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dervish dangling

From: (KHRS)
Subject: Re: dervish dangling
Date: 49950227 (NG), in reply to an earlier article of mine, writes:

>Dervish dangling is a traditional, but very little known, sufi ascetical
>practise. One of the most famous proponents was Abu Said Abel Khayer
>who lived in the 11th centuray in Central Asia, and was known to hang
>himself by his feet in a closet in house in the early stages of his 
>spiritual career. It may well be that the Rifa'iya of Tripoli still 
>practise it to this day. However one seriouse warning: such practises
>should not be indulged in without the guidance of an authentic sufi guide,
>at least if you wish any positive results.

I came across all this in an unusual magazine called "Body Play".  The 
reference to dervish dangling came in an article on sensory deprivation.
The types of sensory deprivation discussed however differed in one
crucial respect from the commonplace picture of this activity -- this
was the addition of physical tension or stress.  Very different from
the image of lazily floating in a dark tank of warm water.  The point 
was to immobilize the body, but to keep some stimulus to focus 
attention.  The references to dervish dangling are through quotes 
and summaries of writings from the 1940's of an American occultist 
named Seabrook.  The actual "experiments" described involve a young 
woman companion of his named "Justine" (very original nickname).  The 
original "dervish dangling" technique which Seabrook claimed to have 
learned from the Rifa'iya of Tripoli, involved one of Justine's 
wrists being bound to a rope attached to a hook in the ceiling.  
She would then walk slowly in a circle, twisting the rope and therby 
shortening it, raising her up until her toes barely touched the 
ground, stretching out her body. One innovation which she and 
Seabrook added was the wearing of a skintight leather hood, blocking 
out all sight and sound.   Later, finding the tension produced by 
this "traditional" technique unsatisfactory  she would bind both her 
wrists to ropes hanging from the ceiling and suspend herself by 
kicking away phone books on which she was standing.. She had 
"trip-like" experiences during these sessions, feeling herself 
traveling to other places and times, and described these trips to 
Seabrook as they happened.  In one case she describes in detail
walking through some village at which a small circus is appearing.
Seabrook claimed that six months later they were in Europe and came
upon this very scene played out in exact detail as she had 
described it during one of her "dangling" trances.  

The magazine features photographs of an attractive young woman
named Stanya dupicating these postures.  I admit that my 
attention to all this was first attracted by the pictures, 
which are definitely erotic and quite striking.  She is
naked except for panties and the sleak leather hood.  I have 
never previously felt any sort of erotic attraction to "bondage",
but the more I have thought about this, the more it has intrigued
me at many different levels.  Stanya decribes her feelings of 
duplicating these poses in a very delightful way, stating at 
one point, "My body was loose and fluid and working as if it 
were one big living heart, stretching organically with the pull 
of the straps on my wrists."   Other nice stuff as well about
approaching " . . .the round edges of that dark and deep psychic 
place ready to open like my muscles and release me into a different 
realm of consciousness.".


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