Occultism in a Global Perspective, 9



Occultism in an Islamic Context

Thierry Zarcone


p. 153 pan-en-theism : divine immanence in [at least] all living beings

"In ... Ghulat trends, God (Allah) is a divine spirit "which may be manifested in diverse forms and creatures", and, consequently, there is an "infusion or incarnation (h[.]ulul) of the divine essence in the human body ..." ... (Daftary 1990:66). ...

This belief is also present ... in the theory of "wah[.]dat al-wujud" (Unity of Being) of the [>]Akbar S[.]ufi school, initiated by the Andalusian Ibn [<]Arabi (twelfth to thirteenth centuries [ChrE]) and his major disciple Sadr al-Din Qunawi, who lived in Turkey in the thirteenth century. Thus, God ... manifested outwardly within the various levels of existence, which is ... the Neoplatonic theory of hypostases (Chittick 1991). The "wah[.]dat al-wujud" theory was adopted by many ... S[.]ufi brotherhoods in the whole of the Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia ..., leading to a clear rejection of the ontological distinction between God and man (Morewedge 1992; Chittick 1992).

In Turkey, a literary genre was devoted to ... describing the travels of the soul from the Absolute ... down to the corporeal world throughout {through} the various worlds of existence."

{This doctrine is Gnostic; kenosis is a part of the process mentioned in the epistole.}

Daftary 1990 = F. Daftary : The Isma<ilis : Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge Univ Pr.

Chittick 1991 = W. C. Chittick : "Ibn <Arabi and His School". In :- H. Nasr (ed.) : Islamic Spirituality. NY : Crossroad. pp. 49-79.

Morewedge 1992 = P. Morewedge : "The Neoplatonic Structure of Some Islamic Mystical Doctrines". In :- P. Morewedge (ed.) : Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought. Albany : State Univ of NY Pr. pp. 51-75.

Chittick 1992 = W. C. Chittick : "The Circle of Spiritual Ascent According to al-Qunawi". In :- P. Morewedge (ed.) : Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought. Albany : State Univ of NY Pr. pp. 179-209.

p. 154 Emerald Tablet

"the legendary discovery by Appolonius of Tyane {more accurately spelled, "Apollonios of Tuane"}/Balinas of the "Emerald Tablet" ... a written table in a cave under a statue of Hermes Trismegistus." [p. 172, n. 7 : "About Hermes/Idris in Islam see ... Peters (2004)."]

Peters 2004 = F. E. Peters : "Hermes and Harran". In :- E. Savage-Smith (ed.) : Magic and Divination in Early Islam. Harnham : Ashgate. pp. 57-85.

pp. 155-6 the 3 rituals of the reception-caerimony of the Bektas`i

p. 155

"During a secret meeting ..., the Bektashi shaykh and the other dignitaries (12)

sit in the hall of the lodge in very precise places. ...

{This is characteristic of secret caerimonial meetings in the orders of FreeMasonry.}

The ceremony starts at twilight and is then performed with candlelight. The candidate, male or female, walks bare-footed around the hall, accompanied by a "guide" who shows to the candidate several holy symbols and sacred gestures, and explains their meaning.

Three rituals are particularly important during the ceremony.

First is the "lighting of the candles".

{In the Angelic Mass (of, e.g., the Holy Order of MANS) fire-angels are summoned into the flames of the candles of the menorah.}

Second is the salutation to four symbolic Gateways,

{There are 4 gateways into a guru-dwara, such as at Amr.ta-sara ("GTA").}

symbolizing the four degrees of knowledge ... :

the religious law (shari<a),

the mystical path (t[.]ariqa),

the pure knowledge ... of the Truth (ma<rifa) and

the experience of the Pure Truth (h[.]aqiqa).

Third, the placing of a ritual belt around the neck of the candidate ... . ... This third ritual ... is

p. 156

complementary to the coming of the candidate to the centre of the hall, depicted as the "gallows" of Mansur al-H[.]allaj".

"Bektashi Order of Dervishes". http://BektashiOrder.com/

"GTA" = "Golden Temple". http://www.GoldenTempleAmritsar.org/

p. 156 metempsychosis

"Another belief ... still advocated nowadays in the Middle East and in Turkey (by the [<]Alevis, Bektashis and Druzes), is metempsychosis or transmigration of souls (tanasuh) (Madelung 1990 ...)."

Madelung 1990 = W. Madelung : "Abu Ya<qub al-Sijistani and Metempsychosis". ACTA IRANICA XVI:131-43.

pp. 157-8 strange sciences

p. 157

""[<]ulum garibe {Garib}" (strange {but likely intended as a pun on /ta-jribi/ 'experimental'} sciences) in the Muslim world before the nineteenth century comprised ... : (1) alchemy; (2) the making of amulets/talismans, and ... astrology, geomancy, ... interpretation of dreams; and (3) magic or the evocation of spirits."

"[<]Abdu:l[-]h[.]amid II (reign : 1876-1909), had his personal S[.]ufi shaykh from the Shadhiliyya S[.]ufi Order who was both a spiritual guide, a talisman maker and a seer (doing remil

p. 158

-- geomancy) ... . Also, the sult[.]ans have supported an un interrupted tradition of writing official "oracle books" (falname) or "guides for fortune telling" ... . "Talismanic shirts" (shifa go:mlek, ti:lsi:mli go:mlek) were also a widespread Ottoman tradition; sacred motifs and figures were printed on the shirts instead of being brought in a pocket ... . The interpretation of dreams is performed in general by almost all the S[.]ufi shaykhs, as well as the making of talismans (muska, tilsim)".

p. 158 heterodox sciences

"Conversely, there are some other "occult sciences" absent at the Ottoman Palace, usually fiercely condemned by Islam, which are cultivated in some S[.]ufi heterodox circles only ... . It is the evocation of spirits (jinns {jnun}) in order heal the sick or to find stolen objects ... (... Zarcone 2013)."

Zarcone 2013 = Thierry Zarcone : "Shamanism in Turkey". In :- Zarcone & Hobart (edd.) : Shamanism and Islam. London : Tauris. pp. 169-201.

pp. 159-61 Spiritism, FreeMasonry, and Martinism in the Ottoman Empire

p. 159

"a book (1853) by the famous French Freemason and occultist Jean-Marie Ragon (1781-1862) ... was essentially interested in the perfection of the soul, ... in somnambulism, and in many occult sciences ... . ... . ... European and Ottoman Freemasons were convinced that the S[.]ufi brotherhoods were an Eastern equivalent of the Masonic fraternities ... (Zarcone ... 2008a:118-119).

John P. Brown, an American Freemason established in Turkey, published a pioneering analysis of S[.]ufism, The Darvishes or Oriental Spiritualism in 1868 and wrote that "the title by which, it is said, the Mussulman Freemasons are known is Malamiyun" (Brown [1868] ... :64). In the same book, Brown adds that "the Darvishes of the Baqtashi order consider themselves quite the same as Freemasons, and are disposed to fraternise with them" (ibid.). ... Brown depicted also the Melami as H[.]amzawi, the latter brotherhood being an offshoot of the former in the Balkans ... (ibid.:229). The connection between Bektashis and Freemasons is exemplified in the case of the [<]Ali Koch Bektashi convent in Belgrade in the middle of the nineteenth

p. 160

century ... . This S[.]ufi convent, composed of Christian and Muslim members, had regular exchanges with the Austro-Hungarian lodge Baldwin zur Linde based at Leipzig. ... (... Zarcone 2009:35-9) ...

Surprisingly, by the beginning of the twentieth century, a new secret society called "The Virtuous Order" (T[.]arik[.]at-i S[.]alah[.]iye) was set up by some Ottoman Freemasons and Bektashis. ... Specifically, the reception ceremony in this society was ... Masonic rituals with many Muslim and S[.]ufi elements (2008a:1124-5)." (on the T.arik.at-i S.alah.iyye ('Path of Salvation'), see also "T.S.")

p. 172, n. 11

"Meh[.]med Ataulla, the shaykh of the Mevlevi lodge of Galata, the Western district of Istanbul, was made a mason in a British lodge at the end of the nineteenth century; see Zarcone (2007b)."

p. 160

"Ri:za Tevfik (d. 1949), Grand Master of the Ottoman Grand Orient and a famous Bektashi poet[,] ... was one of the introducers of modern Western philosophy ... into Turkey ... . In particular, Ri:za Tevfik has tried to reinterpret Bat[.]inism and H[.]urufism ... through ... Bergson spiritualism ... . ... . ... Ah[.]med Rifki (d. 1935), a Bektashi poet ..., ... detected ... Hermeticism in Freemasonry, comparing it with Muslim Hermeticism present in Bektashism and in other Bat[.]ini S[.]ufi trends."

p. 161

"Martinism and Martineism (both named after the French Louis Claude de Saint Martin and Martines de Pasqually who lived at the end of the eighteenth century) ... were introduced ... in Turkey ... . ... More documented is ... a Martinist lodge, set up in {Thes}Salonika ... in the years 1905-7, associated to a Turkish Masonic lodge named "Veritas" (with a warrant of the Grand Orient of France and one of Papus's Martinist Order). The members of this lodge were predominantly Jews from the S[^]abbatean movement whose leader, S[^]abbatai {S.bi^} (1626-76) ... converted to Islam, while still inwardly practicing Judaism. It has been claimed .. that S[^]abbatai {S.bi^} and the S[^]abbateans have certain relations ... especially with the Bektashis (Fenton 1988 ...).

In addition to a Martinist lodge, another lodge was founded in Salonika, in 1906, warranted by the "Swedenborgian Rite for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland."" (Dumont 1984)

Ragon 1853 = Jean-Marie Ragon : La Mac,onnerie occulte suivie de l'initiation herme`tique. Paris : E. Dentu.

Zarcone 2008a = Thierry Zarcone : "Gnostic/Sufi Symbols and Ideas in Turkish and Persian Freemasonry and Para-masonic Organisations". In :- R. Gilbert (ed.) : Knowledge of the Heart. London : Canonbury Masonic Research Centre. pp. 117-31.

John P. Brown (ed. by H. A. Rose) : The Darvishes or Oriental Spiritualism. Oxford U Pr. Cap. VIII "Malamiyun". http://books.google.com/books?id=tOShom2r6_EC&pg=PA225&lpg=PA225&dq=

Zarcone 2009 = Thierry Zarcone : "French Pre-Masonic Fraternities, Freemasonry and Dervish Orders in the Muslim World". In :- A. O,nnerfors & D. Sommer (edd.) : Freemasonry and Fraternalism in the Middle East. Univ of Sheffield. pp. 15-52.

"T.S." = Hülya Küçük : The Role of the Bektās̲h̲īs ... . Brill, Leiden, 2002. B.II.2.2a "T.arik.at-i S.alah.iyye". http://books.google.com/books?id=CEiIc85EJFYC&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=

Zarcone 2007b = Thierry Zarcone : "S,eyh Meh[.]med Ataullah Dede (1842-1910) and the Mevlevihane of Galata". In :- E. Is,i:n (ed.) : The Dervishes of Sovereignty -- Sovereignty of Dervishes. Istanbul Aras,ti:rma Enstitu:tu:.

Fenton 1988 = P. B. Fenton : "Shabbatay S[.]ebi and the Muslim Mystic Muh[.]hammad an-Niyazi". APPROACHES TO JUDAISM IN MEDIEVAL TIMES 3:8188.

Dumont 1984 = P. Dumont : "La Franc-Maconnerie d'obe'dience franc,aise a` Salonique ...". TURCICA 16:65-94.

pp. 162-4 European occultists in Tu:rkiyeh

p. 162

"A Freemason, a rosicrucian and an alchemist, Rudolf von Sebottendorf (Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer, 1875-1945?) ... invented then a romantic masonic ritual impregnated with Rosicrucian and alchemical ideas and ...

p. 163

called this path "Practice of the old Turkish Freemasonry" (Die Praxis der alten tu:rkischen Freumaurerei, 1924) (... Zarcone 2005a)."

"Greco-Armenian occultist ... George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866-1949) ... In the company of Thomas de Hartmann (1885-1956) and P. D. Ouspensky (1878-1947) ... organized some exhibitions of sacred "gymnastic", as he called the mystical dances impregnated with S[.]ufi ... movements he learnt during his travels in the Caucasus and Central Asia. ... . ... Yakup Kadri (1889-1974), a famous Ottoman writer sympathetic to spiritualism, appreciated Gurdjieff's sacred gymnastic and wrote that the latter had perfected the old S[.]ufi dances ... . ...

In 1925, the Danish anthroposophist Carl Vett (1871-1956) reached Istanbul ... for establishing links between Western and Eastern ... "occult schools". (Vett 1953:9) ...

p. 164

Besides, Vett, who like many anthroposophists believed in reincarnation, noticed that the Bektashis were of the same opinion (ibid.:114 ...)."

Zarcone 2005a = Thierry Zarcone : "Rudolf von Sebottendorf et ... l'ancienne franc-mac,onnerie turque". RENAISSANCE TRADITIONNELLE 143-4:296-306.

Vett 1953 = Carl Vett (transl. by E. W. Hathaway) : Dervish Diary. Los Angeles : Knud K. Mogensen.

pp. 164-5 Society for Metapsychic Studies in Tu:rkiyeh

p. 164

"In 1923, that is three years before the coming of Vett to Istanbul, Ayni had encouraged a federation of S[.]ufi lodges from the various brotherhoods, called the S[.]ufi Society (Cemiyet-i s[.]ufiye) and based in Istanbul, to write to the French, British and Italian headquarters of the Theosophical Society ..., because the members of the Western societies believe in reincarnation, like our Bektashi dede (leaders) and Nus[.]ayri shaykhs (in Syria) ... . Ayni also ..., under the influence of Vett ..., ... set up a branch of the Parisian Society for Metapsychic Studies (Socie'te' d'e'tudes me'tapsychiques) at Istanbul ... (Vett 1953:95, 124 ...). The metapsychic studies were ... entitled "The Metapsychic Science" ... (Sa<adi 1924). The writer of this article, a renowned member of the whirling dervishes, mentioned that some international congresses for the metapsychic studies ... were organized in Europe and that ... one was held at Warsaw in 1923. ...

p. 165

[<]Abdul Vehab gave a lecture at the international meeting of the Society for Metapsychic Studies at Warsaw in 1923. ... [<]Abdul Vehab's lecture dealt ... with the traditional evocation of ... jinns {jnun} ... but he interpreted the powers developed by the magician as telepathy ([Vett 1953]:18-19) {telepathizing with jnun?}."

Sa<adi 1924 = Sa<adi : "Maba<du:rruh[.]aniyat". MAH[.]FIL (Sacred Assembly) 4:195-7.

p. 166 terminology for the occult sciences in Tu:rki

"there were some occult sciences like

fortune-telling (falci:li:k),

magic (bu:yu:cu:lu:k),

healing by breathing (nu:shacilik)."

pp. 168-70 traditional wizards

p. 168

"individual wizards/healers and the members of guilds of healers (masters of jinn ...) ... heal the sick or search for missing people or objects. They perform various rituals and use magic stones or other sacred objects ... . The main rituals are :

the invocation of spirits;

the healing through pouring molten lead; and

the healing by breathing."

p. 169

"DoGan Mirzaoglu, ... a contemporary "master of the jinn" ... is emblematic of contemporary Turkish occultism. His book (1999) entitled Cinler ("the Jinns {Jnun}") ... considers that ... the art of the evocation of the jinns {jnun} is intimately linked to amulet making (muska) since amulets ... are supposed to draw the jinns {jnun} on Earth. ... Mirzaoglu advocates ... that the "master of the jinn" ... call only the jinns {jnun}, who are entities living in the intermediary world, but not the ... souls ... of the Muslim saints ... . Here, Mirzaoglu criticizes the contemporary Turkish followers of Kardec's spiritualism ... . In addition, Mirzaoglu explains that he never learned his art by reading books, but thanks to his innate faculties of medium[ship] which allowed him to experience a state of trance ...

p. 170

-- immersed in ecstatic contemplation ... . Besides, Mirzaoglu ... considers that all the occult sciences (alchemy, physiognomy, etc.) are instrumental in establishing a connection between the metaphysical world (where live the spirits) and our world. ... A chapter in Mirzaoglu's book is dedicated also to

the jinns {jnun} who have stolen things and how to recover them (a traditional activity of the Turkish shamans of Central Asia and Siberia)."

{Because those jnun have taken the "things" in exchange for benefits which they are awarding to the human owners, it is foolhardy to demand recuperation of such things, for any successful recuperation will be attended by losses, not only of good fortune while living, but likely also of opportunities after death.}

pp. 170-1 translation into Tu:rki of writings by Rene' Gue'non

p. 170

"in the year 1980 was the introduction in Turkey of the writing of Rene' Gue'non (1886-1951), a French "metaphysician" ... who converted to S[.]ufism and died in Cairo {Qahira} in 1951. Gue'non taught the way to attain the "Primordial Tradition", the ... origin of all the religious traditions. ... Gue'non's translators are Turkish scholars ... specialized in S[.]ufi studies ... . ...

p. 171

However, these Gue'nonians are ... resolved ... in emphasizing the inner side of Islam, through S[.]ufism (... Sedgwick 2004:254-7)."

Sedgwick 2004 = Mark J. Sedgwick : Against the Modern World : Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford Univ Pr.


Henrik Bogdan & Gordan Djurdjevic (edd.) : Occultism in a Global Perspective. Acumen Publ Ltd, Durham (UK), 2013.