Thursday, 21 August 2008

Green Man, Earth Angel

One way of describing author Tom Cheetham is as a spiritual ecologist. Meaning that he sees no real separation between the material and the spiritual for God is present everywhere and speaks to us through all forms. This gives human beings a great responsibility to care for the planet and all creation, and more than that, to listen to it speaking. By way of the imaginal, the realm of the soul, we can see all things as mirrors of the divine and work towards cleansing our hearts to reflect the Numen.
Green Man, Earth Angel (editorial review) explores the central role of imagination for understanding the place of humans in the cosmos. Tom Cheetham suggests that lives can only be completely whole if human beings come to recognize that the human and natural worlds are part of a vast living network and that the material and spiritual worlds are deeply interconnected. Central to this reimagining is an examination of the place of language in human life and art and in the worldview that the prophetic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--presuppose. If human language is experienced only as a subset of a vastly more-than-human whole, then it is not only humans who speak, but also God and the world with all its creatures. If humans' internal poetry and creative imaginations are part of a greater conversation, then language can have the vital power to transform the human soul, and the soul of the world itself.

The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism (Product description): The first book in English to synthesize the remarkable work of Henry Corbin, the great French philosopher, Christian theologian, and scholar of Islamic mysticism. Corbin, a colleague of Jung's at Eranos, was one of the seminal influences on the development of archetypal psychology, especially through the idea of the "imaginal world." His work bridges the gap between the philosophy and theology of the West and the mysticism of Islam and provides a radical and unified vision of the 3 great monotheistic religions based upon the Creative Imagination. This book will be of special interest to those seeking to understand Islamic spirituality and the relation between spirituality and ecology and will also inform current interpretations of the politics of terrorism.

After Prophecy: Imagination, Incarnation, and the Unity of the Prophetic Tradition (Studies in Archetypal Psychology) (Product description): This book explores the status of religion in the Post-Prophetic Age, especially as seen through the eyes of the French Islamic scholar Henry Corbin. In lucid and simple prose, Cheetham explores the creative role of the imagination in the formative ground of the three great Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Corbin, engaging the soul of the world through the mediating power of the Imaginal is an act of love, a theme Cheetham expands through his analysis of such concepts as mystical poverty, contemplative knowledge, the luminosity of the earth, the theophanic vision, the Christ Angel, Incarnation, the divine sensorium, alchemical transformation, the spiritual humanism of Ivan Illich, Western iconoclasm, and the centrality of gnosis. This book offers a visionary alternative to the confusions of contemporary life. It speaks to believers and non-believers alike.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Lord of the Rings and the Esoteric Symbolism of the Abrahamic Faiths

Tolkien was a Roman Catholic and he delved deeply into the world of archetypes and symbols. Mahmoud Shelton demonstrates how Tolkien used many of these symbols in a distinctly Sufic, alchemical manner in the quest pursued by, and in the lives of, his characters. The mystical traditions of all three Abrahamic religions, while possessing their own distinct perspectives and practices, are nevertheless also very close in what one might term an Abrahamic symbolic pool which is shared by all three religions in varying alignments and semantic expressions, To speak in Sufi terms, the core of the quest is the journey of return to a realization of unity with the One. The path is love, the fuel is love, and the goal is love. Alchemy is the process of transformation that love effects.
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Alchemy in Middle-Earth: The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

Never before has the esoteric significance of the "Novel of the Century" been explained. At last its profound symbolism is made clear in light of the Hermetic tradition, establishing The Lord of the Rings to be the work of an illuminated imagination. Alchemy in Middle-earth traces J.R.R. Tolkien's motifs to unexpected connections with Scotland, the Middle East, and legendary Atlantis, and unveils the ancient wisdom in Tolkien's great work not only with the Alchemy of the past, but also with the living spiritual alchemy of Sufism. In the process, the mysterious relationship between the spirituality of Islam and Tolkien's Christianity is revealed, signifying nothing less than the completion of the Grail quest at the end of an age.

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Monday, 11 August 2008

A Sufi Novel by Irving Karchmar

This novel is written by Irving Karchmar who many of you may already know from his blog, Darvish. Exciting, informative, and uplifting, this is the kind of literature we need more of for everyone interested in the spiritual path.
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Master of The Jinn: A Sufi Novel

Here is a tale set on the Path of the Heart, a beautifully written mystical adventure wherein a modern-day Sufi Master sends seven companions on a perilous quest for the greatest treasure of the ancient world- King Solomon's ring. The legendary seal ring is said to control the Jinn, those terrifying demons of living fire, and in seeking it the companions discover not only the truth of the Jinn, but also the path of Love and the infinite mercy of God.

About the Author

Irving Karchmar, the author of Master of the Jinn, has been a writer, editor and publisher for many years, and a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order since 1992. He resides near New York City and is currently at work on his second novel, a sequel entitled Tale of the Jinn.

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Thursday, 7 August 2008

Speaking of Ibn 'Arabi

Speaking of Ibn 'Arabi and about the biography by Stephen Hirtenstein yesterday I thought I would continue to say more about the great Shaykh and include a few links and other books about his work. I have just added a new page in the Sufi Book Store which contains forty-two works by and about Ibn 'Arabi. Many of these translations and commentaries are written by academics who are also 'insiders'. In other words they don't just study him academically but are also striving to follow the path and put Ibn 'Arabi's words into action so they become a reality in their lives and not just words on paper. I have certainly noticed a difference between reading the work of those whose interest is purely academic and those scholars who are also practitioners of what they study. Not only is their scholarship excellent but it is as if they allow the baraka (blessings) to flow through and on to the page. If you read with an open heart and don't worry too much if you don't understand everything then there is certainly an effect on the reader that I believe is similar to listening to the music of a sama' (spiritual concert).

If you go to the Ibn 'Arabi Society website you will find a list of numerous articles and translations here on their index page.

They also have a podcast page where you can listen to papers given at their regular symposiums in the US and the UK.

Here, on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is a very good and thorough entry about Ibn 'Arabi.

Below are a few of the books you can find at the Sufi Book Store

And this is only a small selection of the feast available. Explore the links and set forth on a journey of discovery.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A book about the life and thought of Ibn 'Arabi

Ibn 'Arabi is also known as the Shaykh al-Akbar, the greatest Shaykh. He was born in Al-Andalus in the mid twelfth century and lived half his life there before travelling east. He wrote prodigiously and claimed never to write anything he had not experienced personally. His influence on the development of Sufism was immense. What I appreciate so much about this biography by Stephen Hirtenstein is the way he introduces the reader to the thought of Ibn 'Arabi and also describes the historical context in which he lived, wrote, and pursued his spiritual path. Many scholars see Ibn 'Arabi as being equally significant to our present day concerns alongside the work of Jalaluddin Rumi. To read this book is like stepping into the times of Ibn 'Arabi in Al-Andalus and bathing in his spiritual wisdom. Having lived in Andalucia I often had a sense of his presence in the places he had been whether in the mosque of Cordoba, the port of Adra, or under the mulberry trees in the Alpujarran mountains.
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The Unlimited Mercifier: The Spiritual Life and Thoughts of Ibn 'Arabi

The Unlimited Mercifier is a new appreciation of Ibn 'Arabi, clarifying the meanings and relevance of his life and thought. It serves as a thorough introduction for those new to his work, as well as providing food for contemplation and further study for those alre! ady familiar with his genius.

White Cloud Press, in a joint publishing effort with Anqa Publishing in the United Kingdom, presents the first in a series of books on the life and teachings of Ibn 'Arabi. Relatively unknown in the West until the 20th century, he has been revered by Sufi mystics ever since he first burst upon the Islamic world at the turn of the 13th century. He wrote over 350 books and treatises that are recognized as classics of world spirituality.

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Welcome to a Treasure Trove of Sufi Books and Music

Dear Friends and Readers,

Welcome to the Sufi Book and Music Blog. Step in and look around the many sections here that all relate to an aspect of Sufism. There are also DVD's of music from master musicians. If you know of any books that are not here then you are welcome to write and let me know so I can add them. The idea of this site is to bring together in one place as many books on the subject of Sufism as possible so that it is easier for you to discover what is available without doing long searches. So take your time and browse as you would in any library or book store. As I speak of the books available in the store so it is also an opportunity to look at different aspects of the Sufi path and the many friends who have trodden this path in the past and in the present day.