Some notes on the shin/sin

A few variations on the letter "S"/shin/sin: the theory is that all derive from the Proto-Sinaitic/Egyptian glyph for šimš  (sun, uræus), the designation of a King -- far left.
A few variations on the letter "S"/shin/sin: the theory is that all derive from the Proto-Sinaitic/Egyptian glyph for šimš (sun, uræus), the designation of a King -- far left.

There is an entire mode of spiritual meditation, found both in Kabbalah and Sufism, that considers the syntax of the Torah and Qur’an, respectively, as pure Truth, so that the deepest meanings may be found even within the very individual letters of God’s word.

Of course, the fact that we see this within both Hebrew and Arabic mystical contexts begs the question: is there something spiritually unique about these two particular semitic scripts?

If we talk about a particular script as if it were God’s chosen alphabet, so to speak, then this implicitly suggests that it has something other scripts lack. If I find Truth in the shape of each letter of the shahada, but say nothing about this Truth occurring in the English translation of the shahada, then I am implicitly privileging the Arabic over the English. Which is justifiable, one might think, given that Arabic is the language of revelation.

There is a problem of finding Truth within one script over another. For example: how can both Hebrew and Arabic be God’s chosen languages? Having two scripts entails a multiplicity of Divine scripts, and would consequently run the risk of rendering arbitrary the attribution of Divine meaning to individual letters.

But of course, so linguistic archeologists speculate, all phonetic scripts are related. If there is a common Divine root located in a pure alphabet, what is status is given to parents, cousins and children? Hebrew and Arabic overlap at many points, being close cousins, but diverge at others. Arabs say “Sakina”, in Hebrew it is “Shekhinah”. There must have been an earlier ancestor word with a (probably) somewhat different spelling. From “Sh” to “S”: if scripts are privileged, what happens to the Truth contained within the God’s Syntax when there is inevitable bifurcation and evolution over time?

Do we then just say: all languages are Holy and all scripts have Truth within their syntax? But surely there is something deeper going on under the hood of our collective journey. Something fulfilled and completed by the Revelation of the Seal? At least in this Abrahamic case, a linear progression, not a simple heterogeneity of divine languages.

Given that we believe that writing was first given to the Prophet Idris, and, given that there are at least two cousin traditions of syntactic meditation based within the Abrahamic context, it is interesting to review the genealogies of scripts so that we might 1) understand why an original Truth runs through (at least) the proto-semitic and semitic scripts (and, consequently, to aspects of the script I am employing to write these notes) 2) address the problem of privileging and completion by the Seal’s revelation (and his own language of revelation).

Let’s look at the S/”shin”/”sin”. “S” is interesting, because the genealogy of the letter for the “S” sound runs through various proto- and semitic scripts and also into Cyrillic and Latin. And is used for concepts that various people (including myself) have equated in some form or another. S is for Shekhinah, for Sakina, and for Sophia.

I have spoken of these concepts before in connection to the nature of Speech, of the means by which we experience the Divine within Differentiated Reality of the Symbolic, as the Bride and in relation to Christ and Christ’s return. Speaking with terminology borrowed from my mother’s Russian lineage (specifically, Soloviev, whose ghost still haunts the British Library over here), I wrote something about latter relationship here.

We now speak a clear Arabic when we discuss the final revelation of God. And “S” is key within that revelation. But the letter’s genealogy goes further back in time.

Permit me to sally forth with six (silly) suggestions:

1) The “S” is indeed central to the emergence and the return. It is a Kingdom of wheat. The Presence, the garden that abides within speech. We might even say it both a fertilizer and the wheat, a harvest that is so very close to the soil, that distinguishing one from the other, or conflating one with the other — or even bringing in the gardener or the act of growth itself and conflating these things — is a constant temptation for the theologian and the cause of many errors.

2) There is actually a universal S, whatever alphabet you employ, whose meaning is within the alphabet itself: not a meaning that transcends the letter(s), but a Truth that is precisely contained in the syntax of the S itself. In this universal, Divinely gifted, original alphabet, there is no semantics, only syntax.

An indicated semantics or “meaning” is the wrong word to apply to the muqatta’at of this alphabet: it is more accurate to say that these letters are a literal conduit of Light from the Real to the Symbolic (the realm that we inhabit and perceive and write in). And, at the risk of sounding a bit nutty, it was through the bodily ascension of Idris into the Real that this conduit is effected.

The shin/sin is the Presence experienced within, and constituting, the Kingdom of signs. Literally. It is not a symbol, it is the kingdom. Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) perceived this offering in Revelation when he apprehended this sign, and we perceive it ourselves, recorded on the page : and through this Kingdom, the rest of the Revelation — the Kingdom itself, which is the Revelation — flowed into him, like water from a rock, and onto our page. Importantly, it is not a Symbolic entity, like everything we normally perceive and write, it is something rather like a Real hyper-hieroglyph. It is, precisely, what it represents.

The trace of this truth can be understood by meditating on the historical genealogy of S. Because if we do this, we get a connection back to Idris, the prophet who was taught the alphabet in the first place).

3) For example, the hypothesis is that our S derives — via proto-semitic alphabets — from the uraeus, the symbol of sovereignty — of Kingdom — used by the Egyptians, an upright snake attached to an orb — which linguistic archeologists say is the related symbol for Sun — although I suspect that there is something more going on here than a simple Sun.

Shams is of course Sun in Arabic, and its in Surah 91 (Ash-Shams) that we are taught what this “something more” is. A relationship between sun, moon, day, night, heaven earth and soul is brought out, all determined and spread and fashioned by the Creator, inspiring it to profligacy and piety.

I argue that this entire macrocosmic-logico-molecular composition is contained within the letter, as it was originally given to Idris.

And to deny the composition — to deny the essentially Temporal (and so Divine) — nature of this letter is precisely to read it as “just” a letter, which is what we do now — a letter whose value only derives from a semantics we project onto it. To create a semantics is to deny the she-camel of the syntax, the she-camel that should be free to graze upon an earth that nourishes her via the “S”.

And this is precisely the sin of Thamud, mentioned at the end of the Surah, who denounced. Recall that they built houses from the stabilizers — from the mountains. And then denied the she-camel who emerged from these stabilizers. They were true skeptics, living within the stabilization provided by an alphabet, refusing to perceiving that Gift which emerges from the syntax. A Gift, not of semantics, but of Presence and Grace, not projected onto, but emerging from. Their Messenger said: “Beware of Allah’s she-camel and her drinking time.” What did they denounce — what was their arrogance? It was to deny the interrelationships between these signs and domains. Because their interrelationships are the she-camel that emerges, moves through the desert, and what we call “time” is precisely the moment of her drinking.

4) Another, equivalent, way of putting things …

There is an other (equally good) hypothesis about what the precursor glyph — from which the Hebrew shin derives — is said to represent: it has been suggested that it is in fact a composite bow (turn the shin on its side and you can imagine this).

Recall that a rainbow formed within the Cloud was the sign given to Noah after the flood …

5) Fundamentally, the S is both a tranquility that descends upon us, and a sustenance that emerges from within our field, and through this, a means by which the Logos will fully return.

Looking for a connection to the Seal of Prophecy? From Noah we have a Rainbow’s connection to the Prophet’s final ascent through the Mi’raj, where he became close to Allah as two bows’ lengths. Through this movement, we will be reborn in a New World: by the length of two bows. One felt and experienced here, for the seekers, the other in the realm of “perfect speech” (Qur’an 88:11).

This is the kingdom, granted to the Prophets. It was given to Saul, who — because of his poverty — was chosen to be King: “The proof of his kingship is that there shall come to you the Ark in which there is tranquility (Sakina) from your Lord and the relics of Moses and the family of Aaron borne by the angels. In this there is a proof for you if you are real believers” (Qur’an 2:247-248). All proofs are conducted in Time: Time is, in fact, proof. The proof inhabits and runs through a battle that is no battle, because of the “S” of tranquility contained within, possessed by the Kings.

The bow perceived from Noah’s Ark. The letter of the King. Relationships running from sun to soul. Drinking time for the she-camel. Two bows’ lengths.

6) Having sketched a genealogy of commonality, a pseudo-archeological speculation of what is privileged in the syntax of one particular letter, a final point is to be made about difference between scripts, a difference that is the origin of privilege.

I believe that difference is, rather than a hinderance to our passage, is the means by which passage through the desert to the Truth. The two brothers and the alternating angels of the diamond dialectic. We noted their importance in the Qur’an’s verses on Saul’s inheritance of the ark (2:248), specifically in relation to the Kingdom’s S of Sakina. I am now tempted to describe a surprising inverted precursor to this in the Tanakh, in Judges.

Perhaps precursor is the wrong word, as the events described follow those described in the Qur’an, but are a direct side-effect (a shattering side-effect we might say), of Israel’s journey with Moses.

The story is interesting because it is about the difference between “shin” and “sin” — the different, splintered pronunciations of the same letter. And what this means in relation to battles and modes of approaching the dialectic of difference.

Recall that the diamond dialectic is the process of journeying through the desert, by which all Truth is obtained. It exactly what constitutes process of proof — is one of an interplay, a discourse — between martyrdom and victory, between a priest’s fana and a prophet’s revelation, between praise and reading, between ruku and itdal –between Aaron and Moses. We experience it all the time, but self-reflexively in theological debate, where people assume positions and negotiate their experiences by bouncing descriptions of them off of each other.

At any rate, if this interplay takes the form of brotherly love, then it is the diamond dialectic. Otherwise, it degenerates into war and mastery/slavery.

But what happens when an alien is introduced into the picture (or rather, a half-alien). In Judges, the people of Gilead (of the “hill of Testimony) call on Jephthah to serve as their Leader and Judge, having previously rejected him (because his mother was a concubine, while his father was Gilead) and sent him from their land and inheritance. They call him back because only he can defeat the Ammonites.

A foreigner, whose mother is the cause of his rejection by his half-brothers, whose father is Testimony, returns to Judge.

He defeats the Amonites for his half-brothers. But then the tribe of the Ephraimites (“double fruitfulness”) come to him, angry that they weren’t part of the battle (they were invited before but at that moment refused — now they come after the battle, jealous they didn’t get a share of the spoils of Victory). A secondary, internal war breaks out, with the Half-Alien Jephthah judging.

So in typically black humour, the following description is given of how the conflict resolved itself, with Gileadites defeating the Ephraimites:

Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, ‘Let me cross,’ the men of Gilead would ask, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ they then said, ‘Very well, say Shibboleth.’ If anyone said, ‘Sibboleth’, because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion. (Judges 12:5-6)

Shibboleth means both a part of a plant that contains grains — or a river or stream.

And thus, in a war of brother against brother … Annihilation for those who said “sin” instead of “shin”. Fana for the fruitful, victory for the Victorious. Sin in matyrdom and Shin in testament, conflicted, shattered. Because of an accent over the original sign! Pronouncing the “S” in grain/river.

And a judgement passed by an alien who is not. I argue that it is his foreign nature, the part of him that lies outside the language game of his half-brothers, from which his ability to wage war (and to lead) derives: his mother is difference, he is born of difference, and a warrior is nothing other than an expert in Metamodel Transformation, movement from one language to another. A master of cultural synthesis, is one way of putting things: a master of differentiated regimes is one who has power over all cities.

I submit to you (whoever has been kind enough to read this far!) that final War of Metamodel Transformation waged by our own Prophet, both an Alien, a Son and final inheritor of the Abrahamic tradition, precisely resolves and fulfills this conflict (hence the precursory echo), by perfectly brining together these two pronunciations of brothers, transmogrifying the conflict into … er … a Romantic Comedy between lovers:

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13 thoughts on “Some notes on the shin/sin

  1. >Arabs say “Sakina”, in Hebrew it is “Shekhinah”. There must have been an
    >earlier ancestor word with a (probably) somewhat different spelling.

    Not necessarily… to look for an ‘ancestor word’ locates the archetypal language in the world, as a historical predecessor.

    There is a close and interesting parallel here with Goethe’s search for the archetypal plant (ürpflanze), which he initially believed must be a simple ancestor of contemporary plants. At that time the fossil record was just being discovered, so it was natural to think in these terms. However, in the Botanical Gardens in Palermo he had what amounts to a spiritual experience, in which he saw the archetypal plant as something quite different.

    “When I closed my eyes and bent my head representing to myself a flower right at the centre of the organ of sight, new flowers sprang out of this heart, with coloured petals and green leaves… there was no way of stopping this effusion, that went on as long as my contemplation lasted, neither slowing nor accelerating.”

    The great unsung hero of C20 British philology, Owen Barfield – who knew his Goethe – described this principle pithily in one of his books as ‘Interior is Anterior’: the ‘common ancestor’ is not historically but ontologically prior.

    Why do the French say intention, the Italians intenzione, the Spanish intencíon and the Portuguese intenção? These can be seen as variants of the Latin intentio, but only because the Latin word preceded the others. Another way of looking at all of these, including the Latin, is as possible expressions of an archetype that cannot itself manifest in speech – as ‘new flowers’ springing out of the same heart.

    When one looks at language in this way, what becomes clear is that the form of manifestation of a word depends on the receptivity of the people who speak it – a peculiarly ‘Akbarian’ observation. The American linguist Benjamin Lee-Whorf (who is better known for the “Sapir Whorf hypothesis” of linguistic relativity – much exaggerated by Post Modernist philosophers from his original ideas) pointed out in the 1930s that each language was subject to a set of unspoken linguistic rules that dictated, amongst other things, how any new word would sound.

    So, to come back to the Sin and the Shin… one might say that “Shekinah” is how the same linguistic impulse, or archetype, manifests in Hebrew that manifests, in Arabic, as “Sakinah”.

    My twopennyworth, at any rate.

    1. Peace James,

      You said “to look for an ‘ancestor word’ locates the archetypal language in the world, as a historical predecessor.”

      Of course I agree with you completely, and I want to use your comment to make this absolutely clear. Though I am playing with the historical “facts” available to me here, whenever I talk about genealogy, ancestry, precedence etc, ANYWHERE in this blog, I mean this purely in terms of what I call True Time, as distinct from history with a small “h”:
      https://thegoodgarment.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/the-historical-jesus/

      Any genealogy I talk about is an ontological genealogy. Partly because I am not an archeologist, so am absolutely unqualified to talk about this stuff in a “proper” mode of historical analysis, but also because I am, first and foremost, a seeker, and the search takes place within True Time.

      I am not aware Barfield — thanks for the tip!

      But readers should take this hyper-archeological speculation on the shin/sin in the same mode as, say the fantasies regarding the “J” writer given by Harold Bloom. He creatively reconstructs the “J” thread of the Torah, fantasizing it to be written by a woman in the court of King David, possibly Bathesheba herself. He writes all this in a mode that appears historical, but of course the point he makes is PURELY ontological, as you put it. One precedent he has for this style of fantasy archeology is that of Freud, with his crazy book on Moses. And this particular blog piece can be read, self-reflexively, as genealogically/hyper-historically related to both those authors and their speculations (even though I just gave you an actual description of the historical precedent those authors stand in relation to me, it is the ontological precedence/difference/sameness between the Tailor, Bloom and Freud that is significant here).

      Thank you so much for reading my writing so carefully, I really value your correspondence (as do a number of my regular readers — the feedback I am getting is that our little dialogues really help to bring out the salient points for them). I will endeavor to respond to your other comment soon!

      Love and Light,

      Mu the Tailor

  2. dear friends thomas & james & all-who-may …
    i have been over the past few weeks reading with great interest & growing “fascinations” – won’t go into the latin “roots” , here , eh ! – & with mostly silence , the ongoing discussion of the letter/sign “sîn-shîn” which i have followed at the sarail , swb , & elsewhere … but today is my first visit to your blog – so far i find it exquisite & have bookmarked it newly right at the “top” of my list , thus , gratitudes brother thomas – & of course i have “profitted” in not only reading at last this fuller-blown & much more detailed treatment of the “subject” , but from browsing as well , have discovered a true treasure-trove (i beleaf the trove “comes from” trouver , or trovère (troubadour in the northern “langue d’oil” (sp?) , & then “englished”) , but may be incorrect …) & shall surely & in short shift , is it ? , be returning – hamd’ullah Al-Muqallib !

    two “other” instances stand to mind when considering this mysterious yet obviously “key” (in fact in HA-Qabala – the “living” – this “number/sign” (300 in both cases) , along with Aleph & Mem are Named the 3 Mothers … the term for “name” in hebrew felicitously contains all 3 : schema ! … for aSample) ITEM , to whit & primo , the Prophet Mustapha’s (hadithic ,i beleaf & not qur’anic , yet , correct me if … & thanks !) supposed “injunction” concerning the quest for Knowledge “… seek It , all the way to “Sîn” – china ; whatever it might ultimately signify , this pithy “challenge” has inevitably sent me always “back” to “my” Aleph-Bayt” , though i have very little arabic abjadic “gifts” i have spent the past 30 years regularly “working-with” the Experience of Hebrew “mysticism” though the auspices of my very profound & extended concentrated attentions upon & intentions towards what “we” name the HA-Qabala , shorn of all “gilt” (haha) , brought up to , well , TODAY (gulp !) – & considered only real when living AND giving Life , amen . thus most of what i have to offer comes quite frankly from non-sufy original sources … & i may have more to say on “sacred languages” , in the near future .

    the second instance comes simply & direct from the fact the in hebrew we “have” YHWH (the four letter Divinity) & THEN , feature this , with the birth of YHShWH (jesus – maryr of lovers !) we find the only “difference” IS this newly received “shîn” (though actually a maturing , an unfoldment & , for those who ask & come together two or more “under His Name” , well , it’s just this (!!!) , YHWH with a Shîn (sometimes simplified to an abrupt “cosmic Breath” – very universally Active , “motherly” , in fact the blossoming forth of a possible Operant Tawhid) “buried” between the two “HA’s” (of yhwh – the “double life” of Life !)) … which , strangely , i’ve seen no other “school” of spiritual “investigations” even mention … why not ? does THIS not contain a huge Knowledge , though of course i’d be a cad if i put any words into YOUR mouths , so will just sign , sincerely & seriously “curious” , i remain , your yatima al-wafa , loyal orfan & wind (Breath) harvestor from farangistan , which helps to explain all the quote marks , for obviously i do NOT consider english , or french , to be “sacred tongues” , even if we DO have a Written Alphabet ; may take a look at sanskrit , & perhaps give BOTH arabic AND hebrew , of course more & more so “going back” (haha , in reality it’s moving ahead , well , words are “hell” : “Send “em all “South” , eh !”) towards “the originals” , as far as possible & the REST IS UP to “us” , hayy … & “we” , as an each AND an “also” , do have “hidden” inner capacities as well as outer (!) allies , just such as these still available to those-who-will , sacred language “experiments/experiences” , funnily enough exactly the same term in french , gosh , & , another quirkly aSample , “our” english terms conscience AND consciousness are both spelt & pronounced identical … yet some farangistanis DO seem to have at least an organic “memory” to perhaps “pre-fusion days” , beats me , but makes some thoughtful discussions very subtle , & is surely not a sacred tongue , but has one heck of a beauty all of its own – tra la la & au revoir les amis …

    khalil ibn walad johnny gusto

  3. sorry , friends , the “anonymous” was unintended & from hence-forward my name should appear as questorJohnny – & my webmail address has been added , thanks … qJ!

    1. Peace and blessings Jonny Q,

      It is an honour to have your presence, friendship and wisdom within my humble shop! There are many significant observations contained within your comment: I’d urge the other readers to review it again, typically of Johnny Q’s beat-matrix of understanding, it behooves repeated review. The point regarding YHShWH and YHWH is important — I think it is the answer that a mutual friend of ours was looking for/found.

      I gather it is your birthday tomorrow — I perceive you wear a garment of days that is beautiful, may you earn many more days of beauty, for the benefit of your family and friends (myself included).

      Love and Light,

      Mu

  4. Do you know the story of Muhammad and Bilal, the African slave who was Muhammad’s first prayer caller. The ‘self-righteous’ followers of Muhammed wanted to do away with Bilaal because of his pronunciation of the prayers; his mother tongue did not contain the shin /sh/ sound. They suggested suggested that this honor should be given to someone else, because Bilal could not pronounce the Arabic letter ‘sheen’ properly and instead used the letter ‘seen’ (the two sounds had merged in “s” in classical Ge’ez). It is reported that Muhammad said, “The ‘seen’ of Bilal is ‘sheen’ in the hearing of God,” meaning that God does not see the physical manifestation; He appreciates the purity of heart. I have had visions of the sheen. It took me almost 2 years to figure out what the symbol was. This symbol took me to the two stories from Islam and Judaism/Christianity: Muhammed and Bilal, Gileadites and Ephraimites…I KNEW that this symbol/letter was sacred…I have seen the symbols at the top of your page in my visions. I have actually seen the s/sh in many languages appear in the visions. I have also seen the 4 pronged shin…it was the first to appear. That is why it took me SO long to find out the meaning of the symbol; it came to me upside down/inverted and 4 pronged! I am sure you know the significance of the 4 pronged shin. I was so overwhelmed when I read your blog. It has provided so many answers to my many questions!!!! Thank you, and blessings to you now and always!

      1. Also, did you know the meaning of the 3 dots above the ‘sheen’ in Arabic…they represent three locks. The lock upon the ears, on the heart,
        the lock/veil on our eyes. This letter is considered sacred in Islam as well (seen/sheen). My research says that it is ‘Arsh’ or the ‘divine throne’…the 3 dots representing the locks. “The purpose of the spiritual practices is to unlock the three locks on the hearts reaching towards the Divine heart through the Prophetic heart.”

        May I ask, what books, resources would you suggest for further study of the letter ‘s’…sheen/seen, shin/sin, sigma, etc…How do you know so much about it!?!?! This has really been so helpful to me! I have been having the awake visions for the past 3 years and have had a difficult time figuring out the significance of the symbols. I knew their was spiritual significance in the letter S, and you have now confirmed it. I have seen the letter s, sh represented in many languages, especially religious languages/alphabets that were ‘divinely’ inspired. Any suggestions for further study would be much appreciated! I may send you a few more questions before it’s all said and done! Thanks for your patience!

  5. Salaams very dearest Mu – Ramadan Mubarak, took me a second to realize that was old letter of Johnny’s but think he has the long and the short of it.
    As for seeing the multiple glyphs, the only way I’ve ever been able to express it is that the mixture of glyphs are really overlays. If one were to seperate them out, one would see a multidimensional continuity of horizons and localities of the pure manifestations and what are said to be conduits would seem to me almost to be cosmic equivalents of the lataif or apertures of ourselves. One could trace historical time this way, as I think James is getting at, if one could envision more than partial alphabets. Of course, I always oversimplify, but just as well since you and James cover the rest of the bases, no? I hope you are doing well. I’ve all these jars of honey about so get to think of you each day. K.

  6. Also, meant to say regarding Bilal, that if God hears the intent of the ‘sin’, then, among other manifestations within Bilal, the ‘nun’ would be inclusive, and I think that the ‘nun’ would have to be considered in both letters as this what you call a conduit is reliant on the existance of it and the relationship to our micro selves just as the ‘ha’ would make the ‘sin’ manifest … or so it seems. K.

  7. Tailor, it’s anonymous again. I will call myself A as an identifier. I am a Christian, born to Southern Baptist parents, but believe that Christ actually came to abolish religion; I just believe in the LOVE that He came to reveal and want to become that unconditional love to all—to love God with my heart, mind, soul and body, and to love neighbor as self. I have been having ‘visions in the head while awake’, much like those described by Daniel in the Old Testament, for a couple of years now. They have mostly been Hebrew letters, but often other historical and religious symbols and letters from other alphabets. The Shin/Sin and the Sheen/Seen have been recurring symbols in the visions, and as I said in my earlier entries above, I ‘knew’ their was something mystical, hisorical, spiritual and significant about the Shin and Sheen and the letter ‘S’, but I had no proof or affirmation in writing of this until I began my long search online. I read your blog and my mouth fell open! My question is how can I know what you know about the Shin/SIn…I am a person with NO background knowledge whatsoever of the mystical Hebrew and Arabic alphabets, even though I feel that I already ‘know’…why did you post this blog entry? How did you know about the Shin/Sin? Are there books, websites, etc. where I can go to learn more? I believe that the visions that I am having are very real and have deep meaning. I think learning more about what you know will help me in my quest for knowledge surrounding the vision symbols. Thank you for any help you can provide. Blessings. A

    1. Hello A … to tell you the truth, I have quite a minimal background in Hebrew and Arabic, a basic (secular) education in linguistics and the history of alphabets, and I probably wrote this piece based on “vision in the head while awake”. My main interest is in the “S” for Shekhinah/Sakina/Sophia (the feminine presence of God), and visions thereof. I read a bit more (lot a lot) about the letters in Sufism and Kabbalah to attempt to join the dots. In Islam there are these mysterious letters (the Muqataat) that sometimes appear at the beginnings of the Qur’an’s chapters. In Kabbalah, there are particular significance attached to letters. Wikipedia was sufficient for me to find out the key points that satisfied my interest in the history of letters (I’m serious, it’s a good resource). It’s quite amazing that all our phonetic alphabets originate from the middle east, deriving from a Semitic pronounciation/phoneticization of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

      My sources are basically: a bit of ibn Arabi, a bit of the Zohar, Wikipedia — and my own intuition and reasoning about what makes sense. I found this site particularly fun:

      http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Pictograms/pictograms.html

  8. Thanks so much for responding. Again, I may come back from time to time and ask you questions! Where is the best place to communicate. I know this blog was created in 2009!!! So wonderful of you to respond to all of our comments. Blessings to you!!

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