Practices & Ceremony


by Hakima Betty Lou Chaika

A DUP dance, a memorial sculpture, Native Americans, Irish people, Ancestors, Nature-Spirit, and a humble ceremony. How do these all come together?

Here's the story: Two of our beloved Dances of Universal Peace leaders, Larry Taylor and Lynda Aiman-Smith, created the Hashtali Elements Dance for our North Carolina DUP community a number of years ago, Lynda being of Choctaw lineage. (Her Choctaw great-great-grandmother married an Irish settler.) A few years ago they moved away from us, and then, sadly, Larry, an incredible musician, passed away. My husband, Hamid David, is of another Native American lineage (his Ojibwe great-great-grandmother also married an Irish man), and we've always loved this dance. When we heard about the unveiling of a Choctaw Monument in County Cork, Ireland, where my Irish ancestors are from, we were determined to go to it. In September, 2016, we traveled to see the Choctaw memorial sculpture, “Kindred Spirits,” created by Alex Pentek.

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Ziraat is an inter-faced message. The outer fabric weaves a too brief outline with harvesting the fruits of the earth. The interfacing is the cultivating of the soul by individual workers under Allah's all-seeing eye. Ziraat enables the initiate to comprehend the qualities of the soul in every aspect of nature.

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Working Together With All the Elements in Partnership and Deep Communion

Elemental Purification Breaths
From the Sufi tradition as originally taught by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. This interpretation with body awareness attunements by Neil Douglas-Klotz (Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti). With each element, add breathing in the Sufi wasifa “Ya Shafi” (Source of Healing) and breathing out “Ya Kafi” (the most Necessary, the Remedy for the moment).

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A Note about our Current Transition

In the Sufi world, various types of ‘taking hand’ have taken place over the centuries. In the Hazrat Inayat Khan family, we sometimes group all of these together under the word ‘initiation,’ but this can lead to confusion.

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"There is one Holy Book,
the sacred manuscript of nature,

the only scripture which can enlighten the reader."

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Experience
In the early 90s I learned about the Ziraat concentration from Vakil Forest Shomer at a retreat or camp. I took a public initiation or oath with him to align myself with my true heart’s calling of a spirituality rooted in Earth consciousness. In my mind this included practicing respect for all life forms by living more ecologically, learning ways to incorporate ritual into my Sufi practice that included participation and prayer with nature, and teaching the next generation about Earth-centered spirituality.

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WALKING YOUR TALK WITH ZIRAAT
In Thy nature
I feel Thy presence (HIK)

Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote these words as a meditation. This meditation is just one of many in a small book called Nature Meditations. The meditations are used in conjunction with the breath. Hazrat Inayat Khan called the Nature Meditations “the cream of the Message.” From my experience these meditations cut through the morass of words and concepts that often follow us when deepening our consciousness to The Real.

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The ancients were more in touch with the rhythms of nature than we in modern industrialized societies are today. They didn't know as much as we do about the details—we get better predictions and control from chemistry and physics than they did from analyzing matter into earth, air, fire and water—but they knew more about the effects of the natural world on the psyche, the interiority, of the human being.

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