Ritual Postures, Ritual body Postures, Ancient Ritual Postures

The Witnessing of the Dragonfly and the Singing Shaman

by Bat-Sheva Koren Sunrise Gathering on the Solstice Preparing as the days approach our gathering… I see Felicitas in a dream… wearing white in her honor… Saturday… wearing a white dress, my head draped in a long white tallit (shawl) in anticipation of the celebration of Felicitas’ birthday…  I walk with the community, led by Paul, to the Labyrinth in Cuyamungue, feet directed to the rhythm of the heart of the universe… in Love אהבה AHAVA… We stand facing east, having summoned spirits from six directions of the universe as we wait for the rising sun. I am called to guide the community in the inauguration of the new hall – a wooden KIVA – an amazing space, the creation of man. I lead the participants; invite them to listen through their feet to the way, the rhythm rising from the universe, attend through them to the first drum, the heart – guiding us in the dance of life. We approach the hall… walk around it counter-clockwise holding hands as a sigh… haaa… rises upward in prayer through us… we enter the space silently, individually, walk step by step, listening to our breath – inhalation… connecting to love and accepting that breath is a life guide; exhalation… releasing, letting go of that which we need to set free… attending to our breath… one beat of the gong begins the ceremony, three conclude it. I listen to the Spirit in authentic movement rising within me, guiding me in listening. Walking in Zen – heel to toe, inviting them to hold hands, I lead the community to the opening of the spiral – there in the center I close my eyes… the walls… the place… time disappear. I invite participants to listen to that which is transpiring in our bodies; open up to complete attendance, absolute presence, to the now where the body housing our spirit-breath enables us to bond to the here and now, and beyond. Staying open, witnessing in movement, or stillness… What each feels, perhaps being moved, is a mystery… … like the mysterious presence of nature… a live, yet silent witness accompanying me, reminding me of my connection to the present. Silent witnessing – the dragonfly’s presence As three notes of the gong echo, I pass the guidance on to Susana. The community makes its way to continue the celebration through ritual body posture in the old sacred kiva; Ki reminds us to remain attentive… listen to and in the silence. I remained alone in the hall with a sense of holiness that captured the moment… bending over to pick up the gong and covering it, I notice a small branch resting next to it; to my surprise it turned out to be a dragonfly, wings closed. For a moment I wondered if she was dead as she was motionless… perhaps unintentionally harmed… she wasn’t prostrate, but standing quietly on her delicate legs… a tear rolled down my face in awe… nature witnessed us… I lifted her. She didn’t fly away… placing her on the gong, taking her to the kiva – she spread her wings as the sun rose, their transparency reflecting the colors of the rainbow shimmering in them. I gently placed her in the center of the kiva on the frame holding Felicitas’ photograph… lighting a candle beside her picture… drawing Susana’s attention to the presence of the dragonfly… surrendering to the mysteriousness, the synchronicity, the message of the universe of which we are a part. Reflecting back: the Singing Shaman and the accompanying dragonfly In my ecstatic-trance of the “Singing Shaman Posture”, I saw from the four corners of the earth – a white eagle, a whale, turtle and an ant coming toward me. I asked: “Where is the white buffalo?”…”coming”… an answer came…  clearly  I see the carving of a turtle emerge, which I am in the midst of sculpting in soap stone; the stone is calling me to bring forth into life the turtle and the woman he is carrying on his back… her last journey on earth… Upon completing the posture, I finish writing and the “talking circle” begins. I remembered the dragonfly… it was difficult to see her in the haziness of the moment… the dancing flame through the glass jar obscured the vision… she was still standing, wings extended… I was in awe, unbelieving… happy. …I wait for the end, continually looking to the center of the circle – the dragonfly slowly closed her wings and stood at a 300 angle from the corner of the frame – perchance a dragonfly, perchance wood – I barely saw her in the haziness of the kiva trying to focus my vision. What am I seeing… splintered wood, or a dragonfly in an unusual posture – lower body leaning away from the corner of the frame… I am fascinated… in awe. Suddenly, I no longer see her, wondering where she is, had she flown away. Everyone had already shared part of their journey. I approached the center, looked and saw her below, standing with wings closed. I picked her up, went around the circle showing her to all present. I returned her to the center and placed her again on the frame; she spread her wings. Thankfulness carried me for her presence. In a few sentences, I shared my feelings – her witnessing the community, her messages to us. She stayed behind as we left the Kiva. When I returned that evening, she was no longer there. Her presence throughout the day verified synchronically that I was connected… receiving confirmation of the presence of LOVE. Infinity and spiritual community Ocean waves… occasionally one rises pulling a giant train of rolling water after itself, thundering – rising and falling in the distance, its primal force pulling along tons of water that push along myriad waves… rising until they meet the shore… reaching light, shallow land they lick the edge of sand and roll back… leaping forward… pushing little wavelets before them. And thus, the meeting of water and shore becomes a cradle in which the water is the home in which I rest, my body tossing about gently… and if I lift my head I shall be carried away by the waves farther and farther, or perhaps be cast back onto the shore… And then there are shores defined by rocks and boulders and the water crashes onto them… a thunderous tempest. The water over time erodes the rocks…the dance of nature revealed… exposing our dance – perhaps, the conditioned, perhaps authentic. The sea is the sea – natural, as are the ocean and the lakes… The wind is the wind – spontaneously blowing… and what about human beings? How do human beings live with this natural dance? At times we occasion a glimpse, confirmation, a direction, or a path, along which we align ourselves in “Direct Experience”. A time from which, and in which, we connect within to our maker and creation in the tuning fork of YEDIHA – YEDA-YAH…ידיעה (wisdom; knowledge). I grew up on a kibbutz, an agricultural, spiritual community. I went to study… so I could come back to teach, educate and continue to be an active member of the kibbutz. Today, the world is my community in AHAVA (love). I recognize the need for education in movement experience (ME) and energy movement (EM), in becoming an active participant in a spiritual community. An opportunity to choose a path to potential transformation, open up to listening, willing to devote energy to a new attentiveness to life… not what I might get from it, but what transpires, how I connect to that which is happening and enables me to be open to hear the Spirit. In the opulence rising from a universe open to listening… breathing with nature… The skies and earth, the seasons… their rhythm and successions embodied in human beings… energy manifested in matter… matter manifested in energy. The dragonfly was not happenstance She came to illuminate a cycle…
About Bat-Sheva Koren Bat-Sheva was born in Israel, and raised and educated on a kibbutz, a spiritual agricultural community on the shores of the river Jordan. Her professional life is rooted in this early life experience. Her professional focus is tacit knowledge, as it guides educators, and embodied wisdom revealed through mystic and trance experiences. She has taken an active part towards Global Collective Consciousness through her healing work and teaching of Authentic Movement, Ecstatic Postures, Dance Movement Therapy, phenomenology and narrative writing, in Canada and abroad. She is the Director of the Toronto Dance Movement Therapy centre and the author of From Golem to White Eagle: a journey into through and beyond life.