Sunday, February 19, 2006

love's arrow

Luminous full moon, the bow of your brow

Shoots an arrow, and fills heart's cup with blood.

I ask, "This heart, this blood... what can compare?"

I take the cup of wine as she says, "There".

#903: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: moon

Still following the moon's trail, I come across this juxtaposition of blood with wine.

Theosophy Dictionary on Wine

Used as an emblem of life and spirit, as in the Mysteries, where at one stage of the initiatory rites wine and bread were offered to the candidate as symbols of spirit and body, the meaning being the same as that conveyed elsewhere by fire and water, or blood and flesh. It was necessary for the aspirant to be perfected in both ways.

The rite was very early adopted from the Dionysian Mysteries by the Christian churches in the sacrament of the Eucharist where wine represents the blood of Christ, and the bread his body. Wine is also connected in the same mystical manner with the Greek god Dionysos or Bacchus, for this divinity represented the Christos or initiator, teacher, and savior of mankind; and thus wine stands for inspiration and holy enthusiasm, varying from divine inspiration and spiritual quickening all down the scale to merely phrenetic exaltation, and even when grossly degenerate, orgiastic, and drunken excitement, such as marked the degraded forms of Bacchic worship.

In the New Testament the parable of the turning of water into wine is another way of stating that exoteric or mythologic teachings were explained and illustrated so that the inner wisdom became known, the wine standing for the inner aspect. Only an adept or initiate is able to do this.


Rumi is saying very simply that blood and wine are comparable. In the Eucharistic rite literal wine is transformed into spiritual blood. In this quatrain, the life blood of the heart is equated with the wine offered by the moon goddess. Neither is literal, neither is flesh-like. Both are psychic or spiritual in nature.

Aphrodite brings Cupid to Psyche.

H.J. Ford: "Aphrodite brings Cupid to Psyche." @

The heart blood is what "I" or the smaller self desires, what "I" fall in love with when wounded by Cupid's arrow. Cupid (or Eros in the original Greek) is, of course, son to the love goddess (Venus or Aphrodite). It is She who orders the shooting of the arrow and determines its target. It is She who is behind this whole falling-in-love fiasco. It is Her way of gradually leading each human soul towards its fulfillment, as if drawing us out from an initial fine crescent of consciousness into the full round luminous glow of the moon when it faces the sun full on.

And yet this luminous full moon is She all along, it is She in the first place and She in the last. The cup of love drunkenness that she offers is, in some mysterious way, identical with the cup of my own desire. It is mysterious because She is, after all, divine and feminine while Rumi's "I" is mortal and masculine.

psyche and eros

Margaret Evans Price: Psyche and Eros @

To a woman, the divine would be male. It has often occurred to me - and I push this thought away with dread when it does intrude - that it was a woman who first invented a masculine deity and not, as might seem more obvious, a man. There is no mystery and, above all, no fecundity if the God is envisaged simply as a larger version of the smaller self. This is closer to what Freud conceived of as the superego. Even if a masculine god was first conceived by woman, is indeed the son of woman, when a man is proclaiming the God supreme, he is essentially on an ego trip.

This, for me, is one of the key differences between Mohammad and Rumi, between mainstream Islam and Sufism. The first is God as grander ego, the second is God as friend. I would not mind seeing men parade about, puffed up with their "God is great" slogans. Let them make clowns of themselves. What I do mind is when they disallow others from uniting with God as friend. What I do mind is when they kill their fellow creatures in the name of this ego-God.

Quran 4:48 (Yusufali)
Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.

This Allah will not allow even a divine partner. Imagine how much harder for him to swallow that a mortal partner be allowed (as Yahweh deigned to take Mary for his concubine). It was the Sufis that conceived of God as She, as divine lover and partner. There is absolutely no room for this kind of conception inside Mohammad's ego trip. Absolutely none. It is and always has been as sterile as a room full of self-admiring males.


At Monday, 20 February, 2006, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Erich Fromm wrote that god was first envisioned as female (Earth Mother) when people felt totally dependent on nature, and became male (Sky Father) when people started to feel some mastery over nature. The female represents unconditional love, the male, earned love. Then God becomes more abstract or absent at further stages of civilization. This is a simplification of his ideas, but I think the point is that the gender or existence of God is dependent not so much on the gender of the believer but on the maturity of the civilization. Of course there are all kinds of questionable assumptions here.

I was watching a show called Save Our History on the History Channel which featured the resoration of a presidential house. The restorer was asked how he felt about removing everything that came after in the house to bring it back to a certain time period. He responded there was some concern about that, but that the time period they chose was deemed the most important. And it seems that's how people pick their religion. They pick the religion that most suits the time period they best relate to: whether a nomadic culture thousands or hundreds of years ago, or Renaissance culture, or what have you.

At Monday, 20 February, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Nice summing up of Fromm, Bob. Just as male priests predominate in male god religions, so it is thought that women dominated the earlier religious cultures, perhaps not as a strict matriarchy (comparable to patriarchy) but as priestesses and women of influence. This is why I sometimes think that a woman thought up a male god, perhaps initially simply as a male son of the goddess. Only he grew up ... and grew old. Sadly. :(

That idea of people picking their religion in relation to a culture in time is spot on. It's perfectly healthy and appropriate to move from one religion to another through one's own developmental cycle.

Religion has always also been tied to tribal identity which is why strict adherence is so often required. Adopting and staying with a faith is akin to adopting a nationality and remaining patriotic.

Radical Islam is essentially tribal. This is why it constantly confuses so-called Islamophobia (which is not a neurotic condition at all, in my view, but a realistic assessment) with racism. This is why "Arab" and "Muslim" are such closely related terms.

At Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, Blogger Spiritual Emergency said...

A song that I'm currently in love with fits this post well...

Blackbird claw, raven wing
Under the red sunlight
Long clothesline, two shirtsleeves
Waving as we go by

Hundred years, hundred more
Someday we may see
A woman king
Wristwatch time
Slowin' as she goes to sleep

Black horsefly, lemonade
Jar on the red anthill
Garden worm, cigarette
Ash on the windowsill

Hundred years, hundred more
Someday we may see
A woman king
Sword in hand
Swing at some evil and bleed

Black hoof mare, broken leg
Eye on the shotgun shell
Age old dog, hornet nest
Built in the big church bell

Hundred years, hundred more
Someday we may see
A woman king
Bloodshot eye
Thumb down and starting to weep

You can hear a sampler of the song here if you wish: Iron & Wine

At Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Thanks for those song lyrics, SE. They do fit in well.

I tried the sampler site but it wouldn't play the music for me. :(


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