…when through the branches of a barren tree the full moon paints freak patterns on the ground, the men from the village dance their ecstatic moves. They wildly jump around and stamp their feet wrapped in the skin of deer on the soft springy soil. Their bodies, sweat accentuating strong muscles, stirred up by the rhythmic beating of wood on wood, their minds brought into a trance by a secret potion of henbane, belladonna and dried fly agaric…
The men dance in circles around the shaman, the initiate who is at the center of the open space dancing his own crazy dance. He is totally immersed in his own pre-worldly universe and is dancing even wilder and more ecstatic than the other men. His head is hidden behind the mask of a deer’s head, the horns sweeping through the air as he dances around the fire. Still faster and wilder until he is just running in circles around the fire, slipping and sliding and falling down, his mask rolling aimlessly over the trodden grass. His body is shaking while he turns his face to the flames.
The women and the children sitting at the edge of the open space are the first witnesses to the miracle. Their cries wake the other dancing men from their trance. They stop dancing and look at the initiate and they see it, too. The fire in the eyes of the shaman and the fire of the flames seem as one. No, his eyes are not alight but for a short moment in time it looks as if the flames and the eyes of the shaman are of the same origin.
Fire, that is not as any of the other phenomena in this world as it doesn’t stand on its own but can only exist as long as it flames consume other things and in doing so create the beginning of something new, that fire is the representation of divinity on earth. And the eyes of the initiate, who may have been passed on secret knowledge from his forefathers, but for the rest is, just as the other men in the village, a farmer of the desert, those eyes represent humanity, taken from the soil.
And so, on this first night of spring the great miracle occurs in which divinity and humanity become one again for a short while.
In that short, holy moment the people of the village bow their heads and ask humbly from the divine spirit if the farming may bear fruit again this year: twentyfold, fortyfold, sixtyfold…
…when through the branches of a barren tree the full moon paints freak patterns on the ground and the stars make their rounds of the Eternal Mill through the endless universe, deep into the desert the coyote, feared and revered, sends his invocatory howl travelling through the night. For the time being the coyote still drowns out the sound of drums of an unknown people that has come from far away to, as rumor has it, subject all other races in the world and put an end to the old way of living that was taught by the Great Spirit.
Without making a sound a desert owl hovers over the open space. With fearful premonition the people around the fire raise their heads and pray that this year everything may still be well. For this one year at least…
This is the world into which I am born, time and time and time again…
Peace, One Fine Afternoon
I have this vivid memory of how my life was at the beginning. The kid in the cinema who became one with laughter. And look what has become of it 50 years later: a bag full of opinions. Conflicting, constantly changing opinions, too. A bag full of mixed emotions and passions: generosity and greed, compassion and rudeness, love and hate, pleasure and pain. Driven from the garden of oneness and openness, predator and prey at the same time.
The more I am at peace with what has become of the kid in the cinema, the more I am able to slip into the garden of Eden. Be it just for a brief moment.
As we drove up the hill called Sion I thought of another hill long ago. The hill where the shepherd had been waiting to lay his healing hands upon my ancient wound while singing: Be at peace with yourself.