“You’re like a Whirling Dervish…!” You may have heard that phrase spoken to someone who was rather aimlessly twirling and rushing around, but the truth is, while Dervishes are real, their ‘whirling’ is hardly aimless.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 3pm, Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, Oak & Middlesex Aves., Metuchen, will sponsor a one hour presentation by an actual Sufi Dervish who “Whirls,” Sakina, a woman dervish from the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community in Tribeca, Manhattan. The Sufis are a Muslim group founded by the poet Rumi who use the physical act of moving in a circle as a form of meditation. And why would a Dervish be invited to Nails in the Wall? The current exhibit, Spirituality of the Mandala: Reality in the Round, is an exploration of the “sacred round” in its many forms.
Dionesia Garcia (aka Sakina) has been a member of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order of dervishes for a decade and has trained intensely in Sufism and in the discipline of whirling, in which she has lead workshops for several years, including a monthly session at the Jerrahi Derga in NYC.
Introducing this ‘bodily prayer form’ to a new audience is consistent with the mission of the one-year-old gallery, located in the education building of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. “While we are essentially about bringing high-quality visual art to the community around broad spiritual themes, we also see ourselves creating opportunities for contemplation, both through the visual art and the programs we present related to each exhibit,” acknowledges Gallery Director Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella.
Humanity has linked the ‘spirit of the round’ with things spiritual and healing from before recorded time. And all of the major religious traditions include ‘embodied prayer’ (kneeling, bowing, dancing) as part of their worship and meditation practices. Sufi Whirling is just not as well known in the West.
Reflecting on the current exhibit, “Reality in the Round, the Spirituality of the Mandala,” Gallery Board Member Ann Marie Stone muses, “The circle, the mandala is such an archetypal symbol of the eternal. It’s so appropriate for the gallery at St. Luke’s to present a ‘visual conversation’ around that idea.”
The presentation by Sakina will take place in the large gathering space, Fryer Hall, near the Gallery and is open to the public. There will be an opportunity to give a free-will offering at the door.
Further questions or details, contact Linda LaStella, EarthsongsCeramicStudio@gmail.com / 732.906.4137.