So on the heels of blog partner Chris’s post on how to water during this fall drought, I thought I would write a more mythical solution to consider. I still see no rain in sight and the drooping leaves and the burnt-looking grass is all quite depressing. So I was inspired to continue the drought dialogue with a little legend and lore.
Yep, you guessed it–the legend and history of rain dancing–a practice since ancient times was executed in order to ask the gods for rain to protect or produce the harvest. I know that back in the day droughts were far more detrimental in terms of livelihood, but I would argue for me and my little garden they sure seem just as epic some days.
So let me share what I have dug up about the whole ritual and perhaps you will be inspired to “cut a rain rug or two.” I know I sure would do a silly jig if I knew it would produce some rain.
So the ritual of the rain dance crosses time and culture. Different cultures call it different things and have different variations, but the basic premise is to perform a ritual dance in order to please the god/s(varies by culture and time) to produce rain and sometimes ward off evil spirits. There are even reports of rain dance rituals as far back as ancient Egypt.
I thought I would describe a little about the Native Americans’ practice since it is a little closer to home and maybe more suitable for us here in NC (or the US in general…for all our readers). So different tribes had different dances to produce the wet stuff….Common rain dances feature dancing in a circle, the pouring of water, and whirling around, acting like the wind. The Hopi Indian rain dance includes holding a live venomous snake in the mouth. The Sioux Indians danced four times around a jug of water, threw themselves to the ground, and then drank from the jug. Rain dances may also be performed by other cultures for reasons such as life, health, and power.
I don’t know about you, but I am not desperate enough to put a snake in my mouth. But I would be willing to dance in a circle and/or drink from a jug of water.
Here is a cool video with some rain dance examples. I like the music…very peaceful.
Here is another fun fact about Rain dances, unlike other rituals in many Native American tribes, women and men both performed them. Many historians credited some Native Americans as being some of the earliest meterologist in our history. They could track certain weather patterns and help predict weather for early settlers. They would even barter the “act” of rain dancing for modern goods.
Surprisingly the rain dance was one of the few ritual dances that survived. Often Native Americans would call all their dances, like the Sun dance, rain dances to fool federal officials into leaving them alone and to their business.
So history seems to look fondly on the rain dance and with the dust bowl in my backyard, I am willing to try anything. How about you? Will you go in your backyard with a symbolic feather and tourquise(symbols of wind and water, respectively) and dance in a circle around a jug if there was the slightest chance it would produce rain?
Let me know…perhaps if we all do it….we will get rain. Let’s do it on a weekday not to ruin our weekend…ok?