Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the powers that be

Who could be brought down once you've raised him high?

The misery you bring he knows as bliss.

Each day the sky will hold its head up high

To bless those feet in your chains with its kiss.

#1945: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

This is it. This is my last day and the above is the final quatrain in the collection that I first set out to conquer, so to speak, by focussing on one a day in this blog. There have been a few gaps, failures along the way, but I continued on and have now reached the end of this road.

Where I will go tomorrow, I simply don't know today.

There is a homely description of God as "the powers that be". When we witness a natural force outside ourselves, like thunder or a tornado, we can project into it a personalized concept of God as "the powers that be". This, no doubt, is why so many Gods are thunder and lightening gods. It might also lie behind the title of the gnostic poem The Thunder, Perfect Mind which begins like this (my bold emphasis):

I was sent forth from the power,

    and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
    and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
    and you hearers, hear me.
    You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
    Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
    Do not be ignorant of me.

For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.

This poem is delivered in the voice of a feminine divine presence, who was "sent forth from the power" or from God as "the powers that be". Rumi holds conversations with Her throughout these quatrains, whether She is present unambiguously as Herself or as Shams (see my Shams and Shekhinah and the divine kiss).

We see this divine presence also in today's quatrain and again, She is delivering a salvational kiss. As the presence embodied in the quatrain itself, She contains the opposites of high and low, of misery and bliss, of sky and earth, of freedom and entrapment. It's fitting that She stands here as the last quatrain to be examined and She beckons me back to the first that I looked at, back on 20 April 2006 when I first established this daily discipline:

When your love began to fill up my heart,
Whatever else I had was burnt away,
Logic and book-learning tossed on the fire.
Now I study song and poetry all day.

In actual fact, I often study what might be more correctly labelled "politics" or "world news" or "current affairs" since I have also focussed on the impact of Islam on our world today and this inevitably drags in much more than we might traditionally associate with religion, with the arts, with spirituality in a general sense. And yet I don't think these opposites - the real and the imaginary, the factual and the fanciful, the secular and the sacred - have any more power to split me up, to split up my day, my interests and my passions. They all belong together in the song and poetry of my own living. And ultimately, this is what I, this is what we all, do study each and every day, all day.

Goddess Nut @ sacred-texts.com



At Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

I'm baaaaaaaaack! Hey, if you come back with another series, I'll stand a better chance of reading them if they're short. I just don't have the time.... Sorry...

At Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Thank you, Bob, for being there and managing to read as much as you did. Your companionship meant a good deal to me and I doubt I would have persevered without it.

I will take your kind words to heart and try to say what I want to say in a few less words ... in future.

My best wishes to you in your life and your work.

At Saturday, 11 November, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Another image of Nut is here:
(thanks to storyteller for the link)


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