Physical Movement

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”

― Nietzsche, Friedrich, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The body and mind are connected. Moving one moves the other. There is a simple, but almost magical, power to physical ges­tures. For example, standing with your arms extended at your sides, with your palms facing outward (a common stance used during Pagan rituals), can cause you to feel more open, less guarded, more connected to the physical world and the other people around you. Try it out, and compare how you feel as you turn your palms first outward, then inward. As you turn your palms inward, you may feel your sense of awareness, which had previously extended outward, being drawn back into the physi­cal boundary of your skin.

Words can have power, especially spoken words. But in rit­ual, the power of words can be inversely proportional to their number. Generally, the wordier a ritual, the less powerful it is. This is how poetry, by saying less, says more. Gestures, pos­tures, and other movements can be a kind of physical poetry. Move­ment, in a ritual context, can have a profound psychologi­cal ef­fect, demonstrating the unity of the body and mind.

Below is a ritual which uses only gestures for calling the ele­mental quarters. You can add words, but try doing just the move­ment first. Of course, if these particular gestures don’t work for you, you can substitute your own. It’s not the gestures themselves that are magic, but the way they make you feel.

Updated 2019