By Carol Hiltner and Maia Rose
The sun flares on the horizon on this longest day of the year, the last day of my life. The dew on my naked back is cold; my muscles jump and quake, and my teeth chatter. I connect with the Mother. But a hot tear slides across my temple and into my hair. I ball my fists and press my knuckles into my heart to dull the ache.
This time it will be fire, Mother; Stalin’s soldiers want to hear us scream, but they…will…not. Our souls will be long gone before the first flame licks our bodies; the inferno will return our flesh to you, but it will anneal our souls. The soldiers scorn us in order to diminish you, Mother—to justify raping you, to leave you defenseless against them. But love prevails; they only diminish themselves.
But, whereas we are frail, you are strong. The Light Beings tell us that you cannot be bullied; for that I am grateful. It affirms the power of our sacrifice. Like us, you may be wounded, you feel the pain and loss of the assault. But you are the Mother—you love your children no matter what. The soldiers, too, are flesh of your flesh. Eventually they will recognize the madness of conquest. Even Stalin the Destroyer. You are patient beyond reason.
Before the soldier ever came to my a’il to demand my presence at the cabin, I knew. The wind whispered what was to come. The rain wept with me—not because I fear my passing, but because my heart clings to the waters, the pines, the snowfall. Even to the nectar of dawn that galvanizes my body at this moment.
I rise, pull on my ceremonial dress, and slip away from my sleeping family; I have a long ride ahead. In the early afternoon I arrive at the pass. Five others, who have come from different villages, wait while I sprinkle mare’s milk to the four directions one last time, thanking Mother Earth for her bounty and grace. No one speaks. I am the youngest—honored to be included among the most powerful shamans of our peoples. Single file, we descend on horseback into the valley, but, deep in trance, our souls have ranged ahead.
We hear the revving of an Army transport. The cabin sits next to a brook, in a field of wildflowers, and is built in the Siberian style—stacked kedr beams with a kedr-bark roof. A stove pipe extends upward. The small door is accessed by a couple of weathered steps and flanked by two small glazed windows. Several horses graze nearby.
Earth Our Mother from “Beloved of the Cosmos” series
A couple more riders have joined us and small groups approach from other directions. The sun drifts downward. As we ride up, I study the company of soldiers—barely more than boys, conscripted for sure. Tension is etched on their faces. They must fear our powers—shape-shifting into bears or golden eagles, bending the weather, speaking with the rocks and trees. Or maybe they know the lie—we weren’t summoned here to hold council, but to be murdered.
Auntie waits for me on the stoop—matronly, thickened with age, with compassion in her eyes. All is well, she telepaths. I can see clouds massing overhead, marking our route through the veil. An officer stands near the door, checking us off a list as we enter. Auntie’s hand on my shoulder steadies me; she keeps it there as I duck through the threshold with her a step behind. My eyes adjust to the dimness; the cabin is crowded and my heart clutches. Then I remember my vision and plunge into an ecstatic state.
When all the shamans have entered, the officer bolts the door from the outside. The only sound is our deep breaths. The air is electric. On the roof, someone blocks the stove pipe—do they really think to trap our souls with our bodies? Through the window, the soldiers have come alive. Laughing and catcalling, they taunt, “Like stupid sheep to slaughter,” “Where’s your power now?” “Show us how you walk through walls. Ha, ha.”
Now smoke seeps through the oakum and suddenly I am above the cabin spiraling upward in a sea of light. Sunset has painted the clouds blood red; we are all rising en masse. I see the soldiers staring wide-eyed, guns ready. Flames lick the walls, sending embers skyward. From the cabin comes only the crackle of the fire. “Hell, why don’t they scream?”
We burst through the cloud layer with a flash of light, causing a shock wave to roll in all directions. The energy overwhelms the soldiers. A few still stand; my heart goes out to them. The energy imprints the Earth, hallowing the flame-engulfed cabin with a circle of light. The wave moves through the Earth’s meridians to Stalin, who is accountable—his only escape is to love.
I glance downward one last time; my beloved Altai recedes—a green oasis. Earth stands her ground.
Carol Hiltner has traveled to the Altai Republic in Siberia many times and works with the indigenous Altai people to protect their sacred lands and culture. She has written books and articles and made many paintings based on her mystical experiences there. www.AltaiMir.org, www.AltaiBooks.com, AltaiFellowship.wordpress.com, www.CarolHiltner.com.
Maia Rose is a two-time fellow traveler to Altai, which has enhanced her skills as an interdimenional communicator. She does channeled readings with Altai spirit guides, sees and is supported by the fairy world, and is a Reiki master, an intuitive animal behavioral consultant, and a medium and past-life regressionist. www.MaiaRose.org, 206-652-0655
* Editor’s note
“Siberia” is not the mental picture you may have formed of a barren and frigid wasteland. She is a place of richness and great beauty and is the womb out of which the first shamanic traditions emerged. Her land calls and her beauty haunts.
The birthplace of Shamanism, Siberia and its land, was host and home to the first shamans and holds the oldest traditions of these “medicine men” and “medicine women” of the modern and ancient earth. Before there were priests, physicians and counselors, there were shamans who performed all those functions for their tribes.
A shaman walks between two worlds—the visual world of perceived consensus “reality” and the invisible world of non-ordinary reality. They are the ancient seers and oracles, lawgivers, ministers and healers who carry the sacred knowledge of their traditions. Learning the medicinal properties of plants by a special kind of communication with the plants themselves and the secrets of animals from their animal brethren, they brought back the secrets they learned of the spiritual and healing ways to their people.
Similarly to a “calling” referred to by a modern day clergy, the shaman ancestors were called to their work with a (usually uninvited) “initiation” followed by a long arduous process of tutelage or apprenticeship from an elder. The stories of the ancestors and their spiritual ways are passed down through the ages via oral tradition.
There is great spirituality, beauty and wisdom in the ancient traditions and the ways of Earth’s Indigenous peoples. They gave respect and honor to Mother Earth and all of her blessings—the land, the animals, the plants, the waters, the rocks, the mountains and all of earth’s gifts bestowed on all her kin—sentient and non-sentient beings alike.
Archeological evidence of these ancient traditions and shamans exists in every part of the world. Evidence of gentrification and genocide of native peoples are present in both ancient and modern culture. Their abuse, oppression, exploitation and racist treatment continues in the “modern” world. The Indigenous of our planet have much to teach us should we soften our judgments, censor our egos, check our Western “superiority,” and be quiet long enough to go and listen. Through Carol and Maia, you have just entered that space and made that journey. ~B. Kaufmann, Editor