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Belly dance celebrates life and the feminine experience
Image by Larry Grant
Belly dance celebrates life and the feminine experience. There is strong consensus that belly dance began as an ancient, sacred fertility rite celebrating the power of Mother Earth and women to create life. Indeed, it may have been the earliest form of childbirth preparation. The movements of belly dance serve to strengthen and prepare the very muscles a woman needs for a healthy. natural labor and delivery.

What's more, belly dancing offers humanity an opportunity to connect with the divine feminine inherent in nature and all of life. Both women and men often repress and devalue their intuitions, emotions, and subconscious dream messages, their body's innate wisdom and their latent creative/healing powers. It doesn't matter who we are, every human is equal and we are in need of owning our feelings. In owning these attributes, we reclaim an ancient female spirituality sorely lacking in our culture.

Through this dance form, a woman gives herself the opportunity to become more sensual, spontaneous, creative and to experience greater control over her often devalued body. This latter phenomenon, to gain control over one's body, is particularly appealing to women who live within the larger patriarchal social system. It is appealing to women who are constantly inundated with the mass media's unrealistic and unhealthy, anorexic image of the "ideal" woman.

Fortunately, unlike many other dance forms, belly dance celebrates the natural feminine form in all its shapes, sizes and colors. It hearkens back to a matrifocal era when women and men lived in a more peaceful, egalitarian and accepting culture. Because it is a dance that honors the earth, nature, animals and the sacredness of the natural female body, it has the inherent capacity to be a healing art leading to personal transformation.

Through belly dance, a woman gives herself the opportunity to connect with what it means to be more fully feminine. This opportunity is sorely lacking in our overly masculinized society. Dancing with the appropriate focus and intent, she begins to embody the feminine aspect of the divine. She begins to heal herself and Mother Earth. She awakens the goddess within her.

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