Wednesday, November 03, 2004
SUFISM, FREEMASONRY, AND SEBOTTENDORFF
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon has an article on its website that shows a relationship between Freemasonry and Sufism through the efforts of Rudolf Glandeck von Sebottendorff. From the website:
Sebottendorff's real association with Freemasonry is difficult to determine, although it appears that he was initiated into an irregular body of the Rite of Memphis under the Grand Orient of France.5 From his own writings it is clear that his version of Freemasonry incorporated aspects of Islamic Sufi mysticism, alchemy, astrology and Rosicrucianism. In his autobiographical novel Der Talisman des Rosenkreuzers (The Rosicrucian Talisman), he made a clear distinction between Turkish Freemasonry and regular Freemasonry:
"It must be shown that Oriental Freemasonry still retains faithfully even today the ancient teachings of wisdom forgotten by modern Freemasonry, whose Constitution of 1717 was a departure from the true way." "We look at our world as a product of the people. The Freemason looks at it as a product of conditions..."6
Sebottendorff believed that the esoteric tradition of Sufism was the purest stream of wisdom and that it had nourished European occultism through astrologists, Rosicrucians and authentic freemasons of the Middle Ages. He claimed:
"No one can accuse me of profanation, nor of sacrilege in uncovering the course of these mysteries...It is the means that the communities of dervishes traditionally use in order to acquire special strength by means of unusual techniques. They are, for the most part, men who aspire to the highest rite, that from which come those who have been prepared for their missions as spiritual leaders of Islam... This high rite is the practical basis of Freemasonry, and it inspired in times past the work of the alchemists and of the Rosicrucians...But to reply to the accusation of my being guilty of some kind of treachery: I say to you plainly that this book has been written on the instructions of the leaders of the Order." 7
Seems to be a clear indication from the Masonic end that Sufism and Freemasonry are linked, as the Sufis claim themselves.
Traditionalism, in its various spellings, is a word that appears on some Grand Orient websites.
Here, for instance.
Here is a webpage devoted to Tradition which seems to reference Freemasonry:
SOBRE RENE GUENON. TRADUCCIONES DE SU OBRA.
and you will also find a reference to "Gnosis" at the top of the website. ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY is also mentioned at this website. The URL is there for the Rene Guenon Lodge as well. If you click Zenit on that website, you will get a lot of material on Traditionalism.
Lots of interesting stuff here.
TRADITIONALISM AND THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY
shown to be a Catholic heresy by blog reader Lúcio Mascarenhas who is blogging from India.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
MORE ON SUFISM
A blog reader in India has added more information on Traditionalism and the Sufis here.
Sufi Islam at the global security website has this to say about Sufism:
While Sufi Islam has broad acceptance in Iraqi society, Sufism has frequently been viewed by orthodox Sunni Muslim theologians with some degree of suspicion because of its strong mystical components. Shia Muslims tend to be hostile towards Sufism because they believe it is heretical. Sufi orders serve to both strengthen and divide Kurdish society. Kurds of the same order feel a common bond, regardless of tribe. There is, however, tension between rival orders. Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), follows the Qadiri order. The Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), and the influential Barzani family are Naqshbandi Sufis.
The Tijaniyah (Tijaniyya) Order, founded in Morocco by Ahmad at-Tijani in 1781, extended the borders of Islam toward Senegal and Nigeria, and their representatives founded large kingdoms in West Africa. The Tijaniyah Order is strongly associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in Egypt in the late 1920s and later spread throughout the Arab world. Hasan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 in Egypt, called for radical measures to bring about a return of Islamic government. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood was the establishment of an Islamic state based on Shariah. It transcended the narrower sectarianism of the more traditional political parties. Moreover, the Brotherhood's superior organization made it a political force far stronger than its numbers might suggest. Many of the methods which made Sufism a succesfull occult underground helped the Muslim Brotherhood function effectively. (emphasis mine)
That second paragraph has Masonic overtones.
Metareligion associates Sufism with Nazi:
Thule group was Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff (Rudolf Glauer) who
had direct contact with the Dervish Orders and knew a great deal
about Islamic mysticism, particularly Sufism in all its aspects. He
also had contact with Herman Pohl, leader of the German Order
Walvater of the Holy Grail.
Nazi occultism was a mixture of influences and a host of
interrelated secret societies, including the Bavarian Illuminati,
the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, the Holy Vehm, the Golden
Dawn, the Rosy-Cross, the Vril Society, the German Order and its
offshoot, the Thule Society.
A note of caution...this source uses material from Nevada Ariel Research Newsletter, a publication I know nothing about. This material would need further research before it could be considered reliable. Nevertheless, the occult background of Guenon would prevent me from writing it off as not believable.
Sufism and Tantra - take it for what it's worth since this, too, may be an unreliable source. I've linked it just because it shows that Sufism can find itself keeping company with some really questionable material.
Tantra and its relative yoga are associated with Indian spiritual traditions but tantra’s origins are in ancient universal experiences predating all forms of organised religion. It comes from prehistoric people’s concern over fertility and creation and their connections with the creative energies of the universe. In England, monuments like Stonehenge are all that remain of this era. Around the Mediterranean there are discoveries of small Goddess figurines (see Roots of Tantra in Prehistory). Within religions such as paganism there are clearly connections and in other religions, often hidden connections such as for example in Sufism (Islamic mysticism) and Kabalah (Jewish mysticism) Tantra appears within the Hindu tradition, in yoga; particularly Kundalini yoga’s techniques for using energy, in Buddhism; particularly its Tibetan forms and in Taoism. (emphasis mine)
SINGING THE MELODY AGAIN
The Vatican has issued a new sex guide for Catholics according to a Telegraph article sent in by a reader:
A Vatican-sanctioned sex guide is encouraging churchgoers to make love more often in an effort to offset "impotence and frigidity" and address papal concerns over declining birth-rates among Italian Roman Catholics.
The controversial book, It's A Sin Not To Do It, written by two theologians, promises the reader answers to "everything you wanted to know about sex but the Church (almost) never dared to tell you".
In their attempt to galvanise the faithful, Roberto Beretta and Elisabetta Broli, who write regularly for the Italian Bishops' magazine, Avvenire, have written one of the raciest works ever to deal with the Church and sex.
Bullet points on the jacket cover underline the central message: "Sex? God invented it. Original sin? Sex has nothing to do with it. Without sex there is no real marriage." ...
Beretta told The Telegraph: "The Church is not against sex. Something needed to be done about the cliches and stereotypes. The Church is not only about forbidding the use of contraception and warning against the sins of the flesh.
"In view of the trivialisation of sex and the rise of impotence and frigidity in consequence, as well as the increasing number of only children, it is better for the Church to promote sex in the right circumstances, instead of just focusing on prohibitions and perversions."
Well, maybe, but I somehow don't get the impression this is going in a wholesome direction, either.
The porn was still appearing on my computer screen when I took it in for repairs yesterday. I wasted a lot of time trying to make it go away. The last time it came up, I finally really looked at it instead of quickly X-ing it out, and what it revealed was a mind bender.
The screen consisted of a series of small pictures lined up in rows like a checkerboard...Doorways to click. The word across the top of each picture described what could be found behind the portal. Selections ran the gamut of hard core porn including shemales and children.
The pictures were intended to be enticing I suppose, and I'm sure a credit card was required. They were hardly tempting, though, and I wondered what sort of mind would find a woman with male anatomy interesting.
What I saw when I really stopped to look was incredibly boring ugliness. The ugliness of a Mona Lisa slashed with a knife. The ugliness of an orchid trodden under hobnail boots. The ugliness of a kitten set on fire.
The ugliness of a soul cut off from the source of beauty, truth, and innocence?
The pictures were boring in their effort to shock. There is nearly nothing left in the pornographer's bag of tricks. When you have seen one naked body posed to titillate, you have seen them all.
As I think about those pictures, revulsion gives way to fear for the vulnerability of innocence. But then the mental picture shifts to the setting of the Song of Solomon from Scripture. The contrast is overwhelming:
Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, ah, you are beautiful!
Your eyes are doves behind your veil.
Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down the mountain of Gilead....
Your lips are like a scarlet strand; your mouth is lovely.
Your breasts are like twin fawns, the young of a gazelle that browse among the lilies... (Songs 4:1-5)
It's almost embarrassing, isn't it? We are so conditioned to "Man, did you see the ____ on that one?"
In our rush to perversion our culture has lost the meaning of sex, and has precious little knowledge of the meaning of love. The Song of Songs raises up before us the evidence of goodness that has departed.
Perhaps our in-your-face naked clothing styles are a reaction to the coarseness. The boys talk about girls in a vulgar fashion. The girls listen and learn. They try to please the boys by being vulgar, becoming coarse and hardened themselves in the process, which in turn causes the boys to talk about them in a vulgar way...And round the spiral it goes seeking ever-lower ground.
I had a vague sense of this years ago when preparing to teach my young daughter what mothers are supposed to teach. I knew the language of the mechanics. I could easily find diagrams to explain it, but there was something missing. That absence sent me searching, and instinctively I knew that what I was seeking would be found only in faith because only God could supply it. The culture sure didn't have a clue.
That brought me to a class for parents at church--an opportunity to learn what would be taught to the parochial school children in their sex ed classes. I attended expecting to be given the secret that I lacked. What I got was what I already had along with the realization that "they" didn't know any more than I did what was missing, and "they" didn't care.
I asked, "How do you protect the natural innocence of the children which is their first defense against sexual exploitation?" and got blank stares in response. They didn't have a clue and had never thought of the question. Even more, they resented that I had asked. The teachers who would teach my child about sex in a few short years didn't care about children's innocence. They didn't want to talk about it. All they wanted to do was to get this session with the parents over with because it was embarrassing. Today in the headlines we see the result of their failure.
I took my child out of the sex ed classes and taught her at home the incomplete knowledge that was all I had to give, adding to it the prohibitions of the Church which I could not be sure she would have gotten in the classroom, then I watched as her classmates slipped into promiscuous behavior.
Once I saw the evidence of the missing piece of our understanding of the sexual act, once thirty years ago on a September day in Yellowstone National Park.
September is mating season for the elk, and they put on a show that draws nature photographers from all over the U.S. Elk bugling is a sound like no other, loud, demanding, echoing through the forest. There is nothing doe-like about a bugling elk, or the clash of antlers as rivals duel for the attention of a doe. Once seen, the sights and sounds of the mating of the elk are hard to forget.
Several of us, camera in hand, were following one particular bull at a safe distance, hoping for that priceless shot. There were trees all around us, and we were silent so as not to disturb the animal. A large bull who had defeated his rival in head to head combat was bugling in the clearing. A doe appeared from out of the trees and walked slowly toward the bull. Both animals were silent. The bull didn't move. We held our breath. The sun shone through the trees, turning the clearing to dappled gold. The doe came close and stretched out her neck toward the bull. Their noses touched, or nearly so. Then they turned their tails toward us and walked slowly out of sight into the trees together side by side.
It was a magical moment, when the world seemed to have paused in its turning. I had seen something profound, but didn't know quite what it was. I couldn't plumb the depths of that moment and still can't. Neither can I forget it. It's burned into my mind like a firebrand.
After that moment, I lost interest in photographing the mating of the elk. Whatever was there to discover I had already witnessed, but I had failed to grasp its significance. Everything else would be anti-climactic.
If I ever discover the secret of that moment, I will know what was missing from my daughter's sex ed class, from my own understanding of the sexual act, and from the pornographic pictures on my computer screen that fails to turn them into the Song of Songs.
Monday, November 01, 2004
THE *&^%$ COMPUTER
is back in the repair shop again. This time they think it's the motherboard. In any case I'm at the library's mercy for the next 10-14 days, so posting will be sporatic and linking websites will not be very convenient. Sigh.
On a recent trip to Borders, there were no books by Rene Guenon availble. The Sufis by Idries Shah, was the most compelling book on the Islam shelf, so I brought it home.
According to the online reference source, Wikiverse: A World of Knowledge, Idries Shah is one of 20 Famous Sufis. Neither Rene Guenon nor Fritjohf Schuon make the list. Another list member, Syed Hussain, says of Sufi Mysticism:
[It] is neither a religion nor a philosophy. It's neither occultism nor Belief System. In fact, Sufism is a science, a science of esotericism.
(One wonders if he has been reading Rudolf Steiner who says much the same thing.)
Science, by its very nature, requires observable data and repeatable experiments. Esotericism provides neither. In fact the very nature of esotericism is that it is grounded in the spiritual world. This Wikiverse entry provides another characteristic of Sufism:
Sufis believe that their teachings are the essence of every religion, and indeed of the evolution of humanity as a whole.
Further along the article gives further hint of what we may be looking at:
...relatively simple Quranic concepts that gave basic structure to [the] Islamic worldview had soon become exposed to Neoplatonist and Gnostic influence, as well as Zoroastrian religious imagery.
So it would seem that this "scientific" esotericism is merely a new variety of occultism in disguise. That would fit with Rene Guenon's early occult experiences prior to becoming a Sufi.
In an online interview from Psychology Today 1975, Elizabeth Hall comments "I am surprised that these gurus tell you all their secrets..." Idries Shah responds:
I must tell you that I have not renounced the Eastern technique of pretending to be interested in what another person is saying, even pretending to be on his side. Therefore, I am able to draw out gurus and get them to commit themselves to an extent that a Westerner, because of his conscience, could not do. The Westerner would not allow certain things to go unchallenged and would not trick, as it were, another person. So he doesn't find out the truth."
Hmmm...so much for truthfulness, I guess.
Sufism is not the ony source of scientific esotericism that is not a religion, that deals with spiritual concepts, and that is eager to encompass all the religions of the world. In fact that is a perfect description of esoteric Freemasonry. It is really no surprise, then, that Robert Graves opens the Introduction to Shah's book with the words:
The Sufis are an ancient spiritual Freemasonry whose origins have never been traced or dated; nor do they themselves take much interest in such researches, being content to point out the occurrence of their own way of thought in different regions and periods. Though commonly mistaken for a Moslem sect, the Sufis are at home in all religions; just as the "Free and Accepted Masons" lay before them in their Lodge whatever sacred book--whether Bible, Koran, or Torah--is accepted by the temporal state. If they call Islam the "shell" of Sufism, this is because they believe Sufism to be the secret teaching within all religions.
Another way to say "Freemasonry" or "Sufism" is "perennial philosophy"; and in fact, that is precisely what Guenonian Traditionalism promotes.
An online article by Jay Kinney, titled "Sufism Comes West: An Introduction to Sufism" indicates:
Thus the Sufism that Inayat Khan brought West accepted the love of God expressed by non-Muslims as a valid point of departure for studying Sufism. Kahn was a great exponent of what Aldous Huxley called "the perennial philosophy" and went so far as to create a Universal Worship service that acknowledged the unity behind the great world religions.
Idries Shah makes it clear, beginning on page 205 of The Sufis, that it is Freemasonry in an Eastern dress:
"Sufi-ism," said Sir Richard Burton, was "the Eastern parent of Freemasonry." Whether Burton was a Freemason or not, there is no doubt that he was a Sufi.
The remainder of the book builds on this theme. Knowing this connection makes it much easier to understand how it is that Guenonian Traditionalism is welcome in the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina obedience and the Rene Guenon Lodge of Grand Orient Freemasonry.
It also becomes easier to understand how someone persuaded by Sufism could be comfortable working with Satanists. Quoting Jules Michelet, the French medievalist, Shah states:
Dante and St. Thomas Acquinas look upon Satan in one of two ways--the Christian way; "grotesque and coarse-minded...such as he was in his earliest days, when Jesus could still drive him to enter into the herd of swine." And the other (the Sufic way) as "a subtle reasoner, a scholastic theologian, a phrasemongering jurist." This latter view is again and again insisted upon by the Sufis: "Seek the real Satan in the scholastic sophist, or the hairsplitting doctor--for he is the opposite of Truth." (P. 361)
There is no more place in Sufism for the one and only Son of God than there is in Freemasonry, and attempts to Catholicize this doctrine will fail unless Catholicism is morphed into a branch of a universal religion.