“Turning toward the One she whirled, her heart receiving blessing from the Beloved and pouring peace onto the revolving earth…”
She performs ablutions, prays, and mends shoes for years, only to don her death shroud upon her back and place a symbolic tombstone upon her head. With death cloaking her compassionate body, she begins to twirl, invoking the name of the Beloved within her heart. She is a whirling dervish and her name is Fatima. The daughter-in-law of the esteemed Sufi poet, Rumi, joins with the myriad other Holy Women Icons with a folk feminist twist that I write about each month: Virginia Woolf , the Shulamite, Mary Daly, Baby Suggs, Pachamama and Gaia, Frida Kahlo, Salome, Guadalupe and Mary.
Fatima is best understood when placed in an historical context. So, I begin with a very brief history of the whirling dervishes, while also offering glimpses into women’s roles in the Mevlevi Order. The primary Islamic sect that proclaims that dancing is…
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