Being Human, being Badger

This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Actually, it’s a bit of a dodge because the Englishman Philip Carr-Gomm, head of one of the modern Druid Orders, is quoting a famous Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi, about being human, when I had promised to blog next about BADGERS.

One of my fellow Arch Druids of the Reformed Druids of North America recently brought to my attention the Honey Badger. It has been on the Internet recently with this slogan–

Honey badger is known for its thick skin and its taste for venomous puff adders and wasp larvae. It is a symbol of both endurance and tolerance. To get through ‘this being human’, we need to cultivate our inner honey badger sometimes.

I am living in what is known as The Badger State, Wisconsin USA. Those ‘badgers’ were actually the rowdy, Cornish immigrant miners who ousted the local Native population in order to gouge out open pits for lead ore, fueling the munitions industry that led to US independence from the Crown. They were lead poisoned and brain-damaged and drunkenly belligerent and beat strangers and their own families indiscriminately; hence they became known as ‘badgers’. Our state took the local mustelid for a mascot. That is how we transmuted darkness into a plucky red and white shirted sports icon. In the spirit of aerobics I will show you the ‘Badger dance’, which has the potential to help keep nerds and geeks trapped in cubicles from developing too much body fat due to their metabolism switching of from inactivity.

The original dance has spawned many re-enactment videos which can be seen on Youtube. The three basic ‘katas’ or positions, used in techno clubs around the globe now, are ‘badger,’, ‘mushroom’, and ‘snake’.

Here is a terribly murky clip of the Milwaukee duo The Gothsicles leading the Badger Dance live.

One rises from one’s ergonomic chair, bounces with arms out to the sides either upon the balls of the feet or at the knee or both, then when the interlude ‘mushroom, mushroom’ is reached, one keeps legs still and creates a ‘cap’ with the arms.

For the third, ‘snake’ kata, there are two schools of thought. One is the walk to left and right with one’s limbs making suggestive diagonals. I prefer to bend at the waist with hands in an elevated prayer posture while gently jogging in place, symbolizing retreat from the ‘snake’.

However you perform it, the Badger Dance promotes both endurance and humor. It is both simple and silly. That is why it is suitable for humans.

To bring this post full circle, you will note that the Neolitihic chalk monument Carr-Gomm favors, above, could be doing this dance. The Mevlevi Order founded by the Sufi saint Rumi is also known for meditation dancing. Theirs is solemn whirling in place, meant to connect the practitioners, as well as the audience, with the ‘music of the spheres’. source:

This Soul gardening of ours is based upon the coming to grips with that larger universe, and its ‘Astro-Weather’, is it not? Dancing and moving is an essential part of achieving this understanding.


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