A Note Found by Eloise

Since shamanism is based on sensitivity and listening, the aspects of detachment and surrender play important roles in the success of any shamanic process. Coming up with a satisfactory solution to a problem while in the midst of an intense, emotional feeling about the problem itself is most difficult. Your intense emotional identification with a situation keeps you attached to it in such a way that the changes needed to bring about a result cannot be made. When you are heavily identified with your problem via these emotions, the result is a blockage of energy that stops progress toward your goal. Usually with time the emotional intensity fades and you can continue on your way. Thus the old saying “Sleep on it, things will look brighter in the morning” has a ring of truth to it, since your sleep state requires a surrender to the dream or spirit world.
This state of surrender is also important when it comes to goal setting and creating things or situations that you want. A great emotional attachment to these wishes can actually keep them from manifesting. You have heard that the “watched pot never boils.” The same can be true for a desire you are too attached to. Often this is the case in dealing with relationships, since they are usually emotionally charged. For example, you would probably have more difficulty remaining detached in a shamanic process if you were asking about a quarrel you had with a member of your family. You would find it easier to ask about the weather or someone else’s family affairs.

Shamanism takes this concept of detachment one step further. Not only are you required to surrender your attachment to achieve success, but you must also accept what comes in its place. Even if the information you receive during a journey does not seem useful to you, accept it graciously and do not resist or judge it. You may realize later the real value of what you experienced. For example, in response to your quest for clarity about a relationship problem you may see a bird circling round and round during your journey. You could dismiss this apparition as irrelevant or nonsensical or you could keep it in mind as a potential key to your dilemma. Later you may realize that the problem stems from your persistence in approaching that person the same way every time, just like a bird going round and round.

Shamans acknowledge that surrender and detachment are perhaps the most difficult concepts to master. Thus humor is used a great deal as an integral part of their advising process. Laughing helps in detachment by releasing stuck emotions and can be quite literally “the best medicine.” It is difficult to remain identified with and intensely emotional about a situation when humor enters into the picture. Shamans know this and stress the importance of infusing their work with the humorous aspect. They invariably turn into clowns, acting out an exercise with wild gesturing, dancing, and singing. Western anthropologists used to think shamans were crazy because they seemed to laugh about everything. Crazy, perhaps; insane, hardly. Only truly sane people are able to laugh at the troubles humans get themselves into. The world of the spirit self is the true source of all amusement. Therefore, you will find that the advice you get from that inner world is often highly amusing, even teasing about your predicament.
The breakup of a relationship is never an easy experience, and for Andrea Clover it was downright debilitating. Andrea had been morose for weeks now: her writing career on hold; her letters unanswered; her social life dead in the water. Andrea felt so shocked about Jacque’s sudden change of heart that she had been unable even to cry about her feelings of rejection.

Finally her closest friend Lynne persuaded her to come to the “empowering circle,” a group of dedicated shamanic practitioners whom she met with weekly to dance, drum, and journey. Andrea had resisted going for months because the whole thing sounded so hokey and ridiculous: sitting, imagining silly animals, and hopping around like them. They must be a bunch of weirdos.

Andrea was rather surprised to find a mix of very ordinary looking people from all walks of life. As the evening progressed she was introduced and the group let her know she was welcome to participate in all their activities. They began with some sharing and sage burning and then proceeded to perform a vigorous line dance accompanied by the drum that Andrea thought was silly. Why had she come? She thought about sneaking out but then began to see the humor of the situation. She started to laugh at the ridiculous picture of herself and the others hopping up and down in the semidarkness, loud drumbeats punching through the air. As she laughed, to her surprise Andrea inexplicably became tearful and for a few moments didn’t know whether she was laughing or sobbing. When the dance ended Andrea felt confused but strangely energized. A group member then explained to her that they were going to “dance their animals” and that she could join them. He explained that since it was her first time, all she had to do was let an impression of an animal come through her.
As the drumbeat began again, Andrea was doubtful that she would get a sense of any animal but was again surprised at how quickly the image of a large deer came to her. Slowly, awkwardly at first, she mimicked the movements of a deer, feeling a warmth associated with the animal. She found herself assuming the stance of defense, head down, antlers protecting. As the drumbeat increased in intensity, the deer shifted to movements of attacking and sparring. Andrea suddenly felt an enormous relief and gave herself to the vigorous thrusts and parries.
Later that evening as Andrea drove home she had the strange sensation of a deer in the backseat of her car. She smiled to herself and sighed happily. Somehow Jacques didn’t seem that important anymore. She had found a new friend and new power.

In order for Andrea to get up and dance the animal, she had to begin the process of surrender, which was greatly aided there by laughter and tears. Only then could she allow the helper, in this case an animal spirit, to come in.

Before the Unmasking

About Eloise and the Heavenly Horse

This graphic novel, my first, is a woman’s adventure travelogue, centred around a 20-something Jewish woman, living away from her family and getting over a recent break up. She is hired by a publishing firm to edit a piece on the discovery of the ‘lost’ post of Muziris. While editing, she begins to question certain discrepancies in the archaeological finds, which bring up further historical and geopolitical questions, linked to ancient trade routes (once connected to Muziris).
The journey in her mind sees her travel back in time, traversing actual locations in Asia, and rediscovering her own dormant spirit for adventure. In this ‘dream world’, she meets a host of different characters, who represent her own personal dilemmas, of identity, love and trust. But the dreams are interspersed with rude interruptions of reality, where she continues to edit the pertinent treatise. The mystery gradually takes on a larger dimension, one that involves India’s religious history — Muziris had ties to most of India’s predominant religions — and sci-fi– but eventually connects it to the struggles that Eloise, the protagonist, overcomes as an individual.
Growing up on a heavy dose of comic literature, and particularly Tintin, I have always felt the absence of a female travelogue in comic fiction. While Tintin documents other lands and peoples from a clearly defined hierarchy of knowledge, a documentation that questions rather than reinstates stereotypes is perhaps less readily available. Eloise is not just a female traveller but a woman negotiating her workspace as well as her personal relationships through her imagination. But it is also important for her to reconcile that imagination with reality.
Also, I was earlier involved in publishing travel guides that were sponsored by State tourism departments, which required our publication team, Goodearth Guides, to present a ‘safe’ view of India. The role of geopolitics in shaping history and religion, specifically, was considered as subsidiary to the views of the said departments. This book however seeks to present an alternative take on history, geopolitics and religion. Hence, Eloise tries to re-examine what is perceived as gospel truth, or received knowledge about cultural heritage, not only India’s, but that of the world as we ‘know’ it.
I know this post has been a while coming but der aaye, durust aaye, as they say in Urdu!

A cup of chai?


Or a whole new reckoning over the day?

The ride comes to life


Eloise got some matters sorted, in three illustrated parts, to be exact…and here she is, bursting into colour ! 🙂

Heavenly Eloise, really?

Umm, well, she tends to casually drop on me, light as a feather and heavy as slang, and then beams online

Where It Begins

Where It Begins

and then she goes….

The Flight


saying hey to you! 🙂

And promising clearer pics soon!