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Archive -> Autobiography -> ‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 50 Page 168-170



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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 50 Page 168-170

Reflection on causes of conflict
1912 or 1937??
….And gradually there entered into my consciousness a realisation that here was no dead ceremonial but that overlaid as it was by modern ideas, by a mechanised way of living, this was still a live vibration, a vehicle for cosmic forces, a channel down which life giving creative power could flow. A power to create by dance and gesture, a vortex of power which, if misused, could become evil and destructive.

…..Then I asked myself why had this bitterness, this hate, this unexpected controversy happened.

And realising that this ceremonial rhythm was still alive and vibrating I suddenly understood. I had quite innocently and quite unintentionally broken the law of a cosmic ritual, I had put women into a masculine rhythm when

I had girls taught to dance the Morris dances and sword dances.

Anyone sensitive to rhythm who has seen the Dirk Dance danced at the Albert Hall by a youth from the Isle of Man will understand what I mean.

And I remembered that almost at the moment that the first revived dance was danced by my girls began the militant suffrage movement which eventually gave women the vote. Mr. Sharp was violently opposed to the emancipation of women, I was in favour of it and again I am now convinced that the controversy between us was, at the bottom, of a much deeper significance than I had any idea of then.

And as time goes on I see more and more clearly that the failure of so many of our hopes of what the emancipation of women would bring to the race is accounted for by the fact that so much of women’s life and work is founded on a masculine rhythm and misses its real significance.

And the feminine ceremonial and gesture by which a channel is made for the flow of cosmic force is lost and until it is either re-discovered or another is created, that loss will never be made good….

Only when men and women equally are in possession of their own essential masculinity and femininity will the

race attain its full stature and power.


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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 50 Page 168-170