By Kainat Felicia Norton

"O, Space ! Symbol of Divine Silence, we passively offer our homage to Thee."

(from Harrower Papers of the Ziraat Papers of Hazrat Inayat Khan).

"Wide space, the womb of my heart, conceive my thought, I pray, and give birth to my desire".

Hazrat Inayat Khan

In Winter we enter into the depths of silence, peace, repose, patience and discover the ever glistening light deep within the dark womb of being. This is a time for spaciousness; there is naturally less focus on outer form and more on inner depth. The seed is buried deep within the dark depths of the earth and nurtured there. The state of the seed is the ether state; all the elements are together undifferentiated, in the state of unknowing, the midnight sun, faith beyond form.

In the Gathas papers, Murshid says that the ancient Greek mysteries were thought to be a course in agriculture. The journey of the soul can be likened to the seed put into the darkness of the earth and finding its way into the light and blossoming into its full potential. The Greek mysteries, called the Eleusinian mysteries, have a rich symbolic correspondence with Murshid's Ziraat teachings on how the soul " realizes for itself that Divine element."

Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture, fertility and grain, is in retreat in winter and the earth rests. Demeter's daughter Persephone, abducted by Hades is now below the earth in the subterranean underworld. During winter in the first week in February, it is said, Demeter searches the underworld for her beloved daughter. She descends herself below the earth, carrying a torch, and shines a light into the depths of darkness, in an attempt to find her lost daughter. It is our soul's finding and reconnecting with its true essence, in the depths of darkness by shining a light. The Greek philosopher, Apuleius is quoted in Murshid's Gathas papers as saying: "I went to the boundary between life and death, I passed through the four elements, I stood on the threshold of Proserpina [Persephone], at the time of deepest midnight, I saw the sun shine in brightest splendor."

In the Ziraat teachings Murshid describes the journey of the soul : "as if an angel from the highest Heaven came down and descended to the lowest depths of the earth, and from there, feeling after and longing for the Paradise it has left, has worked its way through the lower creation and arrived at the form of the human being. Although in essence, even after touching the deepest depths of the earth, the soul is divine, in order to realize for itself that Divine Element it has a task waiting even after being human, and it is the manner in which that task is accomplished and the object gained which is called Ziraat…". There is a correlation between uncovering our Divine Essence after descending into the depths of the earth and of the seed breaking forth above the earth into the light and into grain and fruit after being buried in the dark black earth.

Winter is a time of dreams, of envisioning within unconscious depths, of retreat from the outer realm to the inner roots and ground of the earth, to nourish and restore from within. All creation comes first out of the yin, the dark depths. Early February marks Demeter's search in the underworld for her daughter with a lighted torch as well as the celebration of Candlemas, Feb. 2, the day when the being of Mary, the light bearer, is illuminated with light and candles, representing purification. In Celtic tradition, this same date is honored as the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and is called Imbolc, meaning womb. It is at this time of year we may begin to feel the subtle stirring and quickening of new life in the womb of Being and we hear the slight trickling sound of underground waters again. Light shines in the darkness, the midnight sun rises and new life begins to stir beneath the earth hidden from view.


1) Find a quiet moment to sit and start to exhale with a sigh. After some breaths the sigh becomes softer and changes into a breeze. Allow the air to drain out the mind. Thoughts and feelings are dissolved in the air. While inhaling feel the air touching gently the inner walls of the nostrils, the eyes and the forehead and the brain are relaxing.

2) Become fully aware of the flow of the breath, its rhythm and after a while feel how the breath becomes slightly softer.

3) Be aware of the rhythm of the breath and feel the rhythm of the heart at the same time, witnessing the dance of spirit and matter inside your own body.

4) After a while try to feel the echo of the heart pulsing in your hands, around your shoulders and head and slowly the pulsing felt all around the body as a kind of pulsing layer or skin Then inhale and exhale through the pulsing magnetic field and feel how it will gently extend and start to move like a wave.

5) You can feel the magnetic field surrounding you and the body inside like a mould, a matrix, a womb, a void.

6) After a while you still feel the form of the matrix, the womb but it feels as if the heart becomes the center which draws in and pours out the waves of energy, love and light. The heart is resonating within the whole universe, becoming wide and cosmic.

7) Give up any concentration, feel the easiness of breathing and stay a moment in peace and silence. The heart is a wide peaceful place, surrounded by silence. In this winter-state, the heart dreams and gives birth to a deep wish. It's a silent birth, no excitement, the breath doesn't change, it goes on smoothly. The mind has no objection, the heart is not irritated, the wish is in harmony with your values and feelings. The wish born in your silent heart is the dream of nature, the dream of the elements and also the God in which you believe wishes as you wish. Your wish could be considered as an extension of the Divine wish. There is no separation.

During the remaining weeks of this winter you may descend into your heart as Demeter does with her torch and look after your wish, with love, and cherish it without disturbing the peace. Don't put any tension, expectation or wanting on it. It dreams by itself, about its own becoming, abiding in peace, surrounded by a zone of deep dark silence. You have nothing to do, except not to forget about the wish. Keeping the wish in its peaceful state, the day will come when Demeter's light will be seen.



Love and Warm Blessings,
Kainat Felicia Norton, Head of the International Ziraat

To learn more about Ziraat and upcoming events please visit: http://www.ziraat.org/