The ceremonies are living entities that breathe and grow with each occurrence and are open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. In no way can we here claim to be inclusive of all individual experiences manifesting during the rituals.
Wah Mah Chi
Wah Mah Chi (Tiwa word) means breath, matter, and movement. This universal principle is at the core of Beautiful Painted Arrow’s wisdom and describes how energy manifests in this world; ” We dance to give life to the principle idea found in nature and awaken the wisdom and intelligence that will carry us into goodness…”josephrael.org, dance audio file.
“Dancing in metaphor means to expand. We dance to expand our awareness. Awareness creates a radiance of knowing. Everything is placed in its proper perspective. Heaven and earth come together. They become One. Through the actions of movement in this process, the individual brings forth new clarity of inspired knowing and empowerment.” Ceremony of the Living Spirit, Joseph Rael
The Sacred Dances offer a way to expand our capacity to perceive the Great Mystery that moves within every living being. By using the metaphors in nature, we can enhance our experience of the Divine in all and thus, beautify our presence and participation in this vibrant global surroundings we call life. We dance for our ancestors, our families and communities, our leaders and societies, for mother earth and father sky, for the generations to come and for the cosmos. We dance to unify ourselves and the world as one and empower our impact in it.
The peaceful orchestrated Sacred Dance ceremonies lead the dancers to surrender to the guided pathway presented before them so that their spirit can unfold like a flower in the morning dew, and glow. From their personal effort and investment, held and enveloped by the sweetness of the drums and ancient sounded melodies, the dancers develop the ability to shift and gracefully move through layers of awareness to reach a state of undeniable expansion. Every step awakens opportunities for personal transformation, empowerment, and purification, bringing fresh insights and inspiration, and prepares the dancers for their future adventures of the years ahead.
All ceremonies are held in a dry fast, non- verbal, touch-free environment. This climate heightens the dancers’ inner disposition to break free and transcend societal and intergenerational self-imposed belief systems and limitations deeply seated in the conscious and subconscious mind. The Sacred drum in the dances, represent mother earth and as the dancers move to it, they become the drumsticks playing earth while each of their silent prayers is heard and amplified in the Universe. The rituals are held by a crew of “angels” working selflessly around the clock to create and maintain a beautifully blessed and secured environment, inviting the dancers to move their spirit into journeying without any concerns. Each dancer is asked for a financial contribution. This give- away is an essential part of a dancer’s preparation, and as well, help provide the finance for the maintenance and operation of the facilities. If you are interested in being a dancer or volunteer crew member, contact Geraldine or click on the link to find the location and chief that best suits your needs 2023 International Dance List.
DISCLAIMER: Federally protected birds, parts, and feathers are NEVER used in these Ceremonies.
Following is a brief description of each dance format and its specific metaphor.
The Sun-Moon Dance
The Sun-Moon Dance is a four-day ceremony during which time the dancers move, rest, and sleep in a circular arbor. From sunrise to sunset, as the drum and chanting begin, the dancers stand up and dance forward to the Tree of life in the center of the arbor, then, turn right and dance facing their spaces in a figure-eight fashion. When the chanting and drumming stop periodically throughout the day, they lie down to rest and dream in their area until they are called to dance again. This ebb and flow assist the dancers in building the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength needed to go beyond their ordinary consciousness and, access transcendence. The metaphor for the Sun-Moon Dance is balance or unification of the principles of male and female energies in and around us like giving and receiving, soft and strong, etc. One dances to experience and know wholeness with the tree of life, a metaphor for the divine creator, to a point of no separation. Day and night, chief, drummers/chanters, medicine people, fire keepers, cooks, alpha dog, dog soldiers, and crew are fully engaged in assisting and supporting the dancers’ journeys. On the 4th day, the chief calls for the end of the dance with a water ceremony. A feast follows the group sharing and every heart in the community, celebrate the greatness of being vibrant, blessed beyond measure, deeply and lovingly connected to all living beings of the world.
The Drum Dance
The Drum Dance is a three-days ceremony where the magnetic drumming and chanting move the dancers forward and backward to a line of feathers at the end of the field while keeping their chosen feather in sight. In metaphor, the feather represents our Spirit, our teachability, our ever-expanding awareness, and our ability to manifest heaven on earth. Using feathers in the sacred ceremony helps us return to our innocence and purity. As the dance evolves, the relationship between the dancers and their Spirit feathers grow and, the dialogue between the two takes place. Gradually, the dancers’ vibration rises, freeing their Spirit to roam the realm of the intangible, and get insights.
Similar to the Sun-Moon Dance, the drum calls the dancers to move and rest periodically from sunrise to sunset assisting them in their ascension. At mid-morning of the 3rd day, the chief ends the dance with the water ceremony followed with the group sharing and a fabulous feast prepared by the kitchen angels, sealed the experience. The by-product of the efforts, intentions, and carrying of each participant create a synergy of universal love and light, revealing the world as “One Family!”
The Long Dance
Beginning at sunset, dancers move through the night within a beautiful, feather-adorned arbor, resting as they need to, moving in a sun-wise and then a moon-wise direction (clockwise and counterclockwise). In metaphor, the arbor represents the five fingers of God holding all within a safe, divinely charged container. Sometime close to sunrise, when the dance is complete, dancers retire to their sleeping areas for all-important dream time. At mid-morning, dancers come together for sharing and a celebratory breakfast feast. The metaphor of the Long Dance symbolizes each dancers ‘long journey of life’ taking them back to their origins, to the ‘place between the stars’.
In preparation, each dancer makes a 2’ by 4’ medicine banner. Creating these helps form each dancer’s intentions and desires for their dance. Banners depict in any creative fashion 3 things: where you came from, who you are today and what you want to manifest and envision for the future. These banners are shared before the ceremony and hung at each participants resting spot in the arbor. In effect, we dance for each other, and for all the individual desires and intentions we have been blessed to witness before the ceremony begins.
It is left to the discretion of the chief to use a drum or to have the dancers move to the sound of their footsteps on the ground. Some chiefs also encourage dancers to play light percussions and shakers as they move. The long Dance intimate format fosters a sense of serenity, clarity, and connectivity within each participant, their purpose, surroundings, and the community they have forge empowering their visions and goals.