A blog post has been brewing for a while concerning the disconnect most people have with their bodies and how I feel that Raqs Sharqi is a way to reunite intimately with one’s body and how this will heal the world from many of its woes. Here are a few thoughts.
I have been having conversations lately with Buddhist Lama who is questioning some Buddhist teachings and about how maybe any kind of spirituality that encourages the idea of transcending the body is really not spiritually healthy. As he puts it, “there is no conciousness if there isn’t a physical body to be concious through.
Therefore, I submit the physical body is Everything and the most beautiful gift we have.
I have been having conversations on this subject lately with many people. My friend Chris Cooper in the US said something and I would like to quote him.
“I think devaluation of the body and embodied experience is one of the symptoms of the mind set we call patriarchy. I think this lack of appreciation of the body is intimately intertwined with fear of life and death and sexuality, fear of loss of self and control. I think it is related to the dynamic that perpetuates subjugation and exploitation of nature, women, children, other cultures, etc.”
I met author, astrologer Robin Armstrong at a holistic fair in the 1980s. We both had booths. I had just opened Arabesque Academy 1987 and was trying to get awareness. Robin came over to my table, saw my pamphlets and told me to never stop this work of teaching Bellydance. He had done the astological charts of many women who had taken Bellydance classes and noted that shortly after that they began to make dramatic changes in their lives for the better. He saw a correlation in the charts of these women finding their power at the time of signing up for Bellydance classes.
A Buddhist Rinpoche also told me in 1980 to never stop Bellydancing because it would be important to women’s spirituality in the future and that women’s spirituality had been neglected for far too long.
Farida Fahme asked me in 2015 to round up doctors to prove what she believed; which was that Bellydance had healing powers.
“The Path back to the Soul is in the Healing Powers of Raqs Sharqi.” is my tagline for Yasmina Ramzy Arts the past three years.
I am feeling that this is the Zeitgeist lately. It is embodied in climate crisis activists, indigenous peoples beginning to regain their voice, the Me Too movement and so many more movements along these lines including the proliferation of Bellydance all over the globe. It helps me to understand my students and audiences better and how they need to be reached. I have always been perplexed at the numbers of people who do not live in their body as I witness in class.
I used to be perplexed by why my student’s found it so difficlut to let go and to relinquish control by trusting their bodies but now I have more empathy. I realize that not only is people’s disconnect with their bodies often because of personal trauma, it is also a result of millennia of constant insidious conditioning on every level of our world experiences. Messaging from birth for generations and generations that it is good to transcend the body, the physical, the sexual, the feminine as if these things were of little worth.
And yet, the physical natural world, our bodies, the pleasure of sex and the miracle of reproduction is Everything when it comes to even a glimmer of what the universe is about or why it exists. If there actually were some kind of creator of the universe then would not the body be the greatest gift we could possibly have received from that creator.
Women were even given a body part that serves no other purpose except to give pleasure, the kind of pleasure that can lead to a spiritual feeling of oneness with the Universe. The clitoris serves no other purpose except for orgasm. So our bodies, male and female have built in doorways to spiritual ecstacy.
This means I would think that the Universe and our place in it would be served better to be in constant awe, in love with and eternally grateful for our profound bodies and all the colours, shapes, sizes, smells, ages, species and uniquenesses they have to offer.
“We heal the world when strong, unique women express their power by reclaiming and reuniting with their glorious bodies.” Yasmina Ramzy (January 2020)