I Still Think Mary Would Have Danced

rise and be merry;
the Sun grows in your belly.
in joy, Mary danced! 

Most witchy souls, whose lives begin within a major religion, share one thing in common: we didn’t fit in. During certain celebrations (i.e. Christmas) we stuck out even more. This bright-thumb syndrome of witchy souls brewing amongst, let’s say Catholics, manifest rather early. Our inner perkiness shows. In this case, by “our” I mean “my.”

My major symptoms began to sparkle around age twelve. I was auditioning for the role of Mary in our local church Christmas recital. The try outs were being held by my catechism teacher. There was singing. I liked singing… a lot. After a couple of days, there were three possible Marys. One of them sang like an angel, so I was resigned not to have God’s baby that year. Then the Mary angel got a sore throat, and I was certain I would get the part—the other girl was extremely shy, and she didn’t want to do it.

I was loud enough. I had a decent voice. I was motivated. I was given the part. I was ecstatic! I got fired… Well, I should probably backtrack a bit. You see, my catechism teacher and I had words… which began after I started adding a dance step or three to my routine.

“Quit the dancing, Magaly.”

“Why?” I said. “I think it looks nice.”

“Mary didn’t dance,” my catechism teacher said.

“How do you know?” I said.

Many other words were shared. Most around the lines of, “You need to learn not to talk back to your elders” and “Well, my elders weren’t there so they can’t know if Mary danced or not.”

In my heart of hearts, I already suspected that Christianity was not for me. But being told that Mary didn’t dance—and not being given any convincing evidence as of why this was true—was one of the events that nudged me to ask questions about other important things. Such as, why doesn’t God have a wife? Why are all priests men? And, if an angel showed up at your house in the middle of the night, telling you that you were pregnant with the son of the god you loved and trusted and revered, wouldn’t you dance until the joy of the world bled through the soles of your feet?

That happened a long time ago. But it still is the be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received: a little push towards finding out that the kind of spirituality that spoke to my heart came from the Earth kissed by my dancing feet, from the energy raised by laughing bodies, from fire, soil, water and air, from mythologies that made sense to me and that morphed to fit new places, new times, and the needs of new souls… individually and as a whole.

To all my Wicked Darlings who celebrate the birth of the Christian Sun God, I wish you the best of all Christmases. May you get the gifts you want, need and have wished for. And yes, I still think that Mary would have danced.

Dancer, by Karen’s Fine Art
via

35 comments:

  1. Ahhh, we had the same questions that could not be answered by, in my case, the male clergy of a southern Methodist ministry. We must have been really annoying to those in charge of the patriarchy!! LOL I love the thought of Mary dancing! Thank you!

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    1. I wonder if they had meetings about "minds like ours". They probably did. Yep; we were a head-full.

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  2. LOL, I never understood the mind set of those who tried to strip the sacred of any joyous aspects. Of course Mary danced! And sang! And laughed! And I'll bet she ate rich food in giddy happiness and let out a toot or two, as expectant moms do.

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    1. It leaves me very confused, too. The idea of "salvation" being obtained through suffering is a bit strange to me. I understand sacrifice--we must work for what we want. But all the time? No. We need balance. And yummy foods. And dancing. Yes; there must be dancing.

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  3. personally I think Mary would have been horrified just like any unmarried teenager who found herself pregnant. but I love this post Magaly. I questioned at an early age also and didn't like the answers or rather the not answers. when I was taking confirmation classes (episcopal) so that I could participate in the host I wouldn't do any of the work which resulted in a call to my parents telling them I would not be able to be confirmed with my class which resulted in a meeting and a special assignment. when I was 17, I mortified my mother by refusing to kneel during prayers at the christmas eve service even though I had already told her I would not. she grabbed my arm and tried to force me to my knees but I resisted so even though we had been late and were sitting on the last row of the balcony, she made us all get up and leave in the middle of the service. it wasn't until my very early 20s that I had the confidence to say I was not a christian. I'm glad for other people who find solace in it but the big daddy in the sky is not for me.

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    1. Now, as an adult, I totally agree with you. The poor girl was probably pooling her hair out and wondering if she would be stoned to death. But at twelve, I guess my mind refused to reason those ugly bits. And, perhaps, I hoped that a god who would impregnate a girl would also protect her from harm... Then again, there is Zeus and his escapades...

      My mother and I had many issues of the same sort. I think I embarrassed her more than once. When I refused to confess "my sins" to some man, whom I believed not to be better than I was. Like you, I'm happy for those who find peace and joy in Christianity or any dogma that speaks to them... they are just not for me or my dancing feet.

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  4. Great Post! I found myself nodding in agreement. And the same type of questions as a girl as well. I love that I have found my Path. Yuletide Greetings to All

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    1. Yuletide Greetings and much joy to you too!

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  5. I never thought about Mary dancing but I always figured Jesus would enjoy telling a good joke. I got the same pissy response as you from my Sunday School teachers, LOL!

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    1. I wonder what inspires them to exist so far away from critical thinking. Don't they know that answering a question or three with something that makes sense might actually keep a person around? So weird...

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  6. I am Catholic and I believe Mary danced!

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  7. Oh my young Alma! I feel you! At 5, dressed up and trotted off to Sunday school, I first heard the word " tramp"
    Loose women....my righteous Mom was speaking of Mary Magdeline. At 5 I didn't feel this to be true.
    Well look who is righteous now!
    I watched the movie The Red Tent recently.......all I can say is Men are right to fear women!
    I would tell any child to listen to the tiny voice inside and don't block it out as andolesent My lesson almost learnt!
    Huge Hugs and Love dear friend! xoxoDebi

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    1. How sad that must've been... It kind of reminds me of the sisters in Painted Girls. They had to see and learn so many horrible things while still so young...

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  8. It seems so obvious that Mary would have danced. I wonder if that 'teacher' ever went home and thought, "what if she did dance?"

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  9. I am overjoyed by your words. I too believe that Mary would have danced and sung high praises to the God that she grew up to respect and believe.
    Sometimes I fear that without the knowledge of the Christian point of view, that my grands could be in a "sticky wicket" in society. So I have given them the Sunday School lessons without the prejudice that I received as a child.
    This posting is yet another tool for me to use with them to show them what the majority adhere to, but many question.
    Thank you for your perspective and that wonderful Alma Mia spirit that engages me everytime. xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. Christian mythology, when interpreted in healthy ways, has a lot of great teaching--both the good and the horrible things that go on in the Bible. I learned a lot for the way Jesus treats those around him, and from how those who called themselves pious (while abusing their power) treated the rest as well... It's all in the interpreter.

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  10. Method acting. It's still misunderstood, after all this time. Still, you're in a good group; Marilyn Monroe, Tom Hiddleston, Johnny Depp...

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  11. I think Mary would have danced too.

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  12. I'm more of a Halloween girl than a Christmas one! ;D Christmas is celebrated by many (probably most) in Australia as a cultural tradition rather than a religious one (much to the chagrin of the Christian church, of course). It's more about Santa and consumerism... which is a whole other post.

    Greetings of the season to you, Magaly! ❤

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    1. We don't celebrate Christmas at all. I mean, in our immediate family. The Little Princess, my Piano Man and I celebrate the Winter Solstice and discuss Krampus around January 6th and that feels good. But in the rest of America, Christmas is secular/religious monster that starts swallowing everything before Halloween is over. It's quite frightening really, lol!

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  13. I was raised Catholic and I can really relate to this post, Magaly. I'm SURE Mary would have danced! My beliefs are so mixed up I rarely try to explain them to anyone, but I bet you'd get it. Oglala Sioux and Cherokee spiritualism, my Italian Nonna's wild mix of Catholicism and Strega-craft, my Irish Godmother's Celtic beliefs...it makes quite a stew! But, it makes a lot more sense to me than just the male-oriented Christianity.

    Blessings to you and yours, Magaly.

    Victoria

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    1. It makes perfect sense to me. If it speaks to you, you welcome it. What could be earthier and more wholesome? ♥

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  14. Yes, I agree, Mary would have danced ;o) I can see you dancing and asking questions ;o) You are too adorable ;o) Tonight, I will look up into the sky, putting my thoughts out to Santa ;o) I still believe ;o) I'm a kid at heart ;o) Big Hugs and keep on dancing ;o)

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    1. I knew someone who used to say, "I believe in all the good things. And if they aren't real, I will look at the sky and smile with my heart until they are." ♥

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  15. Oh wow, what a flashback! I was often times the only dark haired and dark eyed girl in my class - and I have played Mary in school plays more than a few times... But no, the religious bits never sat right with me. All that virgin, demure, holy shit, give me a break!

    SO happy solstice, Yule or whatever! ;)

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    1. So weird. Back home they would always favored the light haired, light skinned girls to play Mary. Which makes no sense if we considered geography. Then again, when it comes to religion and other things of the heart, sense is in the eye of the believer.

      Happy Jul, Yule and whatever to you, too. That made me giggle. ;-D

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  16. Ouuuuu you sweet Pagan soul sister you! I love this time of year, the appropriated pagan parts especially, and the commercialism is well-enjoyed by a shopaholic like me. I don't have an overly religious family, so it's pretty comfortable for me when I get witchy related gifts. Happy Yule and Happy Holidays Magaly!

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    1. I hope your Yule was perfect, my fairy heart!

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  17. Have you heard that rather odd Christian hymn about Jesus being The Lord of the Dance? I am not even kidding.

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    1. The medieval carol "Tomorrow shall be my dancing day" is supposed to be the origin of modern "Lord of the Dance". It's very pretty (and quite dark) for a Christmas song.

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    2. I've never heard it. Off to look for it!

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