In a curious way not only is the Amazon representative of the lower shamanic world but for all intents and purposes, it is the lower shamanic world. Western culture operates in the earthy middle shamanic world and is oddly fascinated by those whom we call primitives. From afar, we ridicule the Amazonian culture of healing and sorcery which evolved through the modalities of plant medicines and altered states of consciousness, however it seems to me we ridicule it because essentially we don't understand and in order to grasp their culture you have to become immersed into their world. The strange part is their world in the 21st century is readily accessible physically and spiritually by us "moderns." Physically, it means getting on a plane and traveling into the Amazonian jungle and spiritually it means ingesting a shamanic plant that alters your consciousness. It's quite a bewildering twist of cognition as your perturbed mind will impact heightened emotions that will run the gamut from fear to intrigue and even if you run from it the experience will still remain with you for the rest of your life. If you pursue this mystery and continue on this journey, it is hard not to connect it to a psychological understanding of the psyche, mythical quests, and arcane mystery cults of antiquity. In order to recover what is lost, the hero, the hero being you, must take a trip into this strange world which is the first step on a journey towards transcendence. Before this entry into the unknown, there will have been a preparatory crisis that was the impetus for taking this step. Many varied reasons will you confront why you shouldn't continue this quest once you get your feet wet. For me, it was fear as confronting the dragon was very unpleasant. It stops you in your tracks and once routed you have a decision to make. After recovering back at home base I had a clear choice to make: I could go on living my life and run out the clock never returning to that strange place or I could get back on my horse and confront my fear. However, deep down in my soul I knew I would live out a life of regret if I did not go back into the water world with courage mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation. The adventurer in me gathered up some inner strength and armed with protection from some spiritual helpers returned to shove the leviathan aside and continue the mythical quest. I did well, had some failures, but moved ahead in this most intriguing game.
I noticed during my time in the Amazon that the culture is duplicitous and from this I see how sorcery flourishes in the environment. For each act of healing, there is an act of harm - it's the necessary corollary in order to maintain balance within this world. There's no use trying to circumvent this phenomenon; it has to be this way. In spite of the necessary reconciliation, there is a strange and strong attraction to this world, a pull I would describe as hypnotic. For instance, when I am at home I always feel this desire to return to the jungle, for it is high adventure. After satiating the burning desire and returning into the chaotic jungle environment, it seems after about ten days I'd want out of the madness. I'd write that I think I'm done with the plants and shamanism for a while. During ceremonies a little voice inside me would tell me not to do this anymore which I chalked up to fear. As well something within would always flag the experience as hypnotic and I'm very wary of that state and am uncomfortable at the thought of mind control. When I returned home last summer after my third trip to the Amazon I went through the requisite withdrawal symptoms and pined a little about the experience and thought about when I would return once again to the jungle, even though in my journal on the last day in the jungle I had written that I was done for a while. After returning to the normalcy of home, I started having strange dreams about the place that in essence were telling me not to return though I tried to explain them away. A conversation with a friend set out in detail the confirmation of the nature of the lower world, its healers, its sorcerers, its charlatans, the sideshows of this bizarre carnival atmosphere, and the need to move forward in my journey. The message was to be adventurous and don't get stuck in the water world. I finally fully realized the hypnotic pull of this mysterious chthonic region. It is very exciting and brings to my life a sense of mystery and wonder. I starting having recollections as well as dreams that were adding up and demonstrating to me that it's time to move on. I remembered the final visionary Vilca ceremony last summer in which I visited the three shamanic worlds. I was lifted up through the worlds by something resembling a hot air balloon and as the first stop was the lower world it was curious that the balloon got stuck for a bit in this world. At the time I remember thinking no I don't want to be here; I want to ascend but the balloon stayed put for a while. Now, I realize what the vision was telling me: I'm attracted to that world, hypnotized by it, and I need to break free of it. Eventually, the balloon continued on in the journey. It took me a year to grasp the full meaning of what the vision was trying to convey but once I added everything up it all made sense. I can't go back to the jungle, I am done with that part of the journey for now and it is time to forge ahead. Ascending the great mountain calls out to me now.