Whirling Dervishes

whirling dervishes

At the heart of Islam's mystical traditions, whirling dervishes evoke a captivating image of spirituality and a deep connection to the universe. Their whirling dances, imbued with grace and symbolism, are a real spectacle for the eyes and an invitation to explore the depths of the soul.

Whirling dervishes, also known as Mevlevi, are part of the Sufi order founded by the mystical poet Jalaluddin Rumi. Their dance, called “Sema”, is a sacred practice that transcends the boundaries of time and space. It symbolizes the spiritual journey of the individual in search of union with the divine.

To the haunting sound of music, the whirling dervishes begin their dance in long robes, symbolizing the shroud of the ego. Their continuous and graceful rotational motion represents the rotation of planets and atoms, as well as the rotation of dervishes around the spiritual sun. Each turn is a prayer, a celebration of cosmic harmony, and a reaffirmation of oneness with God.

The dancing of the whirling dervishes is much more than just an artistic performance. It is a contemplative practice that transcends the limits of individual consciousness to reach a higher state of consciousness. Whirling Dervishes seek the annihilation of the ego, the dissolution of the illusion of separation, and yearn to merge into divine love.

Observing whirling dervishes is a fascinating and deeply moving experience. Their dance is a powerful reminder of the importance of contemplation, meditation and searching for meaning in our lives. It invites viewers to connect with their own spiritual essence and find inner peace.

Whirling dervishes have captivated minds around the world, attracting admirers from all cultures and religions. Their universal message of love, compassion and unity resonates beyond differences and reminds us of our common humanity.

Attending a performance of the whirling dervishes is an experience that leaves no one indifferent. It is an opportunity to be carried away by the beauty and serenity of sacred dance, to connect to a deeper level of our being and to feel the spiritual energy that emanates from these dedicated dancers.

Whether you are attracted to spirituality, culture or simply artistic beauty, whirling dervishes offer an unforgettable experience. Let yourself be transported by their mesmerizing dances and open your heart to transcendence. Whirling dervishes invite you to lose yourself in rotation, find unity in diversity, and embrace the light that shines within each of us.

The ritual of whirling dervishes, known as “Sema”, is a spiritual and contemplative practice practiced by the Sufi order of Mevlevi. It is considered a sacred dance form that symbolizes the spiritual journey of the individual towards union with God.

Here is a general explanation of the ritual of whirling dervishes:


Before the ritual begins, the dervishes prepare themselves mentally and spiritually. They put on their long, conical robe called “tcharchaf”, which symbolizes the shroud of the ego. They gather in silence and enter into a state of inner contemplation.


The ritual begins with an invocation called “Naat-i Sherif”, which is a prayer in honor of the Prophet Muhammad and other revered Sufi saints. This prayer is sung in chorus and creates an atmosphere of devotion and spiritual connection.


Specific music is played by an ensemble of musicians, often including instruments such as the ney (reed flute), the rebab (a bowed string instrument) and the kudum (a drum). Music is an essential component of the ritual, creating a meditative and catchy atmosphere.


The dervishes then begin their whirling dance. They rotate continuously and gracefully, clockwise. Each turn is performed with one hand open and the other hand closed, symbolizing the receipt of divine blessings and the giving of those blessings to the world.


The dance of the whirling dervishes is rich in symbolism. The rotational movements represent the rotation of planets and atoms, as well as the search for union with the divine. The arms of dervishes are often extended, symbolizing the connection between heaven and earth. Their heads are tilted to the right, symbolizing inner listening to divine truth.

Transcendence and contemplation:

The continuous rotation of dervishes is a way to transcend the limits of individual consciousness. They seek to free themselves from the grip of the ego and merge into divine love and light. The dance is accompanied by deep inner contemplation, aiming to reach a state of presence and spiritual connection.


The ritual ends with a prayer of thanks and a blessing for humanity. The dervishes then leave the scene in a state of calm and serenity, having experienced an inner spiritual journey.

It should be noted that the ritual of whirling dervishes is highly ritualized and symbolic. Every movement, gesture and aspect of the ritual has deep meaning and is part of the search for a deeper spiritual connection.

International School of Sufi Dance method Rana Gorgani

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