The seed

I was walking in the Arizona mountains next to Starry Song, the shaman who had the gift of using music to perpetuate the wisdom of his people. Eventually, we reached a plateau with a charming view. He laid a multicolored blanket on the ground, lit his unmistakable pipe with a bowl made of red rock, and asked me to prepare a campfire. Then, with his two-sided drum, he set the rhythm for a heartfelt ancient song which asked for protection to never ‘abandon the sunny side of the road’. We remained silent for I don’t know how long, as travelers in the world of ideas, until the shaman broke the silence: “There are many elements in nature that I consider sacred because they are symbolic. Dawn, as light is important in our lives; the flight of the eagle, as it teaches me to see things from the heights; the stars, because they remind me there are other worlds in addition to this one; the four seasons, as they teach that cycles are renewed; the butterfly, that reminds me that a caterpillar can have wings; the river, so that I never forget that eventually, all waters will reach the sea. However, nothing fascinates me more than the seed.” He gave his pipe a puff and continued: “There are lessons all around us. The sacred is mixed with the mundane, waiting to be revealed.” I was about to interrupt him, to ask about the seed, the conversation changed course. It was when he added: “Just like magic awaits the timing of the sorcerer.”

I told him it was difficult for me to understand what this magic was, so noted by magicians and shamans. I revealed that in the culture within which I had been raised, most people considered this power as originating from old beliefs or fictional stories. I also confessed that, like everyone else, I also wished to possess such power. Starry Song closed his eyes, as he would do whenever he knew the conversation would be long, and explained with his coarse voice: “This power is within anyone’s reach; we are all children of the Maker, with no distinction or privilege. Everyone has the power, suffice to learn how to use it.” He paused briefly, and continued: “Magic is an alteration of a state of reality. If you pay close attention, you will see that there are situations, people and places that make you nervous, aggressive or sad, while others elicit a feeling of quietness, lightness and joy. Isn’t it so?” I nod my head in agreement. He continued: “This is a very common type of magic. The word, for instance, can spread dissent or sow peace. This makes us sorcerers, because we have the power to change the environment. When this change illuminates and soothes us, it becomes sacred. To define the sentiment that moves us influences the word and determines the magic that will involve us, whether subtle or dense, speedy or slow.” He made a brief pause and added: “Therefore, pay attention every time you open your mouth: your words involve the power of transformation; thus they define the type of sorcerer you are.”

“In the universe, it is all mergers and expansion.” Seeing a huge question mark on my features, Starry Song explained before I even asked: “All that happens in the universe repeats itself within us. As we are all one, the laws that govern the stars also apply to me and you.” I told him I had not understood, and he patiently explained: “For instance, the starts attract the energies that surround them, gain strength and, in acknowledgement, reciprocate with different degrees of brightness. In turn, from the energies that surround us, we attract those we have an affinity with, metabolize them and then, depending on the level of awareness and capacity to love, share it as light or shadows.”

Shadows? I thought it odd. The shaman was unequivocal: “Each one offers what they can.” I interrupted him and asked how I could determine the energies that magnetize me, so that I could reflect only light. Starry Song arched his lips in a subtle smile and said: “Through your choices. Only they have such power. There are stars that are able to illuminate and maintain the life of an entire galaxy while others are black holes that suck in all that is around them.”

The shaman puffed his pipe and continued: “You should bear in mind that light is, in short, the cohesion of many virtues that do not exist alone. For instance, wisdom needs love in order to serve the common good; love needs wisdom to expand in all its comprehensiveness with intelligence and justice. Courage is a necessary requirement to overcome inactivity and hardships, such that love and wisdom are not just contemplative virtues. Finally, good must be experienced until it is merged to the soul. By illuminating yourself, you fulfill the mission of shedding light over the world as a reflex of your choices.” He looked deep into my eyes and said: “The best sorcerers are those who focus on the magic of transforming themselves.” I told him that that seemed selfish to me. Starry Song shook his head and said: “No. Quite the opposite, they know that only if they enhance their own way of being will they be able to illuminate the steps of all people. The true magicians, little by little, through humble gestures, shift the reality that surrounds them in waves that ripple all the way to the edges of the universe.”

“Every sorcerer understands the importance of ceremonial magic which is, in fact, each and every ritual for the transformation of being. Many get lost in the fantasy of secret full-moon night-time ceremonies around bonfires invocating powerful spirits. Yes, these rituals exist and have their importance. However, similarly powerful are the small, almost imperceptible daily ceremonials in which, oftentimes, we waste the opportunity to sow the best magic: a tight hug in time of distress, a sincere smile to provide assurance, a kind gesture at a hard time, tenderness at a time of conflict, a word of hope in the face of pain, true forgiveness, settling a quarrel, a choice made out of love. In short, all that makes it possible for you to keep the strong flame of light and, if possible, change the mood of the other person. This will serve as a lever so that both can expand their mind and strengthen their hearts. Then, personal transformation occurs. Don’t deceive yourself, this is pure magic.” He made a brief pause and added: “These are some simple instances that only the best sorcerers use to change reality.”

Silence reigned again. I spent some time I cannot quantify thinking about the simplicity of power and magic, at the reach of everyone, while many, in search for the alchemical understanding of life, the one that transforms the shadow’s lead into the light’s gold, get lost for not unveiling the fogginess of delusion. This is when I recalled that Starry Song had said, earlier in the conversation, that nothing was more emblematic for him than the seed. Questioned, the shaman picked from the ground a small seed of a huge oak, which, undaunted next to us, seemed to bless the lesson. The shaman explained: “See how tiny this seed is compared to the greatness of the tree, and see how its form changes during the process of transformation. Imagine an apple seed and remember its shape, color, taste; do the same with the scent and the beauty of flowers. Can you understand the power of the light in you?” He pointed to the secular oak, whose trunk seemed a pillar; then he showed the frail seed, and said: “The tallest tree, the sweetest fruit or the most beautiful flower are but a tiny seed that allowed itself the proper transformations. This is like that light which dwells within ourselves. Like children of the Maker, we carry His seed in the core. In essence, we are light.”

“A seed of light never gets lost. It may take thousands of years to germinate, but its true destiny will be, relentlessly, the one of the tree that cools the heat of days, of the flower that embellishes and perfumes life, of the fruit that nourishes humankind.”

Starry Song puffed his pipe and observed the smoke dancing before our eyes. He arched his lips in a mild smile and completed: “The light that is manifested in you through infinite transformations define the size of your wings, the height of your flight and the distance of your journey. It is the only piece of baggage that you can take in your sacred bag, the heart.”

“Allowing the seed of light to fulfill the entire cycle of tree, flower, fruit and seed once again is the most important magic that pertains to each and every sorcerer.”

Kindly translated by Carlos André Oighenstein.






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