Old and New
Old Traditions and New Apotheosis
by Nelly Mazloum
Nelly Mazloum, “la grande dame” of Egyptian Dance, was active in the Cairo dance scene in the 50’s and 60’s. She has been living in Greece for many years. The following is an exerpt from her book, “Oriental Dance Technique.”
Woman is the Eternal Goddess. This realization must become part of our culture. If man is the symbol of Positive power, woman remains forever the symbol of the Great Mother: she is the feminine energy which receives and reconciles, which conceives and recreates.
But woman also is what she chooses to be when she is prepared to take the responsibility for it. The feminine touch must always remain in the heart and body of a woman, no matter how free and intelligent and enterprising she might be. A woman who remains close to the spirit of her real nature and uses this power without being used by it, can integrate herself in a man’s world with less friction and more respect.
Oriental Dance is a catalyst for self-made women who work hard and think straightforwardly. They need this sort of physical flexibility which will relax their nervous systems and keep their bodies sensitive to their individual natures without allowing them to become physically weak.
Since childhood we have been taught that it takes a man to rule the world. This is only part of the truth. It needs a man and a woman plus something else to make this world a place of harmony and peace. This something extra is usually missed in the thinking of our generation, but the woman of the New Age can become capable of bringing this large plus into the world.
Love itself is not enough, neither is it enough to gain social and economic independence, or know how to fight only to succumb to violence and treat the world with bitterness. It is not by giving up our true function in life nor by struggling to be free of men while feeling defeated by their lack of presence in our lives, that we shall know freedom. We must grow and mature spiritually. We must reconcile the feminine and masculine aspects of ourselves into a unified whole, a unity which the times demand. We are rushing into a new millenium where technical inventions will surely blur the human element, and woman must be ready to defend and preserve life, she must be ready to share her creativity with man without losing her consciousness in the work she needs to do as the Great Mother. She is the one who embraces ALL kinds of love, and expands her sensitivity to include the ability to protect and relate to all living things, without losing her capacity to think and to Be.
It is essential to realize that sexual independence is not the end-all of our struggle for liberation. Indiscrimination in sexual indulgence winds up by stunting instead of expanding our spiritual capacity for love. We must learn to be sensitive to our body and understand its language, to decipher its code and help it to express the best in ourselves. Certainly there are no preordained or prearranged roles for people; the world is a moving, breathing, living organism and all of us must rise to help it evolve and flourish, so that it survives as a dynamic organic whole.
Women, being creatures of reception and intuition, have already felt the terrible menace of technological progress and nuclear science, and dread the outcome of these sciences should they allow us to forget that the fruits of such experiments should serve and never oppress humanity. These premonitions have long preoccupied the women of the New Age and something in their soul has already rebelled. They know that progress and science, without consciousness, can lead to a Nuclear Holocaust. They instinctively know that the right to live and love and seek happiness depends on their creativity and ability to remain steadfast to their true natures. They must learn to develop a transformed wisdom which harmonizes the needs of womanhood with a creativity and individuality which is invested with a will to love and protect the tender and the beautiful.
It is time to think in terms of unity, and to be unified means we must learn to integrate the mind, heart and body. We cannot afford to ignore the body in favor of the mind. The body must take its place on the right hand of the spirit and be united with the mind and heart in the act of living. We must cease, once and for all, to condemn the body and vilify it as secondary, or as an instrument of evil and sin. The body is expressed in the spirit and divinity is expressed in the body. It is high time they are treated as an indivisible whole owing their existence to a single Creator.
Reprinted by permission of the author. Published by Astir, Athens, Greece, 1992. For more information, contact Nelly Mazloum, 57 Aristotelous str., Athens, Greece.