Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Dragon of the Void

The astrologers gaze up at the heavens and say that the world is a pebble in a vast sea, that it and other pebbles circle the Sun, and that all that is and all that is yet to come is etched upon this vast firmament.

Al-Biruni on phases of the moon

The wizards peruse their divinations of arrows and cracked bones, and pronounce that this world is as a single door in a vast multitude, and that the heavens above are merely a shadow of the true heavens which yawn above this multitude: the Void.

"Blue Oyster Cult," Bill Gawlick

The theologians say that the world is suspended between four realms - the Fire, where the serpent Falak reigns, the Water, where the leviathan Bahamut presides, the Air, demesne of the Queen of Birds, the Simurgh, and the Earth, ruled by Lord Kujata, Paragon of Bulls -- and though these four dispute between themselves, they are all obedient to their Lord, Ar-Rahman.

Zal and the Simurgh
From the Topkapi Palace collection.
 And while the fools may dispute as to which of these is the truth, the wise know that all of these things are true together. They know this through the unity of Jawzahr, the Dragon.

Jawzahr, the Dragon, was once a monarch equal in dignity to Bahamut and Kujata, Simurgh and Falak. And Jawzahr made his abode in the Void, and it was equal to the realms, as Jawzahr was to the other monarchs. Yet in his pride he rebelled against his Lord, Ar-Rahman. And in consequence Jawzahr was cast down from his lofty place, and the Void was made no longer there adjacent to the other realms and to the world, but was instead beyond. Yet Ar-Rahman allowed the Void to remain tangent to the world, so that the world and those upon it were not unmade, for Ar-Rahman loves and is merciful to his creations.

Mortar and Pestle depicting Jawzahr (Iran), from here
Part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection
And the Lord of the Void Jawzahr was sent amongst the pebbles of the sky, tangent to the Void as the Void was tangent to the world, touching and yet not touching, for without its ruler the Void itself would cease. This is why Jawzahr is entombed in a shadow of the Void, while the Void is become as a shadow of the Realms Elemental, that the world be not unmade.

So the learned know while the fools dispute. For Ar-Rahman is mighty, wise.