DANCE OF SOULS – HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

In cultures around the world humans have developed and practiced rituals that stress the body, in order to produce changes in the mind and spirit. From Africa, to Europe, and the Mediterranean, to the Middle East, southeast Asia to the Americas. The forms change but the common thread is the body is a pathway to transcendence, to traveling other worlds, to discover things about ourselves our world and how we fit into that world.

In 1946, a sixteen-year-old boy, who became known to us as Fakir Musafar, inspired by something he saw in an old National Geographic Magazine, pierced himself in his parent’s basement. With this act he started a lifelong exploration of how the body can be used to go beyond the body. It was from the historic Sufi Fakir Musafar that the man we knew adopted his name. His ancient message was that you can access the unseen world through the body. This message was carried forward by Fakir Musafar and passed on to us with hundreds of people who have passed through The Fakir Musafar’s Intensives and the graduates who then pass the message along to the people they touch.

Fakir collected knowledge from around the world about body based rituals. In 1989 he along with Mark Thompson and Cleo Debois performed the first ball dance in response to the huge loss of friends to the AIDS crisis in San Francisco at an event called Black Leather Wings that still continues to be held. It is chronicled in the book Leather Folk. That event brought forth “Spirit and Flesh”, Fakir’s ritual that draws from the Thaipusam Festival celebrated by Tamil people who are Savite Hindus originating from India and from The Sun Dance of the Lakota nations of North America. At both celebrations you will find some devotees piercing the skin and pulling against these piercings. In 2005 Spirit and Flesh was used as the template for the Dance of Souls.

Central to any body based ritual is the belief that we come into the space with intent. With rituals like this, that intent can be anything, they are as individual as the participants. Be your intent to create energy for healing, honoring a spiritual connection, giving your energy to the universe for healing or understanding, or to just see what happens when you stress your body and don’t try to avoid that stress but rather sink into it and allow yourself the opportunity to be with it. 

The Dance of Souls is about you and every participant there. It is a spiritual “Stone Soup”, where we all bring something to add to the whole and share in the nourishment it provides. We are all so hungry for that nourishment after a long period of what may have felt like a spiritual famine. Bring what you have and let us feast together. 

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Registration for the Dance is available as an optional event item through Registration. Pending availability, additional registrations for Dance of Souls may be available on site. If you have any further questions regarding the ceremony, contact Archer