Paneurhythmy: The Mystical Dance of the White Brotherhood

Paneurhythmy by Kidney Lake in Rila Mountains
Paneurhythmy by Kidney Lake in Rila Mountains | © borosara / Pixabay
Maria Angelova

If you happen to visit the Seven Rila Lakes in mid-August, you will see big circles of people all dressed in white performing a special set of dances and exercises by the lakes. These are followers of the Universal White Brotherhood movement, who dance the paneurhytmy, connecting to each other and to nature. Read on to discover the history behind the dance and its philosophy.

Origins of Paneurhythmy

Paneurhythmy originates from the spiritual teachings of Peter Deunov, also known as Beinsa Douno (1864-1944), the most influential Bulgarian spiritual leader, who created his own form of esoteric Christianity. He based his teaching on the connection between body and spirit, but he also gave lectures in astrology, geometry, religion, and philosophy. Although he traveled across the country giving lectures at the beginning of the twentieth century, he is still a popular figure nowadays, and you can find books containing his philosophy in any bookshop.

The White Brotherhood at the Seven Rila Lakes

Meaning of the word paneurhythmy

Symbolism of the dance

Paneurhythmy is performed to the sound of special music by the followers of the White Brotherhood, who sing special words as well. It is danced in the mornings throughout spring, summer and fall. The whole set comprises 28 exercises named “Awakening,” “Ascending,” “Purifying,” “Liberation,” “The Rising Sun,” “Joy of the Earth,” and others. There are two additional exercises that were later added to the set by Peter Deunov – “Sunrays” and “Pentagram.”

In the exercise “Sunrays” for example, the dancing participants say, “Mother, you gave birth to a beautiful person… This is heaven, this is heaven.” In this particular dance, some of the people stand in the form of twelve rays, while the rest form a circle around them, thus symbolizing the sun. Every single movement, like clapping hands or imitating a flying butterfly, adds to the philosophical meaning of extending your awareness beyond your personal life and focusing it on universal love. When performed by many people, paneurhythmy is often danced in circles, thus symbolizing the unification between human beings and nature.

Universal White Brotherhood at Rila Mountains, Bulgaria.

Paneurhythmy at the Seven Rila Lakes

It is said that Peter Deunov first took his disciples up in the mountains to the Seven Rila Lakes at the end of the 1920s. Now on August 19, this is the place where you can witness, in the greatest scale, the beauty of the dance performed by hundreds of White Brotherhood followers from around the world. The date marks the New Year for the followers and is celebrated by greeting the rising sun from the plateau above Kidney Lake (one of the Seven Rila Lakes). Followers also read excerpts from the Gospel and from Deunov’s lectures and dance paneurhythmy for more than an hour. If you want to see this spectacular dance, be there around 10 in the morning.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article