30 July, 2009

Ecstatic Dance as Moving Meditation by Guest Blogger - Deanne Quarrie

Yep, you got it, I'm still on the mend. Again, another author and spiritualist that I admire has blessed me with a previously written essay to share with you on my blog. Deanne Quarrie, known by many as Bendis, is a well-known author, facilitator, teacher, coach, mentor, and feminist within the Dianic Wiccan community. I am honored, and blessed, to have her permission to share this with you. I could write an essay just on her accomplishments and list of involvements, but you can find out more about her, and her ways, here.

Ecstatic Dance as Moving Meditation

Come fly with me
come on, come on, come
dance with me
come on, come on, come fly
come on and dance with me

Dance is a dynamic tool for awakening and stirring up the subtle forces and energies of life. It is an outer expression of an inner spirit. Dance and movement are natural to the universe. Plants will move gracefully to face the sun and wave in the breeze. Birds and animals display magnificent arrays of plumage and posture for everything from courtship to aggression. Dance is natural and vital to us as well.

We are all musical. We all have rhythm. Anyone can dance. We live in a time when we are too self-conscious and caught up with how we might look when we dance.

Ecstatic dance is a moving meditation. It is not a dance to do with someone else unless that is what you want. It is not a dance designed to “look” good. It is free flowing. It is aware. It is between your spirit and the music.

How do you do it? Anyway you want. Anyway you feel the music. The idea is to let the music in, feel it, and release it through yourself in movement. Whatever movement “feels” natural to you.

The choice of music is also up to you. There are many selections available that are designed to be used for movement, but you need to select what appeals to you.

Find a time that you can be undisturbed. Wear clothes that you like and feel good in, and that allow you to move comfortably. Whatever appeals to you that will not restrict your movement. Clear an area. It does not have to be a large area because the dance is really happening within. It is a good idea to be barefoot. I very seldom move my feet at all. It’s about moving the body. Put on your music. Begin your movements slowly, warming up to the music. Breath naturally and easily, focusing on the music. Allow your body to seek a place in tune with what you feel. Get loose.

Begin to warm up by focusing on a body part. Say, first, your neck. Move it in time with the music. Get loose. Now, move your shoulders, your spine, your hips, and your knees. Continue focusing on different areas of your body until you have loosened up all over.

You should really be into your dance at this point. No one is looking. Free yourself. Become the music!

Ideally, your ecstatic dance session should last at least twenty minutes. Most of mine last close to an hour.
When I first started doing this, it was with a group women and we all wanted to experiment. We wore blindfolds. By using a blindfold we were freed from the idea of someone looking at us. Amazing! You can’t see anyone else, nor can they see you! This is not about how it looks. This is about how it feels. Try it! Listen to the music. Act out how it makes you feel. Your imagination is a wonderful tool. Let it make pictures in your mind. Become the music. The first time we tried it, we danced for an hour; one hour of being completely unaware of anything but the music, your mind, and your movement.

Ecstatic dancing comes more easily to some than others. It is particularly difficult for those of us who have allowed ourselves to become slaves to time, machines and consensus reality. Many of us have become victims of our left-brain logic and have stress-related disorders. If this describes you, as it did me, at least try ecstatic dancing. It is a great adventure and an opportunity to meet a part of yourself, which has been dormant for a long time.

The ways and means for achieving altered states are many. Every culture around the world has developed many effective methods. Examples briefly are Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and shamanic journeying. Explore what works for you.

I cannot stress strongly enough, that a meditation practice is essential to your spiritual development. Your journey will unfold in a better way. You will come to know self in ways not thought of and you will tap into your own Goddess Wisdom fully as you walk through this life.

Excerpt from Dancing with Goddess by Deanne Quarrie available at http://www.lulu.com/applebranch

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