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Jerusalem-born, New York-based alternative healer Parashakti will be in Israel through June facilitating her holistic rituals, including her famous "Trance Dance" that synthesizes Shamanic tradition with a passion for dance to help participants break through psychological barriers and get high naturally.
"Trance Dance" is a unique kind of New Age dance party. Instead of drugs, Parashakti serves participants a cocktail-breath and movement to the beat of thumping world music-that's equal parts spirituality and liberating exercise. Parashakti begins the evening by leading the group into a meditative state using a special shamanic breathing technique that participants are encouraged to practice throughout the dance. Once the space is set, everyone ties a red blindfold over their eyes and begins to move.
While the idea might sound simple, the blindfold is actually an ancient shamanic tool for what's referred to as a "vision quest" in that culture. After completing her army service in the IDF performing arts troupe and then studying dance in California, Parashakti spent time with Shoshani and Lakota shamans in Arizona and Mexico. From these elders, Parashakti learned the shamanic techniques for what she calls "dreaming life in a new way."
The Trance Dance method came into it's own during the post-September 11 spiritual-exercise craze in New York City. New Yorkers were searching for meaning everywhere then-even in their gym routines. Health clubs tripled the number of mind-body classes on their rosters, and Parashakti's "Body Temple" was born. Once a month, 500 people would show up for this holistic rave-a ritualistic, all-night dance party promising ecstasy without drugs.
Instead of pills, "Body Temple" offered potent vegan elixirs and traditional shamanic invocations performed by a distinguished elder.
Since Shamanism is based on the principle of Oneness, the philosophy works well with many religions, including Judaism. Further, Parashakti's understanding of body and spirit as interconnected, indistinguishable entities fits into the paradigm of Jewish philosophers in the lineage of Spinoza.
This weekend, Parashakti will be hosting a retreat entitled: "Dancing to Retrieve Lost Parts of the Soul" in Gan Hai, starting today at 4 p.m. The program is rich with Parashakti's signature healing modalities including Earth Yoga, traditional sharing circles, Trance Dance and vegan food. While the retreat is designed to help people recover from a trauma or break-up-in short: soul healing-Parashakti emphasizes that a crucial part of the process is learning how to ground the visionary experience into everyday reality.
Parashakti will also lead an encore Trance Dance at Hodya in Tel Aviv on May 24. Arriving late to the first Trance Dance at Hodya (a very bad idea, since the breath technique taught in the beginning is an essential part of the experience), it sounded like a joyful group of primates had found a sound system. Entering the room, it quickly became clear that this was not anarchy but an effective, therapeutic practice. Alyne, a Tel Aviv psychologist and Parashakti's mother helps to ensure that the Trance Dance is safe and rewarding for all.
For example, if Alyne sees a blindfolded dancer swinging his arms wildly, she swiftly yet gently guides him to a corner away from other dancers. The process is rewarding for the Jewish Shaman's mom as well. Alyne says: "As someone who helps people heal with words, it is such a joy to see my daughter help people heal using her passion, dance."
Parashakti will also be facilitating Sweat Lodges and Trance Dance at the Lev Tahor festival here in Israel, during Shavuot, June 1-3.
For more information about the "Dancing to Retrieve Lost Parts of the Soul" retreat starting today at 4 p.m. and continuing through tomorrow, call Roey at (03) 602-2824. For the Trance Dance in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, call the Hodya Center at (03) 624-7705. For the Lev Tahor festival: www.levtahorfestival.org.