But what would it be but Inspiration my Lord?
Ah Nizam I am disarmed
For you are the marriage of Beauty and Truth
Your skin is black
All that I lack
Where you bend in the night
To give me sight
Uncover my feet
Where strangers meet
By the open door
Your Order so Right
Whakapapa: a poem about Inspiration. To be inspired is to be in-spirited. I wrote the poem after being given a series of messages from the Self on the theme of ‘The Rome of the Soul.’ After reflection on the Self’s ‘sayings’ I came to understand ‘Rome’ to be the sacred ordering principle inherent in the power of Inspiration. The ‘sayings’ from the Self include: ‘The Rome of the Soul,’ ‘It is a unique quality and quantity that we wouldn’t have without the City’ (of ‘Rome’). ‘What would it be but Inspiration?’ (‘Rome’ is Inspiration). ‘It’s an order which shelters the mysteries’ (‘Rome’ is the order; protecting & sheltering the mysteries… as the original Rome sheltered the mystery religions) ‘The capstone is order’ (Order is the foundation stone of ‘Rome’) ‘It’s a temple of Justice’ (Justice is inherent within the temple of Inspiration: within ‘Rome’).
‘Nizam’ comes from my reading. She symbolises the Sacred Feminine. In Mecca in 1200, visionary, poet and mystic Ibn Arabi was the guest of an Iranian family. ‘The daughter of the house was a figure of surpassing intelligence, beauty and spiritual discernment. Her name was Nizam, ayn al-shams wa’l-Baha, which means Harmonia, Eye of the Sun and of Beauty. As Beatrice did for Dante, so she revealed the human face of the eternal Sophia for Ibn ‘Arabi.’ 1)
One day in contemplation, while performing the ritual circumambulation of the Kaaba, Ibn ‘Arabi was in a place of desolation. He had lost a sense of being in contact with his Lord, his Divine Beloved. He was questioning whether his personal theophenies (experiential visions & encounters with his beloved) were also lost. ‘While lost in his melancholy, Ibn ‘Arabi was startled by the touch of Nizam emerging from the crowd. Nizam had overheard his cry of distress. Astounded by his question, she reprimanded him at length, concluding with these heart stopping words:
‘And what did you ask… Ought you to suppose them safe
and sound, or to suppose that they have perished? – As for
them, they are safe and sound. But one cannot help wondering about you:
Are you safe and sound, or have you perished, O my Lord?’ 2)
Nizam is the Sacred Feminine, gently chastising and questioning the mystic, calling him to turn his eyes away from despair and doubt and to re-orientate himself around his Divine Beloved. She reminds him that his Beloved has not perished nor have his experiences. She then asks him if it is he, through his doubt and despair, who has perished?
The marriage of beauty & truth is much with me at present. If it is beautiful, it is true: if true, beautiful.
The images of ‘uncovering feet’ and ‘threshing floor’ are from the Book of Ruth. Ruth uncovers the feet of Boaz as part of her approach, on the threshing floor, to ask for his support and protection through marriage.
1) Tom Cheetham: All the World an Icon, Henry Corbin, and the Angelic Function of Beings, Pg. 215
2) Tom Cheetham: All the World an Icon, Henry Corbin, and the Angelic Function of Beings, Pg. 216