Sunday 18 October, the last day of five days Amsterdam Dance Event 2015. Something you have to be at when you have worked in the scene, absolutely love to dance, adore going on adventures with all your best friends 24/5.
But this year we are only there by thoughts. To get a little bit of the same vibe in Mongolia we visit a Shaman today. Shamism is the oldest believe in Mongolia. During the Russian occupation were Shamanism and Buddhism prohibited. But since the Russians left, temples are restored and Shamanism wins popularity.
We drive through the ger-district surrounding Ulaanbaatar’s centre. Modern flats make place for small houses with coloured rooftops and gers. We are dropped of in front of the door of a ger. A happy middle-age woman opens and welcomes us. In no time yak tea, cookies and dried milk candy are standing in front of us. Mongontuya tells us that five years ago she was very sick. She lay in bed for days and had strange, predicting dreams. Doctors couldn’t tell what was wrong with her, so her family decided to let a Shaman come and see her. He told Mongontuya that she was a Shaman too. Since then she went into training with him.
Spirituality & Vodka
Mongontuya starts to change herself. In the meantime her assistant cleans the silver metal pieces on the traditional shaman clothes with vodka. Vodka is used generously during ceremonies. The spirit is used to pure the items and clothes used during a ceremony and everyone involved. We all take a zip. Mongontuya pulls on authentic Mongolian boots and a long coat, on which are long coloured twisted fabrics sowed. Some are decorated with beets or lucky medals. She puts on headgear, which is comparable to a fireman helmet. On the helmet are two big silver snacks, underneath two piercing eyes. Under the eyes hangs the same twisted fabric, now a little shorter, so the face of Mongontuya doesn’t show anymore. The drawn eyes serve the spirit eyes as they take over the body of the shaman.
A handful of herbs are set into fire. The ger becomes misty of the smoke. One by one we all take a sniff from a mysterious small jar. The assistant gives the shaman the drum. Slowly she begins to play wit a big stick. The rhythm gets quicker, the shaman shakes her head from left to right, as being in trance. The medals and luck bells on her clothes jingle on the rhythm. My eyes are filled with tears from the spicy powder which is making a way into my brain. A mixt feeling of excitement and curiosity fills my body. On forehand Les and I made up questions which we want to ask. ‘Positive questions’ and ‘I surely don’t need to talk to passed away family members’ was our outcome. Which turned out into the following questions: From which countries will our future husbands come? And in which countries will Meet You at the Bridge be successful first? Preferably, -if possible-, also an extra luck wish for good business.
I wish, I wish, I wish
With an electric shock the shaman stops hitting the drum. Instead of her friendly woman’s voice we now here a creaky old men’s voice, seriously, it is pretty weird.
She asks us to come one by one to her. I kneel in front of her. She takes my head into her hands and smells my hair, she pinches a couple times hard in my shoulders and holds my hands. I have thin blood and there is probably something wrong with my back. I am a really strong woman and within two years I am together with the love of my life, who loves to travel as well. That sounds good! Meet You at the Bridge becomes first a huge success in Holland. I get a cup full of milk ,which I need to drink in one zip. The cup is filled a second time, this time I need to go out and throw the milk into the sky and make a wish. The bright sunlight blinds me; I close my eyes, throw the milk up and say my wish in a mantra.
Bron hoofdfoto: Hamid Sardar-Afkhami