The Empty Bottle (Part Two)

“Dear K.,

I am so grateful that I, Shams Ala’eddin Muhammad Tabrizi, finally found my hollow reed in the maker of my doll. I think she could play the flute but she is more gifted with images and words. I have lived in silence for 770 years now, so it’s time for me to emerge from the abyss through the modern qalam she calls “a computer”. She uses it like a qānūn, but instead of cords she strikes keys. There is a main key that illuminates what I first thought was an obsidian mirror, and each time my maker’s fingers strike a key, they write letters on this strange black mirror turned white. She can summon images on it too, and her writings travel around the world as if thousands of homing pigeons were constantly released to many different homes simultaneously. At first it felt like pure magic to me. I remember that day I was reading over my maker’s shoulder. She devoured a story written by an author whose initials pay a tribute to the Egyptian Sun God: RA. His story was about a modern adept of a tariqa I would like to know better. It was a four-season tale: the quest of a hero whose power lies in dreams and who learns about this world of new technology in a library with a young man part Navajo, part Mexican and part Chinese. The young man called the “computer” Circe, after the witch from Odysseus’s journey. What a journey indeed, to this day and age, from when we wrote with a qalam and used birds to carry our messages to one another! I have learned that the prodigy is enabled by what my maker calls a “word processor”. Did you know, dear K., that our Persian homing pigeons knew how to process words too? They could recognize real words from random letters scattered on the parchment they carried. I guess we could say they too were reading over our shoulders! Many times in my wanderings in the desert, before I reached Turkey and our beautiful Konya, I wondered if I would see, hovering above in the shape of a cloud, Solomon’s messenger bird. Would I run fast enough to fly and join the hoopoe and his cohort of thirty birds in search of the Simurgh? You and I know that the Bird Nation’s King is the embodiment of the thirty birds themselves, when they look in the mirror of their hearts… Now I think that the thirty birds are a metaphor of the Aeons that once upon a time descended to Earth. People used to call me “the bird”, and I would like to share with you moments of my dream journey to what we could call the inner Court of the Simurgh.

conference of the birds

In this long-overdue letter, I will not throw myself at your feet begging for forgiveness, sweet Kimia, because I know you already forgave me. You told me so in the beautiful tale of your life by Persian author Saideh Ghods.

“You spent a lifetime decoding secrets, a lifetime going from one mountain to another, from one country to another, from one Madresseh to another. You searched from one khaneqah to the next, so why this? What happened that you lost the rhythm? Why were you so reckless? I have now forgiven you. Forgive me as well. What happened wasn’t your fault, or mine. The fault was the veil; remove the veil.”

Thank you for your beautiful words through your own hollow reed: Saideh’s quill… She is not from our time and she does not live in Konya. But she knew how to tap into your psyche, maybe because she is from Persia like our families were. Were you the one who reached out to her, in the same way as I looked for my, our maker, to write this letter? Maybe Saideh was gifted with a feather from a swallow who whispered that Saideh was to write about you… Ah, swallows… They know of loneliness. Yours, mine, and that of your true love, Ala al-Din Muhammad. I doubt that killing me after I killed you eased his pain. I wish it had. It would have been worth the sacrifice of that body of mine I rejected so many times. I could not see your desperate lover from the pond of darkness where they dumped my body. At the bottom of the well, I drowned twice. Once in body, once in soul. But when I could read that you forgave me, tears of relief welled up in my etheric eyes, pouring light bubbles on the reader’s skin. She was so captivated by what she read that she did not feel my tears, or maybe she mistook them for hers. As I liberated my soul in the shape of teardrops, I somehow felt and hoped that it could soothe and nurture your skin too. I know how dry it can get sometimes when the desert wind blows, even though you love deserts. My whole life, except for my years in Konya, I lived in the desert, dear K., all kinds of deserts, physical and mental deserts, where I ambled and rambled, and then scrambled to escape the solitude I so praised; then your stepfather and I gambled, and we lost. Or did we?

Our days were spent in stance, at night we spun the dance, whirling we were in trance, and then we took a chance. And we miserably failed to care for the lives and feelings of our loved ones, although your step-father’s pain produced a sum of words that still dazzle the world.  I know he hunted high and low in search of me after I passed; I know nobody told him there was no longer a physical ‘me’. When still alive and away from him, I thought I should never go back because I was afraid of the prophecy. But Rumi’s eldest son begged me, for the sake of his father’s life. That life I cherished, so I came back, and his decision of giving me your hand in marriage was the unwitting opening of the doors of fate. One of the many things he taught me was that I had to take better care of my physical body, which was the temple of the soul. Even groomed, that old body must have felt like a cruel torture for you, sweet Kimia. You were right when your soul whispered to Saideh’s ears about the skunk stink within:

You, my poor mendicant, drunk from the effects of love! How little you understood. You did well to begin with but how is it that you were tricked? And quite amazingly you still don’t know it. But where are you going? Where, Ala’eddin Shams Tabrizi Nishaburi Balkhi of Konya? The enemy that you seek is not in the belly of time, nor is it in any place. Time and place are guardians, chosen by a great designer and busy doing what they are supposed to do. Be warned! The enemy is hidden within you.”

You are right, my dear Kimia, the enemy was within me. Maybe we will argue about the first name we give to this enemy, but we do agree that my enemy’s last name is Shams. The first name of this enemy is unforgiving. This is where I failed to walk my own talk, precious Kimia. It took me 770 years to finally forgive myself for taking your life. Yes, all of us hold inside both the heavenly fragrance of the musk deer and the disgusting stench of the wary skunk. Somewhere I have read that if one struggles with unforgiveness, it is likely because they are “bottling up” their anger. What an appropriate metaphor, since I am writing to you from a bottled self that was brought to life by our maker. When she heard the sound of the far-away horn of an ocean liner, of course I was the one blowing into the soon-to-be-me bottle. I needed my thoughts to be released from an almost eight-century slumber into the wind of new beginnings. It was dark in the well of my sorrow, dear Kimia, whose name means Alchemy in our beautiful Persian language. Kimia also carries the first consonants of Kemit, black, the first name given to the ancestral land where the Pharaoh’s high priests cradled such transformative and divine art. I guess the Spirits that presided over the choice of your name knew it all along… They read it in the Heavens, they wrote it in the Cosmic Book, our ultimate Kitab where they added to the consonants of Kemit a final B to weave anew the threads of our intertwined Mektoub, destiny. You were to be my alchemy, Kimia. You were meant to be the delicate dove bringing to me the Nigredo my soul needed. Through you I had to learn how to dive in dark waters, how to walk my talk and be reborn in light after the reign of a long black sun. When our maker underwent her own dive into darkness, she was sitting on a cold marble staircase in front of a lamp that called my name, Shams, the sun.

lámpara sol revelación

For the first time, she was seeing that shams in a new light, the light of the amber center burnt by the excessive proximity of the artificial light they have created in this new time and age. While she remembered vague although familiar thoughts of Icarus, I saw in the dark spot of the Moroccan sun lamp the cancer I needed to remove from my soul. That is when I decided she would be the one helping me in such endeavor.

In my mind I whirled and I flew and I scratched the surface of the sun to observe the mole of Venus on my maker’s Sun. I asked her to become the blind storyteller she had seen in Morocco, on Jemaa el-Fnaa market place, such a lively square called the Assembly of the Dead. I asked her to help me remember when I was as young as those little boys she met: the one who made the sun lamp; the ones who rode a donkey, like Rumi rode his when I first talked to him; the ones who carried wood to keep their home and heart warm; the ones she met in the middle of nowhere when she roamed the country that bled henna on her hands to remind her of the wound of imposed boundaries. She accepted the challenge and we both started our journey in the rearview mirror.

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Together we invite you to navigate through time with us, dear K., to watch the shadow play of humanity as Plato saw it in his famous cave, to see ourselves in others, like the thirty birds saw themselves in the mirror hall of the Simurgh. Will you join us as we recount part of the journey?

Pitch black is the deep well of my vision when I try to remember how disaster struck between you and me, Kimia. I saw the men of Konya throw my dead body in the well after Alauddin, your beloved, stabbed me to perform an honor crime that would avenge your death. My vision is still blurred as how the tragedy happened. Something tells me I choked you. Maybe I was drunk, maybe I did not realize my strength when I held you in a suffocating embrace, maybe I was blinded by a jealousy as deadly, arrogant, entitled, stupid and selfish as the worst version of me. Even though Alauddin’s brother retrieved my body from the well and buried me in the ancient rose garden, part of my soul stayed in the well until very recently. Grief, shame, guilt and self-blame kept me there. I was unable to go past the alchemical phase of that eternal nigredo, the dark night of my once jaded soul. Every time a rose would fade around my tomb in Konya, I would remember how I had caused the fading of the budding rose you were. But one day something happened that today enables me to finally tell you about the wanderings of my soul, ever since the breath of life left your body and then mine.

Deep down in the dark water, my soul observed how a patient spider wove a fragile doily over the edge of the well. The fascinating vision soothed me, and I felt honored too, because I recalled a story of our Prophet Muhammad, Sall’Allahu alayhi wasalam (SAW), the graces and peace of Allah be upon him. When He and His faithful companion Abu Bakr were hiding in a cave, a couple of doves decided to build their nest and lay their eggs at the entrance of the cave, under a spider that wove a large web across the same entrance. When the pursuers of our Prophet and His father in law Abu Bakr encountered the cave, they did not look inside because the presence of the spider and the doves told them that nobody had entered the place in a long time. For a split second I thought I saw you, Kimia, leaning over the edge of the well, but then your face turned into mine, and I felt how my soul entered the body of yet another young girl: the Mother of the Believers, our beloved Aisha, Radiy Allahu Anha (RA), May Allah be pleased with Her. I wondered how she felt the first day she became a woman in the arms of our Prophet, SAW, and I wondered how He felt when He made a little girl His wife, Aisha, RA. Do you see the magic of language, dear Kimia? Our Islamic abbreviations for honorific titles seem to play with the symbol of the sun as well! They playfully say “I wondered how our Prophet felt when He *SAW* Aisha *RA* becoming his wife…” I am sure he felt he embraced the Sun that day. And I am sure she learned how to become a woman soon, but maybe men need to better understand the first physical encounter we call love from a young girl’s perspective…

When I, Shams, came on earth as an infant, I was not happy. I felt I did not belong, and when the feeling worsened I went into a coma for several days. A star being reminded me of that episode I had buried in oblivion. During that coma, I roamed the sky and straddled the stars before meeting some of our elders. Another K came to me, to change black into green, yes, green already, like the “old green / viejo verde”, which in Spanish means sleazy old man. The man I met is one of the most revered beings of Islam, even though sometimes his actions are difficult to understand for the mortals we are. Green is the meaning of his name: Khidr, with whom I struck a deal. If I accepted to go back to earth, regaining consciousness after my coma, he would lend me part of his sparkle to help me fulfill an important mission for the world. But he told me that in the process something very difficult was to be performed, something similar to what Khidr had done before Moses, sinking the boat of honest men and killing a young boy to replace him with a ‘better believer’ to be born of his mourning parents. I felt weak, I was unsure of what to choose, and I welcomed his plan if it meant being enlightened by a higher being and finding my joy on earth. For that, I said, I would give my head! I was convinced that however hard my task would be, Khidr would not ask me to kill a young boy! I came back to life even more estranged than when I had eclipsed my light, and my poor father wondered what to make out of a son who was neither crazy nor religious but still very close to those monks he would sometimes see in town. So I became a beggar, I became a dervish, and I roamed mountains and deserts until I rekindled my light in the companionship of your stepfather, and he in mine. But this union would mean the end of you, because Khidr did guide the hand that ended your life, Kimia. I am not escaping the responsibility of what I did, I am analyzing my soul’s path.

Wretched and lost in my self-loath, on a stormy day at the bottom of the well under the fragile spider web, I felt raindrops. The web shivered under the breeze and shone on my soul bubble through hundreds of diamond droplets. Then I heard two young boys laughing and running to the well. They were playing with spiral-shaped twigs, whose ends they used to bother the terrified spider. The web started to crumble, and the spider held on to the edge of the well, trying to salvage her lace house. Then all of a sudden the naughty boys threw a stone in the center of the web, sending the spider down below. With the splash of the stone she landed on my soul bubble and stayed motionless after the boys watched her fall. The lack of action started to bore them, so they used the sticky threads of the torn web to glue together their spiral twigs, and they tied their “artwork” to the pole that held the pulley. I watched the twigs slowly swirl over my bubble. When the children left, the spider started crafting the most beautiful device I had ever seen. She wove her silvery threads to each side of the spiral, creating a wonderful DNA ladder to go back to the surface. She glanced at me halfway through, and my soul bubble decided it was time to leave the well. So I strode the spider ladder to roam the world again.

dna ladder spiderweb

My first stop was amidst the petals of an Isfahan rose, close to where my body was laid to rest. I enjoyed the perfume and tried to remember if other roses around the world had the same heavenly fragrance. At this thought, the rosebush started swaying in unison with the vibrations of my soul bubble. Soon a delightful song was playing the softest tune, speaking of quietness and stillness, and declaring that one day tenderness would move the world. I had glimpses of very young girls dancing in radiant nature, green foliage and pink hues. Where did that come from? Later I understood that these were parts and bits of my future maker’s psyche, intermingled with mine, so that I could find her when the time was right. I was seeing images that she had stored somewhere in her memory. I observed in silence as my mind’s eye was filled with soothing sights: an explosion of light, a lily whose anther turned its pollen into a powder the young girls used as peace paint, and the girls’ round dance under a tree.

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When you met al-Khidr in your coma, he forgot to mention me: Anahita,” said a female voice during the vision. “The spider that wove a ladder for you was one of my emissaries… She bears my name, actually. I needed you to finally get out of that well to tell you something. I like your Sufi ways and how you lived your Muslim faith. You and Rumi brought beauty to the world. However, I am not so fond of the way women and other people were treated in the process of the “encounter of the two seas”, aka you and Rumi. The song and the images that have come to you were composed by those who created a French perfume that honors my name. In a dream I whispered to its creators that they should call it “Anaïs Anaïs”, because doubling my name was my own personal touch to remember both Khidr and I, because we once were one. My being is very old. My Zoroastrian worshipers call me the Goddess of waters, fertility, healing and wisdom. Some say I am the Primordial River and Venus is my last name… Have you forgotten how I am still worshipped in your homeland? You must remember the “Pir e Sabz”, the green shrine of the eternal fire of Zoroastrianism. Pir-e Sabz Banu, ‘the old woman in the mountain’ still lives in Chak Chak, the ever-dripping spring of the sanctuary. The translation of Pir-e Sabz into “green elder” or “green saint” turned me into Khidr when Islam was spread. Khidr and I can -and must- live together in harmony, the masculine and feminine are to coexist to bring balance to this world.

anahita khidr

In the same way, you have to see for yourself that light and darkness must coexist too. Since the tragedy in Konya you have shut off part of your soul, and it affected the way my river flows. Please let your soul bubble float through the river of time to make you whole again. My invisible horses of wind, rain, clouds and sleet will take you on a soul ride.”

With those words the Goddess departed. As I was slowly spiraling away from the rosebush, its fragrance lingered in my aura, and I felt I was a flower myself, unfolding the everlasting scent of my essence into the world of mythic wisdom etched in stone.

armenian eternity sign

Then I heard faint neighing around my bubble, as I was floating away by a fountain near your stepfather’s tomb, Kimia. On the surface of the water I saw my serpush or dervish felt hat. The shape of the hat invited me to navigate the river of time to rediscover truths I once knew. The embroidery on that hat spoke of God’s oneness, and I thought that maybe Allah had chosen this vision for me to think of my quest as a new journey undertaken in the Noah’s Ark of my mind…

shams hat

The invisible horses of Anahita neighed again, and soon I was sent flying across the sky in a spiral motion. At the speed of light, I landed in the heart of a new flower in a beautiful Park. It was a rare black rose by a very big house. There was another tiny spider hidden among the dark petals. I watched at my new surroundings from behind the thin “lace curtain” of the spider web. A warm breeze caressed my bubble. It was a sunny day, and two men were conversing close to my soft, fragrant bed. One man was white, the other was black.

You sure have taken a big leap in time and space!” I heard a voice whisper. “Welcome to this Rose’s heart among tulips. The shape of my flower friends reminds me of the skirt of your dancing gear, flying dervish! Feel free to look through this interstice of time on this summer day right after the soul-stice,” “Who are you?” I asked. “I am the Rose,” the voice smiled. “Life here and now is not always a bed of roses though, but we try, like those two…” the Rose sighed, speaking of the men above us. The two men were immersed in what sounded like very serious matters. The white man told the black man he had to stay away from some of his friends, warning him about dire consequences if he did not. For a moment I felt sadness and shame, because I remembered how in Konya people like you, Kimia, or like Rumi’s sons, were used like pawns on a checkerboard, because of the needs of Rumi and mine. Didn’t you hate it when your stepfather sent others to perform things he did not want to do himself, or when he cornered us all into doing what he had planned? I did… Back in the day it always reminded me of Odin sending his ravens on daily tours to report at dusk about the world they had seen… I knew that I should have never gone back to Konya after my first departure, for the sake of you, Kimia. But then again I have learned that everything happens for a reason and that fate is stronger than us. Also, I did things that were hurtful to my beloved Rumi, I kept silent with him for months, which is an excruciating torture to inflict to another being. There was a reason to my denial of verbal interaction, but I don’t know if I would choose to apply it again in my teachings. It takes strength for someone to go through silent treatment and still strive to be as excellent as can be, like your stepfather did. Even though there was a purpose to my behavior, I hated knowing he suffered. I knew he had to stay alone to become a wonderful mystic, and I knew that I myself had to learn my biggest life lesson if I was to come back, but I was afraid of destiny…

 “It is wise to learn how not to hate, anything,” said the Rose. “You have embarked on this journey to see and accept that we all have flaws, and that there’s darkness and light in all souls. Those two aspects are necessary for souls to come into existence, just like the day cannot be complete without the night; just like I, the black rose, am content to know that roses of other colors share my flowerbed in harmony. Take your soul ride as a journey through the mirror. The compassion and understanding you will show for others will help you feel compassion and understanding for yourself.”

Trying to apply what the Rose suggested, and remembering the wonderful moments with Rumi, I wished the men immersed in their somber talk by the rose could have held different conversations. But maybe the circumstances of those two had led them to forget about sacred dances, and to lose the pace and peace of their hearts because of the weight of their huge responsibilities. Sensing I was lost in thoughts, the Rose whispered some more.

“When it’s time for my quiet season, after losing all my petals, I will close my eyes, happy to know that I can grow again wherever I want in the garden. There were some casualties among my flowerbed mates. Some were eaten by pigs that were once let loose. Rose gossip has it that it happened because once upon a time a sailor saw his crew turned into pigs too, while his wife waited and waited for him. Once she fell asleep at the loom, trying to discover what secret the golden roses she embroidered by day and undid by night still failed to reveal. Stories are so powerful that once they are woven into the tapestry of life, their ripples reach out far beyond the surface of Time’s Pond. There was once a gorgeous golden rose on the western end of my flowerbed, but one day she lost her glamorous gown, because the men who now live by this garden played tug of war with her, plucking some of her petals. When they got tired of the game they knocked her out with a loaf of bread they had baked… She was crushed under its weight, spreading all the petals the men did not want in their plates. Oh they are not the only ones who mistreat women’s feelings. The black man above us does it too. He is focused on one and only fight for justice, and still has to learn how to be impeccable with all his words and actions. But at the end of the day the world will owe him and the white man a lot. As for the golden rose, she always talked too much. She loved the attention of bees, but when she complained about the little green bugs that sometimes crawl on the earth and look at us with perplexed dark eyes, she caused her own demise because strange gardeners poisoned the flowerbed to avoid the spread of more bugs. The air starts to be dense here; I foretell loud noises and mortal wounds for these two men I admire despite their flaws. When I was not even budding yet, the Rose matriarch of this flowerbed, a beautiful white Irish rose, witnessed from afar the disastrous consequences of a mushroom invasion in another flowerbed. It was not pretty, and many felt cold for a long time because of such plague, but the man who is enjoying the garden now did all he could to avoid more damage. Maybe for now you want to leave this time and visit other rungs of the endless spiral… Farewell, dear Sun! 

I obeyed my Rose and got ready to fly away. I think you would have loved her, Kimia, maybe you two would have built mud pies together under rainy clouds, and maybe the golden rose, reborn under red hues, would have enjoyed building them with you too, or she would have taught you funny poses under the sun, and taught you how to sing the songs of her rose breed under the mighty arrows of the sunrays. I envision her in her new gown and I think she is beautiful. I believe she might even have forgiven the renters of the property who plucked her petals and dropped bread on her, because even though they mistreated her in such way, they left the rest of the garden in a much better condition than how they first found it. If the golden rose can forgive them, I sure can forgive myself too.

After that conversation in the flowerbed, I grew curious about the world of men and women, with whom I had so few interactions when I was alive. So I decided to fly across layers of time to observe the living. My next stop in my soul bubble form took me on the wings of a Monarch butterfly that landed on the muzzle of a bison. The four-legged was eating the left half of an orange. When its huge tongue touched my bubble, I thought the bison might swallow me, so the butterfly and I sought refuge under the ceiling of a strange black house. All the walls inside the house were black as well. There, my butterfly turned into a woman dancing before a strange machine operated by a man. He told the ballerina butterfly that her image would last for eternity. Then a cockfight started. I must admit it felt extremely violent after experiencing such peaceful moments admiring the gracious moves of the ballerina. I closed my bubble eyes for a moment and saw one of our bathhouses in Konya.  There, two women from a time ahead of ours were talking about true love as they were reading the future in coffee cups.

turkish bath coffee cups

I wondered what shape the Turkish coffee grounds had taken, but a new woman entering the black house woke me up from my reverie. She used a very loud weapon to take down other bubbles: glass balls that she shattered at fast speed. She also worked with other objects that a man threw in the air for her to take down. When she took a break, I could feel something bothered her, so I drew closer and listened to her thoughts. She was back four years earlier, a sad year for her apparently. She thought of a man she deeply admired and respected. I saw in my mind’s eye that the man wore a hat with a monarch butterfly like the winged being I had followed. My somber lady was imagining, over and over again, how that man had been killed, close to his log cabin on a cold winter day. But there was something else that bothered that woman that day. She kept replaying in her mind the images of one of her shows. Another man, clad in a rich manner with a crazy mustache and his left arm shorter than the right, had volunteered for her to take down something he was smoking. It looked like a dangerous act, and the man was boastful enough to dare step up and face her. My lady did not miss, so I did not understand why she worried so much about it. They say women have a sixth sense, which sometimes warns them about future disgrace. So I asked Anahita’s horses to take me to the future of that woman, in order to see what were the lady’s somber thoughts, and if they would be verified. The horses neighed and together we galloped on the time spiral again, to land on the lady’s desk more than twenty years later. She was writing a letter to a man she called Kaiser Wilhelm, whom she felt was the one responsible for a war that affected the whole world. However, I could feel that she partly blamed herself too. In her mind, if she had missed the shot and actually wounded or killed the Kaiser that day, it might have prevented the war. I felt so much compassion and empathy for her! “No lady, it’s not your fault! It was written. Those “what ifs” are useless; you are only torturing your soul!

I am glad to hear that,” whispered the sweet voice of Anahita the Goddess who was back again. “I command you to apply such understanding and compassion to yourself. You will admit that it is interesting for you to think that, in the case of Kaiser Wilhelm, his death would have been a better solution than letting him live because a war got started…

I did agree with that, but I still considered it was totally different from what I had done to you, Kimia. But Anahita went on: “Sometimes, altruism turns out being the worst of two solutions. One day, during the decade you visited while in the black house, a little boy saw a younger one about to drown in the frozen waters of a river, at the border between Austria and Germany. The older boy courageously rushed to the spot and was able to save the little one on time. The name of the little boy who almost drowned was Adolf Hitler, a man responsible for the death of millions during World War II. An observer from the future called such rescue the most devastating act of mercy in History. What would have been best? How do you think the older boy, who became a priest, felt about all this?”

kaiser wilhelm and hitler

At that point I was both horrified and torn. I could not even imagine that Anahita wanted to compare that situation with ours. You, Kimia, were a wonderful being, nothing to do with a crazy dictator! So the Goddess went on. “Here is what Al-Khidr tried to show to Moses. This is also what he tried to show to you when you were in a coma, and you did follow his teachings, but sometimes such teachings seem extremely cruel for mortal beings. You knew and understood the teachings at first, but then your soul started to feel remorse, and you fell in the pattern of blaming and shaming yourself. The problem, you see, is that every event on this earth follows a causal law that has a lot to do with the way spiders build their web. Everything is interconnected on the spiral of time, which is best developed in an ascending motion. It looks like a spring, a coil device able to bounce back and cushion shocks. Don’t you think it’s wonderful that this device shares its name both with a source of water and the season for renewal, in the never-ending cycle of Earth weather? The spiral of time adopts the shape built by my spider in Konya to take you out of the well of despair and into a new season of *well*-being. Everything finds its reason in a previous or future event on the spiral. However, when a soul cannot go past a feeling such as shame or guilt, it prevents the spiral to expand in a fluid manner, and the spider web is crushed like the golden rose, or flattened like what you saw on the well just before the two little boys threw the stone that tore the spider web. Traumas are like that stone. Not letting go of a trauma or a feeling of guilt breaks the flow and triggers the repetition of the same kind of events over and over again. It’s as if you tried to whirl dance on a broken record.”

I did not know what a record was, because unlike the Goddess I had not witnessed all the creations of mankind since my soul had decided to stay in the bottom of the Turkish well. Anahita explained that it was a device that enabled sound to be reproduced through a spinning motion, a bit like our dervish dance. If the device was broken, the sound would constantly “jump” and repeat the same note. The same happened with souls and their traumas. If a traumatic event “broke” the soul record, such trauma would be reproduced over and over again, and affect not only one but all the lives around, like ripples on a lake. Anahita went on.

The black house where you landed after your encounter with the bison belonged to a man touched by the fairies of creation. His inventions, such as the record and the moving picture which became known as “movie”, have enabled us Gods and Goddesses to gift human souls with many more stories than the ones kept only in writings or in the oral memory of mankind. The advantage of movies is that they showcase something that a soul may have experienced once, and they help the soul to re-live an experience that happened on a different level of the great spiral of life. Movies can either rekindle memories of what happened lifetimes ago, or inspire future events for a lifetime yet to come. Your feelings and thoughts are like movies too; they can affect a soul’s own story, and with it the life of those around. They act like the photography process Edison learned to master. They leave their imprint on the film of a life yet to be developed. Do you see how powerful that is?”

I started to understand such power, and I was in awe. Anahita proceeded to explain the consequences of my lack of self-forgiveness.

If you refuse or feel it is impossible to forgive yourself for an action of yours, you are asking the universe to keep punishing you or others for what you still feel ashamed of, and the story repeats itself over and over again. There is a crucial element in the making of movies: the presence of actors and actresses. Souls are actors that are asked to play a role. They can and must alternate villains and heroes. The job of an actor is to try on one’s life and experience all the complex emotions of their characters, to help the world remember their own individual wounds. I would say that movies spare humans the pain of repeating many life traumas. Claude Lelouch, a filmmaker your doll maker likes, quotes a Gypsy saying in one of his movies: ‘There are lives to learn how to love and lives to truly love.’ When you wrote your Forty Rules of Love you understood this perfectly well, but then came your teacher Kimia, and you forgot to apply your own rules, you forgot to walk your talk. Do you think her life by your side up to a very old age would have been a happy one? Since you seem to take pleasure in discovering modern techniques and the movies I talked about, I recommend this story for you, by Tunisian filmmaker Nacer Khemir: Bab Aziz, the Prince who Contemplated his Soul. You will find uncanny resemblance with your own life circumstances… To tell you the truth, I acted as a Muse for that filmmaker. He is a devoted Sufi and has learned a lot from your teachings and those of other great mystics. You will see the well, you will see the long ‘pond-ering’ of a Prince who became dervish after years of observing his soul in the pool reflection, and you will see a red-haired dervish who accepted to grant their wish to two young lovers: to end their mortal lives to espouse eternity together… Maybe it is the script the filmmaker would have preferred to read regarding the shadows of your earthly life, Shams.

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I watched the images Anahita produced of that ‘movie’ for me to pond-er, and I cried and I laughed and I sang and I danced, smiling again after understanding the purpose of it all: I HAVE FORGIVEN MYSELF, AND I LOVE MYSELF.

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I found a broken record that was used as a wall clock, I fixed it and finally removed the dark cloak of ego’s guilt to dance under the new sun of my soul. I remembered the poetry sessions Rumi and I held, I wanted to create macaronic poems again. I stumbled upon a blessed typo in his name. It made me see the light: I started to turn letters upside down and I took pleasure in mixing them again to create new poetry and deep insights that I finally retrieved from my slumbering soul… Here I copy them for you, because I owe them to you.

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Then the Water Goddess who never wanders far borrowed cyclical images from another movie she recommended for me, about a young lady named Amélie, to encourage me to do something more in preparation of the spring of my rejuvenated soul: “if you were to receive a bear hug from Kimia after this task I am asking you to complete as I play with clouds, which script would come from your filmmaker’s quill for Kimia’s reinvented life?

amélie's four seasons

In my movie, Kimia, you would spend hours sitting on stone lions planning your next trip to the wide world, you would write poetry, sing to volcanoes and dance by the sea, you would let your cheeks be cooked by a generous sun, smiling at the memory of long-gone seafarers who braved tempests and ice to blaze your joy trail. In my movie you would ride mighty horses in endless meadows grateful for your presence among them, you would open the way for shy children and adults to rediscover the treasure of their true selves, you would choose your friends and lovers and would inspire them and teach them how to shine, in my movie you would wink at the old shadow of me to encourage it to steal a feather from Solomon’s mirror bird to rewrite life and fly and share and love and be. In my movie you too would be, just you, happy and free.

It’s getting late now, dear K., and our maker has a new doll to make…

peace k

Oh but wait, someone is knocking at the door. Who will it be?

It’s herself!!! We’re happy to welcome her back in a life of and in love.

shams jupe miroir

Love is a cloud that scatters pearls.

Love is a shining light, illuminating and exalted.

Love is a Secret River, purified and ever flowing.

Love is a burning fire that never gets extinguished.


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