Sunday, October 26, 2014

More about Irish Step-Dancing Spirituality ...

Abbey Tower of St. Meg the Mad.


Step-Dance Prayer.

It's a little known Irish tradition of monastic contemplative prayer.

Much more ancient than Centering prayer or the labyrinth, or even the green rosary beads with the Celtic Cross, and most assuredly long before the Claddagh.  The tradition quite possibly predates St. Patrick when Ireland was first Christianized by vagrant, Arian, gyrovague monks from Sicily - who incidentally were searching for four-leaf clover to harvest.  It is worthy of note that some non-Catholic historians have speculated that Sufi Dervishes may have been influenced by the same group.

It's quite a simple form of prayer, once the footwork is coordinated - it becomes automatic - and after about a quarter of an hour the subject is raised above one's senses, in a form of ecstasy, and a sort  'rapture' propels the dancer for several minutes.  Every succeeding session, or dance, if you will, raises the subject's consciousness to what some have described as total union in oblivion of all sensibility, a complete and total flight of the spirit.  St. Meg the Mad, the little known anchoress who once lived off the south coast of Ireland is said to have uttered prophesies while in such a state.  One is most famous, but rarely attributed to the Saint.  It should be noted the darkest part of the prophesy, the last three stanzas, are frequently omitted as well:

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
I danced on Earth

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He! 
Here we have the end-times prophesy concerning the tsunami:
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
Keep on dancin' (keep on)
Keep on doin' the jerk right now
Shake it, shake it, baby
Come on & show me how you work
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea! 

Many religious communities are opening wide their doors to step dancing gurus in what has been termed the perfect marriage of action and contemplation - the dichotomy of prayer and activity no longer existent in this ancient form of liturgical/contemplative dance. - Excerpt from the hard to find treatise: The Step Dance Ladder of Monks and Nuns, Sr. Mary of St. Joseph O'Shea, AA

"The more rigid, the more holier than thou."  - Ven. M. Maria Ansa Da Foen



Choral recitation of the Office
 incorporating Step-Dance.


10 comments:

  1. Are you drunk?

    What?

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  2. Lord of the Dance lyrics (first two stanzas) by Sydney Carter the English poet and songwriter.
    http://www.stainer.co.uk/carter.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Carter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Wiki points out, it's impossible to date the origins - the version I used here was easier to use and more understandable than the original Gaelic and anyway - Carter plagiarized Wm. Sandys' carol 'Tomorrow shall be my dancing day' - and Sandys' sources can most likely be traced back to the pre-Banshee period when Mad Meg,.the Celtic mystic, chanted it for Sanskrit musicians on their way to India. (I have done extensive research on this.)

      What?

      Delete
  3. Hilarious!!!!! Thank you.

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  4. Can't.stop.laughing.

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  5. This post reminds me of my new book about Irish immigrants. Have you read it, Terry? I lost my Catholic publisher because it was considered too occult. Really. Anyway, I devote an entire chapter to the connection between Sanskrit and the Irish jig. If I did not know you better, Terry, I would think you had copied this post from me. What?

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    Replies
    1. You are playing with me - right? I totally made that up. LOL!

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  6. Haha. I totally made it up, too. The part about the Sanskrit, that is. The rest is all true. Honor bright.

    ReplyDelete


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