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Sacred Web 39

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Sacred Web 39

Sacred Web 39

 

Editorial:
The Ocean and the Volcano

By M. Ali Lakhani
Reflecting on the statement by Frithjof Schuon that ‘the whole visible cosmos is resting upon an invisible volcano, though also—at a deeper ontological level—upon a formless ocean of bliss’, the Editorial considers the different approaches of the profane and the sacred sciences to the question of what is real, and the implications of this knowledge in terms of the human vocation of self-transcendence and spiritual integration.     Read more...

Dante and Lady Philosophy
By Andrew Frisardi
In the Convivio, Dante defines philosophy as the ‘loving use of wisdom’, while study requires a ‘mind in love’. Philosophy itself is personified (following Boethius) as a woman whose lover is the seeker of wisdom.This essay describes how Dante depicts his own discovery of Philosophy—‘the most beautiful and dignified daughter of the Emperor of the universe’—after the death of Beatrice.     Read more...

Everything Muhammad:
The Image of the Prophet in the Writings of ‘Ayn al-Qudat

By Mohammed Rustom
This article offers a survey of the Prophet’s image in the writings of the famous Persian Sufi martyr ‘Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani (d. 1131).     Read more...

The Abolition of Monarchies: The Fateful 20th Century
By William Stoddart
Presented in note-form, this is a short summary on the fate of Monarchy in the 20th century. The author offers a commentary of its importance as an institution and of the significance of its decline.     Read more...

The Lovely Face Aflame:
An Ambiguity of Angels in St. Teresa of Avila’s Visions

By Michael Bradburn-Ruster
In recounting her famous Transverberation—the angelic piercing of her heart in 1560—St.Teresa of Avila appears to confuse the traditional distinction between Seraphim and Cherubim.Yet in exploring angelology and its symbolic implications for spiritual psychology, we discover not only in Christian but also Muslim and Hindu forms an intertwining of mystical and speculative theologies, converging upon the Eye of the Heart as the locus of coincidentia oppositorum. Not dichotomy: dialectic. Teresa’s ‘failure’ is felicitous, for the Cherubic and Seraphic modes represent the implicit paradox in the alchemical wedding of Knowledge and Love. In the grace of Unknowing beyond conceptual boundaries, Illumination and Union coalesce; images dissolve into translucence.     Read more...

Imagination, Expression, Icon:
Reclaiming the Internal Prototype

By Hieromonk Silouan
Expanding on a talk given by the author in 2015 at the symposium, ‘Living Tradition: Painting Sacred Icons in the 21st Century,’ organized by the Orthodox Arts Journal, this essay reviews the positive aspects of the imagination in light of St. Gregory Palamas and hylemorphism. It explores the question of ‘anonymity’ in craftsmanship as it relates to the Orthodox understanding of the ‘person,’ and tackles misconceptions of Tradition in light of ‘first principles.’ The essay can be seen as an Orthodox response to some of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy's ideas on art and iconography.     Read more...

A Tree of Leaves and Flames
By Nigel Jackson

Spirtual Profiles

Al Hajja Mehdia: A Twentieth Century European Gnostic
By Jane Casewit
Known affectionately as ‘Mamita’, Catherine Delorme was a Sicilian Italian who emigrated to French Algeria at the turn of the twentieth century and rose to become a saintly figure and murshida within the Darqawiyya /Alawiyya tariqa. Based on her memoir, Le Chemin de Dieu (as yet unavailable in English, but being translated by Casewit), this portrait of a European woman’s quest for spiritual guidance in the Muslim world offers a rare glimpse into the Sufi cultures of North Africa, its respect for true seekers—even, in a largely male dominated culture, for women—and exemplifies a spirit of cultural pluralism that is wanting in our times.     Read more...

Huston Smith, Pilgrim of the Perennial Philosophy
By Samuel Bendeck Sotillos
On the occasion of his passing, this wide-ranging essay surveys the spiritual pilgrimage and legacy of Huston Smith, teacher of the primordial tradition expressed in the world religions and of its timeless relevance.     Read more...

Tributes

Huston Smith (1919-2016)
Tributes by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Stoddart, Harry Oldmeadow, and Charles Upton      Read more...

Roger Sworder (1947-2016)
An Appreciation by Harry Oldmeadow      Read more...

Book Reviews

Sufism and Deconstruction:
A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn ‘Arabi
By Ian Almond

Reviewed by Atif Khalil      Read more...

Death as Gateway to Eternity: Nature’s Hidden Message
By Hans Küry, Translated by Gillian Harris

Reviewed by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos      Read more...

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