Nancy offers a humility, grace, and creative flexibility, that only a true artist knows from their deepest soul’s journey. Her effortless ease in shapeshifting between the worlds and her authentic vision shared during our Moving Mandala workshops changed the course of my destiny forever.
It has been such a challenge for me to articulate the power of The Moving Mandala. It is undoubtedly a transformative programme, working at a very deep level to clear any blocks in the chakra system using movement, art, voice, shamanic journeying, ritual, and being in nature. On the last day of the programme, we work with Archetypal energy, dancing a 12 pointed star to offer all our cleared energies, to the Earth for healing. This energetic container has shifted and brought into balance many aspects of my own life, so it is my honour to offer a deeper insight into these teachings, from my perspective and through the words of Nancy Dancing Light.
This article has been written as a result of bringing together letters that Nancy has written to the Moving Mandala Teachers and a film that we made when she was last in the UK, as well as an interview I did with Nancy in 2014. I want to share Nancy’s story and how the Moving Mandala came into being. Please see Part 1 and 3 of this interview on my blog.
How do you integrate your creativity with your shamanic path?
After a shamanic journey, my mind needs to be empty, to let the answers come. The form in which they arrive could be dancing, singing, chanting, mudras, sense impressions, words, or images. Often after the journey, I may write or draw, but the time spent in the timeless realm is where the energy is shifted from whatever I brought in with me, to releasing it and allowing something fresh to enter the space. I have had to learn to trust that it is whatever is needed at the time will come. This affects me and my client and/or large gatherings of people who come together to re-balance and heal. I use healing and re-balancing interchangeably.
We tend to think we’re the whole reason for the existence of the universe. I believe we’re just part of it, and that the non-human realm is a really important part. So yes, giving back because the Earth is what’s giving us life. I was in the cave in Mexico recently, and the earth said, “Only leave the organic matter, so it leaves no trace after a while.”Making an effort to do that, having a feast with the ancestors and spending time with them, is such a blessed way to connect with the earth. It wouldn’t be the same thing if it was just an idea in my head. It’s just like a sweat lodge is the physical side to it. It’s important to integrate what we’re doing here on the earth.
What is The Moving Mandala and how has it helped you?
The mandala in Sanskrit means circle. When entered, it is a sacred cosmic architecture that allows us to bring that sense of Oneness and wholeness to the earth. The Moving Mandala uses the sacred geometry of a 12-point mandala for an energetic container, having 4 cardinal directions within the 12, and the thirteenth point in the centre. Right up to the archetypal level, the body’s chakras hold the potential for us to shift energy as light beings. Because we are energy beings, we get primed to very high vibrations of light again when we enter a circle where the intention to heal is being held. That is why the mandala form is useful for letting the interconnectedness and wholeness of our being come into consciousness.
The Mandala is a cosmic blueprint for many, many cultures. What makes us different from another kind of circle is that there’s sacred geometry involved. The 12 points of the Mandala are made for transformation and change. And then the 13th point is in the centre, where the world tree joins heaven and earth, and so by working with the sacred geometry, you’re amplifying the effects of the Mandala. That’s the difference between a drumming circle and a specific Mandala dance. All this amplification goes out from where we’re doing it as an offering. Just as in a traditional Tibetan Mandala, you would bring all the coloured sands together and you would make your design, and at the end, you might take it and pour it into a river, to let it dissolve and let it go.
The mandala lets us “see reality as it is” and most of our world has been avoiding that in exchange for feeling secure in unchanging structures.
Many people have experienced this, and they said, “Oh, that’s the missing piece.”Because that’s part of what this design is, it’s holistic. We’ve gotten so far away from living holistically that we’ve kind of fragmented. And so by pulling all these aspects together, the magic happens.
After doing the initiations from each chakra and the sessions, we go into the eighth chakra and that is when we’re in the archetypal realm. When you’re in the archetypal realm, you’re embodying a transpersonal quality that has to do with that archetype. When you’re in that space, and embodying that, you’re bringing the form into that light, which could be colour, sound, or movement.
So the pure light goes into this form. And the form of the dance, of course, is temporary. But it holds that form while the dance is going on and the drumming at the beginning of this, was just indicative of setting the tone that we’re drumming the heart.
It’s a very loving and compassionate space, where people find themselves accepting one another very rapidly, and this can make peace in the world. It’s not only that the Mandala is moving because it’s portable, you can put it down wherever you are, it’s also that we do movement in it. The circle keeps us from wandering off and doing distracting things because it’s a very firm container.
Now, the container is very, very powerful, because the six teachers have been working on this for several years. And so everything they’ve done and then poured into that Mandala with me has become this powerful dynamic. If you think of a geodesic dome, and you think of how strong that was, it was made of triangles. We work in three a lot, you’ll find the teachers work in threes, the participants work in threes. Because if one side of the configuration is wobbling a little, the other two can hold it.
So it’s even stronger than two. And in our culture, three is a lot, three’s a crowd, but for me, it’s a trinity and this is in many, many cultures. Different cultures have used the Mandala before, then we have the roots with the ancestors, roots in the earth. And then we can spread, and then we know that we can be as creative as we need to be. The tree won’t blow over, it’s in the earth.
So the great world tree to me is a very important aspect of the Mandala that shows that our spiritual authority is coming from the land. It’s coming from that tree in the centre. It’s not about having power over other people, it’s about being empowered ourselves.
The strength of this process is dependent on the community, through our experience and sharing from the heart, we feel this is growing now. These fabulous teachers that have come to this, are willing to train more people now to be teachers. We feel that it is parallel to Sundance in North America in terms of its purpose and the way it can help a community. It has connections to Navajo medicine for example, where the designs are put in the desert and each design has a little flaw in it, to again, let the spirit in. So if you’re in the middle of a Mandala and it seems chaotic or it’s not the way you expect, it’s because spirit is getting in.
It’s a very colourful, moving, exciting, and blessed way to participate. I feel very, very privileged to have found people who have the dedication to do this because when you get home, you can practice it as well. It’s not just a one-time thing. And if you come back to another Mandala course, you’ll start in the spiral where you left off, fitting your life exactly. You won’t believe how much it fits exactly what you’re doing. And then you go again and again.
What is the beauty and flexibility of the diversity in the teacher and the different ways of facilitating?
That’s right, the container is very specific. And the teachers all have varying gifts. And because of the way the diversity works in the Mandala, those different gifts can be very complimentary. And different configurations come up at different times. People attending Mandala one time, will maybe even go back thinking of going back to the same thing. No, it’s going to be different. It’s in the moment, who’s in the room. It’s what’s happening. And that’s why it’s relevant. And because this is the way that spirit wants us to respond to, not just react to life but to respond to life with our most creative energy.
There’s diversity in Mandala. We don’t all dance the same, sing the same, have the same gifts. But when we come together in the circle, it’s something that just pulls it together. That’s quite magic, and it’s aligned with the body and the soul. When people lose their body’s alignment with their soul, their health can suffer.
Please also see parts 1 and 3 of this interview in my other blog posts.
For all Our Relations. Nancy Dancing Light and Ali Rabjohns.
The Moving Mandala Residential Programme will be running a retreat at the Earthspirit Centre From 16-20 September 2021. Please see this link for more details.
For further information about the Moving Mandala and its history, go to www.travellersjoy.ca