Welcome to issue 2 of Hermes where we shall dance our way forward for the next three months with new articles, interviews and more on all kinds of subjects but with the main theme of dance and initiation.
As I sit here writing this editorial the day is ending and I am watching the birds outside dance as one in a flock, a magical bird flight that seems to be a dance to the setting sun as thirty to forty of them fly together up and down and round and round the fields. None fall out of sync; none are off beat as they fly together in unison. How do they do this? Rudolf Steiner would say it is because they are connected by a group soul that guides them together. It is the final dance of the day as the sun sets and I look forward to seeing them again at first light as they dance again for the rising sun.
“Dance, dance, wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the dance, said He” is a song that used to be sang at my school. It always pleased me to think that the gods want us to dance!
Many religions implement dance as a way to come closer to the Divine. Dance is regarded as a metamorphosis, a way to approach the gods, like a ritual it is another way to go into an altered state and as one dances the dancer changes into a god.
The Sufi Whirling Dervishes dance in a circle as a way to reach the source of all perfection; the divine source. If one has seen this performance one knows how mesmerising it is to watch let alone be a part of.
In some religion’s dances are performed to tell the story of the creation or the myth that that faith fosters. In the Indian religions it was through the dance of the gods that the universe was created and this is often re-enacted by its followers.
People dance to celebrate the gods and goddesses. In ancient Egypt the lion headed goddess Sekhmet was sent forth by Ra to slaughter all the evil doers in the human realm but the killing went to her head and she began to kill anybody that crossed her path. Her mission had got out of control and the gods had to trick her into a field filled with blood mixed with strong alcohol to subdue her. When she passed out the people danced with relief. When she awoke, she regretted her ways and apologised and the people danced again, this time to her for her repentance.
In the Old Testament when King David entered Jerusalem he danced for the Lord. It is said that he put on his glad rags and danced around the Ark of the Covenant rejoicing at the blessing the Lord had given him and his people. He danced with all his might!
And what a delight that is to do, to dance with all one’s might, whether it is for one’s self or the god that you follow. As the saying goes; Dance like nobody is watching!