Dervishes Whirl to Unite with God

whirling dervishTurkey’s famous “Whirling Dervishes” follow a spiritual tradition dating back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

The whirling “sema” ritual is designed to experience rapture and annihilate oneself in spiritual ecstasy. The sema is divided into seven parts, which together symbolize a mystic cycle to attain perfection, according to the Daily Sabah.

1. The dervishes begin with a eulogy for the Prophet Muhammad (and all prophets before him).

2. A drum is banged to symbolize the Divine order of the Creator.

3. A reed flute is blown, representing the first “Divine breath.”

4 The dervishes engage in a circular walk around the center stage bowing to each other as a greeting of soul to soul masked by body and substance.

5. The whirling begins as an experience of ecstatic union with God.

6. Someone reads from the Quran.

7. A prayer is said for the peace of the souls of all the prophets and believers.

Photo of whirling dervishes via Wikimedia Commons

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