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Finding the Key;

language of the Goddess within the dance

by Delilah

crossCrossroads

The horizontal line at the crossroads represents the earthly world and the vertical line represents the supernatural. A powerful symbol, it is at the crossroads where we find the center of a circle, or the center of any space.

aunkCross

The symbol of the Cross is much older than Christianity. In ancient Egypt it was called the Ankh and it symbolized life. Its top was looped and its said to represent the rising sun on the horizon. Others say the loop is the symbol of the vulva and the stem the penis; container and shaft. The lines represent opposites, inevitably linked. Life!

Core / Pole

Imagine a line from straight overhead that moves through the crown of your head and through the core of your body-vessel between the position of your balanced feet and into the ground all the way to the center of the earth. Like the magnetic pole inside the earth this line is at the core of your body.

Center Point / Core Point

Imagine a line coming straight toward your womb/hip level parallel to the ground. It passes through you, intersects with the core/pole line, and continues out behind you. Imagine another line coming from the left and passing through you, intersecting the first two lines and passing out your right. This point of intersection at your core is your center point or core point. it's a POINT that lies along the (core) axis.It is the crossroads. It is the the axis of your body.

Go ahead and imagine the lines of the horizontal plane, front and side coming at you at other levels of your body; ground, belly, sternum, and head. At any level in your body you can identify the center point, the crossroads. The center point of any circle takes us to a place beyond our own perception.

Labyrinth; Palace of the Intestines

The cross is the beginning of a universal symbol of the labyrinth. Found on every continent on earth, dating back to at least 4,000 BC, the labyrinth is an ancient symbol. It shows up on all kinds of artifacts and at the entrances to caves, graves and tombs. The labyrinth represents the doorway into the uterine underworld of the goddess. The ancient symbol or life, death and rebirth. It was the most sacred symbol of the pre-Indo European. It’s been used by the Celts, Chinese, Christians, Native Americans, Aborigines and modern day churches and Jungian therapists. Large ancient walkable labyrinths are found in old cathedrals and as man-made earth works all over the world.They appeared later in certain religion-based construction, like cathedrals - Chartes Cathedral in France being the most famous, and Grace Cathedral, a modern day replica in San Francisco.

At first glance, the design looks to be too complicated to be universal, but once the key is known, the mystery simplifies. Once we understand its simplicity, its math, its endless natural symbology and its mirror imagery, we see a universal truth revealed. (This is a similar experience to what women feel when they start to understand intuitively the lost language of belly dance.) The labyrinth is like a key hole in a door between two worlds, and it is our conscious awareness that unlocks the door.

The convolutions of the coils of the labyrinth look like fingerprints, labia tissue, entrails, and brain tissue. The coil patterns range from a simple 3 coils to the most common of 7 coils — the universal symbol of personal growth and wisdom — and as many as 15 and beyond . Labyrinths are powerful meditative symbols for the mind. With our belly dance skills we can translate it into the body very easily by tracing the pattern with our hips or womb level, once we know the key to drawing the labyrinth *.

The belly dance in a body language, and what better place to keep the dictionary of the dance than in the body, the guts, the belly and, actually, the womb. It was once believed we, while in the womb, were nourished by the bowels of our Mothers. In ancient times, and still to this day, diviners, shamans and oracles seek enlightenment and prophecy from the probing of entails.  Their location is even called the "Palace of the Intestines". Modern pathologists can attest to divining much evidence from the past whereabouts of a casualty by this practice.

Indeed, the Kundalini dwells coiled in the pelvis

Serpent Wisdom

In belly dance, I call it “reptilinear locomotion”. It is the way a snake slides and moves with grace and intention. It is hypnotic to watch. It will easily slide your mind from the left brain to the right brain, just by observation. Mankind has most likely always recognized this quality in women.To embody the movement is sexy and intriguing; a bit scary and powerful at the same time. The phallus is seen as a serpent that is tamed by the female. Thus, her power. The serpentine quality of movement in a body takes you to the depths of your bodily awareness.

In the book “The Descent of Woman,” Elaine Morgan says men have an involuntary pupil reaction in there eye to strengthen their focus when they see three things: 1) snakes, 2) spiders and 3) a naked woman. She said this has evolved over time as a survival mechanism. It would seem that nothing scares men more than the sight of a snake and a naked woman. She claimed the naked woman reaction was a procreative survival mechanism, but said women did not have the same reaction when they sighted a naked man. (Hmmmm? Curious.) A woman’s naked body commands power. Who of us would not look? Salome’s veiled strip tease was all about power. Remember, for her dance King Herod offered half of his kingdom (more on that story another day).
Here that we use the map of the ancient universal labyrinth. Man has physically used it as a walking meditation as well as a meditation for the mind. But we will use the labyrinth as a belly dance meditation.

Focus your energy through the core point of your hip level. We shall draw the pattern using our reptilinear consciousness and trace the pattern parallel to the ground, except for the two places where we must take our pencil off the imaginary paper plane. At these two points we will make an arch parallel to the front wall and jump to the new position to continue our labyrinth design.

Dance Puzzle
Belly Dancing the Classical Seven Ring Labyrinth (piece B)

Set up

  • Draw the labyrinth with a pencil several times so you understand the four-step key * of the design.(4 steps plus 2 transitions)
  • Use and draw your pattern tools on the Transaxial Dance Map.
  • Stand up and trace it with your pointer finger .
  • Dance it with your hips.
  • Feel the rhythm in the movement.
  • Note the
    "West" = left "East" = right, at your side seam demarcation points. That means the S.W. and S.E. nodes are behind your core.

Start with a cross and line it up over the center intersection of your dance map. Think of it as a compass. Imagine 4 dots or nodes, one in each quadrant marking the combined directions (i.e. NE, NW, SW, SE).

To begin the design, start in basic position at the center of the crossroads. When you are dancing the movement, you will be drawing with your core center as you did in the Mapping the Internal Realms exercise and the Hip Slide Exercise.


Design:

1. Move toward the N end of the cross (center-front) and circumnavigate the NE node, then around counter clockwise to connect with NW node. Weight is on your left.

labyrinth archTransition: Transfer weight from left to right by bringing the core center point of the hip level up in a half crescent arch (parallel to the front wall) and down so it ends up on top of the the right NE node. Your weight will now be on your right. Note: This is just as if you took your pencil off the page to move to the next point.

labyrinth 1

2. From the NE node rise up counter clockwise circumnavigating the NW node and continuing clockwise to the entrance of the E branch of the cross. Weight is on your right.

Transition: Slide the hips across the center of the cross to exit the W branch of the cross. Weight is now on left.

labyrinth 2
3. Exit W clockwise around the north to circumnavigate the SE node and then back counter clockwise to connect with the SW node. Weight is on your left and behind the W-E cross line.

Transition: Transfer weight from left to right by bringing the core center point of the hip level up in a half crescent arch (parallel to the front wall) and down so it ends up on top of the the right SE node. Your weight will now be on your right.

labyrinth 3
4. From the SW node move up counterclockwise and around to circumnavigate the SW node and then return clockwise all the way around to enter the S branch of the cross.

LABYRINTH MIRROR MEDITATION: Imagine the labyrinth and move through its passage from outside to the center, or reverse it. This is best accomplished by looking at a drawing of a labyrinth while you walk the path with your hips.

Meander

meander

This symbol is really wild and really old. It dates back to the ancient civilizations of the Goddess. It was used extensively by Greeks, Romans and Ancient Egyptians. It is a combination of zig zags, undulations and spirals. It symbolized water, in the way rivers meander through hills and mountains. Like water, it also symbolized blood and life force. It appeared etched all over the figurines of the Goddess as a primitive attempt to give life force to cold clay and stone. **

The wildest connection is to realize that the Roman meander fanned out with a computer is the classic labyrinth! (I just have to show you this!)

Questions that are sure to come up:

  • Where will you find the labyrinth movement used in belly dance?

    I use the labyrinth pattern mostly as a classroom or workshop exercise to strengthen visualization skills , to deepen the dancers’ spiritual awareness, and camaraderie with other women. I also use it in belly dance movement meditations. The labyrinth pattern works well in dances at baby showers and in sacred dance works. You will not yet find this movement used in the average cabaret belly dance show in a night club somewhere. Well, at least not as of this date but once this book is out, who knows?

  • Where will you find the meander movement in belly dance?

    I use this in classes and workshops along with and similarly to the labyrinth. I once used it as a hip pattern and sideways traveling step in a choreography for 40 woman who lined the streets of a parade and drew the pattern as a chain facing the audience on both sides of the street.

Next: Mapping the Internal Realms; A Internal Movement Work-out

* Key to the Labyrinth is; line to a dot followed by dot to a line.

A Companion to Delilah's Bellydance
Workshop Series,
Volumes I, II, III

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