By Marguerite Jill Dye
I instantly felt an affinity for the young man and recognized his special gift. I can’t remember how we first met, but he looked like my brother Jack at 38. Sasha lived in the world but was not of this world, and could see and comprehend different dimensions of reality. As a shaman-in-training, Sasha created balance in troubled souls and sick bodies. A shaman mediates between the human and spirit worlds while being deeply rooted in the natural world. To become a shaman requires tremendous faith, perseverance, patience, and stamina for they must overcome terrible illnesses and challenges. The shamanic tradition is revered and respected in remote regions all over the world where their focus is on nature, spirit, and service instead of material comfort and economic “success.”
As the child of a Russian father and Ukrainian Jewish mother, Sasha lived with his mother in the Ukraine near Chernobyl. In 1986, the most devastating nuclear accident in history occurred, greater than Fukushima. Then Sasha was called into the Russian army where he received scientific training due to his natural intelligence. But while he was away his mother died like many others in the area. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Sasha emigrated to a New York Ukrainian community and became a U.S. citizen. While attending a United Nations conference on indigenous peoples, the most powerful shaman from Siberia, the birthplace of shamanism, identified Sasha as an initiate and he began his shamanic journey. Sasha studied metaphysics and healing arts with sufi, yogi, tantric, transformational, energetic, sound, mindfulness, positive psychology, and Law of Attraction masters from around the world. He was influenced by authors like Steven Post, Osho, Miguel Ruiz, and Marshall Silver. He was grateful for their wisdom, teachings, gifts, love, great spirit, and tremendous support. But a “citified” shaman in an urban environment lives simply, often in poverty, and Sasha had the added challenges of a new country and language.
I wanted to help him share his insights and teachings through an interview and flyer. So we hosted “An Evening with Sasha” where Aleksandr (“Sasha”) Gleyzer, Russian shaman and healing feng shui consultant, presented “Creating Sacred Space: Healing feng shui and Shamanism.”
He asked our friends who were gathered in our home, “Do you feel anxious and frustrated? Do you want to connect with your higher self, find your life purpose? Are you staying in a place of transition in your life, willing to shift to a new level, discover new possibilities and open new doors? Are you ready to move forward and create a new reality?”
“Yes!” was the resounding response.
Then Sasha explained how “internal and external changes in your environment remove obstacles, shift perceptions, heal relationships, enable you to face challenges, express your inner voice and reconnect with universal energy. This empowerment leads you to your passion so you can manifest the life you choose.”
“As an artist of life I learned to create beauty, to listen and see; as a scientist, to understand what life has been created through me. I have devoted myself to new life, building heaven on earth, creating harmony and beauty, helping people connect with their truth, supporting others so they can live the life they choose. My great desire is for all people to be free of pain and fear, achieve a state of well-being and enjoy the game of life on this beautiful planet. After all, life is our greatest teacher,” Sasha continued. “As a shaman, I assist people in making a transition to a new reality. I hold the space for transformation to happen. My path brought me to feng shui (external and internal)—the art of being, every moment of time and space, in harmony with oneself, life, the environment and people. Photography has been my passion for many years. I direct my healing power into my photos. I have delivered this energy to thousands of people all over the world. I love people and life. I love what I do. I share my vision and understanding.”
Sasha offered to make some feng shui cures and recommendations when he learned that we wanted to sell our house. He talked about the science of alchemy and healing powers of frankincense, myrrh, and sage, as he purified and blessed our home. He burned herbs in a bowl on the kitchen counter and carried burning sage room to room. I rang a bell as he moved objects to their rightful places, explaining how they symbolize and influences relationships.
As we entered our library/den, I coughed and cleared my throat. Sasha pointed to the towering bookcases filled to capacity with antiques and books. He said that my throat chakra was out of balance and shut down by the overpowering emphasis on book knowledge in our house. My husband had been feeling anxious and adrift since his retirement from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He missed the sense of purpose he’d always felt in his work and hadn’t yet found his way in our new life, so Sasha said a prayer and a blessing while scanning Duane with burning sage. Duane felt so relaxed that he went upstairs to our bedroom and fell into a deep sleep. As Sasha and I talked and walked through the house, ringing the bell to cleanse and purify, then again, to bless each room and make adjustments, Duane remained sound asleep. When he awoke a couple of hours later, the telephone rang. A city commissioner had heard about the new housing man in town and asked him to serve on the board of the Sarasota Housing Authority. There is no doubt in my mind that Sasha’s blessing and prayer manifested the call.
I didn’t understand the severity of Sasha’s illness when his health began to decline. He’d developed multiple chemical sensitivity to fluoridated and chlorinated water, food additives, and environmental toxins. With timely diagnosis and treatment, there is a high survival rate, but without health insurance and before the Affordable Care Act, our sensitive, compassionate, insightful Sasha lost hope and took his own life.
When our friends are facing illness, hardships, and obstacles they can’t overcome, they often go inward and don’t ask for help. This is why our smiles, calls, and acts of kindness matter more than we realize. We never know when our love and concern, words, deeds, and advocacy will make a critical difference in someone’s life, but compassion can’t substitute for the lack of a government’s safety net.
Sasha, my Russian shaman, had a sweetness and kindness that I will never forget. I always felt close to him and treasure the time we spent together. I often think of the sensitive souls that have left our earth too soon.
Photo by Aleksandr (Sasha) Gleyzer
“Winter Carriage, Central Park” from Gleyzer’s “New York Winter Series.”