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The Legend of the Eight… the birth of the Eish Shaok

When the Eish Shaok was still far from seeing the lights of the stages and the classes packed with students, from the Masters one could hear stories, passed down orally, with distant echoes; memories of a past with uncertain characters where behind every fable there was always a well-hidden truth. I have decided to tell you here something of what we know about the origins of our path, drawn from the legend that follows your teaching; I leave, as per Tradition, in the sentences and images a symbolic reading for those who are ready and attentive.

The tale begins with the lives of seven Masters from regions far apart. It is said that these had great powers and profound knowledge and that among them were: two warriors, brothers to each other, who, though young, were considered experts in the ancient martial arts, a priest with perfect control over emotions and thoughts, a healer and connoisseur of a variety of herbs and unguents, a hermit who travelled tirelessly and spiritually between worlds, a beggar who was able to live longer than any other, and a wise old man who was said to harness in his body the power of the winds and the might of the seas and lightning. Each with their own experiences and the difficulties of an existence made up of hard work and great trials, the seven (as they were called by the Tradition) could be said to be among the greatest holders of the techniques linked to their paths and were sought after by all those who wished to become their pupils. One spring day, the two brothers learned, from a fisherman in their village, of a young man who had arrived a few weeks earlier in the nearby mountains, called Simurgh, who seemed to know how to control his mind and heart. The two, attracted by the possibility of using anger, fear and love to win every battle and defeat every enemy, internal and external, decided to go to the newcomer. The legend does not describe the boy in detail, but it does tell us how the two warriors, who came to him, were impressed by him and learned his secrets. They followed his teachings with great passion and commitment and after some time, when training was almost over, he disappeared.

In the summer at the temple where the priest prayed and meditated during his days, a new young man appeared among the disciples. Although he was not very physically fit, he was capable of delivering blows of enormous power. The old master, attracted by the newcomer’s abilities, called him to himself and asked to learn his art. Over the next few weeks this happened and then the boy left, leaving the man before he had fully mastered his secrets and techniques.

In the months that followed, the same happened with the healer who was taught to travel with the spirit between the worlds, the hermit who was taught to heal with his own energy and that of nature, the beggar who was taught to harness the power of the soil and the sky, and the wise old man who learned to live longer than any other. One night the young boy, who had enriched the lives of the seven masters with his words and abilities, is said to have appeared to them in a dream and during it said: “I come from afar to remind you who you are and that all knowledge is within you. I leave you with the desire never to end the search and to unite you to understand the True One. He asked them, in return for the lessons they gave, to erect a large stone structure next to their houses, clearly visible to all travellers and locals. On each one the masters were to write, each in their own language, the same sentence: ‘I feed myself with pride if I teach others how to become who they are, I feed my people with wisdom if I teach them to look at themselves at every moment’.

According to legend, from the seven masters, finally united, came the ‘streams’ of the Eish Shaok, its foundations and its creed, and to them and to master Simurgh are dedicated the eight arms of the tree, the symbol of our path. The name Simurgh would later become in the Tradition a nickname and honorary appellation of the Haidehoi ( the Masters ) and is still used in this way today.

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