...stimulating us to experience ourselves in a different way, to view our life questions from a different perspective, to put ourselves into a different, bigger context.

Shamanic Trance Dance • Moving Meditation & Life Tool

01.12.2010   Eva Wolfram

For many people, Christmas is much more a time of hectic activity than a time of celebration. We rush from shop to shop or appointment to appointment, and there don't seem enough hours in the day to get everything done. Yet considering the cycles of the seasons, this is the time when our days do have the fewest number of hours and we are really supposed to be resting ... which is why we often experience the degree of activity we feel obliged to muster around Christmas as particularly stressful and exhausting.

A good way of finding more balance and making some time for ourselves is shamanic Trance Dance, a meditative tool which uses rhythm, music, breathwork and a blindfold to open up and access our inner vision. Contemporary shamanism is the modern application of ancient cultural and spiritual knowledge and teaches us about nature and our relationship with it and with ourselves, and dancing plays an important role in it. We dance in our own darkness without a need for keeping up appearances and can take an hour to be entirely with ourselves. The rhythms and music are designed to allow us to go on a journey ... while the body dances, our perspective begins to change, our horizon to expand.

This is by no means a new idea. Even before the first civilizations emerged, our ancestors knew that they could perpetuate their connection to and gain wisdom from the divinity within nature and within themselves by imitating nature through dance. Dancing in the dark to the most ancient rhythm, our heartbeat, our ancestors would connect with the qualities and powers of animals and elements around them and gain understanding about how to utilize these qualities for their own healing and survival.

In contemporary shamanism, trance dance picks up this effective modality for healing and spiritual growth, stimulating us to experience ourselves in a different way, to view our life questions from a different perspective, to put ourselves into a different, bigger context. Images and other perceptual impressions like sounds, smells, kinesthetic sensations and intuitive awareness are older than written or even spoken language, which is why the more ancient, intuitive part of our brain (our 'animal consciousness‘) likes to communicate through pictures and metaphors. It understands the things we see in our dreamtime, and it speaks to us the same way - all we need to do is open ourselves.

By incorporating our physical body into the meditative process through movement we experience ourselves on a deeper level and re-establish our connection with our body and our environment. The movement unblocks our energetic body and chakra system and our life force begins to circulate more freely. Participants of Trance Dance events frequently report that they gain a wider perspective, increased physical wellbeing and more mental and emotional clarity.

Before entering the dance journey, each participant formulates a personal intention providing them with a focus and starting point for their explorations. What do I wish to gain from this experience? Where in my life would I like to find more clarity? What are the questions and situations I can‘t seem to resolve at the moment? Let‘s ask our intuitive, our subconscious, our collective mind. In western culture and society where everything is based on the logical and rational we miss out on what our gut, heart and intuition have to say. As soon as we open ourselves and begin to trust our own vision, pictures begin to emerge from deep within...

This is of particular interest around Christmas time, where many people experience considerable emotional tension as well as physical stress. Trance Dance enables us to connect with our primal life force and put our lives into clearer perspective. Participants each dance in the privacy behind their blindfolds, and only the trained Trance Dance facilitator respectfully witnesses and guards them in their process to ensure their physical safety. Movement is not for outward expression and can happen entirely for ourselves - we begin to listen to and experience ourselves with new depth, richness and authenticity and can take this experience along into our normal everyday lives. People who dance more often find it becomes increasingly easier to return to their place of inner balance, awareness and clarity.

If your Christmas experience is hectic, why not take some time out for yourself to dance and regain your balance and perspective?

Eva Wolfram is a bodyworker, author, qualified Trance Dance facilitator and assistant to Wilbert Alix, an international teacher of contemporary shamanism and body-centered psychology. She lives on the Isle of Wight and runs regular monthly trance dance events there.