Saturday, August 9, 2014

Iraq | Yezidis | Peacock Angel |Shambhala



Things can't get worse than this: Iraqi civilians are escaping into Syria to get off a northern mountain wheretthey've been trapped without food or water for weeks. Between 20,000 to 30,000 minority Yazidis have found a safe passage through Syria and back into Iraqi Kurdistan, assisted by Kurdish guerrilla forces. Meanwhile, American and British missions have been dropping emergency relief Mt. Sinjar and U.S. has launched air strikes on Islamic State militants nearby.


As anyone who pays even cursory attention to the news now knows the United States is airdropping humanitarian aide to the Yezidis in Iraq. See US Drops New Aid To Iraqis Fleeing Militant Surge if by some chance you are not up to speed on this. The fleeing Iraqis in this case are Yezidis, although of course Syriac Christians are also fleeing from the Jihadists in Iraq. I think I first became aware of the Yezidis when I read about them in the book Meetings With Remarkable Men by twentieth century magus George Gurdjieff back in the early 1970s. Then in  2009 I met a Yezidi in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, where he was working in a carpet store. I had my laptop with me and he asked to see a post I had made about his store—there is wi-fi in the Grand Bazaar—and after he had seen that post he began surfing through other of my blog entries. Suddenly he stopped and blurted out, “What is this!?!” It was a Short Post About Yezidis. “How do you know about Yezidis?” he demanded. He actually seem shocked that I should know about anything about this subject. I said that I read about them in books and had seen various material about them on the internet. After some hemming and hawing he finally admitted that he himself was a Yezidi. He said that for various reasons he usually did not tell tourists who came into his store about this, but since I already knew about Yezidis he felt he could tell me. Admittedly he was not too eager to share his beliefs, but he did offer to take me to eastern Turkey to met his relatives if I was so inclined. 

According to One Source, “The religion is little known to outsiders but contains elements of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and also includes the veneration of the Peacock Angel.” What, you are wondering, is the Peacock AngelAccording To Yezidis:
Tawsi Melek, the “Peacock Angel” and “Peacock King,” is the most import deity of the Yezidis. But he is not just the possession of the Yezidis, he belongs to the entire world. The Yezidis believe that they possess the oldest religion on Earth, the primeval faith that features Tawsi Melek, and that all other traditions are related to them through the Peacock Angel. They contend that Tawsi Melek is the true creator and ruler of the universe, and therefore a part of all religious traditions. He does not, however, always manifest within these diverse traditions as a peacock. Tawsi Melek has taken on many other forms throughout time. The Yezidis do not believe that the Peacock Angel is the Supreme God. The Supreme God created him as an emanation at the beginning of time. He was brought into manifestation in order to give the invisible, transcendental Supreme God a vehicle with which to create and administer the universe. Tawsi Melek is thus a tangible, denser form of the infinite Supreme God. In order to assist Tawsi Melek in this important role, the Supreme Creator also created six other Great Angels, who were, like the Peacock Angel, emanations of the Supreme God and not separate from him. Tawsi Melek was, therefore, both the first form of the Supreme God and one of the Seven Great Angels, which is a cosmic heptad mentioned within many religious traditions. The Jews, Christians, Persian, Egyptians all have their seven angels and creators. In the Meshefê Re, the Yezidis “Black Book,” there is one passage that describes the Seven Great Angels and associates their creation with the seven days of Creation. The text first states that the Supreme God first created a pearl containing the substance or substratum of the soon-to-be physical universe, ostensibly referring to the molten mass preceding the “Big Bang” championed by modern physics.
 The Peacock Angel
One of the manifestations of the Peacock Angel in human form is believed to be Shaykh Adi ibn Musafir al-Umawi. He was born in 1070 in what now Lebanon. He studied in Baghdad but soon took up the life of a recluse in upper Mesopotamia. He eventually became a Sufi, but also adhered to the Zoroastrian beliefs still prevalent in the area. His syncretistic tendencies and saintliness soon attracted the attention of local Yezidis, who recognized him as a manifestation or incarnation of the Peacock Angel. He died in 1162 at the age of ninety and was entombed in a mausoleum in a village near Lalish, Iraq. His mausoleum and shrine exists to this day and has become one of the main Yezidi pilgrimage sites. 
The Mausoleum of  Shaykh Adi ibn Musafir al-Umawi near Lalash (not my photo)
The Jihadists in Upper Mesopotamia have destroyed many shrines in the region, perhaps most notably the Tomb of Jonah, Jonah being the belly-of-the-whale-guy who makes an appearance in both the Bible and the Quran. Christian churches, Shiite Mosques, and Sufi holy places have also been targeted. Jihadists May Have Already Captured The Mosul Dam above the city of Mosul. Lalash is just twenty-five miles northeast the breast of the Mosul Dam. If the Jihadists reach Lalash they will undoubtedly destroy the mausoleum and shrine of Shaykh Adi ibn Musafir al-Umawi. 

For photos of Lalish see Visit The Holy City Of The Iraqi Religious Minority That ISIS Is Threatening With Destruction (allow the ad to run for 15 seconds)

The Peacock Angel Manifests Itself In Many Religions, including Buddhism, and is believed to occasionally incarnate as the King of Shambhala:
In Tibet the Peacock Angel appears to be manifest as Amitibha, the peacock-riding dhyanibuddha who sits upon his Peacock Throne in the heaven of Sukhavati and occasionally takes a physical incarnation as the King of the World in legendary Shambhala, the land of immortals that flies the Peacock Flag. Shambhala, meaning the “Place of happiness,” is a place designed as eight territories or “petals” and recognized to be the heart chakra of planet Earth. In the center of the planetary heart chakra is the palace of the King of Shambhala, who thus functions as not only planetary monarch but soul of the world (just as the human soul resides within the human heart chakra). According to one legend, the Peacock Angel not only spread his colors around the globe but additionally merged his spirit with that of the Earth and became the world soul. Thus, his physical body is the Earth and his will is reflected in the actions of all creatures that live upon the face of the Earth.  

19 comments:

  1. I think the correct spelling is Yazidis, not Yezidis.

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  2. There are variant spellings. The Semi-Official Website of the Yezidis uses Yezidis, so I am sticking with that.

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  3. @ Anonymous and Don: differences in spelling are common in cases where phonetic spelling of words/names has been implemented. If you speak the word, regardless of spelling, as long as it's pronounced correctly, that's all that matters, with regard to the English translation.

    This is a really interesting post, Don. Had no idea about the incorporation of the peacock angel in other religions.

    Once again, we can thank the U.S. invasion and occupation for creating the conditions that have allowed for this latest spate of violence/ethnic cleansing. Instead of tackling the situation diplomatically, harsh military intervention is being implemented, with the likely result that many of the people who are being "rescued" will end up suffering even more. Glenn Greenwald recently pointed out that this "humanitarian" mission may be more about ISIS control of oil than threats to Yazidis. Certainly, if the U.S.G. really gave a damn about Yazidis (or other threatened Iraqi minorities), they would have pushed for a more democratic and representative government in Baghdad, rather than the sectarian nightmare that has been also threatening minorities in Iraq.

    -a mes

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  4. a mes — I never heard of Lana Del Rey until you mentioned her. I really am out of the loop!

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  5. Hey, so am I - I only just recently heard of her, because of some viral antifeminist internet campaigns (she is one of a few famous types, including your fave Lady Gaga, who apparently fails to grasp what feminism is). Anyway, it's a good thing you haven't heard of her before - hopefully, it means that you won't have to deal with Mongolian neighbors blasting her music, too!

    -a mes

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  6. Let me also add a clarification to my last comment: the reason why a more democratic and representative government in Iraq would have prevented this catastrophe is that ISIS gains its strength and is feeding off of the resentment of disenfranchised Iraqi Sunnis, who have been persecuted by the Maliki government (numerous humanitarian agencies have condemned Maliki's sectarian attacks on Fallujah and wrongful imprisonment and torture of people). Plus, the U.S.G. had a hand in the creation of ISIS, thanks to their greenlighting Saudi Prince Bandar's weapons dealings - he funneled weapons to militants in Syria in that conflict, and ISIS gained strength from that. AND, the corruption of Maliki's government has added fuel to the fire - people are starving and without resources in part because the civilian infrastructure that used to exist in Iraq was never restored after the U.S. invasions/bombing campaigns destroyed them. Maliki had plenty of money to set about rebuilding infrastructure (as well as to properly train the new Iraqi army). What happened to the funds? So, although U.S. mainstream media likes to put the blame on ISIS, a more educated view of the situation puts the blame for these problems squarely on Iraqi government corruption and persecution of others, as well as the U.S.G. (for the wars/devastation and the sectarianism they intentionally stoked).

    -a mes

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  7. Don’t forget that Chingis Khan played a role in events now unfolding in the Middle East.

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  8. I don’t think it is fair to say that Lady Gaga Is My “Fave”. I simply thought she was the reincarnation a Tokharian Caravanserai Singer I once heard.

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  9. We're all Mongolian now, Don. :)

    -a mes

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  10. We're all "Mongols" in the sense that we force capitulation by overawing with our ferocity? I.e., either give up or end up like we did with that other guy... shudder... gasp... Excuse me, but who let me off here at the kaliyuga?

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  11. It is not a good way-station. I’ll agree with that.

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  12. I can just imagine your Mongolian neighbors blasting that tune by Lana Del Rey that I posted (and took down, due to the profanity and desire not to advertise for her). Imagine that tune becoming a modern day classic, inspiring numerous tavern/pub sing-alongs! :)

    -a mes

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  13. I first read of the Yezidis in a horror/fantasy short story collection - it might have been a story by R.E.Howard. They were defined as 'those devil-worshiping Kurds'. In that collection, or a similar one, there was also a lengthy introduction that associated the peacock angel and its followers with various early 20th century occult movements. Wish I could remember more accurately, I read that stuff more than twenty years ago.

    In any case, it is surreal, this intrusion of politics and historical realities into what I thought were fictional/mythological creations.

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  14. Thanks for the links, I stand corrected. Strange to see all the parallels with the Gnostics and the Pythagoreans. And of course, it is always fun to see Shambhala and the king of the world popping up.
    —xylokopos

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  15. The early 20th century explorer WB Seabrook devotes an extensive section of his book "Adventures in Arabia" to the Yezidis, their beliefs and practices. Well worth a look. See here: https://archive.org/details/AdventuresInArabia

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  16. A mes — My neighbors might well have blasted Lana Del Rey, but I failed to recognize her music. As I said before, I am hopelessly out of touch. Here’s My Favorite Music at the moment.

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