The shaman applied pressure with his fingers and thumbs to the side, back and front of my skull. He told me to let him know if he caused me any pain.
I felt some discomfort, but it wasn’t intolerable and so I said nothing and let him continue the process as I sat in a chair in front of more than a hundred people attending the symposium on “What is Healing? – Archaic Traditions Meet Ways of Experiencing Modern Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy.” He was the principal speaker, having taught the participants to dance and sing in two large circles in the room where we had met.
Acupressure is what he applied to my head. I had received a similar treatment through massages, but that was for my back. I never subjected myself to such intense pressure to my head but I was determined to see this through.
The shaman had brought a huge six-inch thick book which he consulted for remedies for those with problems who sought healings. I shared my PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) with him. I mentioned the anger and rage I get when certain stressful situations occur and I get a flashback to the time I faced danger during the Vietnam War.
He didn’t need to consult the book for my ailment. He bid me to come closer to him and I maneuvered my chair so that I’d be right next to him where he sat next to a table and a German woman who was translating his Russian into the native German. A Russian man, one of the workshop presenters, interpreted his words in English for me to follow the instructions.
I was a little fearful at first. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but that hadn’t stopped me from trying some foreign things in my life. Such as jumping out of an airplane, taking LSD and voting for a Democrat. (Only kidding!)
But, I was concerned that I would have to do something drastic to improve my well-being. You see, there was a German woman who had sought help before I entered the middle of the healing circle. She was facing her second term for breast cancer and told the shaman that was the main reason she attended the symposium in Freiburg, Germany.
She was very thin with short dark reddish-brown hair. Attractive and very tall, nearly six-feet. I had held her hand and danced with her only a few minutes earlier. I felt like Mutt to her Jeff. I’m barely five-feet, six inches, and she was a tall lanky sting bean (a good-looking string bean!). Yet we laughed and enjoyed ourselves for a good half hour of singing and dancing without any height discrimination.
Well, the shaman, who hailed from Buryatia near the south-central region of Siberia along the eastern shore of Lake Baika, consulted several pages of his book and then advised the woman to place some type of cloth in urine and to apply the object to her breasts. It didn’t matter whether her breasts had been removed or not, he said.
The worst part in my mind was the follow up. The Russian shaman told her to drink urine.
“Whose urine?” Someone in the audience asked. Her own urine, he responded.
A slight gasp came out of my mouth or it could have gushed from others near me. Drink your urine? If it’s either that or a worst alternative, why not?
(I remember a lecture from a Buddhist lama who had fought the Chinese when they first occupied Tibet. He hid himself from planes flying above by crawling into a hole covered with leaves. He had nothing to drink for days on end except his own urine, and that is what helped to keep him alive. He was imprisoned for 20 years and that is where he met a teacher who set him on his path as a guru for others worldwide.)
“I don’t have to drink any urine?” I asked the shaman before agreeing to his treatment. “No,” the Russian translator told me, patting me on the shoulder for more comforting.
Each time he applied his fingers to my head I felt pain. It was no more acute than what I have experienced though acupuncture. The most severe jolt was in the area of my temple, where I thought about crying out, but restrained myself.
When he finished at the top of my head, he pressed his thumb onto my forehead in the area of the third eye chakra. It was then that I noticed he had a disfigurement. His thumb was split. The bone of the thumb had split and grown into two parts of the thumb. He said that it was a birth defect and that was one of the reasons his people knew that he would become a shaman. He had been marked!
Feeling a little disoriented, I couldn’t understand what came next. The shaman, a 57-year old Asian from an area near Mongolia, advised me to conduct a ritual with a fire. He told me to offer drinks that my ancestors used. I suggested Greek Ouzo and beer and somehow milk came to the mind.
Next I was to place three rocks in a triangle shape with the first one facing East. I am to place my right foot over the fire and circulate in a counterclockwise motion and then swing the left leg the opposite way.
Use “timid” I believe the translator said. “What’s timid” I asked. The German audience got involved at this point, as several members said what I heard as “Tim” “tad” and “timid.”
Another Russian psychologist — Olga Makhina — came to my rescue when she wrote down the word in English. It read “Thyme.” I bowed to her in grateful thanks for her help.
Receiving additional instructions I was given a blessing by the holy man and then I went to my seat in the back of the room. He spoke of other stories from his native land and recited a poem he wrote. But I was “out of it.” I sat in my chair and couldn’t focus on anything. I withdrew into myself and felt an eerie calm descended on me.
I felt relief in those parts of my head that he had touched. Mentally, I was in a zone similar to a deep meditation where no thoughts arise and I am at peace with the world.
This continued for 15 to 20 minutes. The presentation ended and I arose from the chair and suddenly felt different.
It’s hard to explain the feeling. I felt something had been lifted. Something taken away. Something was missing, if you know what I mean.
I believe that I acted differently afterwards. I was not the out-going person always trying to cheer up others up and make them like me in the process. Was it my way of seeking attention? Was I missing the anxiety one gets when meeting strangers or having to speak in the group?
I don’t know. But I have remained calm now for three days following this experience provided by the International Institute for Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy. I have not felt anger or other heightened emotions of any kind. I feel I’m on an even keel and simply flowing into the direction the Universe has prepared me to go.
I’ll let you know what happens following the Philadelphia fire ritual in my back yard upon arriving home this coming spring.