11 Comments

  1. Bryce:

    I don’t have any particular insights into the dances, but I want to verify that there are many astonishing correlations and parallels of Greek Orthodox practice with LDS practice. We need someone of the stature of Nibley (I know that is asking too much) to do a thorough analysis of these correlations and parallels. I am convinced there is a gold mine of findings yet to be discovered.

  2. Kevin Harris

    Most of my extensive knowledge of Greek customs and traditions comes from the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Now that I’ve read your article, I find it very interesting that in that film they do perform a circle dance with everyone holding hands during the wedding festivities.

    Another random thought: A circle dance is performed around a tree at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

  3. Taking another look, the dancing around the tree doesn’t look like it was part of the original Dr. Seuss book, so Geisel might not have had a hand in it. The cartoon was an adaptation by Chuck Jones. Wikipedia notes, “One major addition to the narration is a description of the noise-making Whos on Christmas morning.”

  4. Bryce,

    Looking for cross-cultural connections to the Greek tradition, we almost immediately happen upon the May Pole traditions of Western Europe. This is yet another ring dance with correlations to the Greek tradition and my thesis of the Polar Configuration. According to scholars, its cosmological overtones are indisputable. The fixation of a “center place” in the European traditional ring dances, connected by streamers to each participant as they weave in and out in opposite directions, is strongly reminiscent of the “mountain” imagery of scripture, also cosmological. It’s also connected to the traditional and cultural spiral stairway called “Jacob’s Ladder,” seen as the path to heaven, part of ascension tradition. The spiral stairways in our early temples, I affirm, echo that same tradition. It is closely related to the Hieros Gamos, Greek for “holy marriage,” or in our lexicon, “temple marriage,” where the participants huddle in a circle around the central couple. The Native American ring dances are yet another cultural variation on a cosmological theme common to almost every ancient culture, again invoking astral gods. I could go on, but I think this should be sufficient to make my point. And that is: The circular arrangement of sacred ritual and rite is universal, common to all ancient cultures. It’s not limited to this or that ancient tradition; it’s related to all ancient tradition. That Joseph Smith should reinstate this element within our sacred rites is further evidence of his authenticity as a prophet.

  5. Lee

    Bryce, This was loaded with significant correlations to the temple. One more example of how the temple was known everywhere but was lost in the mists of time and the traditions of men.

  6. D Thorpe

    Dr. Huge Nibley wrote that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe that their temple mysteries, (ordinances), go way back into primitive history, and that they are as old as the human family. Furthermore, they represent “a primordial revealed religion that has passed through alternate phases of apostasy and restoration which have left the world littered with the fragments of the original structure…” Some fragments “are more and some less recognizable, but all badly damaged and out of proper context.” (Dr. Huge Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, an Egyptian Endowment, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1975), explanation p. xxi).

    With this in mind, what are we to also make of art works show Aztecs were doing?

    http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/borgia/img_page39.html
    http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/borgia/page39.jpg

    It’s also interesting to note that we can find these rituals in the art works, and traditions of later Indian tribes, such as those among the Mayans, Aztecs, and the Hopi Indians.

    Maria—Gabriele Wosien, 1974, Sacred Dance, Encounter with the Gods, (New York, New York: Thames and Hudson, 19 86), pp. 26—29, see also figure 34, and pp. 124—25, figure 73; E. Cecil McGavin, Mormonism and Masonry, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1947), pp. 178, 180, & 182. Tedlock, Popol Vuh, p. 146; Churchward, The Signs and Symbols Of Primordial Man, p. 331, fig. 134, —A; Compton, By Study and Also By Faith, Vol. 1, chapter 24, The Handclasp and Embrace as Tokens of Recognition, pp. 636— 37, note 54, mentioning Frank Waters, The Book of the Hopi (New York: Viking Press, 1963), p. 252. Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, see the chapter on Early Christian Prayer Circles.

    Joseph Campbell, Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, color plate 4 between pp. 108 & 109. Krishna Dances with the Cowherdesses, India, 17th century. A couple consisting of a female and male, join with other couples in a circular dance holding each others hands.

    Krishna Chaitanya, Arts Of India, (Hauz Khas, New Delhi: Shakti Malik, Abhinav Publications, first published in India, 1987), fig. 58. Ras Lila, Krishna’s dance with the maidens is similar to the Aztec circular one. In both of these, they raise their hands up and touch each others’ hands in these circles. In the middle of these circles are three figures too. Terracotta, Bengal, 18th century A.D. carving in stone. See also plate XXXIX. Kalamkari temple wall-hanging depicting Ras Lila. And the circular dance.

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