Ahmad Ahsai, Shaykh - Kitab Sharh al-Ziyara - Seraphiel’s Trumpet
Type of spiritual experience
This description matches extremely well the observations that I found for near death experiences, where people start to ascend a tunnel which is broad at the start then narrows. It also matches the description given by mystics of the ascent of the soul and the way that the functions are discarded en route on the ascent. If we go back to the analogy, this is equivalent to saying that all the functions in our copy of the human software package that are not needed on death [autonomic, emotion, pain, pleasure, etc] are discarded and what is left is the essential ‘I’ or Higher spirit or as the quote calls it the I-spirit. Learnt function, is also stripped away.
In the next quote there is an intake of breath – the pneuma – the rising of the spirit, that again ties in well with everything about the circulation of spirit. By contrast Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa’I describes birth as the opposite – we are blown down the trumpet.
The ‘holes’ in the ‘trumpet’ give access to the ‘Treasuries’ and out of each treasury a set of functions is added to the package. In effect the human being package is built up on descent, with a copy of the functions needed being added en route.
A description of the experience
Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa’i – Kitab Sharh al-Ziyara [translated by Henry Corbin and Nancy Pearson]
This first sounding of Seraphiel’s trumpet is the one referred to as the fiery blast; it is an intake of breath and draws up the spirits in order to reabsorb them in Seraphiel’s Trumpet. Each I-spirit goes back into its own matrix, symbolically represented as one of the holes perforated in the length of the trumpet; this is the place from which it was originally extracted, the place from which it came out in order to go down toward the bodies at the time of the preceding existence. The matrix itself comprises six dwellings or habitations; into the first of these the Image or archetypal form of the I-spirit is breathed; its subtle consubstantial matter into the second; into the third, its luminous nature corresponding to the igneous Element; into the fourth, its soul corresponding to the fluid Element; into the fifth, its own pneuma, corresponding to the aerial Element; into the sixth, its consubstantial intellect................
When the divine will intends to renew Creation and to cause the seeds from the preceding existence to germinate, Seraphiel is commanded to blow into the Trumpet the breath of the great Awakening. As opposed to the ‘blazing sound’, this is a propulsive breath. Entering the sixth dwelling, it propels the intellect toward the pneuma in the fifth dwelling; next it propels intellect and pneuma together toward the soul in the fourth dwelling; then it propels all three together, intellect, pneuma and soul, towards the luminous nature of the third dwelling; then it propels all four together towards the subtle consubstantial matter in the second dwelling; finally it propels all five toward the Image or archetypal Form in the first dwelling. Then the I-spirit finds again its composition and structure, its consciousness and capacity to feel......
The human being has descended from the suprasensory world from those archetypes or treasuries to which the following verse of the Book refers ‘Nothing exists but that its treasury is in our hands (15:21)’. Thus the human being descends into this world, the sojourn of effort and struggle, and amasses something of his own in view of the Futurum Resurrection. But as he descends from step to step, passing gradually from one plane of being to another in the course of his descent, at each step he acquires a certain mixture with the accidents corresponding to the step or plane..............
Because it [Higher Spirit] was sent down from the six Treasuries’, it returns to them [on death], its own cessation leads to their separation ; its archetypal Image returns to the Treasury from which it descended. In the same way, its materia prima, its nature, its soul, its pneuma, its intellect, return each to the Treasury from which respectively they descended. These are the Treasuries alluded to, as we said, in the verse in the Qur’an ‘Nothing exists but that its Treasury is in our Hands (15:21)’.
Those are the Treasuries which in each case form a whole, which is the respective matrix of each I-Spirit, symbolically designated as the orifice or the hole which corresponds to that spirit on Seraphiel’s Trumpet