Native American Ritual Ceremonies
Seneca and Taino Indians
Sacred Tree Dance

After everyone has dedicated their dance, volunteers are asked to drum and lead the dance for the first round. The energy that is generated by the dance directly corresponds to the rhythm of the drum, so the drummer is given an honor and a responsibility. Each drummer makes a commitment to drum for one entire round. If there is more than one drum, several people can volunteer. The drummers take responsibility for carrying the rhythm of the dance. A steady, brisk beat is appropriate for this dance and all drummers should merge their sound together in a harmonious rhythm.

The dance leader carries the staff. If this is a woman, she represents MotherEarth. A male dance leader represents FatherSky. The leader follows a side step pattern, moving the circle clockwise around the Sacred Tree and incorporating any other path that feels appropriate. Any Earth honoring chant may be sung during the dance. It is best to keep the dance at a steady pace, following the rhythm of the drums, with each footstep touching the Earth in a gentle caress. As the dance progresses, individuals may feel spirit energy and reflect spirit messages through their dancing.

There are five rounds to this dance to represent passage into the Fifth World. The length of each round is determined by its leader. When the dance leader wishes to end the round, s/he holds the staff high, ends the chant, then goes into the center of the circle and stands the staff against the tree.

Between the five rounds of the dance are four rounds of silence, one for contemplating on each of the directions represented in the baskets placed around the Sacred Tree. Everyone sits or lies on the Earth during the rounds of silence, connecting with EarthMother's heartbeat. Although the drummers will stop drumming when the dance round ends, the steady heartbeat drum may continue. At the end of the silent round, new volunteers are asked to drum and lead the dance.

Each round of the dance will take on a rhythm and energy of it's own, as many of the participants will assume different roles within the ceremony. This is the Fifth World way of honoring, for every woman and girl can take on the role of MotherEarth, every man and boy the role of FatherSky, and everyone the keeper of the heartbeat rhythm. The circle of dancers becomes a wheel of harmony creating the energy of wholeness. All boundaries of separation merge into unity. This harmony is the energy that the dance of the sacred tree brings to transform ourselves and the Earth.

 




Spider is a teacher of Earth connection following the Taino tradition of the Caney Indian Spiritual Circle and the Wisdom Wheel teachings of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge.

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About the image on this page: Digital adaptation of Stick Throw, Ballet Atlantique, Penpoint, Scotland, July 1995, Original Photography and Choreography by Andy Goldsworthy, from his book, Wood   © 1996

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