I am a dancer by nature. I have been dancing since childhood. Dancing is what I do when I am happy, sad, stressed, anxious, chipper—its also what I do when I am feeling a need for a deep spiritual connection. Dancing has been used for thousands of years as a means of communication to Deity or in reverence of a higher power.
There are many various styles of “ritualistic” dance: the Middle Eastern “zar” dance, Morris dance, Long Sword dance, Circle dance and most notably, the Sema or “Whirling Dervish” in which dancers whose continuous spin forms a deep spiritual mind set much like the peaceful state induced during meditation.
As a dancer, my dance has always had spiritual roots. I fell in love with gypsy dance as a child because of the passionate and magickal sound of the violin-the music invoked a sense of magickal mysticism and my body moved with the violin as if I were apart of it. I fell in love with belly dance because of its complex earthy rhythms and the ability to connect to the Mother Goddess. My new love of African and Aboriginal dance has come from the primal earthbound roots I feel when performing it. When I am performing, some aspect of my spirituality is invoked. To me, dancing is magick–a spell. If I want to banish something I will do a sword or fire dance. When I want to manifest something I perform with my snakes. Like the symbols of the Tarot, I am connecting to the elements via dance.
One aspect of dancing that I love is when I feel inspired–or more like-taken over-by the spirit of a Deity or Higher Being. I feel inspired to create and perform either a number dedicated to them or as them. Its form of invocation. For the past three months I have felt strongly connected to Pan. His playful mischievous energy kept popping up around me and I would feel constant urges to want to frolick. He also invoked a deep emotional feeling of happiness and joy, that I would call upon whenever I felt down or anxious. Over the past month I began forming a dance around His energy and eventually performed as Pan at the Samhain Festival hosted by Laurie Cabot and the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple in Salem. It was for me, a magickal moment. Throughout the performance, I felt Pan’s energy flow through me, and when Laurie exclaimed, “we had Pan here among us!” after my performance, I think I did a good job invoking the ancient God of the woods.
I have invoked many Gods and Godesses over the course of my dance career–including Mami Wata, Pythia and a few fairies, demons, angels and sprites. Its deeply moving when I am able to transmit their energy through my performances–its almost like being an acolyte to their mysteries and having them coach me along the way. Its more meaningful for me. Its also a lot more work–costuming, music and make up all have to be just perfect. Its a lot more powerful to when the audience understands who I am without me having to even announce it!
Using dance as a magick is an ancient and hold power. It can be as simple as turning on music and dancing around your room to create high levels of energy before spell or ritual work. Sometimes invoking that primal energy can help release any anxiety that you are feeling prior to spell work and ritual–help cleanse your mind. It can also help to induce a meditative trance inducing state. Dance in itself is cathartic. Creating an atompshere where you can dance out your feelings. During ritual, one can even create a small performance as the particular Deity to help call Their power into the circle (hmm, now I am thinking Brigid dancing with a candle tray for Candelmas!).
Dance is a powerful form of energy work. Its why its been used as a form of ritual for thousands of years. Besides, the Gods and Goddesses love when you sing and dance and be merry in their name!