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death rumi, konya turkey, whirling dervishes, profound philosopher

Arcane Ruminations

Author: Cheryl Lynne Bradley

© Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2001-2, cannot be reproduced without author's consent.

Special Plates

Notice how each particle moves.
Notice how everyone has just arrived here
from a journey.
Notice how each wants a different food.
Notice how the
stars vanish as the sun comes up, and how all streams stream toward the
Look at the chefs preparing special plates for everyone, according to
what they need.
Look at this cup that can hold an ocean.
Look at those who
see the face.
Look through Sham's eyes into the water that is entirely

Rumi (1207-1273)

Rumi was born September 30, 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan. His father, Bahuddin
Walad, was a theologian, jurist and mystic. Islamic mysticism is called Sufism.
Upon his father's death, Rumi took over the position of sheikh in the dervish
community in Konya, Turkey. His family had emigrated there to flee the threat of
invading Mongol armies in approximately 1215. He created a new lineage called
the Melevi Order. He was the head of his religious school, a judge and a
profound philosopher.

In the late fall of 1244 Rumi's life was forever changed when he met a
stranger named Shams of Terbiz. Shams was a dervish who had been wandering
through the Middle East looking for a true friend, someone who could endure his
company. Shams and Rumi became inseparable and conversed intently for months.
The intensity of their connection made others in Rumi's spiritual community feel
jealous and neglected. Shams sensed this and disappeared from Rumi's life.

It was during this first separation that Rumi began writing his poetry,
listening to music and dancing by whirling round and round for hours. He whirled
around a pillar in his mosque, as he leaned back and twirled, poetry poured out
of him in an ecstatic stream. His followers imitated him and whirled for the
first part of the dance around a red sheepskin which represented Shams, and for
the last half around Rumi. The Melevi became known as the Whirling Dervishes.

Shams returned to Rumi's life and married into his household. He mysteriously
disappeared again on December 5, 1248 and was never seen again. It is generally
thought that he was murdered by Rumi's son. Rumi searched for his partner in
mystical Friendship and finally realized that he and Shams were the same, they
had a complete union. Shams essence spoke through Rumi, he was writing the
poems, they had achieved annihilation in the Friend.

"Love is the religion, the universe its book."

Rumi's ecstatic poetry is a spiritual satisfaction and some of his poems
capture and reflect the spiritual essence of the Major Arcana in Tarot. His
poetry has beauty, dignity, longing, grace, pleasure and love sweet love, as
bittersweet as love always is.

Key 0 The Fool


Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, Sufi, or
zen. Not any religion
or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the
West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or
ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an
entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless.
Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer,
inner, only that
breath breathing human being

Key 1 The Magician

The Red Shirt

Has anyone
seen the boy who used to come here?
Round-faced troublemaker, quick to find a
joke, slow to be serious.
Red shirt,
perfect co-ordination,
strong muscles, with things always in his pocket: reed flute,
pick, polished and ready for his talent.
You know that one.
Have you heard
stories about him?
Pharoah and the whole Egyptian world
collapsed for such
a Joseph.
I'd gladly spend years getting word
of him, even third or fourth <

Key II The High

Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds
of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and
from books and from what teacher says,
collecting information
from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll
with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of
tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring
overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't
move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving

Key III The


Your grief for what you've lost lifts
a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you
look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were
always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed.

deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as
beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Key IV The Emperor

The Core of
The core of masculinity does not derive
from being
nor friendliness from those who console.

Your old grandmother
says, "Maybe you shouldn't
go to school. You look a little pale."

when you hear that.
A father's stern slaps are better.

Your bodily
soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.

scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.

Pray for a tough
to hear and act and stay within you.

We have been busy
accumulating solace.
Make us afraid of how we were.

Key V The Hierophant

Out beyond ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any

Key 6 The Lovers

The minute
I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each
other all along.

Key 7 The

In a boat down a fast running creek,
it feels like trees on
the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
rather the speed of our craft leaving this world.

Key VIII Strength

The Far Mosque

The place Solomon made to
worship in,
called the Far Mosque, is not built of earth
and water and
stone, but of intention and wisdom
and mystical conversation and
compassionate action.

Every part of it is intelligence and
to every other. The carpet bows to the broom.
The door knocker
and the door swing together
like musicians. This heart sanctuary
exist, but it can't be described. Why try!

Solomon goes there
every morning and gives guidance
with words, with musical harmonies, and in
which are the deepest teaching. A prince is just
a conceit until
he does something with generosity.

Key IX
The Hermit

The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

Until you've
kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don't begin to
cross over from confusion.

Key X The
Wheel of Fortune

A secret turning in us
makes the universe
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep

Key XI Justice

Inside the Wind

Some gnats come from the grass to speak with

"O Solomon you are the champion of the oppressed.
You give
justice to the little guys, and they don't get
any littler than us! We are
tiny metaphors
for frailty. Can you defend us?"

"Who has mistreated

"Our complaint is against the wind."

"Well" says Solomon,
"you have pretty voices,
you gnats, but remember, a judge cannot listen
just one side. I must hear both litigants."

"Of course," agreed the

"Summon the East Wind!" calls out Solomon,
and the wind arrives
almost immediately.

What happened to the gnat plaintiffs?

Such is the way of every seeker who comes to complain
before the
High Court. When the presence of God arrives,
where are the seekers? First
there's dying,
then union, like gnats inside the wind.

Key XII The Hanged Man

Late, by myself, in the
boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick. I try to
just above the surface, yet I'm already under
and living within the

Key XIII Death

Dissolver of

Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me,
if this is the time.
Do it
gently with a touch of a hand, or a look.
Ever morning I wait at dawn. That's
it's happened before. Or do it suddenly
like an execution. How
can I get ready for death?

You breathe without a body like a
You grieve, and I begin to feel lighter.
You keep me away from your
but the keeping away is pulling me in.

Key XIV Temperance

We are the mirror as well as the face in
We are tasting the taste this minute of eternity.
We are pain and what
cures pain, both.
We are the cold sweet water and the jar that

Key XV The Devil

who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest
around him,
someone who wants no more, who's not himself
longed for by
anyone else,

He is a letter to everyone. You open it.
It says,

Key XVI The Tower

A night
full of talking that hurts,
my worst held back secrets. Everything
has to
do with loving and not loving.
The night will pass.
Then we have work to

Key XVII The Star

Finishing Candle

A candle is made to become entirely flame.
In that
annihilating moment it has no shadow.

It is nothing but a tongue of light
describing a refuge.

Look at this just finishing candle stub
someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,

the pride and the
shame we claim from those.


Sometimes I forget completely

Sometimes I forget completely
what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, I spill sad energy
My story gets told in various ways: a romance, a dirty joke, a
war, a vacancy.

Divide up my forgetfulness to any number, it will go
These dark suggestions that I follow, are they part of some
Friends, be careful. Don't come near me out of curiousity, or


Key XIX The Sun

nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a
full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into

Key XX Judgment

Resurrection Day

On Resurrection Day your body testifies against
Your hand says, "I stole money."
Your lips, "I said
Your feet, "I went where I shouldn't."
Your genitals, "Me

They will make your praying sound hypocritical.
Let the bodies
doings speak openly now,
without your saying a word,
as a student's
walking behind a teacher
says, "This one knows more clearly than I the

Key XXI The World

The way of
love is not a subtle argument.

The door there is

Birds make great sky circles for their freedom.
How do
they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they're given


The Essential Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks
Quality Paper Back Bookclub
by arrangement with

Tarot of the
By Josephine Mori and Jill Stockwell
Deck created by Dan
US Games Systems

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