A while back I was driving my car on a road trip when I looked out the window and realized that for over twenty years I have been looking at and appreciating the world through a belly dancer’s eyes. I wonder how many women take on the persona of a belly dancer and completely wear the image day in and day out? It seems like there is an invisible wardrobe that our minds dress us in and we walk in character and stay in character instinctively.
I realized that part of my identity as a woman was linked to the reactions people had to my career choice. After a woman is a belly dancer for years, it’s hard to get used to anything else less avant-garde. But the real question is, after so many years, where does a woman go from being a belly dancer? The path of a belly dancer isn’t the general highway of life; it’s the side paths of opportunity that open up because dancers are willing to walk on roads less travelled.
We are constantly looking for friends in need, yet to be discovered, or places that invite us to stir their melting pot of drama, culture and community. Every dancer who springs to life wears her unique blend of the dramatic with every performance. Our unique way of performing reveals to the audience what kind of dancer we are. This is what I call the “flower of life” because each person has his or her own unique pattern and design of creativity. I feel it’s imprinted on all of us before we are born. Just as there are no two snowflakes alike, our creativity IS expressed through a one of a kind imprint of character, principals and values that define our personalities. This IS the Goddess’s way of making sure creativity is abundant and diverse and that she survives in each inspired thought. This visual expression is one of the oldest ways throughout history of connecting people to each other. In some infinitesimal way, dancers remind the audience of how important it is to remember where they come from and, in doing so, they remind themselves.
The Flower of Life is thought to contain the patterns of creation. It’s found in Egypt at the Temple of Osiris m Abydos and at Mount Sinai. The temple contains the oldest known examples of the Flower of LIfe. They are at least 6,000 years old and are thought to date back to 10,500 B.C. or earlier. The Flower of Life pattern was carved on the side of the temple with the accuracy of a master stone worker or mason. The structure of the Flower of Life is believed to form the basis for music because the distance between the spheres is identical to the distances between the tones and half tones in music. This connection between dancer, music and inspiration all comes from the same source to create an evolving pattern of time without end. I wonder, with the creation of dance, if there wasn’t a hidden adage that I unconsciously swore myself to, without remembering. Was it an inner-knowing that I was dancing to the Goddess Sekhmet to appease her temper or was I dancing to Hathor because she is the vengeful eye of Ra? Maybe from birth it was predetermined by means of the Goddess imprinting herself on my destiny that I dance. I sat back and realized that I was looking through a dancer’s eyes because I was born a dancer first and embraced my calling after the fact.
The pattern of creativity eventually emerges as women evolve and accept their place within their own destiny. So it is amazing to see the creative process not only emerge from one dancer to the next, but to see how they perform with their unique imprint of inspired thought and ideas. I often tell my students that dance is like a kaleidoscope changing its patterns, shapes and moves with every movement of the body to music. The audience sees the end result of music and movement working together, showcasing the imprint of each dancer. The patterns are endless and, because of this, each choreography is a calling up to the heavens saying we remember who we are. This calling stays with us even after death because it’s a part of the creative process of the soul that is part of the infinite. So, looking out the window again, I looked up at the clouds and saw amazing designs and formations that seemed to speak volumes to me. Maybe it was the Goddess’s way of letting me know that she was listening and she answered my questions with a vast beauty that literally took my breath away. At that moment, life was a reflective kaleidoscope of the flower of life and I was not only seeing it through my belly dancer eyes, but rejoicing in the fact that I acknowledged my calling so many years ago.
Reflecting on the Flower of Life, appeared in the October 2010 Edition of the Belly Dance Chronicles.