The Birth of a Communal Dance

In 2007, a group of friends and myself in Pittsburgh were privileged to host one of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Flordemayo,  who visited us from her home in New Mexico. The purpose of that visit was for Flordemayo to accompany her teacher, Don Alejandro Orlaj, Keeper of the Mayan calendar, to the site of Pittsburgh’s three rivers.

After the visit, Flordemayo wanted to find a way to thank the group of women who had helped in the organizing and hosting of the events. She proposed a telephone conference call and six or so of us gathered in a church parlor to listen and speak with her.

As happens with women like Grandmother Flordemayo, who are open to the inspiration of the creative spirit of the universe, she reported having had a dream the night before the call. She decided to make that dream the major focus of the conversation.

In her dream, Flordemayo saw the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers standing shoulder to shoulder, arms folded across their bodies, hands clasped to the person on either side of each of them. They were doing a dance, moving forward slowly but decisively, progressing incrementally forward. They took two steps leading with their right foot, then two steps leading their left. Behind the grandmothers, she saw more women, all in a similar configuration, moving in lines behind the grandmothers’ line. These women stepped forward in solidarity, supporting one another and moved in lines behind the grandmothers. “If someone faltered or started to fall, they were held up by the people on either side of them,” Flordemayo said.  

Over the phone, with a connection that faltered itself on a couple of occasions, Flordemayo taught us the dance from her dream and suggested we teach it to others. The following week, we had a Gather The Women circle meeting and those of us involved in the phone call decided to teach Flordemayo’s dance to the women at that meeting.

As we assumed the position to do the dance, and lined up shoulder to shoulder, I got chills down my arms when, just before we began the dance, one more woman entered the room and joined the line for the dance. She was number 13.

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