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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
It's all in the Healing

With all of the wacky weather we have been experiencing the globe over, one could get the impression that Mother Nature is royally ticked-off with us. Can you blame her? She's been so often abused, neglected, and taken for granted it is a wonder that we still have a planet fit to live on. What we can do is let her know that we care. Think of it like honoring your own mother on Mother's Day. I am a big fan of building strong energy and channeling it through ecstatic dance and music. I used to attend a great dance in Evanston back in the day, and there's no reason why you couldn't hold your own. For Earth Day this year, try organizing a Trance Dance. As in Transcendental. No, we're not talking about Rave 'Til Dawn. Your mission: find a great space, and create mood lighting. Low lights, candles on the outskirts (safely out of the way), pretty electric glowy lights and lava lamps, would all do the trick. Do you or someone you know have access to a large basement, church space, or school gym? The most important factor is that the space is wide open and that no one has to worry about colliding with objects or each other in it. Elect someone to play DJ for the eve. Make sure in advance that you have a decent sound system. Get a good-sized, unselfconscious group to come on out and let the party begin.

The main idea that everyone should be let in on from the beginning is that you are holding a dance with intent. To send out nurturing energy to help heal our Mother Earth. Send her your love with the energy that you create through your dancing.

Ideally, you move like crazy to a steady mix of New-Agey, Electronica, World music for one to two hours straight. You dance with total abandon, literally stomping your ya-yas out until you are dripping with sweat and reach the equivalent of a runner's high. If you need to cool it down in the midst of your twirling, feel free to strike some good yoga poses in the middle of the circle and catch your breath. See the clear unpolluted waters, protected forests, recycling programs, solar and wind power all happening in your mind's eye. Believe that it can continue to happen– that it is not to late to do our part to have a beneficial, lasting ecological impact on our planet. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Dancing Crone

Dancing is a means of connecting with oneself and the goddess. Belly dancing, Chakra dance and temple style dance easily lend themselves to connection with ones higher self, all offer the chance to allow us to move freely, to flow in rhythm with the music, as we experience a falling away of self doubt and image conciseness. These forms allow women of all sizes and ages to come together without fearing judgement on their looks or weight or even any physical impairment that might hinder them from executing the gravity defying leaps and spins we so often see on TV program where the young and beautiful compete with each other to win money and fame.

 

I am a belly dancer and will turn 60 this Christmas. The style I've chosen to learn is the Tribal style, earthy and grounded, where the dancers stand more solidly rooted on both the balls and heels of their feet rather than elevated on the balls for the majority of the dance. Tribal does incorporate the Cabaret method as well as utilize other dances from various cultures. When we perform our Tribal Fusion dances we draw from bits of Jazz, Salsa, Bhangra, Temple, even country line dance if it fits the choreographed number for our performance.b2ap3_thumbnail_gallowayJanice.jpgOur costumes are bright for the Tribal style with large flowing 25 yard skirts that swirl and move with us in a cloud of gauzy cotton. Scarves and belts adorned with bells, heavy silver jewelry, or beaded patches bring an emphasis to our hips. And yes, we dance to accentuate our hips, not to hide them, Often our skirts are pulled up and tucked into the waistband creating ruffled layers at our sides, or bustled in the back, drawing the eye to our hips, to the part of our bodies that support our young as we carry our babies to term. Our hips are goddess-like, and our bellies, and our costumes allow the movement of both to be clearly seen.

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  • Joan M Gray
    Joan M Gray says #
    I have just started belly dancing. My motive is to stop back pain, which it is doing. I didn't know the history of belly dancing

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
"Because There is No Veil..."

Several weeks ago, I was honored to help a team of folks create funerary rites for a recently-deceased member of our community. The primary facilitator lives several states away and we spoke over the phone a few days before he was scheduled to arrive for the memorial.

He and I are in different traditions and it was helpful to hear how they do things and to figure out the best way for me to contribute, to help. He told me early in the conversation that the intention for the ritual was to dance the deceased through the Veil--something that might be tricky so far from Samhain. It was to be a joyous celebration with song and poetry and drumming. I offered to help with the drumming (I play a big frame drum) and we chatted a bit longer about the general shape of the rite.

We seemed to be hitting it off so I also told him an observation from my little place in the big world--there hasn't been a Veil here in several years. I'm sure he didn't quite believe what I was saying--why should he? And it didn't have any import in the work we were to do together. Once he got here, though, I think he felt it--this wispy and threadbare barrier between us and our Ancestors.

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  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    "But the Ancestors haven't been apart from us here in years. You have only to sit in a quiet place and you begin to hear their mur
May Day, May Day: No Parking On The Dance Floor

Whether you refer to it as May Day or Beltane, it is often held as one of the most passionately beloved of all Pagan and Wiccan days. Here are some of the ways that I have enjoyed celebrating 

May 1: Early in the day, clean up your altar. Give it a good dust and polish and make it extra pretty. Then go out and pick some fresh wild or garden flowers or purchase some. Present them to your favorite lust Gods and Goddesses in a water-filled vase on the altar and tie some red and white ribbons at the base. 

For years, I have traditionally baked these yummy little scones from Patricia Telesco’s, “Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook.” 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

As we come to the end of the calendar year, it's a good time to reflect on what the year past has held and what we hope for the new year. I found some beautiful composite photographs which combine an entire series of movements into a single image to be a helpful metaphor for gaining perspective on the year.

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