Dance Like No One’s Watching

How do you incorporate movement into your worship?

Movement hasn’t been a large part of my practice in recent years, and I think I need to change that.

I came into modern Paganism through Starhawk and Reclaiming-style witchcraft, and then British Traditional Wicca. In that style of Paganism, there’s a lot of moving around, starting with re-arranging the living room to make space for the night’s festivities. After that, it’s mostly walking the circle several times during the first parts of the ritual, stopping at the quarters to do things & stuff, circle dances complete with bruised shins from banging into the altar, leaping up for the fire extinguisher when the cat knocks over a candle…

My change from Wicca and Wicca-derived practice to a Polytheistic practice based more on Hellenic structures came at the same time as I started working less with groups, and more on my own. Ritual no longer required moving the couches aside. Mostly, it was a matter of pouring libations and praying at a shrine in my bedroom. Not much room for perambulations, but there was a narrow path past the foot of the bed for a simple procession from the ritual ablutions in the bathroom to the altar, and back again.

But I’ve noticed that I miss the motion. There’s something about including a somatic component to ritual that helps keep focus, and not just because one’s legs go to sleep if one stands still too long. I got a Murphy bed so that I could easily clear floorspace. Though I haven’t made use of that yet, I anticipate that pre-ritual furniture moving will help get the old juices flowing.

Another thing I would not have thought I’d miss was the dancing. I’m not much of a dancer. Oh, I can do a passable Goth-Boi Shuffle, and I’m pretty good with the High School Slow Dance, but that isn’t what I have in mind.

No, this is more like shutting myself away from possible lookers-on, putting the headphones in (no point in putting the housemates out), and just moving. At a concert at a con, I decided I would dance for Dionysos, even if I felt like a clumsy fool.

I clearly recall Him saying something like, “If you’re going to look like an idiot on the dance floor, best to look like a passionate idiot.”

I’m pretty sure it was said with love.

In any case, that felt good, and it felt like it pleased Him, so I should probably do more of that.

Just do me a favor, though, and don’t watch.

My lover Ember and I have decided to go through Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme questions together, over the next several months. We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers in our comments, as well as your thoughts on our answers. Ember’s answer can be found at her blog, Embervoices


About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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