Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Taosim and the Qutbs

The Taoist traditions refer to seven spiritual rulers "localized" in the constellation of the Bear. The "Classic of the Pivot of Jade" gives a spiritual doctrine told in its very title, which refers to the North Star, "the pivot of Heaven revolving on itself and carrying all the heavenly bodies along with it in its round dance." [1]

In a dream, Ruzbihan Baqli saw that he sat with two Sufi masters and ate bread and "oil so subtle that it was like a pure spiritual substance."

Subsequently, one of the two shaykhs asks Ruzbehan if he knows what this substance was. As he does not know, the shaykh informs him that it was 'oil from the constellation of the Bear which we gathered for you.' After emerging from his dream Ruzbehan continues to meditate upon it, but it took him some time, he confesses, to understand that there had been in it an allusion to the seven poles (aqtaab, more generally the seven abdaal) in the heavenly pleroma, and that God had dispensed to him the pure substance of their mystical station, that is to say, had admitted him to the rank of the seven masters of initiation and intercessors who are invisibly apportioned to our world.

...here Ruzbehan [is] being admitted to the number of the seven Abdaal surrounding the Pole. [2]

1- Corbin, Henry, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, p. 56.

2- Ibid, pg 52.