The Witches’ Dance

Witches Dancing


Witches dance. Historically, folklorically, ecstatically.

Okay.  Maybe not all of those examples are of witches.  But when you think of the Sabbat, what visual do you flash to? Probably you imagine folks (possibly without any cloths on) out in nature, dancing in a ring.  Bonfire optional.  There is an undeniable witchiness about dance.

And that makes perfect sense to me.  Dancing puts me in touch with my creative, intuitive self.  Dancing lets me interact with the other dancers a primal way. Dancing raises the energy level, be it in ritual or rave.  I feels as if I’ve always known this.  Always loved this.

I recently had an “ah-ha” moment about dance when I fell upon a line in Peter Grey’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft.  In writing about the concept of sabbat, he says “Begin to move towards, be moved by the blind magnetic blood.”

Oh.  Magnetic blood.

In a rite, when you slice with a knife or shift a cauldron,  you move the energy inhabiting the space.  You consciously change the energy flow to work your will.  You shod the stang with iron, to fix its energy in place.

You move your body, filled with iron-rich blood, in a ring.  Pacing, spinning, leaping in the same direction, like salmon swimming upstream.  Faster and faster.  Whipping the energy


and up

and out.

It makes perfect sense.  I’ll never again take up a witches’ dance without thinking about it this way.  Or for that matter, watch a parade, or the scene from The Wickerman where the children carry Death out of the village.  I now know a deeper purpose to our dance.




And since I mentioned it here, I highly recommend Peter Grey’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft.  Don’t be sidetracked by what you think the title is saying; read the book and find out for yourself.   Read it for it’s many seed pearls of insight, which  take root in and grow into unbidden understandings.  Read it for it’s lush poetical style.

Or better yet — as Grey proposes in regards to the relationship between the sabbat and the mythic landscape — enter into “The wordless book, which falls open and you with it, into the very last page.”

And whether you fall into book or dance, I leave to you.





Filed under Crooks and Straights

14 responses to “The Witches’ Dance

  1. I do not form that idea, for me it’s a rather negative and limiting stereotype of what a witch is. I find, mostly, that the definition formed by such visions/visuals is more about what a witch is NOT.

    The feeling and purpose of energetic dance, no matter if the body is sitting dead still in the chair, comes more to me in the grounding first and the moving from above me down into my feet. The faster faster was a thing that I might have done in the beginning but lacked discipline and only dealt with an onslaught of what some would call lower energies. I do sense a chide within my words, however I mean to share how it works for me, and for those around me, in the event that you might not have had that experience. It is also to question how you arrive at this way, because it is different for me. I cannot decide about the early, later, wiser, knowing without feedback, and I’d rather not discard hastily. (pardon me I am in writing, chocking on my foot) This conversation can be loaded without intent and feeling and a knowing of me. I hope that you perceive it as a sharing of potentially differing ideas and a wish to keep them different OR to merge them together.

    I will look into the book on the time I look into articles and books, later this week. Thank you.

    • trothwy

      Thanks Elisa.

      Witchcraft is indeed a “craft,” and one of it’s pleasures is in working out — often through trial and error — what works and what doesn’t.

      It’s interesting to hear what techniques others bring to bear!

  2. Alkistis Dimech says some pretty profound things about her Butoh practice in combination with her magical practice:

    • trothwy

      Fascinating! I watched the first few minutes, and have it marked to watch later, when I can focus on it.

      Thanks, Christopher!

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  5. Normally a speed reader, I am taking my time with Grey’s new book. 🙂 Spot on in this post, by the way.

  6. I thought you might like to know about The Healing Dance Network

    The Healing Dance Network: a web between the various healing dance studies, theories, practitioners and proponents through which to find, share and expand the study of healing through dance.

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