Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's The Noticing Part That Makes You A Magician.

I admit that the essays at Witchvox often don't impress me, but Violet Sound has one up today that I think gets it just right. You should read the whole thing, but here's a taste.

What’s important? The beat, baby. It’s got to make you move. It’s got to make you groove. It has to be repetitive, but it can’t be so boring that you want to sit back down with your drink and wait for something better to come on. Not being musically inclined, I can’t tell you the magic equation that induces trance (although I’ve heard it’s 4.5 beats a second*) – I can only tell you to get out there and shake it until your thoughts fall away and the only thing that is left is The Beat, The Pulse, The Rhythm.

Try it.

Go on, I’ll wait.

Dance as a sacred expression is not a new idea. (Walk like an Egyptian.) There are schools of dance that can trace themselves all the way back to temples, or to a bunch of drunk peasant folk boogying down to make the crops grow. And I am not the first person to feel that when she hits the dance floor she is GOD [sic] in platforms. I’m not the first person to invoke GOD [sic] in platforms, either. I remember dancing in utter exaltation of a certain deity, and then suddenly feeling His touch upon me, gently nudging my ego aside. I moved with Him, and He with me, and I wished it would never end.

“I offer this to you,” I’ve said, “as an expression of love.” And then I speak with my body.

Under the flashing strobe, surrounded by the pulsating mass of your fellow man [sic], you can feel Shiva’s dance of destruction through the floor. You can hear the raised voices of a thousand shamans in the background wail of an electronic track. You only have to open yourself to the idea.

Magic isn’t something you take out of the closet for special occasions. It isn’t present only in dark rooms with pentagrams chalked on the floor and pervy old guys in robes mumbling ‘ancient’ incantations and it isn’t solely in the undefiled glory of Nature; magic is alive and around you no matter where you are and whether you notice it or not. (Hint: it’s the noticing part that makes you a magician.)

So magic is in the disco. It’s in the raves held way out in the cornfields, in that gay club you dragged your conservative cousin to just because you felt like watching a dude dressed as Cher hit on him, in that concert you attended that made you feel like you were dying, in your basement when your stereo is cranked up to max volume and you’ve polished off a bottle of Jaggermeister.

Hell, magic could possibly be in a country and western bar, but I’m not brave enough to try and find it there.


Anonymous said...

Barbara Ehrenreich's most recent book, Dancing in the Streets, talks about the loss of sacred dancing, and traces it through prehistory to the late middle ages and the later birth of capitalism in Europe, when the hoi polloi were turned from being participants in physical acts of worship to spectators in someone else's worship, someone else's movement. Fascinating book and apropos of this topic.

Hecate said...


I keep meaning to read that book!

Anonymous said...

You'd definitely like it, Hecate. The beginning is a little slow, the introduction and part of the first chapter, but once she gets her feet under her (so to speak), it's fascinating and appalling at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Nora, thank you for putting that book out there - I want to get it. I studied Middle Eastern dance for 7+ years, and performed as both troupe and solo to live and canned music. I loved the rush of performing even when there was just the band and a couple of dancers in the crowd some nights. I haven't performed in a couple of years now, but when I get the apartment to myself (guaranteed no teens to laugh and snigger), I put on my simple choli and skirt and some tunes and do what comes naturally, responding to the beat. I want to dance in the woods (and I will doggone it!), I want to celebrate me - since lately I am the only one doing so.
Hecate, thank you for posting the link to this WVox post - I had only glanced at it earlier, this time I took the time to read and know what she was talking about.

Anonymous said...

Music is definitely one way I can "feel" magical just about any where - I especially like anything with a heavy drum beat, for a light more mediative "magic" musical experience I enjoy Loreen McKennitt, Enya, and a few others. When Life asks you dance, say YES! Lady Rose, co-author of Incredible Shrinking Ladies blog and A Blog of Two Witches