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Observations placeholder

Shah, Idries - A Perfumed Scorpion



Type of Spiritual Experience


I have put in a link with alchemical colours because there is some commonality here with Idries's system and this system

The use of green in particular is common.  Green lions eating the sun.

A description of the experience


The human being is stated, in Sufi presentation, to contain five elements of the 'relative' and five of the 'absolute'.

Five, that is, which belong to secondary things, referred to as The World, and five which are beyond limitation or dimensions, and which refer to the different manifestations of the various levels of consciousness beyond ordinarily recognizable physics.

There are said to be five centres of spiritual perception, corresponding to these ranges of experience. They are conceived of as having physical locations in the human body.

These Five Subtleties (Lataif-i-Khamsa) do not exist literally.

They are located in the body because the postures of extending attention to these areas are held to orientate the mind towards higher understanding and illumination.

The secondary, or'Commanding' self - which rules the personality most of the time and which provides the barrier against extra-dimensional perception - is not one of these Subtle organs, but it has a 'location', in the area of the navel. Concentration on this spot may be said to be connected with the attempt to transform this Self.

But we are dealing with the higher faculties. They are named as follows:

  • MIND, on the left side, whose'field' is approximately where the heart is. Called QALB : the Heart centre;
  • SPIRIT, on the right side, opposite MIND. This is known as ROUH, sometimes translated as the Soul centre;
  • SECRET, the first stage of higher consciousness, located between the first two, in the solar plexus. The original term is SIRR, which has been called'inner consciousness';
  • MYSTERIOUS, in the forehead between the eyes but just above them. Its name is KHAFI, which carries the connotation of deep secrecy; and finally comes
  • THE DEEPLY HIDDEN, which is resident in the brain and whose 'field' of operation may move between the brain and the centre of the chest. Its technical name is AKHFA, which stands for'most hidden'.

The organ of stimulation of the Five Centres is the transformed consciousness, the Personality originally found in the form of the Commanding Self, when it has been through its refining process.  The concentration upon certain colours helps to awaken them:

  • MIND is equated with yellow,
  • SPIRIT with red;
  • SECRET (consciousness) with white;
  • MYSTERIOUS with black and
  • DEEPLY HIDDEN with green.

We must always remember that this is descriptive, and that the student has to go through with the experience of it. It is not enough to memorize as many people do, this kind of material, and imagine that one knows something. It is harmful to experiment with these centres.

This imagining that one has knowledge because one has a description of an instrument is common in all cultures. It is well known in the teaching of Western-type knowledge in the East, where people may take your word for things you want them to work through.

The source of the experience

Shah, Idries

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items


Activities and commonsteps