Movement as Ritual & Spellcraft

Movement as Ritual & Spellcraft August 3, 2016

Photo of the author by Carrie Meyer, The Dancer's Eye
Photo of the author by Carrie Meyer, The Dancer’s Eye

In just a couple days, I’ll be heading down to Olympia, WA to participate in Many Gods West.  I found last year’s event to be inspiring in many ways. I met some wonderful people who have become good friends over the last year. I filled several pages of my sketchbook up with images that came to me while listening to presentations, and made numerous (of what I call) “counter-notes.”  Typically you take notes to remember what someone said, but more often than not, I found myself writing down questions and ideas that were in reaction to what was being said.  It’s good to find information that agrees with your beliefs, but it’s even better to encounter viewpoints that challenge your own, make you dig deeper, sometimes re-shaping what you thought, or strengthening it all together.

So I’m excited to be a part of MGW again, this time expanding to presenting a workshop and co-facilitating a ritual – both of which took seed last year, like Gwion as a grain growing inside of Cerridwen.  I took stock of the development of Neo-Pagan/P-Word culture over the last 60+ years and recent trends, fascinated by the swinging of the pendulum.  Much of early Neo-Paganism was linked with a renewed exploration of the body and of nature – striving to reconnect with ourselves, embracing sexual revolution and new physical consciousness.  From appreciation of the divine feminine/redefined masculine and working skyclad, to chemical exploration and new family structures – we explored the body as a temple.  In recent years, I’ve noticed a shift to a lot more focus on the mind, from scholarship and related debates, to social issues and spiritual consciousness, almost with an intentional disconnect from the physical, the realm of the body.  Neither far side of the swing is wrong, but there’s something to be said about finding the Golden Mean in the space between them.  Balance isn’t about keeping everything even always, but consciously knowing when the middle is ideal and when an extreme is best utilized.

Which is where the understanding the magick of movement comes in.  Whether deliberate and precise or made while in trance, movement has the power to unite body, mind, and spirit.  Movement has the ability to unlock parts of ourselves that words and images alone cannot do.  The electricity that flows between our nerve cells, connecting our brains to the rest of bodies – it’s the ultimate expression of liminality, energy flowing in the space in between, touching but not touching.  When we take movement into ritual, use to express ourselves in addition to the words and symbols of the rite, we activate our whole being – body, mind, and spirit.  We connect deeper with our own intentions, and the focusing of will becomes easier, faster, and more effective.  One does not need to be a trained dancer or of a certain age, gender, or ability to harness movement and unlock its power.

To help others discover and become comfortable with movement, I’m teaching “Sigils in Motion: Sacred Movement” on Friday afternoon to help practitioners move out of using just their headspace and take advantage of their whole being.  Then on Saturday evening, I’m teaming up with my long-term dance partner Anaar, along with Gwion Raven and Phoenix LaFae, to present a De-possession Ritual.  The collaboration was sparked after the presentation that Anaar and I gave at PantheaCon (Possessing the Dark/ The Art of Choreolalia). In this ritual, we’ll be using the power of movement (in combination with music and voice) to reclaim ourselves from emotions, thoughts, words, and feelings that can encumber us.

Sacred dance is not a new concept, it’s one of our most ancient arts – but we’ve lost much of the appreciation of dance and what movement can do for us in terms of ritual and spellwork.  We’ve missed the power it has to connect us mind, body, and spirit – to ourselves and to each other.  I got into dance not long after I formalized my own path as a Witch, and nearly 20 years later, I’m still endlessly amazed and inspired by what movement can achieve.  It is my hope (and challenge) to share that magick with more of you.

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