In a space where matter don’t matter, just spirit molecules and geometric patterns
The sun is hot. The air is wet. The breath is heavy. I am sweating. I am following. There are four of us, we are all following. We reach the dock where the pontoon approaches, it floats slowly across the river, the river is murky, and wet. The one we follow raises 4 fingers and points to us, he reaches into his pocket, coins chime as they are passed between bronzed hands, and we follow. I am sweating, I wipe the condensation from my forehead, my pack bites into my shoulders, I shrug it from my back. We step onto the waiting pontoon; the wooden benches groan under our weight, the ferry pushes off through the weight of the heat, there is no breeze on the river, the jungle’s breath is stale. A group of birds spiral upwards towards the green mountains, the boat rumbles beneath me, beads of sweat shudder down my back. A soft thud, we step off the pontoon, the streets are dirtier here, a group of men on dirt bikes wait on the corner, he calls out a destination and raises 5 fingers, garbage collects in corners of the streets, we each mount the back of a dirt bike, I shoulder my pack on one side, my right hand grips the fender of the bike, the streets are dirtier here. The bikes hurtle forward in a single file, we weave through streets, there are no travellers here, there are only locals, only dust and dirty parks. The dry red houses and brick streets disappear; we lunge across hard packed dirt. The driver wipes sweat from his forehead and leans forward; a lone chicken passes on the left, two sheep on the right, a cow in the distance. Animals and shanty huts drift past us, the mist is clearing along the mountain tops, the sun is hotter now, the engine sounds angry. The bike kicks up clouds of dust, I cannot see my companions behind me but I can hear the engines that carry them, they sound angry. Animals and huts disappear to forest and jungle, green on all sides. The dirt road slopes down and snakes around a pond, the pond is brown like the road. The road inclines violently and the bike screams as it lurches upwards, we level out, the bike stops, we dismount, the driver says nothing. The sweat returns, I wipe my forehead, the driver says nothing, my companions and the one we follow arrive in intervals, there are no clouds in the sky now, the sun is hot. Coins chime in tawny hands, the bikes disappear in clouds of dust. We move off the road, we march down a thin trail pervading the jungle. The air is trapped within the jungle, it is warm and wet but it is not stale. The jungle breathes life into me, I take long breaths, I march down the thin trail. The jungle is a symphony, singing birds, chattering monkeys, screaming insects, crashing underbrush. I navigate over a decaying log, I smell dirt and wood, I smell the jungle. A sign in the distance, “la Cerra Bruja”, we march higher. I am sweating, I am nervous, I am excited. We reach a clearing, the jungle is cut back on all sides around a wooden platform, I shrug my pack off and sit, my legs hurt, I stretch them out in the dirt, I breath. We sit, we talk, we listen, we wait. Night falls and we gather. We spread our packs out in a semi circle, I place my pack behind me, I sit upright facing the one we had followed, they fidget beside me, we are all waiting. He asks us questions, I do not listen, I see the talismans and idols spread before him, I see the decorations adorning his neck, I smell the cigarette hanging from his mouth. He fills a cup from a jug, he passes it to the one beside me, I watch him drink it, I hear the other murmur in an ancient tongue. The cup is passed back, it is refilled, it is in my hands. It is the colour of rust, smells like fire, a bird screams deep in the night, I bring the cup to my lips and toss my head back, I feel the thin liquid squirm down my mouth, the metallic taste lines my throat and settles in my belly. I pass the cup back, it is refilled, it is repeated. We have all tasted the rust, we lay down on our backs, I link my hands behind my head, they are sweaty, I close my eyes, the jungle vibrates in the distance. There is nothing but darkness, an inky deep darkness, he is building a fire off in the bush, the smell of smoke and crackling of kindling permeates the darkness. A white light, a pinpoint far in the distance, it pulsates, it vibrates, it remains out of reach, the darkness around it grows darker, there is nothing, nothing but the light, nothing but me. A crash of thunder rips across the back of my skull and I am hurtling towards the light, the air is knocked from my lungs, the light rushes up to meet me, I shatter through it. A tunnel of objects rushes past me, armies of shapes and patterns spiral and expand and shake as they fly by me, they transform and merge and infuse into one another, they form intricate objects that pulsate and spin and collide, they are made of bright light, light so bright I can see through clenched eyes, I lay on the damp wood, my eyes closed, my mind engulfed in a light show of geometric patterns, they multiply themselves, they subtract and add and divide their contortions as they fleet through my mind. My mind, my brain, my skull, they are not restricted to those places, my mind, my brain, my skull, my organs, my eyes, my skin, my blood, my body, they are all the same, they are all one. The shapes manifest in equations and ratios and logic and reasoning and love, they spiral around my body like a cyclone, I stand in the centre of a tempest of bright lights. My body, the ground, the sky, the jungle, the universe, there is no difference, the lights illuminate the connections, they bridge the gaps between all as they spiral around me. Music pounds inside me, I can hear it booming from my chest and reverberating through my veins and arteries, it amplifies off my bones, my organs sing in unison, I feel the heavenly sounds vibrating from every pore of my body, it melds with the haunting lullaby of the jungle, and the soft crackling of the fire, my mind swims in the sounds, I don’t just hear it, I feel everything, I am swimming in the sound, my body floats through the melodies, I submerge myself in an ocean of music that collides with me. I am flying faster through the tunnel of light, shapes and patterns and sounds rush past me faster than light, but I understand, I understand all, nothing is unknown. The tunnel of light stops, the knowing ceases, the ocean of sound dries up around me, the impact sudden, I am floating in the darkness, it ebbs and flows, the darkness pummels me, constricts me, drags me, downwards. Claws pull at me, darkness bites at me, my gut throbs, I claw, I grasp, I struggle, I ache to escape the darkness. I am born into the mud, squirming in the darkness, thrashing, my first breath is sulphur, my first drink is salt, I lend myself to the stratosphere and embrace the stars, I am the pillar that holds the sky, I am the light that burns, I am the rot, I am the hope, I am the scorch, my tongue is rapture, when I speak apocalypse spews forth, my chest bubbles and the contents of my stomach beggs to be set free, I cling desperately to my sides, I fight for something to ground me, to bring me back, I hear the scream of a bird and the crackling of the fire. A thin line of blue light enters my vision, my world becomes calm, it slithers closer to me, it moves like a snake, its translucent tongue flicks back and forth as it tastes the air, searches for me, it slithers across my face, I can feel its shining blue body as it moves across me, the sensation of blue light tingles, it rests on my neck and watches me, I can feel myself floating, above myself, outside of myself, if I turn I will see my body laying on the damp wood, eyes closed, in a semi circle with three others as one more stokes the fire crackling in the distance, I fight it, the blue snake becomes agitated, I try to force myself back down, it slithers up my neck and onto my chin, I feel my belly boil, it raises its ghostly head above my eyes, I struggle harder to return, the snake hisses and strikes at me, I feel a gong resound off the back of my skull, the sound shatters my entire being, I lunge upwards, I watch as pyramids are constructed out of light before my eyes, they piece themselves together brick by brick, growing in size as I float higher, they align themselves with the stars and I collide with the heavens. I see myself in a mirror of light, I watch as my skin dissipates cell by cell, like a fine sand it falls from me, revealing my muscles and organs, they too disintegrate into waves of dust, my bones are reduced to chalk and my nervous system sparkles away like firecrackers, a ball of light floats where my body was. The light rushes straight up into the darkness, all that is left now is darkness, the sounds of the jungle and the crackling of the fire, I open my eyes and see the flames casting shadows on the jungle around me, I stretch my limbs, my body is exhausted, my mind is gasping, I look at my phone, almost three hours have passed. I get up to relieve myself, the shaman asks if I am okay, I tell him yes, I sit down, I wait for the others to return from swimming in the heavens, I have so much to tell them.