Accept the Creature, Begin the Dance

DancingAlthough it horrified my children as they were growing up, I never see the need to resist the urge to dance.

My mother would often tell the story of the first time I danced.  I was two, and the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan (Yes, that very famous 1964 appearance).

I have no formal dance training.  While I respect dancers in every genre, for me, dance is improvisational.  It is about becoming one with the music, and one with the universe.  It is about being part of a community, and, at the same time, it is about being a unique individual.  It is a magickal moment of union between body, mind and spirit.

My lifelong love of the Grateful Dead was probably primarily inspired by the wild and crazy dancing that is acceptable in that community.

When I was in middle school, my good friend had a mural in her living room.  It included the words “Accept the Creature, Begin the Dance.”  I didn’t quite understand what it meant, but I loved it.

I still do.  More than thirty years later that same friend sent me a bumper sticker she had made with those words on it.  My son, now a grownup, asked me what it meant.  I couldn’t quite answer, because it means so much.

Sometimes words just aren’t big enough to convey meaning.  Perhaps that’s why I dance, and why I read tarot.  Sometimes movements, and images, are able to speak better than words can.

I wonder about people who don’t dance.  Do they secretly want to, but stay still out of fear?  Or are they just not wired to need it?

Perhaps the creature that needs to be accepted is oneself.  Without self-acceptance, one may feel too self-conscious to dance.

There are a few tarot cards that make me think about dancing.  The Fool, of course, is the first that comes to mind.  He merrily dances his way through . . . whatever.

The Three of Cups makes me think of wine, song and dance with friends.  What could be better?

The writer Emma Goldman had something to say about dancing.  She was a Russian-born American feminist, anarchist, atheist writer.  Her famous quote made to it tee shirts, bumper stickers and coffee mugs in the Seventies and Eighties.  She said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

Amen, sister.