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Whirling Dervishes of Rumi... My third pictures of this “Whirling Dervishes” series… Their Ritual Performance in Downtown Houston September 2004...

The ritual dance of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi’s followers, more commonly known as the Whirling Dervishes, symbolizes a release from earthly ties, which liberates the soul and prepares it for union with the divine.
The dance consists of three parts, which represent the stages of reaching, seeing, and uniting with God. In the first stage, the dancers whirl three times accompanied by the mournful sound of the ney. During the second part, they remove their coats. This symbolizes the release of the soul from earthly concerns. Then they slowly begin to whirl with their right hands palms up and left hands palms down. This gesture indicates: “What we receive from God we give to man, while we have nothing ourselves”.
Their whirling movement represents the earth revolving on its axis and their rotation around the hall symbolizes the earth orbiting the sun. In the final part of the dance, the sheik enters, the rhythm becomes more rapid and the dancers are more frenzied. Then the flute signals the moment of man's union with God.

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