Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nature Rituals and Masks

Inspired by these words of Malidoma Some in his book, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, I dedicated our October dance to the theme of change and transformation. What he says about rhythm and dance really affirms my experience of Ecstatic Dance and feels right. As we approach Samhain and the traditional Celtic New Year, I am re-dedicating myself to connecting with my true self, my true nature, and my true purpose.

Nature Rituals and Masks

In the West, when nature is neglected, people often wear masks in order to survive. The mask may be a professional role; it sometimes comes with a suit or a uniform and is a refuge, a place of anonymity. Those who don't wear a mask in this culture risk being hurt, and thus many are driven to find one. The problem is that as people hide behind these masks, they become defined by them and unable to tell the difference between what is natural and what is not. Sometimes they become so profoundly disconnected from their true self that they think that their mask is their true nature.

Nature rituals aimed at unmasking the true self need to begin by addressing the theme of change. The goal is to allow people to relax, which will allow people to let go of their masks and find out how it feels to be without a mask for a moment. Healing begins when the mask is released from the self, for people can't transform when they are hiding behind them. Talking is often inadequate for helping people to drop their masks, and some of the best ways to accomplish this kind of change are through nonverbal forms of ritual, such as dance, and activities that evoke strong emotions. This is what makes tribal communities rely so heavily on rhythm and dance. Rhythm is not entertainment. Rather, it is a tool to shake off the debris of ones unnatural masks. When one is not in rhythm, one becomes depressed. Likewise, depression, or being estranged from one's natural magic, shows in being out of rhythm.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you might like to know that I have forwarded this article to this online resource group:

    Healing Dance Network - a web between the various healing dance studies,
    theories, practitioners and proponents through which to find, share and
    expand knowledge and understanding into the possibilities and realities of
    healing through dance. I am hoping you will let us know about your own
    search and findings and how we might work together to bring our learning

    Laurie -

    [if the links do not take you to the web pages, please cut or copy and paste
    them into your web browser]

    Please feel free to distribute this information to any whom you think might
    be interested.