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The Dance of the Spirits

La danse des esprits

« A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.»

Frank Zappa.


Exactly when everything seems very far away, it is all very close by… I’m not that wise yet to pretend to have understood some of the biggest mysteries of the Universe, neither can I affirm that I possess the ultimate truth; because fortunately, there is no ultimate truth. However, thanks to my travels, my friends, my errors and the lessons I’ve drawn from them, I can truly say that there are things that go beyond our understanding. I think everybody at some point has to realise this and ask himself what is hidden in the invisible around us.

Deities? Spirits? Ghosts? Our beloved ones that passed away and watch over us? Besides the name we give it, and whether we are receptive to it or not, I am convinced that everybody has the feeling he is not completely alone, that he belongs to something clearly surpassing his own being. As Emerson said: “If you still doubt, it is enough to raise your head and look at the stars to become aware of it”.

Next year in autumn I will start working on a mind-boggling photo-reportage on shamans, these men and women who question the cosmos to find answers.

Shaman: a puzzling, disturbing, even destabilising word if we are not used to conceive the variety of realities present in our world. Isn’t it an undisputed truth that many of us don’t like what they don’t understand? Just like I have done in the past, probably many individuals force themselves to reject what seems senseless to their own eyes and to the eyes of a system in which the majority of us lives. At first glance, who could have ever imagined that there is an array of possibilities to imagine the sense of life, right out there in front of us? Seemingly irrational things, that slip through our fingers like sand, that we can’t buy, nor control or possess. I understand this can be frightening…

We can accept or refuse this observation, but whether we believe it or not, I don’t think that matters most. Especially as it would be a pity not to wonder why this thousands-year-old knowledge continues to be present today, spread over our planet and much more ancient than our own beliefs; or why these people who venerate the stars, totem animals and other guardian spirits are often more capable than us to live in harmony with the other sentient beings with whom we share this Earth. It took me a long time to conceive and finally accept the idea that, on the other side of the planet, there are people with another vision of the world whose lifestyle is in reality more in line with the values that I cherish. This way, I recognised their wisdom and their precious heritage to become permeated with their knowledge that would certainly help me to become a better person.

Today, I thank these people who have taken their time to teach their culture to that arrogant boy who was convinced he knew everything. I dare to think that no religion or book can really explain what is the imperceptible. The only way to discover it, is making the journey yourself through the vast labyrinth of information that is our conscience and receiving certain answers that allow us to judge better these beliefs that surpass our understanding and shake our modern world since human beings have raised their fellows to the status of immortality. Eventually, we will enrich our view of the world and possibly shatter into pieces the prejudices of our terrestrial and spiritual borders, that immobilise us in our solitude and separate us all from one another since what, according to my readings, seems to me an eternity.

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