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Rana Gorgani, France’s female dervish, takes Sufi whirling online

One of the world’s few female whirling dervishes, Rana Gorgani has opened up Sufism to a wider audience, and is now making surprising spiritual connections over Zoom thanks to the pandemic. French-Iranian Gorgani, 37, used to think of whirling — a sort of “moving meditation” through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine — as something that should remain behind closed doors. Despite growing up in France, she was initiated into the practice while visiting Iran, a place where Sufis often face persecution by the authorities and dancing in general is frowned upon. She had never intended to...

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