“Theres not an ounce of excitment, not a whisper of a thrill and this relationship has all the passion of a pair of Titmice. I want you to get swept away out there. I want you to levitate. I want you to sing with rapture & dance like a Dervish”
Those are the words uttered by Anthony Hopkins in his portrayal of William Parish in the film “Meet Joe Black”. Its his definition of ‘love’.
In this particular scene, he is talking to his daughter about the difference between, her current unexciting relationshipand, finding true love. Although I understood what he meant, I had no idea at the time what a Dervish was and I have to say it was one of those things on my ’discovery’ list.
That was some 12 years ago now.
As I sat on the smooth worn steps of the Apollon Temple last year watching the Mevlevi Order whirl in perfect harmony with their belief, I remembered the quote from the film and had a perfect moment of clarity.
The feeling was timeless, catptivating and somewhat voyuristic, watching these men leave us behind in this realm and find their own personal audience with God. In that moment, shining out from each and every pore of their faces, was the pure and utter joy of finding true love.
I’ve been lucky enough to experience many things in my life but really, living here in a country with so much ancient history, we are presented with more opportunities than we would, under normal circumstances encounter. And yet, as I glance around at my fellow audience, there are only around 200 or so other culture vultures in attendance..
I am sitting under the starlit canopy of night, surrounded by Towering Pillars that are centuries old. I’m listening to the haunting melody of the ‘Nay’ as it dances lightly through the air and I am watching a religious order twirl in perfect rapture as they connect with the Divine. The cost? 60ytl. The experience? Priceless!
After the performance the troup retired to a local restaurant and were happy enough to chat. I have to say, they were delightfull and of course you would expect that from men and boys so in tune with the Divine.
I learned that night that the cloak they wear represents the ‘toprak’ or the earth underneath which we are buried, the white dress becomes the soul and the terracotta hat denotes the cemetary. For someone like me that likes to romaticise, it gives me plenty of inspiration for the endless writing I occupy myself with. However, I have to say, I preferred the image of them in full cerimonial dress than I did sitting at the table in Jeans and Adidas Tshirts.
So, in the words of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi:
“Come, Come, Whoever you are
Wanderer, Idolator, Worshipper of Fire
Come, even though you have broken your vows a thousand times
Come and Come yet again
Ours is not a Caravan of Despair”
NB: The Mevlevi Order orginated from 13th Century Turkey from Sufi Mystic Poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi:
Nay: A reed flute which is a symbol of the human soul that needs to be completely void so it can resonate. A channel for the Divine.