The Spirit of Dance

WE NEED to relax now
Breathe together
Breathe together, and create a group mind

A Coming Together
A Group mind
All Seeking the unity of Spiritual Growth.

Tonight's topic is "Dancing Our Way to Spirit"

norge: Arianna: my pleasure to be here with nice people!
norge bows all with folded palms and grabs a corner chair!

MornStar puts on her dancing shoes :)
MornStar greets all with harmonious joy!!

Psalm 150
Praise God in the sanctuary...
Praise with the blast of the trumpet
Praise the lyre and harp
Praise with timbrel and dance
Praise with strings and pipe
Praise the sounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath, Praise!

As the book of Psalms ends, we are reminded
to shake that tambourine and dance,
and to do it in the sanctuary.

Most people today think of secular purposes for dance.
Hard rock night clubs, amidst a scene of smoke and alcohol.
But we need to remind ourselves of the beauty grace and wonderful gift
that our physical body can express. With it, we manifest the love in the
world of form.

"What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason
In FORM and MOVEMENT how express and admirable!"

Dance can be used singularly or in groups to target a purpose, not always
in Holy Praise. Dance can be art, ritual, pleasure, tell a story, unify a
social group or culture.
It is a means of human expression that conveys what cannot be stated in
words alone.

Isadora Duncan, a famous dancer stated:
"If I could tell you what I mean
I wouldn't have to dance."

I am recalling the days of the early 70's when I was part of an
anti-war scene. I was dancing in a group in which we were all chanting...
4 dead in O- Hi- Ho.

I was on a dance platform that had a wooden floor, and the beat of the
drumming could be felt up your feet.
It seemed to me at that moment
that we were all of a group mind, sending into
the collective unconscious
sending out our sympathies for the 4 who died at Kent State. The intent
and rhythms of the dance
make groups feel unified.

Other group dances that come to mind are tribal dances.
Ones that prepare for a hunt, or ask for rain. One year I attended a summer
solstice gathering of Native Americans, and there was a commitment to
dance and drum for a solid weekend. (people changing, but the dance not
stopping for 48 hours). So there was a respect for the power
of the solstice that was honored by the dance.

In historical perspective, Daniela Gioseffi, in her book Earth Dancing,
refers to the dance form as "mother nature's oldest rite". The earliest
evidence of the dance is of a woman's dancing feet in the sand which dates
back to about 40,000 BC.

Archaeologists called her dance the "dance of the conge", which means
going to and fro, or moving mutually back and forth. Life is like the "dance
of the conge", since energy moves in wave like patterns; (such as
electricity, sound waves, fields of grains moving with the wind).
Likewise, this life force moves in wave like undulations through the
dancer's spirit and body.

In some societies dancing often leads to trance or other altered states of
consciousness. These states can be interpreted as signaling possession by
or they may be sought as a means to emotional release.

A state of trance may enable people to perform remarkable feats of
strength, endurance, or danger, such as dancing through hot coals.

In some societies shamans dance in trance in order to heal others
physically or emotionally. I recently watched a video of some rather
elderly Korean women who were able to run up the sides of the walls after
achieving a trance during dancing and spinning.

Although Organized Christianity frowned on dancing, it continued to be
important in various sects such as the American Shakers, Islamic whirling
dervishes, and sufi dancing.

Does anyone have any comments or experiences with dance?
Ananki = dancer
Ananki::) spirit dancing is a wonderful practice of energy
<Susanrose/Arianna>: what is your favorite type of dance?
Ananki: African :)

ZOLAK-756: As for Africa they have very complex rhythms, and I think that
is as powerful in listening, and not dancing.

<susanrose/arianna>: I took instruction in African drumming
it is like a symphony, with each drummer knowing his/her part

ZOLAK-756: I think Gurdjieff believed that any disciplines movement of
the body could affect the mind. And as a musician
I think this has a lot to do with the practice and training to
be one, and allowing music to serve it's purpose.
I think that if you do not have the discipline to meditate, all
you can do is find music you like and get intense with it.
As with dancing, if you don't, or if you are not a musician you
merely listen to the patterns.

MornStar: As part of my meditation, I often free dance to inner melodies.
Ananki: tai chi :)

<susanrose/arianna>: good points all!

In the last few years I have taken belly dance lessons off and on
Let me tell you how this fits into my spiritual life.
Here is my story:

I have to go back to the beginning to tell you that
although I was raised Catholic,
I have always been interested in psychics, metaphysics,
and new age thinking.
When I saw my first bellydance show several years ago
I was enthralled. I knew the Divine Mother lead me to this opportunity
to see women of all sizes displaying their power, grace and loveliness.

A few spoke of a mystical feeling while dancing. I imagine it's like a
runners high, but with a powerful feminine quality.
I was especially grateful to the larger women who helped me overcome my
own fear of being in front of an audience,
since I was rather large at the time, myself.

I can remember thinking, whether they realize it or not, it's their own
Goddess power that they have flowing though them, and I'm lucky to be
here to see it!
Before I knew it, I was taking dance lessons. Although I
know I may never be as good as most others I've seen, that's ok.. My
interests are in dancing to convey a spiritual feeling.

How empowering to the worthiness of women, to see the Divine
expressed in Her beautiful feminine aspects.
It wipes away all the messages that this culture
planted--that women weren't good enough.

It is a way of connecting with a force greater than you alone,
yet runs through you, and proclaims- you are worthy, beautiful and whole.
I have seen the Goddess, in the dancers and stirring of Her spirit in the
male drummers and musicians who provide the means to dance Her song.
As we dance..........Her presence is ecstasy, Her presence is YOU.

Ananki nods & smiles :), that's dancing!
they're good words arianna
<susanrose/arianna>: :)
goanna wonders about the masculine energies
<susanrose/arianna>: yes.... goanna
Dancing can be masculine as well
But with bellydancing it evokes a feminine aspect of the divinity
With Masculine ...I am reminded about the power of the male Tahitian
drummers and dancers that swallowed fire at the same time :)

<susanrose/arianna>: There are many different divine energies to
be expressed through dance. A famous dancer, Ruth St. Denis
wrote this poem:

The God have meant that I should dance
and in some mystic hour I shall move
to unheard rhythms of the cosmic orchestra of heaven
and you will know the language of my wordless poems
and will come to me
for this is why I dance.

Why We Dance, by Deliliah of Seattle
She shakes her hips and rolls her pelvis,
To call up the chaotic and awesome powers of nature

She quivers her shoulders and rocks her breasts,
To engage us, to compel us. To inhale the
breath of life, to feel the passion.

She moves arms and hands in serpentine patterns,
To beacon, to embrace us
To touch our bodies, minds, and emotions.

She rolls and undulates her belly,
To go within
To worship the creative and healing waters of life.

She swings and rolls her hair round.
To join in the ecstatic mystery of the universe.
to let go! To be free

She spins.
To touch the center, from which
the entire universe takes flight.
Atoms spinning, all creation joins the dance!

<susanrose/arianna>: The following is a poem about how one college
professor feels when she bellydances.....
Dancing the Goddess, by Katharyn Howd Machan
(Katharyn teaches writing at Ithaca College,
dances and has published her poetry.)

In my veil of rippling silk
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me
with my breasts once heavy from milk
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me

Hands in the star, feet on the earth
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me
with my belly stretched from birth
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me

In my belt where sapphires gleam
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me
We make a healing song of dream
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me

In my skirt of sky's full blue
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me
She moves in me and I move for you
I dance the Goddess, the Goddess dances me

<susanrose/arianna>: Ishtar, Innanna and Ashoreth are
close to my heart, and help to inspire belly dance!
The next poem by the same author addresses the
sisterhood and bonding of women in dance.

Regi's Baby Shower

To her I can speak the Goddess:
round and strong and ready to give birth.
The other women make a circle

where we can dance together free
in drumbeat full of heart's own rhythm,
hips' ancient cradle.
Arms snake slowly towards clear sky
and I drape her in my deep pink silk,
silver sequins sparkling.

All is summer here the oak tree sings
All is light and touch and water
We gently turn and gently reach
and in her womb the child begins
to know the sway of prayer.

ZOLAK-756: I don't think everyone is comfortable with dance.
Maybe 15% of people dance with ease.

<susanrose/arianna>: Zolak: you made the point that only
15% of people dance...It is too bad
Today I was at a stage, at the "Thrift Drug" Bike Race in Pittsburgh
I was part of a group of dancers that were there for the
entertainment of the spectators of the bike race
There were about 40 watching us in the crowd
When we invited them to approach the stage and dance with us,
Interestingly though
The CHILDREN loved it!
They has no embarrassment to join in the dancing!
Their mothers started to dance with them
The joy and innocence of the children allowed the
grown ups to drop their embarrassment,
and join the flow of the moment!!!

MornStar: Children radiate with Spirit as they have not learned
self-consciousness and provide adults with good lessons in freedom.
<susanrose/arianna>: :) and perhaps they have not received the total
amnesia of the time when they danced in the heavens,
before they were born

ZOLAK-756: children dance naturally, people are embarrassed to
dance now in front of music, since dancing is very formalized.

<susanrose/arianna>: Zolak...yes, it is too bad that there is a
"right way to dance"
and I wonder what we are teaching our children when we
strap on the tight toe shoes, and dance recitals.

Dance is not just for women though!
The next author, Larry Myers, of Columbus Ohio
writes about the "right way" to dance, and feeling safe about
your ability to creatively express the dance that is in you.

Safe Dance

There was a time when everything danced
the earth danced
the oceans danced
the flames from campfires danced skyward, and
all bodies in the heavens danced

And everyone knew about rhythm
The tides knew it from the moon
the trees knew it from the seasons
and the people knew it from their own breaths and heartbeats
and from the heartbeats of the mothers first felt in the womb

The dance was with God and Goddess
The dance was God and Goddess
It was the rhythm of life, death, and life again celebrated in countless

But like all takes,
Something had to happen which took people from their bliss

And so a blight came upon the land

Nobody knows just how or when it started
because there was no one to blame
There were no dragons, evil Lords. monsters, or Satans

It may have started with just one person
questioning the obvious
but when it was over
only a few people danced
and most, didn't...

It can be saved:
If all persons would turn themselves inward,
And feel their blood pulsing against their vessels,
and the weight of each limb
and the support of their bones

and the roundness of every joint
and the criss crossing of their muscles
and the fluidity of the spaces in -between

And it everyone would turn outward
and see the whole world through his or her skin
and feel the jot,. sorrow, rage, pain and laughter,
The comes from our connectedness with all things
Living, and even those things believed to be inanimate.

And if everyone would whisper chant sing, or shout
the following mantra
as many times as it takes:
"I know, that I'm a dancer."

ZOLAK-756: I have the gurdjieff quote.
the references to dancing in his Beelzebub's tales
Gurdjieff was unique but probably the closest a Sufi,
and dealt with Islamic dancing, but spoke about dance in
Babylonian times.

ZOLAK-756: So, whenever the Babylonian learned painters wove
or embroidered with colored threads or colored their productions,
they inserted the distinctions of the totalities of the colors in the
as well in the horizontal lines and even in the intersecting lines of colour,
not in the lawful sequence in which this process really proceeds,
in accordance with the Law of Sevenfoldness.
And so, during their dances, in the movements in their
accordance with each other, these learned dancers inserted intentional
inexactitudes, and in a certain way indicated in them the
information and knowledge which they wished to transmit.
<susanrose/arianna>: Thank you so much for that... sure sounds like
they had it downto a real ceremonial science.
Dancing can tell a story.... and teach as well
<ZOLAK-756> One can arise great power in a willed movement.
rather than moving through reflex.
<<susanrose/arianna>> well, the opposite is true too... it may be a
reflex to be one with divine flow and current of rhythm

ZOLAK-756: in the 1971 book -
The Sufi Orders in Islam, by J. Spencer
Trimingham there are several references to dancing.
In trimingham's book page 38-39 he says this
"When Ammad's caravan stayed in Wasit in 1327 AD for three days:
When the afternoon prayers have been said
drums and kettledrums were beaten and the poor brethren began to
dance. When all had been eaten and prayed the first night's prayer,
they began to recite the 'dhikr' with the sahikh Ahmad sitting
on the prayer carpet. Then they began the musical recital.
They had prepared loads of fire-wood which they kindles into a flame,
and went into the midst of it dancing; some of them rolled into the fire,
and others ate it in their mouths, until finally they extinguished it
That's a pretty good history for 1327 in trimingham's book of
Sufi custom and really a significant deal in regard to their dance.
So dancing and the sufis is a certain accepted thing for about
600 years. The dhikr exercises with the whirling dervishes is symbolic
of the universal life of the spheres, they said
infinitely complex in form, yet essentially a unity.. and was
written about later in poems, making it spread..

<susanrose/arianna>: There is an organization called
Dances for Universal Peace that is national
and they have some roots to sufi dancing. There is a group
in Pittsburgh, and there may be one in your city too.
I encourage you to join them in group dancing.

I have several recommendations for music and
videos to inspire you to Move and Dance at home!

World Music, Honoring the Universal Goddess:
See Desert Wind's Web Site at

An incredible video I would recommend is
Dance to the Great Mother,
performed by Delilah, during the last trimester of her
pregnancy. On January 22, 1985, Delilah performed her dance for
participants at a family planning management conference.

It expressed her emotional connection to her pregnancy, as well as the
relationship of all women to pregnancy. My belief is that it honors the
Goddess in her life giving Mother aspect.

One quarter
of the profits from the sale of this tape are being given to benefit the
March of Dimes. Information on this video may be found at

Lastly, there is a new video on the scene.
The sincerity of the women who
really Believe in what they are doing.....
to honor the Goddess though dance, is incredible! It is called "Goddess
Grace, a moving meditation".
It is danced by Mariel & Friends. and delivers a dance portrayal of one
Goddess, from A to Z... (Athena to Zoe)
It sums it up with:
" YOU are the Goddess of a Thousand Names
and Infinite Capacity. All My gifts are thine.
All My powers reside in THEE."
Send for it at: Universal Blessings Unlimited PO Box 3343
Durham NC 27702-3343

<<susanrose/arianna>> Lastly, I want to share with you that
I saw a calorie comparison chart
for various activities
and sleeping was 1 calorie burned per hour
but typing on the computer was
only 1.8 calories per hour burned
So for all of our mental gymnastics, there was
only .8 more per hour used!
Sitting quietly was 1.6, jogging slow was 12 cal. per hour...
Fast running was 16 cal. per hour.
So if we do not want to become computer
potatoes.....get off this darn computer, turn on your music
and DANCE!

<Dreamie> hello :)
Wish I could have participated, was looking forward to tonight

<<Susanrose/arianna>> ...It will be on web page Dreamie.

<MornStar> That's great <susanrose/arianna>
<Dreamie> thanks, nite all

<<Susanrose/arianna>> Thank you Zolak and all for coming and
Blessings to all....
<norge> goodbye.
Ananki: Arianna, thank you! :)
* MornStar says good-bye with love to all