Trichocereus pachanoi cactus
The most familiar biochemical contained in this concoction is mescaline, however over thirty other alkaloids are present of which their combination can't be properly quantified so to classify the experience as purely a mescaline experience is incorrect. After completing the four Ayahuasca ceremonies here at SpiritQuest I felt in really good spirits and ready to experience Huachuma. The shaman don Howard leads these ceremonies of what he calls the "Chavin Renaissance Huachuma Mesada Initiation of the Three Shamanic Worlds." The pre Columbian roots of Peruvian culture is essentially from Chavin de Huantar and this experience has been designed to recapture the essence of consciousness expansion experienced by that civilization in the first and second millennium BC. More popular today in Peruvian healing ceremonies is a syncretic amalgamation of the original rites along with the influences of Catholicism that were forced upon the native population by the conquering Spanish. Because of this, the plant and ritual have adopted the name San Pedro named after the Christian Saint Peter who holds the keys to heaven. After experiencing Huachuma myself, I feel the name and comparison to San Pedro is inaccurate; it doesn't give you the keys to heaven rather it gives you the keys to your inner light. The mesada is a set of rites that are designed to lead you into the shamanic realms and the three shamanic worlds reference parallel mythology from the classical world that designates an underworld, our present world, and a world above. The program has been structured to lead us through the three worlds in a continuing journey of ascension so in other words we won't be in the jungle drinking San Pedro just to see what happens; there is obviously some careful planning and thought behind the experience that is to unfold.
Huayramama … Air (Upper World)
Sachamama … Earth (Middle World)
Yacumama … Water (Lower World)
Chairs are placed around the mesa with the women in the group sitting on the left and the men placed on the right to mirror the set up of the mesa however there are twelve men and five women participating so some men need to sit on the feminine side to balance this out. I volunteered as I've always been in touch with my feminine creative side so I wasn't hung up about it. The ritual part was excellent as don Howard stares you down with his eyes of fire before you go up to drink the macerated cactus juice. It is as if he is initiating you into the mesadas to which there is no going back once you drink. Don Howard, with his eyes lit up, then whispers your name inviting you up to the mesa. With both your hands placed on the two corners of the mesa in front of you, you look over the sacred objects on the tables before you and contemplate the lanzon directly ahead in your vision that is acting as the axis mundi representing the centre point of the world. You cannot help but feel a sense of awe and the mystery behind what you are about to enter into. The ego-mind takes over as you stand there so utterly alone wondering when it is the proper time to pick up the cup and drink. A moment of clarity then came over me and I just knew so I reached for the cup and drank down the contents of the ceremonial cup.
centre of the mesa
Though not as ghastly as the Ayahuasca beverage it is still a tough swallow; thankfully a glass of limonada is immediately provided in order to help you wash it down and balance out the volatile ph balance now swirling in your stomach. I'm currently back in my room gathering up some things as we are to go out on an excursion and visit an Amazonian tribe. Unlike the Ayahuasca intoxication, you can function somewhat normally while going through the stages of this intoxication.
This reminded me of how my wife is with children and how they gravitate towards her. I've never had that and I thought about the effects of sitting on the creative feminine side once again during the initial ceremony. As we were leaving I also gave each kid a coin - something my grandma used to do for us grandkids whenever we visited. During this visit something happened that I now remember reading about but had forgotten. This drink also seems to be an aphrodisiac! It came on strong and I felt a great deal of sexual energy however afterwards asking around not everyone felt this but I could see it in the eyes and actions of some people. Perhaps that is why the Alamas have a bunch of personal fan crafts for sale here? The boat ride back to the sanctuary occurred as the sun was going down and the beauty of the sunset turned into splendor as the moon and stars came out. The stars were bejeweled wonders that glittered and pulsed and the constellations would move so subtly in the night sky. Oh it was so spectacular, as I remembered all the nights I have spent gazing at the stars and to see this was so awe inspiring. I have seen the planet Venus look this royal before in the nighttime sky but never all of the stellar objects like this in unison. Dazzling is a word for it. The Big Dipper and Orion were especially prominent and it occurred to me that the stories of old about the night sky with its warriors, hunters, maidens, and lovers were probably dreamt up while on some kind of mind manifesting substance. We got off the boat and walked up to our rooms and I thought it might be a good idea to turn in for the night as this fire was still raging inside me however we were to meet up in the mesa to conclude the ceremony. We all met in the maloca, surrounded the mesa, and placed our hands upon the tables in order to feel the energy that was emanating from it. Every few minutes we would take a few steps to the left with the idea that everyone will eventually get to the head of the mesa and line up with the axis mundi which gives a sense of the power in this ritual. I got the feeling that the power being generated was both from the objects on the table as well as us as I know I felt charged with power. When I got to the head of the mesa one of the women, Nikki, almost collapsed and had to be helped to a chair. This gave the ceremony and even more mysterious vibe and then later two of the men fainted with one going down hard. We chalked it up to a long day and being hungry but I swear it felt much more than that; it was just comforting to put some kind of rational spin on it. The mesa felt electric and when I closed my eyes at times I could literally feel it move and rock back and forth. Later we sat down to recover but for me the energy continued to return and pulse within my charged body. At about 10pm we headed off to eat and I still felt very connected to the Huachuma as the energy continued to ebb and flow within me. Don Howard said he went easy on us and to expect a harder time in our next ceremony. While I was resting after the maloca experience I had some visions of snakes enveloping me and my surroundings which in retrospect was a major clue foreshadowing what was to come. The first mesada is based on the lower world, water, and birth so this seemed appropriate and didn't alarm me. The next mesada is based on the middle world, earth, where we are currently in our journey. I went to bed about midnight and I still felt the energy going through me for another few hours.
entrance to temple at Edfu
The symbolism is that the doorway is a portal and this image affords protection and strength to the adherent making this journey into the sacred space of the temple, the temple representing a place you would enter in order to come into contact with the gods and at this point we can easily make the leap to see how an ancient temple is really a way of physically manifesting the altered state of consciousness. That's something you don't get taught in history class. Now the winged sun disk is called Horus of Behedet, there is a huge temple devoted to him at which is now the modern site of Edfu, and the image of this winged sun disk is one of an orb that is resembling the sun with wings being flanked on either side by these two serpents that are positioned back to back.
In ancient Egypt the light contained in the sun is Re, the physical disk is called the Aten, but this disk is referencing Horus leading me to believe this is light that is generated not from the sun but by some other means. The artists were trying to convey this divine celestial light and were referencing the light of the sun and applying that imagery to this light being generated by Horus who is representing the reborn soul. The two serpents are the sister goddesses that protect the light and have ever since Horus was a newborn, born from the union of Isis and Osiris. These sister goddesses in ancient Egypt are Isis and Nephthys and in serpent form are called Wadjet and Nekhebet.
Wadjet and Nekhebet
They also manifest as two feathers that surround this light in some of the crowns worn by the gods and pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
pharaoh Amenhotep III offering to Nekhebet
By Kairoinfo4u photographer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manna4u/18062132836/in/photostream/
So as you can now see this leads me to the conclusion that the two serpents I saw in the vision are these two goddesses. So what about this unworldly light in the vision? It dawned on me as I processed this whole scenario that the light in this scene is me. It will make more sense after I describe what happened in the third mesada and before I'm accused of deifying myself as a god I'll just point out that this light is the essence of all of humanity. We just need to realize the power and divinity within us and that we are the light. Anyways I eventually was able to get up and continue as the coursing energy had subsided for the moment and I felt giddy and strolled down the path hand and hand with Shadi and Nikki, who are sisters, which was really strange because the vision I had was of serpent sisters. The Huachuma kept coming at me in waves though and at times flooring me once again as we had turned around and started heading back to the boats. At one point I cycled out and had to sit down again; Shadi was trying to show me how to ground myself to dissipate my energy into the earth as she must have been feeling it as well. She was telling me to get my hands and feet on the ground and she was trying to take off my boots to help me. I had no idea what was happening and then she went off into the grass and did this herself. I then picked myself up, tried to regain my composure, and continued walking. Sam grabbed my backpack and tried to help me along while others were chuckling at how messed up I was. We started pouring water on our heads to try and cool off as I felt like there was electricity conducting throughout my body. I was trying to stay cool so I wouldn't have some kind of a meltdown. Along the path I could now see serpents rising up out of the pavement and I tried to point it out to someone but they probably thought I was delusional. At this point Sam curiously started showing me this Qigong snake pose that gathers energy into the palm of your hand. It was rather odd yet strangely fascinating that here I was seeing serpents everywhere and he's showing me how to turn my hand into a snake that is in a striking position. You draw back energy into the palm of your hand with your fingers spread apart, turn it to face you, and snap it into place. It then feels like a ball of captured energy you could then fire at something. I released it into the ground. We then stopped somewhere along the path and Sam was then showing me the energy in the sky. He said look at the trees and then in front of them. I did that and saw a huge aura surrounding them; it was energy I had noticed before with Ayahuasca. Following this, lightning strikes were seen in the sky followed by a rainbow which made the whole scene even more surrealistic. After that I helped Nikki get down the steps to the boat and somehow ended up sitting in the back of the boat in between these sisters again. It was like I was being guided in order to eventually figure out this vision I had of the sister serpents and the light. We got back to the sanctuary and I had a shower and while washing myself in the shower I looked down and in the water hitting the tiles were forming serpents everywhere. I didn't know what to make of it at the time; I think I had probably had enough for the evening however now I'm thinking that was cool! The experience had been so overwhelming and nothing I could have prepared for and this was after I thought I had a handle on things especially after being able to navigate the Ayahuasca experience, but I was once again in a position where I had ceded control. I headed to the ceremonial maloca afterwards content to just sit back in my chair as I was exhausted and just wanted to rest. A bunch of people went up to take the singado, which is a tobacco infusion you snort that is to bring you clarity. I didn't have the physical wherewithal to to participate in that as the Huachuma energy was still pulsating through my veins. I had to repeatedly ground myself on the floor and use that Qigong move to try and dissipate all the energy when it kept returning in waves. Eventually we went to get something to eat around 11pm and I was starving but couldn't physically eat much as chewing was an ordeal. I went to bed around midnight, couldn't sleep, which I was prepared for, and continued to feel the coursing of the energy until it ended around 4am. Fifteen hours of tripping! I was thinking I should pass on the final ceremony tomorrow because I don't want to experience fifteen hours of energy pulsing in my body again however it is a different theme for the mesada so different energies will presumably be in play. I'll probably participate especially now that my curiosity is peaked with this serpent energy. I'm not sure if I'll have the courage to snort the Vilca at the conclusion of tomorrow's ceremony though as the Huachuma seems more than enough without compounding it with something else I have never experienced.
Thoth with caduceus featuring Nekhebet and Wadjet
I noticed Nikki and Shadi both looking like they were in distress and crying. They both ended up on the ground in the middle of the maloca and it appeared to me that Shadi started to hyperventilate and her brother Sam came over to help her. This is when things got supernatural and hard to explain but I swear I saw this with my own eyes and it was such a jolt to my very existence that I knew it wasn't a hallucination. Sam started using his hand to direct this energy up from Shadi's pelvic region to her head and up and out through her mouth. I thought back to the Qigong lesson he had given me two days ago and I saw this energy, I could see it moving, and it was the greenish yellow force I had seen last time manifest as the two serpents. Sam and Shadi's face also started to extrude this greenish yellow colour. I couldn't believe I was witnessing this. Seriously I stood there awestruck thinking I was watching visual effects in real life. At that moment in time I questioned everything in my life that to that day I had accepted as real and now witnessing this I knew I could never view my existence at this present time the same ever again. I could not positively say anything in my existence up until now had been real; either our whole existence is one big hallucination or our reality is malleable. I started to pick up on this energy and I looked around and saw more energy manifesting all over the area. I had to go sit down and just contemplate before I lost any last remaining sense of what grounds me in this world and my ego-mind then went into hyper drive trying to explain what was going on. I closed my eyes and felt this energy and I felt how vital a force it was and how everyone feeds off of it. Some of the energy felt sexual, some of it sinister, and it was everywhere. I slipped off into some altered reality at this point and received a download of information about who I was and my relationship to the feminine divine. She is our mother, she is love, and she gives birth to the light. The major teaching was that I am light, we are all light, and that darkness will stop at nothing to try and enslave us. This world is partly an illusion created for the purpose of enslaving us and trying to find out the secret of what constitutes this light. All throughout history the darkness has tried everything to mine the secrets of the light. It has tortured it, and ritually killed it, but it keeps coming back. It has enslaved it, and almost extinguished it, but the darkness now knows that in order to exploit humanity's light it has to allow it to burn brightly so that's why you will always find pockets of the good manifesting in mankind. As time passed by effortlessly and unknowingly to me in this state I came to and noticed it was time to return to the boats and on the way back I gravitated back into the higher form of consciousness that seems to have a greater understanding of the whole. I had this feeling of my life force energy draining while on the boat ride back and this continued on for the rest of the evening and I'm not sure what to make of it or its meaning. I think it was because I was frantically going through the information I had received about the darkness being a vampiric force that preys on the massive energy and light generated by humanity in its pure form. I once again was focused on how they will stop at nothing to try and capture this light, relocate it, and mine the mother earth for her secrets but they haven't figured it out yet and they never will because it is love they are looking for. I thought about how they try to imprison this force but are careful not to diminish this light it puts forth anymore. The world is set up to control our light and methods of fear, addictions, vices, and hypnotic energies are ever present waiting for us to submit. The dark forces want us to sell our light, essentially our soul in exchange for temporary power, aggrandizement, and safe passage as the monetary system, of which we are forced to participate in and cannot escape, makes us pimp out our graces in order to physically survive. Cut off from the great mother, we are not aware of who we are and live in fear of expiration. At this point I realized the awesome power within me and my strength. I told the darkness that if it wants to continue to probe me for my secrets I will not tolerate hardships or threats to my family. I know the darkness will never figure out the light because it is based on love and they do not understand that. I compared it in my head to science seeking out a god particle that would underlie their conception of a solitary material universe, subject to the universal laws of physics, that is the only valid realm and never being able to find it. I remembered my pet name for the Goddess - Mary - and kept the thought of Mary and the light in my head so I would remember all this when I cycled back down into normal consciousness. It was dusk now as I manifested in and out of our consensus reality; the sunset was electric and the atmosphere for some reason felt like a celebration. The sky was lighting up with fireworks to my left and it felt like I was in a procession. I wondered if I was hallucinating this celebration of my realization that I am light? I thought about plant medicines and how they continually find a way back into our collective consciousness despite repeated efforts to suppress them as right now at this stage in our history they are rising up and spreading out from the Amazon. My ego-mind was fighting this the whole time trying to get me to see I shouldn't mess with these substances. I remember finding this whole trip to be tiring and as we approached the sanctuary the guy beside me on the boat, Dave, had been humming the OM sound in my ear and it was really annoying me; it felt like an insect trying to drill some ear worm into my brain and forever turned me off to that sound. When we rounded the bend and approached the dock Dave said "we're back" and at the exact same time I felt myself corkscrewing back into my body for good. It was surreal. I got out of the boat and noticed the stars in the sky lit up like jewels again. I went to my room and sat on the bed, closed my eyes, and felt the energy all around me again. It was uncomfortable so I went into the ceremonial maloca but felt uncomfortable in there as well so I went back outside and started pacing around the maloca. I was conflicted by the whole day and all I'd seen and experienced and it seemed obvious to me that I needed to just rest, not only my physical self but I needed to calm my thoughts. My ego-mind was taking over as exhaustion set in but I promised the Goddess I'd stay strong. Once back in the maloca don Howard was talking about how special this third mesada was and what was to come. He talked of accessing pure energy and I thought of how much I'd purified myself in the last couple of years. We then went up to the mesa and proceeded to rotate around once again and looking at others' faces I could see they were experiencing this power in some respect as well. Myself, instead of feeling strength, I was still feeling like the power was draining from me, which I attribute to my ego-mind trying to make sense of all this and the events that had taken place today. When we returned to our seats some went up to partake of the Vilca snuff and I kept feeling surges of energy then envelop me when people approached the mesa to do the snuff. I felt so spent and had no desire to ingest anything further this night as I know I just needed to calm down so I could regain my composure and then start the processing of this experience. When this last mesada ended at midnight we gathered to eat and I was speechless at this point with a desire to just be left alone to go through my thoughts. I still felt the energy within me cycling with this desire to let it dissipate so I could return to some sort of normal state. A bunch of us stayed in the dining maloca until 5am still full of this powerful energy. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep so I had decided beforehand to stay up until sunrise, so I went back to my room to write for a bit. I knew my time in the jungle had come to an end at this point and felt the need for the first time to just go home. Parting is always such sweet sorrow as I felt so close and connected to this group of people I had shared these experiences with. It's funny that over such a short period of time, two and a half weeks, that you can establish such a relationship with people who share with you similar feelings of a desire to search for what is missing but doesn't it seem obvious that we become close because we are all connected and we don't have to live our lives so divisively and so full of fear and suspicion. To change the world we need to change the dominant paradigm of fear into its opposite which is love.
Book of the Dead Spell 17
In 2011 my faithful canine companion passed away and I started reflecting on how the canine in ancient Egypt was the opener of the ways and what that means is they are the guide of the soul through the darkness of material incarnation and that if I'm to believe I will ever find the answers to my quest then I have to trust that I'll be led in the proper direction. It was soon after as Christmas approached, that I heard the song "We Three Kings" and the gifts they offered to the newborn saviour being gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was like a light bulb went off in my head as I immediately knew these were all connected to the great Goddess of ancient Egypt. An epithet of the great ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor is "the gold" and I knew at the temple located at Deir el Bahri they depict on the walls an expedition to a land called Punt where they went in search of frankincense and myrrh to bring back to be used in the veneration of Hathor at this temple.
Myrrh from Punt
Sketching it all together in my head I had an idea that the birth of Christ is symbolic of the birth of the light and somehow the Goddess is involved in this. I spent 2012 researching the great goddesses of ancient Egypt and it became clear from references to intoxication and night time dancing that there were rituals designed to lead the aspirant into contact with her. From reading Mircea Eliade's books on shamanism I had a pretty good idea these rituals were shamanic in nature although none of the Egyptological books claimed this was so. So I started trying to figure out what psychoactive chemicals would lead me to the Goddess. I'd never been into the whole drug scene so I wasn't too sure or knowledgeable of where to begin but a chance conversation with an online friend from California who wrote his thesis on the use of psychoactive compounds to treat PTSD in soldiers led to him matter of factly saying I was looking for Ayahuasca. I said ayawhat? Anyway that led me down the rabbit hole and eventually to the Amazon where I did meet the Goddess I had been searching for plus much more I was really not expecting. From my standpoint now I can give this overview: I started earnestly seeking using my accumulated wisdom and knowledge to begin and then a canine pointed me in the direction of the Goddess. I found her, contacted her through Ayahuasca, she then instructed and protected me as best she could and then led me to the light through Huachuma. I realize now that we seekers are looking for the light, we are heading towards the light, we are seeking the elusive enlightenment… and then I realized I saw the light and it was in me, it was me. Enlightenment is elusive; you'll never attain it because you always were enlightened. You just never knew it.
Am I finished now with plant medicines? I don't think so because I remain very intrigued. To this point I have had trouble being in the moment and retaining some semblance of rational thinking while in the head space that these entheogens bring you into. To my credit I have been able to remember and write everything I experienced down so I could process and figure it out later once I had calmed my mind. However now with my experience I want to be able to stay calm and rational within the moment and through this I believe I will be able to receive even more benefit and answers from these journeys into a separate reality.