Religious Ecstasy









Noajdie & ecstasy

L. Backman




Eugnostos the Blessed

J. P. So,rensen



Ecstasy & Vision

A. Hultgoard



Classical S.ufism

G. Oge`n





The Noajdie and his ecstasy

Louise Backman


p. 123 phantasm of the living

"the free-soul or alter ego of the noajdie is often said to materialize in front of the onlooker and is then able to perform real deeds while the noajdie himself {his material body, not "himself"} is lying in a trance far away. Arbman has given a true instance of such an event (Arbman 1955, 49-52) : ... they were helped by an old "spoalapp" (Saami-wiseman) who turned up and thereafter immediately disappeared without saying a word. On reaching their destination, the two men, to their astonishment, met the old Lapp again."

Arbman 1955 in :- Oa. Hultkranz (ed.) : Primitiv religion och magi. Stockholm.

p. 124 magical reindeer-herding

[in Swedish Southern Lapland] "a respected noajdie, was once able to drive home a herd of reindeer-cows and calves from a distance by manipulating his drum while singing a jojk."

p. 125 return-travel of a noajdie (in the subtle -body) from the netherworld while guided by a divine spirit-guide

"A writer from the 17th century, Lundius by name and Saami by origin, narrates :

When a noajdie was returning from the 'nether world', the 'spirit of divination' (spoadoms-anda) led the 'man's spirit' (lappens anda) in great haste through the mountains and across valleys so that stones and sand whirled about like rain and hail ... (Lundius 1905, 7)."

Lundius 1905 = N. Lundius : "Nicolai Lundii Lappi descriptio Lapponiae". SVENSKA LANDSMOAL 17, 5. Uppsala.

p. 126 Saami soul's subterranean tunnel-travel to the netherworld abode for souls of the dead

"When a person dies ..., his "soul" will dive into a hole behind the boassjoe -- ... the holy area of a kota -- and fly away like a bird through a long corridor in the inner parts of the earth. ... During the voyage the "soul" will be surrounded by deep darkness and a terrible noise. At the end of the corridor he will see a luminous point like a star to which he will come closer and closer, and, when he reaches it he will be enclosed in a hot and colourful illumination, and

the heat will be almost unbearable. He will see his own body lying on the earth at a distance, for now he will be flying through space at a tremendous speed over mountains and over vast, green areas. All the time he will be surrounded by colours like those of the rainbow,

{"She ... started by the rainbow path of the sun but, finding it too warm ... ." (HM, p. 221)}

and in his hair there will be sparkling stars.

{"and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Apok. Ioan. 12:1).}

After his flight through space he will reach a long beach with sand, and the surrounding area will be covered with green grass and yellow flowers in abundance.

Then he will know that he has arrived in the realm of the dead".

HM = Martha Beckwith : Hawaiian Mythology. Yale U Pr, 1940.




Eugnostos the Blessed

Jo,rgen Podemann So,rensen


p. 212 This Epistle of Eugnostos the Blessed "has come down to us in two copies, one in NagHammadi Codex III and another ... in Codex V."

pp. 213-4 mirror-reflection of the divine and its sequel in cosmogony

p. 213

"the eternal, unborn, nameless" : "a reflection of him in a mirror, an antopos, called Autopator and Autogenetor, appears, and gives origin to an immortal androgynous {androgyne}.

The male aspect of immortal {androgyne} is called perfect Nous,

the female pansophos Sophia, the mother. ...

Through the correspondence of Son of man with his female aspect, first-born Sophia, mother of the All,

the next level of emanation, a great androgynous light, is generated. Its male aspect is Soter, the creator of everything,

its female Sophia pangenetira also called Pistis.

From this pair are generated 6 pneumatic pairs ... . ...

{From the divine couple Kronos and Rheia are procreated the 6 gods and 6 goddesses constituting the divine council on mt. Olumpos}

p. 214

From the 6 pneumatic pairs or 12 powers

36 pairs or 72 powers are generated ... .

The 72 in turn generate 5 pneumatic beings each, ... 360 is reached. ...

In this way 72 heavens originate, each divided into 5 firmaments".




Ecstasy and Vision

Anders Hultgoard


pp. 220-1 arriving in the divine world in dreams

p. 220

"The beginning of a vision is frequently announced by the indication that sleep overtakes the seer. It may be ... that many visions ... occur in the form of dreams seen ... during normal sleep. ... The introduction to the visions in the Testament of Levi describes the patriarch ... experiences that "there fell upon me a sleep and I beheld ..." (2:5)."

p. 221

[1st^k 14:8-9] "Behold, clouds in the vision called me and mists summoned me, and the stars in their courses and lightnings hastened and excited me, and winds in my vision caused me to fly and lifted me upward."

{All these elements (clouds, mists, stars, lightning, winds) are praesent in the dream at its commencement, occurring in that sequence early in the dream.}

pp. 222-4 dreaming by Zaratustra, by Vis^taspa, and by Viraz {/VIRAZ/ = Vaidik deity /VIRAJ^/}

p. 222

Zaratustra's ""wisdom of omniscience" (Pahlavi : xrat i harvisp-akahih)" (Bahman Yas^t III.8) : "Zoroaster reflected that he had seen (it) in a pleasant sleep granted by Ahura Mazda : '... I have slept long time ... the pleasant sleep, granted by Ahura Mazda'".

p. 223

"Denkart VII, 4:84-86 and Pahlavi Rivayat XLVII, 27-32 describes the heavenly journey of Vis^taspa ... . ... Vis^taspa is ... to drink a cup of haoma ... mixed with ... henbane (mang). He then falls into a deep sleep and his soul is taken to heaven."

p. 224

Viraz "consumed the wine and the mang, ... and fell asleep ..." ([Book of Artay Viraz] II, 31). The ... seer's journey given in III, 1-4 is ... :

"And the soul of Viraz went from the body to the peak of Daiti [fn 5 : "Daiti mountain is in the middle of the world" according to Bundahis^n IX.9], (over) the C^invat bridge and came back the seventh day ... and went into the body. ...""

{Henbane can artificially produce astral-projection; and was much-used for such by witches in antient and mediaeval Europe.} {Haoma would produce unusual dreams.}




Ecstasy in Classical S.ufism

Go:ren Oge`n


p. 229 terminology for 'ecstasy'

""ecstasies", mawag^id from the singular form wag^d". ...

"Mawag^id ... are ... the results of 'clashes' (nata>ig^ al-munazalat)" (Al-Qus^ayri, ed. 1972-74, 217)."

{cf. the clashing of weapons by the Korubantes}

p. 229 antithetical pairs



qurb ('closeness')

bu<d ('distance')

h.ud.ur ('praesence')

g.ayba ('absence')

wag^d ('ecstasy')

faqd ('loss' [of ecstasy])

fana> ('disappearance')

baqa> ('staying')

pp. 229-30 handbook by >as-Sarraj^; tractate by >al-H^arraz

p. 229

"As-Sarrag^ (d. 988), author of the oldest known S[.]ufi handbook" [: this is the Kitab >al-luma< (p. 237)]

p. 230

"a small tractate entitled Kitab as.-s.afa> and attributed to al-H^arraz. Al-H^arraz died in 898 A.D."

pp. 232-5 stages of waj^d ('ecstasy'), according to >al-H^arraz






"concentration of intention (hamm) by way of intensive [self-]observation (muraqaba) ... when experiencing the first flashings of ... the light ...". (>al-H^arraz ed. 1967, 23)


"Stupefaction (dahs^a) from the ominous impressions (t.awariq) of awe ... as a contentment due to purity of union ( ...


as an overwhelming wisdom. Most strong gnostics (<arifun) ... start screaming ..., for they become wild ...". (>al-H^arraz ed. 1967, 23)


"the mystic ... is now God ...". (>al-H^arraz ed. 1967, 24)



"His identity and his reckoning have vanished (dahaba)." (>al-H^arraz ed. 1967, 26) "This definitive ineffability occurs ... when also the


gnosis ... (ma<arifa) has left (dahaba) the mystic".

p. 235 God speaketh through the mystic's mouth

"God calls ... through his (the mystic's) person (nafs) ..., He praises ... through his tongue". (>al-H^arraz ed. 1967, 27)

{This is commonly known as "spirit-possession", and is a prime feature of West African indigenous religious cults.}

pp. 237, 239 hearing a pious statement may induce ecstasy; so may hearing a pious response to a religious quaestion

p. 237

[There are many reports about those who] "heard a word (kalima) ..., an edifying speech (maw<az.a), or a fine wisdom-word (h.ikma) that ... elicited ecstasy (wag^d) in their inmost (sirr)". (>as-Sarraj^ ed. 1963, 295)

p. 239

"S^ibli replied 'It is inessential how many times I call Him to remembrance, if He just calls me to remembrance one single time!' At these words, G^unayd ... came out of himself -- az h^od bes^od". (< ed. 1961, II.148)

{This induction by means of a pious response to a quaestion in the form of a koan is a frequent theme in Dhyana/C^>an/Zen literature, where "bodhi/satori" is aequivalent to "waj^d".}

p. 238 from imitation to reality : feigned ecstasy

There are S.ufi-s "who ... imitate the ecstatic state and who behaved as if they were in ecstasy (tawag^ada) --

a feigned ecstasy may also be conducive to real ecstasy."

{Because the divine world is flattered with such imitative behaviour, therefore to the imitator may be divinely granted the heavenly grace of true ecstasy.}

p. 238 from reality to imitation : darwis`-dance

"As far as the darwis^-dance is concerned, it is not until the thirteenth century with Rumi (d. 1273) that it becomes transformed from an expression of ecstasy -- and as such, quite a controversial one (Mole' 1963, 147) -- into an expedient for ecstasy (Meier 1954, 127)."

Mole' 1963 = M. Mole' : "La danse extatique en Islam". SOURCES ORIENTALES 6.

Meier 1954 = F. Meier : "Der Derwischtanz". ASIATISCHE STUDIEN 8.

pp. 238-9 music

"al-Tustari (d. 896) : "It is reported that when Sahl al-Tustari listened to a sama< (a kind of musical performance), ecstasy (wag^d) manifested itself in him. ..." (< ed. 1961, I 230)!"


SCRIPTA INSTITUTI DONNERIANA ABOENSIS, XI = Nils G. Holm (ed.) : Religious Ecstasy : Symposium on Religious Ecstasy held at Oabo, Finland, 1981. Almquist & Wiksell Internat, Stockholm, 1982.