Dancing with Dionysos in a Foreign Country

Guess what awesome thing is going to happen in a few days? You guessed right–well, I hope you did, anyway–it’s going to be Lenaia again, and on the same day as the Kalends of February, no less! I wasn’t able to properly observe it last year, so I’m hoping to do it justice in 2015.

It’s also a beautiful coincidence that I’m celebrating it in a foreign country and watching Riverdance at the same time! I know it’s not exactly acting, but it’s still theatre and it’s still art. I’ve also been dying to see it live since 1997. I was 11 or 12 when I first saw it on television and I’ve been hooked on Irish dancing ever since. It is absolutely my most favourite thing in the world. This kalends is going to be very memorable, indeed. May all be well and fortunate!

Speaking of good fortune, I of course did not forget to pay my dues before the trip:

No trip without proper sacrifice to the Luck-bringer and Traveller

No trip without proper sacrifice to the Luck-bringer and Traveller

The Lord accepts auspiciously-named candy as payment for his unfailing travel insurance plan

The Lord accepts auspiciously-named candy as payment for his unfailing travel insurance plan

How can the Lord resist the smell of burning cinnamon bark!

How can the Lord resist the smell of burning cinnamon bark!

May all be smooth, safe, and sweet for me and my friends on this trip!

Hail dancing Lord of the wine-press! Hail travelling Luck-bringer! Hail gracious roadside spirits! Hail Twin Saviours!

To End Feralia, I Give You Salp’uri

Salp’uri is a Korean folk dance that was originally used in Korean shamanism after performing an exorcism. During the exorcism, the shaman removes the “sal,” meaning a curse, evil spell, or negative energy from the person by absorbing it into herself. Therefore, in order to banish the “sal” from her own psyche, she performs the Salp’uri dance. Additionally, it is used to express beauty and sadness in both relationships and separations by bringing peace to the spirits of the dead and leading them to heaven… [See more.]

I don’t think I’ve got any Korean ancestors–none recent or none that I know of–but I pray my ancestors will understand and appreciate this gesture, nonetheless. After all, it’s a beautiful dance perfect for the occasion, and it’s happening tonight in their name, Terpsichorê help me.

Dancing for the Dead, Living, and Lost

Our ancestors knew well that dancing was a potent form of communion between worlds and the beings that lived in each of them. They danced within their tribes and city-states, danced with people of other countries, danced like wild beasts, danced to mark the passing of seasons, and danced to commune with the various spirits of nature and civilisation. Not much has changed since the first human being danced as the art continues to be a huge, meaningful part of human expression, no matter what belief or way of life. For almost every emotion known to Mankind, there has been a dance trying to express it. Is a dance religious or secular? Who knows and who cares…

It’s 17:00 GMT+8 and in the next hour I’ll be preparing for a dance cum ritual for the Dead, Living, and Lost at our household shrine. My babaylan-friend in Bacolod tells me that they’re going to do something similar at exactly 18:00 today, so I thought I’d have mine at the same time, too. It will be a dance of grief, of joy, of hope, and many other things.

If you appreciate this gesture, please consider sending aid to our brothers and sisters in the affected areas or let others know how:

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Again my prayer continues to be, “May the Dead find their peace, the Living their joy, and the Lost their way back home”. Now, let’s get our arses working.