Ceremonial Spiritual Dancing
by Cheryl Braswell
Ceremonial dances are a form of prayer.
These dances are similar to the ancient, traditional dances of
indigenous people, but are created for ALL people on the planet at this
point in time.
When one feels the call to dance, the
reason to engage in this form of prayer may not be known until after the
ceremony has occurred. Others know right away what they want to pray
for, such as world peace, the environment, thanksgiving, personal
healing or healing for another.
When we dance, we represent a physical
manifestation of our prayer. By fasting, we become containers being
emptied and refilled with Spiritual Light and heightened awareness.
Truly, our physical bodies are all we have to call our own. To give of
our bodies by dancing and fasting, we are making the ultimate sacrifice
in order to obtain spiritual awareness, peace and healing.
On a personal level, dancers may
experience breakthrough and transformation, as healing is brought about
on mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels. Because all life on
the planet is connected to each other, the healing and peace we bring to
ourselves also brings healing and peace to the Earth and all life upon
her. One dance can be equivalent to years of therapy!
On a planetary level, the dancer’s
energy merges with the energy and spirits of the land, filling the land
with peaceful and loving vibrations. The dance ceremony releases new
spiritual energy to be used however it is needed for peace and healing
throughout the planet and into the cosmos.
The dance itself is usually performed
outdoors. Along with the dancers and leaders of the dance, there are
numerous support people who make the dance happen, such as fire keepers,
dance assistants, kitchen staff (angels), drummers and other helpers.
The dance begins with prayers from the dance leaders as they create a
sacred dance arena. Next, a sacred fire is started and burns for the
duration of the dance. Before the dancing begins, dancers and helpers
participate in a purification ceremony, the sweat lodge, where all are
physically cleansed and pray about the dance. After a break, the
drumbeat calls the dancer to begin dancing. The dance consists of
periods of movement to the beat of the drum combined with periods of
resting and meditation. Dancers spend the duration of the dance in the
dance arena in order to be embraced by the sacred dance energy.
Dancing brings out the childlike
innocence in us. It is a time when we can leave the world and worries
behind us and focus on prayer, knowing that someone is there to take
care of us. Our dance steps may be lively and joyous and at other times
more like slow walking. The rest periods are usually welcomed as a time
of relaxation, reflection and dreaming, as our dreams are very powerful
during the dance.
Many dancers say there are no words to
describe the dance process, but it works! After the first dance, most
dancers return each year to pray and "peel away more layers"
in order to experience deeper healing and spiritual connection. Some
dancers participate in multiple dances in a year, as they believe they
gain strength and energy from each dance.
A ceremonial dance is a community
prayer. Some people may not be called to dance, but feel called to be a
part of the dance. These people can participate in other ways, such as
helping in support roles, fire keeping, preparing meals, providing
monetary gifts, working to prepare for the dance and cleaning up after
A community of people comes together to
pray through dancing, and miracles happen! Some dancers have been healed
of physical ailments, such as a diseased limb (amputation was not needed
after prayers made at a dance), sprained ankle, leukemia and chronic
fatigue. Others received healing by releasing the bonds of addictions,
depression, and sexual and mental abuse. Some have found their
connection to their Creator. Most all dancers have experienced a strong
connection to Nature, being able to appreciate food and water as sacred
gifts rather than taking these things for granted. Dance experiences
will change one’s life forever. Just ask a spiritual dancer!
You are invited to experience the power
of prayer through ceremonial dances. Upcoming dances for 2003 are For
the One Dance (April 4-6), Women’s Web of Life (May 30 – June 1),
and the Sun Moon Dance (September 19-22). For more information, please
or P. O. Box 204, Saxapahaw, NC 27304.