Pilgrims dance in cosmic energy ritual in
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[August 21, 2017]
By Tsvetelia Tsolova
RILA MOUNTAINS, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Lilya
Ivanova, a 29-year-old Bulgarian psychologist, glows with joy. She has
just finished a ritual dance along with some 2,500 white-clad followers
of the Universal White Brotherhood society next to a glacial lake, high
in Bulgaria's Rila Mountains.
Every year devotees of the society, which combines a form of
Christianity with Indian mysticism celebrate, their divine new year,
which lasts three days from August 19.
The society was set up by Bulgarian spiritual teacher Peter Deunov in
the 1920s. Deunov died in 1944 but followers continue to apply his
The society's name does not refer to ethnicity or race but to light and
purity of the soul and the belief that all people can live in harmony,
The highlight of the celebration is "paneurhythmy," a ritual also known
by Deunov's spiritual name, Beinsa Douno. It aims to help devotees link
with cosmic energy.
"It is not just the dance, it is the celebration itself, the whole
connection with nature, the whole blessing that streams from all of us,
the feeling of being one," says Ivanova, who is also an astrologer.
"It is so beautiful that more and more people attend, especially to see
parents dancing together with their small children. You feel harmony and
For about 80 minutes pilgrims move gracefully in concentric circles on a
large meadow near Kidney lake 2,280 meters (7,480 feet) above sea level
and some 90 km (56 miles) south from Sofia. They are accompanied by
violins and choirs.
[to top of second column]
Followers of the Universal White Brotherhood, an esoteric society
that combines Christianity and Indian mysticism set up by Bulgarian
Peter Deunov in the 1920s, perform a dance-like ritual called
"paneurhythmy" in Rila Mountain, Bulgaria, August 19, 2017.
Banished under Communism, the pilgrims are now free to perform
dances, prayers, meditations and exercises which they say help
create peace and harmony in the world and enhance physical and
Many come from as far away as France, Canada, Italy, Ukraine and
Russia to take part.
"I just need to come here because it's like the reset of the eleven
other months of the year," said Pascale Husson, a retired Air France
manager from France who has attended the celebrations since 2008.
There is "no telephone, no internet, nothing but a contact with
nature, God and what is here, what you can see here," she said.
(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)
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