I’m reading another wonderful book: The Search for Nefertiti by Dr. Joann Fletcher. It has awakened my lifelong yearning to be an Egyptologist/Archaeologist. (I also yearned to be pirate, a princess, an astronaut, a detective, a nun, a veterinarian, a movie star, and a geisha girl.)The stories of the ancient tombs and statues and mummies ignites my imagination and I long to go outside with an adorable safari hat and kneel down in the sand and brush off dusty rocks covered in hieroglyphs. Imagine finding something sealed away for thousands of years that no one has touched since! How amazing to think about the people who built those monuments and tombs, the hands that wrapped those mummies, the beliefs that put everything in the tomb just so. Fascinating.
I suppose my fascination with Egyptology is one of the things that drew me to belly dance. The jewels, the sparkles, the gold and incense and myrrh, the kohl-lined eyes, the movement in the hieroglyphs, the art, the textures of papyrus, the lotus, the mysteries of the architecture, the sphinx, the poetry, the smell of apricot tobacco, the ritual of the hookah, the wailing of the voices, the soft chanting and prayers, it’s all so intoxicating.
Belly dance is like my prayer. I offer my body in reverence, in celebration, in healing, in sensuality and fertility and love and the deepest primal urges–to move when there are no words for the emotions you are feeling. The dance is a prayer of my body and soul. It is sacred and beautiful and so so deep. I have danced my heartbreak, danced my all-encompassing joy, danced my deepest grief, danced my babies into the world, danced the love that has no words.
I am not a religious person, but I love the psalm: You have turned my wailing into dancing; you have removed my sackcloth and clothed me in joy. One of my favorite dances I’ve ever performed was in my Isis costume. The jeweled wings wrapped around my breasts and hips, a lotus flower joined the back. The skirt was like jeweled feathers, and I wore golden wings, moving them as if I was awakening the creative spirit in my audience. Dance, my most fervent prayer.