By Londiwe Gamedze
I have discovered a portal. Countless others have accessed it before me, but for it to be real, I had to go in myself. I use a little ganja to lubricate the passage- just a tiny bit. I make my rituals and I approach the portal, feel its pull on me, a tug that beckons. When I get close enough, all I have to do is make my body limp and let go and it pulls me into its whirling wonder; into unknowable space.
I loosen up like a gymnast or a diver before a competition: shaking my wrists, stretching my neck, rolling my shoulders. Then I sway my torso to the music; one shoulder forward, one back. I keep my lower half completely still; feet, legs, hips, and move my torso, loosely, back and forth. I pop the beat with my chest, gently, shoulders two at a time. My body moves smoothly still getting into it, letting it get into me. I bend my knees and sink my weight into my root chakra; my spine long and tall, my tailbone heavy, and I swing my hips- oiling out the creaking. I let my spine wiggle, sway, governed by my core. I hear a vertebrae or two make a pop. I let my arms drop, floppy, moving only in response to the rest of my body which is now drenched in the music- a layer of honey. My feet will feel the magic when I am all in. Soon.
I take a big, quiet breath. Letting it out, I melt, eyes closed, into the pulse of the song. And I know that it is only my mental openness that allows me to transcend this plane. I begin to move in the way I am moved; begin to sweat, ignoring most of the lyrics and probably smiling blissfully. Slowly, I feel it. I am close, at the edge of the portal. I feel its draw. A low ringing sound below, or above, or through, everything, makes itself known to my mind. It’s been there the whole time. I soothe the sparks of fear I feel from the sublime feeling of infinite empty space that balloons out from my head to eternity when I close my eyes, like I’m gently lifting off the ground. My body now moves not of its own accord but by what I channel from out there. I know that people call this a trance, but I don’t want to name it.
I love this Joburg dancehall: a dark throng of thousands, raw Jamaican beats, thick-thighed twerkers jiggling their jelly in headstands and splits onstage, and the clouds of ganja smoke hanging above our heads. I come here alone, though it’s arguably an odd place for a mystic experience. I love the music and I love to dance alone in an ocean of energy. I don’t have to care about anyone else’s comfort, what time they want to go home, if they want to leave the dance floor to get a drink, or sit down, or chat to a love interest. I drink it all in, bask in it. The kinetico-spiritual energy of a thousand dancers, circulating my own into the mix, with no spoken conversation, just bodies and their radiances. A high beyond highs that keeps me coming back.
But when I let go into the portal, I open myself to the universe, an hourglass angel submerged in and subject to infinity. As I dance, releasing myself into the cosmos, within this soup of swirling energies, a halo of men forms around me.:real bodies each sending his unique energy in my direction. I notice each new presence like a coloured shadow standing in front of a light source, some darker and some lively, lighter, energies that would attract me like a bee to a bright flower, if I was here to gather pollen.
But jamming up from the encroaching vibrations, my frequency and connection to the great spirit start to weaken, and I am forced to alter my circumstances. I don’t need to look around to know where the energy streams from; the energy that interferes with my own, that makes an object of me- a dancing girl- alone.
“She must be here to dance with me.” “Who does she think she is?””I want her.” “What a freak.” “Hippy hip hopper.” “Maybe she’ll notice me.”“Who is she here with?” “She’s a tease; I hate teases.”
With a glance, my eyes merely confirm what my spirit knows. So I move, I dance away into the crowd and take up a new spot, staking out my ground.
I dance one dance with two partners. I dance with the great spirit which gently disintegrates my ego and leads me by the body into its ecstasies. And I dance with the thousand earth-bound energies here, all together in their surging billows. As I am absorbed into the universe’s dance, my plural physical partner watches and waits, dancing with jealousy and intrigue, their thoughts, louder and louder wresting me from my meditation. My mind returns reluctantly to their plane and I dance with them, flowing myself away, away, away, to meet again the love that objectifies me by reducing me to a purest, unthinking spirit.
Photography by Londiwe Gamedze