Years ago, my cousin, who was headed for middle school after the summer break, had an unusual dream during an unfortunate week.
She dreamed of our aunt, the elder sister of our mothers, who came to the front door of their home asking for a particular medicine for her pain; she was crying and appeared to be in an extreme state of suffering.
My cousin woke up and the unsettling dream bothered her so much that she told her mother about it.
Being a shaman and superstitious, her mother set the medicine outside by the front door and called aunty by name, weeping as she said, “Come take the medicine for your pain.”
As a child, my cousin was confused and asked her mother why she did that.
Her mother briefly thought about it before she replied with the horrible truth, “My sister died yesterday…her husband killed her,” she continued to cry, knowing the dream was a message from her older sister; she and her sisters were ordained shamans from their father’s line, and connecting with spirits is part of being shaman.
Art by Bao Xiong