The first part of third book in the series of the Elysium Texts, the Books of the Dead, takes place in the mountains of Persia. The adventurers meet up with Sufi dervishes in the mountains in their search for followers of Zarathustra and the remnants of the disbanded Assasssins. In my research I have become fascinated with the dervishes and their hypnotic dance meditation. Sadly, an authentic audience is unlikely for many reasons. One can still see the tourist versions in Turkey, however, and I posted a short clip of one of those.
The Persian poet, Rumi, discovered this very zen way of communing with God in the 13th century. The practice has ebbed and flowed over the years depending on the political situation. Every culture has a shamanic mysticism preserved somewhere inside. This one shares attributes with Tai Chi, Labyrinth-walking, chanting and even the modern Rave. There is a disciplined ritual to the movements, each of which has a significance in the communion with god. The costume as well. Rumi’s esctatic poems reflect the insight and enlightenment he achieved by touching god in this manner. He says,
Just like God you will rip and tear down
and at the same time sew and repair.
You will open and close
Both at the same time.
If you want you can appear and conceal yourself however you like.
You will see everyone everything bare and naked.
Yet no one can see you
In the land of soul
You will be sultan of sultans.
Wonderful things can happen when one goes ’round and ’round.