The Dance of Souls is about you and every participant there.

Our piercers are trained to offer you a smooth experience with minimal pain. Together, both of you can decide which type of piercings, how many, and the locations of the piercings you wish to receive.

12-gauge steel hooks are placed in the upper chest and/or upper back. Dancers with hooks may choose to be tethered together in a large “energy pull” circle of other dancers, join with a smaller group or pair with another single person, dance freely, or they may simply choose to be tethered to a stationary post. Any one or all of these activities can help you achieve an altered state.

Ball Dancers may receive temporary piercings with 18-gauge needles. Monofilament is then threaded through the pierced skin and the participant may adorn their body with bells or other decorations that are brought to the dance. When dancing, the balls, bells, and other decorations tug on the flesh in a rhythmic manner and support transition to an altered state. Participants must bring their own balls, bells, or other body adornments (i.e. feathers, shells, medicine bags, lucky charms, etc.) as these items will not be provided at the event. For best results, we recommend 8 to 12 bells/balls, and that the items weigh about 1 to 3.5 ounces each (which is the weight of an egg or a lime, items that are traditionally used in the Hindu Thaipusam festival). Dancers with decorations are free to dance about the ceremony and are not tethered to other dancers.

Every Dance of Souls attendee is a participant in the ritual whether you choose to be pierced or not, but any additional participation is voluntary. Non-pierced participants are integral to the success of the Dance and we encourage you to make an active contribution. Participation can be achieved by simply being present and holding space for the dancers or piercees, by engaging the pierced dancers, or by providing spiritual support with prayers or chanting. All participants, pierced or not, are welcome to accompany the professional drummers with their own instruments. Drums, rattles, flutes, and zills are common.

Journey Guides are based loosely off the Kaseekas, Mandan tribe members who are elders, initiates, or medicine men who have been on the trip before and who have used  sometechnique to get from ordinary states of consciousness to a shamanic state of consciousness. The Dance Of Souls ritual team includes a number of trained Journey Guides who can provide this assistance on your journey. They also serve the function of on-the-floor health and safety for the dancers. Journey Guides can be identified by a golden yellow stole.

EVENT TIMELINE (subject to change)

10:30 AM – 12:00 NOON
Dance Of Souls check-in at the door. Please bring your ID. All participants will be given special identification for entrance to the Dance.

12:00 NOON
Doors open for Dance Of Souls. Use this time to place any items on the altar and for meditation. Sage cleansing will be offered on the Patio, weather pending. No sage will be used in the Ballroom during the Dance Of Souls.
NOTE: You may bring in a SMALL bag (tote bag size) into the dance to hold bells, instruments, snacks, and perhaps a small lap blanket. Please do not bring large blankets, shoes, boots, suitcases, and other items. Space is at a premium.

12:30 PM
Doors to the Dance Of Souls closed to new entrants. An opening ritual and breath cleansing will formally mark the beginning of the Dance Of Souls. This will be followed by drumming and piercing. All participants must be present by 12:30 pm.

4:30 PM
The drums will silence and all participants will be called back to take part in a Closing Ritual. Piercings will be removed and cleaned on site by our trained piercers. Please do not return to your hotel room with piercings still intact.


We suggest that you wear loose-fitting clothes. During the Dance itself you may want to wear a colorful sarong, pareo, lavalava, wrap pants, or a belly dance skirt. Some dancers have enjoyed adding a mask and/or body paint. Nudity inside the Dance space is also fine, but please bring a public-suitable covering in case you have to leave the space for any reason. Please keep in mind if you go outside or any other public area which is outside of the event curtains (including the restroom), all piercings and hooks must be covered. 


  • A SMALL towel or cloth to sit on if you are nude. Please DO NOT use hotel towels and blankets.
  • Those dancing with piercings and want weights need to bring their own: (1 ounce to 3.5 ounces each) in the form of bells* or balls with wire hangers, or fruit (such as limes) with wire hangers like the ones for Christmas tree ornaments (you may decide just before dancing how many of these you want to wear), or other such talismans or adornments.
  • A bottle of water or juice and snacks. Water, fruit and granola bars will be available.
  • A SMALL personal after-care blanket. Please DO NOT use hotel towels and blankets.
  • Drums and percussion items (tambourines, bells, rattles, etc.)
  • Items for the Dance Altar (see next section below)
  • A SMALL bag (tote bag size) in which to place all of your personal effects during the dance. NOTE: Please do not bring large blankets, shoes, boots, suitcases, and other items into the dance. Space is at a premium.

There will be a non-denominational altar for all Dance participants on which you can place items with a personal or spiritual meaning for the duration of the ceremony. This altar will be adorned with pictures of beloved community members, or fetishes or images representing Hindu~Jewish~ Christian~ Druid~ Buddhist~Islamic~Wiccan or other personal beliefs. You are welcome to bring something for the altar that is sacred to you or your loved ones. Please respect others’ sacred items by touching only your own belongings.

The Piercing Team is proud to announce that we are completely Latex-Free! All gloves, band-aids, 1st Aid products, and even the tape used to secure the floor coverings are all safe for those with latex allergies.

CELL PHONES and PHOTOGRAPHY are prohibited in the Dance area.  This will be strictly enforced and violators will be asked to leave the dance space. Attendees who use blue tooth enabled hearing aids need to contact a Journey Guide to have their phone camera lens covered with a special sticker.


  • The piercing you are considering is a possibly dangerous procedure.
  • There are complications that may occur, while they are unusual, they must be considered prior to having a piercing.
  • Piercing is generally safe; however there are some complication to consider. Piercing may cause bruises, strains, fractures (broken bones), dislocation of body parts, alterations in skin and muscles, structural damage to your body, scarring, marring of skin, paralysis, infection, scar formation, and sometimes death. Piercing may place you at risk for disease and or trauma to your body. The most common complication is soreness at the time of the piercing and for a period of time thereafter, and infection. Please consider all of these factors prior to having a piercing done.
  • All equipment used in piercing is sterile or cleansed with an antiseptic prior to use on your body. Needles used are for single use only will be discarded after use. To the best of our knowledge, all equipment is in good working condition. Accessories you have brought with you are used at your own risk.
  • You further agree to keep your piercing cleansed as instructed, and to see your physician should redness, pain, swelling, or any discharge from the pierced site occur.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to receive a piercing.
  • By registering for the event, you indicate your understanding of the above information. You also agree to hold blameless and free from any and all liability resulting from such action, SWLC, it’s owners and staff, the individual providing the piercing, the piercing team, and other volunteers. Registering indicates acceptance of your personal responsibility for any harm or damage done to yourself or occurring to you as a result of this piercing.


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