The Wine of the Dead
Eva H. Leask is a woman of the world, though born in Georgia and lived in Moscow. She’s an amazing writer, though a lawyer by education. She admires the horses, although she also loves sharks. In addition to Russian, she speaks English and Spanish, so reading Borges and Shakespeare in the original is natural. She has traveled to many countries, so she has so much to share. With energy and motivation, she brings awareness of the transience and the inevitable finiteness of life and its incredible diversity. It is a place of power for her. Patagonia, Argentina National Park, Los Glaciares, the beloved city at Oakland in New Zealand and a favourite island called Aitutaki (Cook Islands).
She has been and she has witnessed life. She even has a favourite volcano: the Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Now, she is studying Spanish at the University of Ecuador (PUCE). She also writes articles about travelling and writes a blog called “My Latin America”, gradually sinking into a culture and a people previously unknown to her. She is enjoying the blue surface of the ocean and is glad that she is alive.
Ayahuasca (ayahuasca, ayavaska, quechua ayawaska). In translation from Quechua, “liana of spirits” or “liana of the dead” is a drink that causes an altered state of consciousness, produced by local residents of the Amazon basin.
The village was asleep. The full moon flooded the thick forest with a dense fog. In a dark hovel on the outskirts of the settlement, an elderly man quietly sang a prayer in an ancient language. The brain decided to boast of an empty set of knowledge and whispered: “Tribes in the jungles of Peru speak sixty-three different languages”. The hand, with a lazy movement, as if driving away an annoying fly, brushed aside the windbag. The brain was afraid, but tried not to act, stretching out his lips in an empty smile and twisting the “enlightened” face. The brain listened to the sounds behind the thin veil, where, in the dark night, the selva was sizzling and bubbling. The old man quietly uttered words that took on coloured forms and slowly seeped into a viscous consciousness, drugged with a mixture of tobacco and marijuana. The brain spoke constantly, dissuaded, and asked to leave, frightened of death.
The shaman, bending over a vessel with a dark liquid, whispered a prayer: “The doors of the universe have not yet opened, but the magical power has already touched the gates of Paradise, preparing, at any moment, to open them before the gaze of frightened eyes”. The shaman smiled and the swarthy hand held out a wooden glass with a viscous, acidic, granular liquid. “You need to drink in one gulp”, the old man said gently. “The wine of the dead” burned the inside of the green fire.
The brain was silent. My heart was beating wildly and my body was limp. The shaman sang a song of the dead about the living. It was an old song, the sounds of which were carried away into the depths of time; into the tangle of impenetrable jungles, opening doors to other worlds…
The light trance was very pleasant. The sounds of music relaxed and calmed me. It seemed that it was possible to fall asleep pleasantly. The brain relaxed and thought that he could control everything and dozed off. Suddenly, a hot wave hit her feet, ran up the body and burned her eyes. The purple ball exploded in her distraught head. Her body shuddered and she tried to jump to her feet, but her legs refused to obey.
The brain called out loudly. He ordered her to stand up and warned of danger. He begged to open his eyes and asked to be released from this drunken dope, as he cried… Trembling hands reached out to the face and the unconscious movements of the palms gathered the remains of consciousness. Nails dug into the fog of thoughts, trying to keep such familiar and understandable fear in a shaking, pulsing head. The body could not do anything anymore. It was dying quietly. A hot, cold wave came over the hot wave. It climbed the limbs and froze internal organs. The body wriggled convulsively and the heart was thumping wildly.
An invisible force struck the stomach and a black, viscous fatigue crept up to her throat. Everything trembled. The shaman’s hand caught her head and the body began to erupt from her depths in a terrible smoke. He fell inwards and turned into poisonous snakes. The vipers wriggled and crawled over the hanging hands and stung the face. The poison finally paralyzed the body, which ruthlessly vomited for a long time, and black snakes ruthlessly continued to sting the face. The brain did not stop. He viciously hissed from the black emptiness of his belly, promised to stop the heart, asked not to leave and begged not to leave the body. It seemed that it was already impossible to get out of the darkness. The pain tore the flesh and the brain could not stand it. It is gone. Tears rolled down from empty sockets, draining over a dead, cold face. Consciousness could no longer resist and it cried out helplessly. Fear, so firmly binding the body, burst out of his throat in inhuman screams. His eyes opened sharply and the hot wind hit the wet face…
I was standing over a precipice. A warm wind whispered legends. The sun was shining beyond the horizon. I wanted to look at the body. I turned around. It was pathetic! It lay on a crumpled sheet. The deadly pale, elongated face seemed strange. The shaman bent over him, gently wiping the drops of sticky sweat with a white scarf. His mouth was slightly open, his lips were cracked and blood was baked on his upper lip. His hands, like two severed branches, hung down on his sides. I smiled, took the last step and dissolved into the universe.
Peru, July 2015