Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice coincided for me down at Ecstatic Dance LA on Sunday. My devotion to that practice is encapsulated in this wisdom from Devdutt Patnaik, from Seven Secrets of Shiva:
Lord Shiva taught through dance because words are too literal to capture the essence of the intangible nirguna. One needs symbols that dance is best able to communicate. A book occupies space but not time, a discourse occupies time but not space, a dance occupies both space and time.
The workshop was an introduction to sensual Salsa that was focused with a declaration of spiritual intention. We were asked to choose from a deck of the feminine avatars. I waited, torn, until the other participants had settled back to their mats. Then a card called clearly to me, and I found myself holding “Isolt”:
Undying Love: No matter the situation, the love that you share is eternal.
When I read it to the facilitator, all she had to offer was “Thank-you.”
From that moment of clarity, the dance unfolded into the usual confusion and chaos. Whether the sexy temptress that tried to attach me to her sister, any of five young ladies crying out for love in exchange for passion, or the woman that reminded me of the lost love I offered to Persephone’s manifestation, I found myself wondering why it is so hard for women to understand that the power that surrounds me is not intended to make people feel good, but rather to make them stronger. That became clear in my interaction with Atasiea – after we finished rolling over each other on the floor, I touched his crown and suggested timidly “Say hello to my little friends.” With their affirmation, I then knelt to take his skull in my hands and ordered, “Now say hello to my bigger friends,” as I raised his mind to the sky. Trying to make certain that he didn’t get detached, I pressed my thumbs into his palms and feet and pulled on his arms, stretching him to his full extent so that they might clearly apprehend the limits of his body.
So it was only at the end that I was able to refocus. As we sat in a circle, each affirming in turn the joys found in the dance and the glory of the light, I hesitated before offering:
I came here today to plead with the light. To plead with it to be gentle with us. To be gentle with us through the summer and winter. To be gentle with all the living things.
A terrible sorrow filled me then. While Robin took the time to say that he liked what I had said, it is clear that we haven’t learned our lesson yet. It will unfold as it must.