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I am told I’m the first outsider to take part in the circle.
Next, we take the two pieces of paper, roll them up and fold them together into a “doll,” a stick figure-ish looking form that represents all the harm we are going to get rid of.
Bill Koch, a seventy-six-year-old poet and playwright, explains how a shamanic “journey” works.
“Journeying is a way to get in touch with the spirit world,” he tells me.
(I too have memories of being called “homo,” as well as “faggot” and “queer,” which isn’t so surprising since bigots are not known for their rigorous fact-checking.) Then, before destroying the dolls, there’s some more journeying ahead.
The next one involves taking a series of actual physical steps that correspond to elements of the prior journeying.