“Mystical Nativity” detail by Sandro Botticelli, 1501
Dancing the Inspiration of the Angels
Angels are intermediaries between the incarnate world and the upper levels of existence. Belief in Angels cuts across religions and cultures, and gives humans an easily accessible archetype for inspiration, comfort, and personal development. They are just a shade more divine than humans; implying that "angelhood" is something within our reach; something to aspire to. Something to commune with.
Angels carry our prayerful messages to God, and bring God’s inspiring revelations to us. They are our guardians, watching over us and catalyzing the ennoblement of all levels of Self - the body, the heart, mind, and soul. When we open ourselves to them, they begin to manifest in all sorts of ways in our lives. When we dance the Angelic energy with the Music of the Spheres, we can commune with them in ways we never before imagined.
We begin by dedicating the body as the material instrument for the song of our soul. Breathing and moving our way through a ritual change in consciousness, we begin to travel beyond body & mind to a realm of pure spiritual essence. The soul is our gateway to the Angelic realm; it parts the veils between our mundane existence and the glories of the infinite. Our soul's longings and intentions, however, are inextricably anchored in the body and can be expressed through creative movement ritual.
The body realizes its capacity as receiver and transmitter of Divine Light. Through forms, gestures, and ritual sequences, we effect the merging of soul and flesh that is the moment of healing transcendence. We enter into a state of consciousness that transformed Isadora Duncan in the Temple of the Parthenon, when she realized the Divine mission of dance and declared, “It was then that I realized that I had found my true dance, and it was a prayer.”
Isadora Duncan was inspired by the classical Greek understanding and interpretation of Universal laws and forces. She taught us that the archetypes expressed through classical art and philosophy are guides to the ennoblement of our bodies, minds, and souls and keys to our deepest creativity. She revealed how the sister arts - painting, scultpure, poetry, mythology and drama provide inspiration and image for our dances as well as intention - that which makes our art keenly felt and authentic.
Through her teachings and suggestions, we can cultivate a “mytho-poetic” state of dance consciousness, in which our intention and movement merge into a direct communion with our divine, immortal souls and Art becomes Life. “Listen to the music with your soul,” she wrote. “Do you not feel that you are moving toward the Light?”
This Light, this divine essence, permeates the archetypal realm of the Angelic. Angelic imagery is all about lightness, air, aether, and the highest, most noble qualities of Love, Compassion, Joy, and Courage. When we contemplate depictions of Angels in art, we too resonate with the same qualities they transmit.
Consider the figure above right of the “Victory of Samothrace”, or “Winged Victory”. It is essentially an “Angel of Victory”, a guiding principle into the radiant courage and expansive motion of victory. It also inspired Isadora Duncan in her development of solar plexus and arm techniques for dancers. Since Angels are most often depicted as winged beings in the collective unconscious, the angelic dance is radiant with the power of the solar plexus and the poetic expression of the arms, poetically transformed into the wings that make our souls take flight.
Angels are a great inspiration for dancers, because they are often depicted dancing in Divine Dances and singing or playing the Music of the Spheres. They bring blessings with beauty, harmony, and grace that transcend words because they come from the realm of epiphany. More than any other type of artist, dancers are the instruments, the messengers and the message. When we stand tall and open, breathing in deeply cleansing breaths and fully releasing them, we begin to embody Divine Light and to move in Harmony with the Universe. As dancers, it behooves us to ask ourselves,"What is the true Divine Message of my Dance? How can I align myself with Source so that my dance becomes a blessing for those who participate in or see it? Ruth St. Denis, contemporary of Isadora's and Dance Priestess in her own right, wrote that the time will come when we will no longer dance to astonish audiences or gain applause, but to heal and bless. To me, that brings endless inspiration for a New Dance - a Creative Movement Ritual in which we access, embody and transmit Divine Light.
Divine Light clears us of heavy energies and clarifies the intention we would like to transmit to Heaven. It helps us to establish connection with the Angelic realms and clear the pathways for Divine Inspiration, making us receptive to the sounds of our souls and beyond. When we dance our intention to the Universe that we are ready to receive inspiration, amazing things begin to happen.
The lines of our bodies become transmitters of light. The exhale becomes a carrier of divine intent, and our gestures become blessings. The very act of dancing our prayers changes us at the deepest and highest levels. We become living works of art, consciously engaged in the process of personal evolution.
These are the moments when Divine Inspiration uses us as its instrument. Through us ripples outward a message, a feeling beyond words, calling everyone around into the Dance of Blessing.
Angels are Protectors
We all have at least one Guardian Angel. When we meditate upon the role of Angels as protectors in our lives, we can become more attuned to our own role as protectors - of each other, animals, plants, or the Earth. We can feel our arms becoming protective wings and can access feelings of tenderness and caring in our hearts. The arms are the messengers of the heart, and together with the breath they transmit our intentions in the Art and Ceremony of the Dance.
Angels Dance the Shapes of the Universe
"Celestial Rose" by Gustave Dore
The visionary work of Gustave Dore (1832-1883) illustrated Dante's Divina Comedia and of all his depictions of the afterlife, his images of celestial beings, to me, are most compelling. In Dore, we see dreamscapes recalling mandala-like formations, spiralling outward and inward toward The Light, emanating, a communication beyond words.
A sense of awe, reverence, and majesty permeates these engravings, bringing inspiration for our own movement toward The Light. We can practically hear the Music of the Spheres when looking at these images and imagine the overwhelming wonder felt by the figures of Dante and Virgil in silhouette.
"Heavenly Host" by Gustave Dore
It is easy to see how circles and spirals are inherent in the Divine Dance. In a circle, we feel unity and equality with our fellow dancers. What's more, we unite with our fellows by joining hands and hearts - a circuitry that unites with the Universe's own cyclical motions - orbiting, spiralling, expanding and contracting in the eternal flow.
Spirals re-enact the expansion and contraction of the Universe. They require dancers to lead, then follow, then lead again in an exchange of energy. They are potent metaphors - for evolution, the spiral trajectory of human history, and the path to Heaven.
"Jacob's Ladder" by William Blake
So, when you're looking for inspiration in your dance, why not call upon the Angels to dance with you? Did you know there is an Archangel of Creativity (Gabriel) and an Archangel of Art and Beauty (Jophiel) who are ready to bring inspiration to us? All we need to do is reach out to them.
In "Celestial Celebration", we use the body's movement to access, embody, and transmit the Inspiration of the Angels. It's inspired by transcendent depictions of Angels in art and conducted through a collection of transcendent, ethereal music throughout the centuries. Prayerful gestures and harmonic movements change a person's state of being and elevate their vibrations to a more noble state in this Dancing Ceremony of Angelic Consciousness.
Universal movement patterns like the Circle, Spiral, and the Infinity harmonize our motions with those of the Cosmos, resulting in a higher vibrational frequency. When we elevate our vibrations, we can then attract the Heavenly Hosts to join our dance.
We work with conscious breathing to draw in the Divine Light and use our imaginative powers to build intention for our sacred dance and direction for the Light. We learn how sacred gesture aids us in expressing and transmitting our Soul's intention. In the communion between our Bodies, Souls, and the Source, we discover that we, too, are emanations of the Divine and that part of our purpose here on Earth is to reflect the Grace of the Divine back upon itself. We gradually begin to embody the characteristics attributed to the Eternal - its rhythms, shapes, frequencies, and harmonies.
And at the end of the dance, we see that we have changed. Because we have discovered that there is a higher purpose for the Art of the Dance. It is the most complete prayer possible - one that merges all layers of Self into deep resonance with the Infinite. And that no matter what religion or spiritual tradition or philosophy we subscribe to, there is something deep inside all of us - alive and well in the collective unconscious - that believes in Angels and longs to join their dance.