When we climbed the hill to her house, we found Leh’s most famous Oracle washing clothes by an outside stream, soapy water up to her elbows.
I had been reluctant to see her, primarily because so many people had recommended her. In my travels around the world, I’ve found a lot of so-called “spiritual” people who only perform for tourists, raking in nice fat fees from “reading” the gullible. (In Cuba, they actually line up at the airport and in the big tourist hotels, with big smiles and speaking perfect English.)
However, since it is late in my stay in Ladakh, and I hadn’t been to any oracles, I figured that going to her wouldn’t hurt. (And, I asked my friends here to line up some OTHER oracles for me to visit.)
What I had expected from the most famous and well-respected oracle was some level of “slick” or “polished”. What I had NOT expected was the tiny granny at my feet, washing clothes.
Choldan (Stanzin’s husband) told her that we had come for a reading. She glanced over her shoulder at us, and said (in Ladakhi) that she wouldn’t read for just one person, and that we could wait in her garden to see if others came.
There was another flurry of words. Choldan said, “American”. The Oracle turned back around to look me up and down, and said, “Huh.” She then banished us to the garden, saying, “Eat some apples”.
For the next half-hour, the three of us (we were joined by a young man seeking a reading) sat in a very pleasant grove of apple trees and wildflowers. As the Oracle and her assistant (her daughter, I think) went about their daily chores, every time they passed the garden they would call in Ladakhi “Eat some apples!”
I asked Choldan, “Is this hospitality, or is this part of the ritual?” He shrugged and grabbed another tiny apple.
Then, we were called forth. The Oracle was already seated at a tiny table, with a candle, rice, barley and other containers and objects. She was chanting and slowly donning her ritual costume, one that would eventually cover everything except her eyes.
Once outfitted, she continued to chant for awhile… (here is one minute of the 15+ minutes of pre-reading chanting…)
Suddenly, she called the first person forward. There was a little debate as to who should go first… once I realized that the person did not want to be recorded (and turned off my camera), he was okay with going first.
When it was my turn, I turned on my camera… and it wouldn’t work! (Worse than not working, it went into “demo” mode – it would have taken several minutes to fix it – and the Oracle was waiting. (I’m kind of used to electronic devices not working in the field of the Transcendent…)
Choldan and I went forward, where he asked my three questions:
- Will the new information/direction/book that I received when I was in the cave be helpful in transforming society/ changing the world?
- Should I stay in America, or move to some other location?
- What was her reading on the persistent pain in my left side, near my kidney? (I had been to a medical doctor the day before, who diagnosed ‘urinary tract infection’, but I wanted a Transcendent opinion.)
- “Changing the world is hard, but your work will be successful. However, in order to succeed, you must have an assistant. There are people who support you but are actually jealous of you. They want the work to succeed, but they don’t want YOU to succeed.”
- “America is the finest place for you to be. Don’t change your location.”
- [In answer to #3, she gave me a long list of “don’t eats” and “don’t drinks”. I had thought that she might actually “operate” on my malady; however, when I went forward and saw that she was holding a two-foot long sword in her lap, I changed my mind real quick!]
The ceremony continued. She did a smudging ceremony to solidify the success of the new direction. She tied strings around my middle fingers, put my right hand on her mat, then her bony left knee on top of my hand, keeping me pinned there for what seemed like 5-10 minutes. When she finally let me up, she said, “You will be successful.”
(Interesting point: when she is in her trance, the Oracle does not speak Ladakhi, but one of the nomadic languages. Most Ladakhis can understand most of her words, but her assistant is on hand to completely translate into Ladakhi – which then has to be translated into English for me.)
She clearly was not just saying what the participants wanted to hear. One man asked about his illness and also that of a loved one. For both, the Oracle said the illnesses would be long and painful. (He left early.) Another asked about a land deal he was about to consummate. “Too expensive; not a good deal.”
I stayed until the end, when she took off her costume and tried to pull herself back into our shared reality. It took 5-10 minutes of air gulping, hiccupping, shakes, and worse before she was able to open her eyes and look around at us.
By the time she emerged into the sunshine, she had gone back to being the tiny, lovable granny, no longer the sword-wielding Oracle of Saboo. As I thanked her profusely, she said, “Okay, okay. When you leave, take some apples!”
PS: No need to see any other oracles…
[Note: When I received my revelations in the cave last week, I was also instructed to take them to an oracle before talking about them to others. Having done so, I’m now ready to share! It may be another day or two before I can pull together my words… stay tuned.]