Thousands of pilgrims gathered Monday in Bulgaria’s Rila mountains to welcome their “spiritual” new year with a cosmic-like dance performed in concentric circles, creating a striking image on the verdant mountain plain.
The white-clad dancers hiked up to Bulgaria’s Seven Rila Lakes at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) and performed a special meditative dance known as “paneurhythmy” for more than an hour under the sound of singing and violins.
They are followers of the Universal White Brotherhood — an esoteric society that combines Christianity and Indian mysticism and was founded by Bulgarian theologian Peter Deunov back in 1897 but banned during communism and still considered a sect by the country’s Christian Orthodox Church.
It emphasises brotherly love, healthy habits, positive thinking and living in harmony with nature.
The movement does not keep track of its numbers but is believed to have tens of thousands of followers worldwide, possibly more — the majority of them in France, Belgium and Switzerland but also as far as the US, Canada, Mexico, Iceland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Its followers believe that positive cosmic energy is at its strongest in the region of the Seven Rila Lakes around August 19 and that paneurhythmy will help them channel it and spread it around the world.
“Paneurhythmy combines music and movement (…) With these exercises we get in touch with the physical, the spiritual and the divine worlds,” said Ventsislav Kuninsky, a 59-year-old machine engineer and follower of the Universal White Brotherhood for 30 years.
Others found purely individual pleasure and health benefits in the exercises that seem graceful and easy but are in reality quite strenuous to perform.
“For me this is a recharging, a reconnection to nature, the road to good health and the road back to my heart because nowadays we have become very reasoning, we think a lot.
“Here, as banal as it may sound, everything is love,” said 40-year-old Ralitsa Kovacheva, who discovered Deunov’s teachings five years ago.
Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems
Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.
Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."
Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.
Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.
The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.
A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning
While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.