Monday, 13 January 2014

The Stomach Dance from Salomé

Aubrey Beardsley's 1893 print for Oscar Wilde's play Salome, which premiered in Paris in 1896. This depicts the Dance of the seven Veils. I was interested to read the following on Wiki:

The Dance of the Seven Veils is also thought to have originated with the myth of the fertility goddess Ishtar (Astarte) of Assyrian and Babylonian religion. In this myth, Ishtar decides to visit her sister, Ereshkigal, in the underworld. When Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld, the gatekeeper lets Ishtar pass through the seven gates, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar has to shed an article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. She is then imprisoned by Ereshkigal. When she is later rescued and passes back through the seven gates, Ishtar receives one article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the last gate.

It may depict an underlying esoteric/ yogic practice of opening the Seven Chakra before undertaking any energy work, thus the removal of each veil is an opening of the corresponding energy centre before entering the "Temple" of the underworld for renewal. The similarity between belly dancing and Yoga has always struck me as logical; the freeing of the lower back and abdominal floor/ Kundalini, maybe just by another name...

By South Utsire

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