The multimedia story below was created with the pictures first. The storyline was written afterward. I had a general plot in mind when starting off, but the images drove the story, and not the other way around. I also would suggest that the collages tell a much richer version of the story than the written storyline.
And remember that in a shamanistic tale like this one, the spirit worlds (upper, middle, and lower) have multiple levels and have maze-like qualities. One accesses different levels by moving through "portals," as you will "see"...
∞ THE SHAMAN'S JOURNEY ∞
You (the shaman) prepare for your journey and battle, loading up with supplies at the market.
You walk down, down the green mountain trail to the valley below.
There, you find a stairway that leads underground and you decide to go down it.
Note: Stairs can be portals, and spirals are portals. In this case, they are portals to the spirit underworlds.
Other portals include holes in the ground, holes in trees, rivers or the bottom of the sea, caves, arches, doors, windows.
Flying will take you up to the upper spirit worlds, as will climbing a mountain, a ladder or a beanstalk.
So you could walk down the mountain trail to get to the top of the next page — or you could just fall down the spiral (or the orange to the right of it, for that matter).
CLICK ON IMAGE to view PAGE 1 collage →
You emerge in this first level of the lower spirit world, breaking through an eggshell on the beach.
You then enter the water, submerge, and go down to the next level of the lower spirit world.
Now you find yourself standing on the top of rolling hills, with the sun at your back.
You meet some friends and journey down the narrow trail and through the grassy plains.
You arrive at Stonehenge. One of the Stonehenge triliths is a portal, which you must go through alone while the rest of your companions set back for home.
Once through the portal, you shrink down to become a spider—a spider so tiny that you are carried by another spider on his back for 3 weeks.
On the third day of this third week, you arrive at the great desert...
NOTE: Many of the images "bleed" together from page to page - like pages 2 and 3
At the great desert, you return to human form again.
Here you meet your mentor who has lived in this desert for 300 years.
He teaches you how to learn from the rocks. With their guidance, you train for the journey and battle ahead.
After 9 years of training in the desert, you set off. You are alone, but wear the shoes of your mentor that have traveled all the roads of the world and so know their ways.
CLICK ON IMAGE to view PAGE 3 collage →
You walk past the quiet houses and into the hustle of a bazaar.
You walk down the streets, where women and children buy, sell, and carry their wares.
You arrive at the archway in the center of the city.
You walk through the archway and down, and there you meet your trusty steed and your owl companion.
Together you journey for 3 years around the world.
Finally, you arrive a lonely house in the desert, where food, drink, and fresh bedding await you and your companions. You rest and refresh yourself after the long journey.
Walking out onto the back terrace of the house on morning of the 3rd day, you find a stone-walled hole leading underground.
You bend down to look over the edge, to see what might be below, when you feel yourself toppling over and realize you are falling down the deep, dark hole …
CLICK ON IMAGE to view PAGE 5 collage →
You drop down from the sky into the next level down. Here, you fight a bloody spiritual battle with both mind and body.
Note: The large painting on this page reflects the process of coming down to the lowest level on this journey, and then (on the next page) returning upward.
It also suggests that there is a similar process going on below it, coming from and heading back in the opposite direction …
CLICK ON IMAGE to view PAGE 6 collage →
Your battle is behind you, and you begin your journey back upward, through many levels.
You emerge as a sea lion and meet your friends. Together you swim to the edge of a beach. Here, you transform into blue-footed booby birds. (Ha!)
You fly until you come to a tree where you transform into monkeys.
You scamper about and scurry on your way. When you come to a mountain, you transform into mountain goats.
As goats, you all climb up the rocky mountain until you reach an old fortress at the top, still guarded by its lonely walls.
One by one, you enter through an archway that overlooks over a deep, blue sea. You pass through this window, jumping off the ledge and into the air.
You each transform, mid-leap, into a bird that flies higher and higher upwards, higher even than the sun.
As a bird, you land gently in the calm river waters of the town where you live.
You paddle up to your house and fly to the doorway, where your transform back into you ordinary self and re-enter your ordinary world.
And sometimes you will hear the mountains calling in the distance, calling you to spiritual combat once again …