The Whirling Dervish, or Semazen, an icon of Turkey, whirling in respect of and for God. The ceremony, called Sema, represents not only Turkish culture and history but primarily derives from the Sufi faith. The whirling mirrors the natural revolution of all life – from the revolution of atoms to the cycle of life returning to the earth, to the revolution of the Earth itself.
The Sema is, in a sense, a prayer. I am not going to try to describe the stages of the Sema as it would require a far greater understanding than I have. In very simple terms, the way I understand it, when the dervish begins and ends each stage with his arms crossed over his chest to his shoulders, he represents man’s oneness with God. With his arms raised and open during the whirling, his right hand is directed to the sky, ready to receive God; his left is turned toward the earth as a way of conveying God’s gifts to the people. The revolving is always from right to left, around the heart, and embracing all of humankind.
While in Cappadocia, Turkey, a few friends and I had the privilege of spending some time with the Whirling Dervishes who perform at the Saruhan Carevanserai. It was really great to witness the ritual up close and without the crowds. Enjoy the images . . . Lisa