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“First there was dance”, Homeros

The music, the natural rhythms, natural instruments accompanying the dance, were an inseperable part of the tribal way of life. Rhythm was human's most pure and arcaic nature.

The rhythms innate ability to restore the human nature, is an important element to deepening a person's spiritual perception, enabling to get in touch with the essences purpose of existence. The body is a unit of condensed energy and moves within a specific frequency of awareness. By using this motion with a controlled attitude, the body reaches the ability to tab into different vibrations and ascent into a plane of higher awareness and experience a higher energy dimension.

Rhythm and dance is one of the easiest methods to apply to transfrom energy.

That's why physicians in ancient ages were using rhythm , music and dance to treat patients. In the parts of the world, where this treatment is still being used, a state of trance, induced through the life force energy circling the whole body because of motion, aimed to help to reach the necessary information for the treatment of the patient. Physicians, wise people or instructors we can call healers, conduct this trance and therapy process mostly with various rhythm instruments.

One of the oldest and most known methods used with this aim is the whirling dance.

Why whirling?

Because the basic condition of existing is whirling. It represents a round trip. Electrones vibrate and turn around the nucleus with a speed that changes between 1000 and 100.000 km. Electrones with a mass no different to eachother still have different energy levels and vibrate and turn in 7 different orbits. The fast and infinite whirling of the electron is the essence of everything, that exists. Everything in the universe is kept alive with this whirling, which emanates from vibration. The stars, the plantes, the blood in our bodies, life in the soil, everything whilrs in harmony.

The whirling dance, which we mostly are accustomed to see in relation with the Sufi tradition and rituals, is today largly known under the names "dance of the derwishes", "sufi dance" or "sema". But this 'dance' is dating back to the Luvians, Ancient Egypt, Tibet, Sumerians and Mayans and was among the therapy, ritual and teachings of these and many more ancient civilisations. In places influenced by these civilisations this experience continues since millenia to live on in different methods.


In our country, where whirling is known because of mevlevism (being a derwish), is one of the most prominent rituals of the religious order founded after the death of the great wise man Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, whom lived in the 13. century. This whirling ritual is called 'sema'. The whirling derwishes are being called 'semazen'. 'Sema' means sky in common use, but also has meanings like "hearing, listening". My guess is, that this name is given to them, because they associate they have wings instead of arms and fly up into the sky while whirling and enter a state of listening to the universe and their inner worlds.

“A person, whom is whirling, whirls in the direction of his/her heart; because the heart is God's house. Hands and arms slowly take their appopriate position. The right hand position itself in order to receive God's gifts, the left hand turns to the soil in order to share.” İbn Arabi-Divine Love ("İlahi Aşk")

Those, who do 'sema' are called Sema'zen, the venue in which this takes place is called Semahane. The circualr shape of a Semahane: Represents the cosmos. The crossed arm position at the start of Sema: Means invocation. The Semazen take off their black sweaters and cross their arms by placing their hands on their shoulders. This represents the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Elif, the number 1. It means that the individual states 'I testify with all my being that Allah exists.' The right side: The visible and known Material plane. The left side: Represent the plane of Meaning.

Sufism existence is as old as man kind. Sufi authors describe this religion as “

the "religion of prophets". This mystic religion came in the 8th century from Horasan, Şirvan and Erdebil and spread to many more places, finding it's expression in various different forms. Alevism and Bektashism are the living representatives for this tradition in Anatolia. “Semah” is a way of worshipping through dance and is performed as various whirling motions and mostly accompanied with live music.

As we know since former times, the Alevi people's worshipping ceremony held with their congregation is called "Cem". An elder, whom is called Dede (Grandfather) or a Baba (Father) is leading this ceremony. Bards, whom play the traditional turkish stringed instrument called 'baglama' and whom are described as "Zakir" in this tradition, perform Alevi breaths, elegizin, express idioms and the special traditional folk songs called duaz-ı imams, where twelve imams are being mentioned. The Grandfather (Dede) also listens to his communities problems and brings piece bet