Saturday, February 18, 2012

week 7-"D"- Dancing

Dance has certainly been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before the birth of the earliest human civilizations. Archaeologist's have found traces of dance from prehistoric times such as the 9,000 year old Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka paintings in India and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from c. 3300 BC.

Dance has been a favorite past time of mine (right along with music) for as long as I can remember. It is a great way to exercise, relieve stress. It is also an art form that generally refers to movement of the body. It is usually rhythmic and done with music. It can & has been used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.

Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans. It is also performed by animals such as in mating dances. One of the earliest structured uses of dances may have been in the performance and in the telling of myths. It was also sometimes used to show feelings for one of the opposite gender. It is also linked to the origin of "love making." Before the production of written languages, dance was one of the methods of passing these stories down from generation to generation.

Gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are sports that incorporate dance, while martial arts kata are often compared to dances. Motion in ordinarily inanimate objects may also be described as dances (the leaves danced in the wind).

Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Dance can be participatory, social or performed for an audience. It can also be ceremonial, competitive or erotic. Dance movements may be without significance in themselves, such as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary/symbolic system as in many Asian dances. Dance can embody or express ideas, emotions or tell a story. Another early use of dance may have been as a precursor to ecstatic trance states in healing rituals. Dance is still used for this purpose by many cultures from the Brazilian rainforest to the Kalahari Desert. Sri Lankan dances goes back to the mythological times of aboriginal ying yang twins and "yakkas" (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originated 250 years ago, from a magic ritual that broke the spell on a bewitched king. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dance.

Dancing has evolved many styles. Break dancing and Krumping are related to the hip hop culture. African dance is interpretative. Ballet, Ballroom, Waltz, and Tango are classical styles of dance while Square Dance and the Electric Slide are forms of step dances.
Every dance, no matter what style, has something in common. It not only involves flexibility and body movement, but also physics. If the proper physics are not taken into consideration, injuries may occur.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

week 6- "C" - Chanting

Sound is power !!

This week for my second "C" I have chosen chanting. I guess it really doesn't suprise me that I am drawn to chanting and it also it goes right along with last weeks posting of Calliope as she was known as the Muse of music & poetry.

I firmly believe that the sound of Mantras can lift the believer towards the higher self. When reciting the Mantras, the sound is very important, for it can bring transformation in you while leading you to power and strength. For me personally I have been able to open & strengthen my lungs more & have not had any problems with my asthma since I have started chanting. I tend to feel very energized & almost "buzzy" when I am done chanting.

Different sounds have different effects on human psyche. If a soft sound of wind rustling through leaves soothes our nerves, the musical note of running stream enchants our heart, thunders may cause awe and fear. Therefor it is said & believed that the sacred utterances or chanting of mantras provide us with the power to attain our goals and lift ourselves from the ordinary to the higher level of consciousness. It is said they give us the power to cure diseases; ward off evils; gain wealth; acquire supernatural powers; worship a deity for exalted communion and for attaining blissful state and attain liberation.

Mantras are Vedic in origin. The teachings of the Vedas consist of various Mantric chants or hymns cognized by different seers or Rishis from the Cosmic Mind. Since the Vedas are impersonal and eternal, the exact historical date of the origin of Mantra chanting is hard to arrive at. For example, every Mantra in the Vedas, Upanishads and various religious traditions (sampradayas) within Hindu religion begin with Om or Aum - the primordial sound, the sound that is said to have its origins at the time of the creation of the cosmos - also referred to as the 'Big Bang'.

The chanting of Om in Transcendental Meditation has now received widespread recognition. Mantras can be used to treat tension and many other difficult diseases that are yet to come. The Brahmvarchas Shodh Sansthan, research center for integration of science and spirituality in Shantikunj, Haridwar, India, is the one place I've read about which carries out extensive experiments on 'mantra shakti'. The result of these experiments is used to testify that Mantropathy can be used scientifically for healing and environment cleansing.

There are many schools of thought on the methods of chanting. A Mantra chanted correctly or incorrectly, knowingly or unknowingly, carefully or carelessly, is sure to bear the desired result for physical and mental well being. It is also believed by many that the glory of Mantra chanting cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. It can be experienced or realized only through devotion, faith and constant repetition of the Mantra. Being someone who loves music of all kinds I just feel naturally drawn to the chanting with the different instruments & hand clapping. My whole body just comes to life with so much energy weather I'm just practicing the mantras or just listening to a mantra cd.

It is important to have complete faith in the recitation of Mantras. It is primarily through faith - aided by strong will - that one achieves one's goals. A sound body and calm mind are essential for the chanter of Mantras. Once you are free from worries and have achieved stability in mind and body, you will derive maximum benefit through the recitation of Mantras.

There are many people who have recorded CD's of chanting that you can purchase or listen to for examples on how to do this or to learn how. Some of my favorites are... Guru Dev, Deva Premal, Russil Paul, & Robin Renee (who does chanting plus other music as well).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Week 5 -C- Calliope

This week I have decided to blog about Calliope. She is one of the nine Muses in Greek Mythology. It is said she is the eldest & most distinguished of the Muses. She is the Goddess of music and poetry. She has a beautiful voice that inspires brilliance in debate and makes even the wimpiest of poems resound with epic meaning. She is considered the inspiration for heroic or epic poetry such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as well as other epic poems such as Beowulf.

Most images of Calliope depict her wearing a golden crown, carrying a roll of paper or book, or holding a writing tablet and stylus or quill.
She is also considered a patron of persuasive speaking. So she would be a good one to call on if you are giving a presentation, speech or joining the debate team. She may also be a very good patron for people running for office.

I have read that she has many children with different Gods... Carybontes who was fathered by Zeus, Hymen, Ialemus, and Linus fathered by Apolo, Rhesus by the River Strymon, the Sirens, Orpheus, and Oeagrus. All of these children with the exception of Rhesus had something to do with music or poetry.

Calliope had a special weakness when it came to Achilles. She taught him to entertain and enhance the morals of his friends by singing at their feasts.

Among all of this she is also considered very fair. According to one myth she was called upon by her father Zeus to be a mediator between Aphrodite and Persephone on who would be able to have the human-made-immortal, Adonis. Calliope decided that his
time would be split between the two during specific times of the year. Persephone wanted him as he had died and was to come to the underworld with her, Aphrodite wanted him as her plaything. So here Adonis comes back for Spring and Summer for Aphrodite and returns to the underworld for Fall and Winter, giving us another story of the turning of the seasons.

Colors: Red, Gold, Blue, Light Brown, Orange, Ivory

Symbols: Stringed instruments, Quill and parchment, Golden crown, Books, Scrolls, Sword

Scents/Herbs: Orange, Lemon, Dragon's Blood, Spearmint, Clove, Carnation

Gemstones: Amber, Aquamarine, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Celestite, Fossils, Garnet, Red Jasper, Lava Rock, Tiger's Eye, Turquoise

Celebrations: President's Day (USA), Memorial Day, Election Day, Independence Day, Any celebration dealing with a person in office or celebrating a historic battle.

Patron of: Bards, Business People, Cheerleaders, Coaches, Debate Team Members, Mascots, Newscasters, Pep Squad, Politicians, Public Speakers, Rally Leaders, Sales People, Solders, Spiritual Leaders, Spokes People, Teachers