Simple Gifts

There is an old Shaker hymn, said to have been composed in 1848 by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett as an easy-to-learn tune for Shaker worship. THE SHAKERS were a Christian community whose creed included simple living, self-reliance, and dance, as well as song, was an integral part of their worship services. It may be based on a traditional tune brought to America by Irish immigrants.

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where you want to be
And when you have come down to the place just right
It will be in the valley of love & delight!

When true simplicity is gained
To bow & to bend we shall not be ashamed
Turn, turn, it will be our delight
'Til by turning, turning, we come round right

The Shakertown Pledge
A Spiritual Committment to Simple Living, Social Justice, and Environmental Care.

The 'Lord of the Dance' lyrics were written in 1963 by composer SYDNEY CARTER.
Carter's popular hymn draws on metaphors from the Gnostic Gospels, in which Jesus spoke of life as a dance, & the initiated as dancers. 'To the Universe belongs the dancer.' he said to his followers,'He who does not dance does not know what happens......'
The theme was widely used in medieval carols, some of which Carter reclaimed & included in his collection of songs 'Lovely In The Dances' (Larrikin - 1983). A CD OF RE-MASTERED SYDNEY CARTER SONGS is now available.
The Lord of the Dance is far older than Christianity, however, & appears in many cultures, probably best known as the Hindu God Shiva
One of many other ways of using dance for Earth Healing may be found on Joanna Macy's website at ELM DANCE

Spray of wild apples.A simple b&w engraving of this ancient & sacred fruit.

Some questions about Lifestyle & Attitudes

If we are to live simply, we need to live joyfully - what my friend & co-educator, architect Deborah White, calls frugal hedonism. It costs little or nothing to dance & to sing, either by ourselves or with others. Dance has always been regarded as a powerful instrument for healing & renewal. The Sufi community has produced a lots of resources for
DANCES FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE (requires latest version of Flash Player)
and a network of groups now meets world-wide to dance for Peace. Maybe there is a group near you.
THE FINDHORN COMMUNITY maintains that 'by dancing together we bring healing to ourselves & the planet' and publishes 'The Spirit of Dance' - music & easy to follow instructions for an international selection of traditional dances.

When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night.
When I dance, the future is formed by my feet.
When I dance, the stars move through the heavens...
When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert,
When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold.

Cosi Fabian

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