I recently made a comment on how I always feel like I don’t fit in with people/places. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt out of place. I have always been a seeker—a lone wolf. Now, I am moving to a new town in few days. It’s the second major move that I have made in my life. With all moves and changes, there is a time of reflection. One thing I always reflect upon is the people I have met over time. Let me preface before going further: I have a BIG personality. Whether it’s from my New England raising (I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts) or whether it’s because I am a Scorpio born the day of All Souls---I am ambitious, fearless and not afraid of trying and failing.
Two years ago, I moved to a relatively small town in Arizona. Mind you this was after living 33 years in a major city! I thought I would be ok in a small town---I needed to be somewhere that was not oversaturated with big personalities—as is the case in most big cities. I learned after about a year that small town living isn’t for me. I began to feel like I was suffocating—and boredom for a city girl sets in quick. Small town living can’t satisfy my personal, spiritual or creative needs. As I tried to embrace my situation I began to reflect on the people I have met on my life journey thus far. The more I reflected—the more I realize that a lot of people suffer from CBS—CAGED BIRD SYNDROME.
CBS is not just a small-town thing (though it seems more prevalent since everything in a small town is a bit compact). I knew people back East who suffered from the same disorder- and my friendships with them would be over in a blink of an eye. I could never figure that out—but then I realized that whole “it’s not you it’s me”—really was true. It is ME. I just can’t relate. My whole life has been an adventure thus far. Not all adventures have been super fantastic-but they have been a part of my life and continue to shape who I am becoming. And I can’t stay in a place, situation, relationship, etc. where I don’t feel like I can grow. I approach life with the mind set of an employee—If there is no room for growth—I am not going to stay. And this is true in my relationships and friendships.
And there are so many people who have CBS that it makes me sad. I understand it’s their life not mine, but it makes me sad when I see so many people who have so much potential not grab life by the balls because they are stuck and afraid. Whether it’s a personal cage (unhappy marriage, bad job, troubled relationship, financial issues) or spiritual and emotional stagnation that has them caged-the fear of what’s outside the cage is sad. If the cage door swung open—and the bird had a chance to fly—how far would it go? How does a beautiful bird in a cage feel when it sees the other wild birds fly?
I had a friend who was an amazing dancer. She was beautiful and captivating. When she was on stage- you couldn’t stop watching her. One time we were at dinner and she told me that if she hadn’t gotten married—she would have done so much more with her dance career. I remember that night so vividly. She wanted so badly to spread her wings, but she couldn’t. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her husband—she just had wished that he appreciated her love of dance as much as she did. Rather, he clipped her wings. Or did she allow him to?
The cage is a boundary that both, people put around themselves and that other people put around them. It creates a limitation and prevents them from being who they are. I have seen what the confines of a cage does to people. And I see the fear they must break free. The fear isn’t about breaking free---the fear is what happens once the cage door is open. The caged bird gets so used to the cage, that it knows of nothing else. The habit is hard to break. The bird gets used to the feelings- to the hand that feeds it. It starts to lose its wild nature and embrace the metal container it’s found itself in.
I hate when I meet people who has so much more to offer the world than what they are currently doing. To see unknown potential sitting there. I try to always encourage those people to spread their wings- even if their feathers still touch the cage. Its why I love being the one who opens doors for people. I love seeing people have a moment where they can break free and recognize that there is more to them than they thought. The hardest part for me is watching them go back to the cage. They flew for a moment-and then it’s over.
And that is why I will never fit in. I am a wild bird. I can’t have my wings clipped. I can’t be set inside a boundary. I think in part, because I am not caged, some find it hard to swallow-that I can just pack up my things and move forward. I realize that the world is a lot bigger than just me—a lot bigger than a cage. And just like a wild bird---my nature is to fly.
I originally wrote this article in November of 2012. It was picked as a featured article on WitchVox.com and was also published in several pagan based magazines in Europe. 5 years later and it still is relevant!
Dance As Magick
Author: Zehara Nachash
Posted: November 4th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,065
I am a dancer by nature. I have been dancing since childhood. I have studied various forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, Russian Gypsy, African and Belly Dance. Dancing is what I do when I am happy, sad, stressed, anxious, chipper—its also what I do when I am feeling a need for a deep spiritual connection.
I have been a practicing Pagan since I was 17. So its no surprise that dance started to creep into my spiritual practice. I started integrating dance into my magickal work during a Beltane ritual in which I felt this sudden "urge" to move. It was almost as if my brain had completely shut off and the only noise I heard was the pulsing rhythms of the drums. I was completely taken over my spirit. That was the moment that I realized that dance and magick could be used together to create something so primal and pure--the true essence of the human spirit.
Dancing has been used for thousands of years as a means of communication to Deity or in reverence of a higher power. There are many various styles of “ritualistic” dance: the Middle Eastern “zar” dance, Morris dance, Long Sword dance, Circle dance and most notably, the Sema or “Whirling Dervish” in which dancers whose continuous spin forms a deep spiritual mind set much like the peaceful state induced during meditation. One can look at ancient cave paintings and Egyptian art to see paintings of temple dancers, honoring their Gods via movement and expression.
As a dancer, my dance has always had spiritual roots. I fell in love with gypsy dance because of the passionate and magickal sound of the violin-the music invoked a sense of magickal mysticism and my body moved with the violin as if I were apart of it. I fell in love with belly dance because of its complex earthy rhythms and the ability to connect to the Mother Goddess. My new love of African and Aboriginal dance has come from the primal earthbound roots I feel when performing it. When I am performing, some aspect of my spirituality is invoked.
To me, dancing is magick–a spell. If I want to banish something I will do a sword or fire dance. When I want to manifest something I perform with my snakes. Like the symbols of the Tarot, I am connecting to the elements via dance. There is so much music out there--and so much to connect to. There have been moments when I have been compelled to create a choreography solely inhabiting an aspect of an element. I created a "Dust Storm" dance in which I combined aspects of Aboriginal dance and the usage of a veil--all to invoke the power of the element of Air. It’s at those moments where I feel connected to the power of nature through movement.
One aspect of dancing that I love is when I feel inspired–or more like-taken over-by the spirit of a Deity or Higher Being. I feel inspired to create and perform either a number dedicated to them or as them as a form of invocation. For the past three months I have felt strongly connected to Pan. This coming from a gal who is typically "all Goddess" energy. How odd that I suddenly felt this strong masculine energy overtake me. Perhaps I was being reminded of the balance I needed!
Pan's playful mischievous energy kept popping up around me and I would feel constant urges to want to "frolick". I also started finding without thinking, that I was purchasing more and more jovial flute music! Pan also invoked a deep emotional feeling of happiness and joy that I would call upon whenever I felt down or anxious. Over the past month, I began forming a dance around His energy and eventually performed as Pan at the Samhain Festival hosted by Laurie Cabot and the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple in Salem. It was for me, a magickal moment. Throughout the performance, I felt Pan’s energy flow through me, and when Laurie exclaimed, “we had Pan here among us!” after my performance, I think I did a good job invoking the ancient God of the woods.
I have invoked many Gods and Goddesses over the course of my dance career–including Mami Wata, Pythia and a few fairies, demons, angels and sprites. It’s deeply moving when I am able to transmit their energy through my performances–its almost like being an acolyte to their mysteries and having them coach me along the way. It’s more meaningful for me. It’s also a lot more work–costuming, music and make up all have to be just perfect. It’s a lot more powerful to when the audience understands who I am without me having to even announce it!
Using dance as a magick is an ancient and old power. It can be as simple as turning on music and dancing around your room to create high levels of energy before spell or ritual work. Sometimes invoking that primal energy can help release any anxiety that you are feeling prior to spell work and ritual–help cleanse your mind and prepare yourself for the work ahead. It can also help to induce a meditative trance inducing state, much like the Dervish or Zar. Dance in itself is cathartic. Creating an atmosphere where you can dance out your feelings. The best part is you don’t have to be a trained dancer to let your body move to the rhythm--it’s allowing yourself to be moved physically by the music--and being able to let go.
During ritual, one can even create a small performance as the particular Deity to help call Their power into the circle (hmm, now I am thinking Brigid dancing with a candle tray for Candelmas!) .
Dance is a powerful form of energy work. Its why its been used as a form of ritual for thousands of years. Besides, the Gods and Goddesses love when you sing and dance and be merry in their name!