The Covid Shamans


On August 20, 2021, despite being vaccinated, I tested positive for Covid-19. I have asthma. The first two days were frightening as I was coughing and having difficulty breathing. I thought for sure I would end up in the hospital. However, the dreams began.


I am no stranger to fevers. I was sick constantly as a child, and having chronic asthma, I am prone to yearly bouts of bronchitis. But Covid fevers are high and mighty. My temperature ran anywhere between 101 to 103F. Sometimes Tylenol would help, sometimes it did nothing. I would lay in bed sweaty and disgusting and ultimately slip into a feverish slumber.


But I was never alone. For seven consecutive days, I would have the same dream, but different scenarios. I was in a cave, where, I am not sure. There were seven Shamans with me. The Shamans were all from different cultures: A Native American, an African, a Siberian, a Japanese, an Australian, a Celtic, and a Germanic. Only three spoke directly to me: the Native American, an older man with a large nose, wrinkly face, and long braided gray hair, the Siberian, an older woman with no teeth dressed in deer skins, and the African a thin gaunt man with glasses.


I was partially naked in the cave, only wearing underwear. I was filthy, caked in mud and dirt. I was cold and I remember how badly I just wanted to be clean. But they told me I could not be clean. Not yet anyway.


The dreams were strange. Every night they were different. One night, I dreamt that they made me lay in a mud-shaped egg. It was cold and damp. I had to be in there, quiet. I remember clearly hearing the water dripping in the cave. I wanted to leave. "You are not ready to leave," the Siberian woman said. So I stayed in the mud egg, shivering.


However, the scariest and strangest part of the dreams was towards the end of my illness. The part that sticks with me the most and has left me still, in a weird state. I have always been able to communicate with the dead. I have always been able to "see" the other side. But what the Shamans showed me in my dreams was not what I have ever seen. After my fevers went away and weeks after my illness, a part of me still feels like I am not completely in our world.


"You must go," the Native American said to me, as he pointed to this hole in the cave floor. It was small and I remember being scared. I did not want to go. But he insisted. I had to go, even if I did not want to go. My muddy dirty and cold body shimmied down the hole and I was hit with the smell of death. This was not the spirit world that I am used to seeing. It was not the spirit world I deal with daily. This was not the land of the Ancestors that I work with. This was altogether something darker.


"You must go," the Native American said to me, as he pointed to this hole in the cave floor. It was small and I remember being scared. I did not want to go. But he insisted. I had to go, even if I did not want to go. My muddy dirty and cold body shimmied down the hole and I was hit with the smell of death. This was not the spirit world that I am used to seeing. It was not the spirit world I deal with daily. This was not the land of the Ancestors that I work with. This was altogether something darker. People were trying to pull themselves out but could not. The sludge prevented them. The dark black oozing sludge.


I suddenly felt pulled back up and was back in the cave with the Shamans. The Siberian woman was laughing, and then placed her palm, covered in red, onto my chest, leaving a red handprint over my heart. The Native American man said, "Now you can go."


"What if my fever comes back?" I said. For some reason, I had this fear--if my fever comes back, I am going to have to go back to the scary place from whence I was just was.


"It's not going to come back," he said smiling.


I woke up. After seven days, my fever had finally broken.


But, 20 days later, I still do not feel right. A part of me is still in that cave. A part of me is still in that dark murky place. Was I supposed to see that place to understand that not all spirits move on to the place of the Ancestors? Why didn't the other Shamans speak to me? What is the lesson I was meant to learn?