Amplification: The Dance

Dances in the churches survived into the Middle Ages. They were originally in a three-step rhythm and were dances sometimes in the coir and sometimes along the maze, which in itself is an abstraction of a dance pattern, a movement to the centre or heart of an image and the return to the periphery again. A dance goes 'into' and comes 'out of'. But by the twelfth century these dances had degenerated into something like the Roman saturnalia and were dismissed first from the church to the churchyard, and finally by the thirteenth century in England were forbidden in the churchyard.
Dance became not only secular but totally desacralised. It was associated with the dark underside of religion, with witches and the devil, who was remarkably like Pan with his human torso, his cloven hooves, goat beard and horns and animal eyes. It was lost to us as a sacred form, and perhaps it is this loss that was restored to my patient in the image of the dark eyed woman dancing so joyously on the delicate cloven hooves separated only by the permeable living membrane.