Morning dawns with summer perfection. We decide to hold our next posture outdoors to connect more deeply with the sensory delight of our earthly home.
A bower beckons.
The dictionary tells me that a bower means both “a pleasant shady place under trees or climbing plants” and “each of two anchors carried at a ship’s bow.” The latter evokes my felt sense of being tethered, anchored, to the core of the planet whenever I lie belly down on the earth in this particular pose.
Lying on blankets, we stretch out on our stomachs in two rows with our heads toward each other’s. We cross our ankles and rest our hands, palms down, just above our heads which are turned to the right side. To replicate the drawing as closely as possible, we place our hand drums on our upper backs. My drumming will resonate with these drums like tuning forks, deepening our body/mind response and assisting the spirit horse which carries our consciousness into alternate reality. (In Shamanic terms, the drum is often considered to be a horse.)
*image from Gore, Ecstatic Body Postures, p186
This pose, called the Sami Lower World Posture, reliably takes us down into the fecund, mysterious, dark world below the surface of the ground, the world of roots in the global cosmologies of the world tree. Here we may encounter the ancestors as well as allies of various kinds. Our purpose today in traveling here is to meet the spirit being with whom we will collaborate for the remainder of our shared time. We anticipate making costumes and masks for them so that we can more fully embody their essence in us. We want to bring their wisdom through us by dancing their dance, singing their songs, praying their prayers.
We want to animate our “ordinary” lives by reclaiming our relationship to the great mystery and our invisible kin. Felicitas (Felicitas Goodman, PhD, anthropologist and founder of this method.) taught me that the spirits need us to do the work in this world of matter, that the spirit world languishes today because too many humans have neglected it.
That makes common sense to me. Spirit and human need each other.
When everyone is lying down on the warm buzzing earth, I begin to drum. The drum immediately begins singing and even embellishes with the sound of click sticks though no person I see is clicking sticks. Despite no walls to contain the sound, I’m “wombed” in vibrational warmth. Living in two worlds simultaneously, I watch out for each person and hold safe our bower as container. Though I am not officially “trancing”, I see that I am meant to dance for the drum. I am the beater of the drum. Actually, I am the whole ecosystem with trees embedded in sky. I begin to know the rudiments of my disk shaped mask.
I’m aware that clocktime tells me I have two minutes left to drum. I’m loathe to stop so immersed am I in this glorious sound cocoon.
I think spirit is calling me. Wow. Awesome. How cool is that? I keep drumming. 90 seconds remain.
I flash on Felicitas, my ancestor, calling and encouraging. I flash on Belinda ( Belinda Gore, author of two books on the practice of postures and my mentor. ) standing at the gate to the driveway to our East. She’s come to surprise us since she assisted me at our first trance dance in Montana in 1995.
I think Hello is my spirit world leaping into my ordinary reality. I keep drumming. 60 seconds to go.
Oooops. Peremptory, whining now…My mates begin to stir. One even sits up rubbing her eyes in abrupt return to earthly awareness.
I stop drumming.
Wow. wonderful writing about something I have never come close to experiencing. thanks Deborah.
This is wonderful description of our posture work leading up to the dance. Hilarious about the Hallloooooooooooo!!! xxVictoria
Oh so good to hear from you, Victoria. The more I write about our experience, the more I relive it, of course, and the more I recognize how far and wide and deep we traveled. Let’s make a date for next August NOW!
I so appreciate your open mind, Kate. And I’m glad we’re relating again in this fascinating world of posting. Love my “touch” of England, history and family life everyday. You are a marvel!
Thank you Deborah, for insights into the bigger picture. HAHHHHLLLLOOOOOOO, indeed took me out of my Trance. That is exactly what I would like to see happen to all the peoples of the Earth……Wake Up…….Pay Attention…….Ask yourself -What are you doing?
That is what HAALLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOO wanted to know – What are you doing??????
Good question don’t you think?
Yes oh yes. Thank you Cinda for articulating that larger message so clearly. I bet you’ll have more to contribute after reading today’s Post, too. Please do, please do. Fear of the unknown needs to be honored and played with and softened around…wish I could write that thought more clearly, but as I drove off this morning to monitor a stream for returning salmon, I reflected on fear’s importance…on one hand it has allowed us to be here today. Our ancestors needed to fear certain things – like eating poisonous berries – in order to keep living and pass on their genes, but fear that is based on fear itself ( didn’t Wintston Churchill make that line famous, or was it one of our President Roosevelts, ) is what we have to fear the most. Fear of the mystery, the ambiguous, the uncertain, fear of pain…THOSE fears could be cradled…I like that thought: Singing fear to sleep . That’s a line from a poem I wrote to “illustrate” my image The Juggler. thank you again…you inspire my day.