Caroling, Sacred Hymn circle-dancing, led by a Choreogos with a Flute, was a practice of the early Catholic Christians. The practice goes back to the Greek worship of Helios Kouros and Rhoda, Krishna and Radha and Their Master of Divine Love Mysteries, Lord Bala-Deva (the Original Dionysos) on Their Sacred Isle of Rhodes. The Jewish Sacred Hora Circle Dance is also related to the Vaishnava Rasa Lila Dance of Radha-Krishna, and Baladeva and His Gopis (Cowherd Girls). The first Catholic Christians accepted Jesus as the Greek IASAS Asclepios, the Egyptian Great Physician Serapis INCARNATE. Thus they understood Him to be Lord Bala-Deva, the true Dionysos, the sole Master and Initiator into the Divine Love Mysteries of Rhoda-Kouros of Rhodes. With the early travels of humanity, one can trace the diffusion of this primal and universal Tradition of Divine Love Mysteries from pre-historic evidence around the World. Please see my facebook Album on the Rasa Lila Dance Tradition World-wide. See the youtube videos that I posted on the related sacred Circle Dance Traditions. All Glories to the Lord of the Dance!
When, from 1980 to 1983, I was doing the musicology portion of my PLE and Independent Studies Degree work, at the Catholic Marylhurst College (University) in Lake Qswego, Oregon, USA, I updated my previous research into the history and theology of Catholic CAROLING, going all of the way back to the pre-historic worship of Rhoda-Kore (Radha) and Helios Kouros (Krishna) on Their Sacred Lotus (Nymphia) Island of Rhodes in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Related to this research I also did a musical and theological comparison of Gaudiya-Tradition related Vaishnava Hymns, with European High Church Hymnology, and my studies of American Negro Spirituals. As part of all this I did vocal performances of all three types of Sacred Music, with some of the Bhajans and Spirituals accompanied by my own piano arrangements of the same. At the time I had a repertoire of over 100 such pieces, which I used to play in public at the ecumenical religious services that I conducted and participated in.
Lord of the Dance – This beautiful tune was adapted and arranged from a traditional shaker melody by Sydney Carter back in 1963. Of course the title and music was also used in the world-famous Michael Flatley Production for the 1996 Irish Musical “Lord of the Dance”.
The lyrics (simple gifts) and music of this Shaker dance song were originally written back in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. It became an extremely popular American folk tune and was used by Aaron Copland in his famous Appalachian Spring symphony in 1955.
In this recording, Denise Hewitt is playing a Technics SX-PR60 Electronic Piano. The title photo is of the magnificent Sunset from Hopi Point on the South Rim – Grand Canyon – taken by Denise during April 2006.
Lord of the Dance – Lyrics – Sydney Carter ***
(1) I danced in the morning when the world was young
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun
I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth
Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he
(2) I danced for the scribes and the Pharisees
They wouldn’t dance, they wouldn’t follow me
I danced for the fishermen James and John
They came with me so the dance went on
(3) I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They ripped, they stripped, they hung me high
Left me there on the cross to die
(4)I danced on a Friday when the world turned black
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body, they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on
(5) They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that will never, never die
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me
I am the Lord of the dance, said he
*** Simple Gifts – Original Shaker Lyrics ***
Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be out delight
‘Till by turning, turning we come round right.