I've been pretty quiet on here because I've been focusing on work, but some adjustments have been going on.
Over the summer I had a consultation with a flower essence practitioner and astrologer. Part of my "reaching out" in that way had to do with an anticipated visit to my mother's grave over the Labor Day weekend. There was clearly something Western-magical about the flower essences and their combination with astrology.
After our consultation, the practitioner sent me two custom flower essence blends and one standard blend. I felt I needed a little more work in that area, so I chose two more standard blends for myself (thus skipping over the expense and scheduling issues involved with a follow-up consultation).
While using one of the blends, I had a vivid dream of myself performing salat. I had had similar dreams on and off in the past, but this one inspired me to experiment with resuming the practice, not worrying about whether it appeared consistent with Amma-related practices. Within a very short time I felt as if I were reclaiming an element of self-determination that had been so lacking during the time when I was trying to get the hang of being an Amma devotee by taking cues from other devotees in my environment.
I found myself beginning to question how I might tap into the tradition of Islamic astrology, and pretty soon an answer came to me: consider Robert Zoller's work in medieval astrology. Over the winter break I began Zoller's foundations course. Since then I've found reference to two Nimatullahi initiates who are astrologers, one of them a renaissance astrologer and magician.
Since Nimatullahi was my first initiation (way back in 1992), there is something about this process that has to do with revisiting the question of what fidelity to the initiation and to the tradition really means to me. Initially I thought it was about forcing myself to participate socially, literally (at zikr and majlis, for example), regardless of the impact on my (at that time) studies, finances, relationship, pre-existing social environment, etc. In a sense, I've been trying to get those pieces to fit together more comfortably, whether in one tariqat or another, or in an Amma satsang, ever since.
Finally, it seems that I'm learning how to nurture my intellectual and esoteric interests more effectively without throwing the rest of my life so far out of balance (as has sometimes been the case). But it requires a lot of work and a lot of solitude, and I'm getting to the point where I'm less willing to worry about that than I used to be.