Whirling Dervishes

The Whirling Dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Order, a Sufi Islamic mystical order founded by the poet and philosopher Rumi in the 13th century. The most distinctive and well-known practice of the Mevlevi Order is the “Sema,” a ceremonial dance performed by the Whirling Dervishes. This practice is often associated with Turkey and has become a symbol of Turkish culture and spirituality.

Whirling Dervishes of Turkey

A user friendly and informative Pamphlet with illustrations and photos. Its content is very easy to understand.

Whirling dervishes are members of the Mevlevi order and followers of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (Jalal al-Din Rumi), a great Turkish poet and mystic. The Mevlevi (Mawlawiyah) brotherhood is based in Konya, Turkey, where its founder is buried. The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony was inscribed on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This pamphlet gives brief information about Rumi’s life, his views, poetry, the Sema Ceremony and the places where Sema rituals can be attended in Turkey. It is also perfect for cruise ship passengers on their shore excursions as they have limited time in Turkey. With this guide, readers can easily understand more about the Turkish culture.

ISBN 9786058762480 Whirling Dervishes of Turkey (English, Turkish)

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Whirling Dervishes of Turkey Pamphlet
Whirling Dervishes of Turkey Pamphlet

Here are some key points about the Whirling Dervishes and their practice:

  1. Sema Ceremony: The Sema ceremony is a ritualized dance that symbolizes the journey of spiritual seekers toward divine truth and unity with God. It is meant to induce a state of religious ecstasy and oneness with the divine.

  2. Whirling Dervishes of Turkey PamphletWhirling: During the Sema ceremony, the Whirling Dervishes wear white robes with full skirts. They begin by circling the room with their arms crossed over their chests. As the music intensifies, they gradually start to spin, with one hand reaching upward to receive divine blessings and the other hand reaching downward to pass those blessings to humanity.
  3. Symbolism: The spinning of the Whirling Dervishes represents the planets orbiting the sun, as well as the rotation of the Earth. It is also a metaphorical journey of the soul, moving closer to God through love and self-discipline.
  4. Music and Chants: The Sema ceremony is accompanied by live music and chants, often performed using traditional instruments such as the ney (reed flute), kudum (drum), and tanbur (lute). The music is an integral part of the spiritual experience.
  5. Steps and Stages: The Sema dance consists of four stages. The first stage symbolizes awakening, the second stage represents the journey to the truth, the third stage signifies the arrival at truth, and the fourth stage signifies union with God.
  6. Whirling Dervishes of Turkey PamphletMevlevi Tekkes: Historically, Mevlevi tekkes (Sufi lodges or monasteries) were places where Whirling Dervishes practiced their rituals and engaged in spiritual activities. The most famous tekke was in Konya, Turkey, where Rumi lived and taught.
  7. UNESCO Recognition: The Mevlevi Sema ceremony was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2008, recognizing its cultural and spiritual significance.
  8. Modern Practice: Today, you can witness Whirling Dervish performances in various places in Turkey, especially in Istanbul and Konya. These performances are often organized as cultural events and offer visitors a glimpse into the spiritual traditions of the Mevlevi Order.

The Whirling Dervishes and their Sema ceremony are not only a beautiful form of artistic expression but also a spiritual practice that emphasizes love, humility, and unity. They continue to captivate audiences and provide insights into the rich cultural and religious heritage of Turkey.