Photography by Kiki Toao
In 2006 I was being called by my Batak ancestors to visit our homelands: Sumatra. It was a turbulent time. I wasn’t happy, my love life was a mess, everything really.
It was here, in the presence of the mountains surrounding the beautiful Lake Toba, I was experiencing my first spiritual awakening.
I remember myself waking up in the middle of the night, and in that half dream, half awake state I became painstakingly aware of the fact that I was living for other people, trying to live up to their expectations instead of my own.
During that journey I made myself a promise: to live my life as if I were a character in a book. My own adventure book.
There’s Medicine in storytelling. Medicine in music. Medicine in theatre.
I intend to explore them all.
I might write a book some day. Maybe this is me already writing the first chapter. And lately I’ve been wondering how many books that are being regarded as fiction, actually are.
My earlier writing about Shamanic Initiation offered you a glimpse of my shamanic/creative mind. It could be considered a record of my perception of a new mindset in the making.
It’s like composing music: you just start jamming away, record some of it and you’ll deal with arranging it in an orderly fashion later.
My ancestral spirits are playing an important role in the process.
Through the shamanic/creative process they are teaching me to not make a distinction between shamanism and magick, they go hand in hand.
One of their specialties was the use of magick during wartime, and decapitation of adversaries was a common war ritual.
That’s an extra reason for it to show itself through my work.
I’m experiencing it as an invitation to work on my bloodline, proposing questions considering my identity:
Who am I? What am I? And what will I become?
There’s no point in calling myself a shaMANIAC if I’m not behaving like one.
In our statement it says we’re aiming for spiritual development and creative experiment. So this is me, experimenting my brains out.
And I’m wondering:
Is it really an experiment if I’m not risking a little madness, failure, criticism?
Can something be truly original if it is not totally incomprehensible to others?
Incomprehensible to myself, even?
I was (and I still am) afraid that people will think: “You are crazy. You’re all making it up”.
Of course I am. Afraid I mean.
It seems to be okay for many people to have unusual experiences within the framework of drugs, alcohol and psychedelics. And as soon as this happens while being sober, it’s defined as crazy.
On a sidenote: how many times have people (myself included) experienced receiving insights, epiphanies etc. while being in an intoxicated or psychedelic state? I often times wonder if we’re not simply hiding, assuming a (false) safety, behind the substances to dismiss ourselves from the responsibility to do something with the insights we are being provided with.
I mean, you get the excuse of blaming the substance of giving it to you, right? Thereby rendering the possibly valuable insight useless.
What a waste.
It’s all in the mind.
The way we perceive the world is all in the way we have been, or are being, programmed.
Well, I’m tired of my own programming.
The rules, the laws. Skepticism and scientism.
Dispositions of a spiritually depraved Western society’s belief system.
Yuck. I’m bored to pieces by it.
Now I’m picking up the pieces of boredom and use them to create something new and colorful.
– by Kiki Toao –