ME, SHAMANiC MACHiNE

Raw and unvalidated data from my diary:

The shamanic process.
Where does it leave me in the equation?
A continuous shift of perspective, like discovering a machine’s purpose by pushing its buttons. But I am the one whose buttons are being pushed.

*beep* What do you think about this concept?
*beep* How do you feel about this proposal?
*beep* What would you say if your purpose looked a little something like this?
*beep*

Constant contextualizing and negotiating, evaluating and scrutinizing.
What leaves me (at times literally) breathless is: the process doesn’t necessarily have regard for my personal integrity, my moral/ethical values, sometimes not even for my well-being and daily life.

I, – me, myself, and I – am the one who is the safeguard of my intentions, the gatekeeper of the channel I seem to be.
To do good seems to be shamanic common sense, it seems so obvious within the mainstream concept of spirituality.
However, I am always being confronted with the opposite.

Archaic principles are pushing themselves through me, and it’s hard to describe them in comprehensible, human language, but I can feel them writhing underneath the surface, like some ancient technological mechanism, forcing me to seek refuge in metaphorical expressions.
Writing poetry therefore is a natural response to the process.

It is by discovering and eventually describing my role as facilitator in the process, I am establishing my relationship with The Sacred.
But (hang on, wait a minute): what is The Sacred?
All I know (or rather: feel) is: what has been defined as sacred by our world’s religions, are diluted, meager, compromised representations of what it is, resulting in a set of rules saying: What It’s Supposed To Be.

Well, it isn’t supposed to be anything, it just IS.

And then, the following, everlasting, returning questions are:
Is that so?
Is it really?
Guiding me back to my initial contemplation:
Where does it leave me? Who am I? What am I doing?

The wavering trepidation in there, the searching, the authenticating;
welcome to my shamanic loophole, ladies and gentlemen.
And every time I’m wondering: what is my conclusion, is there a point to be made?
To only find there ultimately are no points, no conclusions to be made.
There only is: The Expression.

I’m starting to understand why mathematicians and physicists are seeking to capture everything into one single, elegant formula.

I am not equipped with such skills – art is my language.

From my memoirs ‘Tobacco – Curse & Blessing of a Shamaness’
Love, Kiki Toao

DEATH AT THE TABLE

Death is sitting right in front of me, at the other side of the table. 
He answers my gaze while taking a huge puff from his tobacco pipe.
After long moments of silence he takes a deep breath and says:

“Why is it you humans have such a fixation on me?
To be honest, it bores me, deeply.
And it saddens me.
Kindly put, I pity you.
Isn’t Life simply enough?

Death is eternal, but not eternal as you imagine it to be.
Life is at stake here, for you to seize as we speak.
Treat it respectfully.

For I await you, at the other side of this table, this plane you call Time.
Be like the crops in the field, patiently waiting to be harvested, to return as seeds.

Do not fear me.”

By KiKi TOAO

ONE MOMENT IN TIME OF A NIGHTLIFE MYSTIC

What if you had to tell this guy who’s sitting next to you that Love is waiting for him just around every corner in his life?
You can tell by way the smile on his face is fading into an expression of pain and frustration he doesn’t believe you.
Some people are starting to think they’d rather kill themselves than spend another day with their self-loathing insecurities; it’s written all over their faces. You’re only hoping you’re just on time to prevent them from actually doing it.

You get a big hug after the reading, and see the guy return a couple of hours later to ask Rombout to roll one up for him because he makes it taste so good. Rombout is quite popular with the guys.

Seven tarot cards is all it takes to describe the ins and outs of a lawsuit.
The battle, the money, the big possibility of victory.
The psychological implications: I’m seeing them mirrored in the opposing viewpoints of the case.
A soft voice in your head whispers she has another option: make the financial sacrifice and leave the whole damn lot to rot in hell so she can start leading a happy life right now.
Meanwhile she needs to check the quality of the tapwater in her house, it may not be as good as she thinks.

A Moroccan girl is smiling shyly. She possesses this particular mixed aura of modesty and strength I love so much about Moroccan people. In my mind she’s being surrounded by a whole bunch of naughty boys, all little brothers and nephews. They’re a pain in the ass, but they all love her and she knows it. 

My head seems to be filling up with the colour blue. “BLUUUEEEE” all over the place. 
What is so incredibly blue about her life? She needs to think about it and starts laughing. She works for an airline, and blue is the colour of her uniform. Then it turns all RED. She’s in debt big time. She needs to be a good girl and finish her study, that is: if she wants to get rid of her debts any time soon.
She looks up at me, she says, and gazes at me in awe while I’m telling her I’m 41 years old and promise her this bullshit we need to deal with as women will for sure become easier when she gets older. I feel I shouldn’t be too modest about my position as an ‘Older Woman’. Not this time.

Her actual request is: she wants to learn how to develop her intuition, so I give her my stack of cards and request a reading of her.
She gives me an accurate elucidation of how I lead my life: the sense of loneliness I feel about what I do and share with the many men and women who have gone before me on this spiritual path. The amount of hard work I do all by myself, which isn’t bad but just is the way it is. How I feel I already possess everything I need in life, apart from one thing: that roof.
Don’t I want that roof over my head, that prevents me from thinking too much and being spiritually tuned in every single moment of the day?
Yes, I’d love that.
Then, she says, I will just have to connect with the Mother more often; it may seem contradictory, but the Earth will provide me with the roof I’m longing for.

Yes, I’m dealing with an Islamic girl who is pointing out the shamanic basics I should be practicing more often, on a couch in a busy nightclub, while being bombarded with the beat people are dancing to on the dancefloor right under our feet.

I offer her the five euro note I just received as a donation from The-Guy-Deserving-of-Love, as a token of my appreciation. She finds it difficult to accept, but likes my suggestion to pass it on to the next person who needs it and puts it in the pocket of her jeans.

It’s 4 in the morning and I’ve been doing readings for three hours in a row for about 7 or 8 people. I’m feeling drained and I’m craving for a cigarette.
I may have to ask Rombout to roll one up for me, because he makes it taste so good.

By KiKi TOAO

PUBLIEK GEHEIM

Grenzen verkennen.
Yep, dat is wat ik aan het doen ben, en ik maak daar een ‘Publiek Geheim’ van.

Publiek Geheim. Dat is de naam van het concept dat voortvloeit uit de semiotische analyse van mijn huidige werkproces.
‘Gaat het wel goed met ‘r?’ is daarbij een achterliggende vraag.

Tja, nou. Ik heb net iets meegemaakt dat niet zo goed voor me was; laat ik het met een understatement uitdrukken.
En dat specifieke ‘iets’ heeft grote gevolgen voor hoe ik in het leven sta. Het heeft alles op zijn grondvesten doen trillen en confronteert me met de vraag:
‘Wie Ben Ik, en wat moet ik ZELF doen om mijn leven gelukkig te maken?’.

Jarenlang heb ik me afhankelijk opgesteld van anderen; van hun steun, hun mening en oordeel.
De behoefte daaraan heb ik altijd een mooi aspect gevonden van mijn persoonlijkheid, en het heeft me ver gebracht in het leven.

Jarenlang heb ik gefunctioneerd binnen het kader van een Samenzijn; samenzijn binnen een relatie, op liefdesgebied, familie of vriendschappelijk, maar ook op professioneel vlak.

Dit Samenzijn staat op de hoogst mogelijke plaats in mijn leven, en is het principe waaraan ik onder andere de kracht ontleen om te doen wat ik moet doen in het leven en de basis waarop ik kan terugvallen als het even tegenzit.

En het zat dus even tegen. Iets ging even grondig mis.

Hee, weet je: SO WHAT. Shit happens. To everyone!

Ik wil daar dus niet over gaan lopen ‘zeuren’ (ik ben op dat vlak nogal meedogenloos met mezelf), maar ik weet uit ervaring dat je ook niet in een hoekje moet gaan zitten kniezen.

Het was een schokkende, levensveranderende ervaring met gevolgen voor mijn gevoelens en gedachten over individualiteit, autonomie en afhankelijkheid.

Aan mensen met kinderen hoef ik waarschijnlijk niet uit te leggen wat dit inhoudt; ik neem bij vrienden die net een kind hebben gekregen een vergelijkbaar heftig proces waar:
Opeens is je leven niet meer hetzelfde, jij bent veranderd, je haren rijzen te berge en je vraagt je af:
‘WTF is dit?! Wie ben ik en HOE deal ik hier in godsnaam mee?’.
Met als gevolg dat je alles in je leven grondig onder de loep moet nemen, en de verantwoordelijkheid moet nemen voor de beslissingen die je hebt gemaakt.
Dat vraagt om het vergaren van inzicht in waar je dingen moet veranderen, soms zelfs ten koste van je eigen basisprincipes. En dat is wat ik aan het doen ben.

Ik ben tot de realisatie gekomen dat ik een en ander moet bijstellen in hoe ik sta in het leven en in verhouding tot andere mensen. En dat brengt de nodige veranderingen met zich mee.
Au.
Tja. What can you do?
Het is even wennen.

Als antwoord op de vraag of het wel goed met mij gaat wil ik zeggen:
Ja. Het is goed.
Ik ben in goede, veilige, liefdevolle handen.
Ik heb een gezonde basis waarin ik mij geliefd en gesteund voel, en zodoende heb ik alle ruimte om te ervaren zoals ik dat doe en uiting te geven aan deze ervaringen.

Dit resulteert in een totale uitbarsting van mijn creativiteit en ik sta zelf stomverbaasd naar adem happend te kijken naar hoe snel deze zich ontwikkelt, de transformatie die het teweegbrengt en de grote, glanzende vruchten die het proces afwerpt. Het brengt me veel voldoening.

Ik voel me uitgenodigd tot het doen van Groot Experiment.
Mijn leven onder de loep nemen; nou, dat doe ik toevallig met een lens.
Mijn beroep als fotograaf en videograaf is een ideale uitlaatklep voor mijn beslommeringen, en met de resultaten die daaruit voortvloeien transformeer ik Mijn Trauma tot Mijn Droom.

Al experimenterend heb ik recentelijk ontdekt dat ik bepaalde theatrale capaciteiten bezit die werkelijk waar GiLLEN om expressie. Daar beleef ik onwijs veel plezier aan en dat wil ik graag met de wereld delen.

Ik kies op dit moment voor autonomie en confrontatie.
Zelfcensuur en Angst gaan in dat proces overboord; het gaat me er puur en alleen om mij uit te drukken zoals ik dat zelf wil en noodzakelijk acht. Voor de volle honderd procent.
Dat ik hierbij minder tot geen rekenschap houd met het oordeel van anderen heeft de nodige opschudding tot gevolg. Het ontvangen van kritiek en verliezen van publiek is hier een natuurlijk gevolg van.

Dat ik hiermee ook vrienden zou verliezen, ik weet niet of daar op voorbereid was.
Maar weet je, ik heb domweg geen zin meer om het Mooie Brave Poppetje uit te hangen.
Toedeloe Ideale Schoondochter en de mazzel met de Onbevlekte Madonna!

Ik ben bewust op zoek naar een Bepaalde Lelijkheid & Rauwheid, omdat ik weet dat we deze allemaal ervaren in het leven, en neem hierin de rol aan als performer om daar uiting aan te geven.
Gevolg: Toedeloe Wie Ik Zelf Ooit Geweest Dacht Te Zijn.

En: Hallo Actrice?
Wie weet.

Ik vind dit heel eng om te doen, want ik geef mezelf bloot zoals ik dat nog nooit eerder heb gedaan, en zet daarmee van alles en nog wat op scherp.
Het oordeel van mensen is soms vernietigend en heeft als gevolg dat ik hier en daar afscheid moet nemen, en dat doet me groot verdriet.
Dit is een risico dat ik bereid ben om te nemen, een offer dat ik bewust breng.
Ik bouw graag op het idee dat mensen vertrouwen hebben in mij, en mijn wens voor mijzelf is dat mensen mij met openheid, liefde en respect tegemoet treden en mij accepteren zoals ik ben.

Dat gebeurt gelukkig aan de lopende band.
Ik ben heel blij met de positieve respons die ik tot zover heb gekregen.
Waar gehakt wordt vallen spaanders (ik ben dol op oubollige uitdrukkingen) en:
Kom op nou, jongens toch!
We kunnen toch zeker wel een opstootje hebben, nietwaar?

Soms roept er iemand heel enthousiast: “Hee, dit is Kunst!”
En dan zeg ik: “Jeeeeujjj happy happy joy joy!”
Want dat betekent dat ik mijn doel heb bereikt, en dat geeft me moed om verder te gaan.

Tegen wie dit allemaal heeft gelezen wil ik zeggen:

Jij daar. YOU kick ass.
Bedankt voor je interesse, en hele dikke kussen en knuffels van mij.
Tada.

Kiki Toao a.k.a. Smurf of Death
Over & Out.

DESERT WOMAN

It is Time
For some good Ol’ Gypsy Spirit
Despair, bright and strong
Has moved us for ages
Driving us forward
As it has done for Aeons
Following the wind
In all directions
Where our Hearts long to Be

Desert Woman, be strong
Follow the sand
To the Promised Land
Where our Soul can sing
Its own Song
And we can join
In Peace.

Yalla.

By Kiki Toao

Blissed Out In The Light of our Miraculous Existence

What I experience to be lying in front of me, as a future calling, is something I don’t even believe myself.
This calling, it has grabbed a hold of me, captivated me in suspension and anticipation of what is about to happen in, hopefully, the near future.

I am tired, very tired.
Tired of waiting.
Tired of fake promises.
Tired of lies and deceit.
Or at least, this is how it has seemed to be so far.

I have been given a very big fucking reason to mistrust everything and everyone I have experienced and communicated with spiritually so far.
My mind is desperately struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff, to distinguish truth and reality from make belief and wishful thinking.

I have given up going against it.
“I surrender! I SURRENDER, ALRiGHT?!”, is one of my most important prayers at the moment.

I am doing the best I can to accept this possible future happenstance as a real possibility (and opportunity) and take every single bit of responsibility for it.

I am very fortunate and ultimately blessed with a few, but very trustworthy, loving friends and family members.
People who have faith and confidence in me, no matter what I decide to do.
People who have faith and confidence in my capabilities and distinctiveness.
People who admire me for my courage and my realization and acceptance of the necessity of taking risks, and taught me to do the very same: have faith and confidence in myself.

And boy…
Boy-oh-boy, I need lots of that.

It is my dutiful task as a shaman to take responsibility for what is being presented to me; something I know to be going beyond my willpower, beyond our oh-so-beloved Western concept of freedom of choice.

For years have I been working on these visions, visions being imposed on me during shamanic initiation years ago. Visions I thought at the time to be purely random, chaotic, sprouting from my imagination and, most of all, not making any sense.

Now, imagine yourself in a situation where you, as a skeptical, rational reasoning human being, are observing such visions to become reality one by one, almost as if you are watching some Powerpoint presentation during a meeting in the office, ticking off every bullet point from your checklist.
All of them, apart from two.

“Hmmm”, you’re wondering mindfully, “is this just me, or…?”

Hmmm, indeed.
What conclusions to draw from this presentation?
No one knows for sure.
Tick tock, says the clock.
And I’m just wondering, and wondering and contemplating and…

Pfff!
You know what?
Welcome to Shamanism.
Over & Blissed Out,
Blinded by the Light of our Miraculous Existence.

Kisses from Kiki Toao

THE BEAST OF CREATiON

When the Beast of Creation wags its mastodonthic tail, what am I but a seed hair in the wind? And while it walks past, we’d do best by honoring it while we have the opportunity, because these moments are rare and we should cherish them while they last. We are sharing them here and now, in the midst of our living room in broad, screaming daylight.

For a couple of hours, everything screams C.E.R.E.M.O.N.Y.
How little it has to do with waving feathers and droning prayers.

I’m sitting here, gasping for air while my face is being pulled off.
I’m clawing at the air, watching the tips of my fingers being turned into pure frequency and becoming one with the leafs on the tree.

The Beast of Creation is walking past.
I look up at its terrifying beauty, blinded by its lightning presence, wishing it was dark but the light keeps crashing in. Every step the Beast’s paws take slams every moment into one massive archaic vision, every single one of them being the kind temples have been built for. Graphic, honey rated patterns, splashing into colourful Beings of all Times. Beings, – older, much much older -, than any living creature on this planet, are showing themselves to me in all their intrinsicness.

Archaic. Archaic. ARCHAIC.
The word keeps repeating itself into one gigantic, magnificent, excruciatingly vivid notion of What It Is.

One last slam of the Beast’s tail shakes me back to consciousness.
I’m sitting here, in this safe haven we created for ourselves, down on my knees.
It is not a posture of submission. I’m simply wondering how I could ever have thought I knew anything, anything at all, while the tears are running from my face. I am in pure awe, while I’m observing my knowledge being crumbled, torn apart as if it were a piece of knitting, and being rearranged.

I’m watching it happen, and the only thing I’m able to think of and say out loud is how I know it will change everything, if only I allow it to happen; just open my eyes and take it all in as a wordless teaching.
It changes the posture of my body, into a totally different attitude.
My hand loosely in front of my chest, I’m looking down in search of an expression for an emotion no word has been invented for, or it may have been forgotten and is longing to be reborn: The Sacred.
What I had so far been feeling writhing underneath, is now violently passing through me, obliterating all that I thought I knew.

Carnage.
Nourishment.
Initiation.

If only I were capable of capturing this very experience into one brief moment of sharing it with you, enabling you to see it, to feel it, experience it, here, all at once, right here and now, and condense it into this one, tiny seed hair in my hand, my task would be complete.

If only I could.

We would then set it forth on its path, together, by blowing it away and watch it being caught by the wind. While watching it move up high into the sky, we would know, from here, the cycle would start all over again.
From here, we would be forever longing for the opportunity to rise again; to relive this very moment, of experiencing it, together.

By Kiki Toao

THE WAY

Hands tied

Tranquility speaks

Serenity knows

The Way

By Kiki Toao

THE SHAMANiC PLAYGROUND DiSASTER

At times I look at my life and I can’t help but to feel like a bystander observing a spectacle of a playground that’s been run over by some bulldozer. And I’m watching all the kids crying, their parents waving their angry fists in indignance while one of them is shouting:
“What the HELL was that?!”
And then some skinny male authority figure with a pockmarked face responds by saying:
“Oh, don’t freak out, It’s only Shamanism.
Nothing to worry about.
Move along people, nothing to see here”.
– From my memoirs ‘Tobacco – Curse & Blessing of a Shamaness’ – By Kiki Toao –