Gilded Serpent Presents..
Raven of the Night:
New Year's Eve 2005
of the Night was the name by which he thought of her-but feathers? Raven
had none! She was the castle's Dancer of Dreams and aspired
to become Jester of the Court when-and if-the official storytelling
clown retired (or, more likely-fell from the high cliffs in
a drunken fit of tomfoolery).
Upon this particular
morning, Raven had glanced skyward and noted that atop the
tower of the northern-most exposure of the aging castle-fortress,
the limp banner of the realm hung-untouched by any hint of
breeze. Its worn images, stitched so lovingly by Raven long
ago, was shamefully tangled in itself and around its staff
so that the symbols of heraldry (a dragon clutching a virgin
in its terrible talons) became a matter lost to forelorn memories
and wistful prayers.
Raven had had
but one brief occasion to dance all year, leaving a great expanse
of time resting listlessly among her days. Thoughts of him
who ensconced her in the castle built from his dreams weighed
down her usually buoyant nature. Yet, come whatever may, never
an idle dancer was she! Raven had already begun to fold away
her dancing costumes for one last time, when from a fold in
the golden threads, a graceful design of metal tumbled forth,
danced itself across the floor of stone, clattering as it rolled. She
watched it spiral about on the stones smoothed with a million
dance steps that her feet had traced throughout the years,
as she had invented and re-invented herself. She lifted the
delicate band lightly into her palm and its graceful curves
drew her mind back to her youth-in which all the trees were
still small and provided only the promise of shade. She slipped
the small ring over her center toe from which it had gleamed
last New Year's Eve as she had danced in the Great Hall, wallowing
in futile hopes of new beginnings.
had advised the dancer thus,
knowledge most commonly writ,
the Mighty One will set your feet on a new path of incredible
Seeker must have completed the old one!
lessons of the old path must determine the lessons contained
in the next."
apples!" she had scoffed, digging in her heels.
again wrapped around her toe, the little circlet pulsed, causing
her to move in a familiar ritual slowly toward the candlelight
reflected in her mirror. The movement reminded her that her
feet still touched the ground-and she had forgotten the feeling
of it, so strong was the estrangement. "The power of my resolve
must be as insurmountable as his stubborn determination to
send his heart away to God-knows-where without his body!" she
pledged to herself. (Nonetheless, Raven hoped that his errant
heart was safe from dragons and other terrifying beasts.)
had advised the dancer thus,
knowledge most uncommonly spoke,
"You, Raven, must remember that this Particular One desires
That which he may not have."
"Lord save us
from foolish desires!" she scoffed, tossing her hair aside.
heart whispered softly in her ear,
you know that the Wizard speaks truth born of experience."
two decades, more or less, the rebellious dancer, who had,
indeed, caused swooning in nearly all the decadent and distant
courts of the world, determined that there had to exist a sorceress
having something to proclaim without having to resort to unnatural
spells. Surely she could find one!
alchemy that once was created in blooms of rare flowers
no longer congealed itself invisibly around her spirit,
protecting her-as it once had. Now, she had had to resort to using a more
visible forum in which to plead her case!
Gray tendrils of fragrant smoke arise in shafts of Raven's morning
in the palpable atmosphere she had created for herself.
inhaled it (as if it were life itself) as she moved about completing
her morning obligations. Silently celebrating life in her
dance, pensively spending each day camouflaged in bright colors
and objects that captured sparks of inspiration, breathing
essences of flowers, her days disappeared one by one.
Inspiration!" she begged the incense as it glowed-
sharpened swords of inspiration pierced the sky, passing shafts
of reality downward through her heart, but they bounced haplessly
in silence, broken on the floor beneath her gown.
Thus, it happened
each morning before dawn, before the first bird thought to
Forgiveness!" she pleaded each spiral as it rose toward Forever.
didn't know that mercy rained lightly all around her-unheralded
and imperceptible. It slithered through her tangled
hair, giving fragrant memories to all the clouds of incense
she had lit in her anguish. Each
dawning happened thus, before sunrays had dried the dew.
an Embrace!" she fiercely demanded of the gods of romance and potent herbs
(secretly ashamed to be asking at all).
night, in her private dreams, she wove new stories of
embraced herself with inspiration and forgiveness.
the darkened chambers of the castle, whose tangled banner
was fielded with the stars of the night, Raven danced
her story-time after time, before the Nighthawks ceased
the all the days of the year, many more revelations fell
from the folds of Raven's dancing scarves as she folded and
re-folded each one, carefully matching all the corners and
every hem. Day
by day, the new notes formed melodies in which Raven bathed
her soul by eventide. The musical notes entwined themselves
into lacy nettings that captured Raven's spirit and caused
her to dance with more abandon to free herself from
such conquest. She struggled to recall the words spoken
to her by the graying Wizard (who had abruptly abandoned
the post). She wished that some unexpected and undesignated
day, no more troubles, deserved or undeserved, would fall
from the folds of her days with clattering fascination.
In that time,
she envisioned a new pathway of fate would beckon to her, through
the impossible atmosphere, which now filled her body with desperation. Her
human heart, she imagined, would spontaneously leap
forward without hesitation.and without a choreography!
"If all else
fails," she thought to herself, "I can rely on my role as Court
Jester-to-be and create a new path for myself, constructed
of feathers, silk threads, laughter, and the sounds of 1000
In her vision,
a new dance, not seen previously in the courts of the world,
A new song, never heard by souls in distress, could emerge, clean and
new story would write itself across the ages, and Raven
would be the only dancer able to perform it!
Ones, this you must know:
the very last eventide of the year,
Great Hall of the castle fell dark,
stars-though twinkling-remained cold and distant.
there 'round about her:
no cups of wine to salute the New Year in good cheer.
Raven quivered in strange anticipation.
she drew a feather-down comforter more closely about her body,
she allowed her eyes to close.
night-riding sounds of her seductive dance music spilled into
her mind once again.
New Year Everyone!" her lips sang in sensual silence.
thoughts were shaped by the musical rhythms of her soul as
Raven of the Night offered up wisps of her spirit to the moonlight.
his familiar hand slid through the strands of silken hair that
graced the nape of her neck,
deftly plaiting there his response:
New Year, my little bird."
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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
12-31-03 The New Year's
and My Muses: In Search of A Personal Style Part Three
suggest that “elevating Belly dance” to the
standards of western dance would be counter-productive
in the long-term rather than a valid goal for us to desire.
and My Muses: Everything Old Becomes New Again Section
1, Part Two
it was the ancient, exotic art of Belly dancing and my
fantasies of the bizarre life of a Belly dancer that
smoked incense into my heart.
and My Muses Part 1: Egyptian Mummy Lace or “Assiute
fastened around my hips a white Assuite cloth encrusted
with gold knots throughout, forming pictographs of falcons,
pyramids, crosses, and diamond shaped designs.
4-9-04 Who Died and Made
You Queen of Dance? by Najia Marlyz
This lack of background basic performing experience
would be unheard of and un-tolerated in any other dance
Review of Bellyqueen’s Bellydance Jam by
videography is still excellent, even in the darkened
Disastrous Experience at the New Luxor Restaurant in
South San Francisco! by Sadira
noticed patrons around us being brought drinks, and food, yet
not one waiter stopped by our table. In true Egyptian style she
was showered with dollar bills during her performance from both
men and women alike.