III. Aim of the Element Ritual
IV. Parts of the Element Ritual
V. Symbology of the Element Ritual
VI. Visualizing the Element Ritual
VII. Experiencing parts of the Element Ritual
VIII. Man is the Creator of his own Heaven and Earth
Very dearest people,
Welcome to the Symbology of the Elements, where we will experiencing the symbolical meaning of the Element Ritual in our daily life by absorbing and doing. This is what we are going to do (Sheet 2: Program of the Symbology of the Elements – Theme: Man is the Creator of his own Heaven and Earth).
A dream of Hazrat Inayat Khan came true! We are performing the Element Ritual, to be exactly: now for 25 years. First, in the beginning of the 20th century Murshid Inayat Khan was helped by Ruth St. Dennis and Isadora Duncan, both famous dancers. The basics for the steps were made, which he teached later to his children. Unfortunately the first World War stopped further progress, but the outline was entrusted to Savitri van Rossum du Chattel, the wife of his younger brother Musheraff Moulamia Khan. Then in 1989, Murshid Hidayat and Sitara Rosdorff developed the choreography in the present form. With enormous thanks to them!
Having told you briefly the history of the Element Ritual, I make note that if we search in the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan - that is to say: the Volumes, Gathas and Gathekas, yet excluding the Githas, Sangathas and Sangithas - we can already find almost 700 links to the word ‘element’. So we have an enormous treasure of information of Hazrat Inayat Khan about the elements, which is used in the Element Ritual. So it is good that we - besides the Element Ritual itself - now also have on the program of the Summer school the Symbology of the Elements.
The Element Ritual is inspired by Zoroastrian mysticism and aims at inner alignment on the mystical energy of the five Elements. It is a tribute to the Creator of the five Elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. It is a sacred service that combines Prayer, Dance, Sound, Color, Rhythm and Breath. All these components have a symbolic meaning.
The starting point of the Element Ritual as mystical experience is, among other things, that the participants let the eternal light shine through their Element so that the essence of the various Elements comes up:
· For the Element Earth: humility and openness;
· For the Element Water: benevolence and success;
· For the Element Fire: love to enlightenment;
· For the Element Air: intelligence and joy and
· For the Element Ether: eternal peace.
But the Element Ritual also aims that the participants rise above the Elements and surrender to the Creator.
In this case it is interesting to look at the Element Ritual as a religious practice:
· First we look at expression compared to reflection. An important aspect of the Element Ritual is expression. This means that it is not just an inner experience. The inner religious introspection is experienced in a personal way;
· Secondly we look at symbolic expression compared to 'normal' expression. The Element Ritual as a religious phenomenon is not just an expression in the ordinary sense of the word, but also a symbolic expression. There are forms in Sufism as the Zikr which, although expressive, seem less symbolic;
· Thirdly we look at exoteric shape compared to an esoteric form. The Element Ritual has an exoteric religious form. At the same time there may be an esoteric experience, hence not directly observable aspects. By the exoteric character it has similarities with for example the Universal Worship;
· Fourthly we look at collective experience compared to individual experience. The Element Ritual is both a collective and individual expression of a religious and mystical experience.
1. Now we will look at the parts of the Element Ritual. Summarized the Element Ritual consists of six parts(Sheet 3: Parts of the Element Ritual):
1. To begin with, the procession or entry of the men to the Divine Light. There the Men - who all represent an Element – one by one (from the Ether- to Earthmen) put their candlestick, invoke the Creator, greet each other and the Divine Light;
2. Then follows the procession to the eternal light by the women (from Earth- to Etherwomen) dressed in the color of their Element. They bring the sacrifice and tribute for their respective Element;
3. After the arrival of the men - who all wear a cord with the color of their Element at the waist - and women, each Element is expressed by the women. During this experience, the man of the Element raises his candlestick to the eternal light;
4. This is followed by a blending of the five tones of the Elements;
5. After a bending of all men to the eternal light they go whirling, as the Mevlevi. The women follow;
6. Finally, the men and women say together a Wazifa.
TheElements Ritual is a symbol in itself, while the components of it are symbols again. Some examples are:
1. The burning candle inthe center of the circle represents the eternal or Divine Light, while the circle represents the perfect creation;
2. During theprocessions, the change of spirit to matter and back again to the spirit is portrayed. The Element Ether goes from Air, Fire, Water to Earth (in the procession of the men), and the Element Earth again changes from Water, Fire, Air to Ether (in the procession of the women);
3. The men andwomen walk in their own rhythm (Step) of their Element;
4. In certainphrases, so called Wazifas and Suras features and characteristics of the five Elements are indicated;
5. During the experienceof the Elements, the participants are part of the universe. They forget the "I" and are one with the Element;
6. The Elementsexist in both vibrations as atoms and hence in sounds and colors. The men and women sing the tones associated with the five Elements. Finally the tone 'OE' of the Element Ether sounds. The colors are especially reflected in the clothing of the women;
7. While whirling themen and women rise above their Element and surrender to the Creator;
8. The men andwomen conclude the Element Ritual by bringing tribute to the Creator, expressed in a Wazifa.
3. Sheet 4 of the Steps (2,3,4,5,6,7), Colors and Tones;
4. Sheet 5 of the Entrance of the Men (inclusive Invocation: We invoke the Presence of God and Greeting each other and the Divine Light);
5. Sheet 6 of the Entrance of the Women;
6. Sheet 7 of the Wazifas (during Procession/Experience by music);
TheWazifa of the Earth is JelalJemal: the male and the female facet. The Wazifa of the Water is Latifa: the fluency. The Wazifa of Fire is Ikwan ul Safa: the Brother- en Sisterhood of Purity. The Wazifa of the Air is Ya Shafi Ya Kafi: the healing power of God, the all-pervading life of God. The Wazifa of the Ether is Ishq Allah Mabud Allah: God is Love, Lover and Beloved. The Wazifa of the Men is: Bis mil lah el-Ham dulel lah: meaning “In the name of God, all praise to God."
7. Sheet 8 of the Suras during Offering (by the Women) and Experience of the Elements (by the Men).
Now we will joining some adapted parts of the Element Ritual. We start with an attunement on the Elements, followed by an attunement on the Offering and on the Experience of the Elements. Then we will participate in the Blending of Tones and finally we will do together a Wazifa. I will use a keyboard to give the pitch.
1. Participation (sitting): Attunement on the Elements - Introduction: Together Tones and Wazifas of the Elements – 5 times (5 Elements) – Sheet 9/10 - the Steps and Gestures are shortly shown afterwards on the stairs of the stage
· Tone Earth (A), 5 x Wazifa Earth (Jelal Jemal),Tone Earth (A);
o Showing the Steps (2) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
· Tone Water (O), 5 x Wazifa Water (Latifa), Toon Water (O);
o Showing the Steps (3) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
· Tone Men (low f on piano), 5 x Wazifa Men (Bis mil lahel-Ham dulellah), Tone Men (low f on piano);
o Showing the Steps (4) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
· Tone Fire (I), 5 x Wazifa Fire (Ikwan ul Safa), Tone Fire (I);
o Showing the Steps (5) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
· Tone Air (U), 5 x Wazifa Air (Ya Shafi Ya Kafi), Tone Air (U);
o Showing the Steps (6) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
· Tone Ether (OE), 5 x Wazifa Ether (Isq Allah Mabud Allah), Tone Ether;
o Showing the Steps (7) and Gesture (forward and backward) afterwards
2. Participation (standing): Attunement on the Offering of the Elements - Introduction: Together Tones and Suras of the Elements (in Gesture if you want) – 5 times on the low f (of the Wazifa of the Men) – Sheet 11/12
a. Tone Earth (A), 5 x Sura Earth (Oh All Productive Mother Earth, we humbly offer our Homage to Thee), Tone Earth (A);
b. Tone Water (O), 5 x Sura Water (Oh All Purifying Water, we willingly offer our Homage to Thee), Tone Water (O);
· Tone Fire (I), 5 x Sura Fire (Oh All Consuming Fire, we wholeheartedly offer our Homage to Thee), Tone Fire (I);
· Tone Air (U), 5 x Sura Air (Oh All pervading Air, we gladly offer our Homage to Thee), Tone Air (U);
· Tone Ether (OE), 5 x Sura Ether (Oh Ether, Essence of All, we passively offer our Homage to Thee), Tone Ether (OE);
3. Participation(sitting/standing): Attunement on the Experience of the Elements - Introduction: Together the Suras of the Elements (intermittentlyby the Men) and Wazifas and Tones of the Elements (continuously by the Women). The Women are divided in two groups - Sheet 13/14
· Earth: Oh All Productive Mother Earth, we humbly offer our Homage to Thee (Men) – (A) and Jelal Jemal (Women);
· Water: Oh All Purifying Water, we willingly offer our Homage to Thee (Men) – (O) and Latifa (Women);
· Fire: Oh All Consuming Fire, we whole-heartedly offer our Homage to Thee (Men) – (I) and Ikwan ul Safa (Women);
· Air: Oh All pervading Air, we gladly offer our Homage to Thee (Men) – (U) and Ya Shafi Ya Kafi (Women);
· Ether: Oh Ether, Essence of All, we passively offer our Homage to Thee (Men) – (OE) and Isq Allah Mabud Allah (Women);
4. Participation (standing): The Blending of the Tones (A, O, I, U, OE) – Introduction: Together and divided into groups singing the Tones of the Elements – Sheet 15
a. Together one after the other (each about 15 beats): A (c), O (dis), I (fis), U (a), OE (c’);
b. Divided into groups: After about 5 beats the persons of the next Element join: “A”, “O”, “I”, “U” and “OE” and continue their Pitch. Then the persons of all Elements sing together: "OE, OE, OE, OE, OE" (about for 10 beats), 5 times;
5. Participation (sitting): The Wazifa – Introduction: Women (El Ham dulel lah, meaning "Thanks and Praise to God") and Men (Allah) – as long as feels good (on 2-beats) – first Women and Men apart and then together – Sheet 16
· First the Women: El Ham dulel lah, then the Men: Allah;
· Together El Ham dulel lah (Women) and Allah (Men).
On the screen we saw in the beginning the phrase ‘Man is the Creator of his own Heaven and Earth’. Why this theme for the ‘Symbology of the Elements’ in relation to the Element Ritual? Because we can experience continually the influence of the Elements in our daily life!
“Until we know ourselves, we cannot know about others”: says Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Godhas made his Creation with the forces of the Five Elements. Everyone has a certain horoscope related to these Elements, the position of the planets at that time of his birth by which one is influenced during his life. Every time, every day, every hour gives a different picture of how the sky looks. Thus, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, one or more of these Elements are the most determinative in our life. Yet there is also an hourly Element that has superior importance. Therefore the Elements need to be kept our friend!
In the “Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word” of Hazrat Inayat Khan we can read: “In every being the five Elements are constantly working, and in every individual one especially predominates. The wise have therefore distinguished five different natures in man according to the element predominant in him. Sometimes two elements or even more predominate in a human being in a greater or lesser degree.”
So, “Whichever element predominates in a person's nature, the sense relative to that element in him is the most active.”
The constant change of the breath determines the influence of the Elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether and hence our desires and emotions.
“All the different moods that we are in - inclination to laughter or crying, heaviness, exaltation, or meditation - all result from the breath. The breath changes in activity (so) many times during the day and night. As it changes, it expresses a certain Element, Earth, Water, Fire, Air or Ether, and it makes one feel inclined to do certain things in accordance with that Element.”
“The source of our emotions is our breath, whose impurity brings confusion, and whose purity produces radiance.” Just as pure Water improves health, a pure breath gives life and light. If the breathing is light and pure, this leads to a feeling of happiness. But a heavy and depressed breathing actually leads to dejection. Breathing canbe developed through exercise, rhythmic breathing exercises, pure living and concentration.
The moreyou are aware of the rhythm of your breathing, the more you see the influence of the Elements in your personal life. So the change of breath into different Elements and the associated interaction between feelings and thoughts determine your whole life. In this table (Sheet 17:Table of the Elements influenced by the Light of Intelligence on the flipchart) you can see the influence of the Light of Intelligence on the Elements.
So, “if you give in to an emotion, even only once in a while, remember that the other emotions, to which you may never wish to give in, will also overpower you; because it is one energy which assumes, by the influence of different elements, the garb of different emotions. In fact it is one emotion. By controlling ourselves we control all things in the world.“In other words: “Man is the creator in the garden of his own life.”
I’ll finish this interactive lecture with saying to you explicitly: “Letus keep the precious light of the Element Ritual burning and the dream of Hazrat Inayat Khan forever realized! Light is working through the deep mystical experience while performing the Element Ritual. Light by which the Sufi Message is spread. All wisdom, power and love, the choice between the Light and shadow, everything is distributed during the performance of the Element Ritual.”
You’re welcome to join our rehearsals and the mystical experience of the Element Ritual. For more information you can look at the website of the Element Ritual: www.soefielementenritueel.nl in four languages. During the ‘Symbology of the Elements’ next year we will continue our deepening in the influence of the Elements in our daily life!
Thank you! Sheet 18
Questions if time permits.