A few weeks after my first ancestral journey I embarked on the second expedition. Since my return from the city of clay I had been curious to learn more about my ancestor's magic. However, it took a few weeks to integrate all the impulses I had received, to make sense of this new experience and relationship before I felt ready to return and re-engage...
Here is my account of what happened during my second visit. This time I was sitting in the small meditation room up on the first floor of our old house. Incense was raising from the Tibetian skull cup in front of me and filling the room. I had just finished my standard meditation, opened my eyes and looked at the cup of water that I had placed next to the incense... I stared at it for a while, closed my eyes and took its picture with me into the dark. The room and all outside world disappeared as I saw myself standing in the water bowl. Finally I had reached the Void again and enjoyed the quietness, the openness and the vast space stretching out around me in all directions...
It was clear that I had to follow the exact same path again in order to return to my female ancestor. So I cut my hand open and sank backwards into the stream of blood. After some time I emerged from the Void into the burning sun of the desert and allowed the stream to carry me in its current.
Before entering on this journey I had drafted somewhat of a strategy on how to better engage with my ancestor. Last time I had taken over her body, not introduced myself and probably violated most unwritten etiquettes of ancestral visits? So this time I needed to do better. My idea was to enter the city in the shape of a fish. That had been the shape I arrived in the fish trap during my first visit and it seemed like a good approach to get through the guarded gates of the city. I would then call on my ancestor and ask her to come to the market and buy me from the fisherman that had brought me there. Once in her home I could take my human form again and we could interact openly and undisturbed from the outside world.
I was flowing in the bloodstream through the desert, a crazy plan on my mind and no idea of where this would take me... It took much longer than before, yet at some point I found myself caught in a fish trap again. The water was rushing over me and I was stuck in a braided basket. Finally a hand pulled the basket out of the water and emptied it into another, larger basket which was fixed to the back of a man. A lid closed above me and I felt how the man set in motion. I was lying in the shade of the basket in my fish form, waiting for the man to arrive in the city...
After a long travel the lid was opened again. I found myself in a relatively dark room, tamped stairs were leading down into it and all walls as well as the ceiling were made from earth. I had been thrown onto a clay pot full of fish, when suddenly my ancestor was descending over the stairs and picking me up. Without hesitation she wrapped me into a cloth and disappeared again. When I saw the light again we were back in here small hut made from clay.
The loom was still standing to my right. On my left I saw the clay pots on the shelves; in front of me stood a low bed made from straw on which my ancestor was sitting. I am not sure how this happened, but once I looked around in the hut I realized that I had lost my fish form and had taken the shape of a naked young boy. My skin was almost white and I was sitting on a low chair opposite her...
- Acher: What is your name?
- Ancestor: (I am not going to share her full name; let's just call her Immar which I consider to be her first name. Her full name consists of six syllables and four words.)
- Acher: I am the one who comes from far away.
- Immar: Me too.
I don't recall why anymore, but at this point in our conversation I tried to change my shape. Maybe I started to feel uncomfortable being naked in front of her or maybe just being so much younger? I shifted my shape without intention and immediately turned into an old man.
Suddenly Immar was gone. The entire hut had turned empty from one moment to the next; the loom was gone, only some broken clay pots were left on the shelves... I shifted my shape again and returned to the form of the young boy. Everything was back in the room, Immar still sitting opposite me. A thought struck me... I carefully shifted my age forward, like the dial of a clock. I could see how Immar turned older immediately. For some strange reason the only way for us to communicate with each other at that particular time was in the shapes we had naturally taken: for me as young naked boy and for her as a woman, probably somewhere in her late 30s...
- Acher: How do you speak to the spirits?
- Immar: I just stand in their space. A physical space that is. Their power is connected to the earth and can be activated. Like this...
I look on the tamped floor in front of me and see a large sigil carved into the earth. (The closest form my mind could recreate after the expedition is the picture above.) Immar uses this sigil to open the spirit gates; the spirits pass through the earth.
- Acher: What can you teach me about your magic?
- Immar: I animate substances.
- Acher: How do you do that?
- Immar: I use everything that is ready to share. There are potent substances that can grant life to lifeless forms. I search these substances and I use them on others. Thus life is passed on, shared and I can animate things.
My view is caught by her underarms. Scars grace her dark skin, in the twilight of the room they look like bracelets covering everything from her wrist up to the elbows. I understand that scorpions play an important role in this, but I don't get to understand why and how she uses the poison to create these scars...
Immar hands me a drink in a dark clay pot. Now I am standing on the sigil on the ground; the drink is sticky and bitter. My body becomes weak. Immar takes back the bowl and hands me a paste of green herbs. I swallow the herbs; they taste dry and even more bitter than the drink. A strange perception is running through my body: I feel how my physical muscles and nerves turn weak and I am close to fainting. At the same time a new force is coming to life in my body, rushing through me, like a spirit in a new house. Something is entering into me.
I have become weak and shiver. I lay down on her bed. Immar approaches the bed and lays down next to me. My body becomes lucid, then transparent. I turn into smoke. I leave her hut through the open clay door into the streets.
I return to the outer ring of walls that protect the city. The huge gate appears in front of me. It doesn't have any wooden doors, or at least I don't see them? Yet, this time I do see the magic it works even clearer: the inside of the gate is covered by a shiny, glistening web. The web is almost as dense as a lucid yet somewhat milky piece of glass. It protects the city from evil. I am flowing through the web and out into the desert. It's night. I return to the stream I had been caught in as a fish... Then I flow upstream like before, a long time, until I enter back into the Void.
It was only a couple of days after this second expedition that I realized something important. It was a feeling that had followed me, all the way up the river and through the Void. Immar was sad. Something burdensome and heavy was upon her. She hadn't mentioned it - probably because I hadn't asked for it. For a second time now I had come to her with a clear idea of what I wanted to receive - and yet with nothing to give back?
Sometimes I really do get tired of myself. Mostly that is when I do the same mistakes over and over again. This clearly was one of these cases - going back to my ancestor for the second time and behaving like a small kid. Me, me, me! Well, maybe that was why I had been forced into the shape of a naked young boy?
Pondering about Immar's sadness and the course of our second encounter the strategy for my third visit became clearer: Next time I would return to give something back.