Archive for surreal

Sleep Signal Album: Puppenruhe

Posted in Downloads, Music, Poetry, Sleep Signal with tags , , , , , , , on 2015-10-13 by candycactus

Steven Kovar and me (Sleep Signal) just released our first short album to the poetry of a Lithuanian Berlin poet and painter Aldona Gustas (1932).

Sleep Signal. Flesh Quivers At My Call

Posted in Music, Sleep Signal with tags , , , , on 2015-02-28 by candycactus

It has been a year that Steven and me play as Sleep Signal . Two concerts, two themes: Sonnenwende and Shipwrecks.

Next concert – March 20th in Berlin, 19:00 Systemfehler, Jessnerstr.41

Here is a recent live session, an impro to Medea’s theme, in which Eos, Steven’s remarkable airdale terrier, is taking an active part in.

invoke my name
pilots steer according to my eyes
builders grow dizzy listening to me
architects leave for the desert
murderers bless me
flesh quivers at my call
the one I love does not listen to me
the one I love does not hear me
the one I love does not answer me

(Robert Desnos)

Shaman Rites

Posted in English, Stories and Tales with tags , , , , on 2013-09-13 by candycactus

As I am trying to get used to a settled life in a settled continent such as Europe after many years of nomadic wandering, I travel now mentally, reading books about amazing things. Reading this book is really like a surreal trip – you get to think of and imagine things that usually would not enter your mind. It is liberating somehow to read such strange things. 

Julian Baldick: Animal and Shaman. Ancient Religions of Central Asia. New York University Press. 2000.  

Here is a selection of interesting things: 


Strangling the king 

 A bizzare ritual performed by Khazars at the assession of the new king. “He is strangled, almost to death (so that he loses consciousness), and the words which he utters during this are interpreted to predict the length of his reign. At the end of this period he is put to death.” (p. 29) 


Oak trees 

“In addition they sacrificed horses to a specially dedicated oak trees, pouring the blood over them and throwing the heads and skins over the branches.” (p. 29) 


Dirty for respect  

The Huns, also like medieval Turks and Mongols, used not to wash themselves (and smell accordingly) in order not insult the deities of the rivers. The main Gods for Mongols were these of the River and of the Mountain. 



“The Huns practiced divination by examining the bones of livestock: this is an ancient Inner Eurasian practice, in which, as a rule, the shoulder blades of sheep are exposed to fire and the resulting scorch marks are interpreted. 

When the Huns’s great king Attila died they cut off part of their hair and made deep cuts in their faces, as was their normal custom while mourning.” (p. 27)


Death for death  

“It is also recorded that the Bulghars of the Danube, when burying an important man, would burn some people and send others (his wives and servants) into the tomb to die of hunger.” (p. 31)


Skulls as cups 

“According to a Khitan legend there had once been a chief in the form of a skull, who lived in a tent and occasionally donned human form to come out and see the double sacrifice”. (for example a white sheep for the Heaven and a black one for the Earth). (p. 32)


Burning food for death 

“Sacrifices were also made after the death of a Khitan nobleman: food would be burnt at the new and the full moon. The body itslef was exposed on a tree in the mountains. After the three years the bones were gathered and cremated.” (p. 33)


Human sacrifice 

“Human sacrifices were made at the funerals of emperors early on in Khitan rule over China. The emperor himself, at his investiture ceremony, had to go through a ritual which seems to correspond to the simulated human sacrifice of the Khazar ruler: he was obliged to gallop off, fall from his horse and be covered with a felt rug. He also had to lean against a black bearskin, which hid some children: this apparently reflects the ancient T’o-pa investiture ritual in which the ruler stood on a black felt blanket covering seven men. The investiture itself was preceded by the ‘rebirth’ ceremony, performed by the emperor in a specially erected building outside which there stood an old man carrying a quiver and arrows. After the emperor had passed under three timbers in the form of an inverted “V”, the old man hit the quiver and called out “A boy is born!” At this point the emperor’s head was covered by the chief shaman.” (p 34)



“Scalping is typically Altaic and so is the custom of turning the skull of a defeated leader into a cup and using it for ritual purposes.” (p. 36)



“What is most striking, howeverm is the logic of transformations between humans and animals, AMong the Hsiung-nu a huge fish with two horns turns into a man, and wolves through intercourse with humans, produce more of the latter. The Huns are guided by a doe or cow, and the T’o-pa by a supernatural animal which looks like a horse but sounds like a bull. Among the Khitans men become “deer-men” or “boar-men”, imitating animals’ cries and donning their skins and heads, while animals and humans also turn into each other through mutual consumption. This motif of “becoming-animal” involves anomalous animals like the horned fish or bovine horse which we have hust encountered, and which we have to distinguish themselves from ordinary animals in order to lead humans into new adventures. They also point out that ‘becoming-animal’ is necessary not only for hunting, but also for warfare: warriors turn into animals on battlefields, owing to the demand for speed and fury.” (p. 37)  



“Along with Tengri [deity, god], the Türk inscriptions also mention a benevolent goddess called Umay, who seems to have been borrowed from the Mongols, as imai is the usual Mongol term for ‘placenta’ or ‘womb’. Umay is still venerated among some Turkic peoples in the Altai region, and by the Tunguz: she is seen as protecting the souls of unborn and small children.” (p. 40) 



“The Oghuz never wash, and always wear the same clothes until they disintegrate.” (p. 46)


Tree parents – Uighur myth

“In this myth we are told that at the junction of two rivers there were two trees. A great mound arose between these trees,, and a light shone down on it from the sky. The Uighurs heard a sound like singing comoing from the mound. Eventually a door opened in the mound and revealed five tent-like cells, each of which contained a baby boy. In front of each boy there hung a tube, which provided him with milk. When the wind blew the boys gathered strength and came out. After they had grown up they were told by the Uighurs that their parents were the two trees. The boys paid due respect to the trees and the ground in which the latter grew, and the trees broke into speech to acknowledge this respect. Then the youngest of the boys, Buqu, was chosen by the Uighurs to be their king.” (p. 54) 


Call to move 

Buqu eventually became a powerful ruler, confronted his shamans with Buddhist monks and a result Uyghurs converted to Buddhism. “Buqu lived happily until his death, after which he was succeeded by on of his sons. Subsequently the Uighurs heard, in the sounds made by animals, birds and children, the cry ‘Köch, köch’! (Move, move!) and migrated to East Turkestan, where the cry stopped.” (p. 55)


Baraq Baba 

Muslim historians describe a Turkic Muslim mystic who dressed like a shaman, Baraq Baba (‘Father Shaggy Dog’). “We are told that Baraq Baba and his followers were beardless, but with long moustaches, and wore felt hats with two horns. Around their necks hung cows’ knuckle bones painted with henna, crooked sticks and little bells. They would beat drums and play other instruments as they moved along, thereby producing, with the sound of their ornaments a horrible and terrifying cacophony.” (p. 56) 


Things like that.