Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mongol shaman's power suit

A tremendous dark figure with a helmet-hat and a long heavy flared coat of animal skins and furs, hung with metal charms and mirrors and weapons, and high fur-lined boots. He is facing me, but the sourceless light is behind him so I don’t see his features clearly. He is more of a silhouette, red-black.
    I feel a great wind stirring across distant plains. His landscape, his storm, his wind of soul. I am excited that a window between us has opened. He is looking in at me from across time and dimensions. I think of Genghis Khan, the shaman warrior who made an empire, a monster in the memory and jokes of the West, but a hero and exemplar in Mongolia.
    There is a link between me and this warrior shaman who stands at a threshold between our worlds. There are times when I have been on the other side of that opening, in a different body, and worn an outfit like that. I feel a mute invitation to join this figure now. Maybe we are both avatars of a central self. If I can join him in his world, can our energies work together in mine? What would than mean?

All these thoughts and feelings stream through me as I contemplate the figure between the worlds. It is an absolutely spontaneous vision. I did not set an intention for my night dreams, and my body was fast asleep when this figure appeared. When I woke from this dream at 1:00 a.m., after two hours sleep, I was charged with excitement.
     My mind ranged over earlier adventures in which I have found myself in the world of shamans and khans of Central Asia. When I was a boy in high school, my visions of an ancient warlord of China led me to write a whole cycle of poems. In a dream from a couple of years ago, I found myself in the body and perspective of a man in clothes like this, seated at the edge of a precipice watching a battle unfold in a great plain below, sending out his instructions mentally more than by couriers.
     The memory that rises up strongest now is from the early summer of 1988, when I was studying shamanism and trying to make sense of a series of psychospiritual storms and trans-temporal dramas that were pushing me towards reinventing my life and my work. In this dream, I visit a tailor and a fancy men's clothing store, looking for a new suit. I decide to try on a pinstriped “power suit” but as I feel the fabric I discover it is made of skins and furs, and is hung with metal charms. I look at the label and see that it reads“Shamanic”.

Action: Watch again the excellent film "Mongol", with Tadanobu Asana cast as Temudjin, the young Genghis Khan. We see the ordeals of the young Mongol's life, his shamanic relationship with the wolf, and his reverence for the sky god Tengri.
    Oh, yes. I will avoid any tendency to act like Genghis Khan! Except in showing respect for the religions of all peoples (he studied all religions and decreed religious tolerance in his empire) and for the spirits of earth and sky.

"Genghis Khan at the threshold between the worlds". Drawing by Robert Moss. January 10, 2013.


BSSC said...

Interesting article. I have this aversion to Mongols for some reason. While I am an American, I was born in a US Army Hospital in Tehran, Iran and must have picked up some of the local sensibilities since the Mongols were responsible for the deaths of 10 to 15 million people.

Janice Matturro said...

Hi, Robert,
In my dream of your dream, I am struck with the questions: "If I can join him in his world, can our energies work together in mine? What would than mean?" These questions have triggered something deep inside of me that I am not sure I know exactly how to put into words, as yet. What I am thinking about follows along the lines of dream transfer. . . . and maybe even more deeply than that. In which case it brings me to the answer, at least for the first question: If I can join him in his world, can our energies work together? Yes, indeed. And what would that mean? I think the second question could mean many possible things, which I find very exciting and interested in exploring further.

Helz M said...


I just stumbled across your blog for the first time. Your drawing of the shaman is exactly like one that was in a dream I had as a child which I still remember vividly. It may interest you...
We were on opposing sides in battle but the warrior/shaman wanted me on his side, and I was forced to join him, wearing his armour and clothing, though I was only pretending to be on his side. This was on a mountain, with a steep curving path which led up the mountain. There was a Mars Bar machine on the path. Then I got away from him and jumped over a MacDonald's restaurant playground on a white horse.
This dream has stayed with me and I've always wondered about it. Weird to see an image of its protagonist pop up on a blog!