The Mongolian Shaman and the Cell Phone

A week or two before Thanksgiving I participated in a ceremony with two Mongolian Shamans. We were sitting in a large circle in the beautiful backyard of a suburban home waiting for the shamans to arrive. They were delayed getting through customs, having just arrived from China.

We sat in the circle as the Shamans came out of the house dressed in their ceremonial costumes. They placed their drums and ceremonial tools in the circle and sat down in the chairs that had been reserved for them.

Just as the leaders were about to begin the opening invocation, the distinctive ring of a cell phone was heard. I sensed a few grumbles among the participants. People looked around wondering who had forgotten to turn off their phone.

After the second ring, the main shaman reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, fumbled with it for a moment before turning to his translator and asking him to turn it off.

I was immediately struck by the Saturday Night Live-ish element to that scene. Here we were, gathered for a sacred ceremony with shamans who had just arrived from the other side of the world. And just before the ceremony begins, the shaman’s cell phone goes off.

This scene was very telling about the state of our world. Here we were celebrating the connection of all things through shamanic ritual, and at the same time, on a very down-to-earth level we were witnessing our interconnection on a very physical level.

Talk about bridging the worlds of form and spirit!

The moral of the story: When you’re at a ritual, don’t forget to turn off your cell phone…especially if you’re the shaman!

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