ithell colquhoun magician born of nature
© All texts copyright Richard Shillitoe 2015-16  All artworks copyright the estate of the artist.

torso

                                     1981

Enamel on board. 10½ x 9¾in. (26.7 x 25.3cm.) Monogrammed and dated ’81 lower left. Provenance NT. Exhibited Penzance, Newlyn Gallery, 1982, no. 78. Literature Shillitoe & Morrisson, 2014, fig. 11. This work deals with the lataif-e-sitta, the six subtleties, recognised by Sufis. They designate psycho spiritual ‘organs’, said to be part of the self, in the way that biological organs are part of the physical body. Sufic development involves the awakening, in a given order, of these dormant spiritual centres. The lataif are, in sequence, Qalb (yellow: mind); Ruh (red: spirit); Sirr (white: consciousness); Khafi (black: intuition) and Ikhfa (green: deep perception). The angular connecting arrow indicates the order of awakening. The idea of indicating the sequence in this manner probably derives from the Golden Dawn method of spelling out angelic names on a magic square. The awakening of the subtleties in the prescribed order has similarities with the awakening of kundalinî and its progress through the chakras in Tantric thought. Preliminary studies survive.