Last week I was with a group at the magical Baikal Lake. It is the oldest lake in the world, situated in the south west of Siberia, with the deepest depth of approximately 1,5 kilometers, a length of 640 kilometers and a total surface area the size of Belgium. It is the workplace of the Siberian Shamans, with a huge number of exceptional power places. I have been there before in summer time. The view was breathtaking then: but now the lake was frozen over, the destination was even more spectacular!
It was quite an undertaking: the journey to the Baikal Lake in Siberia. In total you are more than 18 hours on the way from Amsterdam (not counting stop overs and waiting times). The flights connected very well and the service by Aeroflot was excellent. No suitcases lost along the way and even after a long, tiring, local flight to Irkutsk, people were still smiling. So far, a good start to the week, which would in many ways, be even better than my previous journeys.
Initiation in Irkutsk
At the airport in Irkutsk our young and enthusiastic guide, Anastacia, was waiting for us, who (even though she was a little nervous) had prepared herself perfectly for our trip to Baikal. She informed us that the bus journey would take about 5 hours, but with her happy demeanor and interesting stories about Irkutsk, which borders on the shores of the Baikal Lake, also known as the ‘Paris of Siberia’, Anastacia made us feel that the hours went by very quickly. You could hear the passion in her voice, which made it easy listening, even if you are totally exhausted in a bus and have missed a night’s sleep.
Along the way we made a stop over to have a well-organized lunch in a Siberian yurt, that we were only allowed to enter after we had done a cleansing ritual around the campfire. In this way, an excellent start to this ‘Sacred Grounds’ expedition, where these sort of rituals are definitely a part as well. The locals presented us (in traditional costume) with an extensive ceremony that told everything about the culture of these old Mongolian tribes, who were oppressed by the Russians, but still keep their traditions intact from generation to generation. Singing and dancing we are introduced to the local Shaman culture. It was fun and informative at the same time.
Taking in the energy of Baikal
Once we had arrived in Baikal, we all received the key to our own small house. The lake was within walking distance and from off the shoreline completely frozen over. You could hear the ice creaking under your feet as you walked across it, and with more than minus 20° Celsius, there is no chance that you will sink through it. In February you are walking on ice with a depth of approximately 1.5 meters. Absolutely freezing cold of course when you step out of the warm places where the central heating is really high, it almost feels like a smack in the face. Even though the scenery and the energy are magical. It is really an enchanting landscape.
A journey through such an awe-inspiring area, can hardly be called a journey. It is partly a retreat, where you disconnect yourself totally from the Western world. But at the same time, it is not the same as a yoga or meditation in a silent space. The overruling energy plays an enormous role. The earthly frequencies in this area are exceptionally high, which means that nature is in charge. You are just a guest, not only as a tourist but as human being. The energy raises you up and frees your emotions. There is no WiFi, no pollution and not a single sound in some places. You become silent from within and experience it like a child playing. This is the way I attuned the programme to the activation of the inner child, strengthened by the gratitude and the wonder of everything that you feel and encounter along the way.
Rituals on Shaman Rock
After a day of activations and meditations in the mini cinema, the second day was an excursion day. Driver Yuri and his colleague brought us on two hovercrafts across the ice, which was an incredible experience. We visited holy places, and Shaman Rock was, in my opinion, the most beautiful. I remembered it from my previous trip to Baikal and the energy at this place is extremely powerful. You feel it as you climb up, a sort of uneasiness, as if you are going against your own unnatural patterns: they just slide off you. Once you have reached the top you literally feel kilos lighter. It is not without reason, that this is the place where the Siberian Shamans do a lot of initiations, you feel the power there immediately.
At the top of Shaman Rock there are number or totem poles where pieces of ribbons have been in attached in all sorts of colours. It is why the place is well known. People believe that the wind takes away the ballast that people have left behind from their clothes. A beautiful cleansing ritual where we, as a group, also took our time. We did a similar ritual the day before on Ogoy Island, where you walk three times around a white Buddhist Stupa: the first time in gratitude, the second to let go and the third to have your wish. I really wanted to go there, because you really feel the healing power flowing through you. Happily, this was possible, even though our itinerary was quite full.
With Anastacia as our guide (and also participant of the retreat) I happily did not have to busy myself too much with the planning. I could give my full attention to the group process, where slowly a vulnerable but perfect harmony was evident. On Shaman Rock I gave the control over to Christa, who gave an amazing concert of her heavenly sounding voice. Then Jeroen took over, he gave a lecture about oneness and then treated us all a special initiation with crystals. To both of you, my thanks for your unique contribution!
Later in the week we went onto the ice again in small busses to discover more places. Memorable moments were the lunches on the ice, where the drivers put a huge pan onto a fire they had made, and we all stood eating a bowl of fish soup on the creaking ice. Wonderful, back to basics – I love it!
In connection with our forefathers and the planet
What always intrigues me is how time seems to disappear in these sorts of places, the masks are removed and without any problems we are able to unite with nature. This need is in all of us I think: to no longer be entertained and to do things as if, but purely just to Be and to connect ourselves with the powerful energy of our planet. Through the earth we make contact with our forefathers. This was also emphasized by the Shaman who visited us at the end of the week and told how a lot of old wisdom is still passed down from generation to generation.
And when you are there, with your smartphone in your back pocket, you feel a sort of duality. On the one hand you want to experience the primeval power of nature. And on the other hand, how the modern world has formed you in a certain way. We are no longer grounded like the Shamans. We have given up on the real connection with our planet. This is why I go to visit scared places like Baikal with groups, so that we have the chance to re-open the energy channels in our bodies, that are partly silted up and reconnect with the earth. It makes you more sensitive, gives you insights and visions and makes you stand more powerfully on the earth. A certain ‘primeval wisdom’ comes back to you: something that you had a right to all your life.
Spiritual growth, pleasure and equality
The most beautiful thing about these journeys is, of course, that you connect with one another in a different way. What you do and which mask you wear every day, does not count any more. It is all about who you are and what you radiate. Which emotions you show and what your contribution is to the entirety. And the wintery Baikal is a perfect platform for an amazing performance from a group of souls that I would describe as a family of extremes. We laughed a lot and also cried. Moments of spiritual growth and profoundness were exchanged by humor and childlike play. I was like a leader, with two Russian guides and even so… I only felt equality. That is way it always is. And how you want to journey and discover. Together and alone, with space for your own process.
I thank everyone who went with me and shared this adventure. For those who are inspired and want to take part too, the next two experiences are in Glastonbury (England) and in the Scottish Highlands!
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From heart to heart,