He told me he wanted to do practices to placate the spirits that lived in that area, in particular nagas. Nagas are a species of animal associated with water and invisible to our eye. They are highly intelligent and their moods affect changes in the weather and in the feelings of people. They have been known to cause plagues and disease. Lama described to me in great detail what they and a number of similar beings look like and how they behave. He thought the natural balance of the MacKenzie Basin had been upset and these beings weren't very happy. In the weeks leading up to our arrival, Lama said he had established contact with these spirits and they were expecting us. It certainly seemed that way if the weather was anything to go by. On the days leading up to our arrival, there had been blizzard-like conditions at Tekapo but we arrived on a remarkably hot day, canopied by a cloudless azure sky.
By the time we arrived at the Church of the Good Shepherd, a gathering of a dozen or so onlookers had collected and were waiting expectantly. The fire puja went very well. In the space of an hour or so, Lama performed a number of pujas under a clear blue sky in the snow. By the end, clouds began to form. Afterwards, I asked Lama how he felt it all went. He said he felt it went very well and had observed some positive signs. We then left for a neighboring lake, Pukaki, where Lama made some prayers and threw precious offering substances gathered from various holy places throughout Tibet and the Himalayas into the water. I recall feeling a deep inner peace at this time, some sort of communion with the environment. A week after our return, the lakes had filled to the point where the government was confident enough to announce the end of the electricity crisis. The media reported that an unexpected rise in the lake levels that previous week had obviated the need for power rationing.