High priestess Dawn Thompson hosts a dance party with a higher purpose
Spiritual practice can take many forms: singing hymns in a church, praying in a mosque or meditating in a yoga class. One might not include dancing in a bar on that list, but the “Shakti Shakedown” monthly event at Brothers Drake Meadery takes cues from sacred dance parties thrown by high priestesses in Ancient Egypt.
“They used the sexual energy of dance and trance,” said event organizer Dawn Thompson, a present-day high priestess who runs her Dawn of the New Era alternative, holistic health business out of her North Linden home. “‘Shakti' is the Hindu term for primal female energy. ... My vision is to release [that energy] in men and women.”
Prior to the dancing at each “Shakti Shakedown,” which returns Thursday, Oct. 19, attendees can expect anything from card readings to a full moon ritual to a drum circle. Then people hit the dance floor to a soundtrack of “spiritual yoga music,” followed by trap, which has drum and bass lines that encourage a trance-like state, Thompson said. The type of dancing ranges from free-flowing movement to “upside-down wall twerking.”
“People go, ‘That's not spiritual,'” Thompson said, and insisted sensuality is an often-forgotten aspect of spirituality. “There's an innocence about Shakti. … No one's hooking up.”
No one is drinking to get drunk, either, Thompson said. But she believes in the healing properties of some alcoholic beverages. “Ancient honey mead has the medicine of the honey bee in it, which is an ecstatic energy,” she said. “So honey mead is actually perfect for this party.”
Much to Thompson's delight, “Shakti Shakedown” has attracted barefoot people in “cosmic, yogi, shamanic gear,” who are really into her concept. However, she is just as thrilled about exposing the event to the “pristine Short North people” in the bar.
“It's good for them to see it because then it's planting seeds of freedom in their reality,” she said.
Finding her own freedom from trauma is what led Thompson to her spiritual practice. “I almost died giving birth to my daughter in 2005,” Thompson said. She explained that the experience led her to access a “sacred” part of her psyche, which she described as an “information center.”
She also grew up in an abusive household. “I think my path was to go through feeling totally alone through the abuse,” said Thompson, who eventually sought treatment — through therapies like trauma resolution, polarity therapy and Reiki — and trained to treat others. “I was able to transmute that suffering and become someone who can really help.”
“I want to empower people to stop looking to someone else to fix or heal them, which seems ironic because they're coming to me,” she said. “They come to me and then I teach them how to do it themselves.”