Mevlevi Dervish Order
in Turkey

  • On November 30th 1925, all Dervish Orders were banned by decree and, as a consequence, all monasteries were closed.

  • With the support of the Turkish Ministery of Culture and Tourism the Sufi Order of the Mevlevi, which goes back to the mystic poet Mevlânâ Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī, experiences a revival since the 1990’s.

  • At historical sites of the once active but today still forbidden Order, semas (Dervish rituals, the turning dance) again take place – for example in Konya at the site of Rumi’s mausoleum, in Afyon in the Afyonkarahisar Mevlevîhânesi, in Eskişehir in the Eskişehir Mevlevîhânesi, as well as in Istanbul in the Galata Mevlevîhânesi and the Yenikapı Mevlevîhânesi.

  • The Dervish monasteries have been changed to museums and can be visited, just as it is possible to attend performances of the turning ritual, the sema.

  • The ‚International Mevlana Foundation‘ was established in Istanbul in 1996 with its centre in Konya. It is represented by Sheikh Fâruk Çelebi Efendi, a direct descendant of Rumi.

Gemälde vor 1925 eines Mukabele-Rituals mit Musikern und den Gräbern der verstorbenen Sheikhs.

Painting of a Mukabele ritual before 1925, in the foreground the musicians, opposite the sheikh and the dance teacher, on the left the sarcophagi of the sheikhs of the order.

Derwische, Türkei, vor 1925

Dervishes in Turkey before 1925

 Sheikh Münir Çelebi

(photographed in 1969)

Sheikh Münir Çelebi –
to whom the Semahane in the ‚Klangraum 21‘ at Ebertsheim (Germany) is dedicated – permitted by virtue of his ancestral connection, that the Mevlevi tradition be passed on to interested persons.
On request, he therefore sent Resûhî Baykara, a close friend and student to London in 1963.
According to the philosophy of Rumi, anyone, men and women alike, may be taught the turning meditation and benefit from the ethical values of this tradition, whatever their background.

Sheikh Resûhî Baykara

(photographed 1962 at the Galata Tekke, Istanbul)

Maria-Gabriele Wosien

  • 1965 instructions into the Mevlevi turning tradition in the ‚Study  Society‘, London, followed 1966 by lessons with Resuhi Baykara (1913-1989), whose father was the last Sheikh of the Yenikapı Mevlevi Tekke in Istanbul.

  • Encounters with Sheikh Münir Çelebi (died 1972), the last Sheikh of the Sultan Dîvânî Mevlevîhânesi, Afyonkarahisar, and his son Sıtkı Çelebi, both direct descendants of Rumi.

  • The foundation of the Tekke in Afyonkarahisar in the 14th century was the first Mevlevi Semahane outside of Konya and had a number of women Sheikhas in their lineage.
    The Sheikhs of the Order were related to the reigning Sultans, and one of their first Sheikhs was the famous mystic poet Sultan Divani. The largest tomb in the Tekke of Afyonkarahisar is dedicated to his memory.

  • Resûhî Baykara gave Maria-Gabriele Wosien permission to teach both the turning technique as well as the ritual of the Mukabele – the turning dance. Based on this direct connection with members of the Mevlevi tradition,

  • Maria-Gabriele Wosien teaches, or has taught internationally groups and single persons – as in ‚Rosa de Nazaré  Mevlevihane‘ (Brazil), the ‚Tekke Dervish‘ in Evpatoria (Crimea), the Mevlevi Semahane Ebertsheim (Germany), with seminars at the ‚Findhorn Foundation‘ (Scotland), at ‚Centro Bhole Baba‘ near Genua, in Oslo, near Munich and Salzburg…

Sheikh Resûhî Baykara, (painted by John Hersey 1966)

The Mukabele – (All the invisible kingdoms)

“It is like this,” he said:
“When you turn you do not turn for yourself, but for God.
When we turn around in that way, we do so that the Light of God may descend upon the earth.
As you act as a channel in the turn, the light comes through the right hand, and the left hand brings it into the world.
It is what you in the West call ‘alchemy’, for if you concentrate correctly in your prayer to God then you make the necessary sacrifice of yourself.
In this way light which contains within itself perfect order, is able to come through onto the earth.
We turn for God and the world, and it is the most beautiful thing you can imagine.
If you are quiet and in a state of prayer when you turn, offering everything of yourself to God,
then, when your body is spinning, there is a completely still point in the centre.
In the knowledge that there is only Him, you can experience the universe round that still point.
The Heavens respond and all the invisible kingdoms join in the dance…”

(Sheikh Resûhî Baykara, mid-1960’s)

Mukabele at the opening of the semahane on 15 July 2019 (painting by Burkhart Braunbehrens)

On July 15th 2019 the Mevlevi-Semahane Ebertsheim was dedicated to this work in the presence of Sheikh Dino Alloni of the Mevlevîhâne Rosa de Nazaré (Brazil) and Maria-Gabriele Wosien.

A Mukabele (turning ritual) was celebrated in the presence of an international gathering of friends, interested in the tradition from Brazil, Schottland, Russia and Germany.

The Turkish Musicgroup ‚Hosh Neva‘ from Mannheim and the vocalist Bora Uymaz from Izmir made their unique contribution by playing live for this special event.

Dedicated to the sacred memory of Sheikh Münir Çelebi, the ‚Klangraum 21‘ is now a place where heaven and earth may meet. Through continued practice of the turning meditation this memory will be honoured and experience deepened.

„Whoever you may be – just come.
Be you heathen, non-believer, fire-worshipper – come:
Our path is not the path of desperation
and though a thousand times you broke
your oath of penitence, even so still come.

Dschalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī

Dschalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī (1207 – 1273):

„Be like melting snow:
Wash yourself from yourself.
Let yourself be led in silence
by what you really love.
It is the spirit,
that moves and raises the body.
The spirit evokes joy.
If you put a bird in the cage,
it sings with longing.
It is the same with the human soul:
Let us listen to the sound of creation,
then our body moves with longing:
The soul belongs to the light of its creator
and wants to ascend again
to her origin.