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England's First Long Dance
Cacti - columnar & Music
by psilly
Citation:   psilly. "England's First Long Dance: An Experience with Cacti - columnar & Music (exp53832)". Jun 2, 2018.

2 Tbsp oral Cacti - columnar (dried)


An Experience of England's First Long Dance

San Pedro Cactus (Bridgesii) [sic]

Sitting cross-legged on the roof
apprehending the future,
a flurry of gulls squawk and screech above me
swooping to meet my line of sight and then firing themselves at me,
tilting their wings just in time to put enough sky between us
that there is no beak in my eye.
Haranguing me, humbling me to the power of nature.
A display of awesome beauty.
A taste of things to come.

The next morning,
still without the exact location
but with details of the nearest train station,
I decide to set off.
Whilst journeying I am informed of my destination
by a very busied organiser.
I make my way to the site,
a farm to be a festival in a few weeks,
a sign saying 'hippies >' and a dude without much of a clue
(thru no fault of his own) point out the way in.
I find the fire pit in the centre of the site
and ask the guy working there if he knows where
the medicine ceremony will be, he smiles a great smile,
I have a flash of recognition, and he points me toward
a circle of poles and some busying bodies in the distance.
I go over and greet some of the loveliest people
it's possible to meet. I ask what's going on
and where I can lend a hand.

After a time and a few chores
I notice the brother from the fire pit in the centre
sitting on the ground, half way around putting string between
the circle of poles which will contain the dance.
He is stressing out, letting his frustration out into the air
and into the kind, willing ear of a listening brother.
Fireman has a lot to do on this festival site
and is feeling trapped in the trips of others,
a lack of love and too big a load -
The string he was winding has fallen from the broken spool
into a pool of knotted thread, fireman needs a rest.
I go over and say I am only to happy to untangle the mess
and continue on with his job so he can go off, relax and prepare.
He thanks me, accepts, and goes to take a shower.
I sit and unwind then continue to wrap,
the knot gets too much and I call for a helping hand,
together we finish binding the circle.
A high line, a low line and one in the middle,
an entrance left open to the east.
A pile of earth dug from the central circular fire pit
(set in a six-pointed star drawn in stones)
is placed in a mound outside the entrance and decorated
with beautiful objects - stones, shells, plants, feathers and more...
This mound is the Earth Alter.

After many hours all have arrived,
peoples banners - visual representations of their prayers
and intentions, things to leave behind, things to call in to their lives -
have been hung around the ceremonial circle.
Finally, all is set and all are gathered.
We sit on blankets between the points of the star,
Maestro sits with his great beard and wonderful presence
amongst instruments, pipes, and more...
A plethora of 'big boys toys'
the likes of which I have never seen.
He begins to speak, making every word count,
reminding us why we are here,
that we are dancing for more than just ourselves.
Asking that we fully commit to seeing the ceremony thru
to its conclusion, that we resist the urge to wander off,
to stop and rest (unless to pray or if it's really needed).
That we be mindful of the music of others when we pick up
a drum, and to be quiet when his special subtle sounds are on.

We each put our prayers via breath into cornmeal
and send them into the fire.

A long dance for all my relations,
for the totality of my being in the world,
Our Being.

Doing the rounds, banging the rattling staff on the ground,
speaking from the heart to translate our banners -
our reasons for being here. Now.

Then the medicine is passed around the circle,
hand to hand until each is holding,
stirred with a stick and then down the hatch -
air exhaled thru clenched teeth.
We grimace at the bitter beauty -
good medicine, tasty medicine!

We go out the door and walk the circumference,
one way - and then the other,
We re-enter and start the dance...
Down into the molten core of the earth,
dancing to purify, to release.

After pangs of doubt, not yet feeling the medicine,
instead feeling the fool for moving like this with all these people,
feeling futile, as if what we're doing is too ridiculous to be real.

Soon, moving this circle path, this spiral path, brings peace.
I am slipping into trance.
Letting go of expectations, of attitude.
Letting go of thinking I know without tasting the flow - Now I am
judging the book by licking the words from its pages
and burning the cover.
Opening to the undeniable
malleable reality of the moment.

Rattles, gongs, all kinds of drums...
Sitting together on feeling, something higher than,
yet inclusive of, rhythm and form -
The goodness of making music is in a total acceptance of the moment,
respect for other sounds, and a willingness to take part.
Sometimes I carry a drum like a baby
like a burden - unsure if my very being
is playing thru it as I dance
or if I am simply one with the sounds, with the souls, of others.
Sure it doesn't matter, whatever it is: it is.

No smoke, no water, no warmth, no rest for my aching back, no respite.
Our smoke, our water, our warmth, a snake like stretch for my aching back.
Know respite. Know all these things
Feel them swirling in the space around us.

Dancing down, sometimes circle big, sometimes circle small.
Sometimes people rushing fast, sometimes people slow.
Some songs respond to purging like performance to applause: Encore!
I walk and stumble and bubble and burp and spit my shit thru the ropes.

I sometimes struggle with making sound, the power so great
that I feel too weak to wield it, too afraid.
Yet I want to contribute, thus am torn.
Maestro and his assistant are singing a song,
Shadows are walking the ropes outside, I don't know if they are spirits
or actual people, I dance for them too, privileged to be doing so.
Soon the song morphs out of ancient language,
tho perhaps I am simply understanding its meaning?
It is speaking directly to me.
(and, as I later found out, to others: both inside and out)
'This. Is-Not. A-Spec-tator-Sport!'
'This. Is-Not. A-Spec-tator-Sport!'
over and over...
I stumble into the centre on my next time round,
pick up a bodhran laying by the fire and begin hitting it with my thumb,
the sound is freakishly liquid and low and I don't know what I have done,
I continue beating and soon others are helping me with their rhythms
and it's like some dark wet slimy spider dance done safely.
A kind of exorcism. I am grateful.

Sometimes the beat calms,
Maestro picks up his long stringed bow.
A mouth harp guitar like crystal water
in our bodies, little plips and ripples
as beautiful as any sound heard purely now,
so incredibly enchanting -
we're like freeform puppets on invisible strings,
spinning tops winding round some musical maypole.
We dance entranced. We walk in rapture.

His brothers in the art of holding space,
the rudders of our ritual,
share songs with him and us,
keep the beat when the energies dip -
whatever is happening we ride with it -
AHO Captain!

Dancing and walking and stumbling
thru pain, thru tiredness, thru flaking thought,
thru huge grins and unspoken connections,
keeping on 'cos this is bigger than me.
Keeping on thru more than I can recall.

The sky dark, blurred hints of moon
growing stronger like a sun shedding skin
to calm amber orangey pink.
An echo of sunrise in this sinking circle.
Suddenly looking up and the clouds have parted for the stars
above us. We know our place.
See it. Feel it. Dance it.

Just when it should
a conch shell sounds
then farts as lips falter
and turns into laughter!

For a moment there is no way
but spinning giggles and bubbling joy
then the shout goes out and the tide turns:
'Change Direction!'

Dancing now for blessings.
Sending out and calling in.
Manifesting prayer.

Sometime here I feel part of the fire,
my meat stirring like ashen burning wood.
I am walking into the fire,
becoming it.
Giving myself graciously unto death
for the greater good.
Releasing all that I hold dear
to come across that precious thing so far and so near:
What really matters
and what to do with it.
Just Being.
Humble Service.

The unshakable balance of all things.
The wonder of being totally yourself,
planting seeds and letting be.
The perfection of the universe.
The understanding, allowing,
of other points of view.
Seeing the spiral of life,
some are in front, some are behind. yet
All are One. All are equal.

My people here with me their people,
themselves and countless friends, flesh family, spirit family,
morphing into and out of each other as the blessings flow.
Dancing for so much more than ourselves.
Knowing that in some way, on some level, it helps.

Everything has changed.
Everything is the same.

A brother becomes my brother, I know he needs it
and I know he is here. A lady becomes my Lover,
I commit myself all over to loving her forever.
It is pouring out of me...

I am shown that my Love is true, I was worried it had become pose,
empty memory. My connections to family, friends, my love, my life,
Our planet, this Universe, are strengthened. Confirmed.
All doubt is burned away.
Sanpedrito opens my Heart.

Sometimes, at just the right times,
The songs turn into laughter. This laughter is like an answer,
the questions are not important.

After dancing with the moon
under spinning stars, inexplicable yet highly reasonable
configurations in the sky,
morning starts again - subtle, slow.
Bringing light and solidity to these beautiful surroundings.
Filling in nighttimes potent gaps with washes of steady tweaking colour.
Wanting only one thing more than to flop on the floor
and that is to keep on moving. Waiting for the right time
to kneel and pray, when it comes it comes effortlessly -
Sheer relief, deep gratitude kissing/eating out of me
into Mother Earth. My head pressed into her bosom.
Home again. Home a-gain!
Then jiggedy jig and back into the flow...

Beautiful Sisters dancing, twirling,
Sensual, precious, powerful, loving.

A robot dancing, swift-twitching brother
twists contorted on the floor
as his opposite sides realign in winding jerks,
healing the split at the source and working out
thru piled on layers of tension. His process supported,
softened by clouds of smoke sucked and blown
over and into and out of him.

A blessing for each of us as we dance into Maestro's steady waiting
and are cleansed in a shower of smoke.

Finally, after a seeming eternity - A beautiful eternity
teeming with hard work and grace -
We finish the long, long dance and move into anew space.

Gathered together under the loving gaze of a buffalo brother
and his beautiful, spirit-filled partner, part-stripped and sitting
on the grass. Feeling the wandering wind turn
liquid skin into air. Getting a chill and savouring it.
Knowing the heat will soon be intense.

We enter the sweat lodge one by one,
crawling clockwise until all are inside.
The central pit is fed hot stones,
the door flaps closed.

Water and incense rush into the atmosphere
soaking us in steam and sweat,
the first round of prayer begins,
devoted to the Great Spirits, the Grandparents of the West.
Each heartfelt contribution punctuated with another blast
of heat and sizzling steam.
Cool breeze and big relief with the opening of the door.
Then seven more hot stones and prayers to the North.
This cycle repeats for East and South,
each time the heat gets more intense,
Blessed water condenses in my throat and mouth.
My head sometimes pressed into the ground,
thanking the Earth for its calm and cool collectedness,
making me able to bear the heat of our prayers.

We exit, shining in the morning light, and line up
for those two loving souls - tenders of the lodge -
to pour cool, cool water onto the backs of our necks.
Unspeakable Bliss.
Thirst quenching sips.
Prayers thrown into the fire, riding tobacco wings
to transformation heaven, the great beyond between.
Here and Now. Hear and Know.

And then we laugh and smile and feast,
we love out loud - our laughter leaps!
People bring out an astounding range of treats,
we help ourselves to fruit, biscuits, crisps, vegetables and juice...
If the sky was a roof my head would've hit it,
instead my gratitude and joy rises into infinity
and loops thru the universe back into me.
Blessed be all creation!
Blessed be the sacred medicine!

I crawl into my sleeping bag, something like
ten hours after drinking, and fall into
deep sleep for a time.

We wake around noon and recoup.
Now the staff is passed around the group
and each person opens their mouth and speaks from the heart
of what they experienced.
I am moved to the cusp of crying
hearing of peoples healing.
Feeling the love and gratitude blossom in my belly.
The ceremony has been perfect beyond imagination -
The trust and open, willing co-creation.
We bless all our relations, the entirety of being
with our humbled gratitude.

The simple truth nested deep
like the shiny egg of a phoenix
glinting in our eyes.

I am reminded of what I had become
too tired, too jaded, too distant from
to keep in mind, to embody:
The wonderful rightness of being.
All is family, and all is well.

We who are lost, wondering, searching, striving, withdrawing,
building strange effigies to the ghosts of ancient memories...
What we have lost has never left us - it is up to us to turn and face it.
We are too heavy and heady to know how to look.
All we need, all we know, surrounds us.
It cannot be written in a book, it is too vital - too alive.
It requires honesty, humbleness and dedication
to become a conscious partner in creation.
To read the message of life, to know the secrets of nature -
All that it takes is where it takes ya.

We bid each other farewell with hugs, blessings and smiles,
the sense of solidarity is profound.
The fireman thanks me for helping him earlier the other day,
He said that he felt like he was caught up in a spiders web
(I was covered in little spiders all morning)
and because I had helped to unravel it he was able to work thru it.
He told me that if I hadn't offered to help him
he would not have been able to tend the fire
(which he did diligently all night)
and that if I ever got in trouble I could call on the six directions
and the fire in my heart for help. He blessed me.

I am reminded of the importance of helping others
and humbly serving the greater good. In the depths,
at the peaks, of my dancing - all else fell away -
service and simple being were left shining
like the only light there is.

I leave you the affirmation of this light as a blessing...

Now, two days later, my feet ache like I have bruised my soles.
My calf muscles stiffen and I have to rub them loose.
But I have woken up once more to the glory of existence,
this fading pain is not pain but a blessed physical memory
of that most deep down and dirty, exalted and pure experience.

I will never, ever forget it.

I urge you with all my heart to take part in a dance
if you ever feel the need and if you ever find the chance.

Heartbursting blessings to all my relations.

I Love you.

Exp Year: 2006ExpID: 53832
Gender: Not Specified 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Jun 2, 2018Views: 978
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Music (457), Cacti - columnar (10) : Group Ceremony (21), Poetry (43), Glowing Experiences (4), General (1)

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