Coping In Copenhagen: A Traveller’s Tale

At lunch on the Viking Jupiter, I was seated next to a pretty Asian lady, so I shared with her what a friend posted on social media earlier in the morning. Animal sacrifices are no longer necessary since God sacrificed one man, his only son. This is salvation paid for by the sacrifice of a human being. Isn’t this worse than taking the life of a rooster or a goat to cure someone’s ailment, I asked?

Heb 10:4  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Dionysian Mysteries of ancient Greece during the times of polytheism were known for their trance-like rituals and spiritual techniques of removing “unfriendly” foreign objects from our bodies i.e. removing maladies that threaten our well-being. These predate the Shamans of Siberia, considered to be the original shamans, by a few thousand years. Basically, they operate in the same beneficial way to their communities, i.e. they ward off evil spirits, act as healers, and others conjure spells or black magic.

The pretty Asian lady told me her story. When she was in her early thirties, she encountered a strange experience of not being able to swallow food. She was able to drink liquids only. After the twelfth day, her husband frightened her by telling her if she continued on without food, she would die. That jolted her to seek out a local shaman that very afternoon. Her shaman belonged to the Dayak tribe of Borneo, their animistic belief accorded him the status of being a descendant of the serpent or dragon. When he saw her, she was no longer a pretty woman by then. Gaunt, pale faced with unkempt hair, she was already almost “not of this world”, as he put it.

With a long, loud shout of “Ooooooh-hah!” and a jug of Tuak (homemade rice wine) in his hand, he invites the spirits, animals and ancestors from the forest to come out. Wailing and howling in a foreign tongue, he prances and skips round and round the sickly woman who is now seated on a brown stool, with a black cotton sheet covering her from the neck down. Abruptly jerking his head backwards as he looks up to the menacing sky, his eyes suddenly turn blood red, and mouth froths with small white thick bubbles. His blood-red robes and golden headgear add the perfect finishing touches to his performance. He grabs the legs of a strong handsome rooster from his bare chested skinny, dark-skinned assistant who was missing a few front teeth. The spectators who have gathered in a circle around them can smell blood in the air as he unsheathes a Mandau (knife) and slits the rooster’s throat. Blood spurts onto the woman’s black cloth, the red splashes on black almost too theatrical. The struggling rooster jerks and kicks as if in tandem with the shaman. The shaman then slits his own tongue and pastes the bright red blood that’s dripping from his mouth onto a piece of yellow paper with indiscernible writing. The sickly woman is by now oblivious to the activities around her, she is unaware that her shaman has stuck that bloodied yellow paper on her forehead.

Later that night, a lady friend from the Uniting Church visited the sickly woman upon hearing she had resorted to the afternoon’s pagan rituals. She sat by her friend and prayed the Psalms until the sickly woman fell asleep.

The next morning, the sickly woman was offered some watery rice porridge, which she devoured in an instant. No, please do not ask me which method worked for me, she said.

Can the blood of roosters expel the unknown?

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