The Sufi Mystical Idiom in Alevi Asik Poetry: Flexibility, Adaptation and Meaning

Caroline Tee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

The Alevi tradition in Turkey is characterized by a profoundly mystical religious worldview. Its poetic culture, aşıklık, is heavily influenced by the language and mystical motifs of Persian Sufism. Yet whilst the major precepts of Sufi theology and ritual practice undeniably constitute an important influence on Alevilik, there are areas of its mysticism that are uniquely Alevi. This paper explores the particularities of Alevi mysticism by analyzing the context and meaning of the Sufi poetic idiom in Alevi poetry. The subject is approached through an ethnographic study of the life and poetry of a contemporary Alevi aşık from Erzincan, called Ozan Seyfili, the span of whose life covers the past six decades. It concludes by considering the future prospects for Alevi mysticism as the community codifies and reformulates its traditions in the present day.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Turkish Studies
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • migration, Alevi, mysticism, aşık poetry, community, persecution

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