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

Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman

Humans are delightful, diverse creatures. We live in many different places, and our history spans thousands of years. Throughout this there are a few universal things that have appeared in all known cultures: language, spirituality, music ... and dance. The details vary widely, but these things are part of what it is to be human.

"Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance" explores the intersection between two of these: dance and spirituality. Part One, "In the Beginning Was the Dance," goes back into history. It covers dancing goddesses, dancing priestesses, dance as a form of theology, the role of dance in women's culture, and the symbolism in dancers' garb. Part Two presents "Modern Sacred Dance Today." It begins by showcasing modern sacred dancers of note. Special purpose dances include the moon dance, sacred circle, serpent dance, lamentation dance, and drum dance, each covered in its own chapter. then comes a chapter on immanence and transcendence, followed by a discussion of elemental dances. The mirror dance promotes understanding between two people. The book concludes with keys for accessing spirituality through dance.

The supporting material really makes this book come alive. There are many exquisite full-color photographs of dancers, along with historical images like cave paintings and carvings. At the back you'll find generous resources on sacred dance, extensive chapter notes, a fascinating bibliography, and a handy index. The result is something of a coffee-table book, something of a reference text, something of a dance manual ... and altogether a great read.

"Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance" delves into an area that touches many religions. It's a wonderful addition to any coven or personal library, or for the Pagan/Gaian scholar. Dancers will find it of special interest, but it's delightful for everyone else as well.
Highly Recommended.

Review by Elizabeth Barrette
Summer 2002 Issue #58

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Copyright © 2000 Iris Stewart (All Rights Reserved)