Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance:
Awakening Spirituality Through Movement and Ritual
A Book by Iris J. Stewart




Dancing With the Universe
June 22, 2002
Reviewer: treeseed (see more about me) from Appleton, WI USA

Many years ago when I first realized in a crystalline moment that I was one with the Universe, I was alone in a dew-wet field at sunrise with a very large old tree, and I suddenly and gently percieved that the tree was dancing with the Universe and I allowed myself to join in the dance. Ever since that time dance has been an important part of my spiritual expression and discovery.

I am pleased to have come across this wonderful book by Iris J. Stewart because it is a treasure for any dancing soul. It is filled with inspiring illustrations from ancient to modern times of dance as a soulful pursuit of sacred knowledge. The author, herself a dancer, has written beautifully about her own experiences awakening to the spiritual aspects of movement as well as the history and applications of this creative and feminine form of spiritual expression. She introduces the reader to the dancing Goddess and the dancing Priestesses. She introduces us to some of the pioneer dancing divas like Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham and Mata Hari. We meet women from many cultures dancing evocative and colorful prayers to the Goddess. She inspires and invites us to allow ourselves to be moved and to follow that impulse into movement.

She shows some of the many applications of the dance in theology, and in the art of healing, expressing lament, and in celebrating the coming of age among other creative uses. She has fresh and moving ideas for creating rites and offers descriptions of dances one can perform for moon rites and labyrinth meditations. She discusses the role of costumes and drumming.

There is a brilliant chapter on the Dance of the Elements with lively and clear instructions for each of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. The back of the book has a thorough list of resources that include addresses, phone numbers and websites that are concerned with sacred dance including a list of pilgrimage/study tours. The writing is so interesting and filled with details about the female experience of the sacred that even if one is not particularly interested in dance one will still be enriched by this contact with women for whom it is a part of Life.

I recommend it to any woman who wishes to know herself better and to thereby know her sisters better. It is a joyous expression of the feminine vibration and one that should not be missed.

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