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Diary: Day One


Author: Alexander Aldarow    (all articles by this author)

Sunday, April 22, 2001

Interesting how the Universe provides you with any knowledge you request. I have just finished reading Paulo Coelho's book, "Diary Of The Mage", that Sveta gave me, plus tomorrow Dan Wilde (Bear) will start teaching me Shamanism through e-mail, plus there are the six books that Nancy mailed me? I told The Universe to stop for now, thankful. Today I will walk to choose a special place, necessary for Shamanistic practice, plus will do the first of Coelho's book's exercises.

I will try to be more or less brief, without picturesque descriptions and transcriptions of my every thought - some of them probably already elude me.

In about 10 minutes walk away from my house there is a park. There is a small "zoo" in it - a space where three ostriches (one male, two females), five zebras and four white antelopes are strolling, providing the viewers with a piece of savanna, plus adding to the surreality of my walk there. After the park, the forest - I guess it somehow can be called a forest - begins.

The walk is due north, so, imagine this piece of Ashdod's (my town) land - from left to right there are the Mediterranean sea, the port, freight trains' railroad, a somewhat polluted small river Lachish and the industrial zone. Between the zone and the river, an untouched piece of Nature resides, mostly tall grass and reed, but there are a lot of trees as well. Rarely do people visit this fragment of forest, although it "hides" just beneath their noses.

At first, I made it to the park, and there I saw the first blessing sign that my walk/path was welcomed. A flashing shining blue bird fled from one lonely park's tree to another. I was stunned. At first I thought it to be a parrot, but as I followed it a bit, flying from tree to another, I think I recognized its type, its Russian name. The bird was small and beautiful, and, understand, despite everything, there are no exotic birds flying around in Israel. A good sign.

I walked on to pass the zoo, but the male ostrich looked at me, so I had to stop and approach, to say "Hi". I think that one of females, with a wound on her long neck and big dark eyes with rich lashes recognizes me from previous visits. I looked toward the small pond the African animals were having in the center of their space and noticed a big round thing lying by its side. An egg? Wow.

On my way through the open park I met only a religious man with a slightly crazed look and with a child. There were also three small drinking fountains on my way, the ones you have to push the button in order to drink the sprouting water. The first one was full of muddy water, the second one had bird dropping in it - so I drank, as it was meant, from the third one, the last one before I entered the forest.

There was a bridge connecting the two worlds, a bridge above Lachish's branch. All the associations and related bits of songs occurred, something about "I will cross that bridge when I reach it". I looked into the water beneath me on both sides, and something to the right drew my attention, a multiple movement in the water, as if the stream was running against some stones? Turtles! Quite a few of them, then I've also noticed a couple of loners, swimming under water. I don't think I've ever seen turtles in the wild. Another sign.

The temperature was very pleasant, and the sun was clouded by some sort of a mist. A lot of flies in the air I had to wave off. Through the forest, parallel to the river, a path was running. I walked it only once before, with Rinor - it ended at horse farm, where, years ago, I had a graduation prom. I've thought a couple of times about a spot we saw there, more or less by the end of the path, a clearing of sorts, which Rinor was reluctant to enter, and which I thought to be the place for the ritual that us (Sveta, Rinor, myself) didn't make. I thought that, since he didn't want to enter it, and since I thought of it for the ritual, it must be my special path, my natural shrine, and I was heading there. The Nature was welcoming me, there were birds in the high grass, not all of them the regular sparrows, I think, there were the callings of frogs from the river, there were movements of hidden small animals in the grass, which made me also think of gnomes, earth's elementals.

I've noticed huge burnt spots on both sides of the path that I didn't notice last time. There definitely was fire in here, probably relatively recently. That saddened me.

I stopped, as I've spotted, behind a small embankment/mount, a shadowy place, shielded by a tall tree, a very mysterious, almost concealed place. Could be a good candidate for a special spot, too. I made an arrow on the path, first by painting it with a finger on the dusty ground, then out of sticks of reed, pointing toward the tree, deciding to return here after I check all the other candidates. I didn't walk too far from there until I saw a blue sign, some residue of industry, that indicated that clearing I mentioned earlier. I went into the clearing, seeing that it is all wrong to be a special place. First of all, it's open, and we did saw a motorcyclist last time we were walking the path, therefore - other humans use the path at times as well, and I needed a certain privacy. Furthermore, as I walked a bit into this place, I already saw a wall of an industrial zone's building, probably the supermarket where we shop on weekly basis. Too close to the civilization. It's not that I wasn't aware of civilization on other parts of the path, I heard the train cars moving and other sounds, but this was too much. There also was a net fence running by the edge of the clearing, and I've noticed several thin trunks of young trees standing by it. As I've approached them, I saw that they were dry stems of reed-like type of a weed. I took one out of the ground, and in my hand, it became a staff. That was the purpose of this spot, to provide me with staffs. I walked out of it, using the staff like a cane, and felt that I was something else - and that never happens, a thought has occurred to me. I've returned to the path and walked it a bit more, soon to see the big sign of the aforementioned farm and understood that I must go back, to the only spot that is suitable for me.

I've returned to the arrow and dismantled it, to cover the tracks. There was as if small path made through the high grass, leading into my shadowed chosen place. I thought of a permission to enter the shrine and went in.

The place - some of it, most of the grass under the tree - was burnt, and it seemed that the fire has started here. I thought - so, what now, is there no place for me here at all? Nonetheless, I stayed, appreciating the soothing atmosphere of the spot, plus the fact that it was concealed from the main path, where people might pass.

The first Coehlo exercise that I must do at the same hour for seven days was "The Seed Exercise", an exercise of re-birth (I highly recommend you read the book). Basically, one is supposed to kneel on the ground, sitting on his heels, his head must touch the knees, hands go backward - a fetal position. The exerciser relaxes and imagines being a small seed resting in the earth. After a while, however, one of his fingers begins to move - the seed doesn't wish to lie in the ground, it begins to sprout. Steadily, the whole body moves and rises, until you stretch toward the sun, utter a scream and open your eyes. The scream part bothered me - I thought I won't be able to scream "in public".

I spread the page of Xeroxed exorcise by my side, putting my cellular phone, notepad and sunglasses (which I regretted taking) on it. I've knelt into the mentioned position on the unburnt portion of my shrine and relaxed, thinking how good it is, lying in the dark ground with no worries. A thought occurred to me - am I supposed to move the fingers, then the whole body, on my own, or should I just? I let my right index finger move, and it started.

I had such phenomenon in the past, in "trances" we did with Rinor - I called it "possession", when muscles and parts of body start moving on their own - yes, I do have control over them, and can stop it at any given moment, yet I just let it happen. This time, I let the finger start convulsively flailing, moving, shaking, then the palm, the rest of the arm, I let the fingers on the left hand start the same; if someone was watching from the side, he'd thought I'm going into an epileptic seizure or a spasm. I started to rise, still on my knees, my upper body, my head, my hands, all behaving like a possessed entity, or an electrocuted animal. I understood then, what it meant. If anyone saw a documentary, where a fast-motion movie shows stages of a plant's weeks-long growth in a couple of minutes, it's noticeable how the plant seemingly flaps from side to side - and I was doing the same, growing from the ground! Like a tree, finally, I stood up on my feet, bending, then stretching toward the sky, and, on my closed lids, the sun was burning bright. I stretched the most, then screamed, a rich guttural sound, like in an orgasm, and opened my eyes, deeply breathing, amazed?

There was no sun in reality. The day was misty, as I mentioned before.

It was a powerful experience.

I was reborn.

After a while, I made my way back home. I felt different, more - what should be the right word - whole, wholesome, calm, pure? There were ducks in the river; the nature was welcoming me, I was a part of it.

Before the bridge, there were a few street lamps, I left my staff besides the one before the last, I said good-bye to this magical, majestic world, and crossed the bridge, feeling expanded. A flock of swallows was circling above me.

After the zoo, I saw the flashing blue bird again - a good sigh. I saw the Navy's lighthouse/radar tower, that is place on the top of Jonah hill not so far from my house - yes, same Jonah from the Bible, and that was the exact spot where the whale spewed him out. I've decided to use the lighthouse as my guide and make my way home not by usual way, but along the river (that eventually met the sea). The misty atmosphere was still around, as I went on, seeing places that existed in my area, yet I wasn't aware of them, it all felt mystical? I didn't reach the sea, but cut to the left, deciding to reach the Jonah hill. The path took me to a stone fence, behind which was a highway, separating me from the hill. Instead of trying to climb the fence, I let the path "walk me" - just like in Coehlo's book! Yes, that's what was happening all along - the path walked me, lead me. I let it take me now a few steps in left direction, to an opening in the fence, crossed the highway, and stood by the foot of the hill. I knew that there were people in a cafe on its top, I knew that the hill was visible for the drivers on the highway, but I threw away the hesitation and performed another thing from Coehlo's book, called "The Conquest". I've conquered not only the hill, as I was climbing up, through its thick vegetation, merely using my hands, but myself as well. There was the part of the "last effort", and then I saw a path leading to the right, I walked into a familiar area, tenements, and, in a couple of minutes of walk - my home.

All the seeds of weeds, clutching at my shoes and socks, I brushed off prior to entering the building.

Incredible - and it lasted, in "our" time, only two hours.

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