You turned and pointed, and when I looked in the direction You were indicating I saw a vast horizon of which I was unaware before. We stood at a great height and from here the distant sea was visible with its sparkling reflections of light. On the shoreline I discerned a boat waiting to set sail. You waved your hand towards the boat, becoming impatient with my reluctance to leave. Finally I began the descent to the shore but as soon as I had taken a few steps the brambles and rocks around the mountain gathered force against me and I slipped and became entangled in their relentless power of impediment. Covered in scratches and bruises I stood once again and continued in my effort to reach that waiting vessel. Gradually a path became evident and the brambles no longer held me back and I climbed right over the rocks until I reached the shore.
The ship floats on the surface of the water, content in the gentle rocking of the waves. I board the navigator of the ocean of being and discover it is You who are the sea, and its vastness, and the lands beyond.
For a while I once lived in Andalucia and I used to write a regular journal on this blog that viewed life from a Sufi perspective. I’ve been back in the UK for four years now and I’m busy writing my PhD thesis on Sufism in Israel. What I miss most about Andalucia is the light and a constant feeling of the baraka of Ibn ‘Arabi wherever I went. I sometimes wonder if I was in fact living more in the 12th/13th century than in the 21st century! The inspiration to write flowed easily during my stay in the mountains and I’m now considering writing a novel based on the entries in my blog – much expanded of course – and the work of Ibn ‘Arabi. Inshallah I’ll manage to find some time to write amidst my academic writing.
I recently spent ten days in Andalucia and was delighted to be back there again. The pomegranates were ripe and I feasted on the sweet juicy fruits. It was beautiful to be able to enjoy the vast night skies there – so clear, and so many stars. In the garden at the house I stayed in the roses were still in bloom. It was a time of many gifts, some of them tough, but I found great joy in the way inspiration always arises so spontaneously in Andalucia. I wrote the following poem on the bus as I was leaving Granada.
Vessels at sea!
Pomegranate blood bursts
the dam of the heart,
and the dark of the moon
to feet that learn now-
Walk! Walk the path of love!
Her darkness is
the tranquillity of the moon,
hidden, she gazes
from the other side
Her light is
the reflection of the One
appearing, she dances
the kisses of lovers
A fleet wisp of a kiss
A smudged breath of a whisper
Rose petals everywhere, and stones
for a shamanic blessing in the round
Ya Wadud in all!
(Ya Wadud! is one of the Names of God and means the Loving One)
“In this 90-minute documentary, Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe’s Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning. Rageh travels across medieval Muslim Europe to reveal the vibrant civilisation that Muslims brought to the West. This evocative film brings to life a time when emirs and caliphs dominated Spain and Sicily and Islamic scholarship swept into the major cities of Europe. His journey reveals the debt owed to Islam for its vital contribution to the European Renaissance.” (courtesy BBC from youtube)
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Photo by Philip C
Dear Friends and Readers, apologies for not having written a great deal recently but I have been deeply immersed in my research and writing plenty of academic stuff. Just another 2 weeks and I will be going to Andalucia, Spain for a field study. There will be plenty of work to do but I also plan, inshallah, to continue writing ‘Diary of an Andalucian Village’. So look out here for posts from Andalucia in May. I am looking forward to once again bathing in the beautiful light of Andalucia, seeing the mountains and the sea, visiting the beautiful architecture that remains from Al-Andalus and seeing many friends once again. May is definitely one of the most beautiful months of the year in the Alpujarra mountains as they are covered with so many beautiful wild flowers. A real bouquet of colour.
This morning I have been importing some posts from my former blog JourneyWoman Some of those posts are about my reflections while living in Andalucia. To read them just go to the categories list and click on Andalucia, scroll to the bottom of the page and then click on ‘previous entries’ (there are two pages of them) now you can read them in their correct sequence.