Saturday, April 12, 2008

Our bodies are the spell

As I go deeper and deeper into my work as a priestess of the body, I am overwhelmed by the magickal gift that my body is.

My body is not just a temple, it is the ritual itself.

Yesterday, I did some tarantella work on my own, releasing all manner of things that no longer served me, and then, this morning, at my bellydancing classes, I again moved magick through my body, expressing desire, healing, love, compassion and deep joy with my hips, hands, eyes, lips, legs, all parts of me.

I think in our current culture, even among pagan types, we all too often separate
our bodies from "ourselves." More and more, I'm understanding this isn't just some vessel, but a singificant part of the magick itself. A quick glance at many of the world's pre-Christian ecstatic traditions is enough to support that.

A local poet I know, Kathi Wolfe, wrote the following piece as the closing for her recently published chapbook, "Helen Take the Stage: The Helen Keller Poems" (you can order the book here, and I highly recommend it!).

The entire book is from the fictionized point of view of Helen Keller. I loved this last poem, because I felt that it so expresses so much of what I experience when I'm in movement.

Dancing with Martha Graham

Flying is only for the gods, I think, until
you hold me so close your sweat becomes mine,
my sandals barely touch the ground,
my silk dress melts into your organza gown,
you twirl me like a pixilated top, and I fly
quick as Teletype, smooth as a martini
on a summer night, beyond sound,
beyond light.

(Photos: The top image is one that I found at, and it's of the Pizzica Tarantella, the incredible tarantella dance ritual that I mentioned above. The second photo is of the Daha Ata Sannya, and exorcism dance of Southeast Asia. Photo credit goes to Sanka Vidanagana, AFP/Getty. Finally, the last picture, taken in 1908 by Edward S. Curtis, is of a Crow man performing the Plains Indians' famous Sun Dance ritual.)

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