Unexpected Shaman (1)


Jerome (not his real name, but those are his hands) had been teaching us some elementary Spanish.

We had been advised that the lesson was half an hour later than billed, but it had started on time. By the time we got there, the other two students were well ensconced in the picture cards that match local Mexican animals with their Spanish names.

I should have known then, really… Stuart, in particular, would have smiled, given the starring role the similarly sized Druid Animal cards had played in the previous year’s Silent Eye workshop – Leaf and Flame.

At the end of Jerome’s hour, he was drawing things to a close when he began to refer to the Mayan temple at Chichen Itza – our single destination for a very long day, tomorrow.
In response to a question about the geometry of its construction, he said, ‘You have to be able to see…”
The air had changed… I leaned forward as he explained, briefly, that his grandfather had been a travelling Mayan Shaman and had passed onto him the knowledge that the truth about the Mayan temples was not correctly told, but that was because few could see anymore. I nodded and smiled…

I asked a deeper question, how did such seers recognise each other in the time of his grandfather? He replied that they were the only ones with their eyes open.

He watched me watching him, reading my quiet but intense interest, and the way the sense of wonder on my face grew into a smile. I was back in the land of Carlos Castenada, but this was burningly real, not a book.

This was all in the whirling now, which was getting more unlikely by the second.

After a quick and gentle test on the Spanish cards, everyone stood up to go. He reached across to tap me on the fingertips and said he could stay for a while if I wanted to take our discussions further. Bernie was happy to do her own thing for a while, so the two of us continued our discussions.

“You are a Shaman – in the line of your grandfather?” I asked, knowing it was not a question. We have a Shaman of our own – Running Elk – who is very good at widening the experience of the Clan of the Raven, as our collective alter ego has become known, so I could detect the signs of another, decidley real one…

His eyes danced, challengingly, while his head nodded, slowly.
“We are hunters of men,” he said, gently. “The world has forgotten how to grow, inside. The earthen cloak from the Mother has set hard around the evil (which we later mutually agreed meant ‘ego’) that hides the light that was placed in us by the Sun.”

We sat back, considering each other
“We hunt the light in men so that we may teach them more,” he said. “Knowledge is useless unless it is shared. The Sun gives us light and heat, but the light of knowing grows in man’s heart – within the material of the Earth.”

He drew the diagram above. “These are the steps you will see at Chichen Itza.” He circled the two words ‘know’ and ‘respect’, linking them as a step. “Every day we climb a step – they are hard and need effort.”
He drew a third word, ‘love’, above the other two. “The work, the respect, the knowledge, build love when they are applied each day to: knowing myself; knowing others; knowing God – this builds love, and love reveals…”

We talked for an hour. I contributed what I could. He invited me back at 15:30 – his afternoon break.
It’s 14:46… I just wanted to share this with you. First Uluru, then The Feathered Seer, now Mexico. It’s shaping up to be quite a year…

I didn’t notice it at the time, but the deer card appears to be face up on the photo of the animal pack…

Stuart and Sue will be smiling… as they will at the analogy of ‘hunting’. But it’s my turn next year…

More when we’re back from Chichen Itza – one of the greatest of Mayan temples; where I’ll be equipped, rather unexpectedly, by a living Mayan Shaman… ‘a hunter of men’.

Am I safe out there, I wonder?

Running Elk is smiling… I can hear it.

To be continued…

Other posts in this series:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven – end,

©Stephen Tanham.

46 thoughts on “Unexpected Shaman (1)

  1. These coincidences are fascinating. I spent three weeks in Mexico in 1976 and climbed to the top of the Aztec Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihaucan though sadly didn’t see the wonderful Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. Everywhere I did go, I saw the letters JLP painted in white on rocks beside the roads because Jose Lopez Portillo was standing for president. Fourteen years later at my son’s school in Oxford I met the mother of a classmate called Jose-Juan Lopez Portillo and mentioned why the name was familiar to me. She said “JLP is my father-in-law. My husband is doing research at the university here and we’re very happy to leave politics behind and be somewhere nobody knows who we are.”
    You can run but you can’t hide!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And every word as it happened – with some harrowing stuff to come from Jerome’s early life. Thank you, Alethea. I’m hugely enjoying your Feathered Seer journey, too… and yes, you would have enjoyed River of the Sun.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Well, if “laughing like a drain” counts as smiling these days, yes. Yes I am! 😀
    Funny thing was, as we were heading up to bed last night, Ann wondered idley if you might get the opportunity to get to Chichen Itza. Never in a million years saw THIS coming!!!
    Enjoy! ❤ xx

    Liked by 4 people

      1. We’ve just arrive back. Tomorrow, three of us go down to Portmeirion to prep the Silent Eye’s June weekend ‘The Prisoner of Portmeirion’ – adapting the theme of the famous 1960s cult TV series to suit our ‘spychological’ purposes!

        Liked by 1 person

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