Queen of May
Mary's Month

May 1: Mary as Queen of the May, of spring flowering and gardens: The first historical reference to a garden dedicated to Mary is that of the Irish patron saint of gardening, St. Fiacre, who planted a garden he carefully tended around the oratory to Our Lady he built beside his hermitage in France, in the 7th century CE. He created a hospice for the poor there which became renowned for miracles of healing.

May 3rd: Remembrance day of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland (14th century)

May 13th: Remembrance day of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal (1917 CE)


Extracts from The Way of Mary, Chapter XII. Tranquility of Spirit

It is interesting to note that one of the most renowned of the ten appearances officially recognized by the Catholic Church as truly miraculous “Marian Apparitions” is the appearance of Beloved Mary as “Our Lady of Fátima.” When Beloved Mary appeared to the three children in Portugal in 1917, near the small village of Fátima, named after the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, the appearance was subsequently witnessed again by tens of thousands of people. Since that event, numerous Christians worldwide address the Virgin Mary in prayer as “Our Lady of Fátima,” further interweaving hearts of the Abrahamic faiths.

It is related that Prophet Muhammad before his own death had told his daughter Fatimah, “You shall be the most blessed of women in Paradise, after Mary.” And now, Beloved Mary is well-known around the world as “Our Lady of Fátima.” Surely Beloved Mary’s appearance at Fátima, Portugal, is a renewed sign for the unity of spirit among Muslims and Christians, a gift from this Mother of Spirit who continues to bring together people of varied cultures, times, and place.


Hear more about Beloved Mary from Camille Ana and others sharing at the book launch for The Way of Mary. Click the image below to watch.

May Theme

May our breath be replenished by His breath.

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Rumi's Sun E-book

Translated by Camille Helminski and Refik Algan

Rumi’s Sun collects many lessons and discourses from Shams of Tabriz, the Sufi mystic and spiritual master who was the catalyst for Rumi’s awakening. His teachings and insights inspired much of Rumi’s poetry and are still celebrated today by all Sufis. Translated by two noted students of Sufism, Shams’ timeless teachings are presented here in their traditional order.

This revised e-book edition now has improved formatting and navigation.

Kindle USA
Kindle UK
Assisi Retreat Jul 12-15

A Retreat in The Spirit of Rumi

with Shaikh Kabir & Selçuk Gürez, Master Sufi Musician

The retreat will support a vibrational shift in our souls through sacred music and movement, through practices of silence, stillness, and remembrance, through contemplating the jewels of wisdom in Rumi and Sufism, in the blessed atmosphere of Saint Francis’s Assisi, and through a heart connection with other sincere seekers.

We will explore and experience the knowledge and practice of: awakening spiritual perception, purifying the self, understanding the cosmic nature of Love, living with humility and inner freedom.

By awakening the essence of the Heart, we can deprogram the false self, experience our intimacy with the Divine, and discover a greater capacity for love.

Le Case Agriturismo Assisi is a country residence immersed in the splendid setting of the Monte Subasio Natural Park, among streams and woods, livestock farms and organic crops. Please note that you will need to book your accommodation and catering directly with the venue.

More details
UK Retreat Aug 2-5

Shaikh Kabir will be back in the UK for the annual retreat, to be held Aug 2-5 at The Vedanta retreat centre in Lincolnshire. More details in June.

May 5th

Join us for a monthly online meditation and sohbet with Shaikh Kabir and Camille, and special guests from the Threshold community. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month at 12pm Eastern Time (5pm UK).

Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/435138208
Zoom passcode: threshold

Watch last month's meeting below and see all our videos here.

Reflection on April theme: Fasting of the heart is restraint from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts.

~ Steffie Elhassan [Manchester, UK]

A heart-based fast was not what I had in mind on my first Ramadan. All I could think about was not eating and drinking. It came not long after a deeply intuited certainty around taking Shahada, but this new relationship with Allah brought the pillar of fasting, only understood at a very basic level.

My whole connection to Islam felt very undeveloped, and I found myself still yearning, seeking for the mode of expression that resonated more fully with my heart. I am grateful for all the women’s group companions, friends and family who supported me then, but something deeply internal was still missing. I now see that I had met the level of shari’ah but was seeking tariqah (see The Mysterion, Kabir Helminski, p. 80). At some point, long before coming to know Threshold, Al-Ghazali’s book, Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship, found me, and in this was a soul-language that moved me. I opened the chapter on fasting and was introduced to there being three grades (p. 75):

Ordinary fasting: abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction;

Special fasting: keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin;

Extra-special fasting: fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but God. This kind of fasting is broken by thinking of anything other than God and the Hereafter, by thinking of worldly matters except those conducive to religious ends since these constitute provision for the Hereafter…. To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true saints and the intimates of God.

Alhamdulillah, during the following Ramadans, the wisdom behind these first two levels increasingly resonated. I found a real desire to use the month to reflect, deepen my self-awareness, work on life-long habits like criticism and overeating, and grew a prayer to be:

A perfect Muslim (is one) from whose tongue and hands mankind is safe.

[Saying of Muhammad (peace be upon him), The Knowing Heart, Kabir Helminski]

But the third grade of fasting seemed to belong to those beloved souls in a very different, almost incomprehensible realm. So, year after year, I put my attention on the first two grades whilst as good as dismissing the third as not for me.

This Ramadan the invitation to reflect on the April theme came, and I immediately went to Al-Ghazali, still a go-to book, little remembering until I opened the pages that the words of the theme were his. This stopped me in my tracks. I was being asked to reflect on that which I had passed over. What a challenge and beautiful gift. So now I am slowing down, re-reading these words and feeling for a heartfelt response. I approach it with some nervousness, and hear the nafs’ voice, ‘How can you even contemplate a state that is belonging to the prophets, the true saints and the intimates of God?’ And somewhere inside comes a curious voice, not yet able to answer, but willing to open to what may be shown. I find a real valuing of how my sense of taqwa, God consciousness, has grown over these fifteen years, and how the recurring month of Ramadan shines a light on my internal shifts.

Yet I am being offered more: the heart-based fast in total disregard of everything but God. And I feel glimpses of understanding, flickers of light alongside continuing doubt, that my self can comprehend this.

And then my heart says to my nafs, ‘I am more alive this Ramadan: I experience the lightness when this body is fasting; I sing when reading:

Our original food is the Light of God.
Living on material food alone is not for us…

[The Rumi Daybook, trans. Kabir and Camille Helminski]

‘I feel so grateful for these extra Ramadan sohbets with dear friends, and for the deepening love and gratitude to Allah through studying the roots of Quranic words; I am expanding more in meditation, prayer and zhikr – spaces that keep returning me to the immense blessings from my Rabb since last Ramadan: the inner and outer journeys with Hazrati Shams and Hazrati Mevlana, with our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and the subsequent new found joy of reciting the salawat, with Allah on pilgrimage (Umrah), at gatherings with our dear teachers and friends – all these experiences feel deeply lodged in this heart.’

And heart keeps sharing: ‘I realise there is hope when turning to Allah with the pain of witnessing the suffering and horrors in this external world, bringing my questions, pleas, prayers for guidance – where else to go?’

Oh, my goodness, is that the time, I must go and… (a list of tasks flows in), I need to check my phone, I must… and the nafs takes over with its customary flitting and distractions and desire to control.

But heart doesn’t want to be constricted and comes back into the conversation. Such patience and endurance rest with the heart, quietly waiting for reconnection, presence. Heart says: ‘I feel surges of pure love and happiness at being able to break fast with family and friends; I hear my mother tongue when reading the Masnavi before fajr prayers (a commitment this Ramadan); I notice coming into presence with Nature in more everyday moments, inspiring me to creativity.’

And in acknowledging these and so many more wonderful blessings, I find trust in how our Rabb is fostering gentle transformation, giving guidance, showing intimacy. I still see my concerns with the outer world, but gradually with His/Her grace there is a sense of less separation from Allah, more love and Light. And a prayer is made for this increased heart presence to continue beyond Ramadan.

And I am filled with tears, awe and gratitude.

~ Steffie is a novice on the path of Love, Beauty and Remembrance, and a member of the Manchester UK Threshold Group. She loves sharing her awe of Nature through ‘Art for the Soul’ creative workshops, as part of Steffie’s Arts Space.

The Threshold Society

The Threshold Society, rooted within the traditions of Sufism and inspired by the life and work of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, is a non-profit educational foundation with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world. Sufism is a living tradition of human transformation through love and higher consciousness. Our fundamental framework is classical Sufism and the Qur’an as it has been understood over the centuries by the great Sufis. The Society is affiliated with the Mevlevi Order, and offers training programs, seminars and retreats around the world.

Each month we intend to highlight an article about our lineage and its principles. This month we offer: Lessons in the School of Love: The Adab of Sacred Space

Sufi training is accomplished, above all, in the Sufi lodge and the network of relationships cultivated there. Sometimes the Sufi lodge is an actual tekkye or dergah, a private home, a rented hall, and sometimes it may even be a “tekkye on wheels,” as when we travel to a foreign country together. What is most important is the intention and an understanding of why we come together. We are seeking to create and sustain an environment where spiritual realization can be optimized, where the influence of egoism can be minimized, and where the values and knowledge of the tradition can be preserved.

[Read more...]


1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details   (K)

Jun 16: Eid al-Adha

Jul 7: Muharram

Jul 12-15: Assisi Italy Retreat, more details   (K)

Aug 2-5: UK Annual Retreat, The Vedanta, Lincolnshire   (K)

Sep 27-30:  San Juan Bautista, California retreat   (KC)


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

We’d love to hear from you — get in touch at eyeoftheheart@sufism.org

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