сряда, 5 ноември 2008 г.

Lakes in White

Followers of Master Peter Deunov from
across the world celebrate the Solar New
Year on Mount Rila

Like a yogi from the River Ganges, an old man with a
silvery beard stands knee-deep in the cold waters of
Babreka (The Kidney), the third of the Seven Rila Lakes.
The man splashes his face and the glass-smooth surface of
the lake ripples in concentric circles. A short while later
the same patterns will be formed by the participants in
Paneurhythmy, the ritual dance which the members of the
White Brotherhood perform in the huge meadow above the
lake. The occasion is the Solar New Year, which the followers
of Peter Deunov celebrate here every summer from 19 to 21
To be completely at one with Nature, a young man and a girl
bathe naked in the lake before donning their white clothes.
Shoals of fish flit about in the crystal-clear water. Despite the
gathering of hundreds of followers of Master Deunov, and as
many tourists attracted by the spectacle, the area is clean and
there is no litter anywhere.The dance begins. Dressed in white, the dancers lock arms
in pairs, forming rings. At the centre is a group of peoplewho sing songs
to the sun, theuniverse and God. Soon, the meditative song is picked up by everybody. The dancers move in circles outlined with stones. But you cannot see this from the meadow, so I rush off towards the nearby hills. The hilltop offers a magnificent view of the lakes and of the living white circles that get everything
around swinging to their rhythm. The song floats up unobstructed in the amphitheatre of the mountain,filling the air with a sense of divine presence. The people dancing below look like angels which have descended to Earth to proclaim their joy. I, however, clamber down back to the dancers, eager to learn more about their human essence. Fritz is from Austria and he is 47 years old. He is not dressed in white and he is only watching the rituals of the Brotherhood. His wife is Bulgarian and comes from the town of Dupnitsa. She is oneof the most advanced followers of Deunov, so she is now
somewhere at the centre of the circle, singing in the choir
with total dedication, her eyes closed. When I ask Fritz about
the little girl he is holding in his arms, his face lights up. It
seems he needs nothing else to be happy. His daughter gives
him a disarming smile and Fritz puts her down, allowing her
to wander around the meadow at will. But she hangs back,
walking in circles around his feet and banging two stones
Ganka Ilieva is from the city of Targovishte. At 64, she
has not missed a single Paneurhythmy in the last 15 years.
Shining through the slits in her wide-brimmed hat, the
sunlight plays on her face. Dancing Paneurhythmy is good
for her, but she has just sprained her ankle and it hurts badly.
If Ganka can smile so sweetly even in this condition, I can
only imagine what she is like when she is not in pain.Petar Ganev is a musician and violinist from Sofia. He has
arranged all the songs of the White Brotherhood written by
Deunov. Since 1997, he has been the director of the White
Brotherhood choir, which is named after an older Bulgarian
Christian heresy: Bogomili. The choir includes Bulgarian
expatriates, as well as many foreigners. Ganev is conducting
with eyes closed. Most ‘brothers’ close their eyes during
Paneurhythmy. Absence of visual contact is obligatory in
order to dull the physical senses and allow souls to merge
completely.Petar Kapralov, 37, has a degree in business administration from
the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. He has been living
and working in London for the past two years. This is the first
time he has attended Paneurhythmy at the lakes. But he knows
all about the ritual from the Sunday meetings of the London
group of followers of Master Deunov in Richmond Park, which
he attends regularly. “There are about 25 to 30 of us every
Sunday, Bulgarians and Britons,” says Petar. He is married to a
Danish playwright, Helen, who is also here. She says that it was
in Bulgaria that she felt for the first time “a completely different
energy you can’t find anywhere else. What is interesting about
this teaching is that you can’t get to its heart by reading – you
need to experience it live.” Whenever she dances Paneurhythmy
Helen as if reaches a new level of understanding and fullness,
and she tries to describe this feeling in her plays.
The dance ends but the dancers are in no hurry to leave. Men
and women, young and old, Bulgarian and foreign, hug, kiss
and congratulate each other with the words “A Bright Holiday!”
Until the next Solar New Year.

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