Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Spiral Dance

After seeing the video clip of Spiral Dances on YouTube and being told by Chas that he couldn't identify me in clips of the first one in 1979, I found this still from the same event. I don't know who shot it: I suspect it may have been Kevyn Lutton. Here you can see me on the right (second person in, about a third of the way down from top of the photo), wearing a velvet and brocade robe and leaning back a bit because Deirdre's on my hip, but you can't really see her, or her bald father, the late Rod Wolfer. I think the woman in the right foreground is Glenn Turner.

The dancer in the big white Maiden mask in the video is Diane Baker, co-author of Circle Round. The three goddess masks were made by Medea Maquis and weighed a ton. They are now in a private collection. The Elements masks, which you can't see but are also big heavy suckers, were made by Eleanor Myers.* They were clay and I think that over the years all of them have broken.

I remember Selene Kumin Vega dancing one of the goddesses. Forgive my senior mind for not recalling exactly which one -- Mother, I think. It was a long time ago. Selene is slender and graceful. She choreographed the Goddess dance at one Spiral Dance (at the SF Women's Building) in which I dance one of three crones (the late Judy Foster being another). Selene has the ability to bring out the best in people. She never made me, who's not much of a dancer, feel clumsy or awkward, just magical. Or "priestessly," if you will.

* If anyone knows Eleanor's current whereabouts, I would dearly love to know too. Please contact me at if you have any information.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Veil Grows Thin

It's that time of year again, my favorite, when the shadows lengthen and the sunlight produces a magical quality of light. Here's a video clip of several Spiral Dances. If you know what I look like, you can see me clearly in some of them. This past year, when filmmaker Susan Stern shot the ritual, I'm wearing red. In the one from 1979, I'm slim, with long brown hair and a toddler on my hip. In 2007 I'm round and grey-maned.

The sweet soprano you can hear on this video is the late Susan North, of whose death I wrote last January. You can also see photos of two other significant Reclaiming Witches in this video: Raven Moonshadow and Judy Foster.

I think this video gives you an idea of how intoxicating dancing a spiral with hundreds of others can be.

Alas, I won't be there this year. I'll be dancing with the Dead in Chicago with other visiting Pagan scholars who are there for the AAR Annual Meeting. I surely do hope we dance a spiral.