Up in the sky with the eagle all had been blue day, but here on the ground I could see it was black night and that the fire was only light visible in this entire place. I could just make out a number of men – between 5 and 9 – seated around the fire watching me intently. I took them to be tribesmen/shamans, largely because of their appearance. They seemed to be of Asian stock and were wearing woolen hats covering their ears woven of multi coloured threads.
They seemed to be dressed in a combination of wool and leather and were very watchful without seeming aggressive.
They spoke to and interacted with me (I couldn’t hear anything, I just sensed it) but seemed really quite cautious. They were not hostile but they did not smile. I experienced some doubt around this point and was suddenly aware that I’d been told not to ‘play with fire’ (bearing in mind I was pretty much standing in one) and warned especially against salamanders.
I hopped out of the fire and retreated very quickly to the edge of the camp, which I circled quite restlessly for a while. Worryingly, there was nowhere to go, the darkness was impenetrable beyond their circle and I have always been afraid of the dark.
I sat out there on the edge, on my own, for quite some time, but eventually the lack of light and concern for what might have been ‘out there’ drew me closer to the group around the fire again. It seemed there was no escape.
At that point, one of the shamans presented himself as a guide, possibly reluctantly; I’m not sure if being female helped me in this respect. Nevertheless, I was told to relax and not to fear the darkness or the situation. I had little choice but to acquiesce, this being their territory after all.
Very peculiar things then started to happen.
The camp-fire was mesmerising and I found myself continually insisting on getting into it, as if hypnotised or entranced. After indeterminate lengths of time in the fire I would then worry (quite irrationally, I suspect) about salamanders, whereupon I would somehow ‘whizz’ out of the fire at breakneck speed and jump straight into the mounds of soft snow surrounding us, as if to convince myself that I wasn’t burning up.
I did this several times at explosive speed for no reason whatsoever that I can discern. I’ve no idea ‘what’ I was doing or even what I ‘was’. The movement between fire and snow was incredibly forceful and I was totally absorbed in the elemental procedure.
At a certain point I stood looking up from the centre of the orange flame which seemed to encompass everything, and wondered whether – if the eagle had indeed been shot down – I might see a phoenix. The next time I leapt out I managed to ‘cocoon’ myself entirely in fiery/watery, spinning light.
Is this how a star is made, I wondered?