Monday, March 31, 2008
Feasting St. Joseph
On Saturday, I was asked by a good friend of mine to be part of the entertainment for Dignity Washington's Feast of St. Joseph celebration. Dignity is a national group for gay Catholics, and I hadn't been to one of their events before this weekend.
Set in the parish hall of a local church, there was an altar at the far end of the room dedicated to St. Joseph, including icons, statues, candles and large rounds of freshly baked breads. (Happily, there were images to the Madonna on there, including some Black Madonna works - hello, Cybele!)
In many ways, the evening reminded me of childhood excursions to any Italian Catholic church. Everyone there was very friendly, and with the smells of roasting chicken, marinara and meatballs wafting from the kitchen, it all seemed very familiar. (Not to mention the platter of fresh cannoli tempting me to the dessert table!)
My friend had asked me to perform some bellydancing numbers, so using the Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons" and a Middle-Eastern take on "I Put A Spell On You" by Natacha Atlas, I dressed in my skimpy best and went for it. Before going out, I crafted the intention of reminding everyone of the joys to be found in sensual pleasures and the reminder that the fullness of life itself is to be found in those sensual pleasures.
After the dancing, I performed two Italian folk songs, and it was the first time I've sung solo in public for a very long time. It was great for me to do and a potent reminder of how evocative and magical the human voice really is.
At the end of the evening, one of the people at the event told me that he really saw/felt the relationship between the sensual and the spiritual in my performance, and his comment warmed my heart immensely. Sounds like that intention got through!
(The image above is one of my favorite of St. Joseph by Georges de La Tour, 1640; my stepfather introduced this work to me, and having seen it in Paris, I was, indeed, amazed by the work's luminosity)