by G. Krasskova
Having spent over a decade as a professional dancer, I learned early on the trance inducing properties of physical movement. For nearly the entirety of my training and career, physical movement (in my case the rigorous discipline of ballet) was my primary means of spiritual expression. While I did not know about methods of trance when I was younger, looking back, I realize that I would often dance myself into a trance state where I was only aware of the energy flowing around and through me. It opened me up and provided a necessary outlet for many, many things including the berserkergang without which, I think my adolescence would have been far worse. I’ve since studied and learned many different methods of inducing trance but nothing is quite like the exhausting euphoria of dancing where the body itself is both conduit and doorway. Of course when I eventually became too injured to dance, I assumed that I would never taste that particular type of trance again. It wasn’t until my Muspellheim ordeal that this facility was returned to me once more.
In many respects, dancing is much like galdr, many of the same principles apply. Certain energies are best accessed through movement. Just as one can use the throat and voice for galdr to lay down threads of power, so can one do the same with movement and dance. Furthermore because in often ecstatic forms of dancing the concentration is on the body and not the ego/mental structure, it is very easy for it to bring about the type of opening needed not only for trance but also to enable possession. Focusing on the rhythm and movement allows our consciousness to shift ever so slightly in a way that facilitates both trance and possessory work. This, I believe, is the reason that dancing is often utilized in Voudoun ceremonies and Zar ceremonies as part of the possessory practice.
While my dancing has largely been prompted by Surt, Logi and to some degree Loki, Odin has indicated to me that there are weapons dances He wishes me to learn that will open me to manifesting His battle wod (but I’ve only gotten hints of the actual dances). I find that when I dance now, it links strongly into either sexual energy or the berskergang energy with very little in between and sometimes both at once. This may be in part because the ability to dance was returned to me via ordeal by Surt.
In this type of dancing, I’ve found that actual music is not necessary (though I personally prefer it as it sends me far deeper into trance far more quickly) because there is rhythm in the energies swirling beneath, around and within the dancer. The problem with using external accompaniment is that the sound then becomes master of the dance rather than the energy the dancer is moving in…the sound supersedes the energy, at least for me. These are palpable things and when I dance, how I’m working the energy, what I’m working with, the reasons I’m seeking movement trance, and a thousand other things vie for dominance over my body. If there is external sound, it has greater dominance for me than the energy itself though it can be a very, very close thing. Often the two work well in tandem together.
Entering into trance or working magic through the tool of a dancing body is to put oneself into a very open state. The energy one is dealing with is internalized far more deeply and intimately than with certain other forms of trance. It is both an internal and an external process simultaneously. This form of trance movement allows the practitioner to focus will and energy through the vehicle of the body and it is possible to weave directly into the threads of wyrd by virtue of the patterned movement.
So my use of trance dancing is three fold:
· to induce trance (obviously),
· to open myself to a specific type of energy be it physical energy or Deity energy
· to work specific magics via the conduit of the body.
I would estimate that of the dancing I do, 95% of it involves trancing to journey or tap into energy. During my Muspelheim ordeal, for example, the dancing loosened my hold on Midgard well enough that Surt was able to easily yank me into Muspelheim, the Gap and several other places as well for training and challenge. While it can be disorienting coming back to purely Midgard head and body space, I do find that the dancing is an excellent vehicle for rapid transitioning between the worlds. It shakes one’s consciousness loose from the temporal very quickly and easily.
The most distressing and difficult part of trance dancing, for me at least, was getting over my own self-consciousness about moving in such a fashion in public. There is a loosing of internal energies that necessarily accompanies such movement and it can be rather intense. I do not particularly like drawing such attention to myself (when I danced professionally it was A) a very different type of dancing and B) done for reasons other than a love of performing. The performing was secondary to the experience of dancing itself) and there has to be a certain level of body comfort as well. One must start out truly ‘in one’s skin’ so to speak, at least it helps.
While it certainly also helps to have a dance background for this type of trance work, I really don’t think that is necessary. What is most important is the ability and willingness to listen to one’s body, open to the external energies and be mindful of external sounds and cues. The body and the energy will direct the flow of the movement. Certainly a ballet background isn’t needed or even particularly helpful. If I had to recommend a style of dance to study, to prepare one for trance dancing, I’d probably suggest belly dancing followed quickly by some form of modern dance or perhaps tai chi. I tend to combine elements of flamenco (which I studied extensively years ago), belly dancing and Javanese/Indonesian martial arts. It’s not a consciously thought out thing, rather it’s just how the movements come out in the context of my body (or so I’ve been told by onlookers). I suspect that’s partly my body type and partly the quality of the energies I’m manifesting. It will vary with each individual person.
Finally, the energies raised in this type of dancing make it an excellent offering for the Gods. Both Loki and Odin like me to dance for Them both publicly and privately and I have known a Frey’s woman who was often moved to make the same offering to Her Owner. Even more than for journey work, I utilize this type of movement as a service to Them, to bring Them joy, satisfaction and perhaps entertainment. Utilizing trance dancing in such a fashion brings more than simple trance, it brings one to the level of ecstasy and intoxication.
“I cannot dance, O Lord,
Unless You lead me.
If You wish me to leap joyfully,
Let me see You dance and sing---
Then I will leap into Love—
And from Love into Knowledge,
And from Knowledge into the Harvest,
That sweetest Fruit beyond human sense.
There I will stay with You, whirling.”
--Mechthild of Magdeburg