Whirl to Connect with the Divine

Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.

Gas, light, and action! The intriguing Hubble telescope images of parts of Carina’s Mystic Mountain, the Eagle Nebula, and the Lagoon Nebula remind me of the magnificence of the universe.

For me, it’s meditative to look at these creations of gas and light, there is an opening within, amazement about the beauty around us rises in me, and I sense the Divine.

It’s these gas clouds that invite me to contemplate a higher source in the universe, not so much the spirals of galaxies and planets. However, spirals can be found everywhere in nature, many based on the golden ratio also called the “divine proportion”, which is represented by the Greek letter phi.

Whether you look at shells, sunflowers, seed heads, hurricanes, or the DNA, they all follow the logarithmic spiral, which is also known as the Fibonacci Sequence. In this sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding ones.

The sequence unfolds as: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc. The ratio of two neighboring Fibonacci numbers is an approximation of the golden ratio.

What does that have to do with whirling?

As children, we loved to stretch out our arms and spin. We got dizzy and fell to the ground giggling. Yet, it was great fun to spin, and maybe unconsciously, we connected with a deeper understanding of our connection to nature.

Something about the rhythm of the “old”, traditional Waltz is appealing amidst the more modern dance forms, and then there is one of the most mystic dances, the dance of the whirling dervishes.

Members of the Mevlevi order, one of the most well-known Sufi orders, use whirling as a practice to worship Allah. Jalaluddin Rumi, one of the most celebrated Sufi teachers and mystical poets, founded this order in the 13th century.

Rumi describes the significance of the Sufi dance as dancers representing the solar system and the planets revolving around the sun. Fully immersed in the whirling, they connect to their inner world, the micro-cosmos, too.

Watching the dance and music ceremony called the Sema (9:57min – 1), some are able to sense their connection to the Divine.

In the octagonal hall of worship in the Tekke (convent), members of the order wearing the famous brown cylindrical hats and white robes, form a large circle. They start walking with their arms crossed in front of the chest.

When the music of the flute and tambourine changes in rhythm, the dervishes slowly extend the right arm towards the sky, and the left arm points to the earth. Their whirling movement, initiated with the right foot, starts to become faster and faster. They fall into a meditative trance, connecting with the universe within and without, invisible to our eyes.

The modern Turkish mystic and poet, Asaf Halet Çeleb, describes the experience of a performance beautifully in this poem:

The image in me

is a different image

how many stars fall

into my interior dance!

I whirl, and I whirl

the skies whirl as well

roses blossom out of my face

The trees in the garden, in sunshine

“He created Heaven and Earth.”

the serpents listen to the song of the reed

in the trees donning their dancing gowns

The meadow’s children intoxicated


they call you

I look smiling, at suns

which have lost their way …

I fly, I fly

the skies fly … (2)

What a difference to our rushed way of moving through life. The opportunity to slow down during the last few weeks might have given us the space to connect more with our inner selves. If not, maybe we can lose ourselves in some of the Hubble images or try a slow whirl.



(1) The Sufi Whirling Dervishes of Konya

(2) The Dervishes Dance — The Sacred Ritual of Love