The Eternal Circle of Life

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belly dancer leyla najma keeping your self identity in belly dance

I remember when I was learning about living in a teepee that there was an etiquette to sitting in the circle. I had to know my place within the circle which meant understanding the many stages of life. Coming into the teepee is comparative to being in the womb of life so as families entered through the oval door they gathered according to age, place of status and position. It’s something so simple and yet so meaningful because every night when the family and friends gather together they remind each other of how life evolves. The youngest are seated by the opening that is to the left of the circle and as the circle continues around the head of the family sits in the middle. As the circle continues around to the right the elderly according to their age complete the circle sitting towards the entrance because they are in the last stages of living life. Thus the eternal circle starts all over again from birth to death and death to birth. There is nothing sad about any of the positions within the circle, only an understanding of life and the acceptance of life’s ebb and flow.

Do any of us really think about our lives like the eternal circle of the teepee? In a spiritual sense we live within the circle but in the modern world we forget the circle even exists. Goals and ambitious endeavors can blind us to the different stages of life and as entertainers it is imperative for us to remember our place within the stages of the circle.  If you look at this teaching it really is no different then the Egyptians view of death and the afterlife. They prepared in life for the afterlife and didn’t uphold one above the other. The Native Americans really aren’t any different especially if you look at the shape of the teepee as she reaches to the heavens just like the pyramids. The entrance to the teepee always faces east representing the morning sunrise and the birth of a new day. As family members step out of the teepee each day they are reborn which means a lifetime of symbolism of birth, life and death. As the sun sets they come back into the protection of womb and family. The children are raised with this symbolism through out their lives and it is easy to see why they have a connection to infinitesimal aspects of  the eternal circle of life.

The poles of the teepee have a teaching and each one represents a warrior. There are 17 poles placed in symbolic positions, the first three being the tripod poles. They start the circle and represent the head woman and man of the household and the next inline who helps to gather food for the family. There are 8 poles (two warriors for each) that represent the East, West, North and South directions. The next set are in a group of 4 that are the keepers and protectors of the 4 directions. The last two remaining poles represent the dual appearance of the physical realm. They come together at the top and form the wings that symbolically carries all those within the teepee to freedom. So each day is about connecting to the universe and understanding how mother earth relates to father sky and the twilight of both coming together.

Within our lives as dancers we dance on a symbolic representation of the 4 corners of life, the stage. There is a saying that dance continues on from one stage to the next and if you see it from the few point of the eternal circle, it’s meaning changes. It’s not about the audience or the applause, it’s about us understanding our position in life and feeling good about it. This is where the duality of life comes together and we dance from a place of freedom. It really is about us coming in and placing ourselves where we belong in the eternal circle of life.

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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"


3 Responses to “The Eternal Circle of Life”
  1. Belly Dance Husband says:

    Wonderfully written my lovely dear wife. Thank you so much. I’m always inspired by both your words and your love…..of life, of the dance and of course your little ol, Belly Dance Husband.

  2. Holly Luky says:

    Lovely Leyla,
    I love how you connected the earth elements with our dance form!