What I will share with you today is a small ritual dance that can either be a small meditative ritual dance to bring the dancer into harmony with the elements or it can be used as an initial portion of a greater ritual dance.
I'd had an idea for a ritual like this for many years but I wasn't quite sure how to do go about it, I hadn't yet found away that I was really happy with. Recently I found a piece that helped me look at it in a new light, it can be found here on Lady of the Earth.
With this new out look here's what I've finally come up with and I'm quite happy with it.
A Ritual Dance with the Elements
We begin with the element of spirit, the posture is one of prayer, palms together and fingers straight but interlaced resting at heart level. Here is a time to connect to oneself and one's spirit.
When ready lift the hands up, looking up and holding hands up in a v as if trying to embrace the sky. Here try to feel the spirit of all things, try to be aware of everything going on around you, the way the space feels, any others in the space, any little thing. Once awareness has been extended out let your body respond to the feeling, move in the ways you feel appropriate.
The next element is the element of air, facing east hold arms out to the sides, fingers spread, and leaning slightly forward while expanding the chest, vaguely reminiscent of the figure head on the prow of a ship. Feel the air all around, try to sense any little breath or breeze, even those generated by breathing. Again once you feel fully aware of the air, let your body move in response.
Next turn to the south and fire, bringing the arms in a bit, holding the hands at shoulder height and clenched into tight fists. I find that sometimes the tension creeps into the rest of my body, and that's ok. It's time to feel the power of one's muscles, the energy of the room, the pulse of one's heart. Once you are aware of this power and fire, move in response, sometimes the way my body moves here is to release excess tensions.
Now we come to the west and water, keeping arms at about shoulder height or a little lower bring the arms forward, gently bent and cupped in a bowl shape. Sense here any moisture, the emotions of the space and yourself. It helps to visualize a pond or a lake at rest. Once aware of this, move in response. I find these movements tend to be centered more in my hips.
Lastly is the element of earth. Lower the arms to the side, and feet anchored firmly to the ground, it is time to find stability and firmness of posture, feel how you're standing and connect with the ground beneath your feet. Once you feel aware of this move in response. Usually for me this is manifests in various foot patterns and traveling steps.
Now we've come all the way around to the end of the elemental portion, from here one could move on to another dance or exercise or simply end. I like to end with my arms crossed on my chest, head down slightly, denoting a cessation of thought and action.*
And that's a ritual dance, it doesn't need music, but it could if you feel it is necessary, I tend to preform it in silence since I find music can sometimes push me to move on before I'm ready to. For those of you who feel inspired, give it a try, regardless if you do it the same or use this as a jumping off point for something new I would be thrilled to hear from you.
We're on to Types of Sacred Dance Part 2 tomorrow.