whirl (hwûrl, wûrl)
whirled, whirling, whirls verb, intransitive
1. To revolve rapidly about a center or an axis.
2. To rotate or spin rapidly: The dancer whirled across the stage.
3. To turn rapidly, changing direction; wheel: She whirled around to face him.
4. To have the sensation of spinning; reel: My head is whirling with data.
5. To move circularly and rapidly in varied, random directions: The wind whirled across the steppes.
1. To cause to rotate or turn rapidly: whirl a baton.
2. To move or drive in a circular or curving course.
3. To drive at high speed: whirled the motorcycle around the corner.
4. Obsolete. To hurl.
1. The act of rotating or revolving rapidly.
2. Something, such as a cloud of dust, that whirls or is whirled.
3. A state of confusion; tumult.
4. A swift succession or round of events: the social whirl.
5. A state of mental confusion or giddiness; dizziness: My head is in a whirl.
6. Informal. A short trip or ride.
7. Informal. A brief or experimental try: Let's give the plan a whirl.
[Middle English whirlen, probably from Old Norse hvirfla.]
- whirl´er noun
dervish (dûr´vîsh), [Pers., = beggar], the friar or monk of ISLAM. There are numerous societies of dervishes, many quite similar to the religious orders of Western Christendom; however, dervishes do not take final vows and are never cloistered. Certain groups are characterized by the form of their mystical practice, e.g., the howling dervishes and whirling dervishes. Some form of SUFISM is the theological basis of most of the dervish sects.
1. A member of any of various Moslem ascetic orders, some of which perform whirling dances and vigorous chanting as acts of ecstatic devotion.
2. One that possesses abundant, often frenzied energy: "[She] is a dervish of unfocused energy, an accident about to happen" (Jane Gross).
[Turkish derviS, mendicant, from Persian darvêsh.]
Word History: The word dervish calls to mind the phrases howling dervish and whirling dervish. Certainly there are dervishes whose religious exercises include making loud howling noises or whirling rapidly so as to bring about a dizzy, mystical state. But a dervish is really the Moslem equivalent of a monk or friar, the Persian word darvêsh, the ultimate source of dervish, meaning "religious mendicant." The word is first recorded in English in 1585.
Founded by the great philosopher and writer Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi in the 13th century, the ritual of the Mevlevi sect, known as the sema, is a serious religious ritual performed by Muslim priests in a prayer trance to Allah. Mevlevi believed that during the sema the soul was released from earthly ties, and able to freely and jubilantly commune with the divine.
During the ceremony, the dervishes remove black cloaks to reveal the tennure (white religious robes with voluminous skirts). They turn independently, shoulder to shoulder, both around their own axis and around other dervishes, representing the earth revolving on its own axis while orbiting the sun or possibly God.
The dervishes silently perform the sema, making small, controlled movements of hands, head and arms as they whirl. They are accompanied by music, often dominated by the haunting sound of the reed pipe or "ney", as well as drums and chanting as the ritual gradually transforms itself into rapid, spinning ecstasy.
In the Middle East it is believed that the dervish is in prayer and that his body becomes open to receive the energy of God. The Turkish Sultans often consulted the Dervishes in difficult times. Their spinning created a relaxing and hypnotic effect in which the Sultans could search for guidance.
Dervish literally means "doorway" and is thought to be an entrance from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world. During this solemn religious ceremony it is believed that the power of the Heavens enters into the upward extended right palm and passes through the body and leaves the lower, turned-down left palm to then enter into the Earth. The dervish does not retain the power nor is he to direct it. He accepts that he is the true instrument of God and therefore he does not question the power that comes and leaves him.
The Whirling Dervishes played a vitally important part in the evolution of Ottoman high culture. From the fourteenth to the twentieth century, their impact on classical poetry, calligraphy and the visual arts was profound. Perhaps their greatest achievement, though, was in the area of music. Since the dogmatists of Islam's orthodoxy opposed music, claiming it was harmful to the listener and detrimental to religious life, no sacred music or mosque music evolved except for the Mevlud, a poem in praise of the Prophet, chanted on high occasions or as a requiem. Rumi and his followers integrated music into their rituals as an article of faith. In his verses, Rumi emphasized that music uplifts our spirit to realms above, and we hear the tunes of the Gates of Paradise. The meeting places of the dervishes, consequently, became academies of art, music and dance.
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
first mention of Whirling Dervish in Usenet:
Subject: Love-Hounds Digest (Issue L9)
Date: 1986-07-14 11:05:06 PST
Love-Hounds Digest Issue L9
* some comments to recent digests..
* 'eam I(ED)
* Adrian Belew. The Pink Holes.
* Sonic Youth Bootleg
* KB News
* Reply to IED
* capital radio
* HG 23
* Public Image Limited at the Warfield Theater in SF 6/2/86
* "Don't Give Up"
* Creation Records Compilation
Date: Thursday, July 10,
Subject: Public Image Limited at the Warfield Theater in SF 6/2/86
I have wanted to see PiL for a while. The last time I saw Johnny Rotten performing was with the sex pistols back in London in 1977. I was 13. I've often been told to check out PiL.... "they're intense" .... I was told. THEY were right. THEY often are.
Opening band sucked donkey dicks. I can't remember their name, but they do that stupid semi-rap song "We Care Alot" that I had the misfortune of hearing the night after seeing PiL at Club DNA in SF. Anybody know who these clowns are so I can be sure to miss them next time?
PIL: Yowza! The show started off slow with the band playing some Led Zeppelin tune and Johnny howling. It all comes full circle y'know. Johnny Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, was doing it as a reaction to the purple acid haze left by the sixties and found in Led Zeppelin's music. And now PiL is churning out their own version of postpunk acid-haze. Pil, why, they're the Grateful Dead of punk! Cult-followed since the demise of punk (whenever that happened), Pil, has that "old band" feel that you only get out of really practised bands like the Dead, or like Siouxsie and the Banshees. And besides, everything PiL does on album is shit. Just like the dead. But they sure give good concerts. Just like the dead. The band itself puts you in a high-tech acid haze brought on by lots of digital delays on the voice, guitar synthesizers... a mean bass line churned out by some natty looking black dude playing a steinberger really drove the music. The overall effect was a whirling dervish of sound that sounded like King Crimson meets Ravi Shankar. The Indo-rock aspect of the music was really unmistakeable when the guitar player brought out some four string indian thang (well, it wasn't a sarod, sitar, or tamboura, as far as I can tell) that sounded like the high end of a sitar. And the bass player at times could have been playing a sarod. They both seemed to be plugged into a sounds effects machine that seemed to give mached digital efxts between the guitar and the bass.... so that pitch-shifting modulations of the harmonics of the bass and guitar seemed to be synchronized.... both the guit and bass stayed in tune with each other despite the wide pitch modulations caused by the harmonizer-delays. It seems like they were feeding the guitar and bass sounds to a synth. Its hard to describe. It sounds really nice. Makes you want to melt.
Ok, so what about Johnny? well, he was simply this incredible stage presense. If you're into ascerbic english fellows of extreme pallor and egomaniacal tendencies, then you'd probly like Johnny's stage presence. Some fuckwad had a flashback to '77 and thought it cool to spit on Johnny, which prompted a nasty "You little bastard" from Lydon and audience applause. As far as stage prescience goes... well I was fucking overwhelmed at about 10 feet away from Lydon in the really-mild-thrash-pit-consisting-of-mostly-kids-from-milpitas. Hopefully the rest of the audience notices Lydon's energy else half the show is gone.
The result. A bunch of intense musicians, with a ex. Sex Pistols member thrown in for free to provide "test-of-time-respectability". So there.
Niels Mayer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hewlett Packard Laboratories.