Birds in the Sun, by Roya Azal

Esoteric Quarterly & Art Work for Hoger Institut, Belgium

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” ~
Dschalāl ad-Dīn ar-Rūmī

Autumn (2017) – I feel honored to be the featured artist for Esoteric Quarterly, an independent, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the trans-disciplinary investigation of the esoteric spiritual tradition.Continue reading

The Celestial Garden, Berlin, 2017

Sacred Dwellings: Celestial Gardens and Garden Artistry in Islam

“O Marvel! A garden amidst the flames.” ~Ibn Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq

“We are unaware of our own manifestation in this garden, the narcissus does not see it’s own spring with it’s own eyes.” ~ Mir Dard

When do we really see and take in the delicate beauty of a flower, the majesty and care of trees, the ever changing colors, forms and appearances of a bloom?Continue reading

Crocus Carpet

The Infinite, Algorithms and The Disorderly Arabesque

“The Arabesque (…) transfigures the object of nature it decorates (…) into a weightless, transparent, floating pattern extending infinitely in all directions (…) the object of nature has become under the Arabesque treatment a window onto the infinite.”

During my work on this blog, while researching, reading and writing about Islamic philosophy and arts I have come of course very early unto the Arabesque. The Arabesque pattern – sometimes foliate but commonly geometrically structured patterns of different shapes and coloring, known from Islamic decorative arts but also from music – has captured my interest.Continue reading

Forest with Arabeske

Learning from Khidr and Trees – My Life in the Forests

“You think you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe” – Ali ibn Talib (as)

“It is God who splits open the seed and the fruit stone. He brings out the living from the dead, and the dead from the living.” ~ Quran, Surat 6:100

One of the great blessings in my life are my encounters with Al-Khidr, the green spirit (Khiḍr resembles the word “green” in Arabic, though others give other etymologies for the name). One afternoon in England – in a park with a small forest – I encounterd a bright green light (that’s Clorophyl) in the moss and ever since I follow this light and began a conversation with trees and everything that grows. With time I learned more about the vast interconnected natural networks that surround us and I began to venture deeper into communicating and seeking to learn from them.

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Bird Praising God

Re-Framing Psychosis and the Psychotic Muslim

“So the first step in working with the psychotic individual is to get to know the person’s psychosis – begin to understand the person’s reifications. There is ALWAYS method to the madness.”

Our mental health “issues” deserve to be treated with respect and dignity – our issues relate to our untold stories, our pain our persecution and our ancestral and present-day experiences. There is no dignity in “tricking” those who got stories to tell. I am hence not supporting to “trick” the Jinn, as Jinns are in my book, the Quran and some other books too, sacred story tellers about our sadness, madness, condemption and redemption. Almost all mental ailments require engagement, not supression. And last but not least: Psychiatric medication can be extremely debilitating and can damage our brain, our metabolism, our natural bio-energy flow and pur subtle bodies.

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Sacred Tree in Light

Spiritual Signatures in Illness and Remedies to Counter Them

“Typhus has a part in Spanish history. The old Spanish name for it was Tarbardoillo, from the word for a red cloak, inspired by the crimson red rash which is one of the symptoms of epedemic typhus fever (…)”~ Spanish Mountain Life, Juliette de Bairacli Levy

The disease was brought to Spain as long ago as the 13th century, by soldiers returning from Cyprus. At the siege of Granada later in the 15th century, typhus was an important factor in aiding Spanish victory, as the fever became epedemic amongst the Moorish defenders and slew more of them then any other weapon of war.” ~ Spanish Mountain Life, Juliette de Bairacli Levy

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Street Art

Protection from Mental Abuse and Manipulation

“I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of that which He created. And from the evil of darkness when it settles. And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.” ~ Surat Al-Falaq

“I wanted to go and study the religion … hoping that Allah is gonna cure me one day from the evil inside that I used to believe. But the doctors are saying it’s not evil — it’s mental illness.” ~ Sami Osmakac

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Healing with Islamic Meditation

Healing with Islamic Meditation (Muraqaba)

“Allah is the light (nur) of the heavens and earth.” ~ Holy Quran, Surat An-Nur

It is scientifically proven that meditation and prayer aid mental health and aid recovery from mental and bodily illness. In addition to various positive cognitive effects, such as raising awareness and attention, prayer and meditation have positive consequences for our emotional lives, with periods of practice resulting in ‘positive mood, emotional stability and resilience to stress and negative life events’. Many studies have demonstrated these effects using behavioural and social measures, and conclusions are reinforced by research using brain imaging techniques, which have shown that emotionally oriented meditation activates areas of the brain known to have important roles in emotion-related processing. (Source: Cognitive Neuroscience, Spirituality and Mysticism: Recent Developments, in: Psychosis and Spirituality, Ed. Isabel Clarke, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)

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Spherical Butterflies

Islam and Psychosis, Part 3: Exorcism – Sadqa Eats the Demon

“Say, [O Muhammad], “It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, ‘Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.” ~ Surat Al-Jinn, Holy Qur’an

Throughout the Islamic world as well as other traditional cultures the influence of the occult (the unseen, the spirit world, the world of psychic forces) is frequently taken into the equation when it comes to the healing of  neurotic disturbances, psychotic issues and complicated social problems. Even the so called “rational scientific sciences” psychology and psychiatry are rooted in the occult traditions and demonology – both are direct offsprings from Mesmerism (after the German Franz Mesmer, who made popular a theory of the “universal fluidum” he called “Animal Magnetism” and then the use of suggestion – known also as hypnosis – in the treatment of “possessions”).

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Spiritual doctors and Jinn

Islam and Psychosis, Part 2: Islamic traditions of mental health care and treatment

“The different sorts of madness are innumerable.” ~ Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

All of what is now-adays called modern medicine would not exist without the ground-work of Islamic scholars and scientists. This also true for mental health assessments, treatments and ongoing care. Beyond the common stereotype that Muslims are superstitious and believe that mental health problems are caused by Jinn (spirits made of smokeless fire), stands a well documented history of Islamic scholars and medical practisioners assessing illnesses, diagnosing them through identifying common symptoms and finding individual treatments and cures for patients.

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