More Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King


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samten  samten is offline
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More Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King


John D. Blakeley writes:

“Indeed, there is valuable guidance in a beautifully written book which was undoubtedly based an Sufi traditions in Persia although, as might be expected, it does not make direct reference to the Tarot illustrations. It was written in 1899 under the title of The Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King, and it was attributed to: A Fragment of the Vision of Sheikh Haji Ibrohim of Kerbela, who may possibly have been a quasi-mythological figure adopted for the purpose of conveying esoteric instruction. The author at the time was a member of the Diplomatic Service in Teheran, but eventually he was to become Sir Fairfax L. Cartwright, G.C.M.G.. G.C.V.O., the British Ambassador at Vienna.”
An entry on the Occult Forum states:
“Idries Shah also notes that a few other works were done in a similar fashion at that time. . . notably Sir Fairfax Cartwright (an English diplomat with Sufi influences), who wrote a fantasy story "Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King" in 1899, and who attributed it to an Oriental by the name of "Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala".

That Sir Fairfax Cartwright himself wrote the “Mystic Rose” is an interesting suggestion. If, as Blakeley writes: “The author at the time was a member of the Diplomatic Service in Teheran . . .” it is within the bounds of probability that Cartwright came into contact with some Sufi School. Henri Corbin would later devote his life to the study of mystic Sufi teachings, in Teheran as well. Whether Cartwright visited Kerbala cannot be proved until the documentation of his movements is studied. But again, as a Diplomat in Persia - it could be possible. There are photographs of Persia in the Cartwright Archives.

Whatever the case may be, the text of the “Mystic Rose” could not have been created ex nihlio. Another possibility, is that Cartwright had before him a deck of the Tarot, and perhaps used the cover of Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala to present a Western esoteric system to Oriental eyes. The text of the “Mystic Rose” needs to be examined to whether it represents genuine Shi’ite mysticism.

Neoplatonist influences in Sufism, and especially Shi’ite transmissions, have been extensively researched. . . from Idries Shah onwards; to Jereer El-Moor, The Occult Tradition of the Tarot in Tangency with Ibn ‘Arabi’s Life & Teachings; while Dai Léon, in his ‘Origins of the Tarot . Cosmic Evolution and the Principles of Immortality’, Random House, writes:

“It is the thesis of this book that the twenty-two images conceptually originated in Sufi circles trained in Greek studies.”

In addition, Byzantine intellectuals frequented the Court of Memhet II prior to the Fall of Constantinople, and the great Byzantine scholar Milton V. Anastos has shown how Sufi influences may have penetrated through to Italian via the mediation of Giorgios Gemistos Pletho after his sojourn at Bursa.

Sheikh Haji Ibrahim

What do we know about Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala? Kerbala is also written as: Karbalā -

“ . . city, capital of Karbalāʾ muḥāfaẓah (governorate), central Iraq. One of Shīʿite Islam’s foremost holy cities, it lies 55 miles (88 km) southwest of Baghdad, with which it is connected by rail.” [http://www.britannica.com]

“Only the Shia believe that Karbalā is one of the holiest places on Earth according to the following traditions (among others): . . .” [Wikipedia]

At another website, [mirrored on various other sites] this small piece came to light:

Morning Star

“The herald of the light is the morning star. This way man and woman approach the dawn of knowledge, because in it is the germ of life, being a blessing of the eternal.”

Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala

Looking at ‘The Star’ – Arcanum 17 in the “Mystic Rose”, we can see the language is not totally irreconcilable with:

“I am the Eternal Youth of Nature. In the depth of the Material World lieth hid the Water which welleth up in the Fountain of Immortality. The Glory of the Sun have I absorbed in my golden tresses; from my diadem of stars do I draw down the Spirit into the Body of Man; into his fallen Soul I breathe the Hope of Redemption; through me cometh to man the Courage to struggle against the bondage in which he is placed'.”

‘Rose Garden’ and Fountain symbolism is rich in Islam. But the main riddle remains, with consequences that are staggering to contemplate. If, the ‘Rose Garden’ is a genuine Shi’ite mystical text - where did it originate? Though we have a location in Kerbala - what other possibilities could be speculated on, as this question remains in the realm of speculation.

As I see it, these are speculations that only an exhaustive search in the British Library, or the Fairfax Archives would bear fruit.
Regards
Samten de Wet

ONLINE RESOURCES:

The Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King. A Fragment of the Vision of Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbela, by Sir Fairfax L. Cartwright, London, H.S. Nichols, 1899
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/mystower.html
http://www.greylodge.org/occultrevie...mysticrose.htm
http://www.antiqillum.com/mysticrose.htm

Fairfax Leighton Cartwright
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairfax...ton_Cartwright

Morning Star
Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala
Is at: http://www.revolutioninreligion.com/...e=morning-star
Website of Rev. Dr. JC Husfelt, the Morning Star. Philosopher and Ontologist

Karbalā -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karbala

Dai Léon, in his ‘Origins of the Tarot . Cosmic Evolution and the Principles of Immortality’,
http://www.originsofthetarot.com/index.htm

Jereer El-Moor, The Occult Tradition of the Tarot in Tangency with Ibn ‘Arabi’s Life & Teachings
http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articlelist.html

Occult Forum - The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi
http://www.occultforum.org/forum/topic?id=18413

Idries Shah - Tales of the Dervishes
http://www.scribd.com/doc/27823091/I...-Dervishes-Img

John D. Blakeley, The Mystical Tower of the Tarot, Watkins., London, p.67.
Emmy Wellesz, An early al-Ṣūfī Manuscript in the Bodleian Library in Oxford : A Study in Islamic Constellation images
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I think you'll find if you compare Cartwright's images with the card descriptions by Paul Christian that the Cartwright manuscript contains very strong parallels and plenty of images that were not part of the tarot prior to Christian, but originated with him. Just one instance is the association of the Lovers with the place where "two Roads diverge" (Christian named it "The Two Roads"). Another is that Trump 2 (The Popess/Priestess) is crowned with a crescent. In fact, the specific words used are almost identical.

It seems to me that Cartwright was adapting Paul Christian's presentation to a Sufi context, not so much to introduce tarot to the Orient as to add an oriental-flare and touch of Sufi mysticism to the tarot. It was standard practice to make up a strange and mysterious author for such allegorical teaching stories.
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samten  samten is offline
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Mystic Rose Again


This is very interesting and confirms my speculations. Thank you. But I still feel, that as one of the myriad paths of research, there is a good story here - perhaps also indirectly connected to British Imperial objectives in Persia. This is not my area of study - being mainly Quartocentro Tarot - so I will sign off as having no further contributrions to the subject. Samten de Wet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samten
This is very interesting and confirms my speculations. Thank you. But I still feel, that as one of the myriad paths of research, there is a good story here - perhaps also indirectly connected to British Imperial objectives in Persia. This is not my area of study - being mainly Quartocentro Tarot - so I will sign off as having no further contributrions to the subject. Samten de Wet
Samten - Please don't go away. I found the links you provided to be very interesting. I loved Blakeley's book, agree that it's a great story, and I looked for the Cartwright text for years (finally finding it on the internet, as did you). I was also intrigued by Idres Shah's assertion that the tarot was a Sufi invention. I don't believe it now, but I learned some very valuable things (for myself personally) in following that trail.

Someone else may have more pieces of the puzzle, so stick around.
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samten  samten is offline
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Return of the Rose


I certainly do not intend to go away - there will be further activity at Luxlapis Tarot on Facebook. Prof. Ian Rutherford - University of Reading, uses the term "Mythopoetic Bricolage" which well describes the Tarot. Perhaps a new grouping should be created titled, tentatively, The Philosophy of the Tarot; whatever the roots of the the Tarot, there can be no doubt, somewhere it is based on an Alexandrine tectonic plate. See the excellent work being done here - with Rutherford &c:
http://www.reading.ac.uk/GraecoAegyptica/abstracts.htm
Graeco-Egyptian Cultural Interaction, and all that!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samten
Prof. Ian Rutherford - University of Reading, uses the term "Mythopoetic Bricolage" which well describes the Tarot.
I love that phrase so I had to look it up. I found that it came from the anthropologist Levi-Strauss:
"Levi-Strauss contrasts the primitive science, 'the science of the concrete,' with modern technical science (the science of the conceptual) by making an analogy on the basis of the difference between engineering and what he calls bricolage. Bricolage is a skill that involves using bits of whatever is to be found and recombining them to create something new."

Derrida then notes: "Since Levi-Strauss tells us elsewhere that bricolage is mythopoetic, the odds are that the engineer is a myth produced by the bricoleur."

This is from a paper on "Derrida and Deconstruction" that should be fascinating to tarot philosophers: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/ell...nstruction.htm (search for 'bricolage' to get to the really yummy parts that follow that).

Mythopoetic bricolage, as I think it must be, would include all the stories about where tarot came from. Wow! How cool to have such an evocative term for them.

Many of today's tarot decks are a kind of bricolage - drawing from different cultures, incorporating additional cards, etc. The 15th century deck experiments were, too. But the Marseille and, even more, the GD formats seem more like an attempt to engineer tarot—despite their being bricolage, themselves.

Here's from another site:
Re: Bricolage: "You might also think of tinker toys. Even though I may not have a complete set, and some of the parts are broken or don't fit together any more, I don't throw the whole set out and buy a new one (or a set of Legos); I keep playing with the tinker toys, and I can even incorporate things that aren't from the original tinker toy set (such as legos, or alphabet blocks, or soup cans) to make what I want to make. That is bricolage. . . .

"Derrida contrasts the bricoleur with the engineer. The engineer designs buildings which have to be stable and have little or no play; the engineer has to create stable systems or nothing at all. . . .

"Bricolage is mythopoetic, not rational; it's more like play than like system."
http://www.colorado.edu/English/cour...7derridaB.html

Quote:
Perhaps a new grouping should be created titled, tentatively, The Philosophy of the Tarot; whatever the roots of the the Tarot, there can be no doubt, somewhere it is based on an Alexandrine tectonic plate. See the excellent work being done here - with Rutherford &c:
http://www.reading.ac.uk/GraecoAegyptica/abstracts.htm
Graeco-Egyptian Cultural Interaction, and all that!
I think this is a great idea. Why don't you propose it to Solandia? We tried having an historical thread called "The Sandbox," but Philosophy of Tarot sounds so much more significant!
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