Maybe appropriate as the overarching name for my Turkey trip from 17April to 02May, I learned about about this spiritual practice through a local cafe show on Day One; a formal show in an ancient building (pictured here); and a Mawlawi museum visit in the Galata Tower District of Istanbul near the end of the trip.
Background: The Mawlawi spiritual order perform a dance ceremony known as the Sama, which involves the whirling, from which the order acquired its nickname. The Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to the "Perfect". Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the "Perfect". He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, able to love and to be of service to the whole of creation. The Mawlawi order was founded in 1273 by Rumi's followers after his death.