Goddesses in Belly Dancers…..

I’m going to start some entries in a couple of days based on some reading and communication I have been having with other Belly Dancers, both locally and nationally.

I spoke with Delilah Flynn, a primo Belly Dancer in Seattle, Washington about a year ago….can’t remember exactly when, the first time….but I remember her practical enthusiasm on the phone. I say practical, because Delilah is a professional of many years standing and not much rocks her off balance. She is a marvelous dancer, but more….she’s a concerned and dedicated woman to the development of woman period. And particularly dancers.

Recently on her website, “Delilah Belly Dance Studio yahoo groups”….she has had a discussion up about the concepts of the 7 different Greek Goddesses in women. Part of this comes from the discussion and reading of Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD….book called “Goddesses in EveryWoman”.

I just happen to have this book around. Haven’t read it completely, but these next few days will do so.

Dr. Bolen is a psychotherapist of many years who has been concentrating on the issues of women in our society. The yearnings, frustrations and blockages that don’t seem to be answered by Freudian means and ways.

This concept of “Goddess” in modern women isn’t new…in fact it’s over 3000 years old. I remember picking up this book in the late 80’s and saying…”yeah, right.”

However, I am very open to reconsidering this whole concept again. These myths persist for a reason down through the ages.

Delilah and other instructors are using this concept with their intermediate students to tap into some very remarkable and creative experiences.

With Delilah’s permission, I am going to quote something here that is being developed in these different classes:

Each dancer has been working on a dance dedicated to a Goddess archetype from reading various books we have been using. Each class has been about honing intuitive dance skills and exercises that draw the spiritual side of the dancer out more than usual. This on- going work is to foster a community service group of dancers who can do good deeds in society and share belly dance as soul candy not just eye candy. The Goddess theme for this class has been very educational in developing inner landscape imagination and conscious awareness.
Last night I drug out a guided meditation I wrote in the early 90’s. I had not seen it for years. It involves taking everyone on a guided journey into their imagination to meet 7 Goddess all surrounded in settings that are fitting to their myths and symbolism. On this journey each Goddess gives each dancer a gift and at the end of the narration the dancers recount the 7 gifts and awaken at the sound of a bell and beautiful music. Then each dancer slowly rises to begin a dance of gratitude for all her gifts! We danced for 15 minutes and then did a little sharing about the gifts we received. Very fun.
What struck me was how the feeling of gratitude inhabits my muscles and bones. I realized it the predominant muse for most of my dancing.”
Oh Delilah and Dea and others: I know the feeling. Lately I seem to go into a trance while dancing to some particular Chakra Chants by Russell Paul that just float through my body and mind and reach me at a different level. The feeling of balance and joy I get with some particular movements/chord progression is gratifying…and comes around to a dancer who is very grateful to those influences that push her forward to create in new forms.
These 7 Goddesses are Artemis, Athena, Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Persephone and Aphrodite….They all have traits that have been recognized as ‘set’ throughout history. What is new here is that Dr. Bolen recognizes that there are applications for modern women to empower and understand themselves with a study of these Myth/Goddesses.
And the good news is that all women have any number of these Goddesses within, at different times, at different ages, for different issues. Tapping into their traits can explain and give direction to us for our behaviors and for our aspirations.
This blog will explore each of the Goddesses and combinations as I read, research and discuss with other dancers (and woman) these applications.
Should be fun what we come up with.
Preparing for the late Montreal Workshop with Audra Simmons and the technique of Tribal Fusion makes me realize the cultural influences in all of this dancing and music. Very different from the Turkish/Egyptian influences, but how wonderful and new nonetheless.
I admit that I am damn scared….scared at the radical rupture with what I know of dancing, and attempting something new, and something that looks very, very intense.
I grow as a woman and as a dancer because of the marvelous community of dancers all over our continent. Actually, the web brings us together in such immediate ways. This only can propel the dance to better, broader and more challenging levels.
I am known here as a writer, but I also know that there are times I feel lost and a bit misplaced in life. The world is big. However, knowing the belly dance community and being embraced by them gives me a compass and a path.
Thank you, Delilah. And thank you for your personal encouragement in my writing, thinking and dancing. It means much coming from you.
Teela/Lady Nyo/Jane

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5 Responses to “Goddesses in Belly Dancers…..”

  1. shia1 Says:

    How interesting! You can tell you love the dance, and knowing history always makes it more intense. I love the fact that you seek out women who do the same thing as you, to make a sisterhood of sorts.

    You face a lot of challenges in your dance and making your body do things it is not used to doing. But , for the love of dance you do it and achieve that higher state.

    I will look forward to hearing more about the Godesses in all of us, I wonder which one I am like..:)

    Keep writing about something that alters your life, and something that you love so much.



  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi shia!

    I love the fact that you seek out women who do the same thing as you, to make a sisterhood of sorts.

    They find me….LOL!…Delilah Flynn is a friend when I bought a weight belt from her…need to start using it again.

    I am deeply grateful for those bellydancers..and there have been some…that I don’t know..who are reading and writing in to the blog. I learn so much from others.

    I do face a lot of challenges…age and temperment is just two of the barriers….it’s more mental now than physical….but that does kick in…

    I will look forward to hearing more about the Godesses in all of us, I wonder which one I am like..:)

    LOL~! I have been thinking on that! You, as we all are…a combination….but I don’t want to spoil it for you..you have to make your own decisions as to what Goddesses you think inhabit your soul. I know that things can change due to circumstance, etc….but there are some set “Goddesses” the seem to run things fundamentally. However, “Hestia” is one that I think you have an intimate relationship with…

    Just a hint!


    Teela today who is trying to learn from a fierce video…ouch!


  3. Margie Says:

    I love it when you talk about dance! And I admire that quality in you that makes you reach to attempt that which scares you – I guess it’s sheer bravery and determination. I love that you can share the process, because sometimes one needs to know that things aren’t always easy for everyone else and hard for them. Sometimes things are hard for everyone – just not always the same things.

    As always, I enjoy reading your thoughts – you are, indeed, a woman of many facets!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Margie!!!

    I ‘cracked’ diamond?? LOL!..

    Well, I doubt it’s sheer bravery and determination….it’s more a fool’s attempt to do something clearly out of her reach.

    My cowardness has made me miss a lot in life, especially sexually, but I am attempting to make up for some of that….at our age! Imagine!…


    I guess what has happened is I am finally interested in the ‘woman’ within…her sexuality, her potential as a sexual being….after all these years of marriage…I just didn’t have it in me when younger.

    Now, it’s of course a race against time….but I am more interested in the physical/mental processes that propel us in our sexuality.

    I fought for a long time with a man….a very powerful man…about the innate sexuality of bellydancing….it was an argument I was bound to lose, and knew it from the beginning, but I didn’t want a ‘man’ to tell me anything about women or dance….i was very foolish.

    Of course it’s sexual…seduction….all that good stuff….and better…it’s a very personal and developmental matter for all women. Any woman, at any age, shape or health,…can start bellydancing…and it’s a hard path in the very beginning…(I am watching a ‘beginner’ dvd…Hah! called “Luscious”…that I got on the web….that is so complete in form that IF you learned just this dvd….you would be enough of a dancer for life.)

    Everything is hard for all of us…..just not the same things at the same time.

    You are exactly right, Margie…and you are a compass for me when you write. I really am so glad that after all these years…we are back here now.

    Love and Hugs,



  5. Margie Says:

    And big smooches to you as well!


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