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Photographer's Note

While we were in Istanbul, we had the chance to watch a whirling dervishes ceremony, at the Galata Mevlevi Temple. This is not a show, but a religious ceremony of the Mevlana sect of Sufi Muslims. It takes place only every 2 Sundays, and we were incredibly lucky to be there on one of those Sundays. It was without a doubt the most beautiful, and most moving, religious ceremony I’ve ever watched. The whole ceremony is filled with symbolism, most of it having to do with the abandonment of ego, and the surrender to a state of pure love and peace. The dervishes wear white dresses symbolizing the ego’s death shroud (coloured for women), a special hat symbolizing the tombstone and a black cape the grave. While they are whirling they lean their heads, as if they were severed, so their egos are not present. The palm of one of the hands points to the sky and the other one to the ground, so as to say “We receive from God and give to the humanity. We keep nothing for ourselves.” The whirling works as a type of meditation and the dervishes enter a state of abandonment and peace. I thought I was going to see a bizarre and visually interesting religious cult. Nothing prepared me for the incredible beauty and intensity of the ceremony.

We were not allowed to use flash while taking photos, which worked for the best: the long exposure gives a sensation of movement that would be gone had I used a flash, and the photos turned out a lot nicer this way.

devimeuxbe, sarpedon, quillo, Clairedelune, sarju, berek, Tue, ryno has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Ricardo Lopes (riclopes) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6857 W: 151 N: 10359] (35577)
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