The Sema ceremony represents the human being's spiritual journey, an ascent by means of intelligence and love to Perfection (Kemal). Turning toward the truth, he grows through love, transcends the ego, meets the truth, and arrives at Perfection. Then he returns from this spiritual journey as one who has reached maturity and completion, able to love and serve the whole of creation and all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race.
Contrary to popular belief, the semazen's goal is not to lose consciousness or to fall into a state of ecstasy. Instead, by revolving in harmony with all things in nature -- with the smallest cells and with the stars in the firmament -- the semazen testifies to the existence and the majesty of the Creator, thinks of Him, gives thanks to Him, and prays to Him. In doing so, the semazen confirms the words of the Qur'an (64:1): Whatever is in the skies or on earth invokes God.
The dervishes enter the semahane (sema hall), led by the semazenbashi
After the dervishes enter the sema hall, they slowly line up to one side with heads bowed.
The dervishes (semazens) then bow, remove their cloaks, kiss them, and let them drop to the floor. In so doing, they leave their worldly attachments and prepare to turn for God.
Each dervish places his arms on his chest to symbolize his belief in the Oneness of God, "the One."
With an open palm, the semazen’s right hand is extended upwards, thus indicating his reception of God’s beneficence. As for the left hand, it is extended downwards to indicate the distribution of these divine gifts to all mankind.
Contrary to popular belief, the semazen do not aim at losing consciousness or falling into a state of ecstasy. Rather, the Sema is meant to help the semazen to completely submit himself to God, and unite with Him.