Shaman’s Journey in Mongolia

Five years ago I had a stroke.  It was major, and got me five hours under a surgeon, who was immaculate.
But I could not talk.  And I knew nothing.  I was, in the eyes of my world, a train-wreck.
The rest of this article is in the words of my partner, my beloved Anamarta.
The highlight of the Rooster’s intense year in 2017, was a transformational journey to Mongolia.  I had a strong call to go there, due to the shamanic practices, which go all the way back to pre-Taoism and the shamanism in ancient China.
A big challenge just before the mid-year turned life upside down, and the real reason to go to Mongolia was truly unveiled!
My partner Kris had a stroke, and in a few seconds that amazing life that we had, just finished.
I lost my beloved husband, lover, business partner, best friend, ‘consigliere.’
Kris lost his speech and his memory: he had to learn everything from scratch, like a child again, including all his teachings; the irony of me, teaching him all he taught me.

The journey to the unknown started as we had a contact, but we didn’t know much about him or her: you couldn’t tell by the big Mongolian name.  Kris thought a woman, I thought a man; but what was important was that we both had a good feeling.
It was a couple, our contact was a she, and her husband was helping her.
She was a shamaness, and our translator, as nobody else spoke English.

In Mongolia besides most shamans having another job and keeping a low profile, they have always an assistant, which is a close member of the family; and with the four different shamanesses from different tribes, I had the pleasure to meet, to learn and to exchange.  All were assisted by their husbands.  Why?
Because they receive spirits in their body. You have different kinds of spirits which come to support in different situations; so they go into a trance and need help, and someone to hear what the Spirit says, and sometimes translating from ancient Mongolian language to the modern one.  This was something not new to me, as with my grandmother’s spiritual life, I remember this lady who lived in her house and use to receive the spirits in her body.  Same thing, but done and ritualised in a different way.
‘We have been waiting for you!’  We heard, and we felt that!

Our first experience was just a few hours after our arrival. We went to the shamaness’ simple house, met with a warm welcome, and you always have to eat first and drink in a Mongolian home.  It was a powerful first experience, and this was just the beginning.
She said we had to be in an Initiation ceremony.  That day I was honoured ‘by the spirit’ to receive ‘Tengri’, the Heaven, their God.  I thought to myself, ‘that’s a big responsibility,’ and the spirit answered, it is!
Yes, they hear your thoughts.  
I also got a mouth harp they use to go into trance and in this ceremony, as the shamaness was spinning in a trance, a snake (is not real!) from her long jacket went to the floor close to me.  I picked it up to give back to her, but she said that belongs to me now.  Having a strong connection with the snake as a totem, my Mongolian snake, as in their tradition, has to be fed and cleaned with vodka!

The most special offering was an important site for women to go for blessings.  A huge breast, made with rocks to honour the Goddess, is on the edge of the Gobi desert.  I walked around it, emptying milk from a small cup, receiving the blessings.

While in this magical place I visited some caves where people use to go and meditate for years until they reached the Tao or emptiness, called enlightenment by the Buddhists.  I meditated there imagining the ‘womb of mother earth’, a hole in the rocks that you literally go through and come out the other side of it: rebirthed!   Going inside this rock was like OMGoddess, I’m a bit claustrophobic, I can do this.  This place was the “healing rock” which they believe has magic powers.

If you were courageous to go up barefoot in this very hot sand, which of course we were, Taoist high practice, we can walk on fire, so this was easy, you can feel and use this healing sand.

Well, the first treatment by Puja, a Mongolian with an Indian name, gave to Kris, was a massage with hands-on healing while rubbing sheep fat on his skin.  When he got up, he looked and walked, differently! 
 I found my place to retreat, being at one with wild nature and the nomadic life.  Nature, the sky is so big and feels so close to you: yang and yin, heaven and earth in perfect harmony, this recharged me deeply.  All this journey was done offline, with no phone, no Internet, switched off from the world for a few weeks.

Many more days and a few thousand kilometres later, we reached the lake in the north, close to the border with Russia.  The shamaness of this lake was old and famous, from the reindeer tribe.  We connected immediately.  I went into this small room, noticing she wore rings and earrings with crystals; then from inside her top she lifted up a necklace with a big pendulum with two green crystals as eyes.  She pointed at these crystals and pointed into my green eyes and start shaking her head with a yes and a big smile.  No translation: I got what she was saying.  As she looked at Kris she saw everything in his body and brain.

The strangest thing, was the night before I had a dream that my favourite hair-stick broke, and I was very upset.  So when I woke up I went down the lake, and in a water ritual I did, I cleared my hair stick.  And so it was, a few hours later, as I met this lovely shamaness, I gave her my hair-stick, and she loved it!  She told me to go back to Mongolia to meet her again, and I will!

This journey finished back in the capital meeting a shaman, the only man, with whose spirit I connected deeply.  He said, ‘Do it for me now!’ and started drumming, and me holding this heavy stick which is filled with silver and brass amulets.  I reached my ‘trance’, feeling connected.  I told him everything he asked me and everything was confirmed. The interesting thing was that this spirit also kept saying to us ‘when you come back to Mongolia.’

The next day we go in the trans-Siberian train to Moscow, but after a few hours we are arrested at the Russian border due to a visa mistake, are taken out of the train in the middle of the night, passports taken from us, and put in the room under guard.  We were released in the afternoon to be deported back to Mongolia when our passports were returned.

In Mongolia, besides our visas being stamped, it became clear that there was a strong reason to be back: to finish what we started.  This was Kris finishing his treatments with Puja.  He needed seven and not five.   She passed on to me the healing treatment for I continued to give Kris for seven more weeks.  Also, I got the answers to all that had been revealed to me, that brought me back to my mental sanity, my strength and my power, and the reminder that we are never alone!

I wrote an article a few years back about one big challenge, talking about Kris’s only other health issue, kidney stones, and seeing him in such pain and I couldn’t do anything to help him.  And how the doctors said ‘impossible to dissolve stones.’  With our Taoist and Shamanic practices they disappeared in a few months.  And this was nothing even close to a challenge compared to a stroke a few years later: it’s always a matter of perspective.

So here we go, ending up flying to Moscow: the only flight available was in business class.   Two days in surprisingly beautiful Moscow, and even with the ‘Russian episode’ an enriching and life changing journey.

And for those who don’t know Kris, he is great and kicking with his 81 years young.  He’s recovered, he finished his amazing book the “Jade Girl: The Education of a Dakhini”, and nowadays he is working on his autobiography, and still teaching some Tai Chi Qigong and Chi Nei Tsang courses.

He is my biggest inspiration and example of resilience, and above all, a true Taoist Living Master, not for his extensive knowledge and experience, but based on 15 years living together, I witnessed someone who embodies his teachings and ‘walks his talk’ on a daily basis, whatever the life challenges are.

And me?  Well, I am teaching a Shamanic workshop, and will talk about some of the things in Mongolia.  It is this weekend, so come along and learn!
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About Kris Deva North

Author, Meditation Coach, Teacher of the Taoist Arts.
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1 Response to Shaman’s Journey in Mongolia

  1. A good post. Thank you 😊🙏

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