“I would belive only in a God that knows how to dance” – Friedrich Nietzche
One of my favorite blogs to read is author Dianne Sylvan’s blog. Before she moved to her new website, she hosted a blog on TypePad called Dancing Down the Moon. It was here that I fell in love with her writing. One of the categories I followed most closely was called “Conversations with God.” It is exactly what it sounds like. In one of these posts, she mentioned dancing with God. I won’t post any spoilers, but I urge you to go check it out.
I never dance. Actually, let me amend that. I never dance sober. Get a few cocktails in me and add the *thumpa thumpa* of dance music and I will dance my ass off. However, recently I’ve adopted the Meredith Grey (From Grey’s Anatomy) of dancing it out. On the show, when tragedy strikes (which is often) Meredith drinks some tequila, blasts some music, and “dances it out.” It seems silly, but it works. It’s hard to let things bother you when you are shaking your ass to some Britney.
Since I’ve been working with the Orishas lately, I’ve watched videos on traditional dance and music. I love that African spiritualty embraces dance and music as a form of worship. Unfortunately for me, I’m a chubby white guy. Basically, I have no rhythm and my body doesn’t move like that. So, for me, tribal dancing has been a spectator sport.
Recently health issues have popped up in my family and friends. For the past few weeks it seems that I can’t have a conversation with anyone without hearing about someone being sick. When I got home last night, I lit some candles and petitioned Elegua to open the gates. I then called upon Babalu Aye, an Orisha of healing. I’ve never worked with him, so I was a little apprehensive, but I carried on anyway. I left an offering on popcorn and coconut water on my altar since they were the only things I could find on short notice that were listed as traditional offerings to him. I then played a video of Desi Arnaz singing Babalu, which references the deity.
After a moment of contemplation, I felt compelled to switch the music to tribal drumming. That’s when I felt the gentle nudge from Spirit.
“Dance” it seemed to whisper. I ignored it because I never learn my lesson.
“Dance” this time more persistent. I stood up and let myself sway to the beat.
“You’re going to have to do better than that.” I changed nothing, still just swaying to the music, feeling awkward.
“If you’re going to get in your own way, why did you call me here? Dance. It. Out.”
I finally listened. I stood up and just let myself go. I jumped around, felt the beat of the drums, and danced with Spirit without abandon. I turned towards my door and saw that it was open. I swear that I closed it before I began. I took this as an invitation to let myself go even more.
I streamed the music to my TV (thanks technology) and cranked up the volume to a loud, but respectful level (I didn’t need my neighbors knocking on the door only to have me explain that I was dancing with an African spirit…They think I’m weird, I don’t need them to know it). I danced all through my house, carrying a candle with me. When I made it to my basement, I invited all spirits of healing whose intentions were aligned with mine to join in the dance. It was a supernatural dance party. My cat joined in by following me through the house while my dogs watched from the hallway.
After the music finally stopped, I laid on the floor with the candle to my right. Slowly, the ecstasy of the dance waned and I felt grounded again. I thanked Babalu Aye for hearing my prayer and closed the gates.