At a certain point in time – quite a long while later, it seemed – the size and volatile nature of the fire subsided until it was about the same height as me. It turned into a crown-shaped, three-tongued flame that I saw as Shin. I sat inside it, relaxing a little.
It was an interesting exercise and I spent a long time practicingsitting within the circling flames and watching the fiery heads of the tongues flickering. The tongues kept making a circle and I tried to ‘straighten them out’ into the usual Shin shape.
Eventually the fire/snow and then fire operation came to an end and I saw that dawn was breaking. It had come upon me unawares. The tribesmen indicated for me to follow them and began moving away from the fire.
There seemed to be quite a lot of men around by then and I noted that I’d been right in my assessment of their clothing: leather trousers and boots, woven woolen jerkins and hats, belts, practical but colourful clothes. The mood was still rather serious.
I was told to fall in line as we approached a triangular mountain, at the base of which I saw there was an entrance. More than just an opening or crevice, this resembled a large door. It was quite astonishing to see and I faltered for a moment. Did I really want to go in (I’d decided against going into mountains or caves prior to this experience) and would I get out again if I did?
I was told by my guide – a serious man of few words – to not be afraid.