Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Last updated: Apr 21, 2024

The body is the Tabernacle and theosoma—the body that belongs to God. This body is always being moved by something.

If we surrender to God, then it is through His grace alone that these strings can become golden strings which are ultimately pulled by Him or His Holy Spirit. This is not possible through works alone, but only through faith (trust), and even then it’s all in God’s hands whether this boon of grace is granted.

So in butoh we are always “being moved.” Perfect. Herein rests the koan—that by offering ourselves as vessels, puppets, or slaves to God, we become free.

Who is the audience, the witness to the offering of this body? God, angels, and neighbor.

Love Dust

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

In Theokinesis, our bodies are love dust, enlivened by the boundless love of our Heavenly Father. Forged from the very essence of Love itself, it is our divine calling to embody and radiate this foundational love in every aspect of our existence. With all that we possess, including the fullness of our physical being, we are to engage in acts of love, allowing our every action to be a testament to the love with which we were created.

With every cell of our body, we praise and worship God, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Theokinesis Bodies

Though the body really can enter into anything it wishes to enter and be called the so and so Body, there are specific bodies that are more often utilized. These bodies can also intermix with each other.

8 Bodies
Orans Body

At the very heart of our kinesthetic expression of love, prior to any other action we might consider, is the orans. From the orans comes the universal gesture of the hug which is a simultaneous offering and acceptance of love. In endless near death experience reports, Jesus is waiting for one with outstretched arms.

In Theokinesis, the orans is the foundational body that engages all the other bodies. The orans is often observed in Christian art and iconography as someone with arms raised or stretched out, oriented outwards, expressing prayer and adoration.

Weak Body

Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

Corinthians 11:29

The weak or sick body is the humble body which is the complete opposite of the pride body. The weak body has associations with the seraphic wing of Shadow but can also show up in Jest.

Ash Body

I am reduced to dust and ashes.

Job 30:19

The foundational standing position in Theokinesis is the ash body, possibly the most recognized position in butoh dance theatre. When it animates, it either becomes the ash walk—a body that walks as if it were an ash pillar—or a hairsplittingly slow dance.

Clouded Body

What distinguishes butoh from any other movement form such as mime or interpretive dance is that butoh is not concerned with necessarily 100% communicating what is happening internally. Dancers cloud the body and so let themselves move in abstraction, dreamscape, or stream of consciousness. This dreambodiment does not mean that onlookers will not have the opportunity (by God’s grace only, not through works) to feel the Holy Spirit.

We can distinguish between two clouded body states: (1) Worldly and (2) Godly.


In the worldly clouded body, our dance is in constant resonance/reverence for God’s creation—the vast multitude of life’s differentiations or worlds that hit us at every moment. We are moved by them. We do not move ourselves. In this way, we engage with a dance of the tamed ego. Everything we are moved by comes with a sense of gratitude.

But most importantly, the things we ought to resonate with are those things we sense bring us closer to God, not further away from him.

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Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883)

Discard every created thing and every rational activity, if possible, and raise your heart above all things to God alone. The time has come for you to neglect your own works and conceptions and everything else except this naked intent stretching in desire toward God. Do nothing, neither understandings nor sweet affections nor sensible imaginings nor anything else. Nothing. Cover it up with a thick cloud of forgetting.

The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous (14th c.)

In the Godly Clouded Body, we take inspiration from the quote above. The same concept is present in John of the Cross’s night of sense. We envelop everything in a veil, directing our focus solely on God. Movement may not be possible but should one feel guided to move as a vessel of God, then one should follow the impulse.

Water Body

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

John 7:38

As modern humans, we have a tendency to use more effort than is needed to engage in movement. If we learn to surrender or let things flow more, our bodies will thank us. Noguchi Taiso is one such movement discipline that evokes the effortless body by drawing upon fluidity (water), gravity, strings, and impulses. Gravity is not fought against, but embraced. Our bodies are viewed as water bags.

Michizo Noguchi (the founder) at times gave workshops at Hijikata’s Asbestos studio.2 There are various butoh dancers who use Noguchi as their main conditioning method.

In Theokinesis, water possesses inherent cleansing properties. However, to achieve a deeper purification, one must surrender to God. Through God’s grace alone can this water be transformed into holy water. This transformation is not attained through works, but solely through faith and trust, yet even then, it’s still in God’s hands.

So the whole process is not only about allowing ease and nurture in our movements but also about nourishing our soul and spirit.

The water body is closely associated with one of the 6 fiery feathers (or movement patterns): sway/wave.

Air Body

This body is of the incredibly light variety which Ash Body also shares but is very connected to the element of air and breath. Angelic bodies have a tendency to take on this type of body.

When air is taken further it is God’s breath, associated with The Holy Spirit. Only through God’s grace alone can this air be transformed into God’s breath. This transformation is not attained through works, but solely through faith and trust, yet even then, it is still in God’s hands.

Fire Body

There are many mentions of fire in scripture all of which can inspire the Fire Body. This body can be associated wit quick and sporadically spontaneous nature.

Like the elements of water and air, fire also has the potential to be elevated to holy. However, this transformation cannot be achieved through works alone; it requires surrendering to God. Only through God’s grace can fire be sanctified to holy, and even then it is subject to God’s will.

The Holy Spirit

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them

Acts 2:3

God’s Love

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Song of Solomon 8:6

Perpetual Worship of God

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.

Leviticus 6:13

The Passion of God’s Message

His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones.

Jeremiah 20:9


Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Acts 3:19

The Brazen Altar (Exodus 27:1-3) was part of the Outer Tabernacle where sacrifices were made. This is a fire cleanse from sins much like it is with the cross.

Baby Body

The innocence of infancy, or of little ones, is not real innocence, since it is solely a matter of outward form and not internal. Still, we can learn from it what innocence is like, since it does radiate from their faces and from some of their gestures and from their first efforts at speech and the affects [of people around them. The reason it is not real innocence is] that they do not have any internal thought—they do not yet know what good and evil are, or what true and false are, and this knowledge is the basis of our thinking.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772)

The baby is an incredible inspiration due to their outer innocence and movement patterns. Movements coming from babies are complex, yet free. There is detail dance (subtle movement), playfulness, immense curiosity, shifting timings, connection with the ground, and whole body (whole body engaged).

2 Flaps
0.1: Angels as Wise Infants

[In Heaven] innocence dwells in wisdom and why angels have as much wisdom as they do innocence. They support the truth of this by observing that people in a state of innocence do not take credit for anything good, but ascribe and attribute everything to the Lord. They want to be led by him and not by themselves, they love everything that is good and delight in everything that is true because they know and perceive that loving what is good—that is, intending and doing good—is loving the Lord, and loving what is true is loving their neighbor. […]

In the highest sense, a wise infant is an angel.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772)

Using the prompt above from the Swedish Christian mystic Swedenborg, we enter into the angelic world of the wise infant.

0.2: God’s Nurturing

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Isaiah: 49:15

We get into a fetal position and feel God like a mother is always there for you. Dance this world.

Video Clip Example: In the Theokinesis piece A Living Sacrifice from 1:30 to 2:00, the infant is on a nurturing Father’s lap while floating in holy waters.

  1. Nicely, Megan V. (2018). Butoh’s subversive somatics. Journal Of Dance & Somatic Practices, 10(1), pp. 114. ↩︎