Dance, Revelry, and the Sacred Act of Rejoicing

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Dance, Revelry, and the Sacred Act of Rejoicing
By Jessica Soares

Babies often dance before they walk. 

The oldest known dance dates back over 9,000 years ago. The Hurrian hymns, a notable collection of Mesopotamian musical compositions, were written around 1400 B.C.

Reflecting on human history, it becomes evident that dance, song, and celebration have always been intrinsic to our existence. From ancient rituals and tribal ceremonies to modern-day festivities and cultural traditions, the impulse to dance and rejoice is deeply ingrained in us. It’s a universal language that transcends language, culture, and geographical barriers, uniting people in shared moments of joy and expression. These forms of expression are innate—it feels natural to move our bodies freely and in harmony with the rhythm. It’s a joy to sing and laugh and play. There’s a freedom in these ways of being, one that is often left behind when we cross the threshold from “child” to “adult.” 

But what if we look more deeply? What can we learn about God by exploring celebration and revelry?

Across the vast array of spiritual traditions, celebration and ecstasy have always woven vibrant threads, adding hues of joy and reverence to seekers’ journeys. However, in modern times, these acts of revelry are often relegated to the realm of the profane, overlooking their profound spiritual significance. We sometimes view dancing, late nights, and singing at the top of our lungs as uncouth, dangerous, or even lowly. But when we return to the perspective that celebration is not merely a superficial expression of happiness, we can understand it as an embodied manifestation of rejoicing, a deep communion with the Divine.

Celebration in Different Spiritual Traditions

When we look at various spiritual traditions, we learn that celebration takes on diverse forms but shares a common essence—a joyful expression of reverence for the Divine. Christian mystics find solace in festivals like Christmas and Easter, devotedly commemorating pivotal moments in the life of Jesus Christ. Sufi circles pulsate with music, dance, and poetry, enveloping participants in ecstatic celebration. Buddhists gather during festivals like Vesak to celebrate the Buddha’s teachings, finding joy in the interconnectedness of all beings. Hindus rejoice during Diwali, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness, and Holi, the renewal of life. While the form may shift, the essence remains the same—celebration as an opportunity to express reverence and surrender to bliss, to let our love for God entirely overtake us until we melt into divine madness, wholly and utterly drunk in Love

How Celebration Opens Us up to Divinity

When approached with intentionality and reverence, celebration can serve as a gateway to the Divine. It invites us to recognize and honor the sacred in everyday life. In the rhythm of a dance or the melody of a song, we find echoes of the divine presence that permeates all creation, and we allow it to move us, becoming part of the rhythm itself. In the revelry, we can remember what it feels like to be Love unencumbered. It’s a state that roots us firmly in the present moment and moves us beyond masks. It allows us to be so taken by love for Love itself that we can’t help but become expressions of this liberated joy. Through celebration, we transcend the mundane and touch the transcendent, experiencing moments of profound connection with the Ineffable. In these moments of ecstatic union with the divine, the boundaries of the Self dissolve, and we merge with the Infinite. 

Rejoice, Rejoice

By allowing us to embody and experience this understanding, revelry and ecstasy can serve as catalysts for rejoicing, igniting the flame of Divine Love in the depths of our being. Rejoicing goes beyond fleeting moments of happiness; it’s rooted in gratitude and reverence for the sacred. It’s an acknowledgment of the abundant blessings bestowed upon us and a celebration of the wondrous tapestry of existence. To rejoice is to surrender to the flow of life with an open heart, embracing both its joys and sorrows as sacred gifts from the Divine.

As we navigate the twists and turns of the spiritual path, let’s remember the transformative power of celebration and rejoicing. In the dance of ecstasy, the celebration of life, and the radiance of joy, we discover the infinite love and boundless beauty of the divine presence that dwells within and around us. May we embrace these sacred acts with open hearts, allowing them to guide us toward deeper spiritual fulfillment and connection. For in the communion of celebration, we find solace. In the ecstasy of union, we find liberation. In the joy of rejoicing, we find the Divine.

“To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.”
–Hopi Indian Saying

Jessica is a Hridaya student and a frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.

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Dance, Revelry, and the Sacred Act of Rejoicing

Dance, Revelry, and the Sacred Act of Rejoicing By Jessica Soares Babies often dance before they walk.  The oldest known dance dates back over 9,000 years ago. The Hurrian hymns, a notable collection of Mesopotamian musical compositions, were written around 1400 B.C. Reflecting on human history, it becomes evident that

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