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Biography of Joska Soos de Sovar, A Hungarian Shaman
The following is based on a book, 'Joska Soos, Ik genees niet, ik herstel de harmonie' (Joska Soos, I do not heal, I restore harmony), a book published in Dutch in 1985 by editor Karnak in Amsterdam.
Joska Soos was born on December 20, 1921 in Apostag, Hungary. Between his fourth and his tenth year, he was brought up by his grandparents in Solt, 15 kilometers south of Apostag. When he was ten he went back to his parents in Budapest, but every year he went back to Solt on vacation.
Joska was born in a shaman clan, de Bacsa, and he was born with the caul. At the time of his birth nobody was home, they were all working in the field. His mother didnít dare to do anything, and thus Joska was born and remained inside the caul, still connected to his mother with the umbilical cord for a full twenty minutes, when finally a neighbor came by. His unusual birth did not go unnoticed by the village shaman, who took him under his protection. The village shaman, Tamas Bacsi, was a horse merchant and a smith. He had taken four or five other children under his care for initiation purposes. Joska visited him every day, and often was taken along to visit people who needed healing. Tamas Basci healed people and animals by singing without words. He only used sounds. Tamas Bacsi not only used herbs, but especially worked with spiritual energies. He used to say "I do not heal, I restore harmony".
Tamas Bacsi used to take his group of children to a tree and had them close their eyes and move rhythmically, while he started to sing sounds and clap his hands. By this they went into the prenatal state of consciousness, called by Joska the primal state of the water beings in the cosmic ocean. Sometimes they went even deeper and felt the harmony of cosmic vibrations. Tamas Bacsi didnít explain anything, he just let the children experience. It was much later that Joska understood that that the images they saw are actually archetypal images, symbols from the unconscious.
After the First World War, Russia had captured many Hungarians, and people wanted to know if their husband, father or family members were still alive. Tamas Bacsi would take the inquiring woman to an old birch tree outside the village. Often Joska and the other kids could come, but they all had to be absolutely quiet. The woman was instructed to stand with her back to the tree facing Russia, and Tamas would listen to the wind rustling through the leaves. Then after half an hour or longer he told the woman if the man she was asking about was still alive, and when he would come home.
Tamas Bacsi also taught Joska and the other children under his care to listen to the sounds of animals. There were no weather predictions there at that time, so in the evenings Tamas often went to a pool where he listened to the frogs. He could distinguish different tones in the sounds of the frogs, and based on this he was able to predict the local weather. He said: " Listen carefully to the frogs, as they know everything in three of the elements: on the earth, in the water and in the air, but they do not know anything of fire. Only salamanders know of fire." They learned to observe birds, especially crows, magpies and owls. Tamas was able to distinguish 64 different sounds of the crows. From the crows he could hear practical affairs, like people coming from over the mountains, and some weather predictions. They also had to learn how many times a stork clappers. A stork can clapper up to 6 or 8 times a second. Swallows can make 8 to 14 times a second. This is too fast to count, so they had to learn to feel the rhythm, which caused an expansion of their consciousness at the same time. They listened to other birds, and even mosquitoes for rhythm, intonation and musical tones for common predictions.
Tamas Bacsi was a horse merchant, and on one of his trips to a horse market, he took Joska with him. Joska was lying in the back of the horse wagon, with a blanket over him, while Tamas was singing with his usual guttural, rhythmic sounds. Joska slid off into a state between waking and sleeping, and went out of his body. In this state of consciousness he discovered the structure of the micro- and macro-cosmos, which is a mathematical structure and a weaving of energy lines. It is all alive, and one goes over into the other. He experienced that mathematical structures are being of both space and time; the structures always move and are like transparent crystals, as if made out of light. He saw a number of dimensions which were interconnected. He also experienced the white light. Later he understood that this experience was a journey of initiation.
A year before Joska had his first experience with this level of consciousness when he was five and a half years old. He was playing outside with the village kids, and they were making a lot of noise. There was a farmer who had been warning them that they had to be quiet, because his wife was ill. They were quiet for a moment, but then they continued to make noise. The farmer had already warned them three times, when suddenly, he appeared with a big stick and threw it at the playing kids. The stick hit Joska and he fell down unconscious. He did not remember what happened next, but his mother told him that he was between life and death for weeks. The stick had hit him in such a way as to hinder his breathing and he was in danger of suffocation. The function of that part of the brain responsible for the breathing process was not damaged, but it was deregulated. He had a serious concussion. He remembered that in the period while he was unconscious he was living and traveling in white light. He had experienced the same white light once in an initiation, but this time he went into it. With his initiation he was watching it from a distance. But this time he went through it. He felt himself as being vapor, receiving impressions of powers, as if he was going through electromagnetic force fields. The walls were electromagnetic force fields. He enjoyed that very much. He was experiencing himself as timeless, spaceless and as consciousness. He had another consciousness, a consciousness that was more omnipresent.
When he was twelve, Tamas took Joska to a big pond and to get a horse skull that was lying on the bottom. The water level was low, but each time Joska made a step, the thick mud stirred up and made the water completely turbid. Joska had to go the middle of the pond and feel where the skull was. First he found an iron object, then a basket. Suddenly he felt that he had to go to the left, put his hand in the water and felt the skull, which was almost completely buried in the mud. It was a test to see if Joska could make contact with objects, to wake up dormant powers in himself.
Another time Tamas Bacsi sent Joska, three other boys, and a girl to an old graveyard. They had to sleep there and remember their dreams the next morning. Joska new the graveyard well, as the kids used to play between the gravestones. There was a gravestone of an old woman that always caused fear in Joska, but there was also a pyramidal tombstone of a young girl, a countess, that he really liked. So he went to sleep at that tomb stone. Joska had strange dreams of two fighting bulls causing thunder and lightning, as it told in Hungarian folklore. When he woke up he was looking at a sky full of sparkling stars and a full moon. He went back to sleep and dreamt that he was enclosed in glass, crystal or ice, and he became quieter and quieter. The ice became more and more dense, and then suddenly he heard the sound of bells. The ice broke and he saw the white dimensions. He was afraid to go into the spiraling, unlimited white dimensions going over into each other and moving in to Joska. They moved into a direction of a still more brilliant light in which they disappeared, and his inner voice told him not to go any further.
In the morning Tamas Bacsi inquired for their dreams. He was very interested in Joskaís first dream. Apparently, the bull was the totem animal of the shamans, and when two shamans dispute their privileges, they would dress up as wild horses or as bulls, and then fight each other. At that time Joska did not know yet of this tradition. Tamas explained that Joska had seen his ancestors, the shamans, fight to be his master, and that because it was not clear who won, Joska had to choose one himself. Tamas also explained that one shaman came from the north and the other one from the south, symbolizing the elements of water and fire. About the other dream, Tamas said that those shamans had prevented him of going into the white hole, and that he should never go into this maelstrom. The white light in the dream refers to crystal consciousness.
Joska Soos often speaks of "traveling without moving", a concept he learned from Tamas Bacsi. Tamas used to say that there is no difference in time or space when perceiving a finger, a tree or the stars. By looking at the stars, or by just keeping them in your mind, one can make contact with the ancestors in the sky. Tamas made Joska and the other kids often look at the Great Bear, or the Great Wagon, of which the mystical name is Gönz. It is an old Hungarian word of which the origin has been lost. It means "a mediator between god and man, who brought us civilization". Legend tells that the Gönz had been sent down from heaven to teach people on the technical, psychological and psychic level. Then the Gönz entered his fiery wagon and went back to the sky in the direction of the Great Bear. Joska thinks that this story might have some connection with what is nowadays called flying saucers.
Tamas Bacsi died during the Second World War, and when Joska went back to Hungary in 1965, he was told that Tamas had made his totem pole (to be placed on the grave) years on beforehand, a custom that was still done by some farmers). He actually wanted to die by lightning strike, but passed over by weakness of the body.
In 1946 Joska moved to Belgium (remember that the Soviet Union occupied Hungary after the Second World War). Soon after he arrived the government declared that all immigrants from Eastern Europe could stay permanently in Belgium if they worked for five years in the coal mines. So Joska went to work in the coal mines. Joska continued to work on his inner development. When his shift was over and the miners went up, he stayed behind ad turned the light out. For a full hour (until the next shift came by) he was in total darkness. "That was marvelous because you can see absolutely nothing. The only thing you hear is the movements of the wooden structures, tak, tak, tak,Ö You smell the fragrance and you feel the vibrations that change consciousness. There I felt for the first time the three different kinds of vibrations, vibrations that come from above, vibrations that come from below, and a third kind that moved through the corridors. I was feeling the fine vibrations of the air, and the differences in warmth. That was quite an experience for me." Then he got his first experience, in the mines, of a light-sound being. It was an image of Christ in his emanation of "I am the resurrection, the life". It was such a surprise and so frightening that he did not dare to stay behind anymore, but went up with the other miners after his shift. After several weeks he got his courage up again and continued his experiences.
Joska started to draw totem figures he remembered from his past, and then he painted the Christ figure he saw in the mines. After that he experienced sound as graphic forms, which he considers as being a kind of rune script, but in which the sound is embedded. He sees the totem figures as connected to the first and second chakra, the sound figures with the third, fourth and fifth chakras, and the light-sound beings with the sixth and seventh chakras. In 1950 he had his first exposition in Galerie du Parc in the city of Charleroi. In 1965 he left Charleroi for Brussels. His prime occupation there was painting. He discovered that when he stopped painting for ten days or two weeks, he started to get headaches, and no medicine could alleviate it.
In 1975 his wife left him which devastated him. Feeling powerless, he drummed on baking trays and buckets for weeks to get out his pain. Luckily he had understanding neighbors! One day he was drumming again, in the presence of a friend, when, in the mind, he found himself in a forest. A wild boar was running towards him, but a spiritual guide made the boar disappear. This became his first "shamanization".
In the spring of 1981 he went to London for two months, but in the end stayed for five. On day when he strolled around on Portobello Road, he saw some Tibetan ritual objects. A strange feeling of familiarity with those objects came over him. He felt that he in some past life not only had owned similar objects but had also used them. Desiring to know more he went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he met a man who gave him an address of a Tibetan antiquary. The antiquary was in contact with a group of lamas who sold him all kinds of personal objects they had taken with them when they fled Tibet. Joska was invited to their informal meetings. Aside from a few spiritually interested non-Tibetans, they all belonged to the red cap monks of the Karmapa Order. So, Joska attended their meetings on a regular basis and talked about many aspects of lamaism, and about his own experiences. They made a Tibetan horoscope for him, from which they concluded that he had been a Tibetan lama in a past incarnation, and before that a Chinese mandarin and Taoist. They organized a special ritual to bring him, and a couple of others, in contact with their genetic past.
Joska Soos finally moved to Antwerp, shamanizing and painting. He considers himself lucky to have had seven sources of knowledge to guide him in his inner development. The first source was that he was born with the caul, which enhances spiritual gifts in a person. The second source is that he was born in a shaman clan, which gave him the tools to connect with his genetic heritage. The third source was that he met a master, in the form of Tamas Bacsi, although anyone and anything else can be oneís master. The fourth source is the unlimited thirst for knowledge. The fifth source is that he is an artist. Being an artist is being creative, is experiencing vibration in an elevated state of mind. That is why when he works he always sings, in the shamanic way with guttural sounds. The sixth source is music, not composed music, but music he hears when working on a problem either of his own or of other people. The first time he heard that music was when he was twelve and half years old. During his vacation in Solt, he noticed a cat on the roof of a house. It did not dare to come down. Suddenly he heard a sound as if someone hit the strings of a cello to start a piece of Beethoven. Instinctively he turned around to see if someone had turned on a radio, but the only living beings around were the flies. Nevertheless the music continued, powerful and encompassing , like a storm coming over. Luckily he remembered the word of his master, Tamas Bacsi, who had said that when you hear the music you immediately have to turn it off, then turn it on again, and off again, until you completely master it. Otherwise you go nuts. It happened to Robert Schumann, who once said that "the air is full of music". The seventh source was the apparition of the light-sound beings .
Almost every shaman has his drum. It is a key instrument with shamanizations. Joskaís drum is an initiated drum. It was initiated in a special ritual in which the potentials of the shaman come up in the form of images. At the same time spiritual guides can show up. When Joska initiated his drum in 1976 five spiritual guides showed up immediately. A couple of weeks later there were two more. In 1985 he had twenty seven guides.
As with every shamanic drum, Joska also painted his drum. On his drum we can see three areas: the subterranean, the earth surface, and what is above the earth. On the lowest level, the subterranean, under the earth is the fire (to the right) represented by a primal atom. Under the water is a water animal, a polyp (left). At the level of the earthís surface is the representation of a man and a woman. Above them is heaven with the sun above man (right) and the moon above woman (left). Heaven also represents super-consciousness, the subterranean the sub-consciousness and the middle region is our normal consciousness. The highest regions are marked by the polar star (top middle of the drum). The polar star also refers to the crown chakra. The design on the drum shows two parts of the two kinds of swastikas. The vertical axis is the spine of man, his development in life and harmony. It is the tree of life, or the cosmic tree. The polar star at the top of the tree is the door to the divine.
Joska Soos during one of his shamanizations.
"Autoportrait sonore" (Sound-self-portrait)
A small painting, he sent to me in 1995, of his self portrait viewed with his inner eye on the sound level.
On August 15 2008 Joska left his physical body behind. He was 87 years old.