There is too much in the title above.
That’s the problem. There is always too much to put in a word or sequence of words. Yet the words “InterPlay, Mysticism, Feminism, Nature, and Dark Times” are the mythopoetic standing stones of my experience, especially right now. I cannot let go of any of those words.
I bow to InterPlay! This is my way to enter into the continuous integrative birthing and rebirthing of life in connection with body, earth, and divine Source that I encounter that upholds me so well that it causes intense love to flow endlessly from me. Service is the name I give to my best actions.
InterPlay: the intersectionality of so many things…
- body, mind, heart, and spirit;
- me, you, us, earth, the All;
- movement, voice, word and silence (the creative intellects of human wisdom);
- creating, destroying, releasing, renewing;
- all people and ideas;
- wisdom and lack of wisdom;
- time, space, energy, effort;
- purpose married to unconditional purposelessness or play.
- sending, receiving, indwelling, having, and claiming of information
It seems that this would be complicated. Yet, when I dance or sing in the moment with supportive formulas and friends I can be simple. I can also be vast.
Dance and song/breath birth experience. They locate our energy and plug us into the big system. Susanne Langer, art philosopher, sees dance as creating a virtual realm of power. She recognizes the rhythms of sound and breath as activators of Elemental Time
If you want to find, position, release, or receive power from the wider system- dance. If your want to come into sync with time, engage your voice.. If you do not, you are left to slower methods.
The Feminine Earth: To dance with sound and beat, breath, and word is a form of birthing. As a birther, or an artist, what comes through me is both of me, but immediately not mine. This is also the nature of feminine consciousness, or mothering. I invest in creation in a direct energetic way. In psychology we call this attachment. I am fierce in my attachments. Too much so. In order to honor the birth therefore I must not only protect, I must dignify what I birth. This requires me to release it. Detaching from what we birth DIGNIFIES creation. This is true nurture. It is also the nature of a divine feminine justice.
As a dancer, a sacred dancer, I am a mystic. This simply means I acknowledge the magnitude of mystery in birth, life and death. As a woman, born to birth, AND to be myself, balancing the hormonal floods of suffering and joy, and wired to work and play relationally, I don’t aspire to transcend what I am blessed to touch, form, dance. The idea of transcending into the divine as an escape, I understand, but not unless what She has birthed has turned to pain alone.
I am very glad that a few weeks ago I was given a dream. In the dream I looked into a dark cave of water descending like a well. Like a great birth canal going down into the center of the Earth, I saw that it was lit at the surface in golden light. In it there were dancers swimming as if it was a bath. It was the baptism of the dancers.
In Judaism and Christianity water rituals are about purification and change in identity and commitment. The Jewish mikvah, a bath of ritual immersion, “leaves the person floating–momentarily suspended without breathing–substituting the usual forward moving nature and purposeful stride that characterize his or her waking movements with an aimlessness, a weightlessness, a detachment from the former environment. Individuality, passion, ego–all are submerged in the metamorphosis from the larval state of the present to a new existence.”
The women with whom I shared my dream shared similar encounters with the Divine Mother. Through them I recognized the invitation to be held by the Earth and the Divine Feminine in a new way. For me this may be the first time I can fully claim the power, joy, privilege, and gravity of being a Sacred Dancer, a term I have resisted for 40 years.
Dark Times: Those of us who know intense violence, who have been violated and shunned, and who are shoulder to shoulder with other oppressed people, live with underlying dread. To see violence blatantly advocated by a world leader and his cronies would be unbearable for me if I didn’t have the Universe of Love and Lovers, The Way of Art and Healthy Ritual Practice and enough to secure me through the Tragic State of Affairs we are now in.
The good or bad news is that I am in training for times like this. When 9/11 hit I was coming out of a holy breakdown and had some horrendous and hopeful dreams. I was prepared to respond in love.
It feels to me that this whole year has been preparatory. Here are a few lessons.
- Learn to sit at the foot of the cross. When others are in agony do not flee, do not problem-solve, be faithful in love, and recognize the power of what is transpiring.
- Be fortified by art. Receive the offerings of others as often as I can. In the Spring I was given a great windfall of such opportunities. Do not resist beauty.
- Be in covenantal community. Last winter I went to church leaders to share my grievances and ask for support. (Few know my story of renouncing my ordination.) Now I am doing the pew work and struggling to live in the tension of what I can and cannot change. Why? Because I haven’t found people outisde church who covenant to hold each other through death, show up for others in food, prayer, and art. As a mystic I need this.
- Dance my prayers. In the winter I began co-hosting two online dance chapels in order to specifically pray in dance. I’ve never found a church to welcomes this in worship as a regular practice. Rev. Nancy Pfaltzgraf is my partner. I don’t expect to be transformed when we pray. I do it to build prayer muscles and because I trust Earth’s response to my bodyspirit more than I trust the perceptions of my mind. Perhaps these dancing prayers are why I dreamt of the baptism of the dancers in Holy Mother Earth.
- Rejoice in and claim the work of others. I have so many amazing friends doing stellar work, taking actions that I cannot. I consider myself part of their body, supporting them with exoskeletal muscles. Soyinka Rahim, Selisse Berry, Rinku Sen, Krystyna Jurzakowsky, Coke Tani, Caroline Blackwell, Phil Porter, Stephen Winton-Henry, all of the InterPlay Life Practice Program Leaders and a whole slew of people in the Hidden Monasteries that I visit. I welcome you to claim my work as yours as well.
- Go Out to Respond with Art. With Catherine Jolly we prayed into the dream to respond to violence by bringing beauty and mercy to places of distress. With her we designed a template that is now in place and has been used four or five times. Each time we feel the relief of prayer as we embody together in community the love and faith we have in the Earth’s best wisdom.
- Change the Race Dance. Racism is a body deal. To change racism we need body treatments. Song and Dance are the best medicine, safer and more energizing than discussion and rebuke alone. Getting in the dance together can move discussions to a more powerful and direct and transformative place. Following Soyinka I support this practice to deepen into broader community and leadership in the coming year. Each time I lead this, I am humbled and empowered to really be present to partnering for a sacred world order.
This week I will gather the Hidden Monastery at High Hope Ranch in GlenRose Texas with 15 other InterPlayful Mystics from Ohio, DC, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Chicago, and California. We will be resting into one of the holy and hidden places of love on Earth next to Fossil Rim Wildlife Sanctuary. We will begin with the blessings of a Supermoon. We will listen alongside other mystics, receive guidance from each other and pray for wisdom. We will have a blessing of rattle. Through the few years I have been leading this I am assured that powerful support will arise, not just for us and our leadership, but for the wider community. I wish I could tell you how magical this is—but hopefully you already know.
I will take you in prayer as I always do, incredibly grateful for all who love me, and for teachers who are everywhere, and the inheritance of wisdom that is flowing through us now from the ancients, the elements, and the unborn. I pray into the depths of life for a quick end to abuse of power and a glorious flowering of compassion.
With particular homage to Christ, Thomas Merton, Connors McConville, Carla deSola, Alanon pals, Soyinka, Phil, Stephen and Katie.
If you would like Resources and Love in this Shifting Ground Time Link here to see and download poetry and wisdom Post Election.[youtube]www.youtube.com/watch?v=doFwL6CM-Nk[/youtube]