I was up north for a couple days. It took me 9 hours to drive home Sunday night, which was really testing my limits. I got home past 11 p.m., and even managed to stay awake driving home. Maybe because I hit rain most of the way, or all the accidents on the interstate.
I won't say why I was up there, other than it had to do with my spiritual health and renewal, and I came home extremely happy with how things went, and very excited and rejuvenated. I feel much better.
I would have liked to have left earlier in the day, but there were some anthropology students who insisted I talk with them as part of their thesis. It probably worked in my favor, because traffic might have been much worse it I left earlier.
The student doing the thesis is working on southeastern stomp dance music. Sort of studying music from the anthropological point of view. I don’t know if his major is music or anthropology, or both.
It seems to me that music affects us at a subconscious level. It is a major indicator of cultural identity. If we hear a certain style of music, we may immediately identify it with a certain culture.
Music plugs into our subconscious deeper than we suspect. A certain song may bring back a certain memory from the past. Our first date, or a happy or sad moment that we remember.
I will never forget the time in 1986, while I was being driven in a jeep to the hospital late at night. I was seriously hurt from a car wreck in the middle of nowhere. And playing on the radio was the song, "Highway to the Danger Zone" from the "Top Gun" soundtrack. Music can also be used to enhance our memory, and we can remember certain formulas or sequences by associating music.
I have a poor memory, but for some reason after over 30 years, I can still remember without flaw, "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun" that make up a Big Mac at McDonalds. Why the hell is that?
I love music. All kinds. It helps us with meditation, spirituality, and can make our mind function on a level where our innate psi abilities can work.
For the past couple years I have noticed that I have this strange ability to remember where I left off listening to music at the subconscious level. I'll explain. I listen to most of my music while driving. I get to my driving destination, like work, turn off the motor, and hardly even notice what song was playing on my CD player in the car. I will come back to the car at the end of the day, after eight hours of work, and start to play a song in my head. I will start the car and turn on the music, and it will be the exact song that I was reviewing in my head. My subconscious mind knew exactly where I left off listening to the music.
I believe that Southeastern Stomp Dance Music is clearly a cultural identifier for the Seminoles. Whatever gripe I may have against them for losing their culture, or poor customer service that they are known for, it all seems to become meaningless once the dancing starts. Once I join in a stomp dance, it seems that all the problems vanish, and we are suddenly transported across time and space. When we stomp dance, it feels like we are back at the mounds or in the Square Grounds of old. At least that is the feeling that I get.
The Seminoles today are very different from those of the 1950s, 60s, and even 70s. They have been undergoing many changes, and not all appear good. But once the dancing begins it all seem right once more. The stomp dancing is the cultural identity that protects and preserves the culture. And it binds together all of us.
Once the music and dancing begins, just like they have been done for thousands of years, the world seems right once more.
Some Stomp Dance videos on Youtube:
1954 Florida Folk Festival:
Short on Creek/Seminole Stomp Dancing (music does not match the dances in the pictures, but you get the idea.)