Thread that runs through its different interpretations is one of a "primordial" space, imperceptible substance, or element that makes all elements and physical senses possible.
In Buddhism. Akasha is described as the container within which the four ‘great elements’ of earth, water, fire, and air find expression. It can signify the mind in its natural state and also the container which allows that state to exist. (In the Abhidharma, Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism)
In Hindu Mysticism, Akasha denotes the First Principle from which all other "subtle principles" - the five human senses and four earthly elements - are created. Turn the LEDs on and the music up folks, because it is also responsible for all vibrations of light and sound. (Prasad, Rama. The Science of Breath and the Philosophy of the Tattvas, Translated from the Sanskrit, with Introductory and Explanatory Essays on Nature's Finer Forces.)
In traditional Hinduism, Akasha is known as "Space" or "Sky" and represents a 5th Element - space or the substratum of sound.
Modern Paganism reflects the echoes of the Eastern philosophies by also considering Akasha a 5th Element, The Spirit. Some accounts believe it is represented by the circle around the five points of the Pentagram Star - the element from which the other four are created. Others consider the 5th element Akasha the combination of all 4 elements put together.
In Western religious philosophy (Theosophy), the Sanskrit Akasha is used as an adjective in the terms "Akashic Records" and "Akashic Library," referring to an ethereal collection of all knowledge and history, known to many as the psychic record of all past lives.
Perhaps that is why so many of us call our gatherings "Hoop Church." Perhaps it is why so many of us are pulled into the circle for reasons we can't ever quite explain.
Rumi would say that when we dance within the circle, we mimic the movement of the entire universe and everything within it. That our turning gives tribute to how the physical world experiences existence.
I think that what I like about all this philosophical musing is that it is decidedly NOT just an exercise of the mind. Rather, it attempts to articulate the wonders of occupying a physical body and its senses within a world that defies our understanding.
In other words, when we dance within a circle, we create - if just for a few moments - our very own universe. And everything within it.
Why not take AKASHA into the hoop with you this week? In Sufism, a form of meditation is to repeat a word until it is so absorbed by the body that if you were to cut yourself, even a drop of your blood would speak the word. What if we step into the circle with thoughts of space and sound? What if we stopped seeking FLOW and realized we are already in it?