D.W. Hauck

Islamic Alchemy: The Sufi Vision

 

CONTENTS

Sufism

Calcination

Dissolution

Separation

Conjunction

Fermentation

Distillation

Coagulation


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CONTENTS

Sufism

Calcination

Dissolution

Separation

Conjunction

Fermentation

Distillation

Coagulation


Return to Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sufism

Islam has a highly developed system of spiritual alchemy that has as its basis the mystical experiences of Mohammed himself. By the seventh century, most of these mystical practices were embodied in a branch of Islamic philosophy called "Sufism." The word comes from the Arabic word for "wool" (suf) and refers to the practice by early Sufi mysitcs of wearing rough, white, woolen robes that symbolized their purity and rejection of the world.

One of Sufism's major voices was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a thirteenth-century Persian poet. Like the spiritual alchemists of Europe, he described two ways of knowing reality. One is the intellectual (or Solar Consciousness), and the other is intuitive (Lunar Consciousness). For the Western mind, the nature of Lunar Consciousness, which comes from direct illumination and inspiration, is the hardest to understand. Rumi described it thus:

"Do you  know a name without a thing answering to it? Have you ever plucked a rose from R, O, S, E? You name His name; go, seek the reality named by it! Look for the Moon in the sky, not in the Water! If you desire to rise above mere names and letters, make yourself free of self at one stroke. Become pure from all attributes of self, that you may see your own bright essence. Yea, see in your own heart the knowledge of the Prophet -- without book, without tutor, without preceptor."   


Quotations Reflecting the Operations of Alchemy

Calcination

Like the Sun of neither east or west nor of anyplace when that Sun arrives.

- "Subtle Degrees" by Rumi (translated by Daniel Liebert in The Rumi Collection, Threshold Books, Brattleboro, VT 1996.)

Dissolution

When a seed falls into the ground, it germinates, grows, and becomes a tree: if you understand these symbols, you'll follow us, and fall to the ground, with us.

- "With Us" by Rumi (translated by Nevit Ergin and Camille Helminski in The Rumi Collection, Threshold Books, Brattleboro, VT 1996.)

Desire only that of which you have no hope; seek only that of which you have no clue.

Love is the sea of not-being and there the intellect drowns.

- "Subtle Degress" by Rumi (translated by Daniel Liebert in The Rumi Collection, Threshold Books, Brattleboro, VT 1996.)

Separation

You are cold, but you expect kindness. What you do comes back in the same form. God is compassionate, but if you plant barley, don't expect to harvest wheat.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986.)

Conjunction

Burning with longing-fire, wanting to sleep with my head on your doorsill, my living is composed only of this trying to be in your Presence.

Wine to intensify love; fire to consume. We bring these, not like images from a dream reality, but as an actual night to live through until dawn.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986.)

Fermentation

The wine we really drink is our own blood. Our bodies ferment in these barrels. We give everything for a glass of this. We give our minds for a sip.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986.)

Distillation

Wandering the high empty plain for some indication you've been there, I find an abandoned body, a detached head.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986.)

Coagulation

Lying back in this Presence, no longer able to eat or drink, I float freely, like a corpse in the ocean.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986.)


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Wine to intensify love; fire to consume. We bring these, not like images from a dream reality, but as an actual night to live through until dawn.

- Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Threshold Books, Battleboro, VT 1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the Sun of neither east or west nor of anyplace when that Sun arrives.

- "Subtle Degrees" by Rumi (translated by Daniel Liebert in The Rumi Collection, Threshold Books, Brattleboro, VT 1996.)