How did this happen? My mind has been kidnapped to trip around the world, playing football on the sandy, hot Mozambique beach, meeting locals in a Kerala spice market, learning to fight with Japanese samurais and being seduced by an other worldly, phantom ghost – all while the only problem is that I couldn’t get to a beach in Rio dancing capoeira on time.
I am tripping, yes. No drugs are involved, so far from what I know, or maybe the incense has something to do with my sudden visions of the red eyed bull in front of me. Just pure consciousness and being present. I am somewhere else, yet more present than ever and my journey is well guided and led by Master Bo and earlier Wallstreet kick-ass JPMorgan Investment banker, now modern day priestess Tina to have these strange sensations fed to my subconsciousness.
Copenhagen North West is known to be the only option for normal people to own a proper size apartment or a small house that doesn’t make to you cry in front of your worried bank advisor in one of the most expensive cities in Northern Europe. It was a shitty neighborhood and now getting bronxed or gentrified or whatever it is called when artists, young couples with the means and in search of an edgy, yet hidden small bourgouise life with a small exciting twist that comes from seeing guys wearing long pretty dreadlocks and pretty women wearing ugly, architect designed, square clothes, red brick apartment buildings, and old factories being the hazy backdop of your Creative Life. Copenhagen North West is the shit. This is where the young can be free and the old creatives choose to come or stay as nut bolts. It is a wonderful world with exciting voices from the rustic cafes and it smells of freedom to be yourself or forget yourself with others.
I want to forget my headache. Not that I often have a headache, but I needed a break from my constant idea generation and forced learning to become the next fucking legendary author and portrait photographer. My ego was consuming me and I needed desperately to get back to my own core and just when I was losing my hope to become cured before the holidays, I opened my Facebook to see Tina Israni’s event the same night. The first thing I read is that Tina is a modern day priestess. Her title is ballsy, exotic, appropriately sacred, otherworldly and vaguely erotic to awake me from my pre-coffee morning slump. I sign up for what is called Soundbathing. I have never heard of Soundbathing, only having a glimpses of an idea about forest bathing after reading an article about this fascinating act going in to forest and becoming part of it. It was crazy enough, exotic enough and cheap enough for me to jump in what I was told to be a part ritual and part healing.
I enter the building in Northwest CPH, what used to be a furniture factory, now brimming with forty or so creative small enterprises with creative names ending with Design, Radio, Photography, Psychologist, Records or School. It is a huge gated complex of a building and it takes me a while to find my way to the room. The room is already full of surprisingly healthy, lean and harmonious looking people. It is a homogenous group of people with excess of thoughts and desire to forget the past and future and get closer to whatever they think they really are. We are advised to lay down on a thin mattress, which we have plenty and I close my eyes.
Bo describes the main act “We will take you first high and then grounded” We are surrounded by so many exotic looking instruments and tools that I find it hard not to guess their function and sounds. My mind is busy and preoccupied. One of the biggest, rippled, hammered Gongs is called “Sound creation gong, and we use it to create earthy deep sounds, like those when Earth was created, think lava bursts” I am intrigued to hear earth creation in action and while I am lying down with my eyes closed Bo starts his ceremony with something that sounds like thousands of crabs on a beach crawling around in a pleasant and polite manner. My mind is fighting against the sensation, not letting me absorb the rattle in full and I am slightly disappointed and decide to make an effort to NOT to think.
A cow with fully alive head, but with rest of the body consisting only of a naked skeleton is in front of me. I am fucked up, fried, toasted, wasted and tripping and I cannot resist tripping on, but forcing turns the peaceful skeleton cow into a red eyed bull, staring me furiously with the big, sharp horns pointing at me, and then the sounds change to something that resembles a huge ocean just washing everything off in a Japanese tsunami style, in full color and motion passing the Great Wave of Kanagawa, alive painting, now in my head part of the Soundbath journey, just to be disturbed by my neighbor snoring. I poke him gently, Christoffer opening his eyes in most spaced out manner, having the widest, the most relaxed smile on his face. He looks goofy and he is definitely tripping like it was 1967 and we were in San Francisco Haight-Asbury park enjoying the Summer of Love. Great! We are all tripping in our own ways it seems. Some are in deep mediation, one is sobbing quietly and strangely enough, pleasantly, and few are just laying down in a relaxed foster position.
I let the sounds, now oddly animalistc, enter my body and I see soon visions of elephants trumpeting very far away, threatening to attack, just to find a wounded tiger in a deep, deep cave. I am in a deep fascinating trance alike space, and then Tina uses one of the Gongs to send me a white lightning through my head and to my surprise and pride the flash stays straight in the middle of my head, which now radiates the lightning outside my head and I hear Christoffer make a confused sound next to me and I start to worry if the flash is only my imagination or if I really can harm people with my new powers that the Priestess Tina had just granted me. Bo tells later on that these soundwaves are slow and high, so called alpha brain waves. When alpha waves dominate your brain, your brain is said to be 'idling' in that it's awake, relaxed, and ready for whatever task lies ahead. I am relaxed and ready and under Bo’s spell. Call it alpha, beta or incense, I am definitely feeling it.
I feel also my headache moving from the middle of my forehead towards the sides of my head. This is the most physical massage I have ever acquainted, and it is done without a touch! And this trip is without a hangover! I am now in India smelling the curry, turmeric, garam masala at the same time, while Bo’s snake rattle makes me sit up. “Just follow your body.” was one of his advises before we left our submerged existence. I am sitting up and without any intention of doing anything than looking out in a spaced manner, but I cannot resist the sounds moving me. I mercifully close my eyes and my body moves in slow waves, I am not thinking about anything, I am feeling the sounds to the fullest and I lose the sensation of time. It could have been ten seconds or ten minutes, but I am a hypnotized snake now and Tina is my snake charmer. I move slowly, gently, not thinking how odd, primitive or spiritual the whole dance is. I am fully in my trance, without losing my consciousness. I am aware, but fully IN the experience. I am not even a part of the experience. I AM THE EXPERIENCE. Then I feel something touching back of my head. The instrument Tina had used was so close to me that it tapped me and I am gently let off the trance.
The visions are not over though and I am now in playing football somewhere in Africa, kicking the ball from sandy beach over the mountains to Sahara, being part of a sandstorm blowing me to the west coast of Africa and awaking a yearning in me to get to Brazil to dance to capoeira, but I am the football now, being kicked back to east, to ancient Egypt. I play ball with the Sphinxes and read ancient texts on Pyramid walls and the sounds are changing yet again my vibes. Enter Greece, but not just any boring Greece. The sounds are coming from a wise old, bearded man with a lot to say. But the story is a seductive one, about a woman, a dark ghost, with a lot of questionable plans in her voice, meeting with her is sensual, like swimming in butter, smooth, silky, crazy, warm and earthy, the enlightened mystery of sensation without nothing to hold on. She is in my head and everywhere, questioning my powers to resist, the satan or the goddess. I cannot decide, and it doesn’t matter. Like Tina says “It is a space with lots of ideas that do not make any sense. Protect it.” It is what it is. It is a dark, mythical and ancient Soundbathing goddess that is messing my head and I am so in it. I am a snake and I am closer to myself. I am next to tigers and elephants and goddesses. I am playing football with Sphinxes and learning the ancient wisdom from Greek philosophers. And my headache is gone.
Your true and loving portraitor,
Next Soundbathing is on the 31st of July and on the 23rd of August Tina Israni the Priestess and Bo Rødding the Master are organizing a whole night Gong Puja (Worship).