The Spiral Dance--A Beautiful Night!


photo credit Richard Man

photo credit Richard Man

Saturday night—Halloween, Samhain, and our Thirtieth Anniversary Spiral Dance.  After all the work, planning, stress, and my car deciding to die on the way to set up (no, I didn’t put its name on the list of the Beloved Dead), what a wonderful night!

The altars were stunning—here’s some pictures taken by Gregory Harder:

Richard Man’s wonderful photos are up on his website.  (I left my camera at home, but grabbed a couple of shots on my phone.)

Some of my favorites: The teaching altar set up by Tara and Yule, a place where newcomers could come to learn about the ritual and our tradition.  The Salmon altar, set up by the teens who did the Teen Earth Magic camp last summer, aided by Allison (one of our second-generation young folks!) Riyanna, Jason, George and Jude, among others.   It’s so wonderful to have people who are dedicated to working with the next generation!  The night before, they all had a workshop at our house.  I saw them all trancing in the back yard, walking in wide awareness, (and hopefully not stepping on the doggie-do!)  Then, during the day, they created the beautiful altar as well as an invocation during the ritual itself.



A place for newcomers to learn about the ritual.

A place for newcomers to learn about the ritual.






The bee altar

The Bee Altar

The music, the chorus, the dancers—all was exquisite!  Our musical director,        Evelie Såles Posch,,

rehearsed the chorus for weeks, and they were inspired!  Tina Banchero of Dance Brigade worked with all the dancers to help them realize their visions—and her own dancers combined ethereal beauty and immense power as they drummed in Earth with thundering taicho drums.

Laura Wyrd and her group Lynx called in Spirit with a stunning, heart-stopping aerial dance high above the crowd.

Le’ema Kathleen Graham, in full Cretan Snake Goddess regalia, invoked Fire with live snakes.

Mary Ellen Donald, middle-Eastern percussionist extraodinaire,  led our drummers for the twentieth time!  And in those years she has taught many of us to drum—thank you, Mary Ellen!

And many people who aren’t professional dancers nonetheless came forward to create invocations from the heart.

The bee altar      The Salmon Altar

The food was blessed by three of my oldest friends, Bonnie Barnett, Susan Stern and Kevyn Lutton, who were part of the first Spiral Dance thirty years ago.  Bonnie wrote some of the music and was the first chorus director.  Susan invoked the Goddess and Kevyn macrameed three full Goddess costumes—you can see them on the videos at

For me, the trance leading up to the spiral itself was the big challenge of the night.  Generally, when I lead a trance by myself, I don’t write it out ahead of time.  I plan a route:  “First we’ll go through the swamp and then up the hill and then down through the dark and scary woods and then to the clearing….”but I don’t pre-plan everything I’m going to say.  I know what the intention is and what I’m hoping to convey, I’m taking my timing from the energy in the room, and I’m going into trance myself, doing some of my own work, although in a different way than when someone else is leading and I have no responsibilities.  But for this year’s Spiral Dance, we planned a multi-voice trance.  I led the route, with my friend Rose May Dance co-leading, and our young friend Julian, who is twelve, representing the next generation

Rose is a professional hypnotherapist, (her website is as well as my best friend and housemate for more than a quarter century, so it’s easy for us to work together.  Julian, though young, is confident and has always been a magical child.  Last year, his voice changed, and now it has a fey quality, just what you’d think an ever-young faery would sound like.  He came to the trance leading workshop that Evelie and I gave to our in preparation for this year’s event, and he really understands not just the performance aspect but also the deeper energetic and magical challenges.  I know he does, because he kept asking that salient question, “How are we going to get all those people back out of trance?”

“Don’t worry,” we kept telling him.  “We’re professionals!”

As if weaving three voices weren’t enough, in the first part of the trance we had many singers, some from the chorus and some from Turning Earth Singers, interweaving a piece written by my brother, Mark Simos,  Mark came out from Boston, where he teaches songwriting at Berklee College of Music, to celebrate with me and to play fiddle behind the trance.  We also had a section where the full chorus sings, and in the middle, we guide everyone into the spiral dance and the heart of the magic we weave.  We do a double-armed spiral, with me leading one arm and Laura Wyrd of Lynx on the other, and it’s a bit of a trick to keep them moving at the same pace, to make the right turns and get everyone linked so that it all flows seamlessly and we end up together in the center, turning until the whole spiral is facing in and the energy and excitement rise up into a great cone of power.

All that is the scaffolding.  Within, the art of leading the trance is to open up and let the inspiration and ecstasy flow, to find that well at the heart of the Isle of Apples, the ever-flowing well of life, and drink from its waters, and share.

Evelie Sales Posch, Spiral Dance musical director

Evelie, our musical director

May the old ones and the young be loved,

And all the forms of love be blessed,

And all the colors of our skin be praised

And all the cycles of life be saved,

Like sisters, like brothers,

May we take care of each other…

Plant the seeds of your vision in that place beyond time.  Drink from the well.  Pour the water on living earth.   Lend strength to the work of healing, and the forces of renewal.    This year may we renew the earth!

2 comments to The Spiral Dance–A Beautiful Night!

  • Barbara Bartel

    Thank you for allowing all of us participate through your blog.

  • I must share that I enjoy seeing the question that is placed upon “The Quilt” at the newcomer’s alter, and it reads “Are there one or many Goddesses/ or Gods?”. I joyfully can answer that question with Fact! On December 6, 2010, I got down upon my knees, and I prayed to God, and I prayed “God, are You male, female, or of no-gender?”. You see, for many months I had studied and found people saw God in many different views, such as being male, female, or no-gender, or even both genders, and so I became very curious as to what gender God Is. After I finished my prayer, I was getting up off my knees, when all of a sudden God Verbally Spoke! And God Said “I AM FEMALE”. I said “Oh wow!!!” “I cannot believe what just happened to me!” Within just a few moments, I realized that now I must share this with the whole world!
    So, to answer that question, I can do so without hesitation. God Is female, and There Is Only One Goddess (God). She Told me that She Is The Only God! There are no others!
    If any person so chooses to want to learn more about our Goddess, please, feel free to contact me, or you may visit Our website, at:
    There, you can attend a “virtual church service”, where you can worship The Goddess, and sing songs of praise to Her, and also there are prayers to Her.
    I appreciate this opportunity to share with you about Her, and all because I saw a quilt today.
    Have A Nice Day,

    James Johnson, Minister
    Church Of Latter Days
    P.O. Box 790075
    Vernal, Utah 84079-0075
    1(435) 621-2489

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