Those of you who have been following my blogs would have already read a little bit about a man I refer to as Pachen. Translated as “the brave one” in Tibetan; Pachen’s official title is Neyenchen Tanghla Kuten and he holds the esteemed role of personal oracle to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, India.
The first time I met Pachen I had no idea who he was. I was allowed to attend a private shamanic session as an observer and was introduced to him briefly before the event started. Having only just started my awakening journey as well as being new to the Tibetan shamanic community, his title flew right over my head. It was more like “Hi cool looking dude with awesome skirt and chiselled jaw” rather than the reverence and fear I would have normally exhibited towards anyone who would have read my past, present and future in 10 seconds flat.
More interested in the ceremony that was being performed by Lhamo Tsepa (female shaman), I had all but forgotten about this unassuming man sitting on the sidelines. It wasn’t until Lhamo Tsepa had completed her transformation and had begun channelling her mountain deity that everything changed. She got up from her position at the ceremony alter and walked straight to Pachen. As she knelt down before him, her hands in his, forehead to forehead; an energy exchange occurred that engulfed the room and knocked my socks off. Yes, I cried. Surprise!
The one thought running through my head at the time was “OMG, I have no idea who this man is but I need to follow him around like a groupie”. After the session had ended I went up to the roof for some air and right above me, circling my head were five crows. I speak more about my connection with the crows in my Spirit Animals blog, but I took this as a sign that meeting Pachen was no coincidence and that I needed to pay attention to who he was. I was high as a kite for the next three hours.
It wasn’t until a few months after meeting him that I found out crows were also Pachen’s spirit animal. His story begins as a baby in Tibet where his mother had, for reasons of her own; abandoned him high up in the mountains to die. His uncle, having heard what happened a couple of days later, went searching in the mountains and found him nestled on the ground surrounded by crows. They had kept him safe.
I know right! Needless to say, this ‘aint’ no ordinary man.
Neyenchen Tanghla is a protector deity and considered one of the big kakunas in the realm of Tibetan shamanism. Whilst Pachen has the ability to consciously channel aspects of this deity in his everyday life, it is always apparent when the soft-spoken but often bawdy man steps aside and allows Neyenchen Tanghla to completely come through. It’s also potluck whether the benevolent or wrathful aspect of the deity comes out in sessions. I jokingly refer to them has happy Pachen and scary Pachen, though he has always been gentle in his dealings with me regardless of which aspect is active. Might have something to do with the fact that I might break down and cry like a baby if scary Pachen were to talk to me and he knows it. I have to say that watching a burly man channelling a wrathful deity as he performs an exorcism; makes anyone want to run for the hills.
Despite his status and obvious energetic mastery, I am always struck by his humbleness. Whether it’s scary Pachen, happy Pachen or Pachen the man- he never puts himself above anyone and often works tirelessly, sacrificing his time and energy to helping others. A man who survived being abandoned in the mountains, had his legs broken and knee shattered during the invasion; would not be blamed for renouncing the world. Instead he has embraced it and showed more humour and compassion that most people I know who have suffered half as much.