Quynn’s Calling to the Animist Path

I want to share the story of the experience that called me to this path.  First I want to say that while I never used the word “shaman” to describe myself (I was, early on, given my own word for my role- OOlah, by my Spirit World), in the first 15 years I used the word “shamanic” much more often, as this was the commonly used word to describe this role, and for what was happening to me.  Now I use other words, for the most part- “Spirit Bridge” “Animist” “Spirit World Journey” (instead of Shamanic Journey).  As the admin of this site, I am shifting the words in page content, page titles, and the title of my book A Tribe of One over time, out of respect for the Siberian Native People where the Evenki word originates, and the specific path it describes.  I have been trained by my inner world guides and ancestors in my path, and the story below called me awake to this calling.

My “calling” experience happened in September 1995.  My ‘contact’ experience was from something ‘not of this world’.  At the time of writing my story, I was concerned about how it would sound to say that I was physically wounded by ‘Star People’, so I spoke of it in ambiguous terms.  However, many more journeys, visions and dreams later, I have been encouraged to speak more openly about my Star People connections, and the messages I feel they are conveying to, and through, me.   I am, of course, but one of many who are being contacted.  I am being told that the time is now to start talking about it openly.


I do not speak for anyone of any tradition. I share only my experience and research.


One Sunday night in September of 1996, I went to bed early.  Then, around midnight, I woke up, sort of.  Many times before this I awoke feeling drugged and that I was still in a dream. One time I found myself sitting up in bed, trying to find the clutch in my car so I could go home in my ‘dream’. On this autumn night, I apparently woke under similar conditions, except there was a difference. I knew I was bleeding from my face and I was trying to find something to cover me because I didn’t have any clothes on.  I remember saying out loud in the dark, trying to wrench myself awake, “Oh my god!”

Not being able to find the light switch, I groped around my dark bedroom until I found a comforter to wrap around me.  Then I opened my bedroom door just as my roommate was getting there to get me out of the house.  She had the bedroom in the back of the house and she apparently woke up suddenly thinking that what woke her was an earthquake.  (She is from central California and is generally used to such occurrences.)  She got up and got under the doorway (what you are supposed to do in an earthquake) and then she thought, “I’ve got to get Quynn out of the house!” so she came to my bedroom door.  Later she said that as she was approaching the door she heard me say “Oh my god!”… and thought “who is in there with her?” but just as she was going to open the door, I did.

Then she said “Oh my god!!” as I opened the bedroom door to go to the bathroom.  I must have had my eyes closed because I did not see her, nor did I see myself at this point either.  She said “Who is in there with you?” “No one” I said, quite calmly “just call 911″.  The strange thing, among other things of course, was that I was completely calm.  Even though I was disoriented, at no time did I feel violated or that I was in danger.  I knew that something had happened, and I knew my body was hurt, so I wanted the 911 people to come.

My roommate asked “should I take you to the hospital?” “No” I said “just call 911″.  I went into the bathroom, dumped the comforter on the ground and sat on the toilet.  Sitting there naked, I could finally see my lower body and I was shocked to see drying streaked blood all over my legs.  I could feel something dripping from my face so I tried to find the source. I felt one bleeding place, which was the left side of my forehead, then another, right across the bridge of my nose.  Both hands settled on these wounds as I tried to stop the bleeding.  Then I felt another drip. This time my hand told me that my right nostril was bleeding.

All this time I was having flashes of what felt like a dream.  The first one was of an opening and closing talon, a bird’s claw.  The other one was more complicated. I could see myself looking up at a gray sky, dark gray like dusk, but then I could see what I assumed was the shadow side of a round object (which was darker gray) falling towards my head.  These two images kept running through my mind, as I tended my bleeding face.

While all this was going on in the bathroom, I could also hear my roommate speaking with the woman on the other end of 911.  “My roommate just got hurt in the earthquake”, I heard her say. It was obvious that the 911 operator asked her “what earthquake?”, because she said “the one five minutes ago”.  Then I could tell that the operator asked my roommate if she was on medication because the answer on this end was “no, I’m not on drugs!”  At this point, my attention came back to my bleeding experience.

A little while later I heard the sirens pull up and I hurriedly reached for the comforter again to cover my naked, blood streaked body.  A few minutes later a whole gaggle of Emergency Medical Technicians entered the house. If I remember correctly, there were five or six uniforms in my house.  The guy that actually helped me had an interesting reaction to my wounds. “Woah!, did your dog do that?” he asked. “No” I said, surprised at that possibility.  However, when I thought about it I knew that was impossible because my dog Dylan was shut out of my room.  This started the process of me thinking “what in the world did do this to me…?”

Mr. 911 wanted to take me to the hospital, but my intuition said “No!” because it was Sunday and I did not want to have to explain what happened to me.  I had a feeling they might not let me go home after I told them. Even though I hadn’t had much time to ponder what had just happened, it was all just a bit too weird.   Luckily, I didn’t have to have stitches on the wound across my nose bridge. “It was like it was done with a razor, a clean cut” the friendly yet perplexed emergency helper told me.  He asked me to sign a release and they all left, probably thinking that we were either both on drugs, lying or crazy.

The paramedics tried to come up with an explanation for how my face was bleeding in three places.  They couldn’t and I couldn’t.  After they left, I sat in the kitchen, smoking cigarettes with my roommate, feeling stunned.  I realized that something very strange had just happened and the explanation was not quite a “logical” one.  My intuition said not to go to the hospital because I didn’t want to have to explain what had happened to me.  I wasn’t even sure. I only knew that something profound had occurred.

I woke up the next day with a bruised and swollen face, and bruises all down the right side of my body.  Since I still couldn’t piece together what had happened,  I decided to try hypnosis (which I had never experienced before) to help me remember how I was hurt in my sleep.  During the hypnosis process, I remembered a series of dreams I had during my childhood.  These dreams were very meaningful and surreal for me, yet I never shared them with anyone because I couldn’t describe them logically.

All of a sudden in the hypnosis session I knew that whatever had come to me in the night was related to the dreams of my childhood.  I immediately knew that what had come for me had loving intentions.  I cannot describe why, I just knew it in my heart.  Now, I know that all this may sound crazy to some and strange to others.  Believe me, a slice of my mind agrees with you.  But have you ever had an experience that had no logical explanation yet you knew it was real? This experience was real and my life immediately changed in dramatic ways.

I have heard stories from people who have had near death experiences.   Each said that the experience defined the rest of their lives as moments of before and after.  This was my life changing moment.  I had been called to something, something ancient and powerful, even though my suburban mind had no way of wrapping itself around it.

The next few weeks were like a dream.  I was introduced to a woman who helped me learn to train my mind to ‘meditate’, and when I did this (again, for the first time), a tunnel would appear in my mind’s eye. A swiftly swirling tunnel that moved so fast it made me nauseous, so I opened my eyes.   A surreal horse/rabbit creature that had just come to me in a dream came again in this swirling moment and she said “try again”, so I did and again, I spun downward too fast and opened my eyes. “Practice every day and you will learn how to do it” she said in my head. “Do what?!” I pleaded in my mind.

A short time later my mother heard my story and handed me a book. It was an old copy of Michael Harner’s book “The Way of the Shaman”.  As I read about people in “indigenous” cultures who were called to the path of the shaman, it all began to sound familiar.  Then, I read a description of a ‘shamanic journey’ and there was my tunnel.  I had to read the passage twice to let it sink in. “Practice, and you will learn how to do it” her voice echoed in my mind again.  Now I was getting an idea of what ‘it’ was.    As I continued to read the fascinating book I realized that the experience being described by this anthropologist as shamanic initiation was happening to me. In that moment of finding my tunnel in this book, I knew I was not crazy.  Even though it seemed impossible, I was being given a gift and a responsibility, and I have taken it with gratitude and awe.

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