1. Look and Listen
I was born on December 20, 1921, in Apostag, about 80 km south of Budapest, at the banks of the Donau, but I was raised by my grandparents in Solt. Solt is 15 km more to the south. In Solt I passed my youth, from my fourth to my tenth years of age. Then I went to my parents in Budapest because I had to go to junior high school. During this time, till I was nineteen years old, I went on vacation every year. This way I kept my connection with the land, the people and the environment.
My relationship with shamanism dates farther back than my youth and birth because I came from a shaman clan. More than a thousand years ago, in 896, the Hungarians came to present Hungary. As with all Asiatic people, they had a shamanistic view of life. The Hungarian people consisted of 108 clans. One of them was the Bacsa clan, which was a shaman clan, and I was part of that clan.
In Hungary, shamans are called táltos. That is a very old word. Even the Hungarian linguists were not able to find the root word of this word. Táltos actually is a winged horse, and the shaman was regarded as a winged man in the sense that he traveled like a bird. That is the meaning of táltos: somebody who travels between heaven and earth, and thus can make a connection between both.
In Hungary, the shaman clan had the same function as Levites had with the Jews, the Druids with the Celts, or the Brahmans in India. Being from such a clan has a lot of significance on the genetic level. Of course, it is not a merit that one is from a priest caste, but it is an advantage on a practical level. During many generations they were engaged in spiritual practices. After twenty or thirty generations this will create results, that you can make use of.
I was also ‘born with a caul’, in the amniotic sac, what has a deep meaning in all cultures. A child, a girl or boy, was born with a caul, is so rare that it was regarded as a wonder, as something supernatural. In most cases it was a positive sign, that the child was a favorite of the Gods, a chosen one. However, in some regions of the earth, like in Africa, such a birth was considered as a negative sign, and such children were sometimes killed or abandoned. In general, it was considered a good sign. Scientists considered it superstition that existed all over the world, but did not have any special meaning. They thought it was only its rarity that made it sinful or wonderful.
In the 1920s a group of doctors in America wondered if there might be something more to it, something biological. It was discovered that it was very rare to be born with a caul, and that it also depends on the astrological situation. These births happen more under certain astrological signs than under other. Therefore, they began to research what is so special about it, and they discovered the following.
The birth of most children is difficult. It lasts a long time, and the child is born half choked, green and blue by lack of oxygen. Those who are born with a caul have still enough oxygen in the caul, and can continue to breath during the birth. With the difficult birth, the finest brains cells dies due to lack of oxygen. These cells are cells related to paranormal functions. These cells are damaged and die, because all cells can repair themselves but not the brain cells. In this way, people with a ‘normal’ birth lose their paranormal abilities by lack of oxygen. Those who are born with the caul retain their spiritual abilities.
Of course, that is not everything. It is not a lottery ticket. Social circumstances also play a role, as do family, diseases and the like; and these can help to develop these abilities.
There are three different kinds of being born with a caul. The head is covered with a piece of the amniotic sac, or the head and the shoulders, or the child is still completely inside the amniotic sac as in a balloon. I was inside the complete amniotic sac, and I was born by my own force. I was being expected a couple of days later, and thus nobody was at home. Everybody was working in the fields. My mother barely had the time to get into bed, and she didn’t dare to do anything. I had to be born by my own power. Twenty to twenty-five minutes past until a neighbor women came inside. I was still inside the amniotic sac and connected with the navel string. My mother didn’t dare to cut it because they didn’t know if she could do this. I could have died. With all this, my left shoulder has moved, but they didn’t notice it. Later on it grew into place, and it has become a very tender spot.
These two aspects, being a descendant of the Bacsa clan and being born with a caul, were the reason that the village shaman took me under his protection. The village shaman of Solt was also a blacksmith and horse trader, and he belonged to the Bacsa clan too. He was still practicing the shamanic tradition. When he heard that I was born with a caul, he took me under his protection, with four or five other boys and girls who came from a shaman clan or who were born with a caul. These are two conditions to become a shaman. Girls were also present, because discrimination between men and women was not made. The only thing that counts is competence.
The name of the village shaman was Tamas Bacsi. Actually this was a nickname because the priest, in his Sunday sermon, was warning against him: “This man is an unbelieving Thomas because he wants to feel God before he can believe in Him.” He is not a heretic, but he does want to have God in his hands first.
Actually, when one would ask Tamas Bacsi to tell about God and holy matters, he answered that you had to seek inside yourself in order to experience it yourself. “I have met my God, and I am being infused by him more and more. I find him great , without borders. That I have discovered for myself, but I don’t want to convince you, you have to discover that for yourself.
Thus, he urged people to self-discovery, to self-experience. That is why he was called Tamas Bacsi, that means, the man who only believes what he has in his hands. Find out for yourself how God looks, and under which circumstances he shows Himself. Discover that for yourself, that is your gain, but you have to work for that.
He also said: “Don’t think that everything came into existence by itself, there is something behind it.” For the shaman it is logical that there is something present behind the external apparitions.
I didn’t live with him, but I did go to him as if going to a grandfather, and also on Sundays and holidays. He often took us with him when he was going ‘to work’ , heal, or relieve pain, with people and animals, by laying on hands and singing. He told us: “Listen, listen and later you will understand.” Now, after 55 years, those images return when I shamanize, or I call them deliberately. Images of things I have experienced with him, and then the meaning becomes clear, much clearer than when he would have explained it.
When he healed people or animals, he sang, not with words but with sounds. These have meaning by themselves as vibration. To feel what emanation a thing or man is radiating.
Now we know that objects radiate an aura, an energy, but also sound, vibration. Everything that is vibration is also sound and rhythm. In primal times, the shaman had already discovered this. In this way he tries make contact with a problem.
Usually the problem is tension or relaxation, this is positive or negative as vibration. He tried to feel this as sound, and to understand the nature of the problem as sound. This is an intuitive process. Thus function you can bring out in yourself, because we all have this function. Tamas Bacsi taught us how to learn to perceive our own sound. In the first place of ourselves, because one starts from oneself, and later one learns the sound of things and people.
One tries to feel the sound vibration of problems, and of questions of oneself or of other people, or everything in the world: things, clouds, stones, the cosmic and the divine. One can feel everything as sound vibration. As a Hungarian saying tells us: “To enter into contact with God, one does not need a prayer.” That is vibration, what you can feel. That is what he taught us.
Therefore, I also use the Tibetan singing bowls with my shamanizations. These were used by monks who worked especially with sound., and who worked on people in a physical, psychological and psychical level. They also learned to feel the sound with themselves, and for that they had fixed mantras (lines of sounds which the monks would repeat for a long time). But these fixed mantras have to result in spontaneous sounds or groups of sounds, without images or words. That is the real mantra.
The shaman who uses sound lives in a state of inspiration. This functions in the same way as the beating of a heart, or the breath, completely independent of the will. It is a primal function in ourselves, which can be initiated just like the heart beat or the digestion. It is a human function, not magic, or maybe it is because it is such a mystery how the blood circulation happens. We can study it, and make a model, but we can’t create it or really understand it.
That is what Tamas Bacsi primarily taught us, and the best teaching is an example. Therefore, he always said, and later I understood it: “One has to be open in a very special manner, namely being open unconditionally.” Do not criticize, do not engage criticism. Only have criticism after you have collected enough material. That is also a way of thinking and living. One has to live in wonderment, like a child.
The child learns a language because it is in wonderment how adult can speak so easily, when it hears its father and mother speak. This wonderment is also the mystery of the human progress, in the small and in the large. Even great inventions in physics and exact sciences are done by people with the heart of a child. They are able to open themselves. This is a psychological condition: to remain without words, to be in wonder. It is not a formula. This is a psychological condition that Tamas Bacsi taught us, and that we had to develop.
He did this by never explaining us what was going to happen, or how it would happen, and this is why our wonderment was much bigger. That was a psychological method to guarantee that we would open us unconditionally. Logic or intelligence was not abolished, but it should be afterward, never before.
The western man first wants to understand and then to experience, but this is wrong. In this way you don’t experience. Knowledge has to be experienced emotionally, not with reason and intellect only. In this way he also taught us how to come into contact with our own sound vibration. He would say: “You have to sing your emotions.” One always has an emotion about something, for example, when you are hungry. When you concentrate on that hunger, on the cramp feeling in your stomach, and on what sound that evokes, then you can express that. Or you can concentrate on your heart beat or breath, and then sing your feeling of joy, sadness, or whatever.
I this way, he brought us along when a calf was being born, because he was often called for that, especially when they expected a difficult birth. He would say: “ Come with me, and pay attention, because something will happen that you have never seen before. Therefore, it was an enormous surprise for us when the calf emerged, and he said: “Now you have to concentrate on what you are feeling, and go with your emotions, hèh-hèh-hèh. Let those emotions emerge, but as sound.” It is like someone running to catch a tram, and panting. In such a natural way one should concentrate on the sounds.
Another method was that he hit a thing and said: “Listen, and go with it.” Then the sound arises in ourselves, because everything that is outside is also inside of us. In this way, the shaman tries to experience the vibration, to understand it, and especially to practice it.
Of course, I had the advantage that Tamas Bacsi was a spiritual healer, and not only someone who worked with herbs and the like. The spiritual is actually the highest level of healing. He always tried to feel people, and he said about that: “I do not heal, I restore the harmony.” But that also depends on the people if this happens or not, because one can not do miracles, one can only create advantageous conditions.
He restored the harmony, and I also do. When people come to me with their problems, then I sing concerning their problems. By the emerging sounds inside myself, I enter a trance state, between waking and sleeping. This is a kind of hypnotic state, a trance that is controlled. This he taught us. Somebody who is seated next to me will not notice that I am in another state, in another vibration. It is like being seated next to a mathematician. You don’t know what he is thinking. He can have the most brilliant ideas, but you don’t notice it. Artists and other creative people have developed this state of inspiration in themselves. Usually they wait until inspiration comes, or they have to create advantageous circumstances, such as special meetings, love relationships, and the like, to bring their emotions into movement. The shaman, however, does not wait for inspiration. He calls up inspiration by, for example, beating his drum, by singing, or by using singing bowls.
Then sounds emerge in me, and I enter into contact with the person, and I get a psychological image from him. I am primarily focused on the spiritual, because all physical changes and problems have their origin the spiritual changes. Even in an accident in which you break your leg. Often enough your thoughts were somewhere else, or you were sad, or confused. Most accidents are not accidents, but the result of certain psychological attitudes. I feel that and then the sounds come up. That can happen within minutes, but usually it takes half an hour. It depends on the openness of the person, and of the favorable circumstances or atmosphere. I ask people to open themselves, not to believe but also not to not believe. No prejudice and no judgment afterward. This can be a problem because it can hinder contact with the spiritual. Being the goal of the spiritual shaman, he wants to reach the spirit, to become conscious, to expand consciousness, and to quicken the process.
This means that man has to become aware of his androgyne state. The double polarity inside of us needs to be unified, men with their anima, women with their animus. This is not a psychological image. We are twofold, even threefold because the neutral is also present.
This means that one has to become serene without hindrances with his anima or with her animus. Usually they have conflicts with another person, but actually these are conflicts with oneself. When a man is not happy with his wife, he actually is not happy with his own anima. It is the same with women. One complains about the other, but it is not with the other where the problem is. The disharmony is within oneself.
When one comes into contact with these aspects, then one can come to harmony and serenity. That is why the saints in all religions are depicted in that serene state in which the double polarity in man has been united. This can be done by sound. Man is in harmony by nature. However, we are living in the everyday human world, not somewhere secluded in mountains or the desert. We are strongly influenced by the outside world. It is important to harmonize oneself with the outer world, and not only with the inner world. I try to tell it to people, and I teach them how they bring themselves in harmony with body, soul ans spirit by vibration and sound. I use my instruments, the drum and the Tibetan singing bowls, to bring the other person to vibration and openness. When I shamanize for myself, for my own harmony, for my own spiritual development and awareness, I do not use any instruments, not even singing. I concentrate on the problem, and on attaining a greater harmony, a greater awareness of myself, and of people and things, and then I hear the sounds. Every time it is different. Sometimes the same sounds come up for two, three days, even sounds that I am not able to sing, like the sound of a hundred big bells. It is not possible to reproduce these sounds. You can only observe, not hearing it. This means that I hear it with my fingertips, my back, my chest, my head, anywhere. I hear and feel the vibration. I am not dependent on my ears, because I am listening with my entire body, similar to a radio-telescope.
There is an endless variation of sounds, some you can hear and some you can’t hear. Tamas Bacsi taught us that there three primal sounds: the androgyne sound of long duration. The female undulating sound. And the male, broken sound or fire-sound. I try to teach people how to perceive those sounds within oneself, in others, or in the cosmos. It is important to feel harmony with oneself, with other people, with the planet and with the cosmos. One can also do this while doing various kinds of practical things. Whatever we do will contribute to make the spirit more aware of itself and of its environment.
When I sing or shamanize, I am in an imperceptible state of trance. The vibrations are very fine. Actually there is no difference between the inspiration of an artist, a businessman, a politician, or a religious person. Inspiration is a high vibration, much higher than what ordinary people have. This creative vibration is connected much more with the primal sound. That is why I teach people this primal sound in order to feel this vibration, and to use it consciously.
Vibrations work like homeopathy. It is not a medicine, but it stimulates the healing powers within us. The sound works this way. How it works I don’t know. I do know that it does work. This is the difference between asking ‘how’ and ‘what’. The philosophers ask ‘what’, and the technicians ask ‘how’. Don’t ask to the origin of things. This we have to do. Don’t ask for the origin of things. The means are so easy that people say: “It can’t be true.” The most important wisdom is: think in a simple way. It is really like that. All great things are simple.
This the sound also teaches, and we can experience it. Being a shaman is not a title, but a state of mind. A Hungarian saying tells us: “A real pastor learns until the end of his life and he dies ignorant.”
The word shaman comes from the Sumerian, and dates back about 6000 years. It was the name of the sun god Sjamas, and its priests were called Siamas, what means: in service of the light. The shaman is the one who has received the light, the knowledge and who distributes it. It is self-knowledge, knowledge of people and things. The first shamanic axiom says: “Prime important is the sound.” That is the most important, the knowledge and application of sound.”
One of things Tamas Bacsi taught us was to travel. He would say: “Boys and girls, come to me, in the shadow of the tree, and then we are going to travel. Gently close your eyes, or not, they will close by themselves.”
Then he started to sing sounds and clap in his hands, and we had to join in and move a little. This movement was very important, because it allowed us to experience our prenatal condition, the movement of the breath of the mother. By this prenatal condition we experienced our primal state as water beings in the primal ocean, and even more, the harmony of the cosmic vibrations. Thus, we were able to find our own rhythm, and we have about a hundred rhythms inside.
He didn’t explain all this, we just had to join in. Only later I understood all this. He only said: “Join in and be a frog.”
Then we entered a special state, and he continued. We were aware that we were under that tree, but at the same time images would come up. After half an hour to an hour he said: “Be still now, and stop singing. Now you can tell what you have seen. You have seven sources of knowledge, five senses, emotions and thoughts. Tell me what came up while you were singing. It can be a feeling or a thought, or a series of thoughts, or a sound, just tell me.”
Curiously, we came into contact with various archetypical images. Of course, at that time we did not understand that. But even when you don’t understand it, it will still influence you. That is why it is important that when you wake up in the morning, to remember your dreams, even if you don’t understand them. When you pay attention to them, the symbols will become clear later on. This is a good thing to do because dreams bring us into a higher harmony.
Normal dreams brings us into harmony physically and psychologically. Waking dreams brings us in harmony with the psychic existence, and that was the purpose of the traveling.
He often called it a journey to the cellar. We lived in a wine area, with a lot of wine cellars. In those cellars the temperature was always the same, summer or winter, and it was important to experience this atmosphere.
In this way he was preparing us slowly, by connecting our memory with the cellar temperature and atmosphere which is dark, humid, soft and mysterious, with strange sounds and vibrations. Thus, we went together ‘to the cellar’, and he inquired for our perceptions. He told us that when we would grow up, we would see other images. We should not be afraid of it, because they are only images, which you experience in your thoughts. He called them presents which could bring you happiness or fear. Even fear he called it a present, because then you can feel and know what it is. He said to accept these presents, and not to push them away, even is they were fearful.
Later he took us down ‘the water well’. There were wells that were about 80 meters deep. When you looked in it, you saw a small circle of reflecting water at the bottom. He knew that the children were often playing in that area, and we were amazed by these wells. Therefore, he said: “We are going downward, into the well, very slowly, as a falling feel. Then you reach the surface of the water, and then you sink deeper, much deeper.” In this way we were experiencing our prenatal condition. Usually we fell asleep, as if we were dissolving in vapor. “First you are as ice, the ice melts into water, and the water becomes vapor, which dissolves into the universe.” That was his method to bring us this far. I don’t know exactly what he did, but I do know that he gave all kinds of suggestions. He used our half-dream state to give us suggestions, post-suggestions, to prevent any bad to happen to us, an accident or a psychological or psychic accident.
He always warned us to do these things when you are tired or don’t really want to do it; and that you have to stop when have pain, psychologically or bodily. He said: “Never force the body, soul or spirit. One person is faster or slower than the other. What counts is that you continue, that you stay in movement.” Don’t try to be in the same speed as your master. Your master can run ahead, so far that you can’t see him anymore. This is not a hindrance, as long as you can see his footsteps and follow.”
Now I know that the so-called subterranean travel is a journey into the subconsciousness. Tamas Bacsi did not tell or explain us that. He only passed on the tradition. Man has seven different levels of consciousness, and you can experience these. Going into the cellar, or into the well, is the same as going into the subconsciousness, and then you can experience this level. It is important to experience everything, even what you experience physically. If you don’t put your awareness into it, you are using twice as much energy. When you are really aware of yourself, then there is energy left over. This energy I radiate, or I can use it for myself or other people.
Aside from the subconsciousness, there is the superconsciousness. Experiencing this is like being taken to heaven. Therefore, he said: “Watch the bird carefully, and feel yourself like a bird. Fly with the birds. Watch how the swallows fly, and the bats. Isn’t it marvelous how they do that. Admire that and try to feel it.”
Imagine that you are a cloud, a beautiful cloud, or one full with electricity or rain, a dark cloud. Let yourself float and travel, just like that cloud.” In this way, we learned how flying feels. What actually happened was that he let us develop our functions to feel supernatural perceptions, and he did that in a very simple way.