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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

The Primeval Dancer


By Jezibell




You frolic in faded colors on a temple fresco.
Your supple back arcs in the air.
Your smooth belly curves towards the clouds.
Your long hands hold the ground.

In ancient days you were holy,
For fertility meant more than bearing children,
And your body was a channel for divine creativity -
Spinning with joy, sinking in mourning,
Rising in renewal, undulating with abundance.
You stepped to the rhythms of the rivers and the sky.
Centered in your self,
Your movements rippled through the universe.

But some of the men could not comprehend your power,
And their reverence turned to dread.
After long and bitter struggles,
They confined you to homes and harems,
Making you meek wives who could not move.

Sometimes you had to dance for them,
For exhibition instead of expression.
Stripped of more than your garments,
You became their bad girl, temptress, harlot,
Serving desires that they were ashamed of,
And warring with your sisters for their favor.

But you still danced when you had the dance,
Behind the walls, behind the veils.
In stone palaces and sandy tents,
You remembered.

Now your disciples are returning to claim your power,
And though your forms have changed,
Once again your movements ripple through the universe.

I want to join you.
Though my body is rigid from rough handling,
I shall learn to stretch and reach and find my center,
Letting your spirit fill my physicality.
I have cymbals on my fingers
And silver on my hips,
And I want to dance!




About this Poem

The roots of belly dancing reach back to the temples and rituals of the ancient Middle East, where deity was honored as both male and female. With the rise of the monotheistic, male-dominated religions, the body, especially the woman's, was viewed with contempt and considered the source of lust and ruin. Many modern women still feel a sense of disconnection and discomfort with their physical selves, which this dance can help to heal. Jezibell




Other Poems by Jezibell on this Site



About the Poet

Jezibell is a poet, actress, bellydancer, teacher, and Wiccan High Priestess who lives and works in New York City.

Jezibell has been writing poetry for most of her life as a form of both catharsis and creative expression. Her insights and imagery flow out of her spiritual life, her dance, and her wide-ranging studies of ancient history, culture and mythology, especially of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece. Her work has appeared in such diverse publications as Nomad's Choir, Perceptions, Xenophilia, Our Pagan Times, and Circle Network News.

Special events have given Jezibell opportunities to combine her multi-faceted interests in poetry, dance, and spirituality. Her dance performances sometimes include brief introductions with poetry to set the mood for the flowing movements of her innovative choreography. For example, she has done readings of her Isis poems, this one and Invocation Of The Priestess [also on this web site], followed by a sublime dance using ethereal, life-size golden wings. She also dances with a sword, demonstrating extraordinary balance, and does a haunting performance in a darkened room while holding candles that cast an exotic glow on her every gesture and motion. Further, she uses her dance and poetry skills in ritual and Goddess circles, as well as in her role as a teacher of Paganism at Enchantments, a well-known source of Goddess information and materials.




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