Carl Vett

Dervish Diary
Two Weeks in a Sufi Monastery in Istanbul (1925)

ISBN 978-3-929345-
19,90 Euro, 33,60 SFr
Price in the USA: 20 Dollars
Price in the U.K.: 12 Pounds Sterling

Testimony of an almost forgotten time

The rediscovery of this almost forgotten book in which the author, the Danish publicist and anthroposophist Carl Vett, is telling of a forgotten time is a lucky coincidence.

“In 1925 I was in Constantinople, and was, so it was generally said, the first non-Mohammedan to be allowed to live for a time as a dervish in a Sufi monastery … Many years of study had made me familiar with the phenomena of psychic research, and I wanted to observe at first hand the ecstatic states attained by the dervishes in their way of initiation — for the dervish orders of Islam are schools of initiation.

Before and during my stay with the dervishes I kept a diary. It was not intended for special publication, but in view of the execution of twenty-nine men, most of whom were sheiks or members of the Naqshbandi order … it has seemed that these experiences might be of more general interest; and so I have decided to offer them to the public.”  (From the author's foreword)

Even now, more than 70 years after its initial publication, this book is a valuable read for anybody interested in the Islamic aspect of the mystical heritage of mankind.


Carl Vett,

was born on September 29, 1871 in Århus, Denmark. His father was one of the founders of Denmark’s largest department store, the "Magasin du Nord" in Copenhagen, which still exists today. 

Vett was married and had two daughters. Besides being a successful businessman, he was also a world traveller, publicist, translator and patron of many cultural and social projects which he supported financially. Carl Vett’s principal interest was world peace and brotherhood, of which this book is a vivid testimony. For a time he corresponded with Mahatma Gandhi.

Vett was a close friend of Rudolf Steiner and translated some of the latter’s works into Danish. Between 1921 and 1935, he organised five international conferences on psychical research in Copenhagen, Oslo, Warsaw, Paris and Athens, which were attended by experts from up to sixteen different countries. In the 1930s, Vett introduced Steiner’s biodynamic organic farming to Denmark. In the late 1930s he moved to California, where he spent about fourteen years. Here, too, his occupation was to introduce biodynamic organic farming along the west coast of the United States and Mexico.

Carl Vett died on February 1, 1956 in Rome, Italy. Half of his ashes were scattered into the sea in Denmark, while the other half remained in an urn in Rudolf Steiner’s Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. The urn was buried in the Anthroposophist’s Memorial Garden on the same site in 1989.