because of He knows them? The person who blames qadar due to his or her sins must check what he wants and he or she must feel ashamed.
With the examples given above, we tried to understand the pre-eternity of Allah. However, it must not be forgotten that all these examples are only small binoculars to zoom in on the fact that minds are too weak to understand. The minds are too weak to understand the greatness of the power and the majesty of Allah fully. Likewise, the minds cannot fully understand the pre-eternity of Allah and the knowledge of Allah, which encompasses all times and places at the same time. However, even these weak binoculars declare that the statement “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” is an extremely wrong saying and they clarify the issue is completely.
Along with the pre-eternity of Allah, when the rule, “knowledge is dependent on the known” is understood, you will see that all questions about qadar that are assumed to be unanswered will be answered suddenly.
- From Pre- eternity to Post eternity
The Sufi Master Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani said:
O my beloved followers! You must know that “Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmaani ‘r-Raheem” is the beginning of Creation, and it continues from pre-Eternal up to the Eternal! I am a weak servant, and therefore I am asking for you to be honored with servanthood of our Creator. You must know that we are not created to look at or to work for this world. Everyone is working, yet the clock of this world is ticking! Our lives are going on, but one day they will stop. We will leave everything and will be taken to the graveyard.
Allah Almighty sent 124,000 prophets to teach people that they are created for the Lord of Heavens. When we come to this planet, our most important wazeefa, practice, throughout our lives should be to be servants for our Creator, nothing else! And He will be happy when we try to fulfill our responsibility as a servant. To be the servant for the Lord of Heavens gives us honor. To be servants for this planet does not give us anything!
All the prophets came to remind people that they have been created and sent to this planet for His obedience. Try to be obedient servants and your life will be happy here and Hereafter. Now we can see that this world is falling into a dark, black hole. They are falling in it and they do not know how they will be saved. They are ghafil, heedless people, because the Lord of Heavens sent thousands of prophets to give an understanding to people.
According to our beliefs, we know that two angels will come and ask us, “What did you understand throughout your life?” Yes, there will be an examination or a test. They will ask everyone, “What did you understand in these 50, 60, 80, 90 or 100 years? What did you understand during your life?” What shall our answer be? What will we say? Will we say, “I understood how I may cheat people and become richer in the stock market? I went there every day to look that one day we lost, the second day we went up!” Will you be thinking that, “Oh! I forgot to bring my credit card here (in the grave)! How did I come here? How am I sleeping here?” The angels will ask, “What have you brought?” Will you say, “This credit card! Take it and take my money from there!” There is no result of all this!
If we do not understand, and if our understanding reaches only to the point of material aspects, then we have lost! But above material aspects, we have spirituality and heavenly aspects. Try to reach heavenly aspects as that will continue up to Eternity. Therefore, I like this word, “Eternity!” I feel so happy to say, “Eternity!” It sounds so beautiful and hopeful. It gives me so much joy, satisfaction and pleasure to say, “Eternity!”
O our Lord! We are asking for Your Eternity! What is this? Homes, gardens, big buildings, what do they give to you? They give you trouble, not satisfaction. O People! Try to be for your Lord’s servanthood. Try to understand the meaning of coming here, what did the Lord of Heavens create us for? May Allah forgive us….
From Pre-eternity to post Eternity
Inni Ja’ilun Fil Ardi Khalifatan (2:30) I am placing on the earth a caliph.
Khalifa (caliph, deputy) is a Sultan from the angelic realm. It’s astonishing! And that’s why, by his very nature, there is roughness and hardness in human beings. This is the generation of Adam (as). In spite of the fact that this means that he is going to shed blood and commit corruption (Yasfiku AdDimà’a), He Who created them knows the reason why He chose the family of Adam to be His khalifas on earth. The khalifa of whom? – the khalifa of Allah Almighty. La ilaha il Allah. Huu…
Something may appear in the generation of Adam (as) from the realm of Al Jabarut – jabbar (power, might). That is why it is said about mankind that they are jabbarin; that is, they must be dressed with the attribute of might. Then (thumma) Rabbul ‘Izza, from salif ul qidam (pre-eternity) chose the children of Adam (as) as His khalifas on earth.
What is salif ul qidam (pre-eternity)? From when? – salif ul qidam is from antiquity, time immemorial. Allah (swt) is Qadim (eternal) and Azeli (beginningless). Qidam is an attribute of Al Haqq (jwa). Qadim is Allah, Hu Allah …
And His Divine Will wished from salif ul qidam (pre-eternity) to have a deputy on earth. This deputy was a creation that did not resemble any prior creation. “Allah knows what you do not know”; that is, He knows the attributes of His creation Adam (as) [because] He is the Creator (jwa).
We are servants for Allah Almighty, and we have been ordered to know something about our reality. It becomes obligatory on human beings to learn about the reality of the aggressiveness in mankind that is related to the Divine Realm of Jabarut. This reality manifests through mankind in the realm of this world, in the realm of dunya, in the realm of fanà (annihilation).
Allah (swt) Al Qahhar (the Destroyer) annihilates this attribute that is present in the children of Adam – the hardness, the aggressiveness. Heavenly commands (Shariah) were sent through all the Prophets that came on earth, to soften mankind and to make them more lenient. Training softens the person until Allah our Lord (jwa) will dress the human being with the reality of ‘caliphate’. Man then becomes His khalifa in this world.
Here, in this world, whatever happens from aggression is for the training of human beings, to prepare them to occupy the station/maqam that was made by the Lord (jwa) for mankind – His khalifa. Which earth? Which khalifa? Everything for Allah Almighty is eternal, not preceded by nothingness. Therefore, we are also included in these seas and oceans, between ever living (pre-eternal) and never ending (post-eternal). The family of Adam will be granted sermedi (eternity). If they are not granted that eternity, they cannot be khalifa. Sermedi …
And whatever happens now in this world, He sees and knows, and His Prophet (saws) knows and is aware. Then slowly, slowly the realities will appear according to the Divine Wisdom of Allah (swt), as He likes it to manifest in his khalifa. Subhuanallah!
At this time, there is a word, a Hadith, [that says] “If the servant obeys his Lord completely …” There is a saying: “I will be his hearing. So through Me he hears, through Me he sees, through Me he acts”.
“When My servant comes closer to Me through voluntary actions, I [will] love him and I become his hearing from which he hears, his seeing from which he sees.”
This honor has been granted to the family of Adam, this khilafat (caliphate), to be representative of Allah (swt). Finish! He brought mankind’s being into the Unity Oceans with, “My servant comes closer to Me through voluntary worship until I love him; and when I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears and his seeing with which he sees…”
“I become the hearing from which he hears, the seeing from which he sees, and the tongue with which he speaks, and his hand with which he may hit …”
[Mevlana raises his fist with power.] Then he can throw the whole world up side down!
“… and the leg by which he walks until he becomes Rabbani. He orders the thing to be and it is.”
… until he becomes Rabbani, Rabbani. These are Rabbaniyin. That is why I was in previous association (sohbats) I was saying, “Don’t say or claim that ‘I am wahabi, or salafi, or sufi’. Don’t say this. But say Rabbani (Divinely).”
This is the target we aim to reach. At that point, you cannot say that there is a maqam/station – to be Rabbani! There is no servant remaining anymore. It is annihilation in Allah – Bakibillah – to be in existence through Allah. Finished! This is the reality of Tawheed – Unity.
And now we are in this world. We exist for a short time; and Allah does with us what He Wills. All our activity and all our rest are according to His Knowledge and Will. We have reached close to the Day of Judgment, and things will appear that never appeared before from mankind’s aggression, according to the Will of Allah (jwa). This is happening to construct a new building that will be strong enough to carry what Allah (jwa) dressed mankind with from the Malekut when He appointed them as His khalifas on earth.
Everything is now prepared and ready. It has to happen. Judgment belongs only to Allah (swt). In our days… In these days things have appeared that the Prophets (as) have foretold about human aggressiveness and about the Divine Wisdom [regarding it]. They told us about the behavior that should be followed when the aggression happens at the end of times. How we should behave and react. First of all, Prophet (saws) … Subhuanallah! Oh Sayidinna…!
On the day of opening Makka Al Mukarrama, he (saws) went up on the mimbar and said, “Whoever enters Haram Al Sharif is safe. Whoever enters this person’s house, that person’s house, the other person’s house, is safe. He is in safety and security.” Therefore the ones who enter their homes and close their doors, are also safe; they have safety. Whoever enters his house and closes his door is safe and secure. Subhuanallah!
An ant advised mankind:
… Qalat Namlatun Ya ‘Ayyuha An-Namlu Adkhulu Masakinakum La Yahtimannakum Sulaymanu Wa Junuduhu... (An-Naml 27:18) ..
…an ant exclaimed: Oh ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you …
We are now, in the days of fitna. Whoever wishes to be in a safe situation should avoid demonstrations. It is not in accordance with the Islamic Shariat to protest in the streets. No! Stay in your homes. In your homes there is safety and security.
Adkhulu Masakinakum (27:18) Enter your homes.
The servant may show that he is not accepting the present government by going home and closing his door. What can the government do at that time? It will have to change its politics and its laws. Subhuanallah. Allah Hu Akbar! Allah Hu Akbar!
Whoever enters [their home] is in safety and security. This Allah (swt) made it applicable for everybody’s home that it is a safe haven for them. The Divine Order with which He addressed His Prophet (saws) [reads]:
Inna Allaha La Yughayiru Ma Biqawmin Hatta Yughayiru Ma Bi’anfusihim (Ar-Ra’d 13:11)
Allah does not change what is in a nation unless they change what is in themselves.
People are sent rulers like themselves, the ones they deserve. Correct yourselves and whoever is in the position to rule you will be a righteous one. Otherwise we will follow the ways and methods that are followed by unbelievers. No! If there is something going on in the streets, you should not go out and scream, “Leave! Leave!…” No! Are there no mosques? Enter into the mosques for Friday prayer. Pray and call, “Oh our Lord, Who can change everything, change our situation for the best!” The hearts of the servants are between the fingers of The All Merciful – ar Rahman. Finished!
Otherwise anyone who disobeys the Divine Shariah will be punished. This is an important matter. Regarding going out to the streets, the Prophet (saws) informed us that at the end of times the nations will be going out on the streets like beastly animals, shouting, screaming, crying and swearing. This is not acceptable in Islam. Islam came with adab/good manners.
There is another point. Astaizzu Billah …
Wa A`iddu Lahum Ma Astata`tum Min Quwatin (al-Anfal 8:60)
Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force …
You have no power! Why do you go out to the streets? The government has the power. Why are you going out unarmed and shouting? The [government] will not leave until the order of Allah comes down. You should say,
“We repent and return to You our Lord. Forgive us. Send mercy on us and correct our ways; and correct those who are in power, who are ruling us. The hearts of Your servants are in Your hands, Oh our Lord! Have mercy on our weaknesses and forgive us; and appoint on us those who are the best of us.”
And success is with Allah. Fatiha.
- The Spiritual “greenness” or “Viridity”of the wisdom of Life
The Color Heaven Loves
“Be in love with green. I’m telling you to love green, haji Mehmed, my son. Make it green. Make it green. In everything green there is dhikr, there is tasbih. That’s why I am telling you to use it. The favourite color of the heavens is green. There can’t be a more beautiful color. It is green. Our Allah. It is good news for our life.
Wear green, your illnesses will be gone, your troubles will be gone, your sadness will be gone. You will open. Green is the good news of heavens. Green is the good news of heavens to those on earth. Use it. Even if a handkerchief, I’m telling you to use green. Green is the reflection of heavens on earth. Who looks at green understands the green of heavens. Green gives comfort to the servants of Allah. It’s a sign of life. It becomes green, when spring comes, life comes. We ask that the angels of Janab-ul Mawla dress us in it too. They dress the dear nation of the Habib. Green.
If necessary, plant straw. Let it become green, let it open. Don’t leave the world dark. No. Let it appear green, the whole world. Let it be green. It is the good news of heavens; it is a sign, good news. Allahu Akbar. The color of heavens is green. Prophets wear green too. Saints wear green too. A chosen color is a green color. Yes, how beautiful. How beautiful. Green, the most beautiful of all colors. Allahu Akbar. May we be given too, may we wear it. Green color is the color of health, the color of life, the color of honor, the color of heavens. Allahu Akbar.”
Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi, Sohbat of the 20th of February, 2014.
- Divine Healing Power of Green
During her lifetime, Hildegard of Bingen was famous for her visions that she had published in her mystical & theological works, Liber Scivias, Liber Vitae Meritorum and Liber Divinorum Operum. – Known as the German Prophetess (Prophetissa Teutonica), she perceived herself as the Trumpet of God called to denounce the social and political state of her time. Thus, she did not merely admonish nun and monks but also pope and emperor. – Hildegard was a seeing listener and a listening seeress. Her visions were at once auditions in which she perceived the voice of God, heard the music of the angels and gained insight into the secret of God (Vision of Trinity), the position of the human being in the cosmos and the history / herstory of God with humankind – from creation to incarnation up to the Last Judgement. ( Hildegard von Bingen 1098-1179)
Viriditas is one of the most recognizable contributions of Hildegard of Bingen.
For Hildegard, viriditas encapsulated the divine force of nature, the depth and breadth of which is reflected in the various translations. These words within the word are laden with meaning; with lively, powerful connotations that capture the essence Hildegard had conceptualized so long ago.
The origin of Viriditas,” Viridity” may be the union of two Latin words: Green and Truth. (Latin viridis (source of Spanish, Italian verde), related to virere “be green, and Old English triewð (West Saxon), treowð (Mercian) “faith, faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty; veracity, quality of being true; pledge, covenant,” from Germanic abstract noun *treuwitho, from Proto-Germanic treuwaz “having or characterized by good faith,” from PIE *drew-o-, a suffixed form of the root *deru- “be firm, solid, steadfast.also *dreu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “be firm, solid, steadfast,
But like most Latin words, Viriditas does not easily translate into convenient, straightforward English. While being difficult to translate may be frustrating to some, there is beauty in this complexity.
The Basic Definition and Origin
The definition is both literal, as in “green”, “greenness”, and “growth”, yet also metaphorical, as in “vigor”, “verdure”, “freshness” and “vitality.” For Hildegard, the spiritual aspects were just as essential as the physical meaning. In much of her work, viriditas was “the greening power of God.” It was in everything, including humans.
This “greenness” was an expression of heaven, the creative power of life, which can be witnessed in the gardens, forests, and farmland all around us. And like those lands, she saw viriditas as something to be cultivated in both our bodies and our souls.
What is it? Hildegard says it is God’s freshness that we receive as spiritual and physical life‐forces. This is vivid imagery that probably came to her simply as she looked around the countryside. The Rhine valley is lush and green and as we know today, a wonderful place, flourishing in fruit and vineyards. This greening power mysteriously is inherent in animals and fishes and birds, in all plants and flowers and trees, in all the beautiful things of this world.
Human flesh is green she says and our blood possesses this special greening power. The “life force of the body” (the soul) was green. Whenever sex was involved—she said there was a particular brightness in the green. This greening power was at the heart of salvation and the reality of the Word was verdant life. This greenness connects us all together as humanity and shines forth giving us common purpose. It is the strength within us that manifests as a strong and healthy life. This greenness originates in the four elements: earth and fire, water and air. It is sustained by the four qualities: by dry and moist, by cold and hot; not only the body—but greenness of soul as well.
Hildegard contrasts greening power or wetness with the sin of drying up (one of her visions.) A dried‐up person or a dried‐up culture loses the ability to create. Hildegard saw this as a grave sin and a tragedy. It also describes how she felt about herself during those years when she was refusing to write down her visions and voices. Her awakening did not occur until she embraced her own viriditas. From then on Hildegard was constantly creating.
This is in contrast to greening— dry straw, hay or chaff representing dried up Christians who are scattered and cut down by the just Divinity of the Trinity.
‘O most honored Greening Force, You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”
– Hildegard von Bingen, Causae et Curae
Hildegard gives an interesting image about greenness stating that it drenches all things in this world and then gives the tree as an example. The function of the tree’s sap [its life blood that we know as its essential oil] falls to the soul in the human body. Its powers or abilities enable us to unfold or develop form just as it does in the tree. In other words, the tree’s essential oil gives life and nourishment— moistness to humans. She goes on to make comparisons between the tree’s branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruit with various stages within human life. For Hildegard, viriditas is that natural driving force, the life force that is always directed toward healing and wholeness. Love, too, is the breath of the same vital green power that sustains all life’s greenness. She sees the Holy Spirit as that power that gives human beings the green and open space where they are capable of responding to the Word and joining in all of creation. The Spirit purifies the world, scours away all guilt, and heals all wounds and sadness. So, green is not a mere color for Hildegard—it is an attitude and purposeful intent. It is the permanent inflowing and outflowing of viriditas. Ultimately—we are talking about physical health from the inexhaustible fountain of life’s living light. It is the very joy of being alive.
Hildegard’s philosophy of healing centered around her view of the body‐soul relationship. She identified 35 vices and 35 virtues to offset the vices (see Appendix for a complete list ). The vices are like risk factors that can destroy humanity and life on earth while the virtues are healing forces counteracting this possible catastrophe. A virtue like love, compassion, trust, or hope positively affects wound healing, lowers blood pressure by decreasing the adrenaline blood level, calms the heart rate, and decreases life‐ hreatening abnormalities like poor digestion and migraine.
According to Hildegard’s writings, these Christian/ traditional virtues are the greatest healing powers when negative forces—depression, madness, anxiety, fear, rage, bitterness, arrogance, desperation—are blocking the healing light (energy). Negative thoughts, emotions, and feeling are health destroying.
Strehlow (Hildegard of Bingen’s Spiritual Remedies by Dr. Wighard Strehlow), lists these vices and virtues in an easy format for us—they can be used as a practical guide for meditation, fasting, and prayer. Hildegard even wrote a morality play—and presented it as an opera with her nuns taking the parts of the virtues and her monk secretary Volmar, playing the part of the devil. Strehlow asks why are there so many illnesses considered incurable today when Hildegard only considered two diseases to be incurable—migraine and asthma? Medical practice as we know it in the West treats disease on the organic level—neglecting to look at the psychosomatic [emotional] causes. He observes that diseases are a malfunction of the body and neither drugs nor surgery, nor radiation can restore the body’s deficiencies. We know that it is impossible to solve an emotional problem with concrete remedies. Not even cancer can escape the problems of a disturbed soul. It will just keep coming back until the negative psychic factors that caused the illness in the first place are eliminated. See more of Dr. Wighard Strehlow Here
According to Hildegard, behind every negative force stands a positive spiritual healing force, and each weakness can be balanced by a spiritual strength. Some interesting observations have been made about Hildegard’s beliefs about the head and the spine. We know that the skull and vertebrae hold the nervous system together and provide the location for nerve outlets.
These nerves follow the body segments to activate and stimulate the entire body and all its organs. According to anatomy—there are 34 vertebrae plus the skull makes 35.These vertebrae with their thirty five spinal nerves communicate with the thirty five virtues and vices in our soul. Strehlow says that this discovery of the soul‐nerve interplay in Hildegard’s psychotherapy is one of the most important findings in the field and enables us to detect the underlying risk factors for the soul‐causing sicknesses. What we call the autonomic nervous system was for Hildegard the language between the body and the soul. Hildegard revealed a thousand years ago that lifestyle affects this communication. Negative feelings like hate, anger, and fear as well as positive emotions like love, compassion, hope and joy exert a strong influence on the autonomic nervous system, causing either health or disease. Hildegard already knew this—she observed that health and well‐being of our bodies depends entirely on the energy status of our souls. In order to heal the body—we have to heal the soul. Healing of the soul requires activating the power of the divine energy represented by the thirty‐five virtues, or healing forces. All of the virtues are uplifting and energizing and lead us into an atmosphere of relaxation, peace, and healing. The corresponding vices are life‐destroying, bringing low energy, fatigue, and a loss of immune strength. Fasting (which I will address in the next chapter) is the universal remedy for twenty‐eight of these spiritual problems (vices). The other seven require spiritual healing exercises like prayer, living in isolation, and physical training.
We see in this cosmic wheel, humans cultivating the earth through the seasons of the year and the seasons of their lives. The tree stands for inexhaustible life. Hildegard celebrates in this vision the fertility of the earth. “I saw how moisture from the gentle layer of air flowed over the earth. This air revived the earth’s greening power and caused all fruits to put forth seeds and become fertile… From the gentle layer of air, moisture effervesces over the earth. This awakens the earth’s greenness and causes all fruits to appear through germination.” You can see from this why staying wet and moist are such important virtues to Hildegard— without the moisture there is no creativity, no fertility.
Living a Healed and Whole (Holistic) Life
Our health and well‐being of our bodies depends entirely on the energy status of our souls, writes Hildegard. In order to heal the body—we have to consider the health of both body and soul.
How does she suggest we heal our souls? By activating the power of the divine energy in the 35 virtues or healing forces. She’s basically saying that you cannot just look at a physical problem without seeing the connection with the emotional and spiritual issues that contributed to the physical one. The plants Hildegard used were generally those which she might have collected from the nearby woods and fields or grown in the monastery garden. She does use some more exotic ingredients, like ginger, pepper, frankincense, and sugar that would have been bought. The most important fact for Hildegard is whether a plant is considered “hot” or “cold” which follows ancient Greek thought. Every herb was either warm or cold. The warmth of herbs signifies the soul and the cold of herbs signifies the body. Certain herbs have the virtue of very strong aromas, others the harshness of the most pungent aromas. They can curb many evils, since evil spirits do not like them. [This actually was a very common belief and can be explained through vibrational frequencies. Plants carry a certain vibrational frequency whereas evil spirits manifest as a low frequency. Hence living plants can drive out evil spirits.]
Hildegard offers concrete, exact directions for gathering, processing, storing, and using medicinal herbs. She tells you where these herbs grow and the proper time of day and season to gather them. She shows how to prepare these herbs as soups, beverages, purgatives, little cakes, powders and salves; and she describes how to use them as poultices, compresses, applications, and inhalants. For Hildegard, life from God was transmitted into the plants, animals, and precious gems. People in turn ate the plants and animals and acquired some of the gems— thereby obtaining viriditas. People then gave out viriditas through the virtues. According to Hildegard, human beings were originally created to be healthy and whole. These are basic characteristics to which we are entitled. In her theology, after the fall, man and woman discovered that everything had to be carefully and expertly cultivated. Life needed to be ordered with a fixed set of rules in everyday life—part of a sensible lifestyle, she writes. For Hildegard, discretion (which includes the capacity of discrimination) is the mother of all the virtues, which can help you maintain the balance necessary for a healthy lifestyle. When balance is missing, illness and disease take over. She realized that healing and holiness are involved in planning even the most mundane and practical aspects of everyday living.
All things in moderation (discretion). This is the vital juice, as it were, the very breath of all training and education. She observes that discretion touches on a vast range of thoughts and actions. She advises to guard your viriditas with the utmost care through proper diet, proper lifestyle, that is one free from excess indulgences and cravings, and attention to spiritual matters. This is a very natural health regime that is very practical and it’s one based on classic Benedictine/ traditionas principle of moderation in life. Lifestyle should be sustained and supported by our choices in nutrition, food and drink, even our clothing and the houses we live in. Everything should be a reflection of God. But as we look at our lifestyles todayweI see that 80 percent of the population suffers and dies because of a stressful lifestyle and harmful nutrition. Only 10 percent of our illnesses are caused by environment or genes.
We have let technology manipulate our food, water, clothing, and our houses. We have sick house and sick building syndromes, food allergies, chemicals in everything we touch and smell.
Finding Harmony from Excess
Hildegard shows us that a fruitful life starts with finding personal harmony. The right measure comes through harmony among body, mind and soul.
Hildegard permitted no excuses for greed and excess. She spurned all matters of excess and pretention. She argued that the purpose for man’s reason was not just to distinguish between right and wrong, but also to discern between overabundance and deficiency.
The Lush Greenness of Nature
Viriditas was a guiding image for Hildegard, appearing regularly in her work. The translations of her work vary in their interpretations, but there is unity in how she viewed this greening power of nature as a metaphor for physical and spiritual health. Viriditas was, in part, the visible aspect of the lush, greenness of the divine in nature.
Many believe that her damp, green surroundings at Disibodenberg inspired her association of this greenness to the vitality of spirit mind body. She lived in the valley around the Rhine River in Germany her entire life. The greenness of this region likely had a significant impact on her, leading to much of her work on life energy, abundance, and the sustaining power of nature being rooted in the notions of lush, green, and moist.
Healing Power of Green
Viriditas was meant to reflect nature’s divine healing power, a constant force, but also a momentary condition in which God heals through the greening power of a living plant. When one consumes a healing plant, this divine power is transferred from the plant to the humans and it becomes a moment of viriditas. This experience is meant to be a daily occurrence as you eat, a means to stay vital with the greening power but also a reminder of our eternal interconnectedness with nature.
Modern Variations of Greening Power in Medicine
A modern medical practitioner, Dr. Victoria Sweet was inspired by Hildegard’s ancient wisdom, and her concept of viriditas in healing patients. After obtaining her MD, Dr. Sweet went back to get a PhD in history; both her masters and doctoral theses were on the subject of Hildegard medicine.
In Dr. Sweet’s TEDx talk at Middlebury College, (The Efficiency of Inefficieny) she describes Hildegard’s belief that human healing resembles the greening power and regenerating capabilities of plant life. In 2014, Dr. Sweet published a book on the subject called God’s Hotel. More recently, Dr. Sweet published a related book, Slow Medicine, also featuring viriditas as a central theme.
Within our Control and Within Reach
Hildegard believed viriditas was to not just be witnessed, but sought out. Hildegard spoke of this pursuit of viriditas through her metaphors of moistness, fruitfulness, and vigor of the soul. These attributes were how she saw life, signs of being alive, and of engaging in this living force of the creator.
Similar to her use of the humoral in her medicine, she saw viriditas as the living part of the duality with ariditas, the “dryness”, “drought”, “aridity”, and “infection” that can arise when the flow of viriditas is blocked.
She saw the tension between the life affirming and balance seeking attributes of viriditas and the barrenness and dryness of ariditas as motivation for constant inquiry into how to encourage the flow of greening power. Physical disease and spiritual decay were evidence of this lacking flow, a flow of greenness that penetrated every aspect of all life, and was a reflection of the Divine on Earth.
Oneness of the Universe
Living well required vigilance against this dryness overtaking our viriditas. The pursuit of greening power instructed much of Hildegard’s work on herbal healing and nutrition and was foundational in how she constructed her beliefs of the interconnectedness of the natural world, humanity, and the divine.
Regardless of how viriditas is translated, the word is full of life. It is entwined with Hildegard’s teachings and beliefs, in her music, art, writing, and her study of the natural world. Whether you are tilling your Hildegard healing medieval garden, or taking a walk in the woods, or just learning ways to invite health and wellness into your life, viriditas is a powerful reminder of the importance of our connectivity with nature and of acknowledging the life and beauty all around us.
The four bodily humors derive from the bodily fluids of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Like the theory of homeostasis, bodily humors seek balance. When bodily humors fall out of balance, our health and temperament suffer.
The four bodily humors represent the foundation of humoral theory (or, humorism), a medical doctrine practiced by ancient Greek and Roman physicians. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is credited with first applying this theory to the practice of medicine.
Hildegard and Bodily Juices
Humoral medicine was a holistic and highly individualist approach to health and wellness. It represented holistic healing because bodily humors were believed to influence both physical and mental (or, spiritual) disposition. The practice of humoral medicine required an individual approach, since the ideal state – or balance, of the four bodily humors may vary for each individual.
Hildegard of Bingen believed the spirit determines the health of our body and mind. When the spirit, mind, and body possess equal strength, the four bodily juices arrive in balance, resulting in good health. Just as the four elements of air, fire, water, and earth interrelate in a balance seeking cycle, our bodies mirror this relationship.
Balancing Bodily Humors
Hildegard applied the humoral theory of ancient medicine in her beliefs and practices. In Causes and Curae, Hildegard discusses a relationship of the body’s significant fluids (bodily juices) that correspond with the four qualities of hot, cold, wet, and dry. She associated the bodily humors of the traditional four fluids of blood, phlegm, bile, and melancholia with those qualities.
Hildegard also believed that the essence or “juice” of anything, especially the medicinal juice of plants, followed a similar relationship based on the qualities of bodily humors as dry, wet, tepid, and foamy. She believed that disease emerged from the wrong proportion of the bodily juices.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) created characters that are among the richest and most humanly recognizable in all of literature. Yet Shakespeare understood human personality in the terms available to his age—that of the now-discarded theory of the four bodily humors—blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm. These four humors were thought to define peoples‘ physical and mental health, and determined their personalities, as well. Read more here
Humors Bring Harmony
Hildegard’s understanding of the bodily juices was a unifying perspective in which the four humors existed within the body, but also within the natural world. She saw the four bodily humors as a microcosm of the fundamental organizing system of the universe. In her view, each juice existed to temper the other – just as the universe is made of the four elements and four seasons operating in harmony.
When harmony exists in us, we are in accord with all that exists. Because of our connectivity with the universe, Hildegard believed the soul to be the source of everything and thus essential in achieving harmony. She held four basic rules in the pursuit of harmony.
Rule 1: Strengthen the spirit
Hildegard believed that all problems and ailments in the body are ultimately rooted in our spirit. She believed that by strengthening and healing the soul, the body and its systems would then follow. Hildegard’s path to harmony flows from the spirit, to the mind, and the body. The power of health and wellness is within us. It is our duty to strengthen our soul such that this power will manifest. How?
We strengthen our soul through meditation, encouraging and practicing talents and virtues, and working against vices and weakness. The key is to identify and prioritize your values and determine whether or not you are practicing your values in your day-to-day life.
The Sufi Master, Sultan ul Awliya Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil Al Haqqani Q.S explains The HEALING OF THE HEART WITH THE MEDICINE OF DHIKR ( meditation on the Holy Names of Allah: “Each and very human being has two hearts. One is a physical lump of flesh the size of a fist and the other is the spiritual heart of immeasurable size and depth, more immense than the universe!” Read more…
Rule 2: Cleanse the Body
Hildegard was a proponent of regular detoxification and spiritual fasting. Cleansing through fasting, wormwood wine cures, and herbal treatments and elixirs. Hildegard’s fasting guidelines show that fasting needn’t be suffering or absolute deprivation. Fasting can merely be a dedicated period of time to allow your body to purge toxins, rest, and rejuvenate.
The spiritual fast is known from antiquity ,and the best known and most observed is in Islam :
Muslims believe that fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. Fasting also includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, abstaining from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing, fighting, and having lustful thoughts. Therefore, fasting strengthens control of impulses and helps develop good behavior. During the sacred month of Ramadan, believers strive to purify body and soul and increase their taqwa (good deeds and God-consciousness). This purification of body and soul harmonizes the inner and outer spheres of an individual. Muslims aim to improve their body by reducing food intake and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Overindulgence in food is discouraged and eating only enough to silence the pain of hunger is encouraged. Muslims believe they should be active, tending to all their commitments and never falling short of any duty. On a moral level, believers strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them to their daily situations. They try to show compassion, generosity and mercy to others, exercise patience, and control their anger. In essence, Muslims are trying to improve what they believe to be good moral character and habits.
Rule 3: Moderation
Moderation was a central theme of Hildegard’s beliefs and teachings. Hildegard believed that we should strive to bring moderation into our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Her notion of moderation was about more than just eating and drinking nutritious foods. For Hildegard, moderation was closely tied to her beliefs that balance in spirit, mind, and body was essential in living a healthy life.
Modern living often seems designed to keep us off-balance. The flow of our daily lives presents seemingly limitless opportunity to step out of balance in order to accomplish our goals. An awareness of balance and placing our desire for balance into practice helps lead to a healthier state of being.
Avoiding processed foods, awareness of what we eat and drink, while limiting our indulgences helps keep us on the right path.
Hildegard’s Medieval Diet, based on natural foods enjoyed in moderation and balance, serves as a reference for some specific tips.
Rule 4: Sharpen the Senses
Live your life on purpose; set healthy goals; don’t allow life to “happen to you”. Maintaining contentment means cultivating a positive demeanor; it’s a choice we make many times, every day. Live your values with optimism and personal responsibility. Love your life. If you can’t love your life in its current form, identify the shortcomings and work on changes. Some of the most profound developments begin with the smallest turns of the dial.
O men of sight—what a sight!
Through mysteries you’ve passed
with gaze of spirit’s eyes,
in shining shadow
a living, piercing light
that buds upon that single branch
that flourished at
the entrance of deep-rooted light:
You saints of old!
You have foretold salvation
of souls in exile plunged,
in death immersed.
You circled, spun like wheels
as wondrously proclaimed
the mountain’s mysteries
whose top the heavens touched
and passed through many waters
yet still among you
arose a shining lamp
that raced ahead, that mountain
Scivias III.4: The Pillar of the Word of God.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 145v
The four humours and their corresponding qualities.
Humoral theory, also known as humorism or the theory of the four humours, was a model for the workings of the human body. It was systemised in Ancient Greece, although its origins may go back further still. The theory was central to the teachings of Hippocrates and Galen and it became the dominant theory in Europe for many centuries. It remained a major influence on medical practice and teaching until well into the 1800s.
In this theory, humours existed as liquids within the body and were identified as blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These were in turn associated with the fundamental elements of air, water, earth and fire. It was further proposed that each of the humours was associated with a particular season of the year, during which too much of the corresponding humour could exist in the body – blood, for example, was associated with spring. A good balance between the four humours was essential to retain a healthy body and mind, as imbalance could result in disease. Such notions of internal balance have parallels in other medical traditions, notably Ayurveda, Unani Tibb and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The treatments for disease within humoral theory were concerned with restoring balance. These could be relatively benign and focused on changes in dietary habits, exercise and herbal medicines. But other treatments could involve more aggressive attempts to re-establish balance. As well as having the body purged with laxatives and emetics, or the skin blistered with hot iron, individuals already weakened by disease might be subjected to bloodletting because practitioners mistakenly believed that their bodies contained an excess of blood.
Hildegard’s Bodily Juices
Hildegard’s work in Causae et Curae, on the origin and treatment of diseases, offers a fascinating glimpse into Hildegard’s world view, and the theological underpinnings of her thinking around natural healing, naturopathy, and bodily juices. Even today, Hildegard’s descriptions provide a thought-provoking look at the causes of certain maladies and diseases.
The Rule of Fours in Hildegard Medicine
According to Hildegard, the Earth is composed of four primary elements and was given to man by God. In her book, Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Air, Victoria Sweet discusses the 4 elements as earth, fire, air and water. According to Hildegard, Fire strengthens, Earth provides life force, Air supports flexibility, and Water moisturizes and nourishes. Everything flows together, and no element can exist without the other elements.
Ideally, all creatures coexist and contribute to the interplay of the four elements, with every creature in relationship to one another. The elements benefit man; they nourish him, and provide him with a home. The basis of this orderly structure depends on the coexistence of man and elements, where everything has its place, meaning, and purpose. Driven by actions and faith, man occupies the center of this interrelationship.
Paradise Lost May be Found or Out of paradise every day
In Biblical lore, it was the fall of Adam and Eve that first compromised the intended structure of the universe, bringing disorder to all creation. When viewed through the lens of Hildegard’s microcosm-macrocosm, the fall from the Garden of Eden disrupted our relationship with nature, which lead to physical and spiritual changes in man, physical fragility, suffering and modern diseases.
As a result, the integrity of man’s original constitution (constitutio) was altered. Not all is lost, however, as the Creator has preserved a means for us to restore our unadulterated state. According to Hildegard, diligent work leads to a virtuous life, and thereby we may regain divine salvation (restitutio).
The Four Elements and Bodily Juices
According to Hildegard’s descriptions, the four elements interact in the human body as well as in nature to form the body and mind. Of the four basic elements, two possess heavenly qualities (air and fire), and the other two (earth and water) have earthly qualities. The two higher elements form the spirit, which is intangible in nature, whereas the body forms from the lower elements.
The four elements remain equally interconnected as much in people as they are on Earth. These elements moderate, support, and balance one-another. The resulting interplay forms our bodies and spirits, culminating in the human being to give him life.
Fire gives sight, the air gives hearing, water contributes motion and Earth creates the body and its gait. The soul is sent by God is further characterized by the deeds of men.
The Four Bodily Juices or Humours
Diseases arise from the imbalance of phlegmata or juices in the body; these are often referred to as bodily humours. These bodily juices, as Hildegard described them, formed after the fall of man, and they determine health and sickness, as well as character and temperament in the people.
Hildegard’s views on bodily juices or phlegmata were consistent with the common medical wisdom of premodern times. She incorporates several aspects of humoral pathology into her methodology, while also incorporating her own unique elements. One such element was in how Hildegard further subdivides her system of four bodily juice into two dominant and two secondary juices.
The nature of Hildegard’s four bodily juices relates to the composition of the four basic elements in the following manner: fire produces dry phlegm, whereas air produces moist phlegm; water produces frothy phlegm and earth produces a lukewarm condition. As with the element, our bodily juices attain their natural state through balance and harmony. Any disruption results in disease.
Man’s Character and Bodily Juices
These juices can occur in different combinations and thereby determine the character of the human being, as well as his physical condition.
“The man with the lukewarm phlegm is a sad and anxious. With him, the black bile is present in excess and compromises the brain and heart. This man is God-fearing and can also live quite long because his phlegm neither excessively harms him, nor makes him completely healthy.” – Hildegard of Bingen
In her writings about bodily juices, Hildegard describes people with certain characteristics. She identifies the dominant bodily juice, influencing the prevalent characteristic or behavior. In her analysis of these qualities and the corresponding bodily juice, Hildegard projects the life expectancy of those individuals.
In this way, Hildegard deals with most juices and the corresponding character such that the predominant phlegm and the arrangement of all other juices determine a person’s character.
Causae et Curae
In Causae et Curae, Hildegard describes a total of 16 possible character types. She describes why a person acts in a certain way and what juice causes that behavior. She also speculates on the influence such behavior has on a person’s life. Through this process, Hildegard attempts to explain why people act differently and how their lifestyle and temperament impact their lives and their life-expectancies.
The balance of juices determines our character and life span, and the composition (qualities) of those juices further defines our respective character.
Hildegard always traces disease to an imbalance of our juices. According to her understanding, a life of measure and Godliness is the best path toward maintaining a balance of the juices, and thus health and wellness of body and spirit.
Spirit Mind Body: Strength as a Skill
A skill must be learned, practiced, and tested. It is something one acquires through work, discipline, direction, and fortitude. Once acquired, it cannot be taken away, but it can atrophy if left idle. Consider the strength of our spirit mind body.
We hear a lot about a strong body, about how to build strength, what it takes to become “strong.” But these things are often limited by their own definitions, constrained by their transitory nature; fabricated solutions borne with expiration dates. And in a practical sense, most lack the simplicity and adaptability to accommodate the depth and breadth of a life being lived as a body, a mind, and spirit.
Spirit Mind Body: The Practice of Strength as a Skill
At Healthy Hildegard, we consider a holistic approach, evaluating strength as a skill that may occupy many different vectors of life. It is something that we build through our actions, something to be practiced, not a singular metric to be achieved.
There are countless books, blogs, web sites and gyms telling us how to live a healthy and fruitful life. Hildegard offered simple advice on bodily humors and strength of spirit mind body that have stood the test of time. Many suggestions can be incorporated into your life today, without joining a gym, buying a book, trying a new supplement, medication, or therapy.
The practice of building strength needn’t be heavy lifting. Skills can also come through small moves, through repetition of effort, through the accumulation of these practices tested against the challenges of everyday life.
It all starts with the spirit; the first of Hildegard’s four juices or bodily humors. Once we’ve committed to strengthening our souls through meditation, and faith in our inner wisdom, everything else can follow.
Begin your strength building practice with the wisdom of Hildegard and her simple ways to maintain the awareness of all that is you. Consider Hildegard’s Medieval Diet as a way to explore strength of spirit mind body.
- Points of Intersection: Viriditas and Veritas
Hildegard’s understanding of viriditas is multi-dimensional. It straddles the boundaries of the physical, the moral and the spiritual. Viriditas is fecundity. It is fruitfulness. It is greening power. A key facet of viriditas is its absence, ariditas. Dryness. The current state of the earth is an example of ariditas while the preferred situation of the earth within the universe is seen in viriditas. Obviously, at a purely physical level, this is the case. The earth is drying up and the seas are warming up. MacGillis’ discussion of the oceans, their composition, and the effects of lethal waste upon marine and human life leave no one in doubt. At a deeper level the crisis of unenlightened consciousness exemplifies another form of ariditas. It is a type of sinful mindset caused by deluded thinking based on rationalist and materialist philosophies. It is a type of sinful mindset that sees mankind [sic] at the top of the ladder of creation devouring natural resources and exploiting peoples. It is the type of sinful mindset that has created the current credit crunch—irresponsible, self-aggrandizing behaviour indicative of profound ariditas, of profound need for conversion. Where there is no ethical understanding, scientific knowledge leads to a diseased consciousness, to ultimate dryness and death. Says MacGillis: If the planet dies the only cause of it will have been consciousness, because without consciousness, the whole thing [earth’s cycles] was coded toward life…there are dynamics happening at the most profound level 7which are altering the capacity of the earth to do what the universe has mandated it to do. This is to continue to live and to continue to heal and nourish and regenerate itself. Consciousness is violating this mandate. And that’s us. Hildegard’s recognition of the interconnection between ariditas and sin is significant as is her conviction that viriditas is the way of justice and “fountain-fullness.” Is not viriditas also a heightened consciousness of connection, of consequences, of inter-relatedness, Is it not an embracing of creaturehood accompanied by a large dose of humility? The Earth, indeed the universe, is not a collection of objects, as Berry states, but a communion of subjects. Human beings are only one, lately emerged development in this communion. Understanding the principles of the new cosmology means imagining another kind of earth, perhaps like Hildegard’s, with viriditas at its core, an earth in full fruit. And in another kind of consciousness, veritas and reverence will enable people to see that the Earth is our body and God’s—something that Hildegard herself saw in her vision of the earth, embraced by the Cosmic Christ and resting in the womb of God (1998:41) read more
- RIDE YOUR EGO to REACH TO THE DIVINE PRESENCE
Message of Sheikh Nazim to the people of the 21st century
“All people are so friendly with their egos. They ask of it, “What are you ordering”? “O my ego, O my sultan,” “Whatever you want, Whatever you wish, I must prepare it for you” “I am your slave and you are my Sultan.” Finally, they will die, and their bodies will have a bad smell. The ego is a fully foolish one, but he is introducing himself as a mighty one. It says, “You must obey me,” “I don’t like any partner.” “I am the first and I am the last for you.” “All respect and praise that you give must be for me.” People are mostly lazy, and they are following their ego. (which is the laziest one amongst creatures.)
Your physical being cannot reach to the vastness of the world. But your spiritual being, that is something else. As much as we grant it more, from heavenly worlds, our spiritual being may reach to this vastness. In the beginning, when Allah Almighty created our nafs, He said, “Go forward,” and the nafs went back. That is its nature, never to accept its Lords commands. Allah Almighty honoured man to be His servants, and his nafs always comes in the way, to prevent him from obeying his Lord.
Every Prophet, brought methods from Allah Almighty, for training our ego so that we can say, “O my Lord, I surrender to you.” But your ego says to Allah, “No, I will not surrender.” When Allah asked our ego, “Who are you?”, the ego answered, “I am myself, and you are yourself.” “You are You, and I am myself.” So Allah Almighty ordered for the ego to be put in fire for one thousand years. He then took the ego out and asked it the same question. The ego replied, :”You are You and I am that me.” So he was ordered to be put into the cold hell for one thousand years, after which he was asked, “Who are you?” and it answered in the same way as before. Then it was ordered to be put into the valley of hunger for one thousand years, after which he was again called and asked again this same question, and this time it replied, “You are my Lord, and I am your servant.” – From discourses of Sheikh Nazim-
- Modern times: Out of paradise every day
On Henrich von Kleist’s short story On The Puppet Theatre. In the introduction to the translation in the Southern Cross Review, Parry writes:
Kleist shares with Kafka the insight that it is only our concept of time which makes us think of the Fall of Man as a historical event in the distant past. It is happening all the time. The biblical story is a mythical representation of constant human awareness of self and therefore of separation.
In this understanding, awareness of sense of separate self (eating of the Tree of Knowledge) = separation from God = The Fall. After eating from the tree, man hides himself from God.
Genesis names this tree The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, the original “evil” act is to see oneself as separate from God. Here we can begin to play by substituting freely the words evil, sin and separation. What if I say, when I see myself as separate(d) from God, separation comes into the world? Or, Jesus died for our separation? (As Cynthia Bourgeault points out, Christ died for our collective sins. The idea that Christ died for my individual sins is just a guilt trip).
The story also contains von Kleist’s prescription for this malady. According to Kleist, there are two states of innocence: the state of ignorance, and the state of complete knowledge and wisdom. However, since there is no way back, only the second of these can save us:
Does that mean, I said in some bewilderment, that we must eat again of the tree of knowledge in order to return to the state of innocence? Of course, he said, but that’s the final chapter in the history of the world.
- Modern times: Crucifying Christ every day
A lifelong pilgrimage. The Mirror of Jheronimus bosch for our times:
The figure of the wayfarer – both on the outside panels of the two versions of the Haywain Triptych and the now octagonal panel in Rotterdam – shows an image of allegorical texts in which the whole of human existence is conceived as a pilgrimage. This stems from a powerful Middle Ages tradition that can be seen, for example, in the Middle Netherlands publication entitled Boeck van den pelgherym (Book of the Pilgrim),by Jacob Bellaert which appeared in Haarlem in 1486.
This book explicitly laid down the notion that all people are pilgrims on their way to a heavenly Jerusalem. Bosch, however, did not portray his wayfarer as a stereotypical pilgrim, with all the well-known attributes that would characterize him as such.
Indeed, Bosch did refer to plodding, and thus to the idea of humanity making a pilgrimage. Every person as a devoted believer must find his or her own way with God’s help. For this purpose the traveller is equipped with a number ofpractical attributes, such as a strong staff, which is at the same time symbolic. The painter did not portray this staff as the typical long pilgrim’s staff, but as club-like stick with which the marching traveller wards off the threatening dog.
Bosch seems literally to have painted a passage from the Middle Netherlands adaptation of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis (The mirror of human salvation): in many places the pilgrim must journey along back roads and needs a stick to ward off threatening dogs. The staff symbolizes the belief that humanity offers a footing not to stray from the righteous way, and serves him as a weapon.
Bosch’s travelling man has packed his belongings in the big basket on his back and carries this earthly burden along the path of life. He must lead his life in imitation of Christ; he must bear His burdens, contemplating His example from hour to hour and from day to day. Bosch’s interpretation of the toiling wayfarer is established by the title page of an early printed edition of Thomas van Kempen’s famous book De Navolging van Christus (The Imitation of Christ), Antwerp 1505.
If we are not doing that we are then Crucifying Christ every day of our modern times. See polishing your Heart
Christ Carrying the Cross (Bosch, Ghent)
The work depicts Jesus carrying the cross above a dark background, surrounded by numerous heads, most of which are characterized with grotesque faces. There are a total of eighteen portraits, plus one on Veronica’s veil. Jesus has a woeful expression, his eyes are closed and the head is reclinating.
In the bottom right corner is the impenitent thief, who sneers against three men who are mocking him. The penitent thief is at top right: he is portrayed with very pale skin, while being confessed by a horribly ugly monk.
The bottom left corner shows Veronica with the holy shroud, with her eyes half-open and the face looking back. Finally, at the top left is Simon of Cyrene, his face upside upturned.
While surrounded by the mob in caricature Christ is accompanied by Simon of Cyrene, St. Veronica and the Good and Bad Thieves. Veronica holds the imprinted face of Christ on her veil. The two faces of Jesus contrast sharply with the horrible faces around them. Bosch imbues the mob with faces of sin. Here humanity is ugly and full of evil. They externally bear the marks of their inner torment, as contrasted with the serene faces of Jesus and Veronica. José de Sigüenza, a 16th-century Spanish author, wrote: “The difference between the work of Bosch and that of other painters lies in the fact that the others depict man as he appears on the outside. Only Bosch dared to paint him the way he is on the inside.”
This dramatic panel is “one of the most hallucinatory creations of the history of Western art”, in the words of Bosch expert Paul van den Broeck.
A reminder, most of the paintings by Bosch are religious, but at the same time, they are a critical analysis of the world and its human inhabitants. Bosch often does that in a highly ingenious way. This Christ Carrying the Cross demonstrates how deeply Bosch felt and identified with the suffering of Christ. This empathy fits in with the teachings of the late-medieval devotional movements from Bosch’s time, which saw Jesus as a lonely and resigned man who conquered the sins of the ugly and even bestial world all on his own. For Bosch Christ is the one to follow because He alone can forgive our ugliness (sin) and call us to a new beauty (grace.) . This is the message Bosch wanted to convey here.
Bosch places the head of Christ at the crossing of two diagonal composition lines. One diagonal follows the beam of the Cross, from the head of Simon of Cyrene, the man who helped to carry Christ’s Cross, to the “bad thief” at the bottom right, who was crucified beside Christ. The second diagonal runs from the bottom left, with Veronica’s sudarium, to the pallid face of the “good thief” in the upper-right corner. He has the dubious pleasure of the company of a physician – or is it a Pharisee? – and a monk.
Drawing on our walk with Christ in the Ghent Christ Carrying the Cross, it may be good to paraphrase the ancient prayer to Santiago de Compostela:
Be for us our companion on our daily walks,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our shelter on the way,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.
The iconography of the Passion scenes which Bosch painted during his middle and later years are simpler than that of his earlier paintings, their imagery more easily grasped by the viewer. One such work is the Christ Carrying the Cross in the Palacio Real, Madrid. Christ dominates the foreground, almost crushed beneath the heavy Cross which the elderly Simon of Cyrene struggles to lift from his back. The ugly heads of his executioners rise steeply in a mass towards the left;
in the distance, the sorrowing Virgin collapses into the arms of John the Evangelist. Whereas Bosch’s earlier composition of this subject in Vienna had been diffuse and primarily narrative, the Madrid version is concentrated, and the way that Christ ignores his captors to look directly at the spectator gives it the quality of a timeless devotional image.
Walter S. Gibson in his work on Bosch states that some critics claim that Bosch equated the historical tormenters of Christ with humankind at large whose daily wickedness continues to torture Christ after his Resurrection. This concept of ‘Perpetual Passion’ was not uncommon in Bosch’s day. But is this what the face of Jesus is saying? Could it not be less an accusation and more an appeal to the viewer found within Matthew 16:24: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”?
Look here for A lifelong pilgrimage: The Mirrors of Jheronimus bosch
see also THE “RENEWING OF CREATION AT EACH INSTANT”
- Jesus (as) and Why You Should Not Idolize All People
By Shaykh Rami Al Rifai.
Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem, Assalamu Alaikum
The following is our Tafsir from a translation to the Gospel of Thomas (as) who Jesus (as) said to us are His (as) words. The Gospel of Thomas is a sayings gospel, it was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945 among a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. This is why it was not included in the bible as canon, it was lost to time, these are Jesus’s (as) last words on earth before His (as) ascension, what you will find is that the sum of its advice is the same as the advice the Angels gave to John (q) in the book of revelations regarding the empires that would arise at the end of time some 2000 years later, our time.
Muslims and Christians should study this because Jesus (saws) began it by saying:
“Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste (spiritual) death.”
Thomas (as) said to Jesus (as), “Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things (Ghayb, the Unseen), then I can speak about them. And it is obvious to me that the truth is difficult to perform (explain) before men.”
Jesus (saws) answered regarding the unseen and sainthood, saying, “If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you (your mind), how can you hear about the things that are not visible? If the deeds of the truth that are visible in the world are difficult for you to perform, how indeed, then, shall you perform those that pertain to the exalted height (those who act on what they witness from the unseen, like Sayyidinah Khidr) and to the pleroma (the totality of divine powers) which are not visible? And how shall you be called ‘laborers’? (saintly, those who do this work) In this respect you are apprentices, and have not yet received the height of perfection (Ihsan).” (The Book of Thomas)
Jesus (saws) said, “Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind.”
“Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be (your nature and the reason you developed this way). Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself. And I know that you have understood, because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you are uncomprehending (of spiritual things and their technical nature), you have (in fact) already come to know (experience, gain Maa’rifah), and you will be called ‘the one who knows himself’. For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself (his nature and why he does things) has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all (that is the source of all inspiration and you have connected to it so it guides you). So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, what they ignorantly stumble against (chasing the world looking for answers there while it is only within them that answers exist).” (The Book of Thomas)
Don’t change the world in hopes of changing yourself, change yourself so the world changes because of you. Read more
- About the Substitution of Christ on the Cross: Or the “Imitatio Christi”
See also The Judas Goat: the Substitution of Christ on the Cross
- HILDEGARD AND THE HUMAN PERSON
Most significantly, Hildegard states that Adam and Eve share a common flesh. This seemingly innocuous clarification is in fact highly important as it counters the narrative set down by the Church regarding the relationship between the sexes and the blame for Adam’s Fall. Many of Hildegard’s predecessors asserted that as Eve was made of Adam, her flesh was innately weaker, and more susceptible to influence and sin. Hildegard rejects this and insists that although Eve contributed to Adam’s Fall, he was also partially responsible, and so Eve’s flesh was only as weak as Adam’s, and equally as holy. Therefore Mary, Hildegard argues, being descendent of Eve, created Christ with a body made of Eve’s flesh. By placing such importance on the role of the female body with relation to Christ, Hildegard rejects some patristic narratives that women represented the flesh inasmuch as they were physical creatures prone to base instincts of the flesh, whereas men represented the spirit in that they were rational and superior in mind and temperament.94 Without Mary, Hildegard argues, there would be no Christ, and in fact no ‘humanity’ at all. It was Mary who bestowed Christ with his humanity, just as Eve was bestowed life from Adam’s flesh. To dismiss the one would mean to dismiss the other. Hildegard distances herself from interpreting the flesh and body as innately sinful, and instead elevates them to a holy level. Her investment in the human body is strengthened in her medico-religious writing by her incorporation of various feminine images, such as Lady Wisdom and Synagogue. Hildegard’s fascination with the human body extends to the female body, particularly when she argues that the results of Adam’s Fall are most apparent in the womb of Eve and that the duty of restoring the cosmic imbalance caused by the Fall resided with all women. Hildegard takes the contemporary discourse of her time surrounding the female body and its faults and reinterprets them to argue the case of female responsibility, and therefore, power in restoring the faults of their bodies and of the world around them. Hildegard’s body of work, and indeed, her medico-religious works, are a natural result of this sense of innate responsibility. Causae et curae and Physica are a method by which Hildegard could aid her immediate community, and indeed, supply the world around her with viriditas. Through the healing of others Hildegard saw her actions inadvertently as a response to Adam’s Fall, and as an expression of spiritual and physical authority. Read more here
- To be in sleep : the 7 sleepers
The people of the Cave, verses 9-16.
In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, reviews verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on Seclusion and the Preservation of Faith from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. The verses covered in this lesson are from the 18th chapter of the Quran on the people of the Cave, verses 9-16.
The story of the people of the Cave in the Quran focuses on the points of guidance from this story, that’s why the details of their story are not mentioned in the Quran like other Biblical traditions. The reason that reading this Chapter every Friday is to renew one’s faith. That is why the central message of the chapter is the preciousness and preservation of faith. The preservation of one’s faith is done through seclusion or migration. Here, seclusion is not an ends in itself but it is separate one from evil and its people with one’s heart and action even if one is amongst them. The physical seclusion is to give one the strength for the spiritual seclusion from their action.
أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا
إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا
Or have you thought that the companions of the cave and the inscription were, among Our signs, a wonder?
[Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, “Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.” [Quran, 18:9-10]
Here, the verses mention mercy and what is meant by that mercy is faith and guidance. The story itself showcases the high levels of taqwa that the people of the cave had in their attempts to preserve their faith. As such, one should always strive to preserve what they’ve been blessed with from Allah.
هَٰؤُلَاءِ قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً ۖ لَّوْلَا يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ ۖ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا
وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا
These, our people, have taken besides Him deities. Why do they not bring for [worship of] them a clear authority? And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie?”
[The youths said to one another], “And when you have withdrawn from them and that which they worship other than Allah, retreat to the cave. Your Lord will spread out for you of His mercy and will prepare for you from your affair facility.” [Quran, 18:15-16]
Verses 15 and 16 show us that one should be vigilant in what they choose to associate with and what they choose to disassociate with. A believer should be clear about what is the truth, right and good and holds fast to it. In addition, Shaykh Faraz reminds us that we dislike the action and not the person, and disassociate with the action and not people.
Lastly, Shaykh Faraz concludes with a quote from Imam Ibn ‘Ajiba and Imam Ibn ‘Ata’illah that whoever dedicates themselves to Allah, Allah will reward them, protect them and shields there heart. To do this one should take some time for seclusion to reflect, pray, and remember Allah.
For a more detailed description of the entire Chapter on the People of the Cave, check out Shaykh Waleed Mosaad’s podcast: http://seekershub.org/podcast/show/01-giving-life-surah-kahf-shaykh-walead-mosaad/
In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.
Ashab e Kahf Run to the Cave to the Presence of the Mercy to Creation ﷺ
This is the second lunar month (Safar), and 9 times 2, then guides us to 18, Surat al-Kahf (18th chapter of holy Quran). That our life is about being from the people of the Cave. Where Allah (AJ) describe them, and reminder for myself that they ran. That what was in store for them in their world was from Shaytan (satan). And they took a life in which they ran from that shaytan, and that Allah (AJ) said, ‘Run to the Cave, and that I may shower my mercy upon you’.
﴾إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا ﴿١٠
18:10 – “Idha aw al fityatu ilal kahfi faqalo Rabbana atina min ladunka Rahmatan wa hayyi lana min amrina rashada.” (Surat Al-Kahf)
“When the young men fled for refuge to the Cave and said: Our Lord! Give us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight.” (The Cave, 18:10)
Alhamdulilah, a reminder that mercy is the presence of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ. When Allah (AJ) want to bestow a Rahmah (mercy), he sends Rahmatan lil’alameen (mercy to all the worlds). This means they bestow a love. When Allah (AJ) want to bestow a mercy, he bestows the love of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ upon the heart. So, we have to always recap because people are coming new, they’re no, where did you get this from Shaykh? So, we brought you up to speed.
This is from the realities of malakut (heavenly realm). The malakut (heavenly realm) is the Sultanate of Allah (AJ). That this life of ours, to be from the 8 in which we live a life to serve Prophet ﷺ, to be of service to Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ. Allah (AJ) then begin to teach us, that be from Ashabul Kahf (People of the Cave). And they are the placeholders which means the highest reality is the Muhammadan reality. That Allah (AJ) has no time.
The 7 Sleepers and 1 Guardian of the Gate of the Cave
So then those 7 sleepers, and 1 guardian at the gate. 7 sleepers 1 guardian at the gate known to us as Qitmir. They say we don’t know the number. No, they know the number. Of course they know the number, this is a tremendous reality. If they don’t know it, THEY don’t know. It doesn’t mean it’s unknown.[Q’n]
﴾وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۚ قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ ۗ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا ﴿٢٢…
18:22 – “… wa yaqooloona sab’atunw wa saaminuhum kalbuhum; qur Rabbeee a’lamu bi’iddatihim maa ya’lamuhum illaa qaleel; falaa tumaari feehim illaa miraaa’an zaahiranw wa laa tastafti feehim minhum ahadaa” (Surat Al-Kahf)
“…(yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: “My Lord knoweth best their number; not many people know but it’s known to only few.” Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers.” (The Cave, 18:22)
- Following the guidance of Saints
Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi, Sohbat of the 25th of July, 2013:
“What kind of way is it? Follow that way and be saved. Can someone who goes the opposite direction find his destination? If you go sideways like a crab, if you don’t go straight, you won’t find your way. You need a guide. Even governments put so many signs, showing directions and names of cities. This city is in that direction. And people drive according to that. These people have been deprived of the most simple information. Life is a way/ road. Madad Ya Shah Mardan. It is a road. And those who don’t know which way to go, can never reach the destination they want. They get lost. What happened? He left home and never came back. Which way did he go? He went in that direction. Well, search for him. We couldn’t find him, he is lost.
There are so many signs giving directions so people don’t get lost. Turn here…go there. People can only comprehend this much. Which direction is our life’s journey? No one is asking that. Where are you going, O person. Which way are you going? They asked Nasruddin Hoja – Where are you going? Why are you going there? He said – I am going to look for a mind. He said – I am looking for a mind. Who has a mind? The mind is a jewel. Don’t go and search for jewels at the store where they sell onions and garlic. Don’t search there, wake up!
O our Lord, You created us for Your servanthood. We are Your servants. Show us the servants who will show us the way to You.” Read more
- Importance of Dhikr
There are several verses in the Quran that emphasize the importance of remembering the will of God by saying phrases such as “God willing,” “God knows best,” and “If it is your will.’ This is the basis for dhikr. Sura 18 (Al-Kahf), ayah 24 states a person who forgets to say, “God Willing,” should immediately remember God by saying, “May my Lord guide me to do better next time.” Other verses include sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayah 41, “O ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often,” and sura 13 (Ar-Ra’d), ayah 28, “They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering God. Absolutely, by remembering God, the hearts rejoice.” Muhammad said, ‘The best [dhikr] is La ilaha illa’llah (“there is no God but God”), and the best supplicatory prayer is Al-hamdu li’llah (“praise be to God”).
Muslims believe dhikr is one of the best ways to enter the higher level of Heaven and to glorify the Oneness of Allah.
To Sufis, dhikr is seen as a way to gain spiritual enlightenment and achieve union (visal) or annihilation (fana) in God. All Muslim sects endorse individual rosaries as a method of meditation, the goal of which is to obtain a feeling of peace, separation from worldly values (dunya), and, in general, strengthen Iman (faith).
- The Green Man
“The Green Man is the threshold of the imagination between our outer natures and our deepest selves and, as he is so closely connected with the Great Goddess, we must also ask, ‘What is the Great Goddess in ourselves?’ In ancient teachings she is Sophia or Wisdom, the wisdom we sorely need and which the Green Man is waiting to transmit to us.” Anderson
“One of the most important archetypal figures in Sufism is Khidr, ‘the green one.’ Khidr represents direct revelation, the direct inner connection with God that is central to the mystical experience… Khidr is not an abstract mystical figure, but an archetype of something essential within us. ‘The Green One’ images a natural aspect of our divinity, something so ordinary that we overlook it. To follow the way of Khidr is to awaken to our own natural state of being with God and with life. In this natural state of being we know how to respond to the real need of the moment.” Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“Three things of this world delight the heart: water, green things, and a beautiful face.” ( Prophet Mohammed)
The most common and perhaps obvious interpretation of the Green Man is that of a pagan nature spirit, a symbol of man’s reliance on and union with nature, a symbol of the underlying life-force, and of the renewed cycle of growth each spring. In this respect, it seems likely that he has evolved from older nature deities such as the Celtic Cernunnos and the Greek Pan and Dionysus.
Some have gone so far as to make the argument that the Green Man represents a male counterpart – or son or lover or guardian – to Gaia (or the Earth Mother, or Great Goddess), a figure which has appeared throughout history in almost all cultures. In the 16th Century Cathedral at St-Bertrand de Comminges in southern France, there is even an example of a representation of a winged Earth Mother apparently giving birth to a smiling Green Man.
Because by far the most common occurrences of the Green Man are stone and wood carvings in churches, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals in Europe (particularly in Britain and France), some have seen this as evidence of the vitality of pre-Christian traditions surviving alongside, and even within, the dominant Christian mainstream. Much has been made of the boldness with which the Green Man was exhibited in early Christian churches, often appearing over main doorways, and surprisingly often in close proximity to representations of the Christ figure.
Incorporating a Green Man into the design of a medieval church or cathedral may therefore be seen as a kind of small act of faith on the part of the carver that life and fresh crops will return to the soil each spring and that the harvest will be plentiful. Pre-Christian pagan traditions and superstitions, particularly those related to nature and trees, were still a significant influence in early medieval times, as exemplified by the planting of yew trees (a prominent pagan symbol) in churchyards, and the maintenance of ancient “sacred groves” of trees.Tree worship goes back into the prehistory of many of the cultures that directly influenced the people of Western Europe, not least the Greco-Roman and the Celtic, which is no great surprise when one considers that much of the continent of Europe was covered with vast forests in antiquity. It is perhaps also understandable that there are concentrations of Green Men in the churches of regions where there were large stretches of relict forests in ancient times, such as in Devon and Somerset, Yorkshire and the Midlands in England. The human-like attributes of trees (trunk-body, branches-arms, twigs-fingers, sap-blood), as well as their strength, beauty and longevity, make them an obvious subject for ancient worship. The Green Man can be seen as a continuing symbol of such beliefs, in much the same way as the later May Day pageants of the Early Modern period, many of which were led by the related figure of Jack-in-the-Green.
- The Green Man in Britain (towns A – B) (44 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns C – E) (55 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns F – L) (55 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns M – O) (33 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns P – S) (48 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns T – Z) (41 photos)
- The Green Man in France (towns A – L) (45 photos)
- The Green Man in France (towns M – Z) (35 photos)
- The Green Man in Germany (towns A – L) (40 photos)
- The Green Man in Germany (towns M – Z) (31 photos)
- The Green Man in Spain (17 photos)
- The Green Man in Italy (28 photos)
- The Green Man in Other Countries (36 photos)
- Similar Figures from Antiquity (10 photos)
The coat of arms,Den Bosch (Holland)
The origin of the city’s name ‘the Duke’s forest’ is clearly illustrated in the coat of arms. To explain the entire history of this colourful emblem you’d need an entire book, but here’s the short answer. The first mention of the existence of the coat of arms dates to a document from 1242. The main feature on the coat of arms, the tree, is a telling symbol of the Duke’s forest. The tree, accompanied by two smaller ones, was already implemented on the oldest known city seal. The eagle is the German Reich’s eagle with the Austrian shield on its chest. The gold crown and the two wild men were added in 1670 when the coat of arms was placed on the new city hall. Why the wild men appeared on the coat of arms of ‘s-Hertogenbosch is unclear. One explanation could be that they made the forest dwellers who were associated with the founding of the city into guards.
The wild man likewise served to counterpoise the accepted standards of conduct of society in general. If the average man could not articulate what he meant by “civilized” in positive terms, he could readily do so in negative terms by pointing to the wild man. As the dialectical antithesis of all man should strive for, the wild man was the abstract concept of “noncivilization” rendered as a fearful physical reality. This myth exemplifies man’s tendency to dignify or credit his own mode of life by contrasting it to that of others who are considered not merely different but lesser. Such figures, whether real or mythic, embody the essential qualities of the society that identifies them.bs As medieval man became progressively obsessed with a highly ordered social structure, a rational disposition to direct it, and a committed•faith in God to sustain it, the wild man came to represent the opposite. Sublimated in the wild man were the preeminent phobias of medieval society—chaos, insanity, and ungodliness.
The myth of the medieval wild man was adopted to preserve the values and order of a declin-ing feudal society. As this society began to dissolve so did the myth that was designed to rein-force it. But with the rise of a new social order, the myth, turning to an individual rasher than a collective level, was revived, only to become diffused once more through fictionalization. The varied symbolic functions performed by the wild man throughout the transformations of his mythic nature reveal then not only the changing patterns of society, but the current attitudes toward it as well. As Northrup Frye has observed, myths are designed to challenge the ex-tremes of human possibility, the ideals of freedom or redemption on one hand, and the threat of oppression and damnation on the other other.46 The wild man in his varied iconographical contexts reflected points of man’s response to the inherent tensions between good and evil. More than a literary oddity, a folkloric superstitution, or a symbolic hybrid, the wild man is a remarkable mirror of the age in which he flourished. Read more here
look also The Green Man, St George and the Dragon Power of Nature
and Green Man, May Day and May Pole
- Saint George and the dragon. Cult, culture and foundation of the city.
“Sacrifice is the City” St. Augustine, The City of God
The figure of St. George fighting the dragon is an icon in the Eastern and Western world: the topos of the glorious and sacred image, the Saint on horseback with shield and spear, opposite to the winged monster comes from ancient times and places, subject to devotion and dedication.
From Palestine to England, from the Balkans – the sources agree that George was born in Cappadocia – to Catalonia (San Jordi), the figure of the saint also defines morphologically one of the most important martyrological cults in Mediterranean area.
Following the insights of René Girard, which describes the violent origins of human culture, I propose to analyze through the traditional image of St. George, the foundation of the “enclosed city”, model of the Mediterranean city during the Middle Ages, with particular reference sacrificial origins of living space. Read more here
- Khidr – the Green One – is very important in Sufism : St George and Al kidhr
The present master of the Golden Chain, the Sultan al-Awliya Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani (may Allah sanctify his secret), has confirmed that Saint George is Sayyidina Al-Khidr, peace be upon him. The word “confirmed” is appropriate, since this identification has been widely made for a long time. According to HRH Prince Charles, for example: “We forget too easily that the veneration of the Virgin is shared in the Middle East to this day by Christians and Muslims alike; that the mysterious prophet of the Muslims, Al-Khidir, was identified with…the Christian St George…” Perhaps most obviously, St. George’s Day in the Ottoman Empire was better known as Hidrellez, a name deriving in part from the title al-Khidr or “the Green.” If it is objected that Hidrellez falls on the 6th of May rather than the 23rd of April, that is, St. George’s Day in those regions of Western Europe still holding to this tradition, let it not be forgotten that the 6th of May is simply St. George’s Day in the Eastern liturgical calendar. Read more here
- Khidr Al-Khadir (Kh-D-R) – an Arabic term meaning “green” and “verdant” – is the etymological root for a Middle-Eastern character known as al-Khidr: the Green One.
Khidr, Khizr, Khezr or Hizir – all point to a legendary figure who is said to have discovered the “Water-of-Life” (i.e. Spirit / Pure Consciousness) and is considered an eternal prophet. Coleman Barks informs us:
Khidr is connected philologically with Elijah and with Utnapishtim of the Gilgamesh epic. He may be partial source, along with Druidic lore, for the enigmatic Green Knight in the Middle English poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. Read more here
- The Allegory of Good and Bad Government
The Allegory of Good and Bad Government is a series of three fresco panels painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between February 1338 and May 1339. The paintings are located in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico—specifically in the Sala dei Nove (“Salon of Nine”), the council hall of the Republic of Siena’s nine executive magistrates, elected officials who performed executive functions (and judicial ones in secular matters). The paintings have been construed as being “designed to remind the Nine [magistrates] of just how much was at stake as they made their decisions”
The “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” is a series of fresco paintings executed by Ambrogio Lorenzetti which are located in the Salon of Nine (or Council Room) in the Town Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) of the city of Siena. This famous cycle of pre-Renaissance painting is made up of six different scenes: Allegory of Good Government; Allegory of Bad Government; Effects of Bad Government in the City; Effects of Good Government in the City; Effects of Bad Government in the Country; and Effects of Good Government in the Country. Commissioned by the Council of Nine (the city council) and designed as a sort of political warning, aimed at members of the Council (drawn from Siena’s ruling families), to reduce corruption and misrule, these mural paintings offer a pictorial contrast between the peace and prosperity of honest rule, versus the decay and ruin caused by tyranny.
One one wall of the Salon of Nine, Lorenzetti portrays the benefits of good government – a ‘good city’ – probably based on Siena’s real architecture (same cathedral, same bell tower) – which features dancers as well as busy traders, while outside the city peasants and travellers go about their business in peace and safety. On the other wall, the ‘bad city’ has a decaying, cramped appearance, while street crime is clearly visible. Outside the city, the ‘bad countryside is marked by burning farms, disease and widespread drought. Ironically, in 1348 both Ambrogio Lorenzetti and his artist-brother Pietro Lorenzetti would die in Siena from the Black Death. See more here
Allegory of the Bad Government
Below the tyrant the captive figure of Justice lies bound, while the figures of Cruelty, Deceit, Fraud, Fury, Division, and War flank him, and above him float the figures of Avarice, Pride, and Vainglory.
Effects of Bad Government in the Country: Dryness
Effects of Bad Government in the City
Allegory of the Good Government
In The Allegory of Good Government, the composition is built up from three horizontal bands. In the foreground the figures of contemporary Siena are represented. The citizens act as symbolic representations of the various civic officers and magistrates. They are linked by two woven cords or concords which Concord gathers from under the scales of Justice. Behind them, on a stage, there are allegoric figures in two groups, representing the Good Government. The two groups are connected by the procession of the councilors. The upper band indicates the heavenly sphere with the floating bodiless ghosts of the virtues. Wisdom sits above the head of the personification of the Commune of Siena. He sits upon a throne and holds an orb and scepter, symbolizing temporal power. He is dressed in the colors of the Balzana, the black-and-white Sienese coat of arms. Around his head are the four letters “C S C V”, which stand for “Commune Saenorum Civitatis Virginis”, which explains his identity as the embodiment of the Siena Council. That character is guided by Faith, Hope, and Charity. He confers with the proper Virtues necessary for a proper and just ruler.
The virtues of Good Government are represented by six crowned, stately female figures: Peace, Fortitude, and Prudence on the left, Magnanimity, Temperance, and Justice on the right. On the far left of the fresco the figure of Justice is repeated as she is balancing the scales held by Wisdom. The figures are naturalistic, and supposedly the female figures represented the ideal of female beauty in Siena. At the feet of the ruler are two playing children.
Effects of Good Government in the City
Effects of Good Government in the Country: ‘Greeness”
The Blind Leading the Blind an allegory for our times:
The painting depicts a procession of six blind, disfigured men. They pass along a path bordered by a river on one side and a village with a church on the other. The leader of the group has fallen on his back into a ditch and, because they are all linked by their staffs, seems about to drag his companions down with him. A cowherd stands in the background.
Bruegel based the work on the Biblical parable of the blind leading the blind from Matthew 15:14,[a] in which Christ refers to the Pharisees. According to art critic Margaret Sullivan, Bruegel’s audience was likely as familiar with classical literature as with the Bible. Erasmus had published his Adagia two years before Bruegel’s painting, and it contained the quotation “Caecus caeco dux” (“the blind leader of the blind”) by Roman poet Horace. Bruegel expands the two blind men in the parable to six; they are well dressed, rather than wearing the peasant clothing that typifies his late work. The first blind man’s face is not visible; the second twists his head as he falls, perhaps to avoid landing face-first. The shinguard-clad third man, on his toes with knees bent and face to the sky, shares a staff with the second, by which he is being pulled down. The others have yet to stumble, but the same fate seems implied. Read more here
St. Catherine of Siena and the City of the Soul
- In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, the city is the image of the soul, the surrounding walls being the frontier between the outward and the inward life. The gates are the faculties or senses connecting the life of the soul with the outer world. The intelligence, according to the saint, questions each one who approaches the gates whether he be friend or foe, thus watching over the security of the city. Living springs of water rise within it; gardens lie protected by its walls, and at the center, where beats the heart, stands the Holy Sanctuary. Because of its meaningful design, the city of Siena itself corresponds to this simile: it is indeed an image of the soul. Like the soul, the city can be filled with light: when, in the early morning, before the song of the swallows is drowned by the noise of the working day, one sees, as one climbs up from one of the terraced gardens, the first shafts of golden light strike the city standing high aloft; or again, at sunset, as one looks down on the town from San Domenico, when the light of the sinking sun steeps the houses and towers in glowing red, and the Cathedral, as if built of pearl and jasper, seems suspended in the air, illumined by the red sky. Then indeed can one see Siena as was in the mind of her founders: a holy city. Read more here
- Art of Islam, Language and Meaning
Despite the vast amount of documentation and descriptive studies already carried out by Western scholars, Islamic art has remained until now a singularly neglected field as far as the study in depth of its inner meaning is concerned. Since the taste of Western historians of art has been molded by several centuries of humanistic art from the Renaissance on, and even before that by a sacred art based primarily on the icon and secondarily on sculpture, Western scholars have naturally found the great schools of Indian and Far Eastern art of more interest than the Islamic, even when they have turned their eyes beyond the confines of Western civilization. During the past century works of profundity gradually began to appear on the arts of India and the Far East, revealing their symbolism and the metaphysical principles underlying them. This activity may be said to have culminated in the writings of A. K. Coomaraswamy, who unfolded before the English speaking world the unbelievable depth of the traditional art of India and also to a large extent that of mediaeval Europe. Meanwhile, despite certain works of inspiration which appeared here and there, Islamic art continued to be a closed book as far as its symbolic meaning was concerned. Its major art forms such as calligraphy were considered as “decoration” or “minor arts” and people looked in vain in this tradition for art forms which were central elsewhere. In addition, those who became interested in Islamic art for its so-called “abstract” nature often did so for the wrong reasons. They thought that Islamic art is abstract in the same sense as modern Western art, whereas the two stand at opposite poles.
The result of the one form of abstraction is the glass skyscrapers which scar most modern cities, and the fruit of the other is the Shāh Mosque and the Taj Mahal. The one seeks to evade the ugliness of naturalistic and condensed forms of nineteenth-century European art by appeal to a mathematical abstraction of a purely human and rationalistic order. The other sees in the archetypes residing in the spiritual empyrean the concrete realities of which the so-called realities of this world are nothing but shadows and abstractions. It therefore seeks to overcome this shadow by returning to the direct reflections of the truly concrete world in this world of illusion and abstraction which the forgetful nature of man takes for concrete reality. The process of so-called “abstraction” in Islamic art is, therefore, not at all a purely human and rationalistic process as in modern abstract art, but the fruit of intellection in its original sense, or vision of the spiritual world, and an ennobling of matter by recourse to the principles which descend from the higher levels of cosmic and ultimately Metacosmic Reality.
The writings of Titus Burckhardt have the great virtue of having brought to light for the first time in the modern West this and other fundamental principles of Islamic art and of having achieved at last for Islamic art what Coomaraswamy did for the art of India. Burckhardt has himself mentioned in his earlier works that Islamic art derives from the wedding of wisdom (ḥikmah) and craftsmanship (fann or ṣināʿah). Therefore to be able to explain this art in depth requires an intimate knowledge of both, which Burckhardt possessed to a startling degree. He is already known as one of the most masterly expositors of Sufism in the West, and his Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, as well as translations of Ibn ʿArabī and ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Jīlī, have become classics. He speaks from within the Sufi tradition of the profoundest aspects of wisdom with an authority which can only come from actual experience and realization of the world of the Spirit.
Moreover, Burckhardt was himself an artist in the original, and not the trivial and modern, sense of the word. He also spent a lifetime in intimate contact with traditional masters of the arts in North Africa and played a major role in saving the city of Fez and its living artistic traditions. He, therefore, combined within himself in a unique manner the qualifications necessary to present at last to the Western world the definitive work on Islamic art as far as the meaning and spiritual significance of this art are concerned. In the pages which follow, the reader will not be presented with an exhaustive documentation of every aspect of Islamic art, which in any case is impossible in a single volume. He will be exposed to the essence of this art and presented with keys with which he can open the door of the treasuries of Islamic art wherever they may be found. The author presents Islamic art as a direct derivative of the principles and form of the Islamic revelation and not as historical accretions accidentally amalgamated together, as so many other art historians would have us believe. Burckhardt begins with the Origin and, in the world of forms, with the Kaʿba and takes the reader through the major aspects of Islamic art, the relation of this art to liturgy, to the polarization between the nomads and sedentary peoples, to the great syntheses of Islamic art and architecture, and finally to the Islamic city, where all the different aspects of Islamic art are to be seen in their natural rapport with the rhythm of life dictated by the Divine Law and illuminated by the presence of the spiritual light contained within Sufism. In his earlier works, especially Sacred Art in East and West and Moorish Culture in Spain, Burckhardt had already written some of the profoundest pages on Islamic art. Read here The Essential Burckhardt
In the present work he brings together a lifetime of outward and inward experience to produce a peerless work, one in which Islamic art is at last revealed to be what it really is, namely the earthly crystallization of the spirit of the Islamic revelation as well as a reflection of the heavenly realities on earth, a reflection with the help of which the Muslim makes his journey through the terrestrial environment and beyond to the Divine Presence Itself, to the Reality which is the Origin and End of this art.
Read here Art of Islam, Language and Meaning
- The Green Man offers us a new understanding of the relationship between the macrocosm – the universal world – and the microcosm in ourselves.
On the macrocosmic scale he symbolizes the point at which the creative power in eternity is made manifest in space and time. Hildegard of Bingen gave a special name to the manifestation of cosmic energies: viriditas, greenness. On the scale of the human individual, viriditas is the operation of the Divine Word penetrating the soul and the whole body. Her idea has a modern parallel in the conception, much discussed by physicists, of the Anthropic Principle, the theory that intelligence is built into the form of the universe and that the reality of the universe is tied to us and depends on us as observers. It is a theory that may help us to conceive the new scale on which to think of the Green Man. Read more: NATURE, THEOPHANY AND THE REHABILITATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Look also: THE GREEN FINGERPRINT: Exploring a critical signature in the quest for a renewed and balanced Self
- TWELVE ANIMAL SPIRIT KEEPERS
Just as, for example, the body of a human being exceeds the heart in size, so also are the powers of the soul more powerful than those of the body . The powers of the soul extend over the entire globe. We look constantly at other creatures, Hildegard observes, yet “it is God whom human beings know in every creature. For they know that God is the Crentor of the whole world,” How beautifully, how freely, how rnagnificently Hildegard invites us to let go of human chauvinism. God is in every creature—not just the two-legged ones, much less the baptized ones of our race. The cosmos is truly a temple.
Hildegard considers the animal figures in this mandala to stand for “powers of virtue” that keep humanity going and working in the universe. Thus, for example, the stag stands for faith and holiness_ VVhen humans experience suffering we are like a bear in bodily pain” which cannot get rid of its pain but teaches us an “inner meekness, causing us to walk along the right path by exercising patience like a lam and to avoid evil by behaving as cleverly as a serpent. For through the distress of the body we often attain spiritual treasures through which we come into possessian of a higher kingdom.” Virtues for Hildegard are powers that humans exert on the cosrnos. They are as diverse as the various species that people the universe.
From the four directions of the universe Hildegard sees the heads of twelve animals breathing onto the human figure: 2 crabs„ a leopard, 2 stags, 2 larnbs, 2 bears, a serpent, a wolf. and a lion. As they are in Native American beliefs, these animais are the spirit keepers standing ror the “power of virtues.” that keep humaniry working in the universe and on earth: patient like a lamb, strong as a bear, clever like a serpent.
Note: About Native American beliefs:
The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children’ Read more here
look also: Inipi: The Purification Rite and Black Elk’s Account in The Sacred Pipe.
Tibetan and Navajo Cultures: Throughout history the circle has been consistently regarded both as an important metaphysical concept and symbol, as well as a practical object of aesthetic creation and shamanic, ritualistic, magical usage, often used to define an area that is special, that is sacred, that is protected. Accordingly numerous rituals using circles have evolved in the past throughout the world. Knowledge of these rituals is important for the shaman, for they offer a way to tap into the cumulated energy of all of these rituals carried out with focused consciousness in the past, through the performance of rituals in the present that have a multidimensional resonance, that is, which set up harmonically sympathetic vibrations bridging states of non-ordinary reality with ordinary reality to reveal states of extra-ordinary reality.
This paper will focus on the use of the sacred circle in shamanic practices within two different cultures, the Amerindian Navajo culture and the Tibetan Buddhist culture, both of which have for many centuries and continue into the present day to create ritually efficacious magic circles using a technique known as sandpainting. The Navajo and Tibetans have both preserved their systems of psychophysical transformation, ritual, art and natural philosophy up to the present day. Read more
Look also at Tibetan Buddhist Wisdom in Hildegard of Bingen’s Visions
Humanity and the Macrocosmos:
Hildegard writes: “The heads of the animals exhale forces of wind according to precise natural laws that spin the cosmic network throughout the world and create a corresponding moral relationship, All these animal’s breathe toward the wheel and these winds keep the universe in balance….. Neither the universe nor humanity could live without the blowing of the winds‘ LDO 2-17
Everybody who stays in tune with God and the universe receives an abundance of power. He who runs away lives in a spiritual blackout. Hildegárd foresees our time as a period of forgerfulness. Western civilization is without this spiritual power because it lives oblivious to God and nature. This is the greatest disease of our time. It is responsible for our loss of meaning and also for violence and addiction to such things as work, alcohol, drugs,and sex that keep us occupied and make us neurotic. Nevertheless, all nonsense contains sense and every disease has the chance to be healed. Read more Humanity and the Macrocosmos
Here the complete LIBER VITAE MERITORUM: In her second volume of visionary theology, composed between 1158 and 1163, after she had moved her community of nuns into independence at the Rupertsberg in Bingen, Hildegard tackled the moral life in the form of dramatic confrontations between the virtues and the vices. She had already explored this area in her musical morality play, Ordo Virtutum, and the “Book of the Rewards of Life” takes up that play’s characteristic themes. Each vice, although ultimately depicted as ugly and grotesque, nevertheless offers alluring, seductive speeches that attempt to entice the unwary soul into their clutches. Standing in our defence, however, are the sober voices of the Virtues, powerfully confronting every vicious deception.
Liber Divinorum Operum
“Universal Man” illumination from Hildegard’s Liber Divinorum Operum, I.2. Lucca, MS 1942, early 13th-century copy.
Hildegard’s last and grandest visionary work had its genesis in one of the few times she experienced something like an ecstatic loss of consciousness. As she described it in an autobiographical passage included in her Vita, sometime in about 1163, she received “an extraordinary mystical vision” in which was revealed the “sprinkling drops of sweet rain” that John the Evangelist experienced when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1).
Hildegard perceived that this Word was the key to the “Work of God”, of which humankind is the pinnacle. The Book of Divine Works, therefore, became in many ways an extended explication of the Prologue to John’s Gospel.
The ten visions of this work’s three parts are cosmic in scale, to illustrate various ways of understanding the relationship between God and his creation. Often, that relationship is established by grand allegorical female figures representing Divine Love (Caritas) or Wisdom (Sapientia). The first vision opens the work with a salvo of poetic and visionary images, swirling about to characterize God’s dynamic activity within the scope of his work within the history of salvation. The remaining three visions of the first part introduce the famous image of a human being standing astride the spheres that make up the universe and detail the intricate relationships between the human as microcosm and the universe as macrocosm. This culminates in the final chapter of Part One, Vision Four with Hildegard’s commentary on the Prologue to John’s Gospel (John 1:1–14), a direct rumination on the meaning of “In the beginning was the Word…” The single vision that constitutes the whole of Part Two stretches that rumination back to the opening of Genesis, and forms an extended commentary on the seven days of the creation of the world told in Genesis 1–2:3. This commentary interprets each day of creation in three ways: literal or cosmological; allegorical or ecclesiological (i.e. related to the Church’s history); and moral or tropological (i.e. related to the soul’s growth in virtue). Finally, the five visions of the third part take up again the building imagery of Scivias to describe the course of salvation history. The final vision (3.5) contains Hildegard’s longest and most detailed prophetic program of the life of the Church from her own days of “womanish weakness” through to the coming and ultimate downfall of the Antichrist. Read more here
Note: COMMENTARY ON THE JOHANNINE PROLOGUE by Hildegard of Bingen
“ In the beginning was the Word( Logos) , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1-1
“For we are the image of God, Hildegard tells us, and if we wish to see God we need look no further than our souls and bodies, ourselves and our neighbors.”
Few of us have been blinded by the reverberating light of Christ or seen the shimmering form of Lady Wisdom spinning her cosmic wheel. But then, we do not need to: For we are the image of God, Hildegard tells us, and if we wish to see God we need look no further than our souls and bodies, ourselves and our neighbors. “God willed that his Word should create all things, as he had foreordained before the ages. And why is it called a Word? Because with a resounding voice it awakened all creatures and called them to itself.” In the same way, human beings, formed in the Creator’s likeness, are inescapably creative, for we work with our hands and command with our voices. “What was made in the Word was life”: Like our Creator, we too live by the works that we create. By our making, we reveal ourselves to ourselves, and, what is more, we reveal God to one another. God’s rational word echoes in our speech, his praise resounds in our songs, and his creativity is declared in our creations.
“The living Light that made us is the singing Word that took our flesh; he made us because we were eternally his and he wished to be revealed as ours. We are his mirrors, his marvels, his fellow workers, and the work of his hands.” Read HILDEGARD’S COMMENTARY ON THE JOHANNINE PROLOGUE
- Ibn Arabi’s Logos Doctrine
One of the most important, perhaps the most important and central, of Ibn Arabi’s ideas was that of the Logos, a term having the double meaning as “eternal wisdom” and “word” [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.91]. Originally, the term was coined by the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo. Fluctuating between regarding the Logos as the first manifestation of the Godhead and a merely human or universal soul, Philo referred to it as the High Priest, the Intercessor or Paraclete, the Viceregent, the Glory of God, the Shadow of God, the Archetypal Idea, the principle of reveklation, the first-born Son of God, the first of the Angels, and so on [A. E. Affifi, The Mystical Philosophy of Muhyid Din-Ibnul Arabi, pp.91-2]. Here we have a confusion of mythological-religious, theological, and cos-mological themes, many of which were taken up by Christianity.
Ibn Arabi shows the definite influence of Philo in his doctrine of the Logos; many of his descriptive terms are identical [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, pp.91- 2]. But he also brings in Koranic, theological, Sufi, Neoplatonic, and other ideas as well [Ibid, p.66]. He refers to the Logos (kalimah) as the Reality of Realities (Haqiqatu’l Haqa’iq – in contrast to this the Sufi Hallaj used the similiar term “Reality of Reality” (Haqiqatu’l Haqiqah) to refer to God Himself [p.68 n.2]), the Reality of Mohammed, the Spirit of Mohammed, the First Intellect, the Most Mighty Spirit, the Most Exalted Pen (i.e. the Pen which God uses to inscribe the destiny of all things), the Throne (of God), the Perfect Man, the Real Adam, the Origin of the Universe, the Real who is the Instrument of Creation, the Pole (Qutb, on which all Creation revolves), the Intermediary (between God and Creation), the Sphere of Life, the Servant of the All-embracing One, and so on [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.66 note].
Here, as with Philo, there is a confusion or hesitation between the emanationist idea of the first manifestation of the Godhead, and the dualistic monotheistic idea of the first created being who, whilst still extremely sublime, is nevertheless separated from God by an undridgable abyss. In other words there is a confusion between the hypostases; in some appelations “the Logos” refers to the supernal Divine, in other appelations to a mere emanation, and not even a very high one (the Viceregent, the Servant, etc), of that Divine. This is the real weakness of any theistic metaphysics; the absoluteness and transcendence of the personal God acts as a distorting straight-jacket that most are unwilling or unable to break.
As A. E. Affifi explains [p.77], Ibn Arabi’s Logos has three aspects (or can be considered from three points of view):
- the metaphysical aspect, as the Reality of Realities;
- the mystical aspect, as the Reality of Mohammed;
- the perfected human aspect, as the Perfect Man
Considering the first of these aspects, the Reality of Realities (Haqiqatu’l Haqa’iq), Ibn Arabi says that this is the the First Intellect, the imamnent Rational Principle in the universe (a Stoic idea), the “Idea of Ideas” (or Archetype of Archetypes – the great Alexandrain Christian theologian Origen likewise referred to the Logos as Idea Ideon [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.68 n.2]). It comprehends all archetypes and existing things absolutely, is neither a whole nor a part, neither does it increase or decrease. It contains the archetypes or realities (haqa’iq) of things, but is in itself homogonous. It is the consciousness of God, the content and substance of divine knowledge. It is the first manifestation or epiphany of God; God as the self-revealing Principle of the universe; God manifesting Himself as universal con-sciousness [A. E. Affifi, The Mystial Philosophy of Muhyid Din-Ibnul Arabi, p.68-70]
As for the second or mystical aspect, the Reality of Mohammed (al Haqiqatu’l Mohammadiyyah), the Logos is not the actual physical or human Mohammed, but the Reality (haqiqa) behind Mohammed, the active principle of all divine and esoteric Revelation. The Logos as the Reality of Mohammed has the characteristics of being the indwelling revealer of God, the transmitter of all divine knowledge, and the cosmological cause of all creation [pp.74-5]. He is the active principle of divine knowledge [Parrinder, Avatar and Incarnation, p.204]
This distinction between the human and the transcendent Mohammed was a popular one in Sufi and esoteric Ismaili thought, by which the Sufis were able to reconcile the historical exoteric religious vehicle of Islam with the esoteric inward experience of the Divine. The same tendency occurred in the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine of the Trikaya or Three Bodies of the Buddha, according to which the historical Buddha was only the lowest member, the Nirmanakaya or “emanation body” of the Buddha principle; above the Nirmanakaya was the Sambhogakaya or divine Celestial body; and above that in turn the Dharmakaya or Truth Body, which was of the nature of Absolute Reality. In early Christianity too, especially Gnostic Christianity, this separation of the human from the Divine principle of Revelation occurred. Orthodox and fundamentalist Christian theologians called this understanding “docetism”, and considered it a serious heresy. It reached its greatest development among the Christian Gnostics of the second and third centuries, with their distinction between the human Jesus and the true transcendent Christ, who only put on Jesus like a garment or a disguise.
In Ibn Arabi’s teaching, each prophet is called a logos but not the Logos, which latter term refers to the spiritual principle or Reality of Mohammed. Ibn Arabi calls everything a Logos – a “word” of God – inasmuch as it participates in the universal principle of reason and Life, but prophets and saints are distinguished because they manifest the activities and perfections of the universal Logos Mohammed to a perfect degree. The difference between the Spirit or Reality of Mohammed and the rest of the prophets and saints is like that between the whole and its parts; he unites in himself what exists in them separately [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.72]
Finally, regarding the third or individual aspect, the possibility of becoming the Logos exists potentially for all Muslims. The difference between one who is asleep and one who is spiritually awakened, and the different levels attained by the latter, depend on the degree of preparedness. Each Sufi seeks to became the Logos [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.11]. Here there is a certain paralle with Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, where the emphasisi on the Trikaya at times shifts from the theological or “mystical” to the individual yogic (the Trikaya as the yogically transformed and perfected individual self).
In the mystical hierarchy, the Qutb or Pole is the Spiritual Head of the hierarchy of Prophets and Saints, the intermediary stage between the Godhead and the phenomenal world, the eternal and the temporal [Affifi, Mystical Philosophy, p.74]. The Qutb is the “Pole” on which all Creation turns. According to Sufism, the Pole is realised in the Perfect Man, the individual human expres-sion of the Logos.
As the Pole of Creation, the Qutb is comparable to the world-axis of Shamanism (which survives in Scandanavian mythology as the world-tree Ymir, and in Hindu and Buddhist cosmography as Mount Meru), the Tai Ch’i or “Great Pivot” or “Great Ridgpole” of Chinese (Neo-Taoist and Neo-Confucian) cosmology, that maintains the Cosmos. Just as the Sun is the central pivot and source of life and energy for the solar system, so the Qutb is like a “Sun” in the centre of the planes of being. But in saying this, one must be careful not to assume, as some theosophists and neo-theosophists actually do, that there is an actual physical central sun. This is just a metaphor, like “pole” or “world mountain”.
The Divine Logos thus manifests as coutless Avatars, Perfect Masters, Divine Presences, and so on; whether in human form as an actual physical Avatar, or in subtle non-incarnate form as a Presence that moves subtly in the spiritual Heart (Qalb) of each individual being. This is a process that is always continuing, for there is always the Divine Presence in the world, although in some periods it may be more accessable than others – thus the Ismailis speak of Cycles of Epiphany and Cycles of Occultation [Corbin, Cyclical Time and Ismaili Gnosis, pp.80-81], and the Kabbalists of God revealing his Face and turning his Face away [Luzzatto, General Principles of the Kabbalah, p.47] – but even in the periods of concealing of the Light, there would still be avatars and masters for those who are sincere. At no time are souls stumbling in the world of darkness ever left without guidance or grace. And it could even be said that every spiritual aspirant, through his or her sincere striving for and mystical devotion and surrender to the Divine, becomes a minor Qutb, helping to maintain the worlds through total surrender and selflessness; the sacrifice of the lower self on the altar of the higher self and the Divine above.
- Metaphysical Order in Sufism
In Sufi metaphysics, numbers and geometry are indispensable tools that aid the reflection on the nature of divinity and illustrate the order of being. Within the bounds of the Euclidean tradition, geometrical principles, such as the point, the line, and the circle, were consistently used to reason about metaphysical realities. Read more here
- The Virtues of the Prophet
In the religion of Islam the character of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the model of human virtue. Orphan, exile, contemplative, successful businessman, long-time faithful husband to one wife, husband to several wives in his later years, statesman, judge, warrior, conqueror, lawgiver, peacemaker, spiritual teacher, Muhammad is the Complete Man, the exemplar of broad and balanced character whose sunnah (habitual and characteristic way of acting) is the ideal of human behavior for the traditional Muslim world. Dar-al-Islam is presently under ruthless attack from the forces of secular modernization, internal Islamicist criminality, and outside military force. The first two of these are attempting to trim Islam down to fit their own shrunken ideologies, the third to obliterate whatever of the Din may survive. Under such damaging blows, young Muslims need to remember not just the Holy Book, but the man whose character was the perfect mirror of that Book. Both modernizers and Islamicists want to narrow down, marginalize, and perhaps even do away with the example of the Prophet; he was too complete and genuine a human being to fit into their increasingly inhuman agendas. Human life requires heroism in any time, and the duties of self-development and self-mastery call for a greater degree of heroism than any other struggle, which is why the Prophet called the war against the sub-human aspects of one’s own soul “the greater jihad”. Alone of all creatures, human beings are not simply established as themselves by God, but are required by God to become themselves.
It is easy to throw one’s life away, either in the name of a cause or at the ever-present command of the vices and passions; much harder and requiring an even greater degree of courage is the struggle to grow and live, so as to become a true human being. We must be prepared to sacrifice life at any time if God commands it; we must also be prepared to nurture and develop life, both for our own salvation and in the name of future generations. This unity of heroic abandon with painstaking and compassionate care is the essence of the traditional Muslim character, which is nowhere more clearly visible than in the character of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who said: “Even if you know that the world will end tomorrow, plant a tree.” See The Virtues of the Prophet: A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Greater Jihad, the War Against the Passions
Verses by the Egyptian writer Ibn al-Farid (1182-1235),
“If my soul were in my hands,
I would send it by messenger without delay.
Do not worry about me in love, do not doubt me.
My love is natural, it has no secrets.”
- Jesus – The Paradigm of a Pilgrim in God
Jesus, the physical embodiment of the divine Breath
For Ibn ʿArabī, Jesus is an exceptional being. As the Andalusian author relates, Jesus was his first master and was decisive in his entry into the way of Sufism. This personal relationship, similar to a first love, encouraged him to hope that he would be a witness to the day of Jesus’s coming, and perhaps this motivated him to live his final years in Damascus, the place of his descent.
Jesus follows a path from God, and returns to God, without ever having been away from God; his descent into this world is followed by his ascent to the second Heaven (the one of Mercury), waiting to descend again to the great mosque of Damascus, before making the final ascent to Paradise. His vertical movement combines with a horizontal movement – that is, he travels ceaselessly [his ceaseless travelling] across the world as a wanderer with no place to rest his head. This constant travel is a manifestation of the constant activity of God and reveals the nature of all reality. Every creature is a word that comes from God and is destined to return to Him. In addition, Jesus, by means of his preaching centred on asceticism and the reminder of death, and through his alchemical spiritual and health-giving activity, he helps human beings on their path of return to the Creator.Read more…
- Jesus in the Quran: an Ibn ‘Arabi Perspective
. As the Qur’an tells us, Jesus says:
Truly I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Truly, I create for you out of clay the shape of a bird, and I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird, by God’s permission. I heal him who was born blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead, by God’s permission (III:49).
It is very instructive to see how Kashani draws out the esoteric meaning of these miraculous acts. In his Tafsir he gives the following commentary:
Truly I create for you, through spiritual discipline and purification and realized wisdom, from the clay of souls still deficient but nonetheless receptive, the shape of a bird, one that flies to the realm of holiness through the intensity of its longing.Then I breathe into it the breath of divine knowledge and true life, through the influence of my presence and my teaching. And it becomes a bird that is, a living soul, flying with the wings of longing and aspiration towards the Real.I heal the blind, the one who is veiled from the light of the Real, one whose eye of insight had always been closed, and had never seen the sun of the face of the Real, nor its light…and the leper, the one whose soul is disfigured by the disease of vices and corrupt beliefs, blemished by the love of this world and besmirched by the stain of concupiscence. And I give life to the death of ignorance with the life of knowledge.
Read Here Jesus in the Quran: an Ibn ‘Arabi Perspective
- The Eternal Spring
In Chinese painting, the seasons correspond to feelings born of the Invisible, to combinations of yin and yang and aspects of the contemplative heart. The seasons of the miniature are analogous: they manifest a periodization of the soul and an activity of God. Persian painters almost never describe winter; the preferred seasons are spring or autumn, as in Behzad and his school. However, thriving vegetation, bright colors, birds and eggs in the nests, constantly suggest a spring idea of time, and this symbolic choice, which we will analyze here, is eminently revealing of the miniature paradise’s way.
In Islam, as in other civilizations, spring is the emblem of Eden. In Roman antiquity, Ovid spoke of the “eternal spring” of the golden age, and Dante, in the Middle Ages, described the earthly paradise as a spring garden. Like the medieval troubadours, the Persian poets include in their poems of love or wine, or their panegyrics, an evocation of spring. In the image of a musical mode, this literary convention indicates the symbolic tone of the work and its hermeneutical register. The spring referring to a contemplative time, to the Adamic consciousness, is therefore a spiritual intelligence that will deliver the deep meanings of the poem. This is also true for miniatures: their spring decor is not so much a temporal environment as an Edenic space, a symbolic box, a kaleidoscope of the Spirit. Conversely, autumn can be the season of separation and reflect the pain of lovers, as in the story of Leyla and Madjnun.
Read more: Time of Spring in Sufism, Traditions and Folklores
- Khidr Al-Khadir
Khidr Al-Khadir (Kh-D-R) – an Arabic term meaning “green” and “verdant” – is the etymological root for a Middle-Eastern character known as al-Khidr: the Green One.
Khidr, Khizr, Khezr or Hizir – all point to a legendary figure who is said to have discovered the “Water-of-Life” (i.e. Spirit / Pure Consciousness) and is considered an eternal prophet. Coleman Barks informs us:
Khidr is connected philologically with Elijah and with Utnapishtim of the Gilgamesh epic. He may be partial source, along with Druidic lore, for the enigmatic Green Knight in the Middle English poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’.
It is important to examine the Qur’anic encounter between Moses and Khidr, as it provides critical dimension to our understanding of the Green Man archetype. read the excerpt:Qur’an (18:60-82)
The person referred to as “One of our servants, whom We had endowed with Our grace and Our wisdom” is the figure of Khidr, “the Verdant One” who plays a pivotal role in Islamic mysticism]
Analogous to the chlorophyll within our plants and trees, Khidr (the “Green One”) symbolically images the threshold or interspace (barzakh) between our ‘solar’ (heavenly) and ‘earthly’ (physical) existence [i.e. “where the two seas meet” thus providing our ‘earthly’ consciousness with the connective sustenance and vitality of the divine light of Spirit (i.e. Khidr transcends and refreshes our habitually dry, literalist or dogmatic religious understanding by representing the connective sustenance of direct intellection). Khidr is the spiritual teacher within us, the spark in the heart, our inborn secret… We meet him at the place where the cooked fish becomes alive; where the spiritual tradition becomes a living reality. Read more here
- Mystical Path of love
Through an initiation experience and a surrendering to the Beloved, the adept moves through various “stations” on the path to wahdat al-wujûd, or unity of existence.
The word Islam, which means “peace,” is a surrendering to the Beloved that initiates one on the path of devotion.
AL-KHIDR: Keeping the Company of Those Who See
THE MANTLE OF KHIDR1:MYSTERY, MYTH AND MEANING ACCORDING TO MUHYIDDIN IBN ‘ARABI
- The Perfect Individual as a Mirror
In order for God to see His own mystery, He has to see His Attributes manifested in an object other that Himself. Ibn al- `Arabi describes this need as similar to the phenomenological experience of viewing oneself in a mirror. An individual can look at him/herself using only his/her own naked eye, but this is fundamentally different from looking at oneself through the means of a mirror. The mirror manifests a quality of otherness upon the individual that would otherwise remain hidden and unknown. The otherness is not given to the individual by another person, but is given by him/herself, for the other is none other than him/herself. The image in the mirror, as Ibn al- `Arabi says, imbues the individual with a form that “would only appear to it given the existence of the location” and which is only knowable to the individual because of the location’s “self-disclosure.” Read more
- What the Emigration demands of us
Starting from a narrow family-tribal environment Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) underwent 13 years of hardship and torment in Meccan society; with the immigration (Hijra) to Medina, a new stage began. This stage, if one takes into consideration the time that it took all religions to spread, is the starting point of one of the fastest religious developments in recorded history. In this sense, when one speaks of the Hijra one is not merely speaking of a journey from Mecca to Medina, or the starting point of a calendar; one is speaking of a new start for humanity.
The Hijra is symbolic of changing those conditions that cause problems and that clash with ideals and beliefs, as well as the search for new opportunities. Read more
- The Esoteric Apocalypse
When consciousness is centered on the plane of the psyche, experiences arising on the material plane are interpreted according to whether they support or threaten our sense of identity, which is psychic. When consciousness begins to be withdrawn from the psychic plane to the plane of Spirit—which, as pure Witness and pure Knowledge, necessarily transcends experience—then all experiences, including sense experiences, are understood as emanating from the psychic level, and known, simultaneously, both as possible temptations and as actual manifestations of God. Insofar as these experiences have the potential of seducing consciousness into a reidentification with the psychic level, thus reinforcing the sense of a limited, subjective experiencer, they are temptations. Insofar as these temptations are resisted, the events in question can no longer be called experiences, but are revealed as aspects, or instances, of the Self-manifestation of the Absolute.
On the psychic level, the world we experience is necessarily interpreted in terms of good and evil. And since consciousness fixed on the psychic level cannot witness that level, the contents of the psyche must appear in “projected” form as the events of our lives. (For all his metaphysical errors, Carl Jung knew this, teaching that “whatever is repressed is necessarily projected.”) But when consciousness begins its pilgrimage from the level of psyche to the level of Spirit, the psyche emerges from that unconsciousness; it is unveiled before the face of the Divine Witness. And when, by virtue of that Witness, all events, including material events, are known as emanating from the psychic plane—just as the psychic plane as a whole is known as a dramatization of those truths which reside eternally on the Spiritual plane—then the psychic projections upon the material plane are withdrawn. The world ceases to be an object experienced by an individual subject, and is transformed into a visionary apparition contemplated by the Divine Witness—or, in Buddhist terms, by no-one.
As consciousness continues to move from psyche to Spirit, events begin to be seen not as good or evil influences, but as forces which either in fact do, or in fact do not, pull our consciousness to identify them, causing it to abandon the Spiritual level and return to the psychic. This is what Sufis mean when they say that “the sin of the believer is concupiscence; the sin of the gnostic is heedlessness.” Events apparently good can tempt to heedlessness, just as events apparently evil can support mindfulness and spiritual vigilance.
In terms of intellectual warfare, of the struggle to overcome error and embrace Truth, the shift from psyche to Spirit causes the errors we recognize, in ourselves or others, to manifest themselves directly. As we begin to witness them instead of simply criticizing them or struggling against them, they appear before us; they are concretely embodied and fully enacted. In other words, they become lessons—if, that is, we resist the temptation to identify with them—and an error that is really a lesson is no longer a form of falsehood, but a form of Truth. When error is fully embodied as Truth through our own actions, the result is deep and spontaneous remorse. When error is fully embodied as Truth through the actions of others, the result is deep and spontaneous gratitude.
The motion of consciousness from psyche to Spirit, during which latent errors arise, fully-formed and fully-enacted, until they are revealed as forms of Truth, is the esoteric significance of apocalypse, which means “revelation.” Physical death is a symbol of the death of the ego—of the belief that the human psyche is autonomous and self-created. The end of the world is a symbol of the “recollection” produced by the death of the ego—the gathering together of the scattered fragments of the psyche through withdrawal of the projections of that psyche into the abstract wilderness of matter, energy, space and time.
Experience is inseparable from the sense that someone exists who is capable of having experiences. At the ultimate end of the cycle of manifestation, which is the world—at the ultimate end of the cycle of experience, which is the ego—this “someone” is confronted by Kali, the Black One. She is Maya, she is Mahashakti—at once both the unknowable Divine Essence, and every veil that simultaneously hides and reveals this Essence, with absolutely no distinction between them. To the degree that we try to hold on to our life in the face of Kali, she takes that life. To the degree that we let go of our life in the face of Kali, she is that life.
Experience is Maya, it is Shakti. If we identify with it, it becomes part of Avidya-maya, of the stream of God’s cosmic manifestation, the ultimate end of which is “the death of God.” If we break identification with it, it becomes part of Vidya-maya, of the stream of God’s redeeming and re-integrating mercy, the ultimate end of which is final Liberation from the bonds of contingent existence.
- The Apocalyptic Function of Antichrist
Antichrist is the great scapegoat, who extracts from the soul all that is subhuman, abortive and exhausted, leaving the human substance purely receptive to the light of God. He is not the compassionate scapegoat as Christ is, who bears our impurities willingly, thereby demonstrating that even our deepest flight from God actually takes place in God, if we only knew it.
As foreshadowed in the figure of Judas, he is nothing but the vehicle which transports all that has failed to attain integral form into the fires of annihilation, because it has refused to submit to God’s will, refused to be fully created by Him, and has therefore never known Him. And here is perhaps the deepest counterfeit the Antichrist is capable of: to portray the sullen, meaningless, barren suffering of the ego unwilling to let go of itself as the self-sacrificial suffering of that divine Love which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” In the face of Antichrist, his fascination and his horror, his despair and his blindness, and his unutterable boredom, all one need do is choose the Real and reject what never could be real: simply, at whatever cost, like Christ when he overcame Satan in the desert, like the Buddha when he withstood Mara the Tempter, under the tree of Enlightenment, on the adamantine spot.
The Tibetan Buddhists say: “roll all blames into one”. In the process, the crimes of a cruel and mysterious fate become the fruits of karma, the consequences of the deliberate actions of sentient beings. The karma of all sentient beings becomes my own karma, the structure of my ego. And finally the crimes and sufferings of my ego become the inevitable shape of THE ego, void of all substance in the face of the Absolute. All are forgiven because no-one is to blame but him—and “he” is no-one.
The esoteric meaning of the Antichrist is: that there is only one ego. My ego is THE ego; the God Who dwells in my Heart is THE God. When my ego is annihilated, all ego is annihilated, because there is no other ego.
When the God in my Heart is unveiled, He is unveiled for everyone, for all beings, because there is only one Heart. When a saint cries out, “I am the worst of sinners!”, the inner meaning is: I am the ONLY sinner. I am Adam eating the forbidden fruit; by the same token, I am Christ suffering the consequences of this act, triumphing over them, and rising up out of the ruins of them. I am the Buddha gaining enlightenment for himself, and thereby for all sentient beings, because in the eyes of the enlightened Buddha there are no such things as “numberless sentient beings to be enlightened” nor “the Buddha who vows to enlighten them”. Enlightenment is One. God is One. There is no god but God.
When I first saw the Antichrist, my response was: “This means that I no longer have a single enemy on this earth. May all beings be well; may all beings be happy.” When Antichrist lived with me in my own house, he perverted my view of God’s universe, he whispered accusations against this person or that person, this group or that group; he claimed they were followers of the Antichrist. But when he left my house to go out into the world and spread devastation, when I saw him rising like a shadow over all the earth, not a shred of hatred was left in my heart. He had nothing more to teach me, except his own emptiness, his shadow-nature. By revealing himself as pure shadow he bore witness to the Light, the great penetrating, searching, unveiling, unmanifesting, and healing light of God now breaking over the world. The breaking of that Light is eternal. It is at the core of every moment. The end of the world lies hidden in every moment. The termination of the cycle, the dissolution of all things, the passing away of heaven and earth, the dawning of the new heaven and the new earth, is always there, in time present pregnant with time future, where the whole creation groans to be delivered—until now. “When a man rejects error and embraces truth,” said William Blake, “a final Judgement passes upon that man.”
The proper use, the specific spiritual practice of apocalyptic times is: To let everything be taken away from us, except the Truth.
When Blake cried, “Whatever can be destroyed must be destroyed!”, this is what he meant.
Whoever can—with the aid of Heaven—not reverse, but simply resist the tremendous centrifugal, scattering, attenuating and sinking forces active at the end of the Aeon, will find that all the dross in his soul, all the sin, all the spiritual heaviness and intellectual darkness of the latter days, has been stolen from him by the Antichrist. He is welcome to it. By a radical catharsis analogous to the one attempted by the Greek playwrights, enacted not on the Athenian but the world stage, and that of the human soul, Almighty God, through the agency of Antichrist—if, that is, we recognize that Deceiver and inwardly resist him—will literally scare the hell out of us. He will burn out sorrow with sorrow and fear with fear, since only in the presence of God’s Mercy can we face the full depth of the sorrow and fear all of us feel at the end of the cycle, and witness their essential emptiness.
If we can resist despair in all its forms, including violent panic, cold-heartedness, and false luciferian hope, then, after all the karmic residues of the entire cycle have been torn away from us, there we will stand, naked, in utter simplicity, before the face of God.
This is the meaning of “for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened,” and “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Whatever in us “crystallizes,” to use one of Schuon’s favorite terms, in the presence of Absolute Truth, will be “gathered into the barns” where the fertile potentials, the “seed corn” for the next Aeon, are stored. “He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved”: he shall be saved up. Whatever withstands the end of time stands at the beginning of time. Whatever is beyond time withstands its end. If “time is the moving image of eternity,” then that in us which remains untouched by time is part of That of which the image is made. The “New Age” believes that certain “highly evolved” human beings can survive on earth to become the spiritual and even temporal leaders of the next Golden Age; but this is merely the literalistic counterfeit of the true doctrine. The truth is simply that whatever in us resists the temptation to flee from God by taking refuge in chaotic dissolution—to hide from the destruction of matter, or the fear of this destruction, in matter itself, which is one meaning of “they shall pray for the mountains to fall and cover them”—but dies instead a vigilant and obedient death before the face of the One Reality, will enter the feast of the Pirs, the ShaYkhs, the Tzaddiks, the deified Ancestors who are the fathers and prototypes of all cycles of manifestation, they who are called in the book of Apocalypse “the twenty-four Elders before the Throne of the Lamb.” As it was in the end. As it is in the beginning.
- The Practice of Apocalypse
In my humble opinion, the central spiritual “gesture” for apocalyptic times is the following:
When you find yourself in a state of fear or grief over the evil of the world, the degeneration of humanity and the ruin of the earth, know that this evil, ruin and degeneration are nothing but the mass resistance of the world to the impending advent of the Mahdi, the Tenth Avatar, the Messiah—and that the fear or grief you are presently experiencing are your way of participating in that resistance.
Knowing this, simply stop resisting Him, and let the Messiah come. Stop trying to maintain the world in existence by the power of your ego; let it go. Let it end. Let your ego end. You’ve been fighting off the Messiah: cease hostilities now, “resist not evil” (which is how your ego experiences Him), lay down your weapons, and let Him break through “the clouds of heaven”, the clouds of individual and collective egotism which have separated earth from its divine Source ever since the fall of man.
I asked my spiritual advisor to comment on the above paragraph, since advising an unknown public on questions of spiritual practice is not something I have either the right or the capacity to do on my own slim authority. His response was, “Remember, though: the world is perfect.”
In other words: the Messiah is already here. He has always been here. In each spiritual moment, the world comes fresh from the hand of the Creator. As God is perfect, so His expression is perfect—if, that is, we can witness it, with all its wonders and horrors, as His immediate manifestation. This is the real Revelation: “Behold, I make all things new” (Apocalypse 21:5). May God, through the grace of my Master, grant me the capacity, and the humility, to know this not only with the mind, but with the whole Heart.
Frithjof Schuon, from Light on the Ancient Worlds, p. 49:
Even believers themselves are for the most part too indifferent to feel concretely that God is not only “above” us, in “Heaven,” but also “ahead” of us, at the end of the world, or even simply at the end of our own lives; that we are drawn through life by an inexorable force and that at the end of the course God awaits us; that the world will be submerged and swallowed up one day by an unimaginable irruption of the purely miraculous—unimaginable because surpassing all human experience and standards of measurement. Man cannot possibly draw on his past to bear witness to anything of the kind, any more than a may-fly can expatiate on the alternation of the seasons; the rising of the sun can in no way enter into the habitual sensations of a creature born at midnight whose life will last but a day; the sudden appearance of the orb of the sun, unforeseeable by reference to any analogous phenomenon that had occurred during the long hours of darkness, would seem like an unheard of apocalyptic prodigy. And it is thus that God will come. There will be nothing but this one advent, this one presence, and by it the world of experiences will be shattered.
–Excerpted from The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age – Sophia Perennis, 2001 By Charles Upton
- THE ELIATIC FUNCTION IN THE ISLAMIC TRADITION: KHIDR AND THE MAHDI
by ZACHARY MARKWITH
The present article is an in depth examination of the role of Khidr (or KhiZr, KheZr) and the Mahdi in the Islamic tradition, focusing on their significance as spiritual guides, transmitters of sacred knowledge and on their importance in the preparation for the end of time. The author uses the concept of the ‘Eliatic function’ presented by Leo Schaya as a guiding principle for this study, and begins the article with an explanation of this concept. On the basis of this, he then discusses the traditional Islamic understanding firstly of Khidr and then of the Mahdi. Throughout the analysis the author presents quotations from the Qur’an and Hadith along with the interpretations of classical and contemporary commentators, focusing in particular on Shi’ism and Sufism. Here the article
- Ibn ʻArabi’s messianic secret: From “the mahdi” to the imamate of every soul
“Know, o (true) listener, that the people of God, when the Real One (al-Haqq) draws them toward Himself … , He places in their hearts something calling them to seek their (true) happiness. So they seek after that and inquire about it (until) they find in their hearts a certain tenderness and humility and striving for peace and release (salàma) from the state of ordinary people (al-nas) with their (normal condition of) mutual envy, greed, hostility and opposition. Then when they have completed the perfection of their moral qualities or have nearly done so, they find in their nafs something calling them toward solitary retreat and withdrawal from ordinary people. So some of them take to wandering (siyaha) and frequenting the (wild) mountains and plains, while others do their wandering between the towns and cities – moving from one to another as soon as they’ve come to know and get used to the people of a particular place -, while still others isolate themselves in a room in their own homes, staying there alone and cut off from people. All of that is so that they can be alone and at ease with the Real One (al-Haqq) who has called them to Him – not in order to find any particular being or miraculous event, whether sensible or in their innermost selves. Thus all of those we have mentioned continue like that until they are suddenly illuminated by something from God that comes between them and their nafs – which for some of them occurs in their nafs; for others in their imagination; and for others from outside themselves. Then they are suddenly filled with longing from that occurrence and immediately seek the company of (other human) creatures …. Now there comes to them through that occurrence (wàrid) a (divine) “addressing” and informing them of their state or of what (God) is calling them to, as with …. Then they are given comfort and solace (uns) wherever they are …. Read more here
In her Liber Divinorum Operum (Book of Divine Works), St. Hildegard of Bingen – whom Pope Benedict XVI declared a Doctor of the Church in 2012 – revised and expanded an earlier prophetic vision from her Scivias concerning five distinct future epochs between her own time in the twelfth century and the Eschaton, or End Times: all labelled, in veiled metaphors, under animal signs:
(1) The Age of the Fiery Hound (2) The Age of the Yellow Lion (3) The Age of the Pale Horse (4) The Age of the Black Pig and (5) The Age of the Grey Wolf.
Summarizing Hildegard’s complete programme from the LDO into the form of a schedule, we get a detailed system of good and bad times to come–and much to come–before Antichrist. Below I rely on a summary of her periodization of the future formulated by the scholar Kathryn Kerby-Fullton:
- Fiery Hound
Description of Time Period:
Time of spiritual weakness or “feminine debility” (tempus mul i ebre) –clergy are “perversi mercenarii are forerunners of Antichrist
–both secular and spiritual leaders and pope) simoniacs and heretics are corrupt (emperor –Church has fallen away from pristine apostolic discipline
- Yellow Lion
Description of Time Period:
Time of chastisement and disendowment of Church and purgation through tribulation for all
–“tempus utile” or “tempus virile”
–renewal of spiritual strength revealed through prophecy, abundance and peace–utopian vision
–conversion of pagans
- Pale Horse
Description of Time Period:
Time of sorrows
–persecution of Christians by heathens
–Christians saved by miracle and conversion of heathens
–Papacy and Empire dispersed
–Church returns to pristine discipline –renewal of spiritual strength again revealed through prophecy, abundance and peace black
- Black Pig
Description of Time Period:
Reign of heretics and forerunners of Antichrist
–many Christians desert orthodoxy
–moral decay and spiritual decline
–signs of the End
- Grey Wolf
Description of Time Period:
–persecution of faithful and traditional eschatological events
Death of Antichrist
Second Coming and Last Judgement **
In this thread, I am going to quote from some of these writings and would like to reflect with other posters on their significance.
Upon proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen a “Doctor of the Church” in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI noted in respect of her legacy:
Proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen,
professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict,
a Doctor of the Universal Church
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
FOR PERPETUAL REMEMBRANCE**
- A “light for her people and her time”: in these words Blessed John Paul II, my Venerable Predecessor, described Saint Hildegard of Bingen in 1979, on the occasion of the eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of this German mystic. This great woman truly stands out crystal clear against the horizon of history for her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching. And, as with every authentic human and theological experience, her authority reaches far beyond the confines of a single epoch or society; despite the distance of time and culture, her thought has proven to be of lasting relevance…
Hildegard’s teaching is considered eminent both for its depth, the correctness of its interpretation, and the originality of its views. The texts she produced are refreshing in their authentic “intellectual charity” and emphasize the power of penetration and comprehensiveness of her contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, the Church, humanity and nature as God’s creation, to be appreciated and respected.
**These works were born from a deep mystical experience and propose a perceptive reflection on the mystery of God…
Theological reflection enabled Hildegard to organize and understand, at least in part, the content of her visions**. In addition to books on theology and mysticism, she also authored works on medicine and natural sciences. Her letters are also numerous — about four hundred are extant; these were addressed to simple people, to religious communities, popes, bishops and the civil authorities of her time. She was also a composer of sacred music. The corpus of her writings, for their quantity, quality and variety of interests, is unmatched by any other female author of the Middle Ages.
Her main writings are the Scivias, the Liber Vitae Meritorum and the Liber Divinorum Operum. They relate her visions and the task she received from the Lord to transcribe them…
Thus, to the common wish of the People of God that Hildegard be officially canonized, was added the request that she be declared a “Doctor of the Universal Church”…
I hereby decree the present Letter to be perpetually valid and fully effective, and I establish that from this moment anything to the contrary proposed by any person, of whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, is invalid and without force.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, under the ring of the Fisherman, on 7 October 2012, in the eighth year of my Pontificate.
Note: About BENEDICTUS XVI
The Pope met Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani in Cyprus on 5th. of July 2010 in Nikosia
Later, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani explained: Secrets of Pope Benedict’s Visit
“I was meeting with his Holiness, Pope!The Lord of Heavens grants to him what his Holiness is asking. Here, he is asking nothingbecause he reached the top of the line but I was looking to his face and seeing that his eyes were searching something else. I am seeing that his Holiness Pope, not looking at this world or which thing he was dressing, no! His Holiness’ eyes were looking for something that common people can’t understand. Only he, who may be on that level, may understand. I just understood. At that time I embraced him and was taking everything that was making his Holiness (Sheikh Nabil: burdened) burdening? (SN: disturbing him), hanh, disturbing, just taking it away. He is therefore coming quickly and my heavenly power also reaching and taking him, therefore I am hugging his Holiness. And he was lightas a feather. Coming heavily, visiting Cyprus, his Holiness visited so many countries but he was asking to meet someone who may be for himan anchor,to support him. Through East and West, no one. That one minute’s time was enough. Therefore, everyone is asking something. But they are not knowing what they’re asking, because it is different. Only some people whose hearts belong to the heavens know what they are asking. His Holiness was asking to be free. From whom? From himself. And to rise towards heavens. You understand. May Allah forgive us. Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Allah…”. From Shaykh Mohammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshbandi, Sohbat June20, 2010
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI occurred on 28 February 2013. Read more
Also in 2010 :The story of “The 33”and Maulana Sheikh Nazim
In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Chile, where 33 miners had been buried alive by the catastrophic explosion and collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine. Over the next 69 days, an international team worked night and day in a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped men as their families and friends, as well as millions of people globally, waited and watched anxiously for any sign of hope. But 200 stories beneath the surface, in the suffocating heat and with tensions rising, provisions—and time—were quickly running out. A story of resilience, personal transformation and triumph of the human spirit, the film takes us to the Earth’s darkest depths, revealing the psyches of the men trapped in the mine, and depicting the courage of both the miners and their families who refused to give up.
“I hope those people who were imprisoned 700 feet underground–and it is a miraculous happening to make people think about spirituality and miracles–as an ordinary position, if all technology came together, it could never save them!”…
Maulana explained that Allah had created this incident to destroy the foundations of disbelief. look here
- Five distinct future epochs of Hildegard of Bingen:
Hildegard is more explicit in the ﬁnal vision of the Book of Divine Works than in Scivias about distinct historical phases. She begins by recapitulating the ﬁnal hymn of the Ordo Virtutum, which in itself presents a vision of history:
In the beginning all creatures were strong; in the midst of it ﬂowers blossomed, then viridity slipped away. That ﬁghting man [Christ] saw this and said: “I know this, but the golden number is not yet full. Look at my father’s mirror. I bear weakness in my body, my small ones tire. Now remember that the fullness which was there at the beginning ought not dry up. You resolved in yourself that your eye would never fail until you see my body full of jewels. For it tires me that all my limbs are object of derision. See Father, I show you my wounds. Therefore, people, bend your knees to your father so that he may stretch out his hand to you. As if identifying herself with a wounded Christ, Hildegard urges humankind to return to that fullness of health or viridity with which creation was once endowed. Hildegard unravels what this means by explaining that she sees history not as a march of unstinted progress since the incarnation, but as one of a new burst of vitality immediately after the incarnation, followed by a period of long decay, “in which viridity fell away from its strength and turned into womanly weakness.” The renewal of the papal schism in 1159 probably reinforced her pessimism about the future of the Church. She may be alluding here to either Paschal III (1164–8), the cardinal placed on the see of Rome by Rainald of Dassel, archbishop of Cologne (1159–67), imperial chancellor and vicar for all Italy, or his successor as Antipope, Calixtus III (1168–78). Hildegard then examines various historical periods, ﬁrst describing the major apostles: the mild-mannered Matthew, the sceptical Thomas, the zealous Paul, the gentle James, brother of the Lord, the wise and strong Peter, and the virtuous and chaste John. There had been a gradual growth in iustitia and honesty of behaviour since the time of the Flood until the incarnation and the time of the apostles.After the time of the apostles, however, the sun became darkened and iustitia has weakened. She blames in particular “a judge of royal name” as bad as Nero and other tyrants. From a quite separate text, we know that she is referring here to the Emperor Henry IV. Hildegard assumes the voice of Christ in crying out about the loss of viridity in Christ’s body as if it were her own. She does not include any image of ecclesia as the Bride of Christ, as in Scivias. Perhaps out of disillusion with the formal structure of the Church, she now transferred her attention to the suffering of Christ himself. In the Liber Divinorum Operum, she concentrates on the theme that iustitia had fallen away from what it was in the past. The age of the dog began with the judge she mentions (Henry IV) and continued until God struck down another ruler “of a spiritual name, with the wisdom and cunning of a serpent,” perhaps Rainald of Dassel (d. 1167). She excoriates the ravaging wolves, dressed in ecclesiastical robes who carry arms, rob the poor, and plunder what does not belong to them. Then follows the age of the lion, a time of war, when armies will kill each other and many cities will be destroyed, although this will be followed by a time of justice and peace before ﬁnal judgment, presumably the time of the millennium. Her metaphors are those of natural health, the earth abounding with the “viridity of fruitfulness.”
The age of the horse, however, symbolizes the onset of changeability. The armies of the heathen will attack Christendom. She anticipates a radical fragmentation of the Roman imperium that can never be repaired. People will follow other teachers and other archbishops.Picking up the claims of Scripture, she anticipates that both sons and daughters shall prophesy (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17), while there will also be many heresies before the emergence of the Antichrist in the time of the pig.
By identifying these wild animals with speciﬁc periods in history, Hildegard encourages her readers to think much more clearly than in Scivias that these present times are part of an order that must pass away before ultimate judgment. She was no longer afraid of speaking out about the wrong directions that had been taken in the history of the Church. She is also more speciﬁc than in Scivias about what the Antichrist is teaching: his arguments against the precepts of chastity, which she says will deceive mankind.
Only through the sending of Enoch and Elijah will the trickery of the evil one be overcome and people will be won back to God. All of these prophecies serve to warn humanity that it must return to the moral righteousness, the iustitia revealed by Christ. Hildegard sees the wounds in Christ’s body as manifestations of the injustice which still endures in society. In Scivias, she had preserved a more traditional image of the Church as a Virgin Bride that had been soiled by vice and corruption. Her emphasis on the suffering of Christ in the Book of Divine Works reﬂects her broader interest in that work with the need to restore the health of the human body. She is convinced that injustice will eventually be exposed and the son of perdition defeated. Hildegard concludes the Book of Divine Works by referring back to the frailty of her own body, which she sees as weak and frail, animated only by the Holy Spirit to give instruction to the Church.Her hope for human history is that it moves towards a restoration of that vitality in her own body for which she longed. The Book of Divine Works is one of the great texts of the twelfth century, a vision of the working of the world and the human person. It may be misleading to describe it as a vision of history. Hildegard saw her mission as one of promoting moral reform rather than of arguing for social revolution. Nonetheless she did become much more articulate than she had been in Scivias about the extent of corruption within the Church after she had established herself at Rupertsberg. By the time she ﬁnished the Book of Divine Works in 1174, when she was seventy-six years old, she had lost none of her imaginative powers, but she was more pessimistic about the future than when she had started on her prophetic career.
Five distinct future epochs between her own time in the twelfth century and the Eschaton, or End Times: all labelled, in veiled metaphors, under animal signs:
(1) The Age of the Fiery Hound (2) The Age of the Yellow Lion (3) The Age of the Pale Horse (4) The Age of the Black Pig and (5) The Age of the Grey Wolf.
first, she avoided identifying “the day or the hour,” which is good because only false prophets do that. It might Seem like her timeline can be exactly fixed on the historical timeline and thus come up with a date…but we actually can’t do that without speculating.
Second: speaking of speculating, specifically about how to fix her timeline to the historical one, I’m about to try to do that very thing. But keep in mind that this is just fun speculation.
Third: the Church never says that private revelations are definitely true. So don’t take St. Hildegard’s vision as gospel truth, nor speculative attempts (like mine below) to fix it to certain points on a timeline. This is all theory…not necessarily true.
Now for my attempt to Speculatively affix this Not-infallible vision to a timeline:
The Fiery Hound age might be the 1100s. The Albigensians were forerunners of the antichrist and could be the perverse mercenaries of whom St. Hildegard speaks. The corrupt secular leaders could include Emperor Henry V, who persecuted the Church over the investiture controversy, King Henry II, who wanted to make the Church an arm of the State and martyred St. Thomas Becket in the process, and Emperor Frederick I, who persecuted Pope Alexander III. The corrupt spiritual leaders and pope could include the many English clergy who cooperated with King Henry II, the many other European clergy who cooperated with Emperors Henry V and Frederick I, Pope Paschal II, who compromised with Henry V over the issue of lay investiture, and Pope Celestine II, who compromised with France when the king there tried to illegally appoint a bishop.
The Yellow Lion age might be the 1500-1600s. The “time of chastisement and disendowment of Church” could be the Protestant Revolt. In England, Northern Germany, and the Netherlands, the Church was disendowed and its buildings were transferred to protestants. Catholics were persecuted in these territories and forced underground. “Tempus utile” and “tempus virile” seem to mean “time of usefulness” and “time of manliness,” and there were many great saints during these ages who made great use of the time to convert the protestants back to the Faith, institute the Catholic counter-reformation, and oversee the Council of Trent. This could be the “renewal of spiritual strength” St. Hildegard mentions. The “conversion of pagans” could be from the missionaries to South America who converted the continent to Christ, to North America where Mexico and Florida were converted, and Asia where Catholic missionaries such as St. Francis Xavier had great success in Japan and India.
The Pale Horse age might be the 1700-1800s. “Church polluted” could be a reference to the time right before the French Revolution, when France had many atheist bishops and almost the whole clergy subscribed to the anti-papal demands of the French. The 1800s also saw the heresies of Americanism and its child Modernism threaten the Church in America and some of its poison has continued to this day. “Persecution of Christians by heathens” could be a reference to the Revolution in France, the No Nothing party in America, the Kulturkampf in Germany, the Unification of Italy, and the Boxer Rebellion in China. “Christians saved by miracle and conversion of heathens” could be a reference to Lourdes and the restoration of Catholicism in France with Napoleon (who was a persecutor overall, but did re-legalize Catholicism…his successors in France were a bit better and restored Catholicism more fully). “Papacy and Empire dispersed” could refer to the dissolution of Holy Roman Empire, the kidnapping of the pope by Napoleon, and the annexation of the Papal States by Italy. “Church returns to pristine discipline” could refer to the reigns of Blessed Pius IX and Leo XIII, who also brought back the pope’s “spiritual strength” in part through their widely-read and influential encyclicals. The Church in Europe began to reattain dominance under them.
The Black Pig age could be the 1900-2000s. “Reign of heretics and forerunners of Antichrist” could refer to rampant atheism, modernism, and protestantism. “many Christians desert orthodoxy” could refer to the gains evangelicalism has made and cafeteria Catholicism within the Church. “moral decay and spiritual decline” could refer to sexual revolution with its fruits, rampant abortion, contraception, sexual deviance, and triumphalist hedonism. We are still in the 2000s, so we might be waiting for the “signs of the End.”
look also Time and Space in the Symbolism of Abel and Cain
- The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society
An another cycle is described by Reid TurnerThe Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society. The cycle is as a mirror of the great one but on a shorter time ( see Timeline of Cycles by René Guénon and Gaston Georgel)In 1929 René Guénon made the breakthrough in decoding the correct duration of the Manvantara and the duration of the 4 Yugas. That work can be found in his book “Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles”. René Guénon explained in the aforementioned book how he arrived at the decoding of the real duration of the Yugas and of the Manvantara. He did not claim some secret source or divine inspiration, but rather he exposes his logical deduction based on elements of several different Traditions, and with that process demonstrates the complementary nature of the teachings of those Traditions. The end result of the breakthrough decoding, whose argumentation is too long to be duplicated here, is that:…Read More
In 1150 St. Hildegard completed her first major work, Scivias (“Know the Ways of God”), a description of 26 highly symbolized visions that manifest the history of salvation. Soon after her death, inexplicably, Scivias and Hildegard fell into obscurity. It wasn’t until the late 20th-century that the work was rediscovered by Latin scholars looking for material for their students. The first complete English translation appeared in the 1990s.In Book Three, Vision 11, Hildegard describes five symbolic animals as the forerunners of the Antichrist: a Fiery-Red Dog, Yellow Lion, Pale Horse, Black Pig, and Grey Wolf. She explains that each one represents individual and brief historical periods that follow each other in succession. She also reveals how each animal symbolizes a particular evil that afflicts society during the corresponding period.
In the book The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society, it starst with an examination the 20th-century with the intention of seeing how historians divided it up and then how they characterized the individual eras that the divisions would unveil. It turned out that there is general agreement among them; certain years marked major social and geopolitical changes in Western society: 1914, 1945, and 1991.
Thus the century can be divided into four eras: 1870-1914; 1914-1945; 1945-1991 ; 1991-present. (1870 was the Franco-Prussian War which changed the map of Europe and inaugurated the secularization of western Europe). Consulting a wide range of historians, some of whom were friendly to religion and others not, the characterizations of those historical periods that emerged actually matched Hildegard’s description of the specific social evils that were represented by the first four of her five beasts.
The following is a very condensed presentation of those correlations. The first one was difficult to figure out; Hildegard’s description of the era was brief and somewhat vague. The others, as you will discover, are quite obvious.
The Fiery Red Dog (1870-1914)
Historians like to call this the “Age of Imperialism”; the empires of Europe were at their zenith. From a sociological perspective, however, the theme of the era was the exploitation of the working poor, a problem Karl Marx was determined to fix. His ideology was spreading like wildfire of which the popes of the era would issue many warnings and condemnations. Pope Leo XIII, in his famous encyclical, Rerum Novarum, declared of the problem of social injustice “…there is no question which has taken a deeper hold on the public mind.” If you read the encyclical, you’ll notice that it is primarily a condemnation of communism.Here’s how Hildegard described the era:
“One is like a dog, fiery but not burning; for that era will produce people with a biting temperament, who seem fiery in their own estimation, but do not burn with the justice of God.”*
The key to understanding this is to focus on the word “justice”. “Fiery” is to be understood as passionate, similar to a common English usage of the word. We are told that during this era characters will emerge who are passionate for justice, but not really “on fire” because it is not the justice of God, but their own form of justice. It is not difficult to make a case that she was referring to injustice toward the working poor by the upper classes and the consequent rise of communism. The history and literature of the era testify to the centrality of social injustice for understanding what was happening during the period. (Zola, Hardy, etc.)
The Yellow Lion (1914-1945)
Most historians connect the two wars and call it something like “The Age of Catastrophe”, or “The Age of Total War”, an era dominated by wars, genocides, military dictatorships, political prisons, religious persecutions, etc. Historians struggle to understand how the Christian nations of Europe permitted it to happen.Hildegard describes the era as follows:
“Another is like a yellow lion; for this era will endure martial people, who instigate many wars but do not think of the righteousness of God in them; for those kingdoms will begin to weaken and tire, as the yellow color shows.”
“Martial” or “war mongering” does not overstate what kind of people dominated much of this era; nationalism and communism were two sides of the same coin. As the era came to a close, the fall of the Nazis and their allies proved to be a spectacular exhibition of self-delusion and cowardice.
The Pale Horse (1945-1991)
To historians these years are known as the “Cold War” era. Most focus their attention on the many conflicts, proxy wars, intrigue, etc. between the two superpowers. Others with more sociological interests will examine the student riots and unrest, assassinations, and the changing perspectives on human sexuality. In regard to the latter, one can think of two influential documents produced during the era that reveal the dramatic changes that took place with regard to sex, The Kinsey Reports (1948), and Humanae Vitae (1968).Hildegard describes the era as follows:
“Another is like a pale horse; for those times will produce people who drown themselves in sin, and in their licentious and swift moving pleasures neglect all virtuous activities. And then these kingdoms will lose their ruddy strength and grow pale with the fear of ruin, and their hearts will be broken.”
The key word is “licentious”, meaning sexual debauchery. Thanks to artificial birth-control the purpose of sex changed from procreation to pleasure. Like a healthy horse turning sickly pale, the damaging consequences of the sexual revolution on western society began to reveal themselves in the 1980s. Statistics on abortion, divorce, single-parent families, suicide, STDs (including AIDS), etc., all exploded as the era came to an end.
The Black Pig (1991-present)
It is an open question as to how future historians will view the West since 1991 and what sort of titles will be used to characterize the period. From the experience of the last quarter century one might be tempted to call it “The Age of Globalization”. The dominant themes have been free trade, elimination of borders and for much of Europe, a common market, passport, and currency. This title also suits the continuing migrations of millions to Europe from the Middle East and Africa.
Note that Hildegard states clearly that she is referring only to the era’s “leaders” in her description. The generation of leaders since the 1990s have not been, in general, the same type of people as their predecessors. Today’s leaders tend to be pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage, imposing many laws, like Obergefell vs. Hodges, that are contrary to Christian teaching.
“…[T]his epoch will have leaders who blacken themselves in misery and wallow in the mud of impurity. They will infringe the divine law by fornication and other like evils and will plot to diverge from the holiness of God’s commands”
As the agenda of political correctness, gender theory, homosexuality, race, etc., gradually became more radicalized in the higher educational system through the 70s and 80s, naturally so have our leaders who were educated in those times. Think of Clinton, Blair, Obama, Trudeau, Cameron, Holland, Merkel, etc.; think also of the thousands of their political appointees, including judges, that further the cause of political correctness, the goals of which “infringe the divine law”. Historian Paul Johnson has described it in terms of social engineering and referred to it as “the salient evil of our time”.
The Grey Wolf
The arrival of the era of the Grey Wolf will ultimately prove whether it was coincidental that the preceding four historical eras matched Hildegard’s descriptions of them. But it is important to acknowledge, however, that Hildegard’s descriptions are not interchangeable with these eras. Historians may vary on the importance of the sexual revolution, but they would not place it in the other eras, it belongs to the Cold War years. Likewise, outside of the era of the Yellow Lion, the other three eras were relatively peaceful. Social engineering was being practiced by the Soviet Union and the Fascists, but it does not define the period of 1914-1945, malice and militarism do. Moreover, since the four follow in the proper order; it strikes me as unlikely that these correlations were accidental.
It is interesting that Hildegard goes into far more detail regarding the Grey Wolf then the other eras. Essentially, three main things will define the era:
- Civil unrest and revolutions with their cause being economic inequality.
- Physical persecution of the Church by a specific group of people.
- A powerful spiritual revival in the Church.
She also adds that it is when the Church will be “…replete with the full number of her children.” The Church’s mission to evangelize will have been completed.
The Beasts and the Symbolism of the Ropes
Each beast represents a brief historical period (see here for the background). You will notice that there is something coming out of each of the beast’s mouth. Hildegard describes these as ropes that are attached to the top of a mountain. The mountain, she tells us is meant to symbolize a specific social evil that is characteristic of the individual historical era.
She explains that the ropes represent the attachment of the people of that era to its particular social evil, and that this attachment would be evident from the beginning of the era to its end. This is very important in helping us to discern whether the era in question matches the symbolism of the beast. Lots of things happen during a given historical period, but not things that continue from the beginning to the end.
All the ropes are black except the one that comes from the mouth of the wolf, which is partly black and partly white. For the length of the ropes indicates how far people are willing to go in their stubborn pleasures; but though the one that symbolizes greed is partly black and puts forth many evils, yet some will come from that direction who are white with justice. And these latter will hasten to resist the son of perdition by ardent wanders, as My servant Job indicates about the righteous doer of justice, when he says:
Words of Job:
“The innocent shall be raised up against the hypocrite, and the just shall hold to his path; and to clean hands he shall add strength” [Job 17:8-9]. Which is to say:
One who is innocent of bloody deeds, murder and fornication and the like, will be aroused like a burning coal against one who deceives in his works. How? This latter speaks of honey but deals in poison, and calls a man friend but stifles him like an enemy; he speaks sweet words but has malice within him, and talks blandly to his friend and then slays him from ambush. But one who has a rod with which to drive away vile brutes from himself walks in the light of the shining sun on the righteous path of his heart; he is raised up in the sight of God as a bright spark and a clear light and a flaming torch. And so, bearing in himself the strongest and purest works, he puts them on like a strong breastplate and a sharp sword, and drives away vice and wins virtue.
“For, from the time of the persecution the faithful will suffer from the son of the Devil until the testimony of the two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah ( Khidr in Islam), who spurned the earthly and worked toward heavenly desires, faith in the doctrines of the Church will be in doubt. People will say to each other with great sadness, “What is this they say about Jesus? Is it true or not?”
“The king shall rejoice in God; all they that swear by Him shall be praised; for the mouth of them that speak wicked things is stopped” [Psalm 62.:12.]. Which is to say: The profound knowledge of the beautiful human language that gives voice to the will and disposition of God is a great measure of human stature; and it makes music at the altar of God, for it knows Him. And when the hissing and gaping of the Devil, which taints human minds with shame, is forsaken in the time of desperation, the blessed will be praised in minds that sing, and they will make a flowing path of words to the pure fountain of the mighty Ruler.
- Man in Sapphire Blue or The Trinity: A Study in Compassion.
The Man in Sapphire Blue is from the book Scivias (1151)
Hildegard was 42 years old in 1142, when this, her first book of illuminations, was started.
Hildegard describes: “A most quiet light and in it burning with flashing fire the form of a man in sapphire blue.” The blue colors and the manner in which the man holds out his hands, extended toward the world, denote compassion and healing. Hildegard describes the Trinity as “One light, three persons, One God. The Father is brightness and the brightness has a flashing forth and in the flashing forth is fire and these three are one.” The Father is a living light, the Son, a flash of light and the Spirit is fire.. The fire of the Holy spirit binds all things together, illustrated as an energy field surrounding the man. Symbolized as the golden cord of the universe, the Holy Spirit streams through eternity creating a web of interconnectivity of all being and of divinity with creation and humanity (reminiscent of an East Indian cosmology using cord and thread imagery).
Hildegard’s theology of Trinity is about divine compassion entering the world. Jesus the Christ is the revelation of the compassion of God, the incarnation of divine compassion. The Hebrew word for Womb is compassion. But we do not merely look at a mandala (ancient circular image of the universe) – we are transformed by it. This mandala draws us into the energy of divine compassion, it connects us with the Christ, the Blue Man, such that we realize our own identity in Him who is the compassion for the universe. If we don’t hold our healing capacity in unity, the entire rope (universe) unravels.
May the words and visions of Hildegard speak to your sense of divine receptivity. And may you wonder with reverence at the precious gift of this amazing, sacred cosmos and our Oneness with all of Life.
- Message of Maulana Sheikh Nazim for our Times: “Be Rabbani”
- ” There is no Sufi, only Rabbani! Be Rabbani!” Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani 20 October 2010 Lefke, Cyprus
Sheikh Nazim: “Im not sufi! No more sufi!” – “Be Rabbani” 20.10.2010
Koonoo Rabbaniyeen, “Be Those Who Establish Lordly Worship”
The whole Islamic world must accept tonight, that there is no more tasawwuf, because the Holy Qur’an is showing us what we must say, what we must iqrar, admit, to ourselves. This and that does not exist, NO! We must follow Holy Books; and the last Holy Book, what was it saying? What was the Lord of Heavens ordering the Christians and the Jewish people? He is not saying that servants may claim, “I am this one” or “I am that one,” no. All of them are under my feet now! But the Lord of Heavens is saying, (Mawlana Shaykh stands) “O My servants! Koonoo Rabbaniyeen! Be those who establish Lordly worship.’” Be a Rabbani. No more tasawwuf. Never! From now on until the end of the world, you must say, “I am Rabbani! I am not stopping (in this way); I am Rabbani!” That is the highest honor for us.
This is for Christians, for Jewish people, and for the whole Islamic world, to take away nifaaq, hypocrisy, and shiqaaq, division. (Mawlana Shaykh sits) That order is coming tonight. Don’t say, “(We are) Naqshbandi-Haqqani”.
read more : You Played with Technology and Defied Reality! By Maulana Sheikh Nazim , Lefke, 08.01.2012
Haqq (swt) says, “O My servant! Obey Me and I will make you Rabbani. I will give you knowledge. O My servant!” That knowledge could make a person of zero value reach to a level where if he says to something “Be,” it will be ( Kun faya Kun). There is no need to exhaust yourself with technology, no! Obeying the Lord will open for you an area that you never thought about or that you can ever understand. Allahu Akbar! Forgive us, O Lord.”
- Spiritual “Greeness” for our times
Bismillah ir Rashman ir Rahim ( In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
The spiritual Greeness for our times is to realize that we have to become Rabbani To Be those who establish Lordly worship, to become Green Hearts and as Hildegard von Bingen and Maulana Sheikh Nazim say to realize Viriditas in our Heart: The origin of the word Viriditas is the union of two Latin words: Green and Truth. In Arabic we could say Khidr al Haqq.
Everything Outside Is Inside Man
The Greatness of the Creator is that everyone’s being is special and is glorifying its Lord with a special glorification. The Creator asked for His ﷻ trust to be carried and Man accepted. This indicates that unlimited treasures could be open to Man. No one can say where knowledge begins or ends. Can an atom hold a universe? According to our capacity it is impossible, not for the Creator. The key to understanding is to reflect about everything. The more Man looks inside himself the more he learns about his Creator. Everything outside is inside Man.
Sufi Path of Love intends to be a platform and a refuge for Brothers and Sisters seeking Real Spirituality,Truth , Happiness and Love. To Become Green Hearts
– Following the way of “Sohba”
Sufi path of love finds its inspiration in the spiritual heritage of Sufism in general, in the Naqshbandi Tariqat in particular, under the Guidance of Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani al-Rabbani al-Qubrusi al-Firdausi an-Naqshbandi and his son Sheikh Mehmet Adil Al Haqqani. It is open for every one who wants to follow or carry out the “Rainbow Path of Love” . see also Green Hearts Projects
“Living as a dry leaf taken by the wind of the divine inspiration which takes it anywhere it wants”. Maulana Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani
- WISDOM OF LIFE “CROSSED”
When one reflects about this fact more carefully one can discern, in the “ideal life” described, two poles wisdom of life. In a manner analogous to the well–known idea that sees, in the Christian sign of the cross, a horizontal and a vertical axis, one could say that wisdom also has a horizontal and a vertical axis, very clearly distinct and yet inseparably bound.
On the horizontal plane, one could place the immanence of human existence. In wisdom of life, one indisputably sees in it a clear understanding of human contingency and imperfection. Vertically, on the other hand, this interest is crossed by an attentiveness to transcendence, namely, to the divine reality that transcends the human.
In his (or her Heart) is graved the Calligraphy of the Arabic word HU. This reflected Hu stands for the reunification between the resonance of the divine mystery in the outside world and the inner consonance of this resonance in every people.
- Fulco and the end of an Illusion
Triptychs of a western pilgrim
Who is Fulco?:
Fulco is a name related to Folk and folklore: the great proportion of the members of a people that determines the group character and that tends to preserve its characteristic form of civilization and its customs, arts and crafts, legends, traditions, and superstitions from generation to generation. It has the same origin as George ( St George) . The word begins and ends with the root Ge. This is one of the oldest words known, occurring in Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek and Indo-European languages. It means Earth. Everyday words still in common use such as Ge-ology or Ge-ography show how persistent this root has been over at least the last six thousand years.
The etymology of George thus appears to show that he may originally have been an Earth-God connected with fertility, whose widespread worship in the ancient world was absorbed by Constantine’s attempts to make early Christianity into an all-inclusive religion that would become a vehicle for Roman bureaucracy. To reinforce this view the Greek translation of the name means ‘Earth-worker’ or ‘Tiller of the soil’.
- The path from I to i: Beheading the ego:
The I ( ego) lose its head in the stars of existence to become a i a pelgrim , trying to recover the spiritual Greeness of the Heart anchered in the Reality of Eternity.
Triptychs of a western pelgrim:
The Wild and the Green Man in yourself
This may seem like a strange conclusion to all of today’s idealization of nature. But wild nature is only too dangerous and whoever wanted to survive had to make the transition to adulthood and control his nature. But who really controls that does not oppress. In times of celebration or struggle he shows his wildness, his wild hair and his masculinity. He shows that in his time he can show, control and, if desired, store his wild energy. That is the sign of a grown man who knows how to handle his treats and that’s why he wins his wife in the party and overcomes his opponent in the fight.
The Green Man has not disappeared either through the transformation. He lives in every man who every now and then releases his inner child and absorbs his feeling and action and enjoys it so that the green heart energy flows! But the Green Man can only survive in his pure enjoying form by first dying in ritual. See The the Story of Sir Gawain and the Green Man
look also at Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Coomaraswamy
- Holly King and Oak King
The Holly King and Oak King are personifications of the winter and summer in various folklore and mythological traditions. The two kings engage in endless “battle” reflecting the seasonal cycles of the year: not only solar light and dark, but also crop renewal and growth. During warm days of Midsummer the Oak King is at the height of his strength; the Holly King regains power at the Autumn equinox, then his strength peaks during Midwinter, at which point the Oak King is reborn, regaining power at the Spring equinox, and perpetuating the succession.
see:The Legend of the Holly King and the Oak King
and The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
- NON POTEST HOC CORPUS DECOLLARI: BEHEADING AND THE IMPOSSIBLEThe human being arrives at the threshold: there he must throw himself headlong [vivant] into that which has no foundation and has no head.
Beheading is impossible. What does this mean? To understand these words is to grasp the truth of speaking them despite the fact, or more precisely through the fact, that beheading not only happens all the time, but constitutes a kind of happening that appears to continue happening, a phenomenon whose aesthetic structure, via its extreme and perfect fĳinality, is ordered toward the perpetual. To say beheading is impossible is to talk with the beheaded, to speak like a severed head, with words for which one has no voice. It means trying to say about beheading what is impossible to say, what only the severed head could say and always does say in some secret way to the heads that see it, calling them to consider beheading and articulate what it cannot tell. In other words, to say beheading is impossible is to indicate the signifĳicance of beheading as the attempt to speak beheading, to voice what beheading is in its most intense actuality, from the impossible, real, and thus inevitable perspective of the beheaded.
This is not to ignore or deny that “the deliberate separation of a head from its body is exclusively cultural,” that “beheading always signifĳies,” and “always signifĳies diffferently within specifĳic codes supplied by culture.”3 Rather it is to seek the poietic space wherein beheading becomes and stays sign, to address beheading as an original signifĳicance, as a meaning that happens in phenomenal proximity to its origin or coming-to-be. This will mean, however, playing fast and loose with specifĳic historical and cultural contexts, just as the ancient class of monsters to which the Green Knight belongs do with their heads. And like the Green Knight, who is “Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede and more” [higher than any in the house by a head or more], so will this reading of beheading, in the interest of grasping its impossible logic, necessarily exceed what is culturally demonstrable and so risk inviting its own decapitation—precisely the risk that any attempt to understand beheading requires.5 Yet to say beheading is impossible is not simply to speak poetically or to use language in a manner that makes language embody and represent its object. The statement is not merely a witty way of saying what the severed head, as the abstraction of all the individual heads that have been, are being, and will be severed, says in whatever words do or do not make it through its mouth, namely, I am beheaded, therefore I am not (or something like that). To say beheading is impossible is also to assert, more practically and prosaically, that the signifĳicance of beheading is fundamentally attached to the experience of having a head. Beheading virtually beheads its witness.
Decapitation is a mirroring spectacle wherein one experiences without experiencing one’s own decapitation. It is the specular meeting-place or bladelike zone of intersection where the one with a head encounters, even to the point of touching, the one without. The impossibility of beheading, the point beyond which our experience of it at once does and cannot go, is a moment when the survival of its witness crosses paths and shares place with its victim’s escape, the instant of a specifĳically heady saturation or plenitude of the sensory simultaneity of oneself being here and the beheaded being there. Beheading thus holds open experiences of headlessness, exposes us to the palpable possibility that our heads are illusory, to the reality that head itself is impossible. So beheading’s impossibility is also its inevitability, both practically and theoretically. The sense of beheading is impossible, its signifĳicatio, is the unseeable thing from which beheading is always already present as potentiality (Offf with her head!), the something on account of which decapitation becomes discourse and the severed head is taken up as a theme.6 As intimated by the universal motif of the speaking severed head, already critiqued by Aristotle as “impossible,” beheading and speaking share a common ground, a place into which speaking of beheading leads.
Read More About Green Knight, John the Baptist and St George
- Fana in Sufism:
Fanaa (Arabic: فناء fanāʾ ) in Sufism is the “passing away” or “annihilation” (of the self). Fana means “to die before one dies”, a concept highlighted by famous notable Muslim saints such as Rumi and later by Sultan Bahoo. Fana represents a breaking down of the individual ego and a recognition of the fundamental unity of God, creation, and the individual self. Persons having entered this enlightened state obtain awareness of the intrinsic unity (Tawhid) between Allah and all that exists, including the individual’s mind. It is coupled conceptually with baqaa, subsistence, which is the state of pure consciousness of and abidance in God.
Muslim scholars insist, that similar to other Sufi doctrines, Fana also based purely on the Islamic teachings. The Quran says:
“All things in creation suffer annihilation and there remains the face of the Lord in its majesty and bounty.” Surat-L-Rehman 26-27 
The state of Fana is represented by Rumi in Book Six of the Mathnawi where he writes:
When the Shaykh (Halláj) said ‘I am God’ and carried it through (to the end), he throttled (vanquished) all the blind (sceptics).
When a man’s ‘I’ is negated (and eliminated) from existence, then what remains? Consider, O denier.
In his book, Ain-ul-Faqr, Sultan Bahoo talks about spiritual levels of which Fana is one:
Initially I was four, then became three, afterwards two and when I got out of Doi (being two), I became one with Allah.
The words reveal the journey of Oneness where ‘four’ means he, his Murshid, Rasool and Allah. When he annihilates in his Murshid, he remains ‘three’. Then he annihilates in Rasool and he remains ‘two’. Finally when he annihilates in Allah, he becomes ‘One’. Hence, his journey of Fana(annihilation) completes and he becomes the Universal Man.
Stages of Fana
This explains that there are in fact three basic stages of Fana.
Fana fi Shaikh
This is the first level of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the being of his Murshid. This is only possible through Ishq-e-Murshid.
by an aid authority a trusted Murshid / Spiritual Guid, the heart will be tied to HIS magnificence on a path of truth By taking (Bayyah) or pledging allegiance one becomes tied to the rope of spirituality that will show you the path. Allowing the inner journey to begin and witnessing the ocean of knowledge, the knowledge that you start acquiring is that of inner spirituality and the outer existence is mirrored from what you have perceived. through the trusted representative that the heart’s light has identified through HIS grace. a true spiritual guide that one’s heart desires to be in the company of, as the heart has yearning for. the Murshid has touched your heart and started purifying it bringing light into the heart and allowing your soul to traverse.
The love and respect for the Murshid here becomes a state of Fana, Your actions, Your Seeing, your Speaking are not your owns but that of your Peer / Murshid.
Fana fi Rasool
This is the second level of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the being of Rasool. This is only possible through Ishq-e-Rasool.
This is the third and final stage of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the essence of Allah attained only through Ishq-e-Haqeeqi.
- The Syrian Uprising and Signs Of The Hour
The End Of America, The End Of The Arabs, The Rise Of Europe and The Mahdi’s Army
If we live comfortable lives then how can we know there is something wrong in the world: Allah said in a hadith Qudsi “If you never felt pain or experienced problems, how would you know i’m the Healer? If you never made a mistake, how would you know i’m the Forgiver? If you were never hurt, how would you know i’m the Comforter? If your life is perfect, then why would you need Me?” We can’t see the problems of the world if there are no problems in our lives, we are almost at the end, if what’s occurred so far isn’t enough to see then how can you see?
Many of Islams major scholars have written works on the signs of the hour in which they have arranged the Ahadith in the chronological order they understood the events would occur in, Imam Suyuti and Imam Ibn Kathir are two such scholars. Imam Ibn Hajar who wrote the famous Tafsir to Sahih Bukhari, Fath al Bari, similarly divided the major signs of the hour into two main categories, and arranged them into those that would definitely be occurring before the other.
The Prophet (saws) said: “The signs shall appear one after the other like the beads on a string follow one another (when the string is cut).” He also said: “The signs are like beads strung on a string. If the string breaks, they [quickly] follow one after the other.”
The Signs began to appear in our lifetime and have been following each other one by one, this is clear by the acceptance of most scholars that the minor signs of the hour have all been fulfilled and we are about to witness it’s first major sign, the first sign being the Mahdi (ra). Syria is mentioned in ahadith in relation to events that will mark the nearness of the hour. This Book takes the accounts of the prophet and identifies them giving an entirely more accurate chronology than was previously possible, from this effort the clearest picture yet emerges of the state of the world and its future, which we have corroborated with multiple sources all essentially saying the same thing.
Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (ra) said, “One day the Prophet (saws) stood up amongst us for a long period and informed us about the beginning of creation (and talked about everything in detail) till he mentioned how the people of Paradise will enter their places and the people of Hell will enter their places. Some remembered what he had said, and some forgot it”. (Bukhari)
- The Lifespan Of Islam On Earth
In more than 15 ahadith found in the Sahih of Imam Bukhari, Sunnan of Imam Abu Dawwud, Jamii of Imam Tirmidhi and others, the prophet (saws) said Islam has a specific lifespan on earth, these Ahadith state Allah gave Islam 1500 years then after this He would establish the Hour, we are now in the year 1437 H of the Islamic calendar, this book quotes these Ahadith and discusses them giving specific years for when events are expected to occur as the prophet (saws) mentioned.
Because we can place all the ahadtih on a timeline we can place names and years for when the events occur, which all leads to one question when will the end come. For muslims there are two “ends” they are waiting for in life, the hour itself and the end of Islam on earth before that time.
This book will present not just the ahadith that speak about the specific lifespan of Islam, but the ahadith in which the prophet gave a timeline for events in years such as Imam Mahdi (ra) ruling for 9 years or Isa (as) remaining on earth for 40 years after He (saws) returns, this book will show that both types of Ahadith say the exact same thing about how much time Islam has. Table of contents