Back in the early eighties, when I was just beginning my journey down the Pagan Path, I bought my first book on Paganism.
A book that changed my life profoundly back then, and continues to do so to this very day.
That book was The Spiral Dance, written by the well-known Pagan leader and author, Starhawk.
For myself as well as thousands of others, this book has played a leading role in introducing us to the concept of Goddess worship. As explained on Starhawk’s own website,
This bestselling classic is both an unparalleled reference on the practices and philosophies of Witchcraft and a guide to the life-affirming ways in which readers can turn to the Goddess to deepen their sense of personal pride, develop their inner power, and integrate mind, body, and spirit.
The Spiral Dance was published in 1979, and around Samhain of that year the Reclaiming Collective, of which Starhawk is a founding member, held the first Spiral Dance ritual.
Thirty years later, the Spiral Dance continues. This year, the 30th Anniversary of this ritual will take place on the night of Samhain itself – October 31st.
What is the Spiral Dance? It is a ritual to honor our beloved dead and to dance the spiral of rebirth:
We gather to remember and honor our ancestors, our Beloved Dead, and all those who have crossed over. As we mourn for those we love who have died this year, we also mourn the losses and pain suffered by the Earth, our Mother. Yet even as we grieve we also remember and honor the sacred cycle of life, death, rebirth and regeneration, celebrating the births of our children born this year, and our own vital connections to the Earth and each other, in which we ground our hope.
~ Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance website
photograph taken by Bert Meijer of Holland
I also encourage Crossroads readers to check out the excellent interview that Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt did with Starhawk regarding the Spiral Dance and the anniversary:
In the spirit of making this event as inclusive as possible, American Sign Language Interpreters are being made available for this event so that Deaf individuals can participate. Several interpreters are offering up their services for the ritual, the music, etc. The Spiral Dance Planning Committee is working with Ocean and other members of Reclaiming to assure that the event is as accessible to the Deaf Community as possible.
Let’s demonstrate our support of these efforts by attending. If you’re going to be in the Bay Area for Samhain, why not do something different this year and join us? This event promises to be an unforgettable experience!
poster photograph by Michael Starkman
30th Anniversary Spiral Dance Ritual
Hosted by Reclaiming
Saturday, October 31, 2009
7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
(doors open at 6:00 p.m. – come earlier to look around)
Kezar Pavilion in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
tickets on sale for sliding scale fee
for more information and to see a video, check this link
In order to include members of the Deaf Community in this ritual, if you have any names of individuals who have died in the past year (since November 1 of 2008), or babies who have been born in the past year, please feel free to pass this information on to me (Ocean) at email@example.com and I will do my best to get these names included in the ritual.
Any and all people are invited to participate in the Spiral Dance – you do not need to be Pagan yourself. If you wish to attend, please know that you will be welcomed regardless of your own spiritual path.
As the Spiral Dance website says…
When we dance the spiral, young and old together, we remember and honor our own past at that same time we renew our vision and embrace the future.
Won’t you join me for the dance?