Dervish turning from the Mevlevi order of dervishes is a potent method for experiencing inner stillness and the opening of the heart. It was originally taught to us in 1963 by a Mevlevi Sheikh with the permission of the head of the order and it has been taught and practised at Colet House in West London on a regular basis since then.
The turning is a part of a ceremony known as a ‘Mukabele’ (meaning ‘coming face to face’) and it was originally developed by followers of the 13th century Persian mystic Jalalu’ddin Rumi. When we were taught it, we were asked to preserve it in its original form.
The ceremony is open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds. Rumi said he was the friend of 73 religions.
As well as having a deep transforming effect on the turners, the whole ceremony has a profound inner symbolism, which represents mankind’s inner journey back to the realisation of his essential oneness with God and the unity of all creation.
This video shows three members of the Study Society talking about the turning. Part of a turning ceremony is shown in the last four minutes.
Guest ceremonies are held at Colet House on the first Friday of each month (except August) and you are asked to be seated in the top studio by 7.45 pm. The guest ceremony is a chance for members of the public to watch the turning ceremony. This in itself is a moving experience and the audience are regarded as a part of the ceremony and are known as ‘Lovers’.
The guest nights always end with a party in the refectory and attendees are asked to bring a contribution of food to share. If you would like to attend please feel free just to turn up, it is not necessary to telephone us in advance and there is no charge.
Rumi Poetry Groups
There is a Rumi poetry group that meets on the 1st Friday of each month at 6.30 pm, to which all are welcome and you are invited to bring along your own favourite Rumi or other mystical poems to share. A Mevlevi poetry and singing group meets at 6.15 pm on other Fridays.
Turning practices are held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month (except August). You are most welcome to attend these and to learn how to ‘slow turn’. This is a very simple turning technique that can be learnt in a few minutes and leads to the experience of stillness. Please arrive at 7.30 pm for practice at 7.45 pm.
Introductory Study Group
You are welcome to attend an introductory course, The Philosophy of the Cosmic Dance, studying Advaita and Mevlevi and other non-dual teachings (seefor details).
Turning training generally takes place annually and lasts for five months. The next turning training will be in 2016 - dates to be announced. The classes are on Thursday evenings and alternate Friday evenings and some weekends. The training is open to all people of reasonable fitness. Its purpose is to prepare people to turn in the ceremonies at Colet House. Seefor application form and details.
Ney Playing & Singing Ilahis: Richard Stevens leads basic ney instruction, the Turkish flute, and to learn to play the Ayins and Ilahis. The Ayin is the composition which accompanies the Mukabele, the Turning Ceremony. We also sing Ilahis, religious songs equivalent to hymns. Some of these songs are widely known to Turkish people and they are traditionally a central ingredient of Mevlevi life. Everybody is welcome.
We also sometimes host concerts of Sufi and Middle Eastern music and have drumming sessions.
Please contact Richard directly on 07976 377697 for the dates and times of these meetings.
Mathnawi Study Group
The Mathnawi, the mystical verse masterpiece of Rumi, is studied weekly on Tuesday evenings. Meetings are in Farsi from 5.30 to 7.30 pm and in English from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.