Tag Archive | Pagan

A Bellydancer’s Ramadan

Blessed Lughnasadh! That, however, is not the holiday I’m here to talk about today. Rather Ramadan is the topic of the day (of the month, even) and how it factors into my bellydance community.

For those unfamiliar with the month of Ramadan – it is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calender, so it changes dates every year. To the Muslim community, it is a month of fasting from sun-up to sun-down. Chapter 2, Revelation 185 of the Quran states:

The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.

Because bellydance comes out of the myriad of cultures in the Middle East, many dancers choose to respect the month of Ramadan in some way or another. The most common practice that I’m familiar with is abstaining from performances, particularly paying gigs (this is what my troupe does). I think perhaps it’s better to think of it as abstaining from public performances – we still dance together and perform at bellydance community events (haflas and the like) but not for the public at large. No fairs or stages, but rather dancing for dancers – coming together as a community to celebrate what we do for ourselves and for each other. If for Muslims Ramadan is a time for introspection and improvement, perhaps that is what we dancers should focus on as well.

And how do I, as a Pagan feel about this? Just fine. All too often we (as a society) get caught up in fighting for what we believe in and trying to keep it pristine. I think some inclusiveness and experience is a far better practice. “Fasting” within the bellydance community for the month of Ramadan makes sense – and it’s not a requirement. Some dancers/communities pay no attention while others simply acknowledge it and go about their business. To each their own. Personally, I feel my life is enriched by “observing” Ramadan in this fashion.

P.S. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Lughnasadh – Enjoy my favorite jam for this Sabbat:

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Waking Up

This week has been full of nothing but wake-up calls. It figures that this would happen around Midsummer – the time when the earth is fully awake and totally alive.  Aside from these clear signs to pay attention, Spirit is also giving me a big push, energetically speaking, to move forward – onward and upward, shifting and changing – GO!

Speaking of Midsummer – we here in the Midwest were treated to a different version of the solstice then usual. Generally, it’s a hot sunny day; great for really feeling the fire of the sun, the power of the Sun God. Today, however, was rainy in the morning and stormy in the evening – a different sort of power, but power nonetheless. Washing away any stubborn bits of the past season (of the earth and your life, of course) and leaving a ready field for new growth.

P.S. This is my Midsummer jam this year.

Breaking Hiatus for Breaking News

May 1st 2011 – Today it was announced to the world that Osama Bin Laden was killed by a US special operations team in a 40 minute firefight. Here’s the break down of how I felt:

10:00 pm – First got wind of the news from various updates on Facebook. I was pretty skeptical until I turned on the news to hear George Stephanopoulos talking to various commentators. My first reaction to that was a strange sense of relief – let’s face it, for a lot of us, this man was the face of evil. I think I summed up this feeling well in my Osama-is-dead-facebook-update: “It’s like someone killed the boogie-man.”

I quickly went from weirdly relieved to feeling totally surreal as I waited for Obama to make his statement. Listening to his statement I really latched on to the message he was trying to send about unity and peace. The destruction of this powerful symbol is something that will allow for deeper healing to finally occur.

11:00 pm – I was then watching footage of the crowd outside the White House – flying flags, singing, cheering. A part of me felt joy watching my fellow citizens come together – unite – in celebration. And another part of me felt a bit horrified at the celebration of someone’s death.

Soon after, a friend on Twitter made this statement: “I apologize for the fact that this country, this world, resorts to murder as a form of justice.” And as much as I know I felt relief but an hour before, I realized that she was partly right. Everyone is talking about how this is justice. As the strange i-can’t-believe-this-actually-happened feeling passed, I felt that I would much rather have seen Osama captured alive and put on trial. Is it possible that this was the purpose of this operation? Sure, but I doubt it was.

12:00 am – People began to frighten me, talking about how they wish they could have been there to spit in his face and hope he burns in hell, calling this a happy ending. I was disgusted. It’s one thing to be grateful that a terrorist is no longer able to terrorize but it is another entirely to relish in his death and wish such pain on another human being.

Now I realize I sound a bit hypocritical, but hear me out. I believe that Osama Bin Laden was a “bad” person, willing to kill innocent people. But I also believe that all life is sacred, even if that life has been given to a “bad” person. But what really breaks my heart is that many of these remarks relishing his death came from my fellow Wiccans.

1:00 am – I began to write this, trying to sort out how I feel and how I ended up feeling that way. Another Twitter friend put it well: “Call me a hippie. Perhaps it’s what I am. But I cannot celebrate the death of any man.” I can, however, celebrate the destruction of a symbol, the promotion of unity, and the promise of healing.

More Music

This song has struck a serious cord with me at the moment – not totally sure why.

Lyrics:
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
And like the flame, I am wild wild wild wild WILD!
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird, the boldest song you’ve ever heard

Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild!
Join in the dance and make it wild!
To see a maiden dance around a fire is not so strange
but fire dances round the limbs of this uncommon maid!
Be brave enough to burn and you’ll be brave enough to fly!
Join your sister Solace as she lights the morning sky!

I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird, the boldest song you’ve ever heard
Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild wild Wild
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
And like the flame, I am wild wild wild wild WILD!

Wonders of the water air and earth are all the same
you’ll never know a wonder like the wonders of the flame!
Freely fly as what you are and never walk in shame!
You must not fear to blister if you’d live a life in flame!
I am girl and firebird and solace is my name!

I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird, the boldest song you’ve ever heard
Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild!
Join in the dance and make it wild!

If you’re brave enough to dance then you are brave enough to fly!
Forget what’s right and proper! You won’t know until you try!
If you’re brave enough to fly, then you are brave enough to burn!
Take my hand and join me in the Carnival of Dawn!

I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird, the boldest song you’ve ever heard
Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild!
Join in the dance and make it wild!

Sister will you follow me?
Sister will you follow me?
Sister will you dance with me?
Sister sorrow walk with me!
Sister will you follow me? Sister will you dance with me?
Sister sorrow walk with me! Sister will you follow me?
Sister will you burn with me? Sister will you follow me?
Sister sorrow dance with me!
Like a flame you must be wild/I am a firebird!
Like a flame you must be wild/I am a firebird!
Like a flame you must be wild/I am a firebird!
Like a flame you must be wild

I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird, the boldest song you’ve ever heard
Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild!
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird’s child! (I am the firebird’s child!)
I am the firebird! I am his daughter!
I am the firebird and Solace is my name

Runic Music

Someone in my Rune Workshop suggested I check out Wardruna – “a Norwegian musical constellation set out to explore and evoke the depths of Norse wisdom and spirituality. Musically Wardruna has its main focus on the cultic musical language found in the near-forgotten arts of galder, seidr and the daily acts of the cultic life, mixed with impulses from Norwegian / Nordic folk music and music from other indigenous cultures”.

This is beautiful! I check on Youtube first, to see if there was any of their music up. I first ran across Hagall:

This is something I’ll be keeping my eye on!

More Green Man

While I’m thinking about the Green Man/Horned God. I thought I share what is perhaps my favorite song dedicated to the God. “Hymn to Herne” by S.J. Tucker – her voice is perfect for this!

And for your reading pleasure, the lyrics:

You can say your prayers
Work your rites
Burn your little candles
Day and night

You can shimmy till dawn
To the pounding drums
But you best be ready
When the Horned One comes, yeah

If you wake to the sound
Of a hunting horn
dance a ring
In the gathering storm

If the Solstice time gets
Your panties in a wad
It’s just the coming
Of the Horned God

He will call you out
Make you sweat
Give you a blessing
That you’ll never forget

So revel in the chase
And let your heartbeat run
Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

Hunter who tracks
Outside of time
Guardian lord
Of ancient rhyme

Brother stag
In the musky glen
And consort of the Goddess
In her woodland den

We call you forth
As we make our way
Walking in your power
Every day

Guide us true
In our hunt this night
and maybe even later
In the Great Rite

He will call you out
Make you sweat
Give you a blessing
That you’ll never forget

So revel in the chase
And let your heartbeat run
Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

If you wake to the sound
Of a hunting horn

Dance a ring in
The gathering storm

Revel in the chase
And let your heartbeat run

But you’d best be ready
Little one
You’d best be ready
When the Horned One comes

He will call you out
Make you sweat,
give you a blessing
That you’ll never forget

So revel in the chase
And let your heartbeat run
Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One

The Green Man

Herne, horned one, leaper in the corn
Deep in the Mother, die and be reborn

I recently received this Green Man pendant - I wear it all the time now

In my ongoing endeavorers to connect to the male aspects of Divinity, I’ve become very attached to the idea of the Green Man. To me, he is the spirit of wildness, rebirth, and rediscovery of the self.  He is the forests and the vines; the provider and the very thing provided; the heart of Nature. I connect him very closely with the Horned God figure and understand them as two sides of the same coin, and often use the names interchangeably.

Both the Horned God and and Green Man are powerful symbols of sacrifice and rebirth. They are symbolic of the very food that we eat and which nourishes us. The Green Man speaks to our wildness – something our culture has managed to suppress in most people. We are not encouraged to seek our wildness; we are told it is evil, harmful, and savage. The Green Man actually offers our society a softer version of masculinity. The Green Man does not seek to dominate or control – he is free to be himself while allowing others to do the same.

I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll write more about my particular views on sex and gender later – but now isn’t the time. I just wanted to share a little of my understanding of the Green Man.