Masks, Ritual & Sacred Dance

The Veil Thins … A full weekend of events.

October 31/November 1st is a time of year when the veils between worlds are at their thinnest, when a very potent portal opens, known through the ages as “Allhallowtide” or “Hallowmas” season. Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), Samhain, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Dia de los Muertos are Christianized forms of much older traditions. It’s also both Blue Moon and Full Moon, and just happens to fall on our ongoing Cuyamungue Institute Zoom sessions. So we’re gonna celebrate with the Spirits, with trance and sacred dance!

Here’s the schedule, and all are welcome to join in on Zoom: 

Saturday Oct 31 9-11AM Pacific/12-2PM Eastern (note time zone changes) In the US, daylight savings on Sunday.

We will host our usual Ecstatic Trance Posture Experiential Session, with the Calling of the Spirits posture, traditionally used in our Masked Trance Dances to ‘activate’ the masks we’ve just made. Bring your mask along if you’ve made one, you’ll be setting your mask near you for the duration of our trance journey. You’ll want to honor your mask with an offering afterwards, traditionally a bit of cornmeal or rice or similar. If you have no mask, no worries, you’ll still have a powerful spirit journey.

Sunday, November 1st. We are joined by our Special Guest Leslie Zehr who will lead us in a sacred dance to honor the occasion. Bring your mask and/or a momento of a loved one, and a veil if you have one handy. Leslie will talk about her work with sacred dance, and lead us in a 20-minute free-dance to music composed by Paul and drum-maker Jane Elworthy (See Jane’s Artist Statement). We’ll then go round the room to share experiences of both the dance and your artistic process as you show us your mask. It’s a special occasion to have Leslie lead us in Sacred Dance!

As Leslie says, “We encourage you to attend. You need not be a dancer to participate. For those unfamiliar with this type of dance, think of it more like a moving meditation. You are welcome to turn your video off during this portion of the event if it makes you feel more relaxed. We encourage you to bring your masks, veils, statues, or pictures of departed loved ones, anything you would like to invoke or dance with during the session. Hope to see you then!”

Leslie Zehr’s Bio:
Writer Leslie Zehr teaches Sacred Dance, helping women reconnect to the sacred feminine. She is the host of the Sacred Dance Summit, as well as being an aromatherapist, hypnotherapist, reiki master, and astrologer. She has published two books, The Alchemy of Dance: Sacred Dance as a Path to the Universal Dancer and The Al-chemia Remedies: Vibrational Essences from Egyptian Flowers and Sacred Sites. Her workshops have been attended by hundreds of women of different nationalities and taken her from Cairo and ancient Egyptian temples along the Nile River to studios and centers in New York, Maine, Maryland, Arizona, Washington, Puerto Rico and now to an online platform the Universal Dancer Temple of the Sacred Arts.  Through dance, Leslie retells the archetypal stories, taking women back through time to the essence of their being, initiating and unlocking the esoteric wisdom buried deep within their psyche.
Sacred Dance:
Sacred Dance is as ancient as creation itself. Evidence of this type of ecstatic dance has been found in cave drawing in Europe dating as far back as 30,000BC. This type of dance is danced for expression rather than performance. It is all about the experience and how that experience impacts the dancer. Not what it looks like, but what it ‘feels’ like.
Dance is a very natural part of our lives. Children dance spontaneously. Hearing music they are almost compelled to move and dance. The human body is a standing wave. Hearing or feeling other waves around us causes us to resonate with them.
Tapping into the different rhythms of the earth creates music. Musicians, especially drummers, are tapping into this same pulse. Different instruments resonate with the different rhythms emitted from the earth. Basically what we are doing, when we dance, is connecting to the earth’s rhythm. The same pulse the musicians are playing on their instruments is passing through our bodies. The piece of music creates the form in which to express these rhythms, like the guide on a journey. The rhythm is channeled from the earth but we use the music to bring the different rhythms together and synchronize ourselves with others.
All dance is like this to a certain extent. What makes Sacred Dance different is our intention. We are intending to make this connection with the Divine/cosmos/universe and directly to the Earth. From a healing perspective, this makes all the difference in the world. We can channel healing energy and discharging unhealthy energy through the Earth. Through the Dance, the intention is conscious, which intensifies the experience even more.
Leslie Zehr
Author of The Alchemy of Dance: Sacred Dance as a Path to the Universal Dancer, The Sacred Art of Dance Journal, The Al-chemia Remedies: Vibrational Essences from Egyptian Flowers and Sacred Sites and Navel Portal Activation and Guided Visualizations.
with hallow means “holy person; saint”) — holy
What is Hallowmas?
An older English term for All Saints’ Day is actually Allhallows or Hallowmas (shortened from the feast of Allhallowsmas,
The name Hallowmas was first found in 1375–1425 in late Middle English (Allhallows is actually recorded before the year 1000!). It specifically described the feast carried out on November 1 to honor the saints. Overtime, it became synonymous with Allhallows and started to refer to the day after Halloween itself, not just the feast.
All Saints’ Day & All Souls’ Day
It is a feast day celebrated on 1st November by Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
An opportunity to remember saints and martyrs.
A Christian tradition since the 4th century AD. And in 609AD Pope Boniface IV decided to remember all martyrs. All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day coincide with Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos takes place over a 2-day time frame, November 1–November 2. The entire period (October 31–November 2) can also be called Allhallowtide in the English-speaking world.
and on the day following, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
What is All Saints’ Day?
November 1 is often All Saints’ Day, which is the day when all Christian saints who have reached Heaven are recognized, even those who are fairly unknown in the church. The Roman Catholic Church sometimes calls All Saints’ Day the Solemnity of All Saints. Pope Gregory III declared November 1 a holiday to celebrate the saints during his time as pope which ran from AD 731–741.
The Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t always celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1. The first recorded use of the name All Saints’ Day is from 1570–80. Back then (and even before … read on to learn more about that), the day was celebrated by holding feasts to honor the saints. Now, Catholics attend mass to honor the holy day.
What is All Souls’ Day?
The day after All Saints’ Day, November 2, is All Souls’ Day. This day honors the souls of all the dead, even those in purgatory. For those in purgatory, the prayers from people on Earth are said to help cleanse their souls and prepare them to move on to Heaven. Many people visit graves of passed loved ones on this day and decorate them in remembrance.
In Mexico and parts of the United States, To celebrate Día de los Muertos, people create offerings (ofrendas) of food and gifts for their loved ones who have passed on. They set their pictures out and spread marigolds as well so these loved ones can find them as they pass over to the living world for celebration with their families this one time each year.