Whirling – A Brief Interpretation

In the whirling of the Dervish the spiritual journey is replicated.

The stance begins with the dancer folding the Right big toe over the Left toe. The Right arm is folded over the left arm crossed on the chest. This is the stance of angel, and signifies turning in on the self. The axis of the body is focused through the left heel and the dancer begins to turn. The left foot is released from the right, as the foot is turned anticlockwise for 135 degrees or more. The body turns and drags the right foot behind it. The left foot turns again.

As this continues so the self becomes drunk on the movement, and gazing down over the left shoulder looks through the nose to see it reflected in the position of the elbow while the arm is still crossed over the chest. The self makes a leap within as it realises it is looking down on the face of the Soul reflected in the physical body.

As the turning continues, so the arms are lifted from the chest and raised above the head. The teacher places a rod in the hands of the dancer which becomes the frontier between the body below and the soul above, guiding the turning. When the rod is discarded the right hand is extended beyond the body with the arm held at shoulder height. The left arm reaches out behind the head with the hand slightly raised. Now the Soul looks out to the right hand which it perceives peripherally, as the body running through the world hither and yon, as round and round the dancer turns. The left hand behind the head shines down like the Spiritual Sun of the Divine Self shining down upon its reflection in the Soul, which in turn gazes at its agent in the world.

I do not wish to deny other interpretations of this sequence of movements. Goodness knows I have hardly undertaken the practice at all. On one occasion I was lifted right out of my body, with a radiant net swirling around my body, my feet turning somewhere far beneath me. My teacher called to her assistant to look at what was happening to me and asked me to do it again. I couldn’t. She told me not to worry, it was her father who had done this, and in that, shown me the full potential of this movement. I was not allowed to join the class again after that. I did not mind. I figured I had learned all that was necessary for me to know at that stage.

May your turning be so successful.