Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

   Music: Peshrev in Maqam Ajem  [Gülizar Ensemble / Music of the Whirling Dervishes / ARC]: 3 min excerpt

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Konya was the capital of the Seijuk Turks from 1071 to 1308.  It is  the burial place of Jala-a-din Rumi,  and remains the center of Mevlevi Sufism.  The tall, stiff, brown felt hat worn by dervishes is the semazen, representing the ego's tombstone, and the wide white skirt is akin to ego's death shroud. In this way, the matter of self, life, and death is confronted.  Turning (whirling) echoes the rotations, orbits, and oscillating vibrations of cosmic and subatomic bodies and the cycles of processes observed throughout the orders of nature.  In the evening we witnessed a sema (samâ, in Arabic), which is rite of audition, of spiritual listening and song, but among dervishes, it is also a rite of turning, of movement, with the sound. Our hotel was the Balikcilar.



The Mevlevi Dervish Brothers Center & Rumi's Tomb


An auspicious start of our bus ride to Konya as a hot air balloon greets us. A second balloon brings color to the sky. We pass again the Citadel of Uchisar. Turkey has many mountains, some of volcanic origin. This weather-producing mount is Hasan Dagi at over 10,000 feet. Inside Konya's Dervish Brothers Center for lunch. The meeting space.

Paintings, photographs, fabric, rugs adorn walls and every free space.

A shrine, of sorts. Portraits of dervishes. We inspect the area.

Yuval, a painted bendir, and a tambura/baglama saz.

Kudüm, small kettle drums.

A nice photograph of Yuval. Another take. Üzeyir Özyrt & Aziz. A talk on Sufism. [Marina's photo, edited] A simple lunch. Watch out for the peppers! The Turkish form of pizza. The Turtle Trainer. A tile copy of a painting by Osman Hamdi Bey. Note the ney, which as  with the piper of Hamelin, is used to entice the creatures.
Mosque and shrine dedicated to Shams of Tabriz, Rumi's teacher. A character in traditional costume loves the attention. Mosque and behind it, the shrine of Rumi. Another view, morning. Shrine of Rumi; his sarcophagus is beneath the green dome. Entrance to the mausoleum.
Rumi's tomb [stock photo]          
 Sema at Sulyeman Dede House

   Music: Ilahi in Maqam Hijaz: Bihamdillah derim Alla alip aklum fikrullah  [ Gülizar Ensemble / Music of the Whirling Dervishes / ARC] : 3 min excerpt


We enter Sheik Jelaluddin Loras' home, Sulyeman Dede House, outside Konya. Waiting for the sema.  Calligraphy on the walls.


Some Calligraphy done by Japanese. Jelaluddin and musicians [ud, kanun, tanbur]  Aziz begins.





Then I reset the camera and produced this stunning series.  For every season . . .


. . . turn . . . . . . turn . . .  . . turn. A second dervish enters.


No synchronicity. Although Aziz tried. And so each is his own planet. The dikr section of mantra-like repetition and heavy breaths begins; Aziz is now on the floor while the other dervish turns. This sema ends with The Call to Prayer, when Ali recites a passage from the Qur'an. Sheik Jelaluddin had coordinated it perfectly. The evening ends with Ali, a blind vocalist,  playing the ney.








© 2011 Debra Jan Bibel


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