Whirling dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Order, a Sufi Muslim order founded in the 13th century by the Persian poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi. The Mevlevi Order is known for its practice of whirling, a form of physically active meditation that is performed during a ceremony called the Sema.
The Sema is a spiritual journey that symbolizes the dervish’s journey to God. The dervishes whirl around their own axes, representing their journey from the ego to the Universal Spirit. The whirling is accompanied by music and poetry, which help to create a state of trance in the dervishes.