Dancing with the Elements

bettina Dance, Movement, Meditation, Life in Transition

In our recent residential retreat at Stowel Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island we asked the group on the last day to learn about one of the five elements EARTH, FIRE, WATER, AIR and ETHER. Every participant got assigned an element and was asked to bring back information about the specific element to the group. We did not let them know how to do that in advance. It was fascinating to watch 44 dancers moving around on the gorgeous land of the farm: sitting still, dancing, gathering, communing and sounding.

When we asked them to come back and share with the rest of us, we gathered in a circle. I spoke to the importance of receiving and letting in information from the community to tap into the resource of interconnectedness and tribe. In the 5Rhythms map these teachings live in the rhythm of LYRICAL.

The groups stepped into the center one by one, beginning with the element of EARTH to offer their non-verbal wisdom in movement. The outer circle received the discoveries of the inner circle through their embodiment, breath and nature offerings. It was a profound and beauty filled ceremony that honoured each element at its core. By the time the ETHER group stepped in, most of us were in tears – so deeply touched by the elemental download. I was aware that we had given them the most challenging task: to embody ETHER. One of the participants had brought in a dead snake which he presented to us with delicate care on a wooden slate. The whole group moved like a living snake between us and brought the dance of ETHER, SPIRIT itself to life in ways that words cannot describe.

The embodiment of the teaching of the elements was one of the most profound experiences of my teaching career. These moments of ritual will stay with me forever. Thank you to ALL who offered their bodies, hearts and breath to this moving experience.