Monica what a lovely essay!
I also have a dancing Shiva statuette.
Found him at a NY street festival after a dance class.
My Mother loved buying things at the Street Festivals to support the artists.
And what many and marvelous cultural backgrounds!
Joe Campbell’s photo of Shiva and the whole concept entranced me…
As a dancer, seeing myth and dance combined in metaphor…
Yes! I understand exactly how you feel!
And there, the title “The Lord of the Dance.”
It is interesting there is the Scottish Hymn of the same name, though some say it comes from an earlier song.
I’ve heard both versions. The Scottish hymn was played when my tap mentor, Beale Fletcher passed. His wife Peggy (also a dancer/ballerina), who was from Scotland chose it.
Really beautiful! Made me cry.
But it’s interesting to see the same translation of “Lord of the Dance,” from two different places…India and Scotland.
I cannot help but love the synchronicity of that!
Campbell’s description of that statue, which you also describe so well…still fascinates me, the balance between the temporal and the eternal, the drum and the flame.
The rhythm and movement potential kinetic and still all at the same time?
You quote Campbell and say:
“And what comes to my mind is that, as Campbell used to say, mythology is the “song of the universe,” the whispered tune underneath the dance. The point where mythology meets both the dance and the music of the spheres.”
I love this!
And I love the way you say the whispered tune underneath the dance. You have me right there! Yes Yes Yes!
(My mother, an astronomer often referenced the music of the spheres:-)
I know about creation tales that begin with the word of God. But I asked once what about “the Song of God?”
JRR Tolkien creates a myth where the world is created by “song,” the “song of the Ainur,” (high universal or angelic powers.)
But that reminds me of the Song Lines of the Aboriginal people of Australia, the bards of the Gaelic/Briton isles…and so many more…
Stephen mentioned the psalms from the Bible as well.
And I’m also reminded how stories are passed down through song in cultures around the world.
You say Brazil and if I hear that music I want to dance!
I know a minimum of “Spanish dance,” but I don’t mind “playing the fool,” and just moving with those rhythms!
I loved the African Djembe drums at Ailey too and steel drums.
So a combination of all those cultural music traditions whispers come join the dance!
(Which is also what the Scottish hymn asks as well as its earthier bonfire predecessor. *Grin*)
Thank you for an awesome essay!