Learning Some Weird Vocabulary

As you might have guessed it is raining here a little, I am now just shy of halfway through “Le Chamanisme” by Eliade. Because he is dealing with, inter alia, Siberian shamanism, I am starting to pick up some rather weird vocabulary concerning bones, dead spirits and the prevalent fauna on the Steppes. I can interpolate most of the words from context, but I do have to look things up. Seems to me learning by interpolation is perhaps a more natural way of learning a language than rote. I did not know that the rite of initiation for some Caribbean shamans involved having chillies, scotch bonnet chillies, rubbed in the eyes. We found some of these from French Guyana in the local supermarket and they are super-volcanic-plus-plus. It is a wonder the would-be shamans were not blinded.

This morning I was struck by a sub-heading in the Guardian:

“If I wasn’t autistic, would my encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs be a problem?”

{Their spelling}

I commented to the wife that at one stage I knew not only the normal names, but the Latin names, record weights and habits of all the fish of the British Isles both in fresh and salt water. There are other things that I am like dry blotting paper for.

“If I wasn’t autistic, would my encyclopaedic knowledge of molecular spectroscopy be a problem?”

Anything out of the ordinary is seen to be freakish.

“Is my encyclopaedic knowledge of football results and league table positions normal or a tad autistic?”

Who defines what is normal and what is freaky?

I have just ordered from Congo, the new online bookstore, a copy of the I Ching in French. Already I can see some different nuances in the meanings. Maybe next is:

“I Ging. Das Buch der Wandlungen – von Richard Wilhelm”

That should keep me busy till I pop my clogs.

Vision Quest – Stalking the Dream

In some traditions as a male reaches his maturity, he is encouraged to go on a vision quest either with or without hallucinogenic assistance. The idea being that he heads off into the wilderness with the intent of seeking a vision about the nature of his purpose or role in life. In humility he beseeches the great universal spirit Wakan Tanka to furnish him with a vision. He must be fully open and adopt the right attitude. He is not “allowed” to return to his tribe until he has been given this bounty. Impatience and frustration prevent the vision. Sometimes he has to have very harsh experiences before the vision is granted. Other times it is much more straight forward.

In the late nineties I engaged in a course of North American Indian based Shamanics and we used to have overnight stays here at Cuffley Camp. {It has been enhanced by a long way since we were there.}

I never used to sleep. I used to stay up all night and keep the fire burning. The woods, the forest can be a tad creepy in the middle of the night. On the Saturday we would do various activities, then have a barbecue and a fire, on one Sunday I went on a vision quest in the woods and then on Monday I taught chemistry at uni..

Obvs, it wasn’t a deep vision quest in the sense of a rite of passage. The idea being, and this is related to the fifth aspect of the stalker’s rule previous, that if you open yourself up to the universe it will offer assistance and guidance. Moreover, if you are in an altered state of consciousness due to shamanic drumming you might be a little more susceptible. The drumming produces a state of ecstasy as per Eliade. It shifts the boundaries of the assembled world view. No need for drugs, drumming suffices.

The key is to let go and not force anything also have not one single expectation. Your mind and heart must be open like a proffered open palm of hand.

I have quite literally sat in the arms of a tree and waited for guidance.

The dream is all around you. The dream is not the socio-political “reality” of your day-to-day life. The dream is imbued with dreaming symbols.  Because my mind is calm, and I now walk slowly I have more animal encounters than most.  And these animals can be interpreted as dreaming symbols, just like one may try to interpret a nocturnal dream.

I can relatively easily shift into what is called left-side awareness or the dreaming awareness. On a number of occasions, I have gone “walkies” without a map largely in heightened awareness. I have explored places like Kinder Scout, the Old Man of Coniston. I once followed some crows up Coniston into the mist when It was descending and covered with snow. Nobody else was foolish enough to be out. I got further and further into the mists, confident that I could follow my tracks in the snow back. And then I bottled and headed back down. Two things might have happened that day. I could have been granted a vision or I could have died.

Because I can see, at the moment, no clear way forward I will invoke the fifth aspect of the stalker’s rule to see if the universe wishes to offer me any assistance or not.

“Whenever faced with impossible odds, a warrior opens himself up to the world around him by allowing his mind to become occupied with the little details of life.”

I’ll let you know what if anything transpires.

Karmapa / Dalai Lama Dream 7-9-2012

I am in my nan’s house when two large limousines pull up and out of them come loads of Tibetans together with security who set up a perimeter around the house.

One of them is the “Dalai Lama”, another is a doctor / healer and a third is a guide for protocol. The DL has a hooded cowl over his head. They all enter into the house and we go upstairs to my Grandfather’s room which is in the centre of the three story house. (I used to gaze out of here across the valley to Clydach when I was young)

They all sit down on the floor. The doctor wants to take a good look at me naked. So I strip and he goes over me examining me very thoroughly. He seems to be satisfied. The DL is sat down on the floor. I am sat on a chair. The protocol man says that no-one should have his head above the DL. So I sit down on the floor next to him. He removes the cowl from his head and  looks me direct in the eye. He is a Tibetan man with very dark hair and roughly my own age only a bit younger. I refer to him as Lhamo only he isn’t the man who goes around as the DL, he is too young for that.

He says to me; “Can you empty your mind?”

I shift quietly and quickly into a deep meditation.

“Of course you can !” He says smiling.

He says that he has been interested to read what I have sent them

“First let’s do a little healing for someone..”

He hands me a small object and asks me to concentrate. Out of the object I materialise a scorpion.

“Detach the scorpion and you will heal the person..”

I detach the scorpion with a little difficulty and throw it into the fire.

Looking out of the window we can see that some people have turned up. The DL is used to this and he motions to security to remove them gently.

Back in the room the DL says jokingly;

“It is always fun to do a bit of shamanism, isn’t it?”

I sense that this has been a test.

He then shows me his back. It has black marks upon it. “What are these he asks?”

I say that they are bones

“Yes I can express my bones through my skin. It is a part of the martial arts we do in Tibet which can be very deadly..”

As he speaks pins come out of the “bones” on his back.

He brings in three security guards who are dressed in brightly coloured robes. They are all trained in this. They are a mixed bunch, tall and with poor teeth. They all have a glint in the eyes.

“They are very fast and would probably win any Mixed Martial Arts contest. We have thought about entering them just for fun, but thought better of it. You are trained in martial arts too, aren’t you? Perhaps you too are deadly?”

“Maybe..”

We  are then in mind to mind contact for a very long time. After this he rummages around in a cupboard and sees artist’s materials there. I hand these to him and he starts to make an elaborate construction.

My aunt is downstairs. I explain to her what is going on.

Back upstairs the DL is busy building his construction. He asks me to put the fire up one level. He is a little cold. (Implied it is cooler here than in India)

The security guards come in and say that people and the press have started to gather outside the house. I have no idea how long we have been talking, perhaps days.

They decide that they will go out the front door and not the back one. Security goes out and brings around the limousines. The DL who is really the Karmapa, or a mix of the two, says that things will now really start to change. I go with them to the door and the press are there all flashlights and cameras. There are metal barriers and police to contain the crowd.The Karmapa gets into a car and they drive off.

The press interview me wanting to know what has been going on.

“He came here for a chat and for one of the doctors to look at me. It was all very nice,” I say.

Now I am somehow back in a city. The ex-wife is for some reason around. She has heard about what has happened. She asks if I can bring her some chilli on my way back from town. I am on a tube train and footage of the visit is being played on a TV screen in the carriage. A small Ethiopian looking man is there. He says;

“That is you in the footage, isn’t it?”

“Yes”

The whole carriage turns to look at me and the footage.

I am now living on a small country estate. There are two male lions prowling around the front gate for security.

I go outside for a wander. I see a small crowd and they start to throw silver CDs at me like discuses, the intention is one of harm. I turn my back on them and by using “the force”  block the CDs causing them to drop to the floor. I then fly over them and up into a truly massive tree. I then fly back into the house.

In an annexe, a type of out building for the main house, the “Toltec” group is gathered. I am now moving rapidly through the house pushing open doors as I do. I am going to give them a piece of my mind.

I go into the room and they are all sat upon chairs around the outside of the room, in a “circle”. There are many familiar faces there. I speak to them about my life path and what it means for them. {implicit is that it is very important for them} The ex-wife is in the audience and all she wants to know is whether or not I got her chilli.  This typifies the mood and even when they are shown footage of the DL’s / Karmapa’s visit and him leaving my house, they are unmoved and disinterested.

Later I am outside by a rubbish heap. I meet again the Ethiopian man only now his head is much larger.  I understand him to be a knowledgeable being. He tells me not to be worried and that he too cannot believe what he has just witnessed in terms of their arrogance and utter stupidity.

I now realise that the being I was interacting with before was definitely the Karmapa, who is known for his magical capacities.  We are now linked.

He says,” Things of true importance are always revealed in dreams and visions…”

Dream ends.

The Shaman’s Breakdown

I’ll preface by saying, if family legend is correct, I am a direct descendant of a gwrach or witch. And one from deepest darkest Snowdonia to boot. Sometimes “the gift” skips generations and resurfaces in the most unlikely of beings, maybe even a chemical physics dude and laser jock. 😉

Around 1995 I had a major depressive episode with inherent suicidal ideation. Initially I was on the green and whites. Later when these did not work the consultant psychiatrist put me on monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclics.

There was major risk because of potential dietary interaction. The doctor felt able to take that risk because I was a practising vegan at the time. I even flew to Japan whilst on the latter combination and only had a mild hypertensive episode once at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. This kind of treatment is usually for inpatients.

It was pretty clear to me that something had to change and change fast.  So, I began to look at alternate ways of living and ways of viewing the world. It is common knowledge amongst the shamanic community that many shamans have to have a kick up the butt in order to start practising. This is either a breakdown, a vision or a major life-threatening illness.

My first encounter with the word shaman was in the books of Carlos Castaneda. However, I had met two wise men before. These were our gardener and our houseboy when we lived in Zambia.  The houseboy was 53 and the gardener, Tembo (elephant) was in his seventies. They let me (10-13) sit with them sometimes, even when others came to ask their advice. They had a divination game involving throwing some stones over a grid of shallow holes dug in the ground. I was OK, my sister not.

During my illness a copy of the I Ching fell off a bookshelf in a bookshop in Tring and landed right at my feet. Ok, I am meant to look at I Ching. I found a course on Native American Indian Shamanism and began. As a part of this we did Runic Shamanism and Remote Viewing. I carved an entire set of runes from slate and wore each one, in turn, as a necklace. I got better.

One could argue it was the meds or it could be that I was at last looking into something I was “meant” to.

Here in Brittany, you can find shamans, clairvoyants and tarot readers in the yellow pages. They even had a thing in the local newspaper when someone opened up a cartomancy or Tarot business in the local town! It is a bit odd, to my eyes, for a catholic country. In the local town there is one shop which sells catholic icons and crosses as well as books on shamanism, Angels, and divining pendants. As usual there are contradictions.

So why am I being pointed again at Shamanism?

I’ll ask the I Ching.

There could be a business opportunity…