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The Reluctant Shaman



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Sacred Link

Healing Spirits




I arrived on schedule. I don't know why. It was a crazy thing to do. I was truly terrified. I didn't trust them, yet I was compelled to go. I had thought about my experiences of the last meeting often during the preceding two weeks. I dreamt incessantly about the figures of Death and Destiny and the haunting of Destiny's song. I had no idea what had happened to me. The more I thought back on it, the less sure I was about any of it. I wondered if I had eaten something that made me get so sick. I couldn't tell if the figures I had seen had been a delirious dream or hypnosis or even somehow real. Maybe I returned to find out if any part of the Hetakas was really real, or if I was just jumping to wild conclusions.

I had become disjointed from the familiar. The authenticity of this world was losing its grip. Deep inside me there grew an unlimitedness to the universe. It was not a feeling. It was not a thought. It was a piece of me. I could no longer count on the world I used to know.

As I entered their home and we went through the usual amenities, the Hetakas seemed quite cheery and nonchalant, as though nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened. They brought out coffee and little sandwiches. I sat confused and silent.

Finally Domano began to speak. "For us to teach you it so much becomes a matter of words. Ideas are not words. And experiences are not words. So our task becomes leading you to experiences that give you learning. And to do that sometimes we need words. They are slippery, though, just like a water snake. Words can mean many different things to different people. When we describe something we are only correct from one viewpoint. Change the seat of observation and it is no longer completely true. Words are truly a miracle, but are like coyote. They are great tricksters. They can lead you down primrose lane, no?"

His using that old phrase threw me off. I wondered how he ever came across it, and I lost track of what he was saying.

"This is why I say we can not pass on knowingness to you through words. It is only your own personal experience that will make you truly understand a thing. Your being must have interaction in order for you to obtain thorough, true knowing. Our words maybe will help you digest the experience and lead your attention to the next. But with learning from experience, you will come to know how to do all of this without us. To do, learn, and know all by and for yourself. A time will come when you will no longer need us.

"But for right now, you want to know what you did last time. What happened. You tore a little hole in your web and fell off." He chuckled as he mimed with his fingers the tearing of an imaginary web and something unwittingly falling through it. "A little piece of you knows now there is more world than what your habits let you live in."

I thought to myself, at what cost is all this? Will they injure me? Kill me? Are all our lessons going to be like the last? What is the extent of their knowledge? Are there really people who have extraordinary abilities? What on Earth would I do with such a thing in my life? Where would it fit?

But a part of me didn't care where it would fit. It felt free and wild and curious. It wanted the extraordinary.

He leaned forward and said, "You died."

I knew it had felt as if I had died, but I was alive now, so how could I have died? Most likely, I thought, it was hypnosis. The possibility of a drug-induced experience never entered my mind. For me that was a most unfamiliar scenario.

"Your life has changed since the last time you were here," he continued. "You cannot find that world you left. It is because you made a huge movement. You changed. You moved your center all the way off your web." Reassuringly, he said, "You died.

"Everything you were, and everything you knew, and everything you discovered, created your experience of these primal forces. Death is the force in our universe that pulls everything apart. Brings to its end everything. It dissolves. It's the force of change. It is a force. Power. Movement. The world is like a current of a stream or the seas. It pushes in, through and out of ‘here,’ continually. The force that brings this is the force that causes the birth and death of a thing. As it dies to us it is born to something else. This force flows through the webs, through dimensions. There is knowledge in this force. And as with everything there is consciousness. When something is pushed into a world it has a kind of momentum, an inertia of action. One could say it has a plan. That is its other half-Destiny. This double-edged force is a framework of our world. It does not eliminate free will. It is more correct to say this force is a structure free will expands in. It is a little different kind of intelligence, a consciousness, than people are used to. Every nation of peoples has noticed the actions of this force as 'Deity.’ The figures you saw were a personification of this force, this action in our universe.

"If you look at the world in a certain way, all you see is life and its movement–change. Collecting and dispersing. Moving along. When one knows this inside it brings great joy and passion. You see, death teaches you about life. Life is the common bond between all things. Death is the movement of life along its way. Death provides dynamic flux. Contained random expansion. Chaos."

He looked at me and laughed. I must have had a very puzzled expression. Not only was this old Indian hard to follow and getting technical but it was his choice of words, they were unnerving. To me, chaos seemed next to complete annihilation. I had read a little Hinduism a few years before that illustrated this concept. It spoke of the breaths of Brahma, describing the universe as coming into existence out of the chaos of Brahma's exhaled breath, and then dissolving into chaos again and being inhaled into oblivion.

He chuckled, "That water snake slipped right out of your fingers already. Breathe. Make peace for yourself. We will always repeat, until you learn. Breathe deeper."

After a moment he shook his head and said, "There is ablaze from the center, the heart of each and all things–life. From galaxies to photons. Life is conscious, intelligent energy that can collect itself into any function or shape. Your scientists break their atom apart, and what do they find? Energy moves around it, in it, forming it. If they look at these energies from one certain view, they would see it is in two halves moving like a dance, together. Then if they moved to a different view, they would see it has five parts, intimately, intricately woven together. And from another, one part only. They are all correct. Pretty crazy stuff, this energy that lives, yes? It collects around inertia to form energy patterns and matter. A person can learn how to collect it, store it, move it. When it collects into something, that is an individual. Its matrix has a unique pulsing, a rhythm, that belongs only to it. It sings to the universe and life pours through it, carrying its little song. It tells everybody around about its existence. This is life energy itself being scattered out as a gift from the heart. An individual's song is its joy. And we share them with each other continually. This is our web."

He moved his arms dramatically, demonstrating what he meant. He was delightfully theatrical. I knew he felt deeply about what he was telling me. I just hoped I could remember it all.

"Death is only what shoves life along its way. It is a doorway to something new. Nothing is annihilated or lost or forgotten. All is carried on to the next place and all experience is shared and remembered. It is a great trick to learn to use this doorway. You must face, confront your death, prepare to die. This changes your place among the webs, gives you courage, shows you how living is a matter of attention."

Domano got up and walked to the window, smiling in his sweet, impish way. "I'll tell you a little story. You will like it. It is a good story.

"It was a fine, sunny day. Bright. And smelling good. There was this place by the spring. Grasses, trees, and birds tweeting all around. You could smell sweet plants in the air. There was living here a fine snake. One day a man came walking through the grasses. Looking at everything, and sniffing and touching. He sat down next to the stream to rest and drink. Snake saw the man and came over to greet him.
"'Hello there, human,' he says.
"'Hello, fine snake.'
"'Welcome to my beautiful home,' says snake.
"'How very good,' says human. 'You live here long, yes?'
"'My mothers before me came here before the trees arrived.'
"'Oh my,' the human says, 'that is a fine history. And this is a fine day!'
"'Then why,' asks snake, 'do you look so sad?'
"'Oh snake, I am just a foolish old man. My years are going to come to an end soon. I do not wish to go. My hospitable friend, death for a human is not easy like for animals and plants. I miss the flowers already. Snake. What is your secret for living so long? Why do you not die?'
"Snake laughs, 'Because I shed my skin.'
"`Teach me, snake. Teach me, please, to shed my skin, so I may live another day.'
"`As you wish, human.'
"Snake took the old human into his care. And through the weeks ahead, taught him to sleep like a snake and peel his skin off. From then on when the man felt his time coming to an end, he would just go to sleep and peel his skin off. And he was happy and no longer afraid."

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