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Friday, December 30, 2016

teach me one of those harder lessons

The ego is greatly concerned with identity and as a culture we play into this neurosis by constantly assigning and reaffirming one's identity. Governments are keen on documenting all citizens and stamping a trail of discernible identifiable clues to confirm whom you are. Birth Certificates start off the lifelong attachment to identity reinforcing the conception of self as a separate causality. The explosion of online tools such as Facebook and Twitter are embraced for their ability to craft and showcase how we wish to be perceived and burying the faults, while a game like Second Life allows us some freedom from the conformist requirements of modern society. The machinations of the establishment run on confidence of a singular identity for all members of the system. Without this structure in place the world schema would be thrown into chaos. The bank is comfortable lending me money for a home and credits cards for purchases because there is a system in place that ties me to my identity and makes me responsible for what I do in accordance with the identity that has been crafted for me partly of my own volition and also in accordance with society's wishes. It would be hard for our society to function in a paradigm of fluid identity. Law enforcement would be thrown into shambles and the concept of personal responsibility, which guides polite behaviour, becomes null and void.

But the idea of a separate self this line of thinking promulgates is highly questionable. Take for example a city that has been built up into a fairly large metropolitan centre. The borders of the city are arbitrary and artificial and in accordance with this the incorporated entity doesn't actually exist though it probably has discernible landmarks and structures as well as prominent citizens that give it a (his) story that allows us to comprehend it as really existing. Except it doesn't. It's just something we have given form and identity to but upon dissolution, and all things are ravished by time to the point of destruction, it becomes just a memory; just a story we can either remember or easily forget. Now project the above onto your form and you can see how we are playing a part in this drama but to think we really are something is folly. It's a game foisted upon us since birth promulgated by a conspiracy of fellow players who also have no idea they are contributing to the charade. To deny a fixed identity is a step towards quitting the madness.

To be clear, the extreme left and right wings of the political spectrum that are both essentially domineering modes of state control do appear to downplay the role of the individual and thus identity. However though the individual is expected to conform to a position that best benefits the state, there is no fluidity of identity in these systems, just an inherent way to frustrate the individual so we all become dull and drab comrades or hypnotized followers of a demagogue.

However I return to the difficulty of constructing our society upon a bedrock that does not contain a modicum of personal responsibility. It is impossible to imagine humans running around in personal and societal anarchy. The difficulties seem insurmountable, but wait, what is the result of how we have structured the human condition here on earth? Our past is a gruesome and violent history of constant strife, suffering, and warfare interspersed with periods of peace and progress. The game we have chosen to play, buttressed by a strong dose of ego, has led to conflict and separation from each other as forces released into the world such as tribalism and its big brother nationalism convinced us to do cruel and horrible things to others because they are perceived as different and outsiders. On a personal level, the need for and accumulation of wealth so we can buy material goods that give us identity and status to further establish our bona fides that declare us as having made it in this wicked game we play, is frankly delusional and sickening. Is there a better way? Do we look towards what the Buddha described as the middle way? I would tend to say the answer does reveal a solution to this problem somewhere in the centre. Less emphasis on the individual and more on the sisterhood and brotherhood of all humankind would eventually through successive generations lead to more cooperation as a species and help deal with the escalating problems of racism and the polarization of national identities and religion that we face today. The eventual long term conclusion of this change in behaviour would hopefully lead to a profound realization that we all come from the same source and along the same line of reasoning the notion to treat someone any differently than you would treat yourself would be unfathomable because they are essentially a reflection of self.

The catalyst that has led me down this road of exploration of identity are events where my sense of self has been altered through the use of the teacher plants Ayahuasca and Huachuma. It was first off through my second experience with Ayahuasca, which perturbed my well established ego and sent me for a loop. I did not respond well to this challenge, rebelled, and tried to run from the medicine's attempt at knocking down the edifice of self. I remember being an hour's walk into the jungle in the middle of the night paranoid that the tangible paper and plastic establishment of my identity, my passport and credit cards, had been confiscated and I was no longer who I said I was. This was very frightening and it took almost a year to recover from that experience and I masochistically in time went back into the jungle for more of the same. I put my trust in the plant teachers and during this recent trip Huachuma presented to me a dissociative experience where I knew where I was at the time but my sense of self had vanished and in its place was a closet full of different identities I was free to choose from. Due to conditioning, I instinctively chose the one society has assigned to me but I realized there were so many more to choose from, with the caveat that society would then collectively label me as crazy should I indeed assume an identity that had not been approved to wear.

And that is what led to this essay.

Monday, December 19, 2016

two faced mind games

The two portals of the horizon from which the sun comes forth and exits represents duality, specifically the bipolar nature of the intellectual mind. The mind can be thought of as the brilliance of the sun with the spark of intelligence within conscious humankind contrasted with the controlling hidden darkness to which we are loathe to admit. These two elements are forever contending. The ancient Egyptians called them brothers: Horus and Set and from this warring a popular piece of literature from the dynastic period of Egypt is called 'The Contendings of Horus and Set' which I have written previously about in this blog post. The name for this horizon 'god' is Harakhty, which has been translated as 'Horus of the horizon' which is incomplete in my view.

Re-Harakhty at Ramesses II Temple at Abu Sibel

The proper translation in my opinion should be 'the two faces of the double horizon.' The hr is referring to a face, the akh(e)t to the horizon, and the y makes it plural. 

ḥr - the ancient Egyptian Face hieroglyph
Gardiner sign listed no. D2
Rémih via CC BY-SA 3.0

The iconography of Harakhty presents as a falcon, this divine predatory avian symbol representing at times not only Horus but instructively for the purposes of this essay also Set as shown here at the desert Temple of Hibis in the Kharga oasis.

The renegade Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten's god, called by Egyptologists Aten, was early in its iconography at his desert outpost Akhetaten, referred to in the textbooks as Amarna, given the standard of the falcon and referred to as Re-Harakhty. The solar aspect of Re is recognizing the role of the light of the sun being inherent in the divine mind within the human race. The strength and path of the sun encapsulates all these principles in the ubiquitous luminescent orb and was collectively referred to as Aten. This long and detailed blog post delves into this most interesting topic. 

Akhenaten offering to Aten
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

In Greek mythology the divine part of the mind is the god Apollo. His counterpart is the shadowy dragon Typhon, whom by this exploration into the myth is representing the lower self. Apollo slays this dragon at Delphi which enables the fabled oracle at Delphi.

Delphi

It's interesting to speculate on this myth. Does the freeing of the mind from darkness allow for the feminine intuition and ability to 'see' into the future to be tapped into? Or alternatively is it the lower self that is the oracle?

The great light of the sun coming forth by day is the intellect, the divine mind called nous in Greek. At its zenith, this ball of luminous light reaches up high into the northern sky. It enlightens the symbolic representations of the world axis such as the tree of life and the omphalos or world navel that connects us to the great mother. After the setting of the sun when the darkness takes over is the rise of the Pythian dragon Typhon; the brother of the divine mind that in our dualistic world becomes the adversary. This coiled basilisk serpent wraps itself around the world tree, the great mother, and reaches up into the pinnacle of the heavens demanding worship as the most high as it manifests in the northern circumpolar constellation of the dragon, Draco.


Twisted Draco

Taking the axiom 'As Above, So Below' and giving it a spin we can extrapolate 'What's Outside is Within' and in order for this inward perspective to come into the light the internal dragon must be slain. In order to understand the dragon in turn we must take our leave of light.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

reality as a dream state

The content of recent Ayahuasca ceremonies has given me pause for thought. The ceremonies started off somewhat dark and I have also noticed the ephemeral materials used to construct the visions at first are like building blocks. My thoughts concerning this is the projection of darkness and primitive structures is of my own making. My mental energy projects the negativity at the start of the ceremony because it is my normal mind state. I usually go there first, the cynical and dismissive, so it makes sense I would enter into a world constructed out of that energy upon commencement of the inner journey. In these mind states I noticed once I silenced my mind or directed my consciousness towards love everything would change and the scenes would become more fully developed. If I am correct, what I am perceiving is the beginnings of an understanding that I am a co-creator not only in my world which I live in but it is also like a practice run of this discovery that worlds are made up of projected mental energy and since I am a novice this is what I come up with. It could also be a metaphorical representation of my limited skills in this regard. When I enlist the heart, the scenes in my visions become richer. This is very interesting and exciting because I'm keen to test and develop this. It is very reminiscent of the idea of the Logos. It is in a sense creation by fiat through mentation.

This leads to the idea of reality as a dream state. By dream state what I'm inferring is the mind at large imagining the world into existence. As the fount of all consciousness, the mind at large is responsible through the process of mentation, for this universe and the laws that govern it. The mind at large however is not the monad of non duality. The one is the combination of the masculine mind at large with the feminine creator. The mind at large is the impetus for creation but it is the feminine that brings forth creation by crafting the mental energy into forms. The separation of the feminine and masculine is what initiated the unfolding of the universal creative process and the human is the crowning achievement of this process, and we all retain aspects of the mother and the father. As children of the all we possess their traits, and they sometimes remain forever latent within or are expressed in ways unbeknownst to us. The dream state we experience during sleep is an excellent example of this. Within our dreams we create multi faceted and very interesting worlds governed by whatever laws and parameters are assigned to this state. Curiously our individual dream states revolve around our sense of self which is in stark contrast to the idea of reality as the dream state. If the mind at large maintained an overbearing sense of self then the dream state projected would be very lonely. By forfeiting the sense of self, the mind at large becomes the many, loses itself in the process, but through this sacrifice allows for the multi faceted universe. My contention is that our process of dreaming is built off of this ability to imagine worlds into existence. Why our dream worlds remain primitive and self centred is that we have not fully become cognizant of who we really are. When we reach that knowledge as a species then we can let go of ego, that sense of self, and each can effortlessly manifest another dream world of the many, creating further universes that all invariable link back to the divine couple. It leads to speculation that builds upon this idea of what level are we currently at in the dream state? Is this 'reality' we live in a product of the original monad or has the chain of dreaming reached several dreamers who have now conjured this existence which of course would then extend to other infinite dreamers who have mastered the art of mentation? I also intuit a sense of adventure, hide and seek, and discovery in this divine dream game of sorts. It is the masculine mind at large that becomes the many but the feminine aspect remains whole and reveals herself in the heart, in nature, and as the Goddess. The mind at large separated into the many, I recognize it as a part of me, my intelligence, and it has always been front and centre within though a lifelong struggle with its opposite form here in this duality, what we call ego, has ensued. The ego then at some point in our lives gets the upper hand. By sensing the presence of the feminine and allowing the heart to flourish one can receive the strength necessary to give the mind the power to overcome ego, throw off its chains and rescue the princess, the feminine, who has been imprisoned by the dragon.

It is said by the indigenous people who are very experienced with Ayahuasca that the visions induced by this brew are of the same world as dreams. I have given much thought to this and compared the visionary and dream state from a personal standpoint. Curiously in the visionary state I have had experiences where I have felt I was participating in the creation of the vision and what was interesting about it was the primitive nature of the vision. When I felt that I was in control of the process I have recorded that the vision felt and looked like it was made out of Lego blocks and was crude. During my last cycle of work I made major strides in being able to quiet the mind and allow the heart space to become the driver of the visionary state. This was because when I remained within my head I had major problems dealing with ego and the ceremonies would turn dark but when I finally gained the ability to move out of the head and into the heart the vibe changed dramatically. Not only the darkness dissipated but the quality of the visions became more detailed and ornate. As well when I have remained ensconced in the head space visions at times have ceased altogether. It leads me to believe my capacity for dreaming a world into existence is very primitive, as expected, and it would be a long teaching process to advance to a level of mastery concerning the ability to create worlds. What seems to corroborate this is the first time I drank Ayahuasca and was immediately in the presence of the Goddess and remained that way for the night. The visions were of exquisite and bejewelled rooms dripping with opulence and a smell that delighted my senses, so much so my seeking out this fragrance in the mundane world has proved fruitless! This was the dream world of the Goddess. The second time I drank and became ensconced in the hypnotic world of the ego it was not pleasant at all, but rather quite strange, upsetting, and induced a huge amount of fear. It brings up the idea of co-creation and being given a choice of what kind of world you want to create not only in the dream state but within the consensus reality waking dream state we find ourselves currently in. The dream state compared to the visionary state on the other hand is for the most part pretty rich and varied but always from a first person perspective and I have noted instances of ego mind permeating the dream where I would be judging others actions within the dream. The dream state is naturally relinquished to the subconscious yet I maintain a sense of self, the ego spell, which then contaminates the dream. Conversely in the visionary state I have been able to to bypass ego and that results in a feeling of oneness, connection, bliss, and universal love. When ego has been allowed to remain in the visionary state the experience goes dark.

This is continuing education in the school of universal consciousness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

partial integration redux

Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

The path you choose boils down to choice. I recently tested out my belief that once I successfully gain control over a past behaviour I should reintroduce it or revisit it for a trial period to see if I do indeed have control over it - try it as many times as you think necessary. The behaviour is a little deviant and could be destructive but it is a part of me; one of those pieces I'd hide but do have to acknowledge makes up the sum total of this entity I call myself. But therein lies the rub. Who I am is characterized by thoughts and behaviours. That seems sketchy but it is indeed the core. Who is generating the thoughts that influences behaviour? Ah that's the little man in the head, the ego. So the concept of self is a construct of ego. Memories reinforce ego though not necessarily in a defined way. Our compartmentalized brains collect memories to mimic mind at large but do so on a temporal level and further contribute to a sense of self. 

I can’t really define who I am as a separate self because I am made up of a myriad of different personalities, thoughts, delusions, and beliefs. My body shell is basic instinct and from there I take that vehicle and start attaching behaviours to it. So the resultant avatar I create is of my own doing, with help from society and the environment. It was always about choice. I attached the behaviours from a pick of many available, to a particular instinct and created a part of me I then labelled as my dark side. I created my dark side and then fretted over having a dark side. This was all aided and abetted by that voice in the head. Who I have become is by choice. We see others in the same dilemma who have made choices and built their character and we judge the construct they have come up with, which is all endlessly fascinating. We incarnate as a blank slate and cultural, instinctual, environmental, and eventually neurosis, because of previous choices and influences, shape who we are, the decisions we make, and what traits we absorb most freely. Without being exposed to an available behaviour, there's a good chance I would not have taken on that behaviour. In combination with our basic instincts it becomes easier to suggest and manipulate behaviour through exposure and an appeal to these instincts. It is the foundation of the advertising industry. The desire to create this character is a function of ego as well as the need to establish an identity - behaviour which mimics instinctual traits in humans. Through the judgment of others and ourself, we further establish a separate persona. The teenager strongly feels this within for the first time as they have by this period in their life built up a pretty solid identity and they start to pull away from the parents with a strong desire for independence. 

In terms of behaviour, as an example take a look at sexual habits. We are born with a latent sexual drive which at puberty manifests and allows for the propagation of the species. Human sexuality due to ego is quite varied. At first the sexual act is enough of a thrill on its own to engage the mind and senses. As we move through life we are exposed to more varieties of sexual behaviour and from this menu we take of what we like and want to try and at first these become fantasies. At this point they become attached to the sex drive but they are not instinctual, they are a product of the ego mind and in a way used as a method for control. If the fantasy is taboo it may become obsessional and upon completion of the act or living out the fantasy, the ego shames the human puppet it has established control over. It is very difficult to break out of this cycle at this point. The neurosis then invites you to go deeper into the behaviour. The sexual act and gratification is almost secondary, instead it has become a psychological pursuit and a need to satisfy the deviant thoughts that have been implanted within your head by the ego mind. The process repeats complete with shame and disgust but that fades within a day and then the thoughts reappear inviting you to continue the addiction. The same process is present in drug addiction. Part of what makes the sex drive operate is our desire for pleasure. Certain drugs, especially opiates, target the pleasure centres and are highly addictive and demand more and more control over the user. This leads to bizarre behaviour to satiate the addiction as well as a need to take more and more until it approaches fatalistic levels. Heroin junkies come off as extremely unhappy and desperate. 

There is something about the ego that is at its core nefarious. It maliciously works its way into our heads, gradually becoming part of you, a trusted friend, before executing almost complete control over us. It projects this behaviour onto humankind at large with a bent towards sociopathic behaviour, and a desire for power and control. If the ego cannot accomplish what it most desires it turns on us, makes us miserable and depressed with low self esteem and it turns us towards other pursuits that curtail our potential, dim our light, and close down our hearts. It acts like a parasite and will kill its host if it feels the structure and behaviour it has created is no longing serving it. I have directly experienced this while in an altered state of consciousness. I desperately wanted to change the path I was on and where I was headed and my ego, disguised as 'god' told me to stay on the path I was on even though the behaviour I was engaged in was very destructive. I was told by this very mysterious character that if I did not follow this admonition that he would cause me to commit suicide. No joke, this actually went on during a trip.

I am satisfied at this point that there really is no self. I believe we are all of the same consciousness, what I call mind at large, materially birthed from the great mother. Spirit and Soul. Children of divine parents, who when combined is the all. But I don't know about this shadowy ego thing. It is demonic, devious, deceptive, and slippery. It is controlling and parasitical and tries to come off as your best friend much like a con man. It tries to gain your trust and once that is secured leads you away from the heart and derails human potential and destiny. If life is a game, a drama, an adventure then perhaps that is why we have this ego. A game isn't fun without an opponent, a drama isn't compelling without an adversary, and an adventure isn't worthwhile without a challenge. The ego has a part to play and does it very well. It deserves accolades for its performance. The game I'm playing has seen me finally take the lead, the story is reaching the climax where I've outed the demon. He doesn't like to lose but that's the situation he now finds himself in.

Reflecting on the lack of a self and discovering that who we think we are is just a bunch of acquired behaviours interspersed with thoughts and associations we've decided to hang onto, I think it gives the eastern idea of attachment a whole new spin. To discover who you are it is taught to shed attachment. I've taken that to mean attachment to the material world, the world of forms, because this will pull us back into incarnation as you are carrying the weight of the world. But I see now that attachment also refers to the concept of self. I realized during my last trip to Peru that the last and most difficult attachment to give up is the sense of self. Breaking down the self, it seems that it is composed of a feedback loop of transient identities that like barnacles have attached themselves to an artificial edifice, a dualistic byproduct of consciousness, and I locate this construct in my head. The self is conjured by ego and then masterfully the puppeteer takes charge. We are loathe to give up the sense of self because it has been a life long endeavour that in a sense has given purpose. Forfeiting self throws into chaos meaning for our life. Shedding the attachment of self and its associated behaviours breaks this down and eventually this non attachment leads to discovery of the higher self, self really being a misnomer as the higher self is really the mind at large, the mind at large being total consciousness.

So what happens when you shed yourself of attachments, personality, identity, the self? Do you become feral? Well I think not because at this point as a human you are connected to higher consciousness as well as your soul. Wisdom, knowledge, love, compassion, creativity, ingenuity will now become second nature to you. It is no more a performance but rather a reflection of who you truly are.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

partial integration

We are limiting the intellectual abstraction of mind as being nothing more than an autonomous sense of self. That line of thinking would posit the brain generates mind. In actuality the brain generates or perhaps I should say it enables ego mind, which is a byproduct of conscious awareness or to look at it another way the flip side of mind, using a coin as a symbol of pervasive duality. The intellect and instinct are two sides of this mind coin. They are brothers, the Horus and Set of ancient Egypt. The triumph of one over the other is cyclical - you can't have a Christ without the anti-Christ. Taking another intellectual step further into the abyss of duality, the all encompassing mind at large is splintered off and reduced into a vehicular body via compartmentalizing itself into a brain, ergo the brain is in this respect a limited mechanical model of the mind at large. Through specialized sense perception the mind operates very narrow in scope in what we call the material world, a world of low vibrational forms. At this point the mind we are familiar with in this constrained mode of awareness is faced with the prospect that it is indeed a separate entity because its true origins are concealed by the handicap of not knowing how crippled it really is perceptually. We all then suffer from this misplaced sense of self. What we don't realize is we all are of the same mind by reasoning this origin is common to all. By biologically propagating itself the mind at large diversifies and learns about its infinitely varied nature, though its offspring are tragically ignorant of their provenience. 

With this knowledge it's interesting to speculate on the ubiquitous eyes that many experience in the psychedelic trance being the eyes of mind at large examining itself from many perspectives. It is essentially what consciousness is all about - the one becoming the many in order to gain further understanding of itself. The one is aware but not from the perspective of inside its own creation, therefore wishing to be cognizant of itself from within, the mind at large's solution was the genius of what we call consciousness that presents itself in many varied forms. As an example humans see the world with stereoscopic vision and our brains crunch this data along with other external sensory input perceived with our other senses to give us a view of the world. Well imagine this on an unimaginable scale! Total consciousness for the mind at large is the sense and knowing of the all, ongoing feedback from billions and billions of forms.

Before going further, it would be a mistake to declare this mind at large all there is, instead it is one half of the equation of oneness. What we call the godhead, totality, source, the all, and so on is the ecstatic sexual embrace of the feminine and masculine energetic polarities that when separated allow creation to flourish. Life that is flourishing begins at the cosmic orgasm, the metaphorical 'big bang' of physicists being an apt way of describing how the universe, in essence creation, came into existence. This model answers the question that as children comes naturally to all upon hearing of the big bang: "But what came before the big bang?" Well junior, the feminine and masculine energies, the eternal Grandmother and Grandfather, were locked in a passionate embrace and until they separated, all remained as one. 

If we can trace everything back to the 'one' then at some point we have to come to terms with what are perceived as negative influences or entities are aspects of the all as well. It is a progression in thought that eventually strikes you hard on the head. I have spent the last year trying to come to grips with ego. What is its origin? Who controls the ego? Why does it wish to exert total control over us? I returned to Peru to go through another cycle of plant medicine use to further come to an understanding of ego and to try and corral this ego by altering my consciousness and facing this slippery concept through intention. I feel I was somewhat successful in this endeavour and at one point I tried to puke it out but it came back. I realized after one particular ceremony upon deep reflection that my dependence on the ego had affected negatively all the relationships in my life that I hold near and dear. I learned that in order to have peace of mind you need to silence the mind thereby disabling the machinations of ego. I was shown how much choice is at play in how our lives are shaped and how we allow the ego to control how we act and react to daily situations. When I became a jaguar full of strength and power it was instrumental in showing me how mastery over our environment and self can negate the need for ego. I was also able to play the observer and see how we choose the identities we wish to cultivate and present to the outside world. This was in the form of a dressing room where different identities were available to choose from as a mask to lay over the blank slate which I had become at the time. The theme was once again choice. Ultimately it is all choice. The ego will always remain and we have free will and choice on how we allow it to influence us. 

Upon commencing this journey eight years ago where I was seeking my origins and answers to questions about my part in all of this, my ego has been along for the ride and being crafty has tried to stay one step ahead. To be honest though I have been searching for answers and was never actively searching for enlightenment. I happened upon enlightenment as a form of remembering - we all are enlightened, we have just forgotten that, so I have never fallen prey to the ego trap laid out for the seeker of enlightenment but I have definitely been aware of the ego's desire to lay claim to the higher spiritual knowledge that I have attained and a push towards taking a bit of a trip based on those spiritual revelations. For the most part I have successfully shut up about it and gone on with my usual inner superior knowing which has kept the ego somewhat satisfied (if that sounds egotistical it is supposed to be - I'm not immune to ego). I eventually came to the realization that the ego is ultimately a tool of the one who uses the ego to force us to come to terms with it in order to become self aware. In this way it can be thought of as an adversary, yes even Satan himself. It's duality at work and I want to say the divine mind as personified by the Logos/Jesus has a brother and that brother is the Devil. Both allow for us individual sparks of the divine to become self aware and that is the nature of our existence. Perhaps a meaning of life is for mind at large as consciousness to become self aware and to ultimately be presented with choice. It seeks knowledge of self and this is the construct by which source has created to come to terms with all aspects of self. Humans embody the combination of the intellect and wisdom and from our interactions in our world the all comes to a realization that given the level of intellect the human creature has been given what is the probability for different actions and outcomes to occur? How separated from ultimate knowledge of origin can source divide into and still maintain a probability that the creation will operate under the auspices and guidance of love? I submit humans stand on that edge.

For example as I write this the US 2016 Presidential elections are in full swing. The Hillary and Trump news cycle are a major example of this daily circus that presents itself to our consciousness and these distractions take you away from understanding the nature of reality and our place in it that is seemingly achieved through self reflection with the conundrum being that everything is ultimately one but we can only grasp that reality through this illusion of being separate that we all feel. Having the ability to self reflect and feel separate allows us to peer into the all from inside its creation with the byproduct of this ability resulting in ego. This collective ego then helps create the circus and round and round it goes.

Let me see if I can articulate this in a reasonable amount of words. In order to fully understand the universe and all there is you have to stand apart of it. But the whole seeking thing will reveal to you that we are all one so it is impossible to really achieve an understanding of self because you cannot separate yourself into the independent observer. However humans have this curious ability for self reflection where they do feel separate thanks to ego. Whether ego was given to us so we could find transcendence through being able to look upon creation in a delusory but ultimately instructive manner is quite a question to ponder! This brings up the question about whether Eastern methods of quieting the mind and transcending ego to find wholeness and inner peace is bypassing maybe the whole reason we are here in the first place and that is as a way for source to become consciously self aware of itself. That being said I would assert that before you can effectively use the ego as a tool for self reflection you need to have the discipline to be able to effectively quiet the mind in order to reset the mind when the ego once again attempts to dominate your thought processes. The ego will perpetually play the adversary however it should never be allowed to be ruler.

At some point a wrench might be thrown into the process of breaking down self and discovering the ego and how tricky and slippery it can be. I have engaged in the discovery, acknowledgement, and suppression of aspects of myself and this suppression allowed for a deeper understanding of self without this strong sense of distraction. I knew I had put it in a box hidden away for the time being and I came to an understanding of ego and an awareness of what it does to us and the reason I could do this was that I eliminated a major source of distraction. But I have temporarily let this dark side thing back out of the box and it is presenting me with many questions. It is another distinct construct of my making, an 'alter ego' perhaps? So I should have pluralized who I think I really am all along. How many of these aspects of self do I have? This one is strong and well developed but I must have many more. What's my true self? Is it only the part of me I like? Is it just another in a list of who I can be but a performer that I like to pretend is really me? It seems clear I have multiple alter egos; I'm okay with that but I have to re-evaluate things now. What do I do with this strong dark side that I can suppress but remains? Do I acknowledge it and occasionally feed it? It feels like a dangerous animal that is the flip side of the side of the me I like. It fits in with my whole concept and understanding of duality and everything having an opposite. I have as aspects of self - seeker me, shadow me, solitary me, sarcastic and cynical me, selfish me, loving and caring me. It's like a hodgepodge of transient behaviours and constructs that combine to form self. Is the answer than that self doesn't exist? That always seemed to be the existential truth behind all this seeking. We all come from the same source and are fundamentally all brothers and sisters in arms. We are all the one expressing itself in this waking dream state, this illusory hallucination that we all participate in. So my quest to pin down my self is ultimately futile. It doesn't exist. It is just layer after layer of constructs, some which I really like so I designate that as myself and consign the parts I don't like to a deviant construct of ego that needs to be corralled and in extreme cases vanquished. Weird. So fucking strange. And the best part is that mind at large is asking itself the same questions but on a grand scale! It has become the many in order to experience self; I am constantly testing the waters of existence by presenting different versions of myself in order to receive back data on how what I perceive as the external world will react. I liken it to peering into the foundation of our material world and peeling back layer after layer and never getting to the base material understanding of what constitutes creation. You are a cosmic onion. To try to understand yourself by peeling away layers of self, personality, and ego delusion only reveals more of the same. There are many iterations of myself, so many I can't reasonably ascertain which one is really me. The logical conclusion is there is no self; I just tell myself I'm a self in order to prevent an existential crisis. However if I view the concept of self from a different viewpoint in that I am the product of the separation of the totality of feminine and masculine energy then I have some hope of finding an origin of wholeness. 

The ability of the one to separate into many forms suggests that the idea of multiple personalities is not a disorder or pathological behaviour of the mind but instead is what could be called a default mode. What would lead to pathology would be an inability to realize when you have donned a different hat. In my day to day existence I seamlessly shift between different personalities with each one being utilized in a carefully constructed manner utilized for gain or positive outcomes concerning the self. What I propose here is that the division of the godhead into the many enables many forms of consciousness that are giving feedback which in turn describes the state of creation. What we have here is the all exhibiting multiple personalities and that ability manifests in higher forms of consciousness as well. Perhaps then my conception of ego needs to be clarified. I understand personality as projections of self that I display openly to those around me. I definitely have multiple personalities that are used depending on the situation and context. That's a given with everyone. Does ego as a construct then refer to just the side of you that makes you think in terms of being separate and is always judging others to establish a constant comparative action that reinforces the false feelings of separation and individualism? Then I'd have the idea of an ego side versus the higher self side that feels the wholeness and connection to all; these two sides being the pre-eminent example in our lives representing duality at work. So my dark side is then not necessarily ego based. Well I kind of know that. I realize my dark side's roots are instinctual impulses that have been allowed to become addictive and unhealthy by being mixed into a combination of hedonism and novelty. These behaviours do pull me into a spiral of selfishness so ultimately I do think they are aided and abetted by the ego principle. So ego is behind the aggrandizement of the dark side as it fulfills its goal of separation. A byproduct of this is distraction, these constant diversions keeping you away from any attempts at contemplation or silent meditation where you would have a fighting chance at discovering the higher self.

The self needs an internal and external observer to perpetuate the illusion. As long as you think you are a self you will be a self. The path home is through the heart. When you let go of the attachment of self then you return home. There's no self but there is what some would call a higher self or access to the mind at large that is present in our islands of ego. That seems to be the fount of intellect and conscious awareness. In my experience that seems to be masculine. Also in my experience that I've come across multiple times is a feminine other that is love and gives me a feeling of warmth in my heart. She can be mother, lover, and intuitive wisdom. She also feels like she is a part of me. The soul is the heart who is the mother. We talk of a soul as if it is a separate piece of us unique to each individual. The soul that we can experience is common to all as the mother. This is no more startling revealed then when drinking Ayahuasca and encountering a feminine presence that is collectively called Mother Ayahuasca. The unveiling of the mother would reveal that she is your soul and the same lady that appears in your visions and talks to you is the same who appears to another psychic traveller. Thus a clue into the investigation of who you really are. You are the expression of your parents, the child of the mother and father. The mother takes on many forms and the father as the spirit or mind at large intellectually engages the created form birthed by the mother to create the human which is the crowning achievement of evolution. But once again an enquiry into self will ultimately reveal we are a child of the soul and the spirit and as that child our identity is forever entwined and a direct result of that parentage and to the divine couple we shall return.

All emotions come from the heart. The mind is given free reign to create our world but it is the heart that pays the emotional price for the mistakes and conflict the mind and its brother ego introduces into creation. When the mind gets out of control or is bypassed it slips into ego. Ego locks away the heart. The heart as the princess is imprisoned in a castle made of gold by the dragon, the dragon enabled by the selfishness of the ego. The heart - the soul - is the mother of the dualistic human mind. As such, it is supportive of mind to her determent. When the mind slips into personal aggrandizement and turns on the mother the mother suffers yet does not unleash righteous fury upon this resultant monster.

As an aside let me just state that abstract language, and by abstract I mean that our alphabets are disconnected from image and symbol (think hieroglyphics) and are instead just shapes that have lost meaning for the most part, is the language of the ego mind. Its roots are in the intellectual mind but language has been absconded by the ego to reinforce the idea of nouns as concrete objects, the idea of a separate self and individualism, and is used to capture the imagination of people - the spell aspect of language is very apropos. It enabled the voice in the head to begin a non stop drivel of communication within you. An interesting thought experiment is to pay attention to a voice that comes through to you on a loudspeaker or the radio. It feels like another ego mind vying for attention and control of your thought processes. It then becomes instructive and a necessary step to enter into practices that can turn off this inner voice and allow for communication with aspects of the self that have been obfuscated by this voice.

Exploration of the mind seems like an eternal quest. Psychedelics are a catalyst for exploration but not the be all and end all nor do they provide all the answers you are searching for. They have definitely made me very curious and ready to engage higher faculties of thought and perception in order to try and grasp who I am. They have been very impressive at revealing aspects of my psyche that have been hidden away. Ego, dark sides, tricksters, the lover, the princess in the castle, the soul, the light, the divine feminine and masculine, the mother and the father. It has been post use in the integration period where insights have been quite revealing and rewarding. The symbolic and metaphorical language of the psyche creates riddles and puzzles to be ruminated on and starts the process of introspection and the search for answers. It is a very rewarding experience. I'd say that the primary reason why when I am using them I feel like I am done with them for a long time is because they can be upsetting and very challenging. But then upon returning home and to a sense of normalcy you start to process and integrate the experiences and it is so fascinating, rewarding, and insightful that you get the pull and requisite courage to go through the whole process again. I really appreciate a place like SpiritQuest in that regard because it has structure, it considers it work, is non judgmental, and it is very supportive of the undertaking. It is also valuable because it takes an effort and commitment to make the trip to Peru. If I were to obtain psychedelics closer to home and use them on a regular basis I don't think I would get nearly the same benefit out of the process. They would become habitual and recreational with none of the insights that draw me towards them and I would lose interest. 

I’m sure I will add to this in the future. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

i am jaguar

Every time I plan to go down to the Amazon to partake in ceremony or even at the moment just before drinking the plant medicines I always ask myself "why am I doing this again?" and then at some point during one of the ceremonies I'll say to myself "don't do this again" but now I am returning for the third time to undergo this immersion. This in essence is a good insight into the nature of how this medicine works - it so upsets your ego! The ego is working feverishly to prevent the escalation of this process. Whenever it can get a foot in the door it starts talking to you to try and turn you against this path as much as possible. After ceremonies conclude and during the lengthy integration processes you discover how truly holistic and healing the medicine plants can be. So you then decide to go back. And the cycle repeats until finally you fucking clue into what the ego (you think he's your best friend) has been up to and you tell the ego I'm going back this time to cut your fucking head off.

Surrender and Trust the plant medicines. There's no use flying down to Peru if I can't do this. A successful cycle of work will involve mastery over the ego mind.

The plant medicines that are given to you at SpiritQuest are prescriptive. In other words, the dosage is important and given in an environment that is conducive to healing and discovery. Like any medicine, not enough will be ineffective and too much can either cause delirium of some sort or be ultimately poisonous. Looking back now at these recent ceremonies with Ayahuasca, five in total and three more with Huachuma, all were really about choice. What am I here for, am I seeking power, or do I truly want to serve? There was no mistake that though you can claim the power for yourself it was not yours to give and the acquisition of it entailed consequences. There was power for sorcery which seemed to be opposite the whole idea that plant medicines are to be used for healing. Then there was the actual use of the plants to heal but the danger of the practitioner succumbing to ego and aggrandizing self as the powerful healer instead of acknowledging the plants as the true healers. Finally there was just being a servant of the plants' abilities to heal. Next was a lesson about the ego mind's ability to spin a narrative that is misdirection and used to take you away from your path. Ayahuasca tends to amplify in one session what I would describe as everyday occurrences so that you get a feel for how they affect you cumulatively and what happens when you veer off down that road. I totally flunked this lesson and subsequently learned a great deal from that failure. There's no love and no compassion in these narratives that are of a devious implant within your psychic sphere, just accusations and division. They are recognizable for what they are if you just stop for a second and gather your wits about yourself. Projecting this behaviour into the 'real world' is really eye opening in that you can see how we allow the ego mind to constantly shape our worldview and perception of different actors within this sphere of influence. It leads to the us versus them mentality that is so prevalent in the world humans have created. The socio-political world is a total creation of the ego mind that has been carefully constructed, aided and abetted by the subtle craftiness of the ego mind working as a collective. Much like how we talk of a world soul there is also a world ego at large within our collective, you may even define it to a certain extent as culture. The influence of the ego is also very much at work within the relationships that define our individual lives. It was quite emotional and caused much sadness within when I fully came to the realization that my ego had influenced all the relationships I have had in my life. It has been at work the whole time bent on disruption or sabotage in a very devious manner by subtly influencing behaviours a little at a time. Through the amplification of the craftiness of ego by the plant medicines I have been able to see at long last how manipulated we all are. Conversely by being able to step back from the machinations of ego I realized its transient nature and how we choose to let it influence our lives, with the caveat most have lost control over that choice.

So for the record here is the story of my third foray into the jungle wilderness of the Amazon and concurrently the mysterious realms of the psyche.

Sunday June 12th - Travel Day

I'm currently on the first leg of the journey down to the Amazon once again. This flight left in the morning from Toronto to Panama and then onto Lima, where I will spend this first night before flying into Iquitos tomorrow and then off into the humid jungle. By monitoring flights for a while and being flexible on departure times I was able to get a good price on this flight but the best part is I do not have to enter the USA at all on any of these flights. In the year 2016 I find the American custom officials the most restrictive and harassing guards in the Americas. Last year on the way down they wanted to confiscate my bag of carrots because I didn't cut them thin enough and then on the way back I had to transfer planes in Miami and missed my connecting flight because they took forever unloading the luggage and then I was pulled aside and had my luggage searched and was asked questions they had no reason to be asking. So if possible I try to avoid that nonsense. My flight home from Lima is direct to Toronto which is pretty great.

I remember last year coming home with mixed feelings whether I was going to continue with plant medicines. They were challenging for sure but they also presented me with the need to take inventory of myself. A great deal of my struggles last year were of a two fold nature. I used my head instead of my heart way too much and that gets me into trouble. I also after much soul searching had to come to terms with the darkness I would experience. These great plant medicine teachers in a conspiratorial relationship with my heart had to get through to me by presenting the darkness over and over, like beating me over the head with a blunt instrument, and the lessons would be learned gradually during the post integration phase when I would finally pick up on the teachings. It's not like I wasn't aware of the need to use the heart space as we are told by the maestro don Howard constantly to get out of our head. But I'm so smart that I can use my smarts to figure it all out and succeed. Well I've learned you can only get so far with that attitude. Eventually it seems clear you must surrender to the wisdom of the soul which is only accessed by turning the key off on your thoughts and the ego mind. There has to be trust and surrender. I fully admit I'm not really good at either. I'll never escape the darkness unless I can do that. I've had glimpses of what it's like to live with love in your heart. I remember the first time I drank Ayahuasca and the Goddess welcomed me and she was so intoxicating and I commented on how I could envision men spending the rest of their days trying to recapture that moment and be in her presence once again. The fifth time I drank there was the pathetic scene I witnessed of those searching men trying to get in to see the Goddess in the castle and they could not, however I was let in and she opened my heart (she is my heart). Later on in my journey at SpritQuest I felt the ineffable cosmic love, a profound feeling of connectivity and bliss. I'm coming back to my jungle home in pursuit of that love; a love I wish to be the basis of which animates my life and leads to a path of service that will lead others to that love. I know I will not be able to get to that place ever again unless I trust and surrender. First I must sincerely apologize for my last time drinking Ayahuasca when I was struggling. I let the ego mind take over and prevent so much more valuable teachings to be denied, though in a way my behaviour has led to a realization of what I must change. I will remember to love, trust, and surrender and while staying within my open heart I will be able to see the ego mind for what it is, confront it, and master it. 

In leading up to this week I've had tears of joy, good thoughts, and strong thoughts. I've felt very resolute and very clear on my intentions for doing this. Another big step is coming up but there's something that feels very different about this one.

Monday June 13th - Day 1

Well I'm here at SpiritQuest and settled in. All of us just went through the orientation and I realized don Howard is personifying the grandfather Huachuma spirit.

I become aware of my vacillation between the heart space and ego mind in this environment. The voice that is the ego mind has major trust issues and if I'm to progress on this path I have to overcome that. The trust issues present almost as non rational, like they are designed to prevent me from furthering the development of living with an open heart. The solution is to quiet the ego mind and I have to be conscious of that at all times. The jungle sounds can be quite soothing but also they can bring back memories of my past struggles due to the dominance of the ego mind. This experience is not going to be easy but my intent is clear and I know I can get through this. My ego mind is ready to play all the tricks it can muster up to derail this. It's non rational in its tricks though. I have to be at least smart enough to see through them.

The group here is about 25 people, about five or so of us have experience with Ayahuasca. I was quizzed on my experiences so I once again like last time tried not to candy coat them. I also reminded people that the experiences one has are deeply personal. Tomorrow we do a Mapacho ceremony after breakfast as a way to get everyone on the same page, meditating on their intentions for why they are here. During the afternoon before ceremony I need to meditate and review my accumulated notes on my intentions which are to Love, Trust, and Surrender to the Ayahuasca medicine. First though will be an apology to Mother Ayahuasca for some of my past behaviour. I'm not feeling angst or any kind of trepidation as tomorrow approaches. I do though in being completely honest feel a little unsure about being back here. That is a result of my trust issues and listening to the ego mind. I've spent the last year getting to the bottom of these feelings and in the last six months have gotten clarity on what is the root cause, so in a ways it feels like I'm writing an exam tomorrow. I'm not expecting a perfect grade but I feel like I have prepared well. It's time to see the results.

Tuesday June 14 - Day 2

It's about 6pm, ceremony is to begin at 9:30pm tonight. We had a beautiful Mapacho ceremony late morning where I felt connected to the jungle tobacco spirit. I once again felt deep respect towards don Howard which I think is part of the trust intention working within me already. After breakfast I had a wonderful conversation with him. He truly gives off this grandfather spirit vibe. Prior to that at breakfast I was able to open up to some people and share my success in subduing my addictions and fear through the use of Ayahuasca. It was gratifying to see people react the way they did.

We finished the Ayahuasca ceremony orientation just a short time ago. Don Howard lets people know that tonight's ceremony will be difficult for some. I picked a spot in the maloca to set up my mattress for the evening that I feel will be most advantageous to me, knowing what I know about thoughts and feelings affecting mind states and my trust issues. I had a few butterflies in the stomach related to anxiety but that's to be expected. It would be strange if I did not have that. I don't have fear and there's a strong purpose to why I am continuing on in this work; why I made plans to come here well in advance and then counted down the days while preparing myself as well as I could. I know I have things I need to work on and I plan to address them.

Don Howard has talked a great deal about reciprocity which is called 'ayni' in the indigenous Quechua language. What really sunk in was that in asking the medicine for healing there is something we can do in return. By gaining trust through surrendering to the medicine, the love that is lying in my heart ready to explode upon the world I can offer and that will be accomplished by being of service to the medicine plants for the greater good of all. By accessing the heart space, it will through the force of love, master the ego mind.

Wednesday June 15 - Day 3

The intention you set for ceremony has an uncanny way of coming to some kind of fruition. I knew I was coming back to SpiritQuest to write an exam based on the teachings I received last time concerning Love, Trust, and Surrender as well as the need to stay within the heart space, avoiding the trappings of the ego mind. The ceremony started at 9:30pm and I was the third last to drink so I took in all the newcomers to Ayahuasca taking their first drink. I felt a little apprehension, no fear, and my intuition wasn't flagging it as a rough ride. The brew didn't taste good that's for sure. I know it gets worse every time you drink in a cycle of work but usually the first draught is tolerable. I didn't get that this time as it was a tough swallow. Before drinking I gave don Howard a broad smile and then paused, saying my apologies to la Madre for my past behaviour, and then I promised to love, trust, and surrender to the medicine and the process. I didn't feel the effects of the medicine come on per se, instead this time when don Rober started singing the first icaro I closed my eyes and followed the lead of the melody which produced my visions. I saw outlines of buildings made up of luminous light and these buildings became more complete as the scene unfolded. As I looked up towards the sky I could see patches of light in the sky and I wanted to go there but I couldn't, prompting the scene to shift to a familiar darkness. I'd seen and felt this darkness before in a few ceremonies and it's funny that I always forget about this particular ominous darkness. It's very difficult to describe so I won't attempt to but it's why I have wondered at times what I'm doing back in Iquitos because it is a very malevolent energy that is devious when you allow its machinations in through the ego mind. The energy emanating from this construct was also very hypnotic. I have written a few times before about this hypnotic energy; it catches you off guard as you are ensconced in the ego mind at this point wondering why you are witnessing this darkness and it works in tandem with the ego to create a scenario of distrust of this process. It wants you to think of Ayahuasca as something to be avoided. This is when it becomes sink or swim time - the test has progressed to the difficult part. Curiously at lunch when I was talking to don Howard he had mentioned encountering hypnotic energy but then with enough experience and courage you can see through it and not accept the thoughts it is trying to implant in your psyche. It is then in ceremony decision time of what I'm going to follow here. Will it be my head or my heart? Deep down I know I will choose Love, it is the place I wish to spend my life in and through filtering my thoughts into the heart space I will be able to do this. I did not accept what this hypnotic and malevolent energy was trying to tell me; instead I insisted on following the path of love and trusting the teachings of don Howard and surrendering to the Ayahuasca medicine. The hypnotic energy in retrospect is present at forks in the road in this medicine journey. If you desire power for personal gain that was the road opening up once again to seduce you into following it. The hypnotic energy eventually subsided and I was then presented with a new scene that seemed to be presenting an arcade of sorts replete with video games and candy. It seemed to be portending distractions - distractions that at one time worked on me. I entered into this carnival of sorts and was given the opportunity to select any woman I pleased from a plethora of women, designed to delight the senses, that were offered to me. I politely declined saying that time of my life had come and gone, now my focus was on love and returning to that state and I was adamant about living with Love in my heart. At this point I realized what I had done. I had broken down this construct of ego mind, denied the power offered to me as well as other distractions known in popular culture as the seven deadly sins, and chose the path of the heart. I was pure in my intentions and my heart. You show how pure of heart you are by your actions. I was offered a great deal of power, it was an appeal to my ego mind to accept it and remain in the world of power, greed, and cynicism. I knew I had to get into my heart space. The power available does not appeal to me, I've felt that cosmic love and I want to get back to that. At that point I knew I was pure of heart. The second icaro was ending and I felt a purge coming on. It came on in short order filling two thirds of my bucket. During this purge I metaphorically expelled my ego mind from my psyche and it was an unattached floating entity in front of me. I was encouraged to reach out and grab the ego, crush it, and throw it into the vomit bucket. In doing so I felt the warrior spirit, I felt invigorated, and I was so exuberant concerning what I had just accomplished as I knew it was a major turning point. The expelling of ego was the metaphorical healing genius of the Goddess!

Why does the darkness return? It was because of the ego mind and the suffering it will cause us if we choose that path. I sat there in the moment calling the ego a fucker for causing all the shit it had stirred up over the years. At this point I was pretty much out of the intoxication as the third icaro started up. I was reflecting on this test being a way that the Great Goddess separates the true seeker from the weak. Power will seduce most, you can possibly fake your way through some of your vices but the offering of power and its intended greed will get you in the end if you are being disingenuous. What this process is doing is finding those who are pure of heart. Once I understood this I knew I had arrived at the destination I had been seeking. I felt I belonged and that I would live my life in service to the Great Goddess of Love. I recognized the sacrifices made by don Howard and don Rober in her service to try and find the true seeker among many who apply. At this point I saw the shamans become illuminated one by one. I felt then I was going to be prepared now to meet the Great Grandfather spirit of Huachuma whom I equate in ancient Egypt to Amun.

Amun

I spent the remainder of the ceremony listening to the icaros and basking in the glow of this amazing energy; feeling sleep was sporadic, I spent the night in the maloca. Love for so many things came over me, I felt such love for the shamans and much gratitude but most of all I LOVE THE GREAT GODDESS! I want to shout it from the rooftops. She is love. 

After last night I can say that chasing my dreams, seeking the unknown, and persevering through very difficult challenges has been extremely rewarding. I felt like coming back here would entail something like writing an exam and seeing if I integrated the teachings and passed this latest challenge. The ceremony was difficult, very mysterious and tricky, and the only way to get through it successfully was to use the teachings that have been hammered home into my head and stay within the heart.

LOVE
TRUST
SURRENDER

Being able to focus on the heart space and not get trapped in the ego mind allowed me to solve the mystery; the darkness was defeated. Suffice to say a big component of the test involved seeing how pure of heart you really are. 

Friday June 17 - Day 5

The intention for last night's ceremony was to remain in the love state, to trust and surrender, as well as to get clarity on my relationship with the Goddess and how I can manifest that within my everyday life. The ceremony turned out to be very challenging; in retrospect I would say I failed the challenge but as I have learned from experience, failure teaches you many lessons that are unavailable to the star student. I definitely have a better constitution and frame of mind this year to deal with the darkness that keeps manifesting for me in my Ayahuasca ceremonies. Last year I would have just shut right down. I have to trust more this time and just let this run its course. In dealing with the ego and attempting to master it, it seems the ceremonies have to be dark ones and so it was again. The brew was definitely stronger and upon the start of the first icaro and the onset of the first visions I had to go to the bathroom. While in the bathroom the tiles started seeping a reddish blood colour and demonic faces would form in the patterns. It seemed at this point that yes I'd have to go through another dark ceremony. The challenge was something I should have been able to handle. After returning to the maloca the visions were once again projecting a familiar and sinister vibe that in the past has had me saying to myself to avoid the use of Ayahuasca. Using some semblance of trust I was able to have this revelation that there are parasitic entities that attach to the opening of the energy channels that the psychedelics enable. This was some kind of progress in my cognitive narrative because before I'd blame Ayahuasca and the shamans for the darkness. I have been told before by the Goddess the darkness is very clever and it has been stressed that it will stop at nothing to steal your light. Well in essence they feed off your light and I have literally felt this as the darkness is a leech and it's looking for an opening into your energetic field. Your fields are open during times of stress, sexual stimulation, intoxication, and other energetic stimulation - this also includes the psychedelic experience. I tried to reason in my head that these entities attach to your ego, take it over, inflate your ego, and then plague you as they're a cosmic cult of misogyny and hedonism present in the galaxy looking for human hosts. They are subject to depression as well as humans and are also able to feed off of other humans that are open channels. I chided these entities saying if they are so smart why haven't they learned to make a different power source or clone humans to use as energy sources such as depicted in the movie 'The Matrix'? Anyway after rationalizing that this was a necessary evil on the way to receiving teachings from la Madre I hoped they would leave me alone in ceremony three. I was not in the heart space but remained in my head thinking I could gain insights from this dark ceremony. I then entered into a dialogue with my own ego. I told it to cut out the carnival hypnosis and games to try and get me back under its spell and return to my former addictions because they aren't working and I've left that behind. I gave the ego mind a choice: I said that I know it is depressed and lonely because it has lost its control over me and its so called other ego friends attached to other humans are self absorbed pricks so they will just use you to get what they want. I said work with me as a united front. I have offered this truce before in consensus reality but it has never worked out; the ego mind would always want to become dominant so I'd have to kick him to the curb again. If my offer was not accepted we would have this uneasy truce where I'd try and figure out a way to expel this foreigner while he continued his lame attempts to hypnotize me. I then spent the rest of the ceremony enduring candy store visions and hypnotic strobings that seemed to be directed at hypnotizing me.

This all does seems kind of crazy. I have to trust it's part of Ayahuasca's teachings to enable me to terminate this dysfunctional ego relationship I'm in so I'm treating this as a learning experience. Since this theme is reoccurring I have to accept it for the experience it is. This ceremony seemed to go back to the Huachuma teachings of the darkness being very clever and will do anything to steal your light including concocting elaborate situations such as this. ed note: It is very easy to see now as I edit this that the ego mind crafted a multi layered scenario replete with galactic parasites that got the best of me in this ceremony however read on as I figured it out in short order! 

Saturday June 18 - Day 6

I just woke up and had a bit of an epiphany regarding the events of ceremony two. I guess what in the past would take time to figure out I can shorten to a day or so in quiet contemplation. Anyway the idea I got upon reflection of ceremony two is that the narrative crafted under the intoxication was another construct of ego. The ego is under attack and the latest attempt to deflect the attack has evolved into misdirection. The thoughts that entered into my awareness that night were familiar and they were crafted into a narrative that was evolving. Instead of everything being negative, only select elements of the story became dark. The shamans retained their positive light and were doing the best they can. The darkness became parasitic and infected humankind through the ego. There is truth to that but the revelations concocted in this ceremony I have to conclude were a product of my ego mind due to how preposterous it was at points. That is usually the give away. The thing I learned was that how the ego mind deludes you was amplified in ceremony so I would see what it can do to you. I then extrapolated from that how it affects you subconsciously in a much more subtle way but it is spinning everything you take in. Then I realized how it has negatively affected all my relationships that are near and dear to me and that made me so sad.

There is definitely a huge element of trust in this work. In order to get results you have to stick it out for the cycle. Okay so another stepping stone on the path. Staying in my head for that ceremony was another direct lesson that I can't engage aspects of the mind while taking plant medicines. The conversation with the ego definitely gave me the sense of there being the distinct divide in what constitutes my wholeness. The ego is tricky and elusive and has more tricks than a clown but slowly and surely I'm making progress. It took a good sleep to process all this. In the past it would have closed me down and I would not have figured it out until I got home and then I would have subsequently beat myself up over not being able to recognize what happened at the time. It has been important this time to embrace the darkness. I have no fear of it anymore, instead I have a respect for it. It does provide for a wonderful teaching opportunity if you can sort out the trickery inherent in it. In this case it took a day, in the past it would have checkmated me and closed me down from further experience. I look forward to tonight's ceremony, another opportunity for self mastery.

Sunday June 19 - Day 7

I went into last night's ceremony with the intent to keep things simple. Of my last five ayahuasca ceremonies I have felt this darkness that comes on that I cannot get past. I liken it to video games where you reach a level that has your number and you cannot get past it and keep dying, never getting to rescue the princess. This darkness keeps getting the better of me and even though I think I do know how to get past it, when confronted with it I crumble or get involved in some sub plot unrelated to the quest! So for this ceremony back to basics - trust and still the mind.

The brew tasted really different, I actually didn't mind it, it tasted like pickle juice with a tang to it, maybe pickle juice fermenting or going bad, and it also had a spicy aftertaste. When the intoxication came on and the visionary experience started I was witnessing an artificial building block vibe that has characterized previous dark ceremonies. However it felt neutral, I couldn't get a sense either way. One way I know the session will be about the light is if I see a vision of the Goddess in some form. The ongoing moving visions that were unfolding first person perspective style panned to my right and came upon the Goddess seated in a chair. But it was kind of ridiculous as this was an effigy, a poor attempt to create a facsimile of her and it was very crude. There was like a wig on some kind of circular shape with a pillow for a body plus some makeup and lipstick on the face to try and make it believable but it was preposterous and I find when the darkness that is constructed by the ego mind attempts some things it just turns out to be so funny sometimes. So I was immediately warned the ego was up to more tricks. The scene became hypnotic and menacing like I have witnessed before and I started getting thoughts in my head about the experience that then started to expand into more ominous thoughts and threats. I realized at this point I needed to put the still the mind intention into practice. It was difficult to suppress the thoughts at first and keep my mind still however I could sense the thoughts were heading into crazy territory once again, so using that against the darkness I was able to still my mind and prevent the thoughts from expanding once implanted into my psyche and instead they eventually dissipated. Then in my vision a fully loaded gun discharged into my head, the purpose being to break my concentration but I remained steadfast against the onslaught and didn't allow any more thoughts to penetrate my mind stillness. What I would characterize these intrusions as is they are parasitic in nature. Carlos Castaneda in his books calls them "the flyers", inorganic parasites that try to enter through psychic channels and execute mind control over the subject. The Gnostic seers called these cosmic intruders "Archons" and they introduced into the host errors in thinking that would lead to falsehoods and delusion. I'd probably classify these thoughts as constructs of the ego mind and the way to defeat them in all cases is to still the mind. The emptiness will make them perish. In the previous ceremony I was characterizing them as galactic parasites that infect the ego mind but now I was starting to realize they are parasitic thoughts released into the mind by the ego; a disease propagated through humankind's ability to formulate abstract language that is used as a method of manipulation and control. As the first icaro ended I felt nauseous and I unleashed a heavy purge into my bucket and equated it to throwing up as much dark energy as I could possibly muster. When I was finished this kindly apparition of a grandmother figure in a pale blue dress helped me to clean up. I thanked her and opened up my heart towards her. I had a profound sense that this woman was the spirit of Ayahuasca, la Madre, manifested as the grandmother. Upon commencement of the next icaro the scene then shifted to what I could see as some kind of parade float, perhaps a celebration of what I had just accomplished. The float had chocolate cake, cupcakes, and other confectionaries and these were all pulsing to a beat. To my left I saw two girls offering me things. One girl was offering a bracelet much like the indigenous tribes offer to you when you visit them. I waved her away because she wanted money and I had none. I waved the other girl away too but then everyone either turned into a heart or pulsed like the beat of a heart. I realized she was offering love so I then freely accepted it. Then some dancing girls appeared with a woman who was in charge of them. I felt the eroticism of their show and as they came closer I was offered one of the women. I politely declined and was asked again being told that she can be yours. I said I will watch the show but not touch. The scene and the icaro ended. The darkness returned when the music returned, ostensibly as a test. I was able to still the mind and in my hand I held my piece of black obsidian that I had acquired last year after seeing a vision of the Goddess as purple whirling thin lines of energy within a shiny black object. I didn't know what it was at the time but upon returning home the word obsidian would pop into my head and it turns out that the shiny black object was obsidian. So I had brought it down to Peru with me as a talisman. I was looking at it in my hand when it became enveloped in a rainbow aura. I rotated it 90 degrees counter clockwise and the aura followed it and then the Goddess appeared in front of the obsidian as a luminescent fairy, she then entered into the obsidian and appeared as the classical hair of the goddess in the Hathor style.

Hathor and her hairstyle

From this icon formed her face with a huge smile on it and then back into the fairy. She reminded me how one of my intentions was to have a way of always having her present in my life so I retain a connection at all times. This is how it was going to happen and she said a part of her was now in the obsidian and so don't lose it! It's the most valuable rock in the world now. After this I looked up and there was a sort of rectangular carousel and I saw what looked to be a Hindu god forming. An elephant head appeared and I knew it was Ganesha.

Ganesha

I don't know much about Ganesha but he was very friendly and playful. I figured I'd unlocked him, the video game allusion again, and he was now part of my tribe. Then a caricature of a Hindi man, just his head, appeared and made the scene even more funny. I spent a moment marvelling that Ganesha was in my vision! Then to my right at this carnival scene a car on tracks drove up to me. I understood it to delineate a transition of scenes. The driver was very funny and playing the part well so I complimented him on his skills and asked if he was an actor. He said no, and I said he should pursue it. He thanked me and then I innately knew the scene needed to change so I said he should go. I looked away, paused, and looked back and he was still there though once again an inner knowing was clear this part of the vision was over and needed to come to an end. Finally he left, I waved, he did a jump and a click of his heels and departed. Then he stopped and tried to do more acting and be funny. I told him he had gone too far and wasn't funny anymore. He said Awwwwww and left. In the interlude between icaros, I marvelled once again at what had gone on so far in the evening. The Goddess asked if I wanted to work on anything else but I said I'm more than happy just enjoying the rest of the evening by listening to the shaman's songs. She said the medicine was strong tonight and there would be time to work on other things and that's how it was to be so off I was in visions again, this time of total whiteness. I thought oh not a hospital but it turned out to be a snow bank. The scene tilted up and I saw an apartment which made me very emotional because it meant the house had been sold as the kids had grown up and moved out and my dog Luna had probably passed away - it was the retirement years. The lesson having to do with the relentless marching on of time. The Goddess pointed out my children are 14 and 12 and time flies so to be as good a husband and father I could be. When I was ready after that we would discuss more about being of service as I had wanted to discover my path and how I can become more of service to the Goddess. Then there was this detour into the nature of a couple women I work with. They are sirens. It was an interesting foray into the psychology of the feminine half of the human race straight from the Goddess. The ultimate lesson being I should really appreciate my wife more.

The shamans then came around to perform the closing arkana. Afterwards I laid down on my side to rest and saw a large green boa coming towards me in a vision, not at all menacing, and it entered into me encircling my brain. It was a pleasant feeling and the snake then proceeded to slither down my left shoulder to my arm where it changed into a beautiful exotic indigenous woman. My left arm's now the embodiment of the Goddess. A bit later I saw a white snake with flakes of black and grey approach me. It communicated that it wanted inside me as well and I dutifully opened my mouth and swallowed it. I imagine it is now at the base of my spine, something to do with kundalini energy. The ceremony ended, I stayed for about half an hour to 2am and then went back to my room. As I lay on the bed I could feel the serpentine energy in me flowing and making ripples in the bed. What a night! I think I have gotten past this darkness block now. I don't know what's in store for the next two ceremonies but I can get past the darkness barrier now. Last year was fear and this year it is darkness. We do a Bobinzana ceremony tonight, a heart opening dream plant I have a good relationship with.

Beautiful Bobinzana

It has been interesting that in the first and third ceremonies this year I have had visions relating to women, eroticism, and their sexuality. My last time down here a year ago half of the ceremonies had these elements as well. It all goes back to the nature of reality being highly sexual and there is a tie in with the essential energy that animates creation. That energy is front and centre and highly charged in these ceremonies. It's building to some kind of a reveal.

Monday June 20 - Day 8

In the sharing circle of our experiences right now I realized how it is very difficult for my ego to get along with others who are on an ego trip. We all live within our egos to a degree and that doesn't seem to perturb mine. It's the overt ones I have a problem with. I need to develop strategies and perhaps learn from Ayahuasca on how to more effectively deal with this. It feels like a challenge has been issued to me. I also learned doing a web search that Ganesha removes obstacles and places obstacles in your way on your path. There seems to be a connection between the two here.

Tuesday June 21 - Day 9

Turns out I was to learn a lesson from Ayahuasca in ceremony on how to deal with others that I find fault with and want to judge. I learned we always have a choice and that love is a choice.

The visions when they came on were of the dark nature yet again. They got the best of me early and my thoughts gravitated towards not doing another ceremony, this should be my final one. The constant negativity was becoming tiresome and I realized it was coming from within and the failure to adopt a positive attitude I surmised was the reason for it. The visions do not frighten me but they play havoc on my mind, however I was able to right my ship as I know that by entering into the heart space is the antidote. I felt a lift in my conscious awareness as I worked to still my mind and end the darkness. I looked up and over in the direction of the shamans singing and I saw the light and the light was dancing in time to the rhythm of the icaro. It became clear that the shamans were conduits for all the energy, both light and dark, and that we have the choice in how we wish to perceive the energy. At this point I chose to see the goodness and that's now what was in my vision. Ayahuasca has this innate ability to greatly amplify this and it is then easy to see how subtly your outlook on life is altered, and how cumulatively that affects you day after day. If you allow negativity into your life continually it will work towards making you completely miserable. I felt a great love and appreciation for this lesson and to the person who was the catalyst for me learning this lesson. I was able to see all forms of energy, all the way down to our lowest form of energy, all enjoying the music. It was pretty special to see how we all love music. The rest of the night was all positive. I thought of the ancient Egyptian creatrix goddess Neith, as I was wearing a necklace with her symbol.

Neith the seamstress of creation

She appeared as a spider who was weaving a web - appropriate as she weaves creation into existence. After that I had a vision of laying down into a coffin very ancient Egyptian style, with my arms crossed and feeling like a pharaoh on his way to the afterlife. There was a tremendous amount of gold in my visions at this point. When the shamans came around to give everyone their closing arkana the erotic imagery returned in my visions. I was witnessing a woman writhing to the beat of the music in a highly sexual manner. I had this amazing revelation at this point about the light and how it enlightens the chakras. We open our hearts, our feminine side, and this lets the light get in. This spirit, the masculine white light, diffracts within our bodies creating the different colours of the chakras. The base is the lowest vibratory colour red. The energy is at this point animating life and is the male creative energy. When you cultivate this energy with love it then moves up the spinal cord enlivening all aspects of the self until the channel is fully opened and it is realized as pure white light through the crown chakra. This channel remains open and you are constantly enlightened, you are luminous with the spirit. It is the tradition of the transfiguration of Christ or in ancient Egypt the Akh which is a luminous stork, a combination of the concepts of the Ba and Ka, full of wisdom and light. This transforming light energy, kundalini, is also channeled for healing energy and sexual energy. Since most people are in the mind space of sex that's what the energy is mostly used for. You can cultivate it and transfer its power to the spiritual side. I felt it stirring within me deeply once again and that's when I saw the erotic imagery. I acknowledged the sexual side but chose to keep the power on my spiritual path. When the shaman came over and gave me a personal icaro I felt its power intensify and within this deep inner intense growl. These events combined with the serpents I saw last ceremony seems to portend some kind of kundalini power once again rising within. I also noticed, as the shamans made their way around the room, I was hearing this natural reverb in their singing voices. It was really cool because only some of the frequencies were being delayed. As well the wife of the shaman don Rober sings just a little behind him giving their harmony an extra special quality.

When the ceremony ended and the candle was lit I sought out the person who was the catalyst for the most valuable lesson I learned tonight and I gave him a big hug and let him know how much his example meant to me. It was all about choice and choosing to love. We have free will to decide if we are going to live in hell or heaven. If you go with the negative energy then it will multiply and you'll be miserable, or always chose light and love. The Ayahuasca amplifies what you feel when you make that choice and from experience you know to always choose light. This has really been a wonderful experience so far, kind of the school of hard knocks but very rewarding. We drink again tonight for the fifth and final time. I hope to combine all the lessons I have learned into one big celebration.

Wednesday June 22 - Day 10

Back in the fourth ceremony I felt nauseous for quite a while before I could purge. It's like it is a sign from the medicine that the cycle of work is ending and you should cease drinking the medicine when that starts to happens. The fifth ceremony last night was a remarkable culmination of lessons learned, the end of one journey, and a new beginning to another.

There was a Shipibo arts and crafts market that came to visit us in the day before the final ceremony Tuesday night. They have fantastic stuff. I bought a couple of paintings and a tapestry. The tapestry is of a jaguar head enveloped by two serpents which turned out to be foreshadowing the evening's events. One of the paintings has a green boa embedded in its rich colourful vision which caught my eye and the other is a painting in dragon's blood of a beautiful indigenous woman. The indigenous woman resembled the woman the boa turned into in ceremony three so I was attracted to that painting. The Shipibo woman who sold me the paintings has tremendous sex appeal. With my heightened serpent energy I could really feel it and it reinforced the notion that the way this kundalini energy seems to work is that you channel it for either spiritual work or life creating sexual energy. It's on fire in me and I had a feeling it would affect me in tonight's ceremony.

The ceremony started off with dark energy again, that's five out of five ceremonies all beginning with negative energy and it was hammering away at me. Part of what was beating me up was having felt the sexual energy towards the Shipibo woman and my negativity was feeding off that. After feeling pounded by the dark energy and retreating into a shell I all of a sudden gathered my wits about me and felt a sense of heightened consciousness envelop me and then I experienced a huge surge of serpent energy that was electrifying and I became strong once again. Outside the maloca the elemental energies were gathering in a huge thunderstorm and in my vision I saw a jaguar in the distance. It spotted me, turned towards me, and started coming towards me. As it came closer I could only see this giant jaguar head in front of me and then it let out a large roar. I was not afraid but instead I roared right back at the jaguar. I then became the jaguar. I AM JAGUAR! I then roared in all directions at all my enemies, all the dark energy, and they all scattered in fear and cowardliness. I felt very masculine and so fucking powerful. I have never felt that strong in all my life and it was such an incredible feeling. I felt an exalted feeling of accomplishment and completeness. Such a great state; I was feeling like an all powerful king. I basked in the powerful after glow and continued to roar. I thought about how I have completed this quest and became the jaguar, the ultimate king of his domain who has no fear. After the first icaro ended I was relaxing on my throne and what seemed like my spiritual family came to hug me. I had this sense I had been lost on an internal journey but now had finally returned. I hugged them all back. I felt so many have tried to steal my power but I have persevered and here I now sit having gained this power which I vowed to use for good and to be of service. I also thought of how ancient Egyptian pharaohs were granted this power and were to use it to serve the people, though their successes at not succumbing to its temptation probably are not favourable.

I once again felt the prolonged nausea, a sign this Ayahuasca work has run its course. When I purged I was exposing my backside and I had this primal reaction about a contender to my throne trying to mount me in a show of dominance while I was in this state. I finished puking and growled at all my enemies. Later on in the ceremony the goddess Hathor appeared in gold with multiple instances of her face filing up the rest of the room in my vision. I hugged her and thanked her for all she has done for me. This was such a powerful final ceremony. It was a culmination of the twelve Ayahuasca ceremonies I have now participated in and it all felt like an end to this particular phase of my journey. The quest is complete. I am jaguar.

I have this strong desire to go home now and connect with my family on a deeper level. I want to impart my wisdom to my son. He is a great kid and he deserves more from me. Same with my wife, she deserves more from me.

At the end of the ceremony I went back to my room and as I lay in bed I could hear some people outside in the rain. I felt the urge to join them so out I went into the pouring rain with just my swimming trunks on, feeling so strong and powerful with my hands reaching up to the heavens while the downpour cleansed me. It was a night I will never forget.

Thank you Mary. Thank you Ayahuasca. The end of a chapter and the beginning of another. I love you all.

Thursday June 23 - Day 11

I have touched on serpent energy quite a bit in this exposition so I feel I should try to explain it in greater detail. Serpent power is the life force energy that pulses through all living things. I have discovered it at work in three different areas of my worldly existence. In other words this is experiential and not just something I have read about. Reading about it gives you the curious connection between the serpent entwined rod of the Greek god of healing Asclepius and its adoption by the medical profession as its standard and then there is the Old Testament biblical story of Moses and his healing brazen serpent in Numbers chapter 21.

The rod of Asclepius

Moses' brazen serpent

In my own experience first off I can describe this power as white light that has entered into the body and diffracted into different levels of vibration. The base vibratory power settles at the bottom of the spine and is red in colour. It is the common oscillation of this power, the lowest form of vibration, and in eastern mysticism is the root chakra that is very materialistic. Serpent power at this point is experienced sexually as well as in expressions of violent behaviour such as rage and anger. As your spiritual awareness is raised, the vibrational intensity of this power increases and this is depicted in the ascending colour scale of the chakras until once again the light returns to its pure white state and exits out of the crown chakra. This can be thought of as enlightening all the chakras and at this point you can keep your 'channel' open and be constantly enlightened by the light. The three areas primarily affected by serpent power in my experience are sexual potency, health and vigour, and spiritual ascendency. When this power is channeled into each area it necessarily takes away from the other area. With Ayahuasca it is a requirement of most traditions that the drinker abstain from sexual behaviour a few weeks before drinking and a few weeks afterwards. If you are expressing this energy out through sexual behaviour then there will be less energy accessible for healing and spiritual work. As well, I have also experienced where the body's use of this power to heal itself of sickness can be curtailed by engaging in sexual behaviour and temporarily deplete the self of this power. There is then a need to rebuild up stores of this energy. I have also found spiritually I am more in tune with my 'higher self' when I abstain from sexual behaviour. It seems this serpent energy presents with a constant choice where we can use it for sexual energy or spiritual energy if it is not needed to heal. When under the influence of Ayahuasca this has been presented to me very clearly. My body was in a heightened state of vibratory ecstasy, I was feeling the love, and I felt this energy coursing into me and rising on up out of my body. At this point my visionary activity became inundated with sexual imagery, in particular writhing, sexually charged women. I understood this at this time to be the direct result of this serpent energy and that there is always a choice to channel this energy into the sexual or the spiritual. I chose the spiritual in this instance and it solidified my belief in this power and what it is used for. It was clear 99.999999 percent of the population channels it into the sexual. That is not a condemnation or judgment but rather an observation. Obviously reproduction is very necessary to continue the species! 

Now the question that needs to be asked and answered is why do I call it serpent energy? The presentation of this power within ceremonies has been accompanied by visions of serpents or an association to the snake. The first stirring of the energy within ceremony was the final Ayahuasca ceremony a year ago where the Goddess appeared in her temple in Denderah in my vision. It was the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor in her guise as the Goddess of Love dressed in a red corset and as she approached me and lay over top of my body I experienced the most erotic sensation that I have ever felt. Among many connections in the iconography of Hathor is a connection to the serpent Wadjet, representing the power of the rising serpent, and a subject of this book by the Egyptologist Alison Roberts.

The serpent power of Ancient Egypt

Following that ceremony, the first time I drank Huachuma a few days later it stirred within me this sexual energy once again - I commented that Huachuma was an aphrodisiac, aphrodisiac being an allusion to the Greek goddess Aphrodite who is equated with the Egyptian Hathor. That night when I laid in bed I closed my eyes and saw many writhing snakes in my vision. The next ceremony was when I saw the grand vision of the back to back green serpents surrounding a great pure white light. I understood the two serpents as goddesses that were protecting my spirit essence which was the light. I then kept seeing serpents in the pathway we were walking on and then later that evening as I showered I saw snakes forming in the water splashing on the tiles below. The presentation of the two huge serpents as green were related to the heart chakra. To top this all off was the third time I drank Huachuma when I witnessed the naked manifestation of the red (base) and green (heart) energy all around me. The presentation of the two colours were related to a shaman's ability to heal, to the pulsing sexual energy of the jungle, and then the energy manifested in the open heart being experienced by one of the women who was in the ceremony. There were no serpents in my visions at this time, instead this incredible energy was unveiling itself. This year it was in the third Ayahuasca ceremony that the serpent energy was really felt and my visions presented it as a huge green boa that turned into a beautiful indigenous woman inside me. I then had another snake enter me and rest at the bottom of my spine. This serpent energy enveloped me as I lay on my bed after this ceremony and I felt it rise up in ceremony four that enabled me to overcome the negative thoughts I was experiencing. At the conclusion of this ceremony as I mentioned I had visions of a sexually charged woman and felt a deep inner growl. This all came to a head in the final ceremony where the rising of the serpent energy exploding into the white light of pure spirit allowed for my transformation into the jaguar. The Shipibo tapestry of the jaguar head encircled by the serpent captures this awesome feeling all too well.



Malevolent entities know we can access this power, they lust after it, and want to take it from us. They have their mind tricks, their hypnosis, and their attempts to addict us to behaviours that leave us vulnerable and open to having our access to this available power stolen. Addictions, whether physical or mental, are very nefarious. They are not rational by any means and when and if you free yourself of them you see how the hold they had on you made no sense. At this point it is instructional to engage in the addictive behaviour again if possible to see how non sensical it was to engage in this behaviour in the first place. This makes you wary then of any activities that require behaviours that seem to be addictive and hypnotic.

Friday June 24 - Day 12

We said goodbye yesterday to about two thirds of the guests. On to the second part of the journey, Huachuma, my wise grandfather spirit. We just finished the ceremonial introduction - the ceremony don Howard conducts is second to none; it is so beautiful, and so powerful. The mapacho smoked immediately afterwards is heavenly. My heart is open wide. I have the jaguar spirit flowing through my body and soul.

Saturday June 25 - Day 13

We went out on the boats after drinking the Huachuma to visit the Alamas tribe. There was a sharp uptick in visual acuity and there was a oneness with nature felt. The tribe's kids were joyful to see us and we played with them for a while.

Alamas kids playing

I felt very warm but the intoxication was mild for the most part. The evening ceremony was good, the power of the mesa was felt. The second and third mesadas promise to be more revealing once the dosage and power of the medicine is increased. I did have an insight and admonishment to stop analyzing everything. I have to remain vigilant and not allow my head/mind into this process and just have an open heart ready to receive and progress with wisdom. 

Monday June 27 - Day 15

I've been here at SpiritQuest now for two weeks. You start chomping at the bit to return home and start putting into practice what you have learned and have been shown. That combined with a little homesickness makes you realize your time in the jungle is coming to a close.

Yesterday's Huachuma ceremony was all about the Mother - Mother Earth known here as Sachamama and Pachamama. And that's what it was about! The Huachuma potion was very strong this time. We went out on the boats to visit the Muruy Huitoto tribe and I felt very content on the ride over. The visual acuity granted by Huachuma once again allowed me to see the separation of the clouds in the sky in great detail. Since the water is lower at this time of year, we took a route across the Amazon river to a town which we walked through on our way to the jungle trail to connect with the indigenous tribe. The people in the town lived in abject poverty and I likened the walk to a walk of shame. It is a stark reminder of how lucky I am to have been born in Canada and into the family I grew up with. It also makes one think of reincarnation and how if you are still attached to this world and do indeed reincarnate then there's a good chance that you will re-emerge into a hell hole. It also presented me once again the idea about choice. The people here seemed happy, had smiles on their faces which was because they had chosen to accept their circumstances and just be happy. We made our way into the jungle and trekked on to see the tribe we were visiting. When we got there I sat down and felt the power of Huachuma surging through me so I closed my eyes and let it flow. Everything lit up and it felt like I could see everything as luminous patterns of energy even though my eyes were shut. The plants especially radiated a luminous neon green and in conjunction with that I felt the presence of snakes in my visions. It was now test time as my ego mind wanted to steer me towards thinking it was some kind of nature cult here controlled by the great mother. I was able to harness these thoughts and bring them to a place of love. The main thing my heart was teaching me was okay it's a cult, a cult of love and caring. My ego mind was being called out for being a trickster once again by trying to spin this oneness with nature into something forbidden. As well I realized the ego mind is misogynist by natural inclination as everything taught by the great mother and nature inherently teaches unity and love which are ideals that greatly diminish the power of the ego mind. The thought I had about the ego being the ultimate attachment really rang true. We can give up everything but not that but if you want to give up all attachments then you eventually have to come to terms with giving up the ego mind and all its judgments and selfish behaviours. At this point I joined some others for a swim in a river that was bordering this sacred space in the jungle. The river was fast flowing and very refreshing and afterwards we were treated to some songs and dancing from the tribe as well as a cultural exchange. The chief of this tribe is a woman named 'Zoila of the Selva', translated as 'I am the jungle' from the Spanish.

Zoila of the Selva

She seemed to embody Mother Nature much like don Howard embodies Grandfather Huachuma. Zoila exuded this love of plants that showed in how she was so gentle in spirit. We hiked back to the boats as the sun started going down and on this journey I felt such a connection to the Earth Mother at this point and how she had created all this for her children. I realized how selfless mothers are for their offspring and how they will put up with so much just to provide for their children. I thought of my mother and all she had done for me and our family and I felt so much love and emotion I started to cry while hiking. I promised myself to call my mom as soon as I got home and tell her I love her. Later I was walking with a woman, Maria, who had grown children and has a longing to reconnect with her family as they had drifted apart. I felt her pain as she truly just wanted a relationship with her children again, empathy not being something that is familiar to me but I felt the anguish of mothers derived from the feeling of separation with their offspring. We got back to the boats as it was getting dark and it started to rain. As we were motoring across the Amazon lightning and thunder started to illuminate the night sky. It became spectacular as the portion of the sky hit by lightning lit up through the clouds in an amazing display, infinitely more beautiful than any fireworks display I had ever witnessed. It was as if Mother Nature was the ultimate artist punctuating her creation with a bang.

We arrived back at SpiritQuest and prepared for the evening ceremony. I still felt the strength of the medicine pulsing through my veins. I went back into the maloca and felt myself become disassociated from who I was. My identity as 'Paul' was revealed as a mask that could be taken off and put aside. I could then in theory create a new identity or choose to assume another personality. Staying out of my head allowed me to lose the ability and need to define myself. I felt we are issued identity cards and the like which are attached to a picture of us in order to enforce the concept of having an identity. In truth we are capable of discarding identities easily and assuming another. Our society clearly functions on fixed identities and behaviour to the contrary is cause to be incarcerated in a mental institution. Without a sense of being this 'Paul' I no longer had any history and couldn't pin anything on my true self, all I knew was that I was a quiet person, I loved animals, especially dogs, and I had some weaknesses that when found out could be exploited, the rest is accumulated baggage. Tonight we were to do the singado, which is a mixture of macerated tobacco, huachuma, and toé mixed with an alcohol based perfume. You take this liquid in up your nose using a shell. Your membranes absorb it and you are not to swallow it. As don Howard said… this is serious, they don't mess around here. So I was one of the first to volunteer and the first group of six of us took it at the same time. As soon as the first snort hit the back of my nose the searing pain started, there was a burning sensation and I struggled to get the rest up my other nostril. The burning and pain just got worse and the mucous poured out of my nostrils and I coughed a lot more up. This feeling lasted for a long time. More went up to do it and I had to chuckle as they didn't know what they were getting into even though they saw us do it. I couldn't have described how awful it was to them, it would be much worse than words could describe. After about fifteen minutes I felt better with a moment of clarity so I stood in front of the mesa and lined up the lanzon with the stele in the background. The depiction of rising energy was very clear and then the stone idol revealed itself. The 'god' morphed into a smiling jaguar (though I'd take smiling ram as an answer as well).

Smiling Jaguar

I thought of the primordial creative spirit Amun of ancient Egypt. Then a serpent I clearly could see forming out of a protrusion on the idol. I thought of the feminine Wereret Hekau of ancient Egypt and how this stone idol was representing the masculine and feminine principles coming together forming the 'god', a combination of the serpent and the jaguar which don Howard displays on a Shipibo tapestry in this maloca.


I kept thinking of how this is also represented at the archaeological site Jebel Barkal at the fourth cataract on the Nile in the Sudan. It was all too interesting. The burning in my nostrils lasted quite a while as well as the waves of power from Huachuma continued unabated throughout the night. I eventually went to bed and had a fitful sleep but at least when I got up my nostrils felt somewhat normal.

It was a very insightful ceremony that was made possible by being able to stay in the heart space as much as possible. In the past I would have let my ego mind take over at some point and steer me wrong. I look forward to tomorrow's final ceremony. I feel it will be a culmination of all that has come before me in these ceremonies. This could be it for a while.

Tuesday June 28 - Day 16

It's the morning of the last Huachuma ceremony that will encapsulate the grand finale in this cycle of work. The grand finale I'm referring to is the inhalation of the Vilca snuff at the conclusion of the evening. Vilca means sacred and I feel ready to receive what Vilca will reveal to me. My gut feeling is that in order to get the maximum benefit out of the experience you must have achieved some kind of mastery over the ego mind. In this current cycle of work I feel like I have accomplished that though currently I don't believe you can ever shed it completely. I can always sense its intrusion and desire to be the first filter that all experience and thoughts go through. However I can recognize that now right away and I have been able to shut that part down and redirect all experience into the heart space and still the mind. All five Ayahuasca ceremonies presented to me the challenge to subdue the ego mind. Failing to do so in ceremony two really emphasized the need to turn off the ego mind. It was a test I needed to fail as a wake up call and challenge so that I could progress and advance further upon this path. The choices we make, and the negativity or positivity we carry, greatly affect who we are and how we behave. I have been able through plant medicines to put this into action and see the outcomes of using the ego mind versus using the heart space. The choice here is pretty obvious. After the closing ceremony tonight I'm ready to go home and put this into practice in my daily life. It is so obvious that the last attachment we are loathe to give up is ego. We cling to that one with every ounce of strength we have left. We have totally invested our sense of self and self worth into that sucker. True freedom cannot be experienced until that one last cord is cut.

Wednesday June 29 - Day 17

Wow. I feel writing about yesterday's ceremony will cheapen it in a way as a large part of it is ineffable. The heightened feelings I was experiencing were off the charts. The ceremony started in the late afternoon. While at the meeting place after drinking the Huachuma I was visualizing the Goddess animating the cosmos as a ballerina and then as a butterfly. A large butterfly then curiously appeared which many saw. We made our way up to the star deck as the sun was setting; it is situated upon a hill and it has become clear to me that this mound is what the indigenous people of South America call a huaca - a place of elemental power. I laid on my back and looked up at the sky and I could see the clouds were literally breathing and forming many different shapes, a kaleidoscopic wonder. I felt very content and as the night sky took hold the clouds magically disappeared and the stars came out in all their glory. Don Howard eventually started a ceremony around the stone idol in the centre called the lanzon. Things got magical when he placed a red beam from a flashlight upon the top of the lanzon and then activated it with mapacho smoke. He was the wizard at this point, manipulating this power that shot up into the heavens with his bells, feather, and mapacho smoke. I was in awe of what he was doing. I connect it back to last time I was in Peru and I saw this red energy present when we were visiting an indigenous tribe and I saw the shaman don Rober exuding it. Instead of being alarmed this time at the supernatural novelty, I connected it to the ultimate presentation of power available to those initiated in the shamanic arts. This is the awesome power that you symbolically choose how to use. It can be used for greed, self aggrandizement, destructive purposes, and sorcery or it can be harnessed for creativity, healing, and spiritual awareness. It's the magical life force the ancient Egyptians called the Ka. It was mainly through trust and surrender that I was able to grasp this at this time because without that I would have become very unnerved at what was transpiring. We were invited up to smoke mapacho and send a prayer up to the heavens. I lit up some jungle tobacco and dedicated my prayers to all the ancient Egyptian goddesses, especially Hathor, Isis, and Nephthys. They are all versed in the power of this red life force, Isis is especially great of magic, and they know its destructive side as personified by the malevolent male power Set. I became quite deft at elevating the tobacco smoke way up into the sky and then seeming to control it with my left hand, eliciting some oohs and awes from the crowd. When my mapacho expired, I staggered back to my mat feeling spent and then felt a tremendous surge of energy envelop my body and I was buzzing with elemental energy like I had never had before with Huachuma. I rolled off my mat onto the stone platform of the sky deck and tried to ground myself into Mother Earth as much as possible. My whole body was shaking and spasming with this awesome energy lighting me up. I had my lips on the ground at one point just trying to dissipate some of the power into the earth. I lay prone for quite a bit until don Howard instructed us to head back down and get ready to go back to the maloca. At the pinnacle of the Huachuma experience now I barely could get my shoes back on and I barely could make it down the hill - I was so woozy and intoxicated at this point. I got down to my room and the light was on, I didn't remember leaving it on, and I knew it was a test to see if I could trust and not be suspicious. I entered my room and felt very uncomfortable and nauseous with my ego mind at this point wanting to take over and send me into delusional thoughts. I allowed some negativity in but maintained some semblance of composure as it became a battle of my will and what I would ultimately choose. I went outside and paced around for a bit, wondering how I was to do the Vilca when my body was buzzing like mad with this feeling of sickness having taken hold of me. I drank some water and then finally purged over the railing with the effect of the purge being the surging energy subsiding a bit and I think I was also vomiting up psychic remnants of suspicion and ego delusion. I changed clothes and headed off to the maloca where I was informed I should grab some of the things I would need to do the Vilca as they would put me in a room closer to the maloca. As I headed back across the bridge to my room this silhouetted figure appeared to come out of nowhere on approach, which startled me. As the figure got closer I saw it was a familiar face who then walked backed with me to my room. He talked to me of having no fear. It was very surreal, like he was an actor playing a part in my drama. At this point I had let go of any fear I had and as we got to the end of the bridge he grabbed my head; I thought oh here we go, this is the dramatic conclusion to the evening, and then he kissed the side of my head and let out a primal scream to which I followed suit. It felt like some kind of test that I just passed, it was a wonderful feeling of release from any negative energy still bedevilling me. It was something I very much needed as a sign that I had overcome; it's hard to explain but it was something that seemed to be all part of some dramatic play unfolding before me. I then headed back to the maloca and prepared for the Vilca. Speaking to an attentive group of fellow travellers, don Howard talked of courage and no fear and I felt physically and psychically strong but the nausea was returning. I still vowed to do the Vilca but I needed to purge the sickness once again. We were sent to our rooms with the vomit bucket to get them prepared for after we take Vilca as it can cause another round of purging. While setting up I noticed a book by Paulo Coelho on the night stand that was very interesting. I'm pretty wary of his writings, I think he tapped into power and uses it for gain, and this particular book also struck a nerve with me. It also challenged me again on the issue of trust. I thought about some veiled power that knows all your secrets, all your fears you need to overcome, and how your ego mind works to deceive you. There are trials and challenges put forth that you must overcome to prove yourself worthy with no fear and be pure of heart and intention. I then thought about what was to come and dry heaved into the purge bucket to rid myself of any negative energy still holding me back. I felt extremely motivated to finish this cycle of work and headed back to the maloca. Once there I felt the power of the mesa and a feeling of courage and strength washed over me and I had to step up to the head of the mesa and do the Vilca now as I didn't want to wait to stand around and watch others do it and get second thoughts. I stood at the ready, looked behind me at don Howard, who did not move, so I picked up the inhaler and the powder and snorted some up my left nostril. Everything went black for a second. I then did the same for the right nostril and everything went black again. At that point don Howard got up and said I was supposed to wait. Too late! So he asked if I got two good inhales up both my nostrils to which I said yes so he told me I should go to my room. I went back and put on my sleeping mask and inserted my ear plugs then lay back on the bed on my side. I felt the Vilca intoxication come on almost immediately but in a very gradual manner. I started breathing heavily, my vision filled with geometric shapes, and I felt a lightness and swaying of my body on the bed. Then the visions propelled me towards an entrance way and I broke through a vesica piscis shaped portal bordered by diamonds and some gem stones. At this time I felt my heavy breathing soften and a pull to separate from my body. I was feeling a sensation of being lifted and propelled upwards and a further detachment from my body. My intention for the Vilca experience was to explore the shamanic worlds and my first stop was a place where I understood souls were awaiting re-birth, a lineup for reincarnation back into the material world. The device propelling me upwards at this point, kind of like a hot air balloon, stopped and descended a bit into this world where the souls were waiting their turn. I let it be known quickly that I did not want to be re-born into this world again. After an uncomfortable pause (pesky attachments as luggage weighing me down?), I was lifted up to the middle world - our world. I saw don Howard hanging out there on a ledge and I waved and smiled at him as I passed by. It came to my attention that he was an avatar sent to earth to help free souls. I continued ascending to the place that is the upper world or heaven as we like to call it and saw the souls that reside there. There was a knowing metaphorical feeling about all of this. Directly above heaven was the place curanderos and curanderas go at death and also the place where they obtain the power to heal. These healers are sent to our world by the Great Mother in order to help heal in service to her. Anytime they are sent down there is a chance they won't wake up or return which makes it a perilous journey to undertake. Then I was told I have within me the power to heal and to go ahead and enter this place and claim my power, so I did. It was explained that the red life force energy I had witnessed I had an abundance of and that's why the Huachuma activated in me makes me vibrate so intensely. I understood this as having an abundance of serpent energy. To heal I was told to hold ceremony and use mapacho smoke to activate my healing power. I was cautioned to be of service, to not be in it for personal aggrandizement, and to always give credit to the Great Mother. At this point I felt the intoxication wearing off so I blew my nose, which was full of mucous from the inhalation of the snuff, and I cleaned up a bit. I laid back on the bed in amazement for a bit, a cumulative wow, and then headed back into the maloca. I sat there as the energy continued coursing through me and then we went to eat and I still felt it going through me. Sleep was sporadic. 

Today is the last full day here. I look forward to leaving tomorrow and reconnecting with my family and starting the processing phase of this journey. I am truly done with plant medicines for a while now as I really need to put into practice all I have learned and the knowledge bequeathed to me. It's a time for action. More ceremonies at this point would be just doing them for the sake of doing them. I received teachings that I have to put into practice. I made a promise to the Goddess to do so before ever coming back. I feel at peace.

I have reflected somewhat on the power to heal. The power to heal in essence would mean the ability to be a healer and it is a process that takes time and hard work. I was shown I possess the power to heal but to truly develop this I'd have to devote myself to it. Part of learning this in the Amazon is to do 'dietas' with different plants to learn their power songs that heal. On average the dietas are about a month long per plant and involve isolation and abstinence - in other words to be of service on this level takes a great commitment. It was made clear by Ayahuasca that's not for me right now, I need to take care of my family. When the time comes I'll go do it. Upon further reflection it is even more clear the Amazon doesn't need another healer; it's humanity that needs a healer and not a physical healer but a healer of the heart. I expect this understanding to unfold more coherently over the coming months. The plant medicines constantly amaze me in how they conduct classes in continuing education in the months to follow after returning home from the one on one seminars with them.

The plant medicines will make you confront your demons and that is a very difficult thing to do and not run from. In terms of metaphysical speculations I always stress that it has to be experiential. I have gotten out of it certain beliefs but in no way do I want anyone to take my word for that, make up your own mind after you experience it. If you want to know then go seek out the answers yourself. The Ayahuasca ceremonies are definitely a progression and they build off of each other. That goes for the seven previous ceremonies I participated in so in a way it is continuing education. It also has this feeling of being sent home to work on things and coming back to write the exam. Same goes for Huachuma and these ceremonies connect with the Ayahuasca ceremonies. The pivotal moment of my time here was during the third Ayahuasca ceremony when the darkness was overwhelming me once again and I had this resolve and remembered all I had been taught. I quieted my mind. I became the observer and started snapping my fingers when my mind tried to latch on to a thought. I just observed the darkness and then it eventually dissipated. That's when I started feeling psychically strong and then the chocolate float appeared and a little girl offering me a heart. Then I saw Ganesha. At that point I became aware of my strength and power over all the dark forces. It all led to becoming the jaguar in the fifth ceremony. The jaguar is the symbol of the masculine wise warrior light spirit. I kept seeing it in don Howard. It's within me, supported by serpent heart based energy. When I mentioned earlier that I felt like Ayahuasca was preparing me after ceremony three to meet the masculine divine spirit it was a feeling that definitely foreshadowed the appearance of the jaguar in ceremony five. Upon reflection, the jaguar at that point symbolized the grandfather spirit I had been seeking and when I became the jaguar it confirmed what I had long intuited, that we possess within the divine, we are at essence the children of these two creative powers. When I now see the tapestry of the jaguar head surrounded by the serpent that is so iconic to my experience at SpiritQuest I knowingly think of this inner perceptive conception of the godhead, the union of the masculine and feminine. The spirit of the ancient civilization of Chavín de Huantar, the smiling jaguar surrounded by the serpents, elicits the same deep knowing within my soul.





In conclusion it is clear the time I spent at SpiritQuest this year was exactly how it was supposed to be. I'm not the same entity I was three years ago when a very naive version of me headed down to Peru for the first time. It's the end of the chapter of my life that sought out answers and wished to free myself of the darkness that plagued me. I am so strong now and am amazed in the changes within me over the course of the last three years. I am forever grateful for the knowledge and wisdom shown to me by the plant teachers with the help of the shamans. I fully realize I am not perfect and many challenges lie in wait on the road ahead. In some respects I would not be surprised if things get very difficult for me to integrate all I have learned into my everyday life. The ultimate attachment is ego and a deep respect to those who have had to overcome so much. When the ego is unmasked and called out for its behaviour, to the extent that though it may still play a part in your life you can easily step back and rectify its pernicious influence, what becomes the motivation or should I say what is my next challenge as I continue on this path? It is about Love and teaching others this path of liberation. Healing through Love.