Dhul Jalal Wal Ikram

The Fool

from The Quest Tarot deck by Joseph Martin, ISBN 0-7387-0195-5

Is God a Being? I have, like most Westerners, spent my life alternately clinging to and battling with the paternal, benevolent image of an old man in some remote place, sitting on a cloud watching over his creation. It is an image that appears to emerge from the core of the Judeo-Christian takeover, when God stopped being a Goddess and became a kind of Daddy figure, the ultimate symbol of the coup staged by the masculine archetype, when Woman was pushed out of the fray and told to go home and put her feet up and “be sure to eat for two, darling, it’s for the baby.”

Well. What about that baby? This is where we get into it, I think. Putting aside the obvious fact that there had to be someone around to have that first baby, I am thinking even further back, before the One became the Many. Allow me to describe it in terribly cosmic terms:

There was/is the One. The divine, eternal Principle, that which has always been and will always be. Pre-eternity prior to post-eternity, as I understand all THIS effects post-eternity. So whatever we understand as the divine impulse that brought the world into being, the divine coup that created THIS, the way my own teacher, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, explained it, it was a series of events, or a sort of descent of the divine principle–God asleep?–into Awakening. The Seed becomes the Plant becomes the Flower becomes the Fragrance, and out of that, another Seed emerges.

But I’m thinking, here, about the original Seed, the first Being. That’s the Fool. That’s how he’s depicted in the alchemical tomes, and in the Tarot deck: one thinks of a being that is completely untainted by incarnation, like the first being that ever existed. If god emerges out of Oneness into multiplicity, first there is glory, splendor, then attributes, then Being, and that’s where Dhul Jalal Wal Ikram comes in. “The Lord of Splendid Power.” Some would call him the Christ, and other archetypes fit, but really he is beyond images in a sense, except that his image is perfection before the world crucifies it. It’s like, even before light, Being emerges out of Splendor. One imagines the divine emotion of that process, that becoming… “We come trailing clouds of glory….” Wordsworth, I believe.

So, back to thinking of God as a Being of some kind, well, that’s the idea: I can attune to, resonate with, discover within myself, that being that is Original Being, free of karma, free of desire, free of darkness or intention, just…in a state of glory, completely in love, the purest love that needs no reason or cause: perhaps bewonderment is a better word, if there is such a word. The divine bewilderment. Even better. The experience of perfection before emotion. To pray to that God would be to discover that same glory in oneself, that same freedom from limitation or intention. What might emerge out of That?

One thought on “Dhul Jalal Wal Ikram

  1. I love what you write here. For years I had a strip of paper with “Dhul Jalal Wal Ikram” taped to the wall of my workshop. It seemed right but I never made the connection to the Fool before but now it seems so obvious. Thank you.

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