A soft silence envelopes the room as the Tibetan Lhamo (female Shaman) quietly sets
up her alter in preparation for the task ahead. As I watch her lay offerings on the already full table I’m struck by the concise rituals that have obviously spanned generations in this lineage. The placement of each object has been carefully planned but executed almost absentmindedly; a task performed hundreds of times before.
There is almost a distant glaze over the Lhamo’s eyes as her inner world becomes more prevalent than her outer world and she mentally prepares herself to receive the higher energies of her deities.
She starts chanting and a smattering of goose bumps travel across my arms. Caught in an apparent trance, I watch as her whole demeanour changes; a stiffening of the body and the octave of her voice escalates to a crescendo that would frighten the unprepared.
I feel tears well up in my eyes in response to the overwhelming emotions that arise in me. An action of which I have come to recognise as my body’s response to the shifts and changes in the energies around me. As I struggle to keep my composure, the Lhamo dons a colourful headdress and pinafore, then settles down and peers over at us in indication that we can now begin our questions.
One after the other, the participants arise and kneel before her to receive a kata around the neck before asking their questions. As I step up and receive my blessing I receive responses to my queries that comprise of diagnoses of an ailment as well as general advice on my spiritual path. Before long my turn is complete and I move aside for the next person to take my place.
As the session draws to a close, the Lhamo once again begins her chanting and her body starts convulsing before she collapses into the arms of her assistant in a faint.
The experience now over, we sit in silence- each person lost in their own thoughts.
The Tibetan Shamanic tradition has been around for centuries and is derived from the Bon religion. It has lost much of its popularity with the rise of industrialism and technology, and today there are few outside the regional areas of Tibet and India who ever engage the services of a Lhamo
In a time where consumerism has reached its peak, society seems to have shifted in its perception of happiness. We now seek answers in the traditions of our past where technology and science have failed to answer. It is through the reconnection with Gaia and the spirits of our past where perhaps the answers truly lie.