White Brotherhood, Bulgaria

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A different White Brotherhood yet a brotherhood nevertheless where people connect on their inner search.

Their new year begins with the passing of summer and since 1929, every year on August 19th thousands of members of the White Brotherhood – the movement founded by Peter Deunov (Beinsa Duono) – gather at the highest Bulgarian mountain range in the Southwest of the country, called Rila. Worshippers attribute spiritual powers to the mountains and see them as a symbol of the Divine World.

More than one third of the mountain is part of the Rila National Park, the rest lies within the park of the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s largest and most important monastery, founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila. Alongside the cultural landmarks the mountain is also famous for the Seven Rila Lakes.

The movement is a synthesis of Christianity and Hinduism with a heavy emphasis on brotherly love, a healthy diet and living in harmony with nature; their faith is based on a new interpretation of Christian doctrine and interaction with the physical world; the main principles are love, wisdom, truth, equity, and virtue. As supreme cosmic forces, they operate in every mind. Even if this process is unconscious, it is most important for the individual.

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Members of the White Brotherhood perform a one hour long sacred dance called Paneurhythmy, paying tribute to the movement of the planets and stars. The participants move around in couples and follow the rhythm of the melodies created for the occasion. The significance of the dance is found in the etymology of the word Paneurhythmy – universal cosmic rhythm. The music is played on various instruments. Priority is given to the violin, closest to human voice interpreter of the melody.

Paneurhythmy is played from March 22nd to September 22nd early in the morning, close to nature, although most people come to participate in the dance in the Rila mountain range during August 19 till August 21.

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