I visited US for a while to meet Chandra, the owner of Erototox Decodings. The label is behind the release of my third album Melancholy Paradox. I stayed at his place with his wife Elisa and their two cats AO and Gracie.
Elisa studies and realises shamanism based on Peruvian tradition. I had never taken part in a guided shaman trip, and I was eager to go for it when the occasion presented itself. The magic of the trip is created by each of the participants, with their will to let things happen. Tools for the trip consist of a rhythm instrument, etheric oils which are sprinkled on oneself (just a small amount) and burnable tobacco like material. This material is not inhalated however, and for example in this case the smoke exited the room by an open window. I understood the meaning of the smoke to be a metaphor for liberating one’s mind.
Invocations and The Guide
Before the trip began the shaman guided the participants to call something or someone to be there during one’s trip. It could be a special person, but also a place or an atmosphere. Each of the participants made their calls in succession.
I called my totem animal fox, all of my previous family since the ancients, and the place and the moment where I had met the fox animal. While I was calling I for some reason kept trying to remember how to spell Avalokitesvara, but I could remember and I was a bit ashamed to say it out loud because of that.
This could have been done in silence too, but I did it in Finnish aloud. After the calling had taken place one exhaled somewhat sharply through one’s hands which were held together.
When everybody had made their callings the shaman started the trip by making a steady rhythm. During the different phases of the trip the shaman varied the tempo and the strength of the rhythmical element. I felt safe during the whole trip, and the actual setting was in the end quite normal sunny afternoon. I felt slight uneasiness because I didn’t know what to do. This uneasiness went away though, because the trip was vocally guided.
We were instructed to leave our bodies through an imagined hole in the crown of our heads; first heading towards the crown and the exiting the body through the hole. Shaman made smoke and blowed it around in the room, and the smoke found its way out through the open window. Shaman asked to meet a guide and a guide animal, and to imagine them in one’s mind.
In my mind I saw a mixture of an Orthodox holy personality and an Indian (Vedic) deity. The former seemed feminine and the latter masculine. The guide was facing me and had a standing position. The hands were positioned in some kind of meaningful gesture. That image was very static, as if it would have been drawn or painted. The canvas was elliptical and the background rather dark. The guide radiated colors and vibrated a bit, and the image had depth.
I wasnt first sure about the animal. First it looked like a white horse, then for a while a white unicorn until it settled as a white wolf. The animal was from my point of view on the left side of the guide and from the guide’s point of view on its right side. This setup also stayed like that during the whole trip.
The Departure and The Arrival
Shaman asks us to leave the room and go outside. I zoom quickly to space, but not far; I’m staying in the Solar system while passing a couple of planets. Shaman asks to imagine a place to arrive to. A new planet miraculously grows around me, a very green one, like a paradise. I don’t see the whole planet though, but only an opening inside a thick and lush forest. It appears to be rain forest or similar forest found around the equator. The opening is quite large, perhaps spanning at least 100 metres to each direction. The opening is not completely surrounded by the forest, but at distance I’m seeing hill like meadows and then white foggy light, bordering distinctively with the dark space and stars.
Just beside me is 5 or 7 level pyramid or temple, where each level has the same height than in human structures. I was at the left side of the structure, about at the midpoint of the lowest level. The lowest level seemed to be a sort of a wall – not too tall though. The next level was higher, human sized and a bit less wide, and it appeared that the levels got less wide towards the peak.
Just beside the wall there appeared to be a slightly heightened platform, where one could well sit on. The structure was somewhat colorful, but the colors were not too bright. The colors were ground like and natural. The structure was rather big too, and I’d estimate the length of one side to be about few dozen metres. Later, when we shared our experiences the shaman used word ‘portal’ to describe the place.
Shaman asked us to move to another place, if we so wished, or alternatively stay where we were at the moment. I felt that I should stay here where I’d first arrived, and I spend more time studying the structure. I tried to listen if I needed to go someplace else, but I felt I was anchored to this place.
When I studied the structure from each side, and even from above I realized that if I see it straight from above it looked like a 2D mandala, or similar Buddhist figure. Later when I researched the symbolism which I encountered during my trip I found similar kind of mandala: it’s called Kalachakra Mandala.
This mandala has five stories, and Kalachakra means Wheel of Time. It is notable that this specific mandala has been turned into a 3D structure. Originally, the mandala meant a much larger place, somewhere to enter in.
Shaman guided us to see something or someone, who’d carry a message. I encountered a lizard at the original place just by the portal. The lizard rested on the about knee-height platform that surrounded the portal. Lizard had something to say to me, but it stayed silent. Instead of words I was given a vision. First, I saw the lizard like it would have been impaled from many directions. I didn’t realize the meaning of the long narrow forms first, how they settled to intersect the lizard form, but then they were revealed to be arrow like, and I also had the feeling of them being acupuncture needles.
After this I entered in jungle among a tribe living there. I felt it was a South American tribe from the surrounding vegetation and by the appearance of the people. Near me was a fireplace, where they roasted a lizard, using a skewer. I also saw the lizard as a crocodile or other larger lizard animal. I spent a while with the tribe, and I felt really strongly being present there. Still, I didnt feel myself to be a member of the tribe, but an observer.
The fire place was some kind of central installation, and it was rather large or at least it was built for larger roastings, The village didn’t seem to be busy or very large, and the situation as a whole felt rather mundane. I saw few male figures around the fire, and in a distance few female figures and children, but the distant figures were a bit blurry. The ground of the village was free of vegetation, and there were dwellings perhaps about 20 metres away. They were raised a bit to not touch the ground. Behind the perimeter the jungle like forest started.
I saw the village only from one side – my observation point didn’t move – and this may have impaired me to correctly estimate the size of the village and the size of the tribe.
After spending a very vivid moment with the tribe I returned back to my original place next to the portal.
I started to see someone at a bit higher level of the portal. A moment after this shaman guided us to imagine something or someone who would have an answer for us. One of the upper levels of the portal turned into a floor of an old Asian, most likely a Chinese building.
This is an interesting first impression, because later when researching the animal symbolism in Buddhism I found out that the first Buddhist temple in China is called White Horse Temple. There also exists White Horse Pagoda, which was build to commemorate the white colored horse companion of a Buddhist monk, who promoted Buddhism in China.
The railing of the floor was made out of bamboo, and the roof was held up by bamboo poles. The roof was made of large leaves or similar natural material. There were many doors on that floor, and I floated before one door, slightly outside of the railing in the air.
The door opened and a girl walked out, and she faced the railing and me directly. The girl had Chinese or Asian traits, and she had something in her hands. It was a small white bird, which resembled a dove. The girl released the white dove. But in that instant I saw that actually there was a dead bird in the girl’s hands.
A moment later I saw the same girl lying on the ground facing the ground. The body was slightly injured or mutilated. The surroundings were chaotic. I didn’t understand it to be a large scale war, but somekind of a violent event was taking place in the society. I also heard noises, as if the ground was being stomped on or as if there were heavy steps somewhere outside of my field of vision. Besides that I heard metallic clunks.
I felt a deep emotional connection with the girl. The connection was a mixture of love and infinite sorrow.
Later in my research of the related symbolism I found out that white dove is considered as the messenger of death. The dove was the last of the white colored animals which I encountered during my trip.
Shaman asked us to return back. I didn’t want to come back because of my emotional attachment. I didn’t want to let go. Shaman guided us back however; again through the window and through the hole in our heads back to our bodies.
Afterwards when I recounted my experience I still felt deep attachment to the girl. Shaman gave me a stone from her collection, and I was to exhale to the stone my emotions and feelings. I did that quite many a time. At first I was on verge of crying, but in the end I felt relieved.
Chandra gave me a Peruvian wooden statue as a present, because of my experience with the tribe, and because he’d felt he should give it to someone some day.
I thought about my connection with the girl later, and perhaps it was an echo from my past life – or perhaps a symbol why I have always hesitated to have my own child.
The trip itself didn’t last that long, perhaps 20-30 minutes. I experienced it mostly with my eyes open, like I had used to do it in Zen-meditation. I sat on my feet, and they didn’t become woody during the experience, so it couldn’t have lasted for a long time.