Sacred Ceremonial Dance Experience in New Mexico
by N J Howell
Touched by the Sacred in Spiritual Dance
I am in New Mexico. I have traveled here at the request of two spiritual sisters to be their support during the SunMoon Dance, a spiritual ceremony to be led by Benitos Rael. Benitos is the brother of Joseph Rael. Joseph, or Beautiful Painted Arrow, is a Ute elder and the Sun-Moon Dance is his vision.
More on Beautiful Painted Arrow:
The Healing Sound Chambers
Ceremonial Dance Experience - Being a SunMoon Dance Supporter
It is incredibly beautiful here. The cacti are everywhere so one walks gently, especially at night. I have already had significant spiritual experiences in the hours leading up to the dance. I have also seen a horny toad, for the first time in my life. Has there ever been a more bizarre looking creature?
For those who may not be familiar with ceremony such as the Sun-Moon Dance or Sun Dance, they are both four-day ceremonies where those who have so committed gather and pray, through the vehicle of their body. It is typical for the dancers to fast from food and water (they are given sage tea for hydration) and dance several long rounds through the day. While they dance, they pray. While they pray, they dance.
The supporters stand outside the dance arbor and pray for the dancers. Their prayers are for strength and healing for the dancers.
My Moontime (menustruation) came early and is just ending. I know it has prepared me for what I must do here. I am grateful, always, for the Sacred Moon Lodge and the other Medicine Way teachings that have so enriched my spiritual path.
Different Vision; Same Power to Transform:
The SunMoon Dance is quite a different ceremony than Sun Dance. For a time, I did not understand it. There were many women dancing and that alone created a big difference in the energy because all Sundances I have attended in support had mostly men dancing. Yet....it was more than just gender that was different. Far more.
At first I naively thought "this is too easy", comparing it to the brutal nature of the Sundance rounds. The women were so beautiful as they danced that they gave the ceremony a sensual and delicate quality. This first impression was deceiving.
There were also three men dancing. I came to know one of these men at a heart level before the dance was over, as I also came to know many of the women in the same way. What I witnessed in the four days of the dance cannot be adequately conveyed, but I hope to be able to share a little of the sacredness in the vision of Beautiful Painted Arrow, Joseph Rael.
Continue: The SunMoon Dance Preparation and Experience
The Space Between Things