THE WHITE RAVEN

A Shamanic Journey to the Source of my Strength

 

Who knows?

One dif­fe­rent exit, and my life may have taken a com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent cour­se. When I think of how ever­y­thing began, the gre­at adven­ture that has beco­me my life, still seems fan­tastic to me.

Every time I pass by the high wall of the psych­ia­tric hos­pi­tal, I shud­der. This exit could have been mine. That white gate would then have mar­ked the bor­der of my uni­ver­se. Ins­te­ad I crossed the bor­der to an ama­zing new world full of mar­vel and mirth.

 

An empty apartment and an empty book

Christ­mas. What lun­a­cy! What is it that still draws me to the­se Christ­mas-mar­kets? A cup of punch that warms my fin­gers only to burn my tongue a minu­te later? Loo­king into the bright eyes of litt­le boys and girls who can­not wait to drown in heaps of toys that have lost their lure the very next morning? Do I real­ly like to be pushed asi­de by worn out job-and-kids-mothers for who all this is serious busi­ness? Or to watch stres­sed out sin­gle moms desti­ned to fail the cle­ver­ly mani­pu­la­ted expec­ta­ti­ons of their young ones?

It seems that Christ­mas actual­ly ter­ro­ri­zes me half of the year. I liter­al­ly shriek, when in Octo­ber I see the first father Christ­mas climb up the faca­de of some faceless mall. How does a fat tum­my like that allow such extra­va­gan­ce in the first place? I couldn’t do it, and I’m not near­ly as fat! And in Febru­ary, when I just thought I’d final­ly made it through the ‘fes­ti­ve sea­son’, I pass by one of tho­se fero­cious­ly blin­king Christ­mas-stars still clinging to the odd grey wall of sub­ur­bia. I would con­fis­ca­te tho­se, if I was half as good at clim­bing faca­des as the fat father Christ­ma­ses.

But the sad truth is: I am once again try­ing to escape my empty apart­ment. Com­pa­red to all the spar­k­ling bling-bling around me, the rooms the­re seem even barer, after Richard moved out. That is my only rea­son for being here. While I wait for my punch to cool, I watch a coup­le kis­sing and fee­ding each other with an oily Brat­wurst. Hor­ri­fied, I dis­card my punch — it is much too sweet any­way — and run, only to be was­hed against a stand full of beau­ti­ful books. As I care­ful­ly open one of them, all I find is empty pages. What a disap­point­ment! But then again, how well this matches all the empty glit­ter around me. I am about to lea­ve, when I catch the bemu­sed smi­le of the ven­dor of tho­se books: a grum­py old man pre­ten­ding not to be inte­rested in sel­ling his ware. May­be he is as appal­led by this cir­cus as I am, but at least he has a rea­son to be here!

What is a dia­ry? Not­hing but a bund­le of empty white pages; intim­i­da­ting­ly many empty white pages in this case, and art­ful­ly bound toge­ther. You can­not just scribb­le any­thing insi­de that cros­ses your mind, it seems, but only well-struc­tu­red, care­ful­ly pen­ned ide­as. No place for frag­ments, dreams, and sen­ti­men­ta­li­ties, and most cer­tain­ly no place for all the self-pity I tor­tu­re my fri­ends with sin­ce Richard left. On the other hand: Paper is pati­ent, so they say, which is qui­te the oppo­si­te of mys­elf. Pati­ence is defi­ni­te­ly not one of my vir­tu­es. May­be some kind of self-reflec­tion would do me good, relie­ve my fri­ends of their hard duty and perhaps even speed up the mour­ning-pro­cess a bit? With this in mind, I purcha­se one of tho­se beau­ti­ful, hungry dia­ry-mons­ters. I should start right away, befo­re my respect grows infi­ni­te­ly.

(…)

Richard left on the day we had plan­ned to get mar­ried. I was war­ned though: Hadn’t he post­po­ned the wed­ding over again — for the most plau­si­ble rea­sons? Yet I felt so safe being enga­ged and having, the two of us, just cudd­led into our new­ly fur­nis­hed nest toge­ther. One morning at the bre­ak­fast-table, he said that he had met someo­ne. When it does hap­pen, it’s that simp­le — and that banal. And incredi­b­ly sad. First I thought he was joking. When he con­fir­med that he wasn’t, I was sho­cked. Then I began to argue, bla­ming him for all sorts of things, most of all for his bad timing. But could the­re pos­si­b­ly be a ‘right timing’ for such a reve­la­ti­on? All the time during my fit, he remai­ned calm, almost sym­pa­thetic. I was right, and he alo­ne was to bla­me. I can­not even hate him for what he did to me. I know all too well how it feels, when you stop loving someo­ne who once meant the world to you. When you have no choice but to lea­ve and hurt that someo­ne to the core. But so far I had only expe­ri­en­ced the other side, being the one who lea­ves, not the one who is left. I am still under shock. For the first time in my 37 years, I feel dis­car­ded, ugly and old. And I feel asha­med. Asha­med for still loving him so much, and asha­med of not having loved the others enough to spa­re them this expe­ri­ence.

Com­ing home from work I dread the quiet evenings. I roam the empty apart­ment aim­less and blind like an ani­mal in a cage. The sound of my feet echo through the de-fur­nis­hed rooms that have beco­me the ruins of my dreams. My bed still feels cold after hours of hea­vy duty by my elec­tric blan­ket. My fri­dge is always full of things I used to like and now just don’t fan­cy, until they rot. My fri­ends’ enthu­si­asm for brigh­ten­ing me up is slow­ly and under­stan­d­a­b­ly fading. “You have to get out. Go meet peop­le. Dance!” they tell me. But I do! Like today on the Christ­mas-mar­ket. Even when I mana­ge to con­vin­ce mys­elf and go out for a Milon­ga (Tan­go ist the only music melan­cho­lic enough for me to bear), it feels like I’m trap­ped in a bub­b­le through which no hap­pi­ness can per­pe­tra­te. As if the air I am bre­at­h­ing is hea­vier than out­side the bub­b­le.

A coup­le of days ago, on my way home from dan­cing, I left my hand in the door of the cab, when the dri­ver slam­med it. Two fin­gers were bro­ken. It hurt beast­ly. Tears pou­red out of me like a water­fall. Sin­ce that night, I haven‘t stop­ped cry­ing. I don’t care what my col­leagues think, when I sit in a mee­ting, tears run­ning down my face. I hard­ly noti­ce, apart from the wet swea­ter round my neck and the mixed fee­lings of tho­se next to me. What a reli­ef! Liter­al­ly libe­ra­ting! Like a flood washing away my memo­ries and cares. If anyo­ne had fore­told me the sca­le of the libe­ra­ti­on yet to come, I cer­tain­ly wouldn’t have belie­ved it.

My hand is star­ting to heal, and my col­leagues are pro­bab­ly right: I should take a coup­le of days off and lea­ve the city. But whe­re shall I go? A last minu­te packa­ge-tour with hap­py cou­ples and fami­lies by the pool? No way! A sin­gle-club with fero­cious­ly ani­ma­ted left-overs (like mys­elf) and despe­ra­ti­on sprea­ding like a virus? My idea of a night­ma­re! No, I want to go some place, whe­re I can be licking my wounds in iso­la­ti­on, not intru­ding on others with my self-pity and my jea­lou­sy. Fin­land might be a pos­si­bi­li­ty. In the lone­li­ness of the woods and lakes, I may no lon­ger feel like the left-over half of a coup­le.

 

Finland

I did it! I ren­ted a cabin by a lake near the polar-cir­cle. The only prio­ri­ty-box I ticked: “Grea­test pos­si­ble distan­ce to next neigh­bor”. A doll-hou­se will do, as long as it is for one sin­gle per­son. The smal­ler the bet­ter. My search pro­du­ced not only the lone­liest, but also the che­a­pest place avail­ab­le. Fine with me!

Sit­ting here by the lake, I recollect my Fin­land-trip so far: It star­ted with a Tan­go-expe­ri­ence. The fins are hard­ly less cra­zy about Tan­go than the Argen­ti­nes. In the small town of Sein­a­jo­ki There’s a Tan­go-Fes­ti­val, that is unpar­al­leled. Once a year the who­le town is con­ver­ted into a dance-floor, inclu­ding the sur­roun­ding swamps, which they ‘pave’ with wood. Digital StillCameraThe average Fin­nish Tan­go-nerd is way past his (or her) prime, and not­hing other than Fin­nish is spo­ken; a lan­guage with no clues for other Euro­peans as to what it means. How absurd (and good!) for me to be here. I didn’t come here for con­ver­sa­ti­on any­way. So, lacking other means of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, I smi­led until every mus­cle in my face hurt and for­got my sad­ness for the first time. Then I bought food for ten days, took a coach, then ano­t­her, and again ano­t­her, and got off at a vil­la­ge con­sis­ting only of three hou­ses and a petrol sta­ti­on. A fri­end­ly old man was wai­ting for me at the bus stop. While he stee­red his car over end­less dirt-roads, he recollec­ted every name of Ger­man soc­cer-play­ers he could think of. He knew qui­te a few. I don’t know a sin­gle one. End of con­ver­sa­ti­on.

The first night is short. This is only part­ly due to the nar­row bed and the rag­ged mos­qui­to-net. It’s the light. The night is just one long, pink-colo­red dawn, then the sun is back, relent­less­ly spee­ding towards zenith. Sin­ce sun­ri­se – around three in the morning – I have been sit­ting on the woo­den bench that is posi­tio­ned on the lake-ter­race. The hou­se is only a coup­le of yards away from the water. The lake seems huge. I can hard­ly make out the other side with its thic­kly forested shore­li­ne. On the table in front of me is a pot of tea, fresh from the gas-coo­ker. The tiny cabin is facing north-east and even boasts a litt­le sau­na. To the Fins, this seems almost as important as the hou­se its­elf. The forest begins right behind the cabin. Soon the sun will have reached the trees. The shadow they offer will pro­bab­ly be more than wel­co­me, as the morning-sun is alre­ady hot. I came out here into the pink morning-mist, wea­ring thick trou­sers and an ano­rak. Sin­ce then, I have been thro­wing off lay­er after lay­er, until the­re was no more to strip. So this is whe­re I intend to find my way back into life. But on the other hand: Without a good por­ti­on of resi­li­en­ce, I wouldn’t be here at all.

Digital StillCameraI have tried fishing. The sun has long left this side, so I took the boat that I found under the birch-trees and rowed out onto the lake. I found a basic fishing-rod behind the cabin next to the out­house. And there’s an abundance of worms. For two hours I have been try­ing to catch a fish, but whene­ver I pull back the line, there’s not­hing on it, not even the worm. They seem to be more cle­ver than I thought, bas­tards! So while I go on fee­ding the fish, my diet will pro­bab­ly remain vege­ta­ri­an. At least the sau­na is easy to hand­le. The­re is plenty of wood alre­ady chop­ped (Thank you, old man!), so the­re will be a sau­na-par­ty for me ton­ight! I can’t wait to get into the steaming lake after the Sau­na. Ever­y­thing here is so won­der­ful­ly simp­le. No elec­tri­ci­ty, no run­ning water. I begin to rea­li­ze how much unne­cessa­ry luxu­ry still sur­rounds me at home in my empty apart­ment. I deci­de to take care of that as soon as I come home. And as I wri­te this, a but­ter­fly sett­les on the oppo­si­te page of my dia­ry. I cer­tain­ly found the right place!

The silence here is bre­ath­ta­king. It drowns me like a soft, warm fur-coat. No wild­ly chi­ming church-bells, no dogs, or horns, or lawn-mowers on a Satur­day-morning. The only noi­ses come from the birds and insects. I have made an arran­ge­ment with the mos­qui­tos and the hor­se-flies. Digital StillCameraI asked them to spa­re me when I’m on my lake-ter­race. And they real­ly try, though only to attack me even more fero­cious­ly on the short path from the lake to the hou­se. This alo­ne should ren­der any excur­si­on into the woods impos­si­ble. Bey­ond the dirt-road, that leads to the hou­se, the forest seems imp­ene­tra­ble, and tho­se litt­le vam­pi­res suck the last drop of blood from you. For the same rea­son, I refrain from collec­ting my drin­king-water from the source, my host show­ed me upon my arri­val. I pre­fer to drink direct­ly from the lake, just lea­ving my mouth open, while swim­ming.

To my ama­ze­ment, I read very litt­le. I sim­ply refu­se to feel pres­su­red by the amount of books I brought here. They can rot on the shelf, for all I care! Ins­te­ad, I sleep or just sta­re into this unworld­ly light. Uni­ma­gin­ab­le anyo­ne could get bored in such sur­roun­dings. Not with this light, the tas­ty air and the sound of a silence, that isn’t qui­te as silent as it first see­med, once you begin to under­stand its lan­guage. It’s the night that is most varied and beau­ti­ful; much too beau­ti­ful to miss: One end­less dawn, full of stran­ge noi­ses and chan­ging colors. So the only sleep I get is around noon.

Last night I must have fal­len asleep on my bench, alt­hough I had plan­ned to take in every minu­te of the full moon glo­ry. I woke up from a stran­ge, yet vibrant dream: The­re was a big white polar-wolf watching me intent­ly from his yel­low eyes, and then gent­ly tou­ching my forehead. Next he rub­bed his nose against my cheek and stro­ked my arm with his paw. He pres­sed so hard against my back, I could feel every hair on his bre­ast. Final­ly I sur­ren­de­red into the embrace, cuddling into his soft, white fur. What a lovely dream! Am I real­ly that nee­dy?

 

The strangest light

What an awk­ward day. The mil­ky light is irri­ta­ting­ly dif­fu­sed, and the litt­le vam­pi­res are even more aggres­si­ve than usu­al. Today they have deci­ded to igno­re our arran­ge­ment. Even the crows sound ner­vous today. Just as I sett­le down with my dia­ry, I hear an uncan­ny crack­ling above my head. Instant­ly I find mys­elf shel­led by three huge pineco­nes, that hit the ground right next to my head. I under­stand that this is no day for wri­ting or dozing. Once more I feel unwan­ted and dis­pel­led. Memo­ries of Richard and our sepa­ra­ti­on sur­face my mind. No one wants me, not even natu­re is wil­ling to put up with me. So there’s my self-pity again. And I had almost for­got­ten about it. Despi­te the mos­qui­tos and hor­se-flies, I deci­de to go for a walk. May­be this will brigh­ten me up or at least dis­tract me. The­re must me some path through the forest. I deci­de to take the axe from the shed with me, just in case. I haven’t met anyo­ne sin­ce my host left me here. But that was what I wan­ted, wasn’t it?

The forest starts behind the deser­ted dirt-road and the lupi­ne-fiel­ds. I head for the iso­la­te grey hill that seems to grow out of the forest in the hazy distan­ce. I am glad, when I final­ly reach the forest and escape the sun. Clouds of mos­qui­tos are my only com­pa­n­ions, as I axe my way through the forest. Their con­stant hum­ming makes me mad. I don’t know, if I am try­ing to run away from them or from my thoughts. I hard­ly feel their bites. They have beco­me like a second skin. They itch far less than at home, may­be becau­se their habi­tat is less poi­son­ous.

At last I find a hint of a path through the under­growth. It leads strai­ght to the foot of the grey moun­tain. I start to climb up the steep rock on all fours, using trees to help pull mys­elf up. The clim­bing dis­tracts me, so this part of my plan works. Near the sum­mit, the­re are no more trees left. Here the hill is less steep and easier to climb. At the top I am rewar­ded with a bre­ath­ta­king view. Map­ped out befo­re me is a land­s­cape of lakes and forests, devo­id of any trace of human civi­li­za­ti­on. To my sur­pri­se, I find mys­elf on a pen­in­su­la in the midd­le of a huge lake of which the hill, I am stan­ding on, is the hig­hest peak. The Lupi­ne-field and the dirt-road are the only way out. Down below, in the thick forest, I can see ano­t­her small lake. It is com­ple­te­ly black and very dif­fe­rent from the blue sur­roun­ding lake. It looks like a black eye in the head of a cyclop. I feel drawn to it. I don’t know, whe­ther I can make it down the slo­pe of the rock and through the thick forest down to the lake, but I will try!

With my axe, I fight my way through the forest and clouds of mos­qui­tos to the swam­py bank of the litt­le lake. It is so black that it is impos­si­ble to tell its dep­th. Without thin­king, I get rid of my swea­ty clo­thes and plun­ge into the water. It feels warm and soft, very dif­fe­rent from the cold, clear water of the sur­roun­ding lake. As if it wasn’t the same ele­ment. I enjoy floa­ting on the sur­face of this see­min­gly bot­tom­less lake.

After a while, I swim back to whe­re I left my clo­thes, only to find that, easy as it was to get into the water, get­ting out seems an impos­si­bi­li­ty. Like in a night­ma­re, the nea­rer I get to the bank, the deeper I sink into the mud­dy ground. I beco­me more and more dis­cou­ra­ged every time I try to grab hold of some­thing on the bank and have to let go again. I just seem to slip away back into the mud­dy water every time. I look around me, but ever­y­thing seems the same. I can feel the panic slow­ly cree­ping up my back. Is my life sup­po­sed to end in this deso­la­te moor-lake? I force mys­elf to ana­ly­ze the situa­ti­on: Sin­ce I can­not see any­thing, I have to try and feel my way out of this. Despi­te my exhaus­ti­on, I deci­de to swim only with my arms, using my legs like a per­pen­di­cu­lar to explo­re the dep­th. Thus, with my foot I final­ly hit a flat rock, invi­si­ble from the sur­face, that I might be able to use as a plat­form. The rock is so slip­pe­ry, that I fall back into the water again and again. But this rock, it seems, is my only chan­ce. So I try again, and final­ly mana­ge to stand on it. From the­re I jump to the shore, whe­re I sink up to my body into the mud­dy ground. But at least I escaped the black lake! Somehow I mana­ge to crawl through the swam­py bank back to whe­re I left my clo­thes. Sin­ce washing mys­elf in the lake is defi­ni­te­ly no opti­on, I put on my clo­thes right over my mud­dy body. It feels stran­ge when the mud starts to dry, for­ming a thin crust on the skin. Only on parts, whe­re I sweat, the mud keeps run­ning down my back and my legs. At least the mud seems to keep off the mos­qui­tos and soot­he their bites. I con­vin­ce mys­elf that all this must be very healt­hy inde­ed.

It is as dark as it gets, when I final­ly reach the cabin. It must be long past mid­ni­ght. I make a fire in the sau­na and wash mys­elf in the clear water of my – as I only rea­li­ze now – enor­mous lake. Stran­ge that the litt­le black lake, that almost cost my life, lies embed­ded like an embryo in the midd­le of the big­ger lake. All this now seems like a dream; a dream that comes from me, is part of me, and yet some­thing ali­en, just like the black lake wit­hin the blue lake.

After this expe­di­ti­on I ear­ned mys­elf a lazy day. A coup­le of pages in my book, a sies­ta, some light pas­ta-lunch – vege­ta­ri­an as it were – and again sies­ta. Today all is peace­ful, inclu­ding the pine-tree. Even the insects are having a day off, it seems. I enjoy lying on my blan­ket in the half-shadow of the birch-trees, that allow just the right amount of sun­light to fil­ter through. I am alre­ady half asleep, when I feel a hot bre­ath on my forehead. As I open my eyes they are met by the intent gaze of a wolf! I am instant­ly pre­sent and frigh­te­ned to death. My instinct tells me to jump into the water, sin­ce the path to the hou­se is blo­cked by the beast. My ratio tells me to stay calm, sin­ce flight might pro­vo­ke the crea­tu­re, and it can cer­tain­ly swim bet­ter than me. As a result, I remain moti­on­less, under shock. The wolf seems not half as frigh­te­ned as me, only slight­ly puz­zled as what to make of this stran­ge bund­le of naked white meat. Sen­sing my anxie­ty, he almost respect­ful­ly draws back from me a coup­le of yards. But he’s still gazing at me with his yel­low eyes, as if he was wai­ting for me to calm down. It is a long gaze, until final­ly the wolf trots off as silent­ly as he appeared. As I wri­te this down, I am still reco­vering from the shock. But I will surely never for­get the look from tho­se warm, yel­low eyes.

Only hours after this inci­dent, after the shock has final­ly pas­sed, I rea­li­ze what a pre­cious encoun­ter that was! And how ina­de­qua­te my fear­ful reac­tion! I wish the young wolf would come again. Then I would try to react dif­fer­ent­ly. But I’m sure he won’t. And what could he do with a fear­ful fema­le of the human race? He pro­bab­ly pas­sed on to look for a pret­ty young she-wolf to start his own pack. I note: Only sheep have to fear the ’big bad wolf’. And as if to punish me for my arro­gan­ce, the pine-tree throws its cones at me again. I should go insi­de.

 

An anonymous charge

In my dream a fema­le voice asked me to wri­te a book about reli­gi­on. How absurd! I can only say: First of all, I don’t accept any anony­mous orders! Second­ly, the­re is litt­le that inte­rests me less than reli­gi­on! I was brought up with the belief, that ever­y­thing real can be exp­lai­ned sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly in some way or other. Con­clu­si­on: What can­not be exp­lai­ned can­not be real. My mother was an athe­ist, and my father didn’t like to admit, that he actual­ly did belie­ve in some­thing like God. Christ­mas was accep­ta­ble only under the label of tra­di­ti­on, while my mother never fai­led to point out that it had hea­then roots. None­theless my sis­ter and I pray­ed secret­ly every night befo­re going to bed. It was like knocking on the pri­son-wall. The­re had to be some­thing out the­re, that attri­bu­t­ed a grea­ter sen­se to ever­y­thing, that was good, just, and more power­ful than our par­ents. But reli­gi­on? Like our par­ents, we thought it was dog­ma­tic, into­le­rant and inac­cep­ta­ble on the who­le. Yoga and Medi­ta­ti­on prac­tice are a dif­fe­rent mat­ter. They have long beco­me part of my ever­y­day-life — for merely prac­tical rea­sons. I don’t con­si­der it a reli­gi­on. While medi­ta­ting, I try to crea­te some peace of mind, and yoga was what hel­ped after a bicy­cle-acci­dent many years ago. And now an omi­nous voice asks me to wri­te a book about reli­gi­on?

(…)

Dozing on the lake-ter­race, I again hear the voice from my dream. She gives me a few sen­ten­ces. They sound like the pro­lo­gue to a lon­ger text. I hear the voice com­ing from insi­de. I can rather feel the wor­ds than actual­ly hear them. It is hard to descri­be. To my sur­pri­se the wor­ds make sen­se, and they are – in a stran­ge way – beau­ti­ful. I deci­de to wri­te them down.

From now on I recei­ve a chap­ter every morning. All I need to do is wait and lis­ten. You could say, the text has to do with reli­gi­on, yet in a much more fun­da­men­tal sen­se; having not­hing to do with church or ser­vice, as I always unders­tood ‘reli­gi­on’. No, this text is all about love. The wor­ds are very clear and beau­ti­ful, and they strike a chord deep insi­de me. I expect all this to end with my depar­tu­re tomor­row. Howe­ver, it was a gre­at expe­ri­ence: the black lake, the wolf, my dreams, this inner voice… Back home, I will try to crea­te a regu­lar space for this: inter­lu­des of silence, bey­ond my medi­ta­ti­on rou­ti­ne. At least I want to allow for such beau­ti­ful things to hap­pen.

 

Back Home

Home. I hard­ly dare to call this big, empty apart­ment ‚home‘. But going out doesn’t sol­ve the pro­blem. The city dulls my sen­ses. Too many sen­sa­ti­ons, too much for the mind to digest. I try to clo­se up against the sen­so­ry over­load, and by doing so for­feit my awa­re­ness. It is the oppo­si­te when I am in Natu­re: The sen­ses are woken and alert, and every detail beco­mes mea­ning­ful. In natu­re I can feel the who­le as a com­po­si­ti­on of every part. It all makes sen­se. I can best expe­ri­ence this, when I am alo­ne. I have beco­me more sen­si­ti­ve sin­ce I came back from Fin­land, and more vul­nerable, too. Do we need all this noi­se, becau­se silence con­fronts us with our grea­test fear: our own bound­less­ness?

(…)

In Nor­wich, I visit a litt­le parish church on the outs­kirts of town, that hadn’t drawn my atten­ti­on, when I was stu­dy­ing the­re. After all, the­re are over fif­ty church­es in Nor­wich. The church is situa­ted rather unro­man­ti­cal­ly next to a buil­ding-site. Anne­xed to the church is a litt­le cha­pel dedi­ca­ted to Juli­an of Nor­wich, who lived here in the 14th cen­tu­ry. The cha­pel is very plain and unin­vi­ting for any visi­tor. I have no idea, what brought me here.

I am about to lea­ve, when I hear a fema­le voice clo­se behind me. I turn round, but the­re is no one else in the cha­pel. I remem­ber the voice, though. It is the same voice that gave me the text about ‘reli­gi­on’ a coup­le of mon­ths ago in Fin­land and then back home, until the text was com­ple­te! This time, there’s no need to ‘trans­la­te’ the wor­ds, they are clear as crys­tal: “I am so hap­py, that you have come. Now I know: You will con­ti­nue my work. With you, it is in the best hands!” The­re is so much enthu­si­asm in her wor­ds, and so much love and affec­tion! It almost makes me cry. Then it was Juli­an, who had spo­ken to me all the time, Juli­an of Nor­wich!

A man enters the cha­pel and kne­els down to pray. I lea­ve the place with mixed fee­lings. It feels so right, and yet so ali­en. How I would have loved to actual­ly see Juli­an, not just lis­ten to her fine, warm voice. How I long to look her in the eye! Then ratio­na­li­ty attacks again: „This is all your ima­gi­na­ti­on. None of this real­ly hap­pen­ed, or can you pro­ve it?” Of cour­se not. How could I? Yet the­re is some­thing about the­se out­bursts of ratio­na­li­ty, that has chan­ged. That tiger ‘doubt’ seems to lose his fer­vor. As if it knew, it is losing ground. Still I don’t dare to tell my fri­end about it. He would pro­bab­ly think I’m mad. May­be I am. But that doesn’t keep me from wri­ting ever­y­thing down in my diar. I have the fee­ling that this is just the begin­ning. And who knows, if later on I still belie­ve what hap­pen­ed, if I don’t record it now. In any case, I have to find out more about Juli­an of Nor­wich. I want to read ever­y­thing she wro­te and ever­y­thing that was writ­ten about her. I want to know whom I am sup­po­sed to fol­low!

Juli­an lived as a nun in 14th cen­tu­ry Nor­wich. In the midd­le of her life, she fell very ill and wel­co­med death as a redemp­ti­on. Yet she reco­ve­r­ed and lived in that cell in Nor­wich until old age. Her Sho­wings thrill me and repul­se me both at the same time. What she wri­tes about love is inspi­ring and strikes a chord in me. It must have been revo­lu­tio­na­ry for her times, may­be even dan­ge­rous, to pos­tu­la­te that love is in every one of us, and every one of us is God. It is her ado­ra­ti­on for the cru­ci­fied Jesus that repul­ses me with this stran­ge mix of blood­lust and death wish, I can­not rela­te to. What tou­ches me most, though, is one simp­le phra­se, that speaks of her uns­wer­ving trust in God: „All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all man­ner of things shall be well.“

Juli­an, what are you doing to me?“ I am hea­ring her voice again. After a fai­led morning medi­ta­ti­on in my B&B, in which I couldn’t stop thin­king of my cold feet and then of my anger, becau­se I couldn’t stop thin­king of tho­se cold feet, I tried dyna­mic yoga to warm me up. “I loved to do what you’re doing now back then in my cell”, I hear her say. I swirl around, and the­re she is. I can­not see her qui­te as clear­ly as I would see someo­ne in the street, rather blur­red and as a sil­hou­et­te. As if I still have to get used to this kind of per­cep­ti­on. But my pic­tu­re of her is much more color­ful than usu­al. I can see her pin­kish aura with a bright white cen­ter. She looks dif­fe­rent to what I thought she might: Spor­ti­ve and almost modern, despi­te her nun’s habit. How small she is, bare­ly reaching my shoul­der. She seems so spi­ri­ted and viva­cious; unbe­liev­a­ble that she should be dead for more than 600 years!

I can see Juli­an expe­ri­men­ting with one of my yoga-asa­nas. She bursts into laugh­ter becau­se she can­not get it right. The situa­ti­on seems so real and sur­re­al at the same time, that it makes me laugh, too. “Sor­ry, Juli­an, but you couldn’t have done this in your cell. It’s yoga. It comes from India, and you are a medi­eval nun!” – “True”, she smi­les roguish­ly at me, “but my exer­ci­ses were qui­te simi­lar – apart from this one… I am so incredi­b­ly hap­py that you have come!“, she says again. “When you came to my cell, I just couldn’t wait any lon­ger to show mys­elf to you. And I knew, you were curious enough by now… I hope you don’t find me obtrusi­ve? Will you con­ti­nue my work, as you have alre­ady done?”, she asks eager­ly. “First I have to know, what you mean by ‘con­ti­nuing your work’, I coun­ter cau­tious­ly. “I’m cer­tain­ly not going to beco­me a nun! And I must con­fess, I do have pro­blems with your Sho­wings.“ – „Oh, that I under­stand only too well! But it is more than enough, if you just con­cen­tra­te on love”, she reas­su­res me, “That is the essence. See, you have to under­stand the con­di­ti­ons, under which I lived and worked. Ado­ra­ti­on for the cru­ci­fied Lord was what was expec­ted of a mys­tic tho­se days. And above all of a fema­le mys­tic.“, she added with a cer­tain tone, „The­re was always the dan­ger of here­sy, see, and at that time it was a mor­tal dan­ger! And then, I wan­ted to reach peop­le, reach strai­ght for their hearts. So what would you have done in my place? In my times, a woman couldn’t just live alo­ne and do as she plea­sed, like you today. And the men were eit­her priests or monks or lived in the dar­kest midd­le-ages – spi­ri­tual­ly, I mean.” We laug­hed toge­ther.

I never wan­ted to mar­ry. I couldn’t have lived with tho­se men that were avail­ab­le to me. It would have been slavery – body and soul! So I fought to beco­me a nun. But then: I, too, had my desi­res, my dreams, my lon­gings. Rather a soul-mate, that I had to sha­re with many others, than none at all. Perhaps now you can under­stand, why I indul­ged in all this bodi­ly ado­ra­ti­on for the Blood of Christ. It was my sen­sua­li­ty, my eroti­cism, as you would call it today. And as for the death wish, that repels you so much: Who wouldn’t want to be with her lover? What I mean is: Death was a nor­mal part of life for us then, not like for you today. It was not­hing to be afraid of. For most of us death came as a lon­ged for reward for a trou­ble­so­me life.” – “So why did you live on, after you were on the brink of death alre­ady?”, I inqui­red. “Becau­se I had a cau­se, a visi­on to ful­fill; our visi­on. I wan­ted peop­le, ordi­na­ry peop­le, not just the ‘cho­sen ones’, to feel the love of God insi­de and to spread it among each other. I wan­ted them to be con­so­led, so that life on this side, too, would impro­ve.”

(…)

The­re was a visi­tor today. Just when I ended my medi­ta­ti­on with a bow and a “Thank you for ever­y­thing being as it is”, I could feel some­thing brushing the back of my head. It’s a raven. Of cour­se I know, that it is no ‘real’ bird, but I can none­theless ‘see’ it and also feel it sprea­ding its wings and tou­ching my shoul­ders. Alt­hough it is only a soft touch, I feel awk­ward about it. Hadn’t Fio­na war­ned me that not all spi­rits mean well, when they make con­tact with us? And the raven has a rather sinis­ter repu­ta­ti­on. But so has the wolf, and yet, ins­te­ad of devou­ring me, it hel­ped to open my heart.

I dreamt that I am a par­ti­ci­pant in a semi­nar taking place near a river. The tea­cher divi­des us into two groups. Toge­ther with two other han­di­cap­ped (in my dream my legs are para­ly­zed), I’m in the smal­ler group. I am the first to roll into the semi­nar-room in the morning. The­re is a raven alre­ady wai­ting for me. It jumps on my lap and allows me to stro­ke it. Later the tea­cher men­ti­ons the raven and asks me to fol­low him down to the river. Despi­te my han­di­cap, I am sup­po­sed to get into the white water of the river. To con­vin­ce me, he tells me about its fan­tastic under­wa­ter-world. But he also men­ti­ons the dan­ge­rous cur­r­ents. He shows me a detail­ed map of the river and the sur­roun­ding area. Alt­hough I am afraid, I deci­de to enter the river. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly this is whe­re I wake up.

The dream reminds me of my child­hood; when I refu­sed to learn how to swim. With end­less pati­ence my par­ents final­ly mana­ged to con­vin­ce me, that the water will sup­port me, if I make only slight move­ments with my arms and legs. But I was ter­ri­fied to let go the safe­ty of the pool edge and my floa­ties in exchan­ge for the big unknown. When I final­ly did learn how to swim, it was so magi­cal that it was hard for my par­ents to get me out of the water again. Today, once again, I feel like a litt­le girl try­ing to learn how to swim. And the raven seems less uncan­ny to me, after it reap­peared in my dream.

 

In fifteen minutes around the world

I will do it. I will enter this other world, that seems to be cal­ling me again and again. I will enter the unknown, just like in my dream. But I will do it metho­di­cal­ly. So I regis­te­red for a begin­ners-cour­se in sha­ma­nism. Now I am in the moun­ta­ins, in a group of about 30 peop­le with varied rea­sons for being here. Some want to fill a void in their life, others come out of curio­si­ty. And a few have had a call to adven­ture, like mys­elf, some inci­dent bey­ond the usu­al that calls for explana­ti­on.

For our tea­cher all this is merely a rou­ti­ne. Without a long intro­duc­tion we start with our sha­ma­nic jour­neys. “Nowa­days hard­ly anyo­ne fails“, she reas­su­res us. “Twen­ty years ago, it was dif­fe­rent. Back then it was not so easy for peop­le to cross the bor­der into that other rea­li­ty.“ When she men­ti­ons the ‘other rea­li­ty’, it is without quo­tes. For her it is just a real as our ever­y­day-per­cep­ti­on. And as a fact, only two of us per­cei­ve litt­le or not­hing on their first sha­ma­nic jour­ney.

The jour­ney­ing is no big deal for our tea­cher. We can blind-fold our­sel­ves, if we think we need it, other­wi­se the­re are very few rules. We’re sup­po­sed to ima­gi­ne a place in natu­re, some place we know and love. It will be the star­ting-point of our jour­ney. Then we just lie down and start to the bea­ting of her drum. First we shall look for a com­pa­n­ion, some crea­tu­re, in the ‘lower world. To get the­re, we ima­gi­ne a hole in the ground, a crack bet­ween rocks or some dark lake or pond. From the­re we come to a tun­nel, through which we tra­vel. Some tun­nels are lon­ger, some shorter. The land­s­cape that will open up to as at the end of the tun­nel, is sup­po­sed to be a sur­pri­se. The­re we shall imme­dia­te­ly start loo­king for some ani­mal that could be our com­pa­n­ion. When it appears, we shall ask per­mis­si­on to take it with us. In case the­re is more than one crea­tu­re, we shall choo­se the one that wants to con­tact us or at least doesn’t run away. We take it with us back through the tun­nel to our star­ting-point. We should have arri­ved back the­re, when we hear the cal­ling back-signal of the drum: Four times eight beats, then a ruf­f­le, and then again four times eight beats of the drum.

Tra­vel­ling to the ‚upper world‘ is simi­lar. The only dif­fe­rence is, that we don’t crawl through a hole in the ground or a tun­nel, but ima­gi­ne some­thing that leads up, like a lad­der or a ray of light. Some­ti­mes, howe­ver, we are collec­ted right at our power place. In the ‘upper world’ we find our tea­chers. They usual­ly have a human form, and talk to us, if we’re lucky. That doesn’t mean, that power ani­mals can’t talk or can’t be found in the ‘upper world. Any­thing goes, in the sphe­re of sha­ma­nism, it seems. So much for the theo­ry.

After ever­yo­ne has sett­led down on the floor, the only sound left is the mono­to­nous beat of the drum. We are all alo­ne now with our anxie­ties and expec­ta­ti­ons. We are advi­sed to tra­vel with a clear pur­po­se (like fin­ding a power ani­mal), but without expec­ta­ti­ons. The lat­ter seems dif­fi­cult. Of cour­se, I have expec­ta­ti­ons, and plenty of them! And fears, espe­ci­al­ly the fear to fail. Will I be able to feel any­thing under semi­nar-con­di­ti­ons? Up to now, I never actively cho­se the time for the spi­rits to come; it just hap­pen­ed. Or will I pass all bor­ders, lose mys­elf and make some unplea­sant acquain­tan­ces? Who will I meet? What will my power ani­mal be? A mou­se? Or a spi­der? How disap­poin­ting that would be! Why disap­poin­ting? Wouldn’t a spi­der be good enough for her lady­ship? My head is full of thoughts like this, while I try to relax into the task befo­re me. The relent­less bea­ting of the drum reminds me that time is run­ning out. We will be cal­led back in fif­te­en minu­tes! How much time do I have left? I haven’t even thought of a power place, let alo­ne ent­e­red the tun­nel! I quick­ly ima­gi­ne the lake-ter­race in Fin­land, whe­re the wolf came to me. Imme­dia­te­ly a new image pops up: A wolf! Of cour­se, my power ani­mal has to be a wolf! Would I now still be open for ano­t­her com­pa­n­ion?

To get to the ‚lower world‘, I sim­ply dive into the lake. The tun­nel seems end­less. To my sur­pri­se, I final­ly find mys­elf in the other, smal­ler lake. It is com­ple­te­ly opa­que, just like in Fin­land. Instant­ly memo­ries of my futi­le efforts to get out of the lake, sur­face my mind. And the­re is not a sin­gle ani­mal to be seen! At last I can make out a litt­le black and white sna­ke win­ding its way clo­se to the sur­face. I try to make con­tact, but the crea­tu­re doesn’t seem to noti­ce me. I’m clo­se to giving up, when I hear a caw above my head. The raven! And how I had mistrusted him! Befo­re I can ask for per­mis­si­on, the bird is by my side. We pass through the tun­nel toge­ther, and when we reach the lake-ter­race, I can hear the first call-back signal of the drum. My jour­ney hasn’t even taken fif­te­en minu­tes, the first ten of which I spent fighting back my fears and doubts! Unbe­liev­a­ble, how dis­tor­ted time seems in the ‘other world’!

For the jour­ney to the ‚upper world‘, my raven is alre­ady wai­ting. He is taking me on his lar­ge, black wings up to the mid­ni­ght sun. The Fin­nish land­s­cape looks so beau­ti­ful from above with its dark forests and glit­te­ring waters. This jour­ney is about fin­ding a tea­cher in human form. We fly through a thin lay­er of mist into a warm, yel­low light. The­re is not­hing to see here, but I can feel a male pre­sence clo­se by. I can even feel his hand on my shoul­der. Next I hear a male voice tel­ling me to con­ti­nue my path steadi­ly and trust­ful­ly. It would be easy and full of joy! Sole obsta­cles are my impa­ti­ence and expec­ta­ti­on. He tells me to trust in what I find, without adding to it, and without inter­pre­ta­ti­on. Now I feel Juli­an by my side, too. I ask her, if the male voice is trust­worthy. „Yes, it’s Hor. You can trust him alright!“

The pur­po­se of our third jour­ney is to find out, what our task is in the spi­ri­tu­al world. The raven is the­re and seems exci­ted. Through a nar­row pas­sa­ge we enter a buri­al cham­ber. My eyes have to adapt to the darkness, befo­re I can make out the shape of a tall, slen­der man in the orna­te of an Egyp­ti­an priest. He is trea­ting a corp­se, embal­ming it. The thick air is fil­led with the scent of per­fu­me and death. I feel the urge to lea­ve. But Hor calls me back: “You will get used to it. Wait here until I am finis­hed.” After the embal­ming, The­re is a cere­mo­ny to accom­pa­ny the soul of the dece­dent to the other side of the river. I can hear some low sin­ging, an occa­sio­nal whis­per and silence in bet­ween. I am deeply moved by what I am allo­wed to wit­ness. After the cere­mo­ny, Hor comes over to me, expec­ting my ques­ti­ons. “What does all this have to do with my task in the spi­ri­tu­al world?”, I ask, puz­zled. “You will pre­pa­re the dying for their last voya­ge and accom­pa­ny their souls to the other side of the River of Life.” is Hor’s simp­le ans­wer. I shud­der, fee­ling that this might inde­ed be true. “Why me?” I object, „Why such a gra­ve task?“ – „It is a holy task, but don’t be afraid. This is only for later in your life. And then I will be the­re at your side to help you.” Then it was no coin­ci­dence, that I recei­ved the raven, the bird of death as a com­pa­n­ion. I begin to anti­ci­pa­te, what is in store for me in this ‘other world’. How fami­li­ar must one, who accom­pa­nies the dying, be with death? “Don’t worry”, Juli­an inter­cepts my thoughts, “now you have us. You got to trust!” Trust seems to be so cen­tral in this work. It takes cou­ra­ge to trust. Do I have that cou­ra­ge? Or rather: Do I have a choice?

20140103_180756A fur­t­her jour­ney to the ‚upper world‘ leads me to a moun­tain river, whe­re an old, Indi­an loo­king woman seems to be tal­king to herself. I take my time watching, befo­re I speak to her. “May I ask, what you are doing the­re?”, I inqui­re respect­ful­ly. She slow­ly focu­ses on me the same way she had focu­sed on the river. Hers is a warm, atten­ti­ve gaze. After a while she replies, that she lis­tens to the peb­bles and the sto­ries they have to tell. Again, she gazes at me intent­ly. “You, too, are a stone-tel­ler”, she decla­res, „This is your task in the crys­tal realm. Lea­ve the pre­cious stones and begin with ordi­na­ry peb­bles and cob­b­le-stones. You like collec­ting them, don’t you? They can’t wait to talk to you. You will lis­ten to them and wri­te down their sto­ries. You can pick them up and take them home, when you have asked their per­mis­si­on. Thank you for com­ing!“

(…)

I can’t resist the temp­tati­on to ask my com­pa­n­ions about the future. But Hor puts me off: “Don’t ask what will be, only ask what you can do.” – “Or not do”, Int­schi adds shrewd­ly. “Or do you honest­ly think, you are a slave of desti­ny? You’re not! You are here to shape your rea­li­ty. Trust your inner gui­d­ance and act accord­in­gly. That is all you need to know.“ – „So what am I sup­po­sed to do today?” I ask, sin­ce I have no clear pur­po­se for my jour­ney. The raven takes me up to the mid­ni­ght sun, whe­re Hor is alre­ady wai­ting. “Don’t do any­thing unless you do it for love’s sake”, he says. “If not, lea­ve it. The­re is far less need to act than you think.” I have one more ques­ti­on. I would like to know: Are they ent­i­ties sepa­ra­te from me or are they a part of me? “Both. We are sepa­ra­te ent­i­ties and we are a part of you. And you are a part of us.” – I am puz­zled, so Hor con­ti­nues to exp­lain: “We are all mani­fes­ta­ti­ons of the same power. If we work toge­ther, we are so much more power­ful than alo­ne. That is true for humans, and it is also true for the spi­rit-world. We need you as much as you need us. We can only work through you. That is why we are so plea­sed when you per­cei­ve and trust us.” I have so many more ques­ti­ons, sin­ce one ques­ti­on seems to lead to a dozen more. But my com­pa­n­ions indi­ca­te that it is enough for one ses­si­on. So I express my gra­ti­tu­de and end this jour­ney.

I can’t wait to start fas­ting. I am only wai­ting for the first warm days, becau­se I always feel so cold, when fas­ting. I am loo­king for­ward to shed­ding my win­ter fat and fee­ling reborn in spring, like a but­ter­fly who slips from its chry­sa­lis. Not only the body is puri­fied through fas­ting, but also the soul, it seems. I want to fast away all the cho­co­la­te that hel­ped me through the cold, dark days of win­ter (thank you, cho­co­la­te). I run on cho­co­la­te and sun­light, it seems, and love, if I can get it. That fuels me more than any­thing else.

There’s one thing I’d like to know, befo­re I start fas­ting. I have always wan­ted to know, so why not ask my com­pa­n­ions? They are alre­ady wai­ting for me on the lake-ter­race: “Whe­re does it come from, this com­ple­te­ly ina­de­qua­te fear of star­va­ti­on”, I want to know. This time I am taken on a very unusu­al jour­ney, neit­her in the ‘upper’, nor into the ‘lower world’, but on a hori­zon­tal beam into ano­t­her peri­od of time. I find mys­elf in a dun­ge­on. There’s a mol­dy smell, and I can hear drops of water run­ning down the stone walls and drip­ping onto the floor. When my eyes have adap­ted to the dark, I can see a thin old man with a shag­gy beard crou­ching in a cor­ner, sta­ring at me with a jaded gla­re. I know this man! Some­ti­mes he visits me in my dreams. Every time after waking up from this dream, I feel drai­ned and exhausted. I am afraid of this man.

Only becau­se Juli­an and Hor are with me, I dare to address him: „Who are you?” — „My name is Nathan“, he starts in a rus­ty voice that sounds like he hasn’t spo­ken in years. Yet the voice gets clea­rer and more urgent with every word he speaks. “I am your ances­tor. You know me.“ – “What hap­pen­ed to you?” I want to know, “I was thrown into this dun­ge­on, was tor­tu­red and then for­got­ten. The­re is no one left but me. It is not the hun­ger that tor­tures me most, but to be for­got­ten. What keeps me ali­ve is the water com­ing from the stones and you.” – “Me?”, I exc­laim. “Yes, you. I cho­se you, becau­se you know what it is like to be neglec­ted.” This last sen­tence makes me crin­ge. He’s right, I do know what it feels like. As an infant, when I wouldn’t stop cry­ing, I was brought to the fur­t­hest room in the hou­se, all doors shut. My par­ents just couldn’t belie­ve that I was hungry again, com­pa­red to my sis­ter who was so dif­fe­rent. In the dark room, the baby must have thought it was going to die. Now I under­stand why my ances­tor clings to me in my dreams and won’t let go, until I mana­ge to save both of us. I want to lea­ve the dun­ge­on at once. But what can I do to give us some peace? “When the time has come, you will hold a ritu­al for both of you“, I hear Hor say, “now to your second ques­ti­on” What ‘second ques­ti­on’? I am still cap­tu­red by what I just saw. “Now you know, whe­re the fear of star­va­ti­on comes from and that it is very old. Fear of death is only defea­ted by the same, that is: ‘Fear of death’. Healing works that way. But don’t worry, you still have a task here. And remem­ber: We are the­re, when you need us, more than you can ima­gi­ne.”

Then we’re off on the time-beam to a wide green plain. A tooth­less old far­mer comes out to greet me. He proud­ly pres­ents the tiny hut whe­re he lives with his wife, a goat and some poul­try. The peri­od is as hard to tell as the regi­on, but the far­mer gives me a hint, toge­ther with a big smi­le: “Life is simp­le, when the tsar is far”, he sta­tes. “What is it I can learn from you?”, I ask. “Just keep on loving“, with this he grabs his woman by the hips and swirls her round, “love, sing, and tend your ani­mals. All else will be seen to.“ What a messa­ge!

Befo­re I can thank this won­der­ful coup­le, we are back in the blur of time hea­ding for yet ano­t­her desti­na­ti­on. This time we have clear­ly reached the stone-age. A young woman with anci­ent eyes sits by the fire and feeds her baby. We are in North Afri­ca, at a time when the Saha­ra was still green. The young woman sings for her baby, and her messa­ge for me is: “Sing the holy healing chants, for the dead and for the living, for man and beast”. So far I know not­hing of the­se chants, but by now I feel sure that they will appe­ar when the time is right. Exhausted, but hap­py, I am final­ly allo­wed to return to my lake ter­race. What an adven­ture. And the clock tells me, that again this jour­ney las­ted no more than fif­te­en minu­tes!

 

The fuse

After care­ful con­s­i­de­ra­ti­on, I now dare say, that what I begin to expe­ri­ence, inclu­ding the voices I hear and the ent­i­ties I feel or even see, don’t inter­fe­re with my ever­y­day life. And they cer­tain­ly don’t harm me in any way. On the con­tra­ry: I can even app­ly tho­se skills I my job as I now sen­se, when a cor­rec­tion of some rou­ti­ne is necessa­ry. And, what‘s more, I bet­ter than ever mana­ge to con­vin­ce my boss of new ide­as; ide­as he can then pre­sent as his. Sin­ce my ego is dis­trac­ted by plenty of other things, I have no objec­tion against his ‘iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on’ with my ide­as. If it helps to implant them, I have no objec­tion. Ever­y­thing now seems much easier than only mon­ths ago. Suc­cess comes effort­less, and brings with it gro­wing respect and more free­dom. Free­dom that I can use to deve­lop my atten­tiveness towards that other world even fur­t­her. My com­pa­n­ions help me with my dai­ly rou­ti­ne by enhan­cing it, let­ting it appe­ar more joy­ful, which has a posi­ti­ve effect also on my effi­ci­en­cy. And what impres­ses me most: Their means are wis­dom, ten­der­ness and humor. When I am allo­wed to see through their eyes, all the com­pe­ti­tiveness and jea­lou­sy of ever­y­day-life seem so vain. Like when they invi­te me to walk in the shoes of my boss, and I am sud­den­ly able to feel the pres­su­re, under which he lives, his lon­ging for respect and some kind of secu­ri­ty. Then I rea­li­ze that I am not so far away from him as I used to belie­ve. That makes me sof­ter, more leni­ent towards him – and mys­elf. Again and again they invi­te me to laugh about mys­elf and accept my weak­nes­ses as lovin­g­ly as they do.

In return, I open up to them more and more and wri­te down, what I recei­ve from them. I give and take, and what a gain for my life this is! Sin­ce my encoun­ter with the wolf, I have a gro­wing fee­ling, that more and more often I tend to be at the right place at the right time. The right books find me toge­ther with other direc­tions that I need at that very moment. May­be becau­se my life has final­ly been given direc­tion in accord­ance with my soul. Now I know, how hap­pi­ness feels, or should I call it bliss?

(…)

Today all seems dark and mea­ningless. The dim morning-light is no invi­ta­ti­on to get up and start the day. Even the crows can’t brigh­ten me up. Their craw sounds like quar­rel­ling in my ears. I am sure this is only my thin­king, and apo­lo­gi­ze to the crows. I can liter­al­ly sen­se the nega­ti­vi­ty I emit today. At least I want to try and see my com­pa­n­ions. But I find it so hard to focus on my jour­ney today. My head seems like a bee-hive!

Then I noti­ce black fea­thers slow­ly stro­king my face. My lovely raven is hel­ping me to focus. Final­ly I’m the­re. The raven comes to take me to the ‘upper world’. But in the midd­le of the black tun­nel, I panic and insist to go back. Once again I inter­rupt a jour­ney. 20131230_162221Whe­re has all my trust gone? I deci­de to do what I always do when I feel low, that is taking a bath. may­be rea­ding some maga­zi­ne will dis­tract me from my gloo­my thoughts. Yet even here, in my beloved bath-tub, the light is gla­ring into my face not hel­ping me much with my rea­ding. As if to ans­wer my thoughts, the light goes out without warning, and I sit in the dark. Now I am real­ly angry, as I have to dry mys­elf, get out and find some cand­les. The gene­ral fuse seems to be intact, sin­ce there’s light in the kit­chen. Angry as I am, I dis­con­nect the bathroom lamp, screw it down from the wall imme­dia­te­ly and try to fix it. I put it back to the wall, but it remains to be dark. What is this sup­po­sed to teach me?

Sin­ce my nega­ti­ve ener­gy obvious­ly mana­ged to extin­guish the light, I ought to be able to con­vin­ce it to shi­ne again, once I invest the same amount of posi­ti­ve ener­gy, shouldn’t I? This is the pur­po­se of my next jour­ney. Again, the raven takes me up, whe­re at first I can see not­hing. But I can hear a fri­end­ly male voice behind me, and have the fee­ling that this is a new tea­cher. He doesn’t hesi­ta­te to intro­du­ce him­s­elf as Mahin­da. I am a litt­le disap­poin­ted, as his ung­lamo­rous looks don’t qui­te match his deep voice. Mahin­da is a stout litt­le, bald hea­ded Bud­dhist monk wea­ring the typi­cal oran­ge atti­re. It is his laug­hing eyes that instant­ly warm me up towards him. He seems exact­ly the right per­son to ask my ques­ti­on to: “Mahin­da, how can I streng­t­hen and puri­fy my ener­gy in order to get the lamp to burn again?” Fair enough that this is not a life or death mat­ter, as I do not know yet, whe­ther I can trust him. „The lamp is your tea­cher. It will teach you pati­ence and endu­ran­ce — and trust. But you should rea­li­ze that this lamp can only start bur­ning again, if you don’t want it to burn and your ego won’t tri­umph over your suc­cess. You are qui­te good, but two things ren­der it dif­fi­cult for you: Your impa­ti­ence and your arro­gan­ce. Arro­gan­ce is a tra­ves­ty of con­fi­dence. It is a sur­ro­ga­te, a mask. Arro­gan­ce comes from the ego, while con­fi­dence comes from the heart and is rela­ted to a basic trust that is the oppo­si­te of ego. Try to know the dif­fe­rence and learn how to be pati­ent.” – “How do I know the dif­fe­rence?”, I inqui­re. “Arro­gan­ce is weak. It needs ever more pro­of of its gran­deur, only to then exag­ge­ra­te it, whe­re­as true con­fi­dence needs no pro­of at all.” I rea­li­ze that Juli­an, Hor and Int­schi make room for Mahin­da in the half-cir­cle of their coun­sel. That means I can pro­bab­ly trust this new tea­cher. And what he says, does seem to make sen­se. So now I will gather my skills of trust and faith and medi­ta­te in front of the lamp until it burns again. I see this as my first sha­ma­nic task in the prac­tical world. I won­der how I will do as a magician’s appren­ti­ce…

20131230_162244The last coup­le of days I have done regu­lar ‘sit­tings’ in front of the bathroom-lamp in order to con­vin­ce it to burn again. No, wrong, I tried to con­vin­ce mys­elf of my not wan­ting the lamp to burn again. I tried to bes­tow the lamp with unin­ten­tio­nal love. But I didn’t yet dare to turn on the light. I am too afraid of being defea­ted. At the same time I was hap­py that no one wat­ched my stran­ge endea­vor, doub­ting my men­tal health after all.

Now ist he gre­at moment: I final­ly turn on the light. Not­hing. The bathroom remains in darkness. But why? Didn’t Mahin­da tell me to do it this way? I feel tri­cked by this new tea­cher. It is all his doing. I find it rather unpro­fes­sio­nal for a tea­cher to let his stu­dent fail his very first test! And so unfair! As an act of rebel­li­on, I will, rather un-sha­man-like, call an elec­tri­ci­an. And guess what hap­pens? He sim­ply chan­ges the fuse in the lamp, and very unce­re­mo­nious­ly, it starts bur­ning again. “See, Mahin­da, It’s as simp­le as that! What do you say now, you cle­ver monk?”

On my next jour­ney I want to know the mea­ning of this unwor­thy cha­ra­de! Juli­an, Hor and Int­schi are pre­sent, and Mahin­da is the­re, too. All four of them seem to have the time of their lives, laug­hing their heads off. “Why are you so angry”, Mahin­da final­ly blurts out, “you did an excel­lent job. The lamp is bur­ning again, isn’t it?” – „Right, but what about my spi­ri­tu­al task?” – “This, too, you mas­te­red expert­ly” – “How that?” – “You tried over and over again.” – “But to no avail!”, I retor­ted. “On the con­tra­ry, with gre­at avail: Now the lamp is bur­ning, and so are you!”

(…)

 20131230_153306

Into the Desert

I can­not con­cen­tra­te on my work today. The­re is such an unre­al, oran­ge light out­side, and there’s a soft warm wind com­ing from the south. I’ve never seen any­thing like it around here befo­re.

DSCF2105Today I feel fat and ugly, and the only thing I can think of, that could make me feel bet­ter is ever more cho­co­la­te. So I choo­se this as my journey’s pur­po­se: “How can I love mys­elf bet­ter, so that I won’t need so much cho­co­la­te to com­pen­sa­te?” As usu­al, the raven collects me at the lake-ter­race. Toge­ther we fly to a small town on the edge of the gre­at desert. We sett­le down next to a group of ori­en­tal women in color­ful clot­hing. They invi­te me to join their bat­h­ing ritu­al. When they und­ress, I rea­li­ze to my delight, that tho­se women are at least as volup­tuous as I am. Yet they cele­bra­te their sump­tuous flesh with such sen­sua­li­ty, that it is delight­ful to watch. “The­re you see pure beau­ty”, the raven sta­tes, “it takes cou­ra­ge to see. You must know that you are beau­ti­ful as you are. Then pon­de­ring your appearan­ce won’t keep you from more important mat­ters. In the desert, we will encoun­ter much more important things. Then the ques­ti­on of your appearan­ce won’t mat­ter any lon­ger.” What does the raven mean by in the desert?

DSCF2270In the news today they said, the red light was cau­sed by a storm high up in the atmo­s­phe­re, on which sand from the Saha­ra tra­vel­led across the sea and the Alps as far as Nort­hern Euro­pe. Peop­le repor­ted on air that in the morning their cars had been cove­r­ed with a thin lay­er of red dust. Later I find an email in my mail­box. Fio­na is for­war­ding me an offer of a desert-camel-tour with a Sha­man from South Ame­ri­ca, cal­led Ana. She stron­gly advi­ses me to go. Well, let’s see, whe­ther there’s time and if there’s still a place for me. I almost hope not. But when I call them, they just had a can­cel­la­ti­on, and I could take her place. – „Juli­an”, I ask, “shall I tra­vel to the desert?“ – The ans­wer is „Yes”!

eidechseMy fur­t­her jour­ney brings me to the Saha­ra desert and the Ama­zon jung­le. But the grea­test adven­ture remains to be ever­y­day life…

 

dschungelIf you still want to read more, plea­se con­tact me.

 

 

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