NO! You may NOT!

Pashupatinath Temple complex Pashupatinath Temple entrance

Noon day heat,

people milling,

going to and fro,

bringing pujas,

burning pujas,

Sadhus

Tourists taking pictures of them.

Asking us to take pictures for them – and with us, for good luck!

Sacred cows,

Sacred Cows

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Sacred Goats too!

A black Billy Goat

cowering down in the shade of the temple.

A brass bell around its neck

Every minute or so a worshipper steps up to ring that bell. For good luck and for Blessings to be bestowed.

Loud!!!!!!

Loud noise next to delicate ears created to hear the steps of the Wolf in soft grass….

I step up and in “Animal speak” = picture language ask the Billy Goat if I may ring its Bell.

He decisively turns its head away from me towards the wall.

No you may NOT”!

Seconds later a devotee steps up, grabs the bell and rings it loudly.

You are the ONLY ONE that EVER asked!” he pictured!

On time less in its life, that he is having to hear the noise ringing through his body.

Just 1 time less……

….. I do understand that- completely!

But he is alive! Not like all the thousands of Goats, Bullocks and Chickens sacrificed during the ongoing Dashain festival.

He will live out his days like this, here….. with the bell…..

A little further on the child of a ??western Tourist?? throws away an Apple, just 1 bite missing…

I go over and pick it up.

A Gift from a Tree Sister – not honoured.

A gift for the Billy Goat.

He looks up at me, as I lay the treat before him.

Surprise in Animal eyes.

He delicately nibbles his prize.

a little present

I have to run –

 -after the group……

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Temple of Woman Elders:

Temple of female Elders

Shiva lingam

Shiva Lingam

Bhola and Sadhu

Bhola and a Sadhu

Swayambhunath

Kathmandu Swayambhunath

From our first night on the roof top garden of the Varya hotel, the mighty stupa of  Swayambhunath, watching over the valley with its all seeing eyes, had been a constant presence in my nightly personal Medicine rituals. Anothe Spirit of the land, of place, but also a personified Spirit of the people, of the creative chaos that is Kathmandu.

So naturally I was very exited, when Bhola announced, that today we were going up the steep hill to visit this important UNESCO World heritage site, also less formally known as “the Monkey Temple”

It was a short walk through the poverty stricken neighbourhood of the Varya to the Temple hill.

There we were greeted by  all kinds of  vendors. Some with touristy souvenirs, others with – yes, food for the Monkeys already present and grabbing Bananas out of the backpacks of un-prepared tourists. There were Sadus, colourfully adorned with safron and orange robes, painted with sacred colours,  offering us all a tika(red dot on the fore head – for a price, getting quite angry, ifff someone took a picture – without paying them for that…. There also were all kinds of stalls offering all kinds of items, that the spiritually inclined visitor or pilgrim would need as offerings to the Hindu Deities and also for the Buddhist temples on the site. This is definitely a place, where all religions meet and mix, melt into each other and offer change and growth to everyone….

The eastern stairway up to the main site and past all the reliefs with scenes from the life of Buddha as well as the majestic pairs of Garudas, Elephants, Lions, Horses and Peacocks, all sacred vehicles of the Hindu Gods.

Once up at the foot of the stupa, _DSC5352 (712 x 1072)

I was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds coming from all the different temples but also by the throngs of worshipers, some deeply in prayer as they bring and prepare their offerings…. but contrasted by thongs of tourists snapping pictures every which way….

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There is a lot to see and absorb:

The burning oil lamps and incense fires, Flower offerings in front of the temple of Hariti, the Goddess that prevents smallpocks, and aids fertility, the Green Tara, the White Tara…. In aw we stood in front of the giant brass dorje – or varya = thunderbolt sculpture, the symbol of enlightenment, that destroys ignorance and incidentally symbolizes male Energy. Not far of is its counterpart, a large ceremonial bell, representing the female Energy.

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Tourists are allowed to take of their shoes and step into the entrance foyer of the Drongak Choelling gompa (Buddhist school) and even take a picture. I would have loved, to just kneel down there and immerse myself into the chanting – and the hypnotic sound of the drum.

We circumambulated the stupa turning the prayer wheels. I thanked all the Spirits of Place to allow me to be here and see all this magnificent syncretizism, to feel the energy and to feel welcome.

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We also walked through the Buddhist temple that holds the huge statue of the historical Buddha.

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Outside however several helpers were busy cleaning his large priceless pieces of silver regalia.. The sacred and the mundane side by side. 🙂

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Bhola also explained the symbols of the 4 directions to us and sadly, then it was already time to leave.

It is all a bit overwhelming –

Peter and me alone – we would have spend the day here….

We would have taken time to talk to the Monkeys…..

Swayambhunath monkeys

In and around Kathmandu:

street view

The roads are…. no roads at all! Just an assemblage of pot holes

Gravel , dust, garbage everywhere, stray Dogs, some sacred cows, thousands of scooters, motor bikes and cars  of any imaginable kind, from dilapidated and falling apart conkers to slick and dirty Mercedes limousines.

Everything crawls along at about 5 km/h an hour. – From pot hole to pot hole.

Busy streets

No traffic lights.

Sometimes a Cop, looking more like a robber with his black face mask on….

Honk, if you want to pass.

Everyone else is honking as well and so it is a chaotic “Honk-Out”

Snarrrrled lumps of electric wires just above your head…..

Some sparking and crackling.

The spirits of power outages.

Everyone rushing every way

With every imaginable kind of cargo on the back or balanced on a bike….

The odd Monkey

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Crows and Sparrows diving down for dis guarded morsels.

A poor dead Rat…..

Everyone skilfully steps around it……

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Poverty looks the same everywhere in the world….

So does trying to eak out a living despite of it…

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There are a 1000 pictures of it on the net….

…I will add a few:

the main River is garbaged out

Cow eating garbage

Waiting for tourists

weird tractor car

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There is also Beauty in the chaos!

Lots of it, in fact!:)

dressesbudhanilkantha-pic

Flutes, anyone?

Just play the tune…

…..and the city will dance…..

Flutes anyone

Nepali Spirit Animals

Finding and welcoming your Animal Spirit guide:
Bhola has created a beautiful tray with all kinds of Animals – Nepali ones and also a few others. They are all blessed with a tika and decorated with flowers. Now we are to meditate which one of them is ours and then, one by one we are to step forth, offer grain from our personal pouch, then wrap our Animal representative in colorful cloth, claim it and take it back to our personal altar.
I am last in line. But I am not worried, I KNOW, I will not get the Owl, P. will claim that and she does. I know, the Rhino is mine! I will just wait patiently…..
…. and listen to Bhola sing….
The room starts to shimmer golden, then grey.
Smoke shifts into Tiger stripes and Granma Ulali Kham appears.
“Get the Tigers! Both of them. They need to mate and reproduce!”
I feel icy cold.

“But! ….

….the Rhino!” ??!!??
“GET THE TIGERS, WILL YOU!!!!!”
There is no arguing with her. I am crestfallen and crushed.
But there is no doubt in my mind and soul. I will do as SHE orders. I will sacrifice my own yearning to do as my Ancestor tells.
As my time comes, I walk over, give my offering, put the rice all over the beloved Rhino, but dutifully take the 2 small Tigers and walk back to my altar. I wrap them into my silk scarf, for their privacy. I am soooooo sad about the Rhino! I miss it with all my heart.

Later, I go and tell Bhola about the Ancestral command and ask him, ifff maybe I can make a generous offer for the Rhino.
I sense somewhat of a language barrier and a NO.
OK……
He says, we will go visit the town and I can get a Rhino there……
Hmmmm….
My heart is aching……

Hours larer Bhola takes us to Tamil, the tourist area of Kathmandu and into the Amrita craft Co Op, where all the prices are fixed and very reasonably low. Everyone shops, as ifff there is no tomorrow. Treasures are cheap and I see 1000 things I like! Peter hunts for souvenirs for friends at home and in no time a basket is full of small treasures. I find a small mouthorgan – for 50 Rupees = -.50 cents and a beautiful Tibetan dress – for 950 Rupees = $ 9.00 no small clay Rhino. But Peter finds one out of felt and looking funny and it ends up in our basket. The others are looking at singing bowls and tinksha bells and everything else, one friend sees my dress and the hunt for a similar one for her is on…..

Amrita Craft Co op
We shop – until it is time to go to “Yak and Yeti for dinner.

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Tamel gift shop

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Thamel at Night

Kathmandu on Full Moon

We are in Kathmandu since a few days now, working with shaman Bhola Banstola and several other shamans. We also did several trance journeys to connect with the Spirits of the land and right away the mighty Rhino “came through” for me as a teacher Spirit of this magnificent place:)
I will write about it , when I get home!

Yesterday we visited the “Monkey Temple Swayambhunath, attended the chanting Bhuddust monks , made offerings of flowers and water to the Earth Goddesses, fed the Monkeys, and watched the Eagles circle overhead.
Today we visited Bhaktapur and its sacred sites.

Happy Full Moon Greetings from Kathmandu!

Everest:

026 himalaya

Everest:
Kathmandu airport is – rickety…. Bumpy gravelly access pothole affair for a main road and parking, but it works like any modern airport does. It had been raining for days and there had been no flights to the other villages and towns, because of no visibility. – and that during the Dashain festival, when everyone has to go home to their families to receive Blessings from the parents…..
there also were no sight seeing flights to the mountains….
BUT: Today the weather was perfect and EVERYONE wanted to fly!
Us too. And soon we were sitting, 40 passengers in a small Yeti airline prop plane and off into the blue sky to see the magnificent Himalayas lined up north of Kathmandu.
Everest was dressed up in a wispy thin pinkish cloud, like a coy girl.
I can only put a few of our pictures. It is too majestic to describe!

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067 mt. everest

Temples and Teachings:

Well, since that fateful flier evening the plans for the Nepal trip have solidified and now preparations are in full swing:

Our benevolent friend P. decided, that Peter’s and my idea, to visit Chitwan National Park and go on a Rhino and Tiger safari – on Elephant backs, is just splendid and so the trip will commence as follows:

We will fly from New York to London, England, stay over night in the Hotel Dorchester

http://www.thedorchester.com/

in the evening however, we will go out to see a Shakespeare play: “Much ado about nothing” with- among others, Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones

Next day it goes via Virgin Air to Delhi and on to Kathmandu.

We will stay over night in the Dwarikas heritage Hotel http://dwarikas.com/

Dwarikas-Hotel,-Kathmandu,-Nepal-(1)

Next morning (early) take a private sightseeing flight to Mt Everest and then on to Chitwan National Park. There we will be at the Tigerland Safari resort for our jungle excursions on Elephant backs, hopefully seeing Rhinos, maaaany Birds and maybe ifffff lucky, a Tiger.

In the evening we will have to bath = swim with the Elephants, before being allowed for dinner….;)

chitwan0safari-b

Next will be the road trip back over the foothills of the Himalayas to Kathmandu and checking in at Vajra Hotel, where for the next 10 days local shaman and teacher Bhola Banstola will give teachings and….

…..see itinerary:

This is the schedule I have so far from Evelyn Rysdic, the state-side tour organizer of the shamanic teaching workshops:

Daily Breakfast at 8!

Classes and traveling start at different times each day. Bhola will give notice ahead for each day.Bhola

Daily travel times differ based on availability of the other shamans. All we can know for sure is:

• Arrival in Kathmandu and check in hotel Vajra, dinner and overnight

• After breakfast visit the statue of Lord Vishnu reclining in the cosmic ocean. 

From 10:30 AM to 6:00PM shamanic classes with Bhola

with a lunch break.  Overnight in hotel

• All morning shamanic classes with Bhola, lunch and afternoon visit Kathmandu Durbar Square (Temples, monuments dedicated to different divinities. 

Dinner and overnight.

• All morning classes with Bhola.

After lunch drive to Patan, visit the historical and religious monuments and continue to Bhaktapur.7148505-bhaktapur-nepal--september-24-2008-woman-arranging-pots-outside-a-pottery-shop-in-the-ancient-town-o

• After breakfast visit the healing and get individual healings and shamanic consultations.

Visit Bhaktapur in the afternoon.

• Visit the healer in the morning and drive to Changunarayan temple on the hilltop.

Back to Bhaktapur and preparation for next day’s trip to Pokhara.

• Fly to PokharaOvernight in hotel Temple Tree

pokara  After breakfast drive to the Tibetan Refugee Camp to participate in the shamanic rituals and healings.

Back to the hotel and in the afternoon visit the temple at the centre of the Fewa Lake by boat.

Overnight in the hotel.

• After breakfast dive to the refugee camp for consultations and healing sessions. 

In the afternoon visit the stupa of peace on the mountain top or free time to walk by the lakeside. 

Overnight in hotel.

• After breakfast by private vehicle drive back to Kathmandu.

Dinner and overnight in the hotel Vajra.

• After breakfast drive to the temple of Pashupatinath (Lord of Animals) by sacred Bagmati river, the guardian deity of Nepal.

Temple

 It is also a place of cremations.

. Visit the Nepalese lady shaman Aama Bombo at her home.  

. Drive to Boudhanath Stupa, one of the biggest of its type in the world. Lunch under the       benevolent eyes of Buddha and visit the stupa and monasteries. 

This area is also called the  ‘Little Tibet’.  

Back to the hotel, dinner and overnight.

• After breakfast drive to the airport for onward journeys.

Sadly we will have to fly home, as we as well as our friend P. have appointments that an not be moved.

Peter and me would have loooooved to stay for another week – go on a birding tour, visit the Rimpoche of one of my students and just – be…..

We will return to London, stay at the hotel Mandarin Oriental

http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/hotel/

and then fly back to Toronto, Canada the next day.

Until our departure, there is just a little over a month and we are knee deep in preparations 🙂

and vaccinations 😦