I saw my first burlesque show last spring. It was a long time coming. I live in a small town with a huge burlesque scene, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up at a show sooner or later. What I didn’t expect was the depth and meaning that I experienced at that first show.
That night it was all First Nations artists. The show was introduced by two First Nations elders who spoke about their own “coming out” and their journey around sexuality. They shared that before colonization their cultures had no shame around their bodies. They were free and comfortable with sex. They were playful and frisky! The arrival of European settlers changed all that.
The acts that I witnessed on stage that night were not only a sensual feast, they were a deep statement of reclamation and empowerment. My girlfriend and I were actually moved to tears more than once.
The second show I saw was a few months later. This time it was not a First Nations focus, but again it opened with the blessing of a First Nations elder. She spoke in the local Sinixt language and then translated. Before the acts came out, we were treated to a set of songs by a First Nations songwriter. It was so grounding and normalizing, and really set the intention for the evening: not just to get excited and turned on, but to celebrate sexuality and creativity as a positive force in our community.
As the evening unfolded, a light bulb went on in my head. Through freely expressing and celebrating our sexuality, we are literally transforming culture. This brought to mind the Achuar prophecy, which is similar to many other aboriginal people’s prophecy.
The Achuar people live in the Amazon rainforest. According to Achuar prophecy, we were once all one people on earth, but at one point we split into two: Eagle and Condor. The Eagle people are the non-aboriginal people, living in the modern world. The Condor are the native peoples. Both people carry unique gifts.
While the Eagles carry the gifts of intelligence, technology, economic and business prowess, the Condors carry the gifts of intuition, heart-centred intelligence, and body wisdom. The prophecy says that the two people must share and combine their gifts in order for the planet to survive.
Sitting at that second burlesque show I felt a sudden certainty – it is happening! The Achuar prophecy is coming true, here and now. Who would have thought that the prophecy would occur through the conscious honouring of sexuality? But why not? Where else are we most in the dark?
So much power is tied up in sexuality. So much repression and shutdown in the realm of sexuality is affecting us on so many levels. It affects how we think, act, and move. How we handle and utilize our sexual energy says everything about who we are as a society.
Here in this old repertory theatre in Nelson, BC, men and women are exposing themselves courageously on stage to show everyone how society is evolving. It may be an underground movement, but it is real and it is happening. It is beautiful!
Beyond all the oohs and aahs, the glitter and costumes, the spotlights and pizzazz, I had tears of being truly touched at a heart level. The new world is revealing itself. And who knows, maybe it’s time for me to take a burlesque class. Ooh la la!
Click here to read more about the Achuar prophecy.