Thursday, October 27, 2011


Artist Unknown

"I will dance
the dance of dying days
and sleeping life.

I will dance
in cold, dead leaves
a bending, whirling, human dance.

I will dance
as the horned god rides
across the skies.

I will dance
to the music of his hounds
running, baying in chorus.

I will dance
with the ghosts of those
gone before.

I will dance
between the sleep of life
and the dream of death."

There are many kinds of dances to be done on Samhain, or Halloween Eve. For instance:

There's the Spiral Dance:

Actual Spiral Dance in Asheville, NC in 2007.
Notice all the orbs, which are fairies or spirits!

The Spiral Dance, also called the Grapevine Dance and the Weaver’s Dance, is a Neopagan group dance emphasizing community. It is especially popular at festivals due to its accommodation of large numbers of people.

The first Spiral Dance was performed in Berkeley, CA, in celebration of the publication of the book The Spiral Dance by Starhawk. It melded art, music, ritual and politics. It turned into a yearly celebration, although a large portion of the politics was removed for later versions. It currently exists as a Samhain celebration to honor the dead and celebrate rebirth.

There's the Celtic/Pagan Bonfire Dance:

With a huge community bonfire ablaze, the ancient Celts would extinguish all household fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well.

The bonfires held at Samhain, the Celtic New Year's Eve, were meant to warm friendly spirits and ward off evil ones, and also represented the sun which they wished would return, bringing heat and growth. The bonfires of the Celts continued to blaze down through the centuries, and will again be alight in Britain on Monday night.

There's the Witch's Dance:

Vintage Halloween decoration

What self-respecting witch and her black cat familiar would not dance on Halloween evening?

There's the Halloween Costume Dance of the early 20th century:

There's the Monster Mash Dance:

There's the Solitary Dance:

"Samhain Dance", copyright
Greta M. Margherita

There's the Full Moon Dance:

"Halloween Dance" by Holly Stokes

There's the Faeries' Dance:

"Spiral Dance" by Naze-Melnyk

At Samhain the veil between this world and the next grows thin. The fairies come out to dance and make mischief. Beware, the Queen of the Fairies may capture you and spirit you away to her home in the hollow hills.

There's the Midnight Madness Dance:

Vintage Halloween Image

There's the Dancing Jack O'Lanterns:

Vintage Halloween Postcard

Which dance will you be dancing on Halloween/Samhain Eve? For me, there will be no full moon and no firelight, just a small solitary dance across the crunchy leaves.


Kath said...

Lovely images Julie. I go circle dancing here in Glastonbury and we always dance a spiral at the beginning to greet everyone.
There will be dancing at the well at Samhain, can't wait!

ArtSings1946 said...

Oh, look at all those spirits joining in that spiral dance in Carolina ... how wonderous !
Peace, Happiness and Abundance to ALL !

Tara said...

Wonderful post and beautiful pictures! I too will be a solo dancer around my fire pit this Samhain. Many blessings to you on this Celtic New Year )O(

Mr Liberal said...

Beautiful Post and Pictures. I'm happy to have found your Blog. )O(

Amy said...

Yes, another wonderful post -- thank you! I shall be dancing the mother's dance as I help with the school party and get my daughter into her costume that we have been working very hard at. I love the idea of a beautiful spiral dance in the night, but need accept my role at this time. I shall hold a more mystical and magical dance within my heart as I smile and watch my child dance through her day!

Julie said...

Lynn Ness left me this e-mail:

Hi..I'm Lynn and just found our Celtic blog while looking for some Halloween images for my FaceBook site. I live in Buffalo MN (but as a kid lived in Moorhead MN..almost ND!) I am also a cancer and just wanted to let you know how beautiful your site is and we certainly share a lot of interests!!! My ex (still good friends) is from London of Scottish descent from the our son who is 23 is named Ewan, and our daughter, 21, is named Ingrid for my Swedish side.

Lynn Ness

Anonymous said...

AMAZING blog and post.

Lila Rostenberg said...

Very interesting post!
I'm late...but could dance today anyway!

Anonymous said...

your blog is very lovely. thank you for creating such a blog :)
i would love to try the dance <3

cherie w. rolfe said...

Hi, Love your blog. Noticed you're a former newspaper person. I'm a freelance writer. I'd love to have you follow my blog, too:

Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. said...

Your post from two years ago just made its way to the healingdance yahoo group yesterday, and I enjoyed your visual tour of Samhain dances. Just have a correction on your mention of the first Spiral Dance (well, most likely NOT the first ever, but the first big public ritual called that in our era)--it was not in Berkeley, CA but in San Francisco, at Fort Mason. I know because I was in it, leading the spiral. I also would not agree that the politics was removed for later versions. If anything, I would say that it increased at times! The tradition is still going strong, sponsored by Reclaiming--the 34th annual Spiral Dance took place at Kezar Pavilion in SF last weekend.

Best wishes to all in this Samhain season!

Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. said...

Your Samhain dance just appeared on the healingdance yahoo group yesterday, and I enjoyed your visual tour of Samhain dancing. Just a correction on the "first" Spiral Dance (I'm certain it was not the first--perhaps just the first big public ritual in this era using that name). It was not in Berkeley, CA, but in San Francisco, at Fort Mason. I know because I was in it, leading the spiral that first year. I would also not agree that the politics was removed later--if anything I would say that it increased at times over the years. It does indeed still occur annually--this 2013 event was the 34th, held at Kezar Pavilion, and still sponsored by Reclaiming.