Shamanism, which is some pretty serious stuff and usually connected to various religious beliefs, has been taken over by the genre writers because it has that je ne sais quoi about it …. a bit of the ol’ paranormal, a bit of the quaisi quantum, spirit animal helpers, and ghosts. Who doesn’t like ghosts, right? Oh, and in case you were wondering, my spirit animal is the sloth, because, you know, indolence.
This book is about techno-shamans. Instead of the peyote and other drugs, drumming, trance dancing, and deep meditation, these folks are of the modern pip pip pip get to it, hurry it up, I got things to do variety. They put on a pair of goggles which have been modified with electrical razzle dazzle, and go immediately to the Multiverrse, where they begin in the Middleworld, which is the portal to the Underworld and the Upper World. Bam, just like that, no waiting for the dream bus to show up.
In this particular world, L.A. doncha know, the Shamans all work through a broker, if you will, who happens to be a Little Person. think of him as the Shaman Pimp. The Shamans do not know each other and for some reason not fully explained, it is better that they don’t.
Olivia…call her Livvy…. is visited one night by a kachina — Tawa, the sun kachina to be exact. Kachinas are Hopi gods, of which there are hundreds. It is giant, but does not speak. But it is clear that he wants something. And what he wants is help.
So here’s what Shamans do in this book. They go into the Multiverse and rescue people whose souls have gotten stuck there, or whose souls have been stolen. These folks manifest in the real world as people in a coma.
Well, things stop working in the Multiverse and it turns out that Tiamat, the Sumerian god of chaos and creation is back in town, after millenia of being vanquished by Marduk, the storm god. Tiamat, for your information, looks like a chicken with paws. Or a dragon with a beak and hands. Hard to get a clear description when you are running for your life.
Livvy figures the only way to get rid of Tiamat is to band together with the other Shamans for their combined power. She also feels she needs Marduk to help them out. He now resides in Upper World, in a huge castle. Turns out he is a grumpy old retired man, puttering in his garden, not much like the warrior god of yore.
The plot revolves around a seemingly helpful young man who actually isn’t helpful at all, and the final battle between the shamans and Tiamat.
It was a fun read, filled with vignettes of her trips into the Multiverse to rescue people, the whole thing made more interesting by the introduction of the two ancient gods, who existed in the time before time. That is really a long time ago. Would you like to know some more about the Kachina, and Tiamat and Marduk? Of course you would.
This is Tiamat. She is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon. She and her husband Apsu created the first generation of deities. In Mesopotamian Religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean. In our Shaman book, she is pictured as huge, as a destroyer.
This handsome guy is Marduk, probably pronounced ‘Maratuk’. He was a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he slowly started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BC. In the city of Babylon, he resided in the temple Esagila.
Here are Tiamat and Marduk depicted in the great epic battle that raised Marduk to the position of head of the deities. It is suggested that the battle legend represents the fall of matriarchy and the rise of patriarchy.
This colorful personage is Kawa, the Sun god of the Hopi. He is a representation of the spirit of the Sun, though he may on occasion be called the Sun Shield Kachina. He often appears standing to the side with a spruce tree in his left hand and a bell in his right. Also, he may appear in a Mixed Dance with the flute in his left hand that is associated with him in many myths.
The Hopi Indians are the westernmost of the Pueblo peoples. Hopi Kachinas are supernaturals, embodying the spirits of living things and also the spirits of ancestors who have died and become a part of nature. Kachinas are believed to possess powers over nature, especially the weather, but higher gods limit the extent of their powers. Hopi men carve likenesses of the Kachinas from cottonwood root, and these are the well known Kachina dolls. Because there are many circumstances that arise requiring supernatural help, there are many Kachinas. Among the Hopi there are about 300 Kachinas that may be current, and at least another 200 that may be known but make only sporadic appearances.
This is what I love about reading; the opportunity to learn. If we don’t just cruise on past the things we don’t know about in order to just get on with the story, fiction can be a great source of information, and a way to widen our world.