Wassup with the name SENA

Aura Soma

Heaven On Earth


What do these three concepts have in common?

To tell you the truth – I too had no clue – until 1996 when I was visiting Benin, West-Africa.

Before that I was living in Munich, working as an actress, trying to figure out why I was in love with a man who told me that he was not ready for me.

During these painful times in which I tried to love unconditionally, without expectations – naturally a rather hopeless undertaking – I wrote a lot of poetry – mostly under tears – basically because I needed to express, examine and analyze my roller coaster feelings and because I was unable to form any normal sentence in front of this man – to my embarrassment my eyes watered nearly every time when he left my home – and my passion, my desire and my yearning was pouring out of my pores uncontrollably – I tried every spiritual exercise to contain myself but as said before – a rather senseless venture. So I wrote poetry, and instead of leading a normal intelligent conversation like an adult person I created artistic excerpts of my soul and gave them to this man for further inquiry. “Read this” was all I could say.

In my fantasy I thought he would feel me through my poems, open his heart, cry, fall on his knees and ask me to marry him.

Instead of that he said:” your poems are superb – you should create a book”.

I thought I die. I did not want to write a book for any other person but him. He was my muse, my inspiration, the love of my life and I had no intention of throwing my innermost feelings into the world, getting recognition with the blood of my heart!

After recovering from the shock that he pretended not to see my misery I decided to listen to his advice and started to put all the poems together.

Then I started to read some of them to strangers. It was a mind-boggling experience.

I remember especially one evening at my friend Rosana’s home where a banker loosened his tie, laid on the floor and started to cry:” Oh God if only my wife would talk to me this way, this is what I need to hear, if she only could read your poems!”

Slowly I realized that my written words could maybe help, inspire and open up other people …

4 years later:

Everything in life happens for a reason, and while I was walking to the rehearsals of “Cat on a hot tin roof” in Bern, Switzerland- the city of printing and books- while I was walking every day to and from the rehearsals – naturally being hired to play Maggie the cat –  I passed by an antique store and every time I passed by, the owner of the store ran out to have a chat with me. This man introduced me to the publisher and printer who fell for the idea to print my book.

That is how it happened that my book “Jeanette – Slowly but Highly Dangerous I open your Heart” was printed by a Swiss Printing and Publishing Company, owned by a man whose mother had been a poet and who wanted to sponsor my work.

Just from watching I learned a lot about printing because I stood there at the huge old printing machine and supervised every print of every black and white photo.

You see, my book contains not only the poems – it also contains tasteful and sometimes provocative scenes with me in Rome and Munich, invented by myself and shot by the great Italian Photographer Roberto Ferrantini.

Still playing “the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, I was also introduced by my publisher to a gentleman who owned the biggest bookstore in the main street in Bern. He was so inspired by the idea of the book that he asked me if I wanted to do a reading in his store once the book was printed. “Yes! But not just a reading, I would like to do a performance with live music” I said, and we decided that the event would take place in spring with a guitar player friend.

A month before that event could take place I returned to Bern to see the stage and meet with Mr. Muller for final decisions.

When I drove to the bookstore I was stunned – to my surprise this gentleman had plastered the entire front and side windows with my big red book, some books were decorated open on white silk fabric with red rose petals around, no other books but mine in all the windows – it was surreal and magical.

He showed me the ancient basement of his store he had talked about before – it was meticulously restored and renovated – with high ceilings and cross vaults – and I told him where I wanted the stage. Then we returned to his office and he started to call for a hotel room for me – but all hotels were booked because of several trade fairs in town.

Meanwhile his wife had entered the office, a very sweet and humble person who had never seen me before – she only knew the book with these provocative photos and so she inspected me very closely. From woman to woman I made sure that she got the picture that I was not interested in her husband. I was very aware of how inspired the man was that he turned his book store into a shrine for my book and I wanted to connect with her, wanted her to feel secure, relaxed and comfortable with me.

After many unsuccessful phone calls to all the hotels in town Mr. Muller gave up on it and his wife said:” why don’t you come for dinner to our house – and if you are d’accord with the sofa in the living room you could stay over night”

For me this was a huge compliment that this woman did let me in so close, me, a stranger, and it even was a bigger compliment when I was introduced to their son. The son was 15 years old and on the way to their home they warned me to not be irritated because he was “different”.-  “Different – in what way?” “He is – retarded” they said.

For me he looked completely ok, handsome young man, super sensitive and intelligent, yes – he was different from “normal” kids.

When we sat at the table for dinner we had deep conversations about “the norm” and what is “normal” and I said that they should be proud of their son.

The young man smiled.

Later the lady of the house said:” you know, we have a guest room, but nobody can sleep in there because of the energy, the energy is too high and people are scared to stay in there alone over night. They get excited and cannot sleep, that is why I offer you the sofa but maybe you want to take a look…” – sure I wanted to take a look!

This sounded very interesting, especially after she told me that she was an apprentice for “Aura Soma”… – I had heard vaguely about “Aura Soma” before but never could get myself interested in it, mainly because it was some sort of frenzy in the esoteric and pseudo artistic circles in Munich and the people who busybuzzily talked about it were of no interest for me. So in fact I had no clue what it was all about when Madam opened the door to her guest room.

It was a big bright room, one wall opposite the bed held tall wooden shelves filled with about 90 or more colorful little glass bottles, every bottle had a number and contained a liquid in 2 different vibrant color combinations – I felt like a child in the rainforest with parrots and humming birds and at the same time in the deep turquoise sea with millions of little sparkling blue and yellow striped and fuchsia fishes and corals and at the same time under a rainbow in midst every possible combination of all colors of the world. I was in awe and said: “ I want to spend the night here with these bottles – this is magic – I can sleep here – I will sleep wonderfully!”.

I wanted to know the secret of these bottles and Mrs. Muller said: “ It is good that you know nothing about it because you will choose without your intellect. Now – choose 4 bottles spontaneously” – I did. Then she said: “Now choose one bottle that you don’t like at all” – I did that also. It was a bottle that made me feel uncomfortable; clear bottom and dark green Top. Madam told me that these bottles were a mixture of vegetables and plant extracts in a water-oil solution and that when you shake them they together create another color and after a while, when calmed down, they separate again to their original colors.

Then she wanted to know my birth date, she counted all the numbers together – day, month and year –  and told me that this would be the number of my birth bottle.

Then she made a note of all the numbers of all the bottles I had chosen and said:” sleep well, tomorrow I will tell you all that I have learned so far about “Aura Soma”.

I did not sleep immediately because I found a book – a book about Vicky Wall, the woman who “invented” or better discovered or better was chanelled and taught to find these remedies. Vicky lost her eyesight at a very young age and was taught the art of herbal healing, first by her grandfather and then, after he had passed on, she was guided by the spirit world and followed through. The book kept me inspired and awake until I had read it completely – then I fell in a short, deep and refreshing sleep.

I woke up by the twitter of the early birds in the garden. I peeked out of the window -The sun was shining. It was one of the first real warm spring mornings and after I took a shower we decided to have breakfast outdoors on the terrace. Mr. Muller was already in his office and we women were alone.

“after the breakfast we will sit in the guest room and I will tell you all about your chosen bottles and their meaning” Madame said – “what do you think about taking the bottles outdoors into the sun and while we have breakfast you explain me the secrets..” I proposed. Madame thought his a good idea – she even had a small acrylic shelf where she placed the 6 bottles on a table about 3 foot away from our breakfast table.

The sun was warm enough for us to sit without heavy coats, and we deep into my inner condition and the healing powers of “Aura Soma”, and how I intuitively had chosen the right bottles to inspire myself.

Suddenly there was a detonation – something like a shotgun or an explosion – it was very loud and we jumped up and looked around but – there was silence – only the birds twittered – nothing else – Neighbors from the next house opened their windows asked questions- nobody had an answer – nobody had seen any movement in the streets or gardens, no car accident – nothing – and everybody was quite astonished.

After a while they disappeared in their own worlds and we sat down again – I sipped my tea – suddenly Madame screamed” oh my God! Oh my God, look- LOOK! – Your birth bottle- your birth bottle is missing!” – I looked at the shelf – indeed- the bottle was gone – I stood up, went to the shelf – nothing – no bottle had fallen – the bottle was nowhere to be found –  I went onto my knees to look under the chairs and there was some sort of liquid – and something like sand – oil – that must be the oil and water of my birth bottle – Madame ran into the kitchen and came back with Kleenex and wanted to wipe the oil/water solution off her terracotta floor but I protested:” No! No! – wait! this is the oil of my birth bottle!” and I took off my clothes and started to oil my body with this elixir from the floor and Madame – this shy lady – also took off her clothes and started to do the same – and when I looked up because  there was a movement on the balcony above us – and there was her son leaning over with a huge grin, observing us in our underwear – and I said to his mother “and now you tell me that this young man is retarded – you must be joking!” and she started laughing from deep within because she finally got my point and was so relaxed and off her beaten path that this Swiss, meek woman transformed into a wild woman right under our eyes- it was miraculous. She laughed about the fact that her neighbors probably watched the scene from behind their window curtains and she suddenly was fearless.

While we crawled on the floor to waste not a single drop of the oil I found the cap of my birth bottle under one chair – the rest of the bottle was pulverized into fine sand – and to oil ourselves with this mix felt like a smooth peeling for the skin.

“Don’t you think its time to tell me more about my birth bottle” I asked her after we had used all the oil and sat back on our chairs, looking into the garden that was on the brink to blossom.

“Your birth bottle has the number 30 and the name “Bringing Heaven to Earth”, Madam said and I shivered without knowing why.

I knew that something was waiting for me but I had no clue what it was.

I knew that there was a master plan for my life but I could not yet figure out whatit was, I just had pieces of the puzzle in my conscious mind and some dreams that I remembered since I was a child – dreams that did not make sense because I saw myself at a much older age in a city that I could not recognize – on a stage with peoples from all over the world – playing in a play that I had written.

It did not make sense but it was somehow familiar and so most of the time I did not think about it unless something reminded me.

Nearly one year later – early January 1997 – I decided to fly with my guitar friend – yes, Landy, the one with whom I did my first poetry performances with music – we were flying to Ouidah, Benin, West Africa – the ancient Dahome –  to visit my wonderful percussion friend Arsene de Souza – I just wanted to experience where he was coming from – to better understand …

To make a long story short – after I was observed by the whole village his mother gave me the name “Sena” .

This was a big Honor.

Arsene’s wife told me that she never received a new name from his mother – And the best thing was that she was not jealous.

I knew that something mysterious and wild was happening – my heart was beating very loud – everything was surreal –

Ouidah was also called the “place of no return”-  one of the oldest villages close to the sea – a place where the first slave ships sailed overseas …there was this huge wooden Door- a piece of art – carved a century later – and when I walked through  – I cried and I saw with my inner eye the pain of my peoples as if no time had passed –

There is more to tell about my visit in ancient Dahome but not now –

All I want you to know right now is that I have this deep connection with Africa – since I am a child – and –

Well,  the children of Ouidah gave me a present – it was a woven bangle with the name “SENA” in yellow and fuchsia – and everybody started calling me Sena – and when I asked Arsene’s mother: “Why do you all call me Sena – what is the meaning of this name?” everybody smiled and they said “Bringing Heaven on Earth” …