In all the repertoire of the Dances of Universal Peace, my very favorite favorite favorite of all is the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer zikr. In the Front Range dance community the opportunity usually comes around twice a year: the day before Thanksgiving, and Good Friday. I am usually off visiting family on Thanksgiving so Good Friday is sometimes my only chance to do this practice in a group setting for a whole year.
Well, tonight was the night! I love it so much. From the first section I’m usually thinking “It’s already far too short!” But then by the time the gathering is over, somehow it’s ten o’clock. What most people (especially in Colorado) would consider a decent time to go home. But I just wish we could go all night.
I think that Saadi was really channeling the Christ energy when he composed this piece. And then I had the privilege of taking a workshop on the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer zikr with another woman who was truly tapped in to that wisdom source (and who also played the accordion amazingly). When I sang the piece with her, I was viscerally transported to the early days of Christianity. I felt like I could really taste the bristling, buzzing energy of that time.
In fact if there is one thing from Christian mythology that it reminds me of, it’s Pentecost. Tonight when we began the chant (a multi-section musical rendering of the Lord’s Prayer, aka the Our Father, using the Aramaic words believed to have been spoken by Jesus when asked by his disciples, “How shall we pray?”) I felt my attention drawn to the space above our circle. There was quite a lot of space above us in the high-ceilinged Masonic lodge where we were gathered, and I felt how full it was with the Holy Spirit. I thought of the tongues of fire, but really it was more like a swirling cloud of fire.
For myself, for my own practice, I did my best to stay in my heart and out of my head, to sing the energy that I felt moving through me, and to open myself to the voice of Jesus if there was a word for me tonight. The ritual included a lot of encouragement to surrender, to let go of the old, bow down within and to rise up changed — “moving in a new way.”
When I turned within I felt like a galaxy. When I rose, I danced with abandon.
The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer zikr feels like lightning passing through my body and at the end I feel a little shaky and a little exposed, like a new-hatched eagle chick, feathers still wet from the egg. And now I’m back to driving around Boulder, doing my business, navigating the regular world when I feel like I just stepped off a camel caravan from an ancient desert. I guess all I can say is: LOL.
Now it’s time to put the cloak back on and turn from “crazy pilgrim” back to mild-mannered professional. But am I ever fully disconnected from that other life? I don’t think so. The wild-eyed mystic is always hiding just behind the veil. My practice is to be both. Both are the true me. And sometimes, in very special company, they can both come out at the same time.
If you celebrate any holidays, Christian, Jewish, Pagan, or other this weekend, may they be beautiful and full of love.