Saturday, November 16, 2019

QUEEN OF THE NIGHT

Back in April 2016, I had the great good fortune to enjoy a tour throughout  the British Museum
with my friend Bernadette Vallely, who was meticulous is making sure I saw each and every one

of her "hand-picked" top selections of representations of the Goddess, including this one known as
 'The Queen of the Night'  | 
(photo Tahya ©2016)

I am ever fascinated by the interestingly winding road upon which I tread, the spinning galactic floor upon which I dance sometimes in a circle, sometimes in a spiral and other times a serpentine line....

The other day (Tuesday of this week) at the onset of one of the dance classes I facilitate, a few of the participants were exchanging names and one of  the ladies lamented that she had a very "old fashioned name" ~ specifically, Donna  ~ to which I responded another friend with the name Donna created her facebook page as Inanna Donna.  Donna smiled as she liked the sound of that and I encouraged her to do some homework on Inanna (which of course also had me thinking I need to get a "round tuit" and revisit Her tale as well).

Ok, so la de da, la de da, la de da, the next day (Wednesday) my friend Susan informs she has a gifted me a copy of the forthcoming Winter edition of Parabola magazine.  Since the theme for this forthcoming edition is "Goddess" she was certain I'd want a copy and she was 100% correct!

Fast forward to today (Saturday), and in anticipation of arrival of said magazine, I decided to visit the magazine's website and lo and behold (mmmm hmmm, I know you are gonna guess it....) right there on home page is an image akin to the photo I took of the Queen of Night (above) and when I clicked on the link it took to Christine Irving’s essay “Inanna: Relevance and Return.”  (You can also listen to a related podcast)

Ms. Irving's essay reveals a concise retelling of the Inanna myth along with great analogies:

        "At every level this myth resounds with true situations in which humans of every age find themselves. But it specifically appeals to modern women, because in Inanna we find a heroine who predates the extremes of patriarchal culture in which we find ourselves enmeshed today. She acts independently, while remaining in good relationship with men—her father, brother... She has a strong, solid friend and ally in Ninshubar. She is not afraid to face the unknown and perseveres in the face of loss and sacrifice. Like many women she struggles in relationship with her mate.

      But the part of the story with which women resonate most strongly is the journey of relinquishment, the egoic death, and the restoration of power. Using this part of the myth, circles of women have been manifesting and enacting their own rituals of letting go, creating space, and allowing new ways of seeing and being to take the place of what no longer serves them."

Certainly, my journey includes enacting rituals of letting go and creating space for the presence of the Divine to bless/grace me with new ways of seeing & being and those rituals include the shimmering of the Systrum*and an on-going return to the drum, which it just so happens I will indeed be doing tomorrow, when I trek to NYC to partake in a lesson with Glen Velez on the 7th floor of a building on 7th Avenue.  Mmmmm hmmmm, how's that for some symbolism?! I.E., it doesn't go unnoticed by me the correlation to the seven chakras ~ which reminds me to encourage you to listen to Glen's marvelous recording: Rhythms of the Chakras.

*As mentioned at the website dedicated to the Systrum, when referencing The life of Meresamun, Temple Singer in Ancient Egypt edited by Emily Teeter & Janet H. Johnson:

The act of shaking a sistrum
was thought to protect the goddess and her subjects. 
This protection is made clear by scenes
at the temple of Hathor at Dendera that are captioned:

 I have taken the Seshseshet sistrum,
I grasp the sistrum and drive away
the one who is hostile to Hathor, Mistress of Heaven
I dispel what is evil by means of the sistrum in my hand.

Meanwhile, I sent a message to Bernadette today (Saturday) explaining my fascination with this image and that I distinctly recalled taking a photo of the "Queen of the Night" Mesopotamian terracotta plaque which she made a point of showing me when guiding me on her AWESOME tour of the British museum.  However, I could not precisely recall why Bernadette made a point of showing Her to me, I mean, other than the obvious, the plaque is a wonderful depiction of a Goddess.  Nevertheless, according to the museum's info, they are uncertain if She is meant to represent Lilitu, Inanna/Ishtar, or Ereshkigal. The description below the stella reads:

            The Queen of the Night
represents an ancient Mesopotamian goddess.  She may have been Inanna/Ishtar, goddess of sexual love and war, or perhaps Inanna/Istar's sister and rival, the goddess Ereshkigal, who ruled the Underworld. 

I asked Bernadette, What do you think? and Bernadette replied,  I showed you Inanna's sister called Ereshkigal of the underworld.

to be continued...

UPDATE Monday 11/18/19:   Most synchronistically, in the class with my teacher Glen Velez yesterday (Sunday), I met Barbara Flynn with whom I shared my enthusiasm and delight in being able to once again be in class with Glen, returning to my ritual of drumming and then I proceeded to also tell her my tale of Inanna making Her presence known to me during the course of the last few days (as described above). She looked at me with a bit of astonishment and proceeded to tell me that on her train ride into the city to also attend this class she had just finished reading about Inanna in the book "Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women" by Sylvia Brinton Perera ~ Barbara highly recommended the book.
(BTW, here is an interesting on-line review of Perera's book by Elaine Mansfield:
innercitybooks.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-review-descent-to-goddess-way-of.html)

I am fascinated by all this synchronicity and reflect on this "appearance" of Inanna to me over the course of the past several days!  One thought that occurs to me is that here in the eastern U.S. we recently turned back the clocks triggering shorter daylight, a plunge if you will into greater darkness and longer nights which I typically feel sets in motion a time of inward reflection/introspection, a going underground (to the subconscious) and exploring the depths so that I may emerge again in the Spring renewed, refreshed, restored having spent time with my frame drum & systrum invoking the trance states necessary for transformation. 

I feel the Goddess is calling and Her call is unavoidable. She is beckoning me, encouraging me to have courage with Her invitation to keep my inner fires aflame, dare I say burning bright versus the dark of night and right now all the more so in the darkness of our times when so much disregard for the survival of the planet and rampant racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia ~ all have reared their ugly heads in such overwhelming prevelent way.

The Goddess is calling! 

Yes, Her call is unavoidable. She is beckoning you and me, encouraging us to have courage with Her invitation to keep the inner fires aflame and to remember in the story of Inanna, when her minister Ninshubar "beats the drum to petition for Inanna's release (from the the underworld), she is enacting a very old shamanistic rite.  Drumming is the traditional means used by shamans to descend to the underworld and to return... playing of the drum maintains the link between worlds.  Without the sound of the drum to lead the way, the shaman would be lost forever in the underworld." (p. 87 When the Drummers Were Women by Layne Redmond)      


*** YESsss, play your drum, shimmer the Systrum, return to ritual ***

__________

Read more about the Burney Relief (also known as the Queen of the Night relief), Mesopotamian terracotta plaque:  

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Roman Isis with Sistrum in hand

Statue of Isis ( Egyptian Goddess of health, marriage, and love ) Sculpture Hadrianic period (117-138 AD) Marble @ Capitoline Museum on top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy

My dear friend Toni wrote to me today to say: A friend of mine posted this picture taken some place in Rome ~ he said (this is) a statue of Roman Isis! Thank you Toni sššt sššt sššt sššt
.
...and, coincidentally, the other day
Isidora posted on her blog Isiopolis, "sometimes (the) relationship between Isis and Hathor is so close that it's hard to tell Them apart. Beginning in the New Kingdom, we regularly see Isis wearing the Horns & Disk crown of a Cow Goddess that is emblematic of Hathor. Sometimes Isis also has a small throne on top of the Horns & Disk to indicate that She is indeed Isis rather than Hathor, sometimes She doesn't. But guess what? Hathor sometimes borrows Isis' headdress, too."

Read 
 Isidora's entire post @ her blog: Isiopolis

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...

Saturday, August 31, 2019

With thanks to my teachers

I regret I don't know (nor could I seem to find after extensive research) to whom to attribute this beautiful image
 nor where I originally found it, albeit venture to guess from Orientalist Painting (mid 19th C)
This image reminds me of the very first time I encountered the dancer who would become my first teacher along the amazing carpet ride the ancient arts of dance and drumming provide! Thank you Susheelah**, who led me to Jamila Salimpour** and Aida Al Adawi and Mimi Janislawski*,  Serena Williams, Ibrahim Farrah, and Morocco Carolina Varga Dinicu and Tasha Banat and Artemis Mourat and Dalia Carella and Aszmara Sherry and Omar Ron and Mary Ellen Donald and Layne Redmond and Glen Velez World of Drums and Hossam Ramzy and Nourhan Sharif B and Grant Smith and on and on and on and on.... 

YESssss these ancient art provide for me ~ and, as I have witnessed, for those above-named teachers whom I love & respect ~ an expression of the rhythm and music (in all its alluring, intoxicating and hypnotic powers) flowing through one's physical being while allowing millennia of divine feminine celebratory rhythm & movements to spill into our bhava and extend beyond into rasa🙏🌹💞


Namasté to all my teachers and their teachers 💖


  *See more about Susheelah and Jamila Salimpour: December 9, 2017 post
    and here's a lovely documentary about Jamila
**See more about Mimi: October 3, 2015 post


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Mystical, Majical, Marvelous Moments

July 22-25, 2019 Frame Drum Retreat with Maestro Glen Velez
and Yousif Shernoick
Trinity Retreat Center, West Cornall, CT
Photo credits:  林亞蒨 (Alicia Lin Ya Chien). Thank you Alicia. Great group photo! ❤️
Upon my return from a frame drumming retreat with Maestro Glen Velez, I find my mind swirling & whirling with wondrous memories of marvelous moments ... re-uniting with friends ~ e.g., Shirsten Lundblad, who was part of the Pilgrimage to Crete with Layne Redmond back in 2004 and Martha Sandefer, who participated in the 4-weekend Glen Velez HANDANCE program I hosted back in 2001 at Little Pond, in Nazareth, PA, and Ken Matazarro from Boulder, Colorado, who knows my ol' friend and musical ambassador of peace, Camerson Powers....PLUS meeting an ever-widening circle of enthusiasts for ancient arts from Taiwan, Columbia, Germany, Canada and the US!  So grateful to have made acquaintance with you all!

The venue, Trinity Retreat Center, was the epitome of 'retreat' with beautiful gardens alongside the river, comfortable accommodations and delicious meals. The classes were inspirational, thanks to the facilitation by masters of their craft *and* the unique & exquisite resonance of the frame drum. The informal salon concert proved a true reflection of Divine creativity shared with love emanating from the bold souls who let their Light Shine!  My personal pièce de résistance was the opportunity to recite Rumi accompanied by Glen, and last but not least was the culminating fire circle under the North Star!

Video credits:  林亞蒨 (Alicia Lin Ya Chien).
Thank you Alicia.
❤️

I might add I also appreciated the meal-time reflections offered by the Trinity Retreat Center Exec. Director Joseph Rose, particularly this one:

May the Love that is in my heart pass from my hand to yours.
May the Peace that is in my heart pass from my hand to yours.
And may the Joy that is in my heart pass from my hand to yours.
Amen

Interestingly  and synchronistically last night while watching a great episode of Spike Lee's 'She's Gotta Have It" (Season 1 Episode 9) Nola Darling contemplates, "Who knows why the University brings people together...Maybe it's to share exchanges of Light.  Illumination to better see ourselves."

YESssssss sššt sššt sššt sššt 
(
sesheshet, sesheshet, sesheshet, sesheshet (the sound of a shimmering systrum)
I see my Beauty in *YOU*   - Rumi

Everyone contributed to a sense of Beauty and Creativity in the community we formed for those four days and I am most grateful. In fact, my heart's a flutter 💖 Thank you Cascadu for affirming it so!

Tahya with Glen Velez, July 2019
Trinity Retreat Center, West Cornwall, CT
Ken Matazarro, me,  Cascadu @ Trinity Retreat Center, July 2019

Since returning home, I am enjoying a renewed enthusiasm for practicing my frame drum, shakers, and systrum! YESssssssss! To paraphrase Hafiz's poem, THE GOD WHO ONLY KNOWS FOUR WORDS (Every child has known God, Not the God of names, Not the God of don'ts, Not the God who ever does anything weird. But the God who only knows four words and keeps repeating them, saying: Come dance with Me.)
Come
Dance & Drum
with me ...

So, I am working on my class notes for the Fall programming I will facilitate at Northampton Community College. I will be offering an introductory class on Mudra (Yoga for Your Hands ~ explore the health benefits of mudra & learn mantra to discover an openhearted space awakening healing pathways, improve circulation, etc.), Belly Dance Basics (an invitation to shimmy & shine! Explore dance moves deeply steeped in women's traditions that celebrate our femininity and sensuality) and one which I call *Awaken Your Rhythm* (an invitation to discover hand drumming for your health & well-being! An introductory course about the history of the frame drum & systrum. Slow down & learn rhythms designed to kindle your creative spirit for relaxation & healing.)

Amidst this morning's drum and dance lesson planning process, I came upon this image (again)...

I was first introduced to this Beauty in Daniela Gioseffi's book "Earth Dancing" (© 1980) wherein she describes this image as "Head of the Great Goddess, from a limestone statue found on the island of Cyprus (circa 6th century B.C.). Note the round dancers on the crown and the spiritual, or Etruscan, smile of peace on the Goddess's face."

Ever since first witnessing this Beauty, I have used her gracious smile as an inspiration *and* upon further investigation all these years later (nearly forty years, oh my!), it has now been revealed to me what was there all along and yet not previously noticed by me?! That is, on her crown, see the 'column capitals in the form of heads of the goddess Hathor...'**


Hathor, Hathor .... we sound our drum for Her spirit, we dance Her grace

S V A H A


**For more information, please visit: worcester.emuseum.com

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Solstic 2019

Tuscan Travels …
On this first day of Summer 2019 I am reminded of summer travels back in 2011 where the view from my room was a dream come true… Long had I fantasized and romanticized visiting a Tuscan villa would do me good. I imagined the scenery would inspire me, the food would nourish me and the wine delight me … and this all proved true! In August 2011 I participated in Alessandra Belloni’s Rhythm is the Cure retreat focused on Southern Italian tambourine technique and dances deeply steeped in Mediterranean healing ritual. Over the course of seven days tucked away at La Chiara di Prumiano, an agri-turismo villa in Northern Italy ~ Barberino Val d'Elsa, about an hour’s drive south of Florence ~ we participated in rhythms and movements from ancient rituals. Ancient healing rituals “designed” to open energy points such as the Heart Chakra by holding the frame drum close to the heart while executing movements designed to release blockages of emotional and sensual energies through the Pizzica dance of liberation. The Pizzica dance of liberation is purported to expel feelings of depression and repression, or sadness from unrequited love, etc. The wild 6/8 rhythm of the Pizzica, played on medium size tambourines and accompanied by dance and song, was historically performed as an exorcism ritual that produced a trance-like state beneficial for healing many mental-health disorders and imbalances (not unlike the Zār of North Africa).

As part of a re-enactment of this healing ritual, Alessandra led us in a circle dance wherein we were encouraged to create "spider-like" movements on the ground, releasing stress and blockages of sexual energy, as well as opening the heart and throat chakras. We also learned chants used to invoke the healing power of the sun and moon. BTW, I invite you to visit my Soundcloud page where I've archived a few of the radio shows I've hosted on WDIY, particularly the one celebrating Women's History Month March 29, 2014, where I spotlight music by Alessandra as well as Layne Redmond and Ubaka Hill among others! Alessandra presented unique dance movements which trace their roots from Southern Italy back to ancient Greece, with connections to Iran, Egypt and Andalusia, as well as to the traditions of the Gypsies who traveled from Rajasthan through North Africa, Morocco and Spain to Sicily and Calabria. Representing an unbroken chain of inspiration from pre-Christian times to the present these dance movements embody and culminate the different dance traditions which we know today as Flamenco, Belly Dance and Tribal Dance. The majority of the participants, myself included felt enraptured by these exciting and healing dances while also learning the techniques and history of this powerful tambourine style, originally practiced mainly by women, dating back to the rites of the Mother Earth Goddess Cybele, now worshiped as the Black Madonna.
Although I did not consider myself to be depressed, I was aware of lingering traces of hurt and sadness following the end of a romance earlier that year. I had hoped the intentions of the workshop would be a good distraction and that learning new hand drumming techniques and healing dance rituals would launch me forward and on to new beginnings. Drumming and dance have always been my go-to when I need to navigate rough waters, guiding me around the boulders in my journey with a renewed sense of self and heightened appreciation of the gift of life.
My friends were all thoroughly convinced I was going to meet someone with whom a new romance would ignite. With a sense of adventure and my friends' enthusiasm, I was prompted to pack my most form flattering tops and pants and my favorite flowing dress so that as I walked down the street the fabric would “move” & compliment my hips swaying in my best Sophia Loren goddess walk! The little hotel where I booked my room in Florence for a three-day stay prior to the retreat proved to be precisely as advertised, except that the patio was under construction much to my disappointment ~ nonetheless, it was a clean, comfortable and friendly environment and I was comfortable in my charming room @ Hotel Il Bargellino:

After refreshing myself from the long flight, I proceeded to begin my explorations of Florence (aka Firenze) navigating my way with a street map in hand. I found it quite easy actually especially since the Duomo and River Arno were great landmarks!


The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the cathedral church of FlorenceItaly. The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.
The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florenceand are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.
Yours truly with Ponte Vecchio in the background. The Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge") is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common.
After a few days meandering through Florence, I realized my dream of visiting a Tuscan villa ~ Chiara di Prumiano in the magic hills of Tuscany, Italy. As I mentioned above, despite nearly six months having elapsed since the end of a romance with a man whom I considered one of my life's soulmates, I periodically found myself experiencing traces of hurt/sadness/grief in my heart. Suffice to say, I attended the event thinking this was "just what the doctor ordered" to provide sufficient distraction and to help me over the hurdle of starting all over again.  BTW, the first time something similar transpired ~ i.e., following the dissolution of my thirty-year marriage ~ I convinced myself the ONLY thing to do was to "pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again!" You see, curiously, one morning not long after my marriage disintegrated, I found myself humming a melody, a familiar yet not quite recognizable melody that was guiding me, uplifting me. Finally, a few of the lyrics sprang to mind and then I remembered the song as sung by Ginger Rogers with Fred Astaire in the movie Sing Time.

ANYWAY, it is with great pleasure I tell you Alessandra's retreat did indeed live up to its name and for this I thank God/Goddess/Goodness! I came away from the retreat with whatever remaining traces of hurt in my heart dissolved…. And, I admit, I doubted that was possible. O me of little faith….

All the years I’d been drumming and dancing and professing the healing qualities of these arts, little, it seemed, did I trust they would/could heal the big hurt in my heart. I foolishly thought I would have to accept the presence of sadness as a permanent part of my being ~ a chronic pain if you will that one learns to live with and ultimately manage. I couldn’t imagine it would in fact dissolve! I cannot pinpoint the precise moment but with each day’s immersion in the distractions ~ meandering through Florence and then participating in the drumming and dance rituals Alessandra was teaching and a visit to the chapel of the Black Madonna in the Cathedral of Sienna, the birthplace of St. Catherine*, I was indeed “cured”.
*Visiting the chapel of the Black Madonna in the Cathedral of Sienna I was reminded of a poem by St. Catherine to which I was led to read years earlier in the midst of the first few days into the dissolution of my decades-long marriage:
"… I cannot lose anything in this place of abundance. I found If something my heart cherishes is taken away, I just say, “Lord, what Happened?” And a hundred more Appear."
- St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

Yes! The Mother Goddess, the Feminine Divine answered my prayers washing away my sorrow and renewing my strength to move forward transforming my sadness into courage and confidence to move forward feeling whole and ready for NEW beginnings ~ a new love relationship with myself ~ a woman totally good and worthy of great love with an adoring mate. Yes! Open to the possibilities I welcomed a profound opening of the heart and an ever-widening field of love … for myself.
The heart’s journey to the heart - Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī (1207 – 1273)
At the conclusion of Alessandra's retreat we were treated to a magical ceremony of "blindly" selecting a tarot card that would ultimately result in pairing us with a mythical puppet and I could not have been more delighted with my bright SUN!
My transatlantic journey back to the U.S. I am happy to say was very good ~ my connections were on time and my flights were sa-mmmmooth!

I returned renewed, restored and ready to start anew... Allelulia! Back to the dance!

Postscript Summer Solstice June 2019: Once again facing a few big challenges, changes and shifting sands swirling around me, I intend to attend a drumming retreat next month with Maestro Glen Velez (who reminds us in this interview: ""A very real phenomenon happens when frame drummers of all levels, both beginner and advanced, gather together. An osmosis , a current of energy that enlivens, transmitting knowledge and enthusiasm between individuals." - GV"
Rhythm IS the cure!



Saturday, October 6, 2018

Remembering Barbara

Heavy, heavy sigh.... I will be the first to admit it’s a challenge to consider this, 
to construct my final farewell to a friend, a prominent member of the Lehigh Valley arts community, a woman who made a lasting, impactful and enduring impression.
I feel grateful for her presence in my life for nearly 30 years …
and I grieve the loss of this beautiful, vivacious MOVER & SHAKER   whose very being, her indomitable FORCE influenced many, countless, numbers of people in our community.


Barbara in her beloved Paris!
     Barbara Pearsonrenowned as the Lehigh Valley's Grande Dame De La Danse, was extremely well versed in theater as well as all styles of dance from baroque to ballet and everything in between *and* she made it a point to share her enthusiasm for the art as well as champion the educational opportunities available through the discipline of dance.

     In fact, we shared a passion for arts education.  In addition to the desire to share our dance knowledge with teachers and students in the classroom, we also worked together on a Lehigh Valley Arts Council initiative compiling and editing a collection of artists’ bios for ArtLinks, an Arts-in-Education Resource Book for Lehigh Valley educators.  

     Barbara celebrated and encouraged me to perform, share my passion and develop my own unique pedagogy of North African, Middle & Far Eastern drumming and dance traditions.   Her “stamp of approval” opened many doors for me, a newcomer to the Lehigh Valley way back when. During the years our friendship deepened and I was blessed to be a guest at her home where she always entertained as THE hostess with the mostess!  A perfectly set dining table and delicious meal would soon give way to clearing it all away … Yes!  You guessed it:   to make room for her guests to dance!


Among my fondest memories is one in which Barbara was decked out in a dazzling silver ensemble reciting a Birthday Rap she composed and recited for my son’s 13th birthday celebration!

Another was the compassionate way she responded when she found out that my husband had left, abruptly ending our thirty-year marriage.  She came knocking on my door the very next day with a basket full of delicious lunch goodies and a bottle of wine.   I learned a lot from that experience because I had never before known anyone going through divorce, not in my family nor among my friends ~ so I learned from her what friends do for one another in that situation and I'll never forget it!


I was happy when Barbara, who loved all things French, met *and married*  a French-speaking Belgian with whom she enjoyed many happy years of travelling and spending time with their respective grandchildren.  

Our hearts go out to you Victor. Your doting and devotion demonstrate your true love and loyalty, treasured qualities in one’s spouse, indeed.    Bless you! 

And speaking of family, both Barbara’s sons Vincent & Arthur were off to college when our friendship began and Mary was a teen busily finishing up high school … but over the course of the final weeks Barbara was alive, I was blessed with the opportunity to become quite close with Barbara’s daughter.  The bond between Barbara and I deepens through Mary.  

May you all carry wonderful memories of your mother and may your children’s children be reminded of her often.  💖💖💖

Indulge me if you will, a few more cherished memories (among oso many) ~ for ex.,  two summers ago in the Bethlehem Sculpture Garden:  Barbara in a pink hat and me in a turquoise top sharing smiles as we were sa-wishing our hips side by side to salsa music played by Hector Rosado and his band!  Mary, you were there that summer’s eve, remember?


Barbara and I circled the Artist’s Way several times with various women:  Christine Ortwein, Donna Haney, Kathryn Williams Craft, Susan Kolar, Susan Meixell, Joan Garber, and Deborah Sacarakis.

Ultimately those gatherings evolved into a book club and celebrations of momentous occasions ~  including for example, the publication of her first novel by the author in our group ~ Kathryn Williams Craft!


… and of course everyone in the dance community gathered together to participate in a surprise impromptu dance in celebration of Dawn Ketterman Benner’s retirement from Moravian ….. and Barbara didn’t miss the opportunity to show off her FABULOUS dancer’s legs!


The last social occasion I shared company with Barbara was in early September 2017 at a book club gathering in Susan Kolar’s kitchen.  Susan remembered Barbara arriving with a basket full of shells inviting each of us to pick one and then she read a passage from Anne Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea:

“We walk up the beach under the stars. We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim. This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day….
one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars...” 

                                                



.... and that reminds me of an Eskimo legend...

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy. 

Ram Dass said:   Death is not an error.  It is not a failure.  It is taking off a tight shoe.

Goodbye dear friend ~ Don your feathery wings and fly high above the mental, emotional, and material realms  |  Free of all the ties that bind us  | Travel  farther  than we ever thought possible |  lifted by all the LOVE we your friends and family hold in our hearts for you, dear Barbara.

In Celebration of knowing *YOU*
I SHAKE THE SYSTRUM
Sššt Sššt Sššt Sššt


mmmmmmm we're crying as they ease you down....
I thought you'd always be around...
Thought we'd be laughin' & dancin' 
well into our nineties, maybe beyond.
Rest in peace my friend ~ your friends and family carry you in our hearts ALLways and your children's children will be reminded of you often