How to Hold a Spiral Dance

by Lena Freund
The Spiral Dance concept is based on Starhawk's theories of Goddess Worship.

The Spiral Dance concept is based on Starhawk's theories of Goddess Worship.

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A Spiral Dance is a Wiccan ritual created by a person named Starhawk, who holds the title of Founder of the Reclaiming Collective. The Spiral Dance celebrates the crafts of artists: musicians, dancers, singers, writers, craftsmen, priests and priestesses. The ritual is held annually around the time known as either Halloween or Samhain, when -- according to pagan lore -- the barriers between living and dead thinned. Members of the Reclaiming Collective view this period as a time to celebrate a spiral cycle of life -- one that celebrates all of the cycles of life, from birth to puberty to menopause to death and then back to birth.

Items you will need

  • Event space
  • Fliers
  • Tickets
  • Emcees/leaders
  • Performers
  • Songs
  • Audio system or drummers
Step 1

Collect dues from your members. You will need these dues to pay for the venue, printing of tickets and fliers, or audio equipment that you may need.

Step 2

Set a date first. Since the Spiral Dance ritual occurs around Samhain, hold your event at the end of October. Though there are groups that hold Spiral Dances at other pagan dates -- such as the winter solstice -- the founders hold theirs in October.

Step 3

Shop around for prices of event halls or local venues that might host your event. Wedding halls, clubs, high schools or college gymnasiums would all be suitable locations to hold a Spiral Dance.

Step 4

Reserve your event space, making sure to give the venue your date and your times. Decorations are not common at Spiral Dances, but if any of your performers intend to perform on a trapeze or on ropes, your venue will need to be able to accommodate these.

Step 5

Consult with the artistically-inclined members of your organization. Spiral Dance rituals include a mixture of group dancing and singing and individual and small-ensemble performances. Obtain signed confirmation from your participants and design a lineup for your evening. Dancing done by the entire group is often freestyle with participants revolving in a circle, while individual or small-group performances are at the discretion of the performers.

Step 6

Confirm ticket prices for your event and designate a limit on the number of individuals who can purchase tickets depending on the event capacity of your space. Sometimes, as with a gymnasium, your capacity will be high. In a club, for example, your capacity will be lower. Next, print and distribute fliers with your event information.

Step 7

When participants purchase tickets, ask them to give names of dead loved ones to be read during the Spiral Dance ritual.

Step 8

Dress in costumes that represent a love of the Earth or of a loved one who has passed away. Some participants wear long skirts or dresses, while others wear comfortable pants or jeans and a simple top. Performers often wear comfortable dancing clothes, whether these are hippie skirts and headdresses or leotards with veils.

Step 9

Use music consisting of songs and chants connecting Wiccan community members to the ground and to the cycle of life. The Reclaiming Collective, for example, has released a number of CDs of this kind of music with dozens of artists. These songs are most effective, however, when they are familiar to the community and sung together by all. You may play music over an audio system to accompany the singing or you may have members of the community drumming along with the voices.

Tips & Warnings

  • Several members of the community should be designated as leaders of emcees of the event. A Spiral Dance contains multiple parts and multiple performances. An emcee and leaders of songs and chants will help your event to run more smoothly.
  • Consult with the Reclaiming Collective before you hold your event; as this particular group and its founder started this ritual, its members may not be comfortable with unassociated groups holding one of their own.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Lena Freund began writing professionally in 2007, while living in Tel Aviv. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University. Freund's articles about travel, languages and cultures have been published on various websites.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images