And the convergence of this energy in a location that is recognized as an ancient meeting place for the sharing of the higher forms of knowledge-the Auditorium-was profound. In modern construction, I experienced "The Primal".
Taking a break from our work, we gathered in this place where customary yet refined African dance was being performed. Feeling the attraction the sounds of drums, anklets and staffs called the Solitaire to recognize this moment as sacred. The girl students were equally intrigued, as if only the female possessed(es) the ability to sense the sublimity of that moment. And we were chosen by the beautiful and agile dancers to participate in a simple, soft and appropriate ceremony that seemed a form of Ukule-female initiation- for me. Gathered on the stage were the females dancing to the beat and rhythm of African drums, the chief dancers waving "fly whisks to send blessings through the air",(Manuel Jordan, Chokwe), and touching the "Earth", making physical contact with The Goddess. Forming a circle, we danced "The Spiral Dance", the continuity of Life, of Sisterhood, raising energy from our core in order to strengthen ourselves, loved ones and the world community. "The circle was always one of the primary feminine signs...it was associated with the idea of a protected or consecrated space, the center of the Motherland, a ceremonial place where all participants were equal."(Barbara G. Walker, The Women's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects) And in this bliss, we, all of us, reaffirmed our loyalty to ourselves and our Dharma.
Afterwards, the students feasted in the museum's Terrace Cafe and felt as if something special and spiritual had taken place, thanks to the generosity of the museum's Director, Gail Treschel, Dr. Manuel Jordan, Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Americas collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the incredible staff and volunteers.
16 November 1998