"It's going to start soon," the shaman said with a gentle smile. "Remember, you are safe, you are cared for, and you are here because you are meant to be here."
Almost as if on cue, Jek began to watch the colors of the fire and the hut bleed into one another, escaping their forms and sorting themselves into wild patterns.
"This.. this is crazy. I can't see straight" Jek said, and began carefully feeling the air around him to get his bearings.
"Your eyes are busy, but your mind knows where you are. Trust yourself" the shaman said, his voice sounding far away.
Jek took a deep breath and tried to steady his mind. The hazy colors coalesced into shadows and shapes as they acted out strange plays and dances for him. The stories they told him couldn't be said with words, but he understood each lesson implicitly. Ideas of reality unraveled and tangled themselves into new arrangements, exposing some fragile weave beyond our perception. The boundary between Jek and the rest of the universe dissolved, and his mind expanded to envelope the universe. The thoughts he formed here were expressed in galactic choreography, watercolor nebulae, and verses inscribed in physics. Eons and hours passed with equal ease, but after some eternity he began to fall back down from the ether.
His soul recompiled itself gradually, starting as a faint ghostly haze around the body he'd left behind, and seeping into the flesh and bone to reclaim its home station. His shallow breathing began to fill as his spirit returned to the tent. "I think I'm back."
"Then you must be. But while you have the same shape and the same voice, you have returned to us made new. Rebuild the best parts, reform the parts that hurt you, and cast out the sorrows that are no longer useful. Your trip may be ending, but your journey is just beginning."
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