As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was nominated for awards from Alienora’s blog, in the sense of a guest post exchange. I wrote a post on her blog regarding our obsession with numbers, and also invited her to send me a guest post. Well, this work is her take on dance, music, and lore… and its applicability to today’s society and world.
This is the first time that I have hosted a guest post on my blog. I will still count this as a post for M.M.X.I.V., because guest posts show an outreach to the community. It can also forestall blogger’s block for a day, even though I am not suffering from that at the moment. 🙂
Without further ado, here is “Dance, dance, dance, little lady!”
As an eight year old, I read fairy tales avidly. In the warm children’s room of Bury Knowle Library, there was an entire shelf crammed with magical books: Grimm’s, of course, and the delightful rainbow coloured books of folk stories.
My imagination was fired by the sparks of these stories. I dreamed spells and princes, castles, dragons, witches and talking animals. Monsters and sorcerers skittered, blundered and wand-waved just out of sight.
I KNEW, with a child’s certainty, that these tales were TRUE; to me, it was obvious. And, in a sense, I was right. Mythology reflects psychological verity; it dips into the Collective Unconscious; it celebrates our human need to pass colour and legend, myth and warning down from one generation to the next.
I have always loved the image of the Mead Hall, the Bard – and the power and mystery of Story. I am so pleased that there are still Storytellers in our society, and that the Bard, in the magical sense, maintains Taliesin’s long tradition.
Do you recall a tale entitled ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’? This one fascinated me. It still does because of its symbolism and link with the Fey. In terms of numerology, this is a clear departure from the more conventional threes with which so many of Grimm’s stories are littered. But twelve is richly imbued with symbolic value itself: The Star Signs, the clock face, the months of the year, the Twelve Days of Christmas, the cusp between childhood and adolescence, innocence and experience, girl and woman, boy and man, our reality and that of the Fey.
I could analyse the whole sequence of events in great depth – and it is very tempting, for this is something I love to do – but, my message lies beyond the purely academic.
I shall not, on this occasion, be delving into my Dictionary of Symbols!
The strands I wish to pull from this story are threefold: The dancing itself, the englamouring of the girls and their connection with so many legends, songs and poems concerning the Fairy Realm.
Music and dance free us from the constraints of body and mind. We lose ourselves in their seductive rhythm, their blood intimacy as D.H.Lawrence put it so beautifully. When I play my fiddle, or the recorder, I go into what I can only describe as a trance. It is as if the music takes over and that connection between head, ear and fingers is so intense that I become lost to other stimuli.
The same happens when I leap onto the dance floor. I am in no sense graceful or ballet-trained, as anyone who has watched me in action will attest to only too readily! Possessed is more like it!
When I hear that sexual thumping beat, I, like those twelve dancing princesses, am unable to resist the pull of my own body, even if it means that my metaphorical dancing shoes are worn and ripped, torn and tattered. I just have to get out there and be with the insistent, life-affirming pulse. Oddly enough, I actually lose myself – my everyday reserve, my ego, my worries – when dancing, and the alternative reality takes over so totally that I am rarely aware of other people in the vicinity: Have, in fact, been known to bang into small children and knock tables over!
Going back to our twelve dancing ladies, they were clearly under a spell – presumably sent by the Fey, perhaps to lure them into that Realm – but also, on the human level, they were responding to the beat of nascent sexuality, as we all do in our cusp years.
The magical properties of both music and dancing are explored in myth after myth, in poetry, song lyrics and short stories from all cultures. One only has to think of Browning’s ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’, of Steeleye Span’s ‘Tam Lin’ or ‘Dance With Me’ to realise that this part of the human psyche is ancient, deep and universal.
I think the connections are more powerful than the divisions, in this as in so many other spheres of humanity’s Tree. The blood-beat of drums cuts across every national boundary: From hide-stretched Shamanic drums to the Irish bodhran, the intention is the same.
We are earth-based, with dense physical bodies, but we also have a spirit, a Higher Self – and I believe that both music and dance are conduits, in a sense, ways of connecting the two, of allowing us a glimpse of the Higher Realms.
So, dance with me!
Today is the forty-seventh day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes six weeks and five days.