Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh, Canada! Myth and Magic at the Winter Olympics

I loved, just loved, the Spirit Bear rising up from the dark, illuminated against the stars, and each star was a different human being. Together they formed a great constellation of light, joined in peace.

...and did you see the Pacific Northwest totem art displayed on the floor? Glorious.

I loved the wild fiddle playing (that boat! the moon!) and the exuberant Celtic tap dancing (where did they find that guy?) and the blessing from the First Peoples (or as much as I could hear. Hey, announcer guys, would you talk over a prayer?)

I would like a week, at least, to examine those ritual dancing outfits. I adored the slam poetry and reveled in the color and light from those amazing screens. We saw giant whales swimming across that stadium floor and mountain peaks rising up to the top of the dome. (How on earth did they do that? it looked 3-D, like something out of Avatar.)

Best of all, they gave all the people in the stadium drums, the whole stadium, drumming. Can you imagine that? Don't you wish you'd been there?

Let us also admire the gentle courtesy of our Canadian hosts who invited the athletes to march in and sit down early so that they, too, could enjoy the show and the wise decision to honor and mourn the young man who lost his life that day.

The opening ceremonies in China, while impressive (thousands of drummers and dancers all performing in unison, 40 million dollars spent on that one night alone) were awesome in the original sense of that word and were also pretty much along the lines of "I have a great big tonker!" In contrast, the Canadian ceremonies were about the love these folks have for their land, their people, their history and their culture. They were offered to us on a much more human scale. It's been noted that the Canadian ceremonies were about the individual more than the group. I would add that many of these images were about the individual's relationship with the water, the sky, the creatures and landscape of this amazing country. The director got his wish; he made me realize how little I actually know about Canada (even though I've been there many times) and how much more there is to know about this wonderful place.

Thank you, Canada. We love you.

...we're gonna kick your a%#


Related Articles:

Totem Moon: Encounters with Native Art of the Pacific Northwest

Inukshuk: Native American Emblem of the Canadian Winter Olympics

Rythm Animals: Spirit Drumming and Sacred Beats

I Learn By Going (spirt bear)


Joanna Powell Colbert said...

An absolutely perfect article - it sums up exactly what I thought and felt. Thank you!

Susan said...

Yes, as a Canadian expat I do wish I had been there! I loved it all,too but I was afraid it was mostly homesickness, so thanks, Sia. k.d. lang still has it going on, doesn't she?

Anonymous said...

yes, there was some great pagan imagery in that ceremony--and I was SO jealous of all that group drumming! Makes me so hopeful to see so many different people included in this event and hopeful, too, that more people are opening up to a pagan or indigenous perspective.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're back.

I was in a restaurant with friends when the snow started falling on the screen and the shaman walked out. The sound was off but most of us sat and watched, out mouths agape at the amazing scene the unfurled before us. I can't wait to see it again. And hear it.

Thanks for the reminder...