Monday, January 16, 2023

A new and independent branch of the Maryamiyya

A new and independent branch of the Maryamiyya, the "Washington-Baltimore Branch of the Maryamiyyah Tariqah," has been established, and has established an online presence. Some of the content on its main website, theperennialfoundation.org, is restricted to members, but some of it is generally available, including comments by its shaykh, Terry Moore (Shaykh al-Bashir, pictured left) about how the branch became established, which are also available on YouTube.

Moore joined the Maryamiyya in Lausanne in 1975, and separated from the main tariqa in 2017, along with Hasan Awan, who is now his khalifa (deputy), and the late James Cutsinger (1953-2020), who was a leading follower of Frithjof Schuon in a personal capacity, though never (as an Orthodox Christian) a formal member of the tariqa. 

The Washington-Baltimore Maryamiyya describes itself on its other website, maryamiyyah.org, as “orthodox and universalist.” The orthodoxy is circumscribed: they "observe the Sunna as much as feasible in our circumstances, and follow the essential elements and spirit of the Shari’ah" [my emphasis]. The universalism is described in terms of “transcendent unity,” Frithjof Schuon’s major contribution to Traditionalist doctrine, and thus “We accept the uncorrupted forms of all the orthodox religions as true and do not regard any of them, in their essence, as superior.” [my emphasis] This, again, is a limitation on their claimed Islamic orthodoxy. Moore makes clear in his book Here, Now, One: A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life (Salisbury, England: New Sarum Press, 2021) that his starting point is perennialism: “Unfortunately… we can’t practice perennialism, as it has no form. It is a smile without a cat… In order to be operative, it must be packaged in a form that allows practice. The package it comes in is orthodox religion.”

The Washington-Baltimore Maryamiyya acknowledges the teachings of René Guénon, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Frithjof Schuon, Martin Lings, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Its website says that it was “the Shaykh of the Washington, DC branch of our order,” i.e. Nasr, who “authorized our two leaders to establish an independent branch of the order.” So perhaps not an acrimonious split. But evidently not all are happy, as one comment on Facebook warns that the group “has departed to a vast extent from and is critical of much of the traditionalist-perennialist perspective and the spiritual heritage and… method broadly affirmed and transmitted by all other branches of the Tariqah Maryamiyyah” and is “varyingly modernist, postmodernist, and New Age/self-help.” This post alleges that Moore and Awan are excessively influenced by the Direct Path of the Indian guru Sri Atmananda (1883-1959).

The presentation of the tariqa stresses respect for all “regardless of gender, race, class, or previous religious affiliation,” and states that "faqirat" (female members) “participate in leadership and decision making within our community at all levels.” It adds: “We require our leaders to adhere to the highest moral standards, especially in their relationship with fuqara’ [male followers] and faqirat [female followers].” This seems to be an acknowledgement of some of the problems from which the main Maryamiyya suffered in earlier periods, and a determination not to repeat then.

It is unclear how large the branch is, but Moore’s YouTube channel, herenowone, has 117 subscribers.

Two other connected websites are www.herenowone.org and radiusfoundation.org.

Many thanks to the reader of this blog who draw my attention to all this. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Mary Schillito: correction

René Guénon first traveled to Cairo in 1930 in the company of Mary Schillito (image to right), who I identified in Against the Modern World as a convert to Islam on the basis that she had taken the first name Dina. In fact, Dina was the surname of her husband, Assan Dina, who was not Egyptian (as I had wrongly supposed) but rather the wealthy son of an Indian-Mauritian father and a French mother. 

Assan Dina died in Egypt in 1928 while traveling home through the Suez canal from India to the chateau that he and Mary had built at Cruseilles in the French department of Haute-Savoie, just south of Geneva. This chateau, the Château des Avenières, contained a remarkable chapel with mosaic wall panels from the tarot, which can be seen on this website. The chateau is now a hotel with a fine restaurant, and those with sufficient funds can book a stay or a table here (though at present it seems to be closed). 

Alternatively, those who are looking for somewhere to live in Cincinnati, Ohio, might consider The Lofts at Shillito Place (see here), once the massive department store built by Mary Schillito’s father John Schillito, whose career is described in the Northern Kentucky Tribune (see here). 

 My thanks to Davide Marino for correcting me regarding Assan DIna.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dugin removed from Amazon US

If you want to buy a book by the Russian Traditionalist (or post-Traditionalist) Alexander Dugin, do not go to Amazon.com. They have vanished, apparently because of US sanctions against Dugin. However, you can still buy Dugin at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de.

Thanks for this information to Tucker Carlson of Fox News (see photo). Carlson, a prominent "conservative" American journalist, does not approve of the way that "the Biden administration is demanding Amazon censor books they disagree with." For Carlson, "Dugin is one of Russia's most famous authors and political philosophers." The US government has to right to censor books, and is behaving a bit like the Ukrainian government, which murdered Dugin's daughter because "she said the wrong thing." Read more here, and watch the video (spoiler: Carlson cannot pronounce Dugin's name).

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Aguéli book now available in paperback

René Guénon
was initiated into Sufism in 1910 by Ivan Aguéli (Abd al-Hadi), who was also influential in the very earliest development of Traditionalism. The 2021 collection on Aguéli, Anarchist, Artist, Sufi: The Politics, Painting, and Esotericism of Ivan Aguéli, was originally published in hardback and priced for library sales, but is now available in paperback at the more reasonable price of $39.95/£28.99, with a further discount if bought direct from the publisher, Bloomsbury, at www.bloomsbury.com.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Interesting Traditionalist conference

An interesting Traditionalist conference is currently underway at the University of Notre Dame, entitled “Converging Wisdom? Questioning the Continued Relevance of the Perennial Philosophy” (October 2, 2022 – October 4, 2022). The keynote is by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, on “What is Perennial Philosophy and Why is it Significant Today?” The most prominent speaker, then, does see the Perennial Philosophy as still relevant, as do many other speakers. 

The schedule is available here, and the speakers include both prominent members of the Maryamiyya and other notable Traditionalists, and perhaps even a few scholars who are not Traditionalists, though I am not sure of that. It was possible to register to follow the conferecne online, and registration still seems to be open.

Thanks to C for bringing this conference to my attention.