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  • Writer's pictureTamara Gabbard

Dancing Ecstatic with the Moon

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Sometimes when we are searching for answers we find gifts.

Sometimes these gifts are in the forms of people. This is how I would explain getting to know Elissa Eskridge -- a gift. The pandemic forced me to indulge in online community -- as it did to most anyone who likes to talk about things that matter and laugh and play with other humans -- and once I surrendered to this, I started building beautiful, unexpected, healing relationships with women just like me.

In my beautiful friend Meg Sweeten’s Soul Cabin -- an online healing space for rekindling women's wisdom(summer registry coming soon) -- I met Chelsea Hanawalt of Allow the Sun who is an extremely wise maiden that continuously brings awareness to human rights and equality every chance she gets. She also does some seriously magical Embodied Card Readings & Reiki sessions that you can book on her website and is a proud member of the Journey Theater Project NYC.

A few weeks before I met her, I was experiencing visions of a small crescent moon accent. I would see it on walls, in the river, some in my dreams -- like a back corner of the eye kind of thing. When I first met Chelsea, she was wearing a circle pendant that the light hit in a way to give the illusion of exactly what I was seeing. I just brushed it off because, well, I felt like my mind was playing tricks.

Then she lifted her wrist, and there it was, tattooed right there, that crescent moon. This crescent moon led me to Elissa, Chelsea’s bestie and has the same vision tattooed on her wrist. And now, I am an unofficial member of their moon club. Haha. that is me. . . “I want to be part of your moon club, too,” is basically how that went.

Actual footage of my Soul Gangsta Moon Club Initiation

Nonetheless, since I met her, the vision vanished (as they do when you find the ‘X’ on these mapped-out soul journeys).

What I find even more magical is her vibe. It is so penetrating and positive. It lifted me out of a serious, depleting energy block that I knew existed, but didn’t know how to even begin to approach. I have to be honest, I judge myself so hard. So hard" in fact, that I closet many of my spiritual gifts and moments of happiness because I am always worrying about what others are going to think. (This is not easy to admit -- it is crippling) Doctors tell me it's anxiety, I call it learning how to deal with my shit.

Her short presence in my life and her energy made me aware that I am putting judgment on others subconsciously, which was reflecting right back at me and making me shut the door on that closet -- Elissa pried it open and I started stepping out, one sway of the hip at a time.

"I love the community and people I connect with through this work. It really has been life-changing for me and I hope for the lives of others as well."
Elissa E.

I found my love for dancing again. I also found my emotional attachment to the things that I appreciate and love to do. That’s the magic, the bleed-in into other areas of your life -- it’s kinetic.

I always experience this knot in my throat when I feel like people are looking at me; when I am enjoying myself. It’s the weirdest thing and that anxiety, I realized, is an actual energy block and the only way to rid myself of it is to just fucking do that thing anyway. Well, I did. My thing is dancing.

I went out to the beach and put my headphones in. I started meditating as the sun warmed my skin. The energy forced me to my feet. It was about 9 am on a Friday. I just started dancing, right there on the beach -- in my mom-bod stuffed bikini. Tears were rolling down my face and the lump in my throat loosened. That fear-knot was literally melting down my cheeks -- salty, weepy fear.

At one point the insecurity tried to creep in. I opened my eyes slowly thinking I was being laughed at. Actually, not one person was on the beach. I was alone in my paranoia. So, I shut my eyes and danced even harder.

WHO KNEW. . . well a lot of people do, I am just late to the party. But hey, better late than never.

Or just maybe, I am right on time. Right on time to make sure that I am fulfilling my Moon Light Dance Release tonight Starting at 5:45 for her Ecstatic Dance Fire Full Moon Event. (you can sign up right there to join us!)

Maybe you need to see this and hear it. Maybe you want to join or had this experience before…I would love to hear your thoughts.

I feel like this Summer is my transition, me giving myself permission to fully enter into Mother -- and what a delight. That crescent waning/waxing vision brought me into full-light of myself to explore and stop ignoring. The message is shared and received. Even though moving and becoming a single mom, I feel relieved.

Elissa’s magic is best experienced in shared space, so I will attempt to share some of it here. I asked her a few questions about her life, love, and dance. I wanted to dig deeper into who she is and how she does what she does. These words are only a sandbar lining the ocean of amazing she puts into this world. I know this and I have never met her outside of the cloud… We are just floating bodies on a screen passing energy between one another in the best way -- a soulful way.

TG: How would you describe your work?

EDF: The easiest way for me to describe my work is “soul expression.” As a facilitator of Ecstatic Dance, it is important for me to create a safe space for an individual or group to better understand oneself through dance. The whole experience of being human is challenging, but nonverbal safe spaces allow us to dive deep within to find connections and the ability to express our individual/collective truths.

TG: What got you started in Ecstatic Dance?

EDF: Ecstatic Dance is another word for conscious dance. To me, conscious or consciousness is the direct channel to source, to creativity, and/or to the divine. Ecstatic Dance or conscious dance is like a prayer/gratitude/recognition of this life in relation to others. Really any form of dance can be considered conscious dance.

To answer your question more simply, I would have to say it was my mom who really got me started in Ecstatic Dance or conscious dance because she gave me the modality, space, to do so at a very young age.

I recently fell into the more modern Ecstatic Dance community during the beginning of the pandemic. While searching for what I could offer my communities, I came across Bernice Raabis from Dance the Medicine. She has become a great mentor and also comes from the PNW (Pacific North West), which is my original stomping grounds.

TG: What is it that you love about this work?

EDF: I love the community and people I connect with through this work. It really has been life-changing for me and I hope for the lives of others as well. I recently wrote down a manifesto and I wanted to share it here:

“My dance, my fire, my shadows are welcome. Your dance, your fire, your shadows are welcome. We conspire together. We root down together. I call to my tribe and to my community. I ask you to take a leap of faith into the unknown. To not be afraid. To step forward from the shadows into the light. To allow the fire to burn. To let the dance connect you to the earth and the heavens. Come as you are with all that you are. I welcome you. Together as One.”

TG: How did you end up in Costa Rica?

EDF: I was living in Brooklyn, NY with my theater company, and I got this strong calling to go down to the jungle with my cousin and a buddy of ours. I said, “fuck it!”, I quit my job because I was working a horrible restaurant job in midtown Manhattan, I sublet my apartment, I paused my training to become a black belt, and I flew down to Costa Rica for three months. I went from the concrete jungle to the real jungle and I fell in love, not just with the jungle but with my partner who I’ve been with for over four years now.

He is the real reason I ended up in Costa Rica but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

TG: What are your plans for the post-pandemic?

EDF: I plan to travel!!! I imagine more Ecstatic Dance, more in-person gatherings, communities coming together all over the world, but I also plan to ground down here in Costa Rica. I’m getting ready to offer more Ecstatic Dance experiences out in nature. Connecting people around fire, teaching primitive skills and art. My partner and I plan to buy land and build our dream home in the mountains of Costa Rica. The future is open to many beautiful possibilities but I am grateful right now to be here reflecting and connecting with you…

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