The Dance of the Condor
Since my early childhood I have a deep relationship to the Andean Condor (Vultur Gryphus). The bird appeared to me at the age of three and returned later in my life with great power after I survived my initiatory crisis. Having a condor as tiergeist is very rare in shamanism, and I know of only a few other "vulture-shamans" except myself in europe.
I learned much on my personal relationship to angels through and with angel condor. Nevertheless I see this particular angel still as an Andean Condor most of the time I shamanize. Only after the powerful assistance of Angel Condor I could overcome the neo-shamanic expectation of seeing "only" a tiergeist in my shamanic journeys, the Angel Condor sometimes appear as what she is: a pure being of light, using images for comprehension and communication. Sometimes she appears as a humanoid hybrid, being something between human and condor. Rather seldom she appears as a human, but this also happenes now and then.
Some people want to know, why someone living in southern germany could have an Andean Condor as tiergeist. The answer to this question is quite typical for beings of light: Because we both are part of one total self (Bob Monroe called this Wholeness the Total Self). Over the years I learned more and more about the reasons of this. Some of them are hidden here on my website. The origins of some of them are rooted back to the end of the last ice-age, reaching back to the earliest civilizations and roots of culture, not only of the western one, but of all important cultures worldwide. To Angel Condor it is unimportant and not relevant where she chooses this kind of cooperation. Angel Condor does not belong to anyone but herself.
After Angel Condor revised my life totally, I realized that I can predict thunderstorms quite precisely, sometimes knowing even the exact time of beginning of the thunderstorm, down to the minute. This contact is sometimes quite useful, especially, when I am outdoors. This contact to the thunderbeings sometimes manifested itself in a rather weird way: When I am travelling, they sometimes expecting me at the destination I am heading to - or they are waiting for me at home. "There is a thunderstorm - Stefan is not far away!" was a typical quotation some years among my friends. This relationship to thunderstorms never ended. It stepped in the background at the second half of the 90's because I had other things to attend to.
But the power of Angel Condor is never absent. It manifested itself, just in that time, in the gestalt of a ball-lightning that hovered through my living room, which quickly showed my own limitations. In the summer of 2011 another one flew extremely fast into western direction, just around hundred yards away. The most shocking experience with thunderstorms I had in the year 2002 or 2003. During a heavy thunderstorm a lightning stopped only two meters in front of me, taking a turn and going into a tree several hundred meters away. In this short moment I saw that, what I am calling the Soul of Lightning. In the year 2006 I learned that my relationship with thunderstorms is another part, which is in deep connection to the power of Angel Condor. In the Andes the Condor is being associated with this kind of natural phenomenons (ref.: "Rituals of Respect - The Secret of Survival in the High Peruvian Andes" of Inge Bolin).
Since 1991 I have known that I would sometimes in the future dance the spirit of the Condor. 1992 the spirit of the Condor gave me exact informations about details of creating the dancing costume. The angel was very accurate, indeed. Three years later Apu Kuntur gave me the feathers which are being required for the costume. 1997, after two years of work, I completed the dancing costume. More then 130 feathers of the Andean Condor were needed for its completion. It is unique in the world. The spirit of the condor gave me the honour to be the only one who can manifest her in this kind of dance - the vision of the year 1992 has become reality. The spirit of the condor gave me the quechua name - Apu Kuntur - which I am being called since the year 2000 by many people. Recently some individuals came along, thinking this would be a presumptuous behaviour. Those "spiritual" people simply forgot the very fact, that if it would be presumptuous to use this name I most certainly neither would possess these moulted feathers, nor I would still be alive in my best shape ever. The incredible power of this being, called "Apu Kuntur", would have killed me outright - opportunities there are enough.
apu can be translated in more then one way. Here are some of them 1. authority: command, sanction, administration, authorization, dominance, rule, lordship 2. lord: chief, noble, sir, creator, gentleman, maker, captain, ruler, almighty, 3. rich: abundant, fertile, full, affluent, deep, luxurious, grand, precious 4. mighty: enormous, immense, huge, high, big, terrible, goodly, formidable, 5. supreme being: immortal, divinity 6. boss: director, administrator, leader, supervisor, 7. supreme: dominant, maximum, paramount, extreme, highest, perfect, top, incomparable, 8. cazique: czar, caliph, kaiser, lama, shah, sultan, tenno, tsar, 9. chief: cardinal, arch, essential, first, primary, basic, premier, major, key, leading, fundamental, peak, (n): boss, chieftain, patriarch, header, sagamore, 10. powerfull: brawny, mighty, muscular, lusty, impressive, 11. wealthy: rich, moneyed, flush, loaded, successfull, thriving. apus are also the ancestors and the spirits of mountains.
In contrast to the "Eagle-Dance" of some tribes of the North American Natives, nearly nothing is recorded about the Condor-Dance in ethnologic sources (at least, as far as I know). There was a Condor-Dance in southern California, during the times of the Kuxu-cult of certain tribes there. Recently I discovered several websites of east-coast Native American Indian Tribes which also have the Condor-Dance in their traditions. In South America a Condor-Dance exists, too. But then I saw a video of the Aymara, showing one traditional Condor-Dance. I was really shocked, because they used complete, but deteriorated, wings of the Andean Condor. I felt the rage and sorrow of Apu Kuntur during watching this video. Although I know and respect the folcloristic traditions of the indigenos in South America I do not have to love them: I am no friend of those individuals, who slaughter the Andean Condor for tradition, even if they are indigenos of South America.
One traditional meaning of the Condor-Dance, which I know but not manifesting myself is a social one. The dance reminds that the elders should be payed respect. The natural behaviour of the Andean Condor is the blueprint of this dance: Before Condors actually land to feed on a carion, the eldest bird first checks the situation on ground. Is the situation clear and safe this bird lands and openes the carion and the feast can begin. This dance requires more then only one dancer.
The Condor-Dance I conduct symbolizes the mysteries of life and death. The Condor as a messenger of the deities, circling high above the Andes and bringing the souls of the deceased into the realm of the dead. Another aspect emphasizes the role of the Condor as a messenger to the gods. During this dance Apu Kuntur carries the wishes up into the sky and deliveres them to the gods. The vulture per se is the dark, typhonic brother of the solar bird: The twins (Marassa, Seth - Horus). Recently I realized this connection in its deepest meanings. One other aspect of the dance is the actual invocation of any one apu.
According to various indigenas the apu are benevolent mountain-spirits, so there exist for each mountain one apu. These apus appear as Condors or as humans, or in a rather abstract, energetic form. Another aspect is the plain animal-dance, where Condor is appearing and acting according to his nature. However, Apu Kuntur is himself of course an apu, so the last dance is strictly spoken an invocatory dance of Apu Kuntur. The most important aspect of the Condor-Dance is unique and personal: During the dance I am manifesting my own inner alchemy by uniting and melting my female part and the male part into my true magical and spiritual personality.
Another very important aspect of this inner alchemy is mentioned by an interpretation of the prophecy which says that when the Condor and the Eagle unites there is going to begin a new time. This unity is also the unity of the mind and the heart, symbolized by the eagle and the condor. The eagle also is a symbol for the heaven and the condor for mother earth, at least in relation to this interpretation. So you can imagine a bit of the tremendous manifestation, actually happening when I am dancing. The dance manifest all this aspects at once and many people, who had the opportunity to attend one of my rare dances, can feel and see how the spirit of the condor manifest herself through my soul and body. Watching the B/W photography reveals to you an archetypical image of an angel, spreading wings.
Some facts, regarding the feathers: No Condor had to pay with its life for granting me this large amount of feathers. The feathers were being collected during a long time from three Andean Condors, which moulted them in the course of many years. 80 percent of the collected feathers could not be used for the costume: many were in a really desolate state and could not being used anymore. Other feathers were duplets. Only with luck I could combine a complete tail, normally tailfeathers are extremely damaged and seldom intact. So the three Condors (and of course Angel Condor, acting through them) Simon, Bolivare and Pablo could give their feathers in deep love to me. Whether a bird gave its feathers by its own will or not can easily be seen at the location, where the feather was attached to the body: If it is clear (perhaps a little milky in colour) it was given away naturally by moulding. If pieces of flesh remained or fine blood vessels (red ones) can be seen in the shaft, the bird surely is no longer alife, and was killed for its feathers (most of the time). Some try to conceal the origins of their bloodstained feathers. Note that only an intact shaft is a clear and obvious sign for the way of achieving.
Until autumn 2006 photographs and other media-recordings were not allowed during the actual dance itself. To show some nice position, Angel Condor allowed some photographics to be taken and be shown at this place. The photos shown here were shot at the end of July 2000 at the yellow mountain - a sacred prehistoric site. The positions were extracted out from the normal dance (which happens in deep trance states) for the purpose of publication in the WWW - the spirits finally agreed in this actions. It was a fine weather. But it seems to be a typical effect in real magical/shamanic actions that it is quite difficult to take some good shots by camera or video. We made over 70 photos, but more then sixty percent were spoiled by unknown influences. Personally I think there is a connection with the flowing energies during such times and on such places that it is nearly impossible to control the results. Some friends of mine encountered the same phenomenon in a tibetan monastery with a video-cam. I have to mention here that even if I only wear the costume I experience various deep trance states, and my consciousness changed into shamanic trance very often during the session. I managed to safe some photos by transforming them into B/W photos - with an amazing atmospheric effect! At this point I have to express my thanks to Jasra for her efforts in shooting these snapshots.
Since autumn 2006 I detected a new orientation of Condor's attitudes towards photographic images and videos. Since then she actually wants the dances to be documented somehow. So I am in the lucky situation to show some photos and materials of each dance I conducted since 2006. Because of the fact that each dance is quite unique in motivation and performance I have addded some comments on each of them. Since the dances are revealed to the public in 2006 I am trying to find an Eagle-Dancer. Why this is so and what I am experiencing so far during this search I am describing here.