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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in dance

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A 14th Century French Witches' Dance

I can't remember who first told me that not only was this song sung and played at the witches' sabbat Back When, but that, in fact, it actually describes the uncanny goings-on there.

The reason for the song's witchy reputation is unclear. The sheer unreality of the scenario? The implied masquerade? The tune's leering allusion to the plainchant Dies Irae?

Well, whether witches capered to this tune in the old days or not, we certainly do now. In fact, we'll be singing and dancing it at the upcoming Midwest Grand Sabbat this year. With luck, the Devil's Piper himself will be there to play.

Of the many different versions of this song that exist, what follows is the oldest known to me, given in Medieval French, English translation, and singable English lyrics.

Grab your bagpipe and play along.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Deborah Frankel
    Deborah Frankel says #
    I agree with you about the importance of sacred dance. The dance is a ring dance using grapevine step and a variant of a Faroe Isl
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    On further reflection, Deborah: is the dance is simple enough that it could be communicated verbally to those who haven't seen it?
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm deeply convinced that there's nothing more important than rebuilding for ourselves a corpus of sacred dance. Please do drop a
  • Deborah Frankel
    Deborah Frankel says #
    Hello, Steven. When you gave a ritual workshop a few years ago in California (on the day before PantheaCon), I shared another Fren
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    600 years and still going strong. Now that's a song. Joie de printemps, Steven

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dreaming Spring

They say that at Winter's midpoint, Spring walks the earth for a single night. (Or maybe it is her Dreaming that walks.) Look for her footprints in new snow. At her passing, they say, sleeping animals stir in their burrows and dens. At her passing, they say, seeds stir in the frozen soil, and dream of germination.

This playful Appalachian (originally English) folk carol, with its charmingly medieval-sounding minor tune, tells the story of the growing season to come, from plow to winnow. Originally sung at an already oversubscribed “Christemas,” we've reassigned it—for reasons that seem good to us—to Candlemas instead.

Generally we sing this song while standing in a circle, with lots of stomping, clapping, and percussion to help wake the animals and seeds. Each in turn jumps into the center, mimes a verse, and then jumps out again.

After all, there's no reason why making magic shouldn't be a raucous, joyful experience.

No reason at all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hearken to the Witch's Reel

 Darksome night and shining steel...

My friend Doc once said to me, somewhat wistfully, “Someday we'll have our sacred dances again.”

Well, here's one we'll be doing at this coming summer's Grand Sabbat, along with (among others) the Mill, the Horned Serpent, and the Back-to-Back. Check it out: Rattlejag Morris' The Witch Reel.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dancing the Carol

The first carols were not songs, nor were they specific to Yule.

For pagan religion is preeminently danced religion.

“Carol”* originally meant a round dance (one of the first recorded uses of the word in English—from 1330—referred to a “carol of the stones,” i. e. a stone circle**), and specifically a ring-dance performed to sung rather than instrumental accompaniment. (They say that when it wasn't safe to have musical instruments at the sabbat, we danced there to songs and mouth-music instead. At the sabbat, you can't not dance.)

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Thank you for this! one thing I miss as a currently solitary (I live far removed from civilization) is the dance. It is a magical
(en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses:Dancing with Terpsichore
Image: Carnegie Museum of Art: Terpsichore by Antonio Canova (1821)

This is the Fifth posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series

Terpsichore has been with me longer than I can remember. I was born to dance and the pure joy and thrill of moving through space, weaving energetic patterns and being so completely absorbed by the music are all of her gifts as you open to her magickal inspiration.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
It's all in the Healing

With all of the wacky weather we have been experiencing the globe over, one could get the impression that Mother Nature is royally ticked-off with us. Can you blame her? She's been so often abused, neglected, and taken for granted it is a wonder that we still have a planet fit to live on. What we can do is let her know that we care. Think of it like honoring your own mother on Mother's Day. I am a big fan of building strong energy and channeling it through ecstatic dance and music. I used to attend a great dance in Evanston back in the day, and there's no reason why you couldn't hold your own. For Earth Day this year, try organizing a Trance Dance. As in Transcendental. No, we're not talking about Rave 'Til Dawn. Your mission: find a great space, and create mood lighting. Low lights, candles on the outskirts (safely out of the way), pretty electric glowy lights and lava lamps, would all do the trick. Do you or someone you know have access to a large basement, church space, or school gym? The most important factor is that the space is wide open and that no one has to worry about colliding with objects or each other in it. Elect someone to play DJ for the eve. Make sure in advance that you have a decent sound system. Get a good-sized, unselfconscious group to come on out and let the party begin.

The main idea that everyone should be let in on from the beginning is that you are holding a dance with intent. To send out nurturing energy to help heal our Mother Earth. Send her your love with the energy that you create through your dancing.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Dancing Crone

Dancing is a means of connecting with oneself and the goddess. Belly dancing, Chakra dance and temple style dance easily lend themselves to connection with ones higher self, all offer the chance to allow us to move freely, to flow in rhythm with the music, as we experience a falling away of self doubt and image conciseness. These forms allow women of all sizes and ages to come together without fearing judgement on their looks or weight or even any physical impairment that might hinder them from executing the gravity defying leaps and spins we so often see on TV program where the young and beautiful compete with each other to win money and fame.

 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Joan M Gray
    Joan M Gray says #
    I have just started belly dancing. My motive is to stop back pain, which it is doing. I didn't know the history of belly dancing

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