Monday, January 3, 2011

Ritual

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

There isn't a better expression than this classic quote to describe what I am slowly learning to be so.
We are powerful beyond measure.

I felt compelled to go somewhere for New Year's Eve. This "off call" time was coming to an end and I wanted to maximize it. I tried going far away. Bali. Michael Franti was doing a NYE benefit show for Bumi Sehat, Robin Lim's birth center. I got tickets, found a hotel but hit a huge roadblock - flights! So, I backed up. Tried on San Francisco. Not the right fit. I almost bagged the going away idea. Then I got a flash of something good. Santa Fe. That's it. Luminarias, crisp air, bright sun, sacred spaces and green chile stew. I researched events and found a very small reference to The Turtle Dance ceremony at the Taos Pueblo on New Year's Day. Done deal. It took all of 20 minutes and it was done. If room availability had not been tight it would have taken 2 minutes! It all happened better than my something good flash.

That's how it is. We are powerful beyond measure, beyond our capacity to imagine. It can be kind of scary. It is also quite exhilarating.


I let 2010 go, blew it gently on its way.
2011 came quietly in with so much promise.

With not even seconds to spare, we made it to the Taos Pueblo in time to catch the last leg of the Turtle Dance. I understood that for a small fee, my camera would be allowed in. Not so on a ceremony day. Cameras and cell phones must stay in the car. No exceptions. That turned out to be a very good thing. I had to record in my heart what I witnessed. No words for the impressions and emotions I felt. I was among my people, in the land of my ancestors, bringing in a New Year with ancient ritual. A year full of hope, of dreams coming true, of light and
the realization that even I am powerful beyond measure to make it so.

The Turtle Dance is easily the most important public religious

ceremony of the San Juan calendar, defining as it does the end of one year and the

beginning of a new one.The dance is named for the turtle, believed to be the first

hibernating being that moves about after the year has turned; thus, the turtle is seen as

symbolizing the beginning of each new annual cycle.

The dancers, all men, line up in a long single row, shoulder to shoulder, each man clasping

a gourd shell rattle and evergreen branches before him in his hands. On their right knees the

men wear rattles made of turtle shells with pigs' hooves attached to the tops by leather thongs.

There are no other percussive instruments used, and there is no separate chorus as in many other

Tewa dances. Rather, the dancers themselves form the chorus, with the most prominent singers,

the composers of the songs, placed at the center of the line.


It was a day. A very good and beautiful day.


3 comments:

mimi said...

i like this.
2011 is going to be good. real good.

lovely lindsay said...

i love when you make things happen. without thinking twice. and then the magic starts doing the rest of the work. am going to try to do that more this year. hopefully that means way more adventures. love you, linny

auntgigi said...

I'm happy you got to experience the turtle dance. I think they're smart to not allow phones or cameras. It was intended for a heart memory.