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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacred dance

Posted by on in Culture Blogs




OK, today we're going to learn one of the sacred dances of the Witches. It's a Wheel Dance, a wheel of many spokes, as you'll see, and it's called the Carol.

These days, of course, we tend to think of a carol as a song associated with a particular holiday—a Yule carol, a May carol—but in the old days, a carol was a round dance performed to singing rather than to instrumental music.

This is a really useful dance to know, because you can do it to any 4/4 song with a chorus.

So, you start off with the left foot, of course. In dance, you always start off with the left foot. By the way, does anyone know why?

Well, yes, it's the heart side, but does anyone know the story? There's a story to pretty much everything witches do; that's what makes us a people, the stories.

Well, back in the Dawn of Days, when the Horned first came down from heaven, He landed [stomps] whump! left foot first.

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Folk Dance: Creative Power and Connecting to the Land


I'm learning how to flatfoot.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Doing the Minnesota Shuffle

First, and most importantly, keep your elbows tucked in tight against your body.

Now wave your hands and forearms helplessly around. Think flippers or penguin wings, but keep those elbows pressed in. Good!

Now you're ready for the feet. Pull them close together. Now slide one forward: not too far. Now the other. Now the other. Now the other. Now the other.

There you go: you're got it! You're doing our sacred dance: the Minnesota shuffle, also known as the Minnesota Duck-Walk. You want to look like you're penguin-stepping along on smooth ice, afraid to fall down.

In fact, that's exactly what you are doing.

But wait, we're not done yet. The exciting part is yet to come.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Moon Dance

So, at our coven meeting last night, we were out in the backyard, dancing the dance for the New Moon and...

Well, let me just stop right there.

We were dancing the dance for the New Moon.

You know the one that I mean: the one with the arms held up like the horns of the Moon. The one with the great wheelings and the little wheelings, and the ebb and flow of the tides?

You know that one, don't you?

Of course witches have a dance that they dance for the New Moon. Once you hear it, you know that it's so.

Now, when you hear this, you may think: Yes, I love that dance. Or you may think: That's not the New Moon dance that I know. Or you may even think: Why don't I know that one? My coven doesn't even have a New Moon Dance.

What's more, having said “a dance for the New Moon,” you've implied much, much more.

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“Some Day We'll Have Sacred Dances Again”

“Some day we'll have sacred dances again.”

When my friend Doc said this to me more than 20 years ago, his tone was wistful.

Today, decades later, though we may not quite be there yet, we're closer, closer, to the day that he foresaw.


In 1890, avant-garde French composer Eric Satie (1866-1925) published a mysterious, haunting piano piece that he titled Les Gnossiennes.

The word is Satie's own coinage. What he meant by it is unclear. At least some commentators have derived it from Knossos—in Latin, Gnossus—the First City of Minoan Crete. If so, it would mean either “the Knossian Women” or “the things (fem.) of Knossos.”

American dancer-choreographer Ted Shawn (1891-1972) read a Minoan reference in the term. Accordingly, he choreographed a dance for solo male dancer to Satie's music that presented—in Shawn's own words—“a priest of ancient Crete going through a ritual at the altar of the Snake Goddess.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Only Real Pagans in America?

I was telling a friend about our Yule when she stopped me.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “Do you seriously mean to tell me that you guys actually have a special dance that you do in honor of the plum pudding?”

“Sure,” I said. “There's a song, too; they go together.”

She laughed.

“I swear,” she said. “You guys are the only real pagans in America.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
And to the Republic Where Witches Dance

Why am I a Pagan?

Because pagans dance.

Lots of people dance, sure. But when we dance, it's part of our religion.

“Do witches pray?” asks the reporter.

The witch smiles.

“We dance,” she says.

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