Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dancing with the Red Dragon

All hail the Red Dragon!
All hail our red living blood!

Last Saturday, I rose with the sun (as is my circadian rhythm custom) and went to a little clearing near our apartment to drum.

I was practicing the tarantella rhythm known as the San Rocco rhythm, which was used during the Middle Ages to ward off the plague, and the Red Dragon came to me in the meadow.

S/he showed me a particular dance for communities to do to this rhythm, a dance that is meant to heal the relationships between peoples affected by blood-borne diseases. S/he also said that the healing of these relationships is essential to healing the disease itself.

When I think of how HIV/AIDS has affected my relationships with people and how I've seen it affect the relationships of various people in my life, I begin to have an inkling of understanding about how healing the relationships between people is integral to healing the illness itself.

I came into adolescence when AIDS was certainly already a strong presence in the world, and in particular, when it was hitting some of its most wide-sweeping initial numbers in America.

For me, sex held a component of danger to it through the scare-tactic educational programs that helped to keep me terrified of the connections between sex and AIDS. I clearly remember thinking that there was some chemical reaction that happened when sperm cells touched blood cells - voila! You have AIDS! (I had no idea that one partner had to actualy carry the disease.) I was especially terrified of this because while jerking off consistently I had gotten a rash around my cock. The skin was broken, and I thought I now had AIDS because of the sperm + blood = AIDS equation. I prayed to Jesus to keep me free from the disease. I think in his infinite kindness he pulled through by getting me some more clear education on how AIDS is really transmitted. Thanks, J.C.!

While I am grateful that the information was made available to me at that time of my life, I wonder if there was another way to approach it - one that would have educated me without linking sex and death so strongly in my adolescent brain.

With all that in my history, I wonder now how it would be if people who have HIV, diabetes, cancer, etc., and those who have loved, lost and tended people with blood-borne disease got together and did this dance shown to me.

In the center of the dance ground was a tall pole and on top was a model Red Dragon. It reminded me at once of the pole erected in the center of the plains Indians' Sun Dance. I think we can decorate the pole with painted, carved and written spells furthering the intention of the work.

The dance is done both in a circle and pairs, and involves spinning, weaving and playing with levels. It's not particularly difficult, I don't think, but even while doing it to solidify it in my mind that morning, I felt its power.

Hopefully, a community of us can get together soon and make it happen.

Also, I think it would be a grand idea to remember the Red Dragon and his/her powers while eating any red foods. (Again, see Donald Engstrom-Reese's site about a full-dinner option for this.)

That morning that I got this information, I thought I was bitten by mosquitos while drumming, but it turns out I ran into some poison ivy. The last couple of days have been pretty brutal, with my leg oozing an amber liquid non-stop (no, really...non-fucking-stop). It's really made me think about disease and what it must be like to have a chronic condition, especially one that's visible to the public. I've been pretty embarrassed about going out and seeing people look at my leg, or I've felt hard-pressed to maintain a compassionate heart when distracted by radiating shivers, pain, and, in some locations, maddening itching.

More grist for the mill!

All hail the Red Dragon!
All hail our red living blood!

(The first image, of red blood cells, I found uncredited at the blog My Father Has Lung Cancer, where a son wrote about his experiences with his father's cancer. The second image is the Welsh flag.)

1 comment:

Donald Engstrom-Reese said...

I can hardly wait to do this dance. Shall we put out a call and see who comes? Perhaps we could get something together while you are out here for Halloween.