This ceremony starts in the evening around 9:00pm. It takes more than one hour. During the ceremony ,It is only allowed to watch. You can not take pictures at the time of ceremony since the concentration is very important for dancers. It is possible every day for this show
Sema is part of the
inspiration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi as well as of Turkish custom, history,
beliefs and culture. It is what we do as a form of remembrance of God.
From a scientific
viewpoint we witness that contemporary science definitely confirms that the
fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no
being which does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the
revolution of the electrons, protons and neutrons in the atoms, which
constitute the structure of each of them. As a consequence of this similarity,
everything revolves and man carries on his live, his very existence by means of
the revolution in the atoms, structural stones of his body, by the revolution
of his blood, by his coming from the earth and return to it, by his revolving
with earth itself.
However, all of these
are natural, unconscious revolutions. But man is the possessor of a mind and
intelligence which distinguishes him from and makes him superior to other beings.
Thus the "whirling dervish" or Semazen causes the mind to participate
in the shared similarity and revolution of all other beings… Otherwise, the
Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through
mind and love to "Perfect". Turning towards the truth, his growth
through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the
"Perfect", then he return from this spiritual journey as a man who
reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service
to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes,
races, classes and nations.
consists of seven parts:
One: The dervish with his
headdress (his ego's tombstone), his white skirt (his ego's shroud) is removing
his black cloak spiritually born to the truth, he journeys and advances there.
At the onset and each stop of the Sema, holding his arms crosswise he represent
the number one, and testifies to God's unity. While whirling his arms are open,
his right hand directed to the skies ready to receive God's beneficence,
looking to his left hand turned toward the earth, he turn from right to left
around the heart. This is his way of conveying God's spiritual gift to the
people upon whom he looks with the eyes of God. Revolving around the heart,
from right to left, he embraces all the mankind, all the creation with
affection and love… It starts with an eulogy "Nat-I Serif" to the
Prophet, who represents love, and all Prophets before him. To praise them is
praising God, who created all of them.
Two is a drum voice,
symbolizing God order to the Creation: "Be."
Three is an
instrumental improvisation "taksim" with a reed "ney." It
represents the first breath which gives life to everything. The Divine Breath.
Four is the
"dervishes" greetings to each other and their thrice repeated
circular walk "Devr-i Veled," with the accompaniment of a music
called "peshrev." It symbolize the salutation of soul to soul
concealed by shapes and bodies.
Five is the Sema
(whirling). It consists of four salutes or "Selam"s. At the end of
each as in the onset, the dervish testifies by his appearance to God's unity.
The first salute is
man's birth to truth by feeling and mind. His complete conception of the
existence of God as Creator and his state of creature.
The second salute
expresses the rapture of man witnessing the splendor of creation, in front of
God's greatness and omnipotence.
The third salute is
the transformation of rapture into love and thereby the sacrifice of mind to
love. It is a complete submission, it is annihilation of self with in the loved
one, it is unity. This state of ecstasy is the highest grade in Buddhism,
defined as "Nirvana" and in Islam "Fenafillah." However,
the highest rank in Islam is the rank of the Prophet, he is called God's
servant first and his messenger afterwards. The aim of Sema is not unbroken
ecstasy and loss of conscious thought. At the termination of this salute, he
approves again by his appearance, arms crosswise the Unity of God, consciously and
The forth salute: Just
as the Prophet ascends till the "Throne" and then returns to his task
on earth, the whirling dervish reaching the state of "Fenafillah,"
return to his task in creation, to his state of subservience following the
termination of his spiritual journey and his ascent. He is a servant of God, of
his Books, of his Prophets and all his creation.
Six Sema ends with a
reading of the Quran and specially of the verse from sura Bakara 2, verse 115:
Unto God belong the
East and the West, and whither over eye turn, you are faced with Him.He is
Seven is a prayer for the
repose of the souls of all Prophets and all believers.