For one week, I’ve had no sugar.
One week, no salt.
And still 4 more days to go.
Why the hell would someone abstain from these palpable pleasures?
It is understood that each of these substances have energetic consequences that interfere with the plant spirit known to humans (for thousands of years) called Ayahuasca. Three nights in a row, Patrick and I participated in overnight ceremonies that spanned a wide spectrum of comfort, catharsis, illness, and insight. Seven months ago we spent a month in Peru to visit with a shaman for the same purpose of healing. We did 6 all-night ceremonies over 8 days. Two nights in ceremony, one night off.
This past weekend was three nights in a row with a soft spoken Chilean shaman in a space of friends.
It’s hard to accurately describe what happens, what is learned, what is revealed. If you’ve never heard of this medicine, basically by drinking it under the guidance of a shaman (who in this case has experience more than 15 years in practice) one experiences varying levels of interaction with a specific female entity. She has been interacting with us in this way for thousands of years, and for that long revealing common visions, common symbols, common communications. In the context of today’s paradigm, it’s hard to explain these concepts without sounding like a total “whacked-out-crazy-nut-job”. So how do I make a convincing argument? All I can say is that this reality we know is not the only realm. *shrug*
Okay. So now I’m going to try and explain last night. Honest and sincere, here on “my blog”, for all eyes to see. I think this information is very important. If you know and trust my judgment of…stuff, than well, read on knowing that I ain’t shittin’ ya.
December 1st, 2012. 121201. The Maestro filled my cup only half way. “Un poquito mas?” I asked. “Jyess.” He said, blobbing a little more of the dark syrupy brew into the cup. Still not full enough. Last night was too mild a dose, and if there was more healing to be done, this was my last night to do it. I would need a lot of the brew, and drinking a second time is always out of the question for how gross the shit tastes. I said “Mas, posible?” “Si” said he. He filled the glass with enough room at the top to prevent spillage on the way to my mouth. Deep breath. One shot, down the hatch. Vile! Vile! Vile! GOD DAMN! Maestro blows mopacho smoke into my face and over my body from his large wooden pipe. I got up from my kneeling place before him and stood to hold my nose for exhalation out of my wide mouth so as not to taste any more. I sat down on my mat, back against the wall, shrouded in my mothers white sheepskin. The hard part is over, I thought.
I sat there, in as much a meditative state as my ability permitted (not much), and waited. This was my job. Just to be. Just to wait. All I had to do was make sure to just keep breathing. After about 30 minutes, I surrendered to the weight of my body and slid down my mat to lie down. I’m not too practiced at meditating, my body is tired and if she wants me to lie down, frig it, I will. Resting there, I felt nothing more than heavy. The soft thick sheep’s fleece now wrapped around my head like a warm cocoon of solitude. When the shaman began to sing, I would move my head out of the fleece allowing his beautiful songs unfiltered access to my brain. When he stopped singing I would fold the fleece over my ears again, returning to my comfortable cocoon hoping to see the neon shapes and patterns over black landscapes like the previous nights. Instead of this, what came next was near torture. I felt waves of…scanning. An unpleasant, yet fully invited sense of something moving through every part of my body. Uncomfortable because there wasn’t enough room under my skin to contain it all. All I had to do was make sure to just keep breathing. Sounds easy? My legs began to twitch, my muscles tightened and loosened, flex and release. Flex an release. Perhaps more experienced/meditative people would of had the control to lay still and serenely accept the sensation, but my reaction was far too “this world”. Tossing and turning as if there physically was something foreign checking out my bones and muscle tissue, scanning my energies, bullying it’s way around inside me. I writhed in discomfort desperately clinging on to a notion that if only I could position myself just right, this feeling would end. My breaths were harsh. In through my nose, and pushed out fast into the sheeps fleece, making my face hot. This continued for less than an hour I think, but at this point my perception of time was almost completely faded. The stirring in my belly and hot saliva filling my mouth told me that purging would come next. I willed my body upright again to sit against the wall. “Thaat-a-girl” I heard, and out came the contents of my stomach into my readied bucket. There was something dark in the pit of my tummy and it was clinging on for dear life. No amount of heaving would jar it loose. I even recognized it from 7 months ago in Peru when it got pissed off at me for subjecting it to a ceremony of pure light and love (hard to explain, forgive me). I noticed then that the Maestro hadn’t been singing for quite some time. I noticed because the first word he said into the quiet room had been “Ashta.”
“Hhm!” I said, looking up from my bucket. He mumbled something in spanish. “You want me to come?” I asked and he said “Jyess.” Shakily, I put the container aside and tried for my feet, but that wasn’t happening. I crawled on all fours towards the shaman, becoming aware of a my almost-debilitating trembling. I sat cross legged about 5 feet in front of him, hunched over and struggling to regulate my breathing. My legs were vibrating, my arms and my hands. A heavy sweat broke out all over my skin, I was completely taken over. He observed me through the darkness, puffing his pipe. My memory of this time is hazy. All I remember is the shaking. Wave your hand back and forth really fast as if shooing a fly, and that’s what my whole body was doing. Hunched there shaking, he sang a song into me. I began to feel a stirring of that darkness. It was pissed again. By the end of the song a tight knot of pain the size of a softball hardened in my abdomen. Blind. Shooting. Black. Pain. I clutched at my tummy, whimpering and crying. Trying hard to just keep breathing. He said to come closer. My body wanted to obey, but this blackness said no, but I did it anyway. Sitting now almost forehead to forehead with the Maestro, he began to sing again. Holy fuck, this pain was excruciating and intense. More intense than any stomach ache I’ve ever had. Whatever that darkness was, he was stirring it up. Loosening it’s grip, and my pain receptors carried the brunt of “its” protest. He whispered some stuff in a language that I didn’t really recognize as Spanish, but it wasn’t even for me to hear. He wasn’t talking to me, he was talking to “it”. As he said those words, it stirred and stirred so violently and so painfully that I had to detach from my body. Out of necessity, my personality exited out of my body and went to sit with Lillith who was to the right of the shaman. It was like “Fuck this, I’m out!” I sat there observing my own body, shaking like a leaf, whimpering in pain. Looking around frantically as if for an answer, I realized my mouth with filling with the same hot saliva as before. I was going to be sick. Whipped back into my body, I swallowed. Then swallowed. Then swallowed again. I choked out the words “Lilly, I needta purge.” The shaman was the one who responded almost before I got the words out and said “Jyess. Dis is good” and handed me his own container. A few violent releases, but the damn thing held on. Roaring sounds came from within me but still, a steadfast grip. I could feel my bowels now beginning to complain. Deep down inside me, complain complain. Still sweating, my shakes subsided a little bit. At this point I don’t know if he was still singing this second song, or if he was just blowing mopacho smoke at me. One thing is certain though, I needed to b-line for the bathroom. Somehow I held on until he leaned in and said in my ear “is gona be okay now”. I thanked him and got up. Stumbled to the bathroom. This was it. Exodus.
[insert here: spared descriptions of intense bathroom experience]
I stumbled out of the candle lit bathroom with a sense of shocked renewal. Full of awareness that my body was inhabited by a negative/dark energetic force outside of “this world” understanding. The only thing I know for sure about it was that it was real, and now it was finally gone. It was expelled from my body in the bathroom. I can speculate about its influence on my life: contributing to depressions, anxieties, bad habits, addictions- but the true nature of this demon (?) may never be known. Perhaps with more insight I can work to better understand the energetic influences that shape my being. Now suddenly armed with the motivation and interest to do so. A new sense of control over my happiness! I plan to better moderate tangible aspects like food, exercise and relationships. These are the things my mind was flooded with as I stumbled along the lit hallway in the leftover flicker from the bathroom candle. In fact, it was so bright that it lit the hallway back to the living room where the ceremony was being held, but nothing else. The room was so black, that I stepped directly on my host! My friend! Who’s given me a bed and food for three days, gets a foot in the groin and cried out in pain! Mortification!! After apologizing my heart out, I buried my face in the ever-loving fleece wetting it thoroughly with my tears. On hand was a black blanket, to which I draped over my head and succeeded in leaving the room altogether. One on one with Ayahuasca now, I took stock of my body, noting the calmness in my abdomen where the wretched pain had been moments before. Serenity within, sweet relief. In this black-out world, Aya the Plant Teacher showed me perspectives about my relationship with my physical mother. Gently pointing into the depths of my existence, so much of it having to do with my mom. I saw moments from my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood- suddenly realizing all of the contexts and how they fit together. Sister and mother together. Comfort and warmth poured over my whole being. This is the state I spent the next 4 hours in. Quietly sobering up, I reflected on the nights revelations. Extreme gratitude was the focus of my reflection. So overwhelmingly grateful for everything.
When the ceremony closed, Patrick said that trying to explain the night’s happenings is like sticking your hand into a waterfall, trying to gather all of the water for observation. The analogy is accurate. We spent the night sharing our experiences, supporting and dissecting concepts. Embracing the wonder, and each other.
Arriving home this morning, I received a phone call telling me that one of my first friends in Nanaimo has had a severe aneurysm, and is going to die. Right away, Patch and I rushed to the hospitals palliative care unit where we bid him adieu. It was a very very sad time. It was painful to see him in his condition, lying there, humming softly. I cried so hard, but couldn’t help realize that it’s only my loss. Our loss. This world’s loss. Graham Arnold is the most generous person I’ve ever met. I say that without hesitation and if you knew him too, you would probably feel the same. The lessons in positivity and generosity that I get to take away from my close relationship with this beautiful man, makes me a truly fortunate person. Among the countless possessions he has given to me and Patrick, a stoic Barred Owl sits perched in our living room. I’ll treasure that owl for the rest of my days like the friend I’ve treasured in Graham. Patch planted a garden on our front lawn to honor him earlier this year from plants Graham treasured and grew in pots, only to give away (to us). His loving spirit will live on in them.
The lessons learned over the last few days have run deep. We do not only live once. (see internet meme: YOLO). We live many times and carry with us the knowledge of our past lives. The trick is just to remember it. Reincarnation is real, and our subscription to individualization exists only in this life. Upon death we return to interconnectedness, to go on and live again. This is just something I’ve come to understand in the same way how I understand a tangible scientific…anything. From the lessons in the the waterfall, this is the truth. There’s been a huge scam, and it has to do with giving our energy/power away to something other than ourselves (organized religions, the notions of eternal heaven and hell). We are god. The light is within. There is nothing else. Graham is returning to interconnectedness, and I’m so happy for him.
I love you, Graham. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to love you. Rest well
Apparently now is the time Ayahuasca is being shared with the world. Gumercindo told us that she specifically told him a mission to go share it with “thousands of gringos”. If you’re interested in this therapy, I highly recommend it. Perhaps a good (more accessible) starting point is to intentionally take some kind of other psychedelic substance, like psilocybin mushrooms in a context that is not for party/celebration. The therapeutic benefit of psychedelics has been oppressed by the controlling bodies of our culture. Let’s not let them anymore!