Ten minutes later the Master re-emerged, devoid of magazine and whiskey glass but clutching to heart an exceedingly large, old and important-looking volume.
The much-lamented loss of Pros Theon had abruptly ended a few short minutes after its owner entered the bathroom, where it was discovered at the bottom of a towering stack of bathroom-reading material and joyfully rescued by its ecstatic owner.
Tremendously relieved, twelve years of life added back on, the Master placed Pros Theon on the desk in the study with a great sense of ceremony, lit an ancient lamp and turned to the penultimate section:
Transformatio Dies (The Days of Transformation)
Translating and interpreting the elaborate text was a mission that took every effort of will and imagination; the fruits of this fabled tome being rare and exotic indeed.
After 23 meticulously strung-together minutes, the Master – who had a surprisingly short attention span for one inclined to meditation – looked up from the text and out of the window for inspiration, directly onto the swaying treetops. Perchance, there was sitting a bird of extraordinary magnitude and power and in that same instant a piercing set of eyes imparted the truth – a reminder – with almost unfathomable simplicity:
‘Forwards backwards; time is taking
Certain steps through every section.
Herein find the secret waiting:
Future from the past; reflection.
Soaring Eagle spread his massive wings and flew towards the window, sight locked like magnetic iron onto the fixated Master, who felt a heavenly upsurge of pure, unadulterated joy and ran in the eagle’s direction, having reverted back to childhood in a twinkling of the eye. In complete innocence the Master was able to grasp one of the bird’s great tail feathers and later attach it to the sun-tinted dream catcher. More memories of Halcyon Days would be captured by this than by all of the other feathers combined.
Twilight fell like whispers of an echo bade by Eros. Venus – like the bloom –transpired, with stars like smelted teardrops.
And in the first states of trust, four miracles befall you. These are the signs and evidence of your attainment of the first degree of trust.
These signs are crossing the earth, walking on water, traversing the air, and being fed by the universe. And that is the reality within the door.
After that, stations and states and miracles and revelations come to you continuously until death.
And if you do not stop with this, He reveals to you the surface signs, you will be admonished with terrors and many sorts of states will befall you. You will see clearly the apparatus of transformations; how the dense becomes subtle and the subtle dense.
And if you do not stop with this the light of the scattering of sparks will become visible to you, and there will be a need to veil yourself from it. Do not be afraid, and persevere in the remembrance of God, for if you persevere in the remembrance of God, disaster will not overcome.
Ibn ‘Arabi, The Journey to the Lord of Power
My eyes were closed and my body, following some sort of direction, arched backwards (with far more grace than would have been natural for a body in such a physically strained position) as if my head wanted to touch my feet. I felt strangely relaxed, as if I knew exactly what was happening, even though I did not have the faintest inkling.
My body seemed incredibly lithe and supple, far more so than usual, as if light were running through my veins. I enjoyed a joyful surge of pure physical strength and energy. I could have been around seven feet tall, such was the sensation of healthy fluidity, and I experienced curious pleasure through feeling that way. I saw all of this as being a surprisingly desirable first consequence of my exchange with the leopard for its soul: The body.
It must have been warm because my companion removed his shirt before turning me so I was lying face down on the bed, my head close to his chest. He asked if I was Ok, and I was, so it carried on.
My right hand was the focus for the next action and was transformed into something clenched and clawed – almost exactly like a leopard’s paw, I noted with confidence – while my arm bent rigidly as if there was much tension in the limb, at right angles from the elbow. My instinct was to make use of the claws but the action was continued at my left hand as I concentrated intently on the study of my bodily transformation.