Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dancing The Old School Dance

There are times when you know you have run across someone who speaks to both your heart and soul far better than you yourself could ever do.
My heart breaks for members of the Legionnaires and Regnum Christi , and well, all of us who call ourselves Catholic. Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes captures my thoughts far better than I could express, and so I offer the following. It's about Barack Obama's innauguration, but so much more than that. We, all of us. really, are one. Sometimes it's easy to forget that. And sometimes it takes just a few words to remember that.

Old School
I’m Old School in most ways, with, I hope, mostly clear vision for the present and future, as you may, like me, be striving to master too…. It’s a winding road of trackbacks and do-overs and the occasional brilliant en puentes, right on the head visions, that’s for sure.

Yet there are time-tested ways and means to rely on, many which create rather than stifle; make room for growth, rather than poison.

In Old School, the inauguration would be seen as someone else’s ceremony (Barack’s) and all invited ought to have been treated with equal respect, including those who have completely bewildered many citizens, including those many citizens do not like from any side, including those who may be proven wrong or innocent once all facts are known.

The invitations were issued by Barack. In Old School: All guests bow to his vision for that day only. It’s a sign of respect for the convener and new presider.

Ceremony is not some foolish thing; In Old School thinking, ceremony is for creating a cleansing, that is, a re-remembering of true selfhood, a renewed memory of how we belong to each other, a good group memory of just a few moments in time when old quarrels and hatreds and jealousies are set aside. Just for a while at least, everyone is striving to be at their natural and ceremonial best.

Amongst The TribesThere are old, hard feelings amongst some of the tribal groups, and when I’ve been to Crow Fair, to Rendezvous, Sun Dance, Snake Dance, San Geronimo, or any number of Pow Wows, for at least the first three days, those old emnities are set aside as we all dance in the dirt circle together…. as a small number of human beings, or a huge mass of humans beings ‘dance up the primal dust’ together…

– literally then, our heartbeats synchronize, till everyone’s heart is beating close to the same diastolic and systolic rhythm as everyone’s heartbeat around them.. an amazing experience no matter how many times one has done it.

–One friend, an old Sun Dance dragger of buffalo skulls, said, Creator sees this ceremony of humans at peace and intent on the sacred, and is made happy.

–In our family, the old people said that Creator saw from the sky the huge mass of humanity dancing in ceremony, as one giant heartbeat signalling skyward that human beings still remembered what fineness they are created from, how they are still all born from the one same seed.

–Many who are tortured, or twisted, or just plain bewildered, then in the dance and chanting and drumming, have a chance to remember how deeply we belong to one another. Many can feel in spiritual terms, the sacred bone hoop descend and circle everyone then, even those who may be distrusted, even those some loathe, even those one or the other reveres completely. Everyone. The hoop of Life does not make exclusions. It gathers together, winnowing into the dance circle the best of what we have in common.

That is ceremony.

There are Old School, time-honored ways of ‘proper conduct’ at ceremony.

First and foremost is to make whatever descent needed to retrieve one’s most unruined heart, and to bring that to the ceremony; the battered yet unruined heart… the most vulnerable but also the purest strength is in that heart… to wear that heart in earnest is the ultimate dress regalia taking first place over all other painted, or feathered or spangled ceremonial dress.

To bring the best heart to ceremony is Old School… to find resonance with other hearts…. it’s time tested conduct led by the greater soul....


  1. Somewhat off topic, but yet not. This article reminds me that there is hope for unity, it just may take a bit longer than I would like for it to:

    Bless the children, for the really do know what they are doing.

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  4. Nice to see the "Wheel of the Sun" image used at the head of this article. The image was originally posted at
    Best wishes,