We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust. The stars made a circle, and in the middle we dance. – Rumi
I shot this picture two years ago, at Brookgreen Gardens, very late in the day when the light was almost gone. I was captivated by this little statue of the dancer, but thought the shot was not clear and crisp enough to be worthy of show.
Tonight a quote by Rumi captured me, and I was reminded of that little dancer. I found the photo and played with it a bit in Photoshop. Now I love it.
In one of the most ancient Greek myths, Eurynome, called the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos, and began to dance. Her dance separated light from dark, and the sea from the sky. From time’s beginnings, dance has been a primary method of telling the human story, as well a method for connecting with and expressing the Divine.
In the Spanish Flamenco dance, the dancer is often said to “tener duende“. Having duende means having soul. The duende was a fairy creature in Latin American mythology, a demonic elf who was a spirit of the earth. Under the power of the duende, the dancer releases their intellectual consciousness and becomes one with the swirling, revolving eternal story of humankind. To have duende is to have fire and magic, but also to have struggle and darkness as well. The story of man is one of both stardust and death.
Dance as story, dance as prayer, dance as pain, dance as communication. Dance as a return to our divine essence.
The vision of revolving reminded me of the whirling dervishes and the practice of Sufi spinning which grew out of Rumi’s teachings. The spinning dance is a form of meditation where the soul is both destroyed and resurrected. In my Google search, I found this explanation of the power of revolution. “It is scientifically recognized that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no being or object which does not revolve, because all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons, and neutrons in atoms. Everything revolves, and the human being lives by means of the revolution of these particles, by the revolution of the blood in his body, and by the revolution of the stages of his life, by his coming from the earth and his returning to it.”*
The revolutions of the dervishes open up the doorway between two worlds – the world of form and the world of the spirit. Rumi believed that creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, was the goal towards which every thing moves.
I like to think I captured a little piece of my own stardust at twilight on that day two years ago. Photography for me is my own creative movement toward the divine spirit.
Perhaps I’ll take up dance next.