Remembering my first encounter with a shaman
It was in 2005 that my sister and I decided to make a trip to Turkey. I was recovering from a difficult breakup and struggling in general. An intuitive had told me that "I needed to die psychologically". Just how do you go about doing that? I was confused and I wanted things to progress quickly. Our trip to Turkey and the dramatic events that followed, answered this question and many others.
It was not an enjoyable vacation. My sister and I ended up in a small touristy town that had little to offer but drinking and sun bathing. The heat reached record levels that summer and our room had no AC. We couldn't wait to go back to Sweden as our week away from home came to an end. Our plan for the last night was to have an early dinner and then head straight to bed. The restaurant of our choice displayed beautiful samples of gourde art. I asked our waiter about the artist and he said I would find him in one of the villages outside of town.
A half hour later, my sister and I were making our way through endless switchbacks to get to our unknown destination. "You'll know it when you see it", was what we had been told and it turned out to be true. Our hike ended outside an old wooden cabin covered in gourde art. The artist, a flamboyant, bare chested man in harem pants came to greet us. We were told this was an historic building and that he was the proud custodian of it. Finally something worthy of our time. We followed the artist inside the cabin and a strange feeling hit me. It was like coming home. The beautiful wooden furniture had tales to tell and I loved the crystals and feathers that were hanging from all the windows. The gourde art was intriguing. It was a thrilling environment and I felt a strange excitement well up from deep within.
It turned out the gourde artist was sharing this space with another man. This man had a quiet presence and I couldn't help but wonder how he got along with his host. We ended up having a life changing conversation over the next couple of hours, while my good natured sister was trying to fight off the seductive gourde artist in the other room.
My new friend, who called himself a shaman, had lived in Germany up until a few months ago. This is when he decided to give up all his belongings and go on a road trip to southern Europe. He ran out of money while passing through our village and decided to stay with the gourde artist, whom he now depended on for food and shelter. He shared with me that he was likely to return home soon, because the purpose of the trip had been fulfilled. Five months on the road had given him the clarity he sought. His story was fascinating to someone like myself, who at the time lived a safe and predictable life.
Apparently he had climbed the ladder of the corporate world while marrying and parenting four children. He was introduced to Shamanism somewhere in the midst of all that running and his shamanic studies helped him see who he really was. This realization led to a major emotional breakdown and a crumbling of an old way of life. He divorced and gave up most of his belongings accept for his motor bike.
The first half of our conversation revolved around attachment. He asked me if I would ever consider following his example and give up all my belongings and my security in favor of a more heart centered life? That is precisely what I ended up doing two years later, but that night my answer was a giggle and a firm no.
The second half of our conversation dealt with my personal growth, or the lack thereof. The shaman told me that I had yet to discover my true nature. He said I appeared to be quite lost. I think I would have been offended, had it come from someone else. This man, however, had my permission to be honest and I felt strangely relieved that I had been found out. He went on to tell me that my false persona and life style had created a problem in my stomach and asked if he could do some energy work on me.
My stomach had been my weak area since childhood. I had no idea what to expect but I decided that I was going to be open minded and trust in this man's healing abilities. He channeled light energy through his hands, sang some prayers, used feathers and a crystal to extract whatever was in my stomach. Meanwhile my sister requested that we leave. She had been so patient and I felt like I couldn't turn her down. The shaman was concerned. The work was not done and I was in danger, should I choose to leave. There was nothing I could do. Our time was up. I thanked him and he sent me away with a crystal and some feathers. My sister and I hurried back to our hotel and left for Sweden that same morning.
Three weeks later and I was on my way to the hospital. My stomach had collapsed after several days of vomiting. They kept me in an isolated unit for eight days while trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was given morphine every three hours because I was in excruciating pain. They decided to perform major surgery on me and found out that I had a ruptured appendix, a condition that they should have been able to detect but somehow it escaped all the scans. My theory afterwards was that I was meant to suffer like I did, because this process led to a major awakening. I was fearless and more alive than I had ever been. My wish had been fulfilled. I was experiencing a powerful rebirth. Much became clear from that day on. I made new decisions that catapulted me forward into a life that I could truly love. The transformation was complete with my move to the US and marrying the love of my life. By the way, I only kept a suitcase worth of stuff as I settled into my new life.
Coming full circle, I now practice shamanic healing through my work at Soul Garden Companion. My life turned into a real adventure once I decided to follow my deepest truth and wisdom.