The beauty of ally work is that it has no formal lineage. It is all lineage. Each person is free to articulate their own lineage—should they wish.
Ally work is an emergent practice form. No authorities, no ownership, no letter of the law. The text is written in your heart.
My lineage in ally work stands out most strongly in Dr. Jeffrey Raff, Henry Corbin, and Ibn 'Arabi. Three names that two years ago, I had never heard of. Now, I take great inspiration in their words.
Dr. Jeffrey Raff is whom I first learned ally work from. I think of him as like Jon Kabat-Zinn. The way that Jon Kabat-Zinn took a deep contemplative form and made it accessible—is what I see Raff having done with ally work.
Jon Kabat-Zinn elaborated the wisdom traditions of Buddhism as mindfulness. Raff articulated the axis of shamanism, alchemy, and the esoteric traditions as ally work.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction made the practice of being here and now accessible for everyday people. Could ally work make the direct connection to the divine accessible for everyday people too?
From Dr. Jeffrey Raff, I learned of Henry Corbin. Corbin—what an amazing guy. A true scholar. A true practitioner. A true translator of truth and wisdom. A communicator of love.
I feel that Corbin's efforts to translate the deep wisdom from one millennium ago of Ibn 'Arabi, Suhrawardi, and Avicenna, will only grow in power and influence over the next hundred years. For me, Corbin is a Sufi teacher in Western form. An expositor of angelic light.
Reading: Towards a Chart of the Imaginal (PDF) by Henry Corbin
Reading: From Heidegger To Suhravardi: An Interview with Henry Corbin
What can I say about Ibn 'Arabi? The most generous teacher.
I can only describe him as an Einstein, a Shakespeare, so that those who do not know him may receive a hint of his import. In reading Dr. Eric Winkel's translation of The Futuhat, I feel in commune with Ibn 'Arabi. He gives you his all. Inviting you into his presence. To see through his eyes. To see through his heart.
Ibn 'Arabi is the light of the imaginal in human form. A lighthouse. Rescuing us again and again from rocky shores. He comes to us as a friend. Humble, in spite of his magnificence.
Image: Brass Astrolabe/Ibn Abdallah