I am made of those that I am in love with.
A very dear friend of mine always tells me: “We are made of those we admire and look up to”. Describing Aslınur means telling you about whom she admires, because I do not believe in the reality of a seperate self from others. Actually, I am slowly grasping that what I perceive as my “self” can not come close to my reality. That’s why describing myself through identities or labels collected in time does not do any justice to what I know my essence to be. When I do so, I veil my essence although my initial purpose is to manifest it. For that reason, the work I do can not be a product of these identities. The book I recently published wanted to be revealed and it chose me as a medium. Therefore, I would prefer my biography not to cast a shadow on this work in either a positive or negative sense; instead the reader should meet it in a pure place.
One day, the same friend told me: “Do not own your name! Yes, it means ‘the origin of divine light,’ but everyone is made of this divine light! So it is everyone’s name.” If we are made of the same light, if the same breath is given to us (Qur’an 15: 19), it means that, in essence, I do not differ from others. What makes us seem different from each other is how we choose to experience this given light, to express it and embody it on this earth. The Sacred Being is manifesting Herself on different levels. In this way there is diversity in terms of forms and its revelations.
What I am attracted to defines the way I embody the divine light. If I am attracted to something, this means I am of the same kind as that thing (Rumi talks about this). In order to tell you about Aslınur, I need to tell you what I am attracted to.
Since my childhood, I am very much fond of what is sacred and ancient. I met the Sacred for the first time when I was a small girl, through my fathers’ books on Sufism that I inherited when he passed away. I was too young to read and write, the bond was made possible through a heart connection. Most of our neighbours were old widows. My biggest pleasures were putting a big Turkish carpet under the street light once it got dark, sitting on it with our neighbours, knitting, chatting and sharing freshly baked bread. There was more; I was joining the sacred ceremonies of old widows, chanting prayers and counting them with chickpeas. Graveyard visits became my usual reality and something I enjoyed. My grandmother composed some of my father’s Sufi poetry and by singing them, she was putting me to sleep. She was telling me stories of saints. We were visiting the graveyard together. In that way, the Sacred turned into a playground for me. One day I started writing my first poems for those people I admire, those who reflect the Sacred most clearly to me. Literature emerged in my heart in this way. As time went by, I immersed myself in the beauty of words and sound, and kept writing more and more.
The place you take your first breath ‘ferments your dough,’ as we say in Turkish. I opened my eyes to a snowy, full moon evening in Üsküdar. After my father passed away, my mother and I moved to the small city in Western Turkey where my grandparents live. Years later, when I was accepted to Bosphorus University in Istanbul for my BA studies, the circle was completed. I continued breathing in Üsküdar. This time, it was also nurturing me on a spiritual level, since Üsküdar is one of the spiritual centers of Istanbul. In the third year of my BA studies, I decided to have a double major in English Literature and Turkish Literature. I wanted to compare the Western education I received with the traditional one, to bring them together. The east and the west were two beautiful worlds that I wished to bridge. Then I learnt Ottoman Turkish. After spending five years in Bosphorus University my heart told me to make a change. My path took me to Istanbul University’s Theology Department to study Islamic Literature and Arts. This door would present the keys to new realms.
Anatolian Sufi Work