Monday, November 26, 2018

merry go round and round

Scientists can explain what we think are the fundamental physical underpinnings of the universe but the child's love of the merry go round remains a mystery. It's a psychological/psychospiritual connection to this inviting place where we are promised the chance to live out all our dreams and so we desire to give the carnival one more shot. Las Vegas writ large baby! We are cosmic gamblers and desire another roll of the dice in this great game to try and get to the top of our proverbial mountain.

I made a pact before returning this time to the merry go round in the search for the wizard, that I'd have to stumble through the process of self discovery and be allowed to persist in my own folly to determine if I could see through the game and end my fascination with it. I keep returning and going round and round, blowing out my game, probably because I got sidetracked by some desire. Some of us chase fame and fortune; some are here to help; some want to celebrate the self; some are unabashed hedonists - I want to figure it out (why not how) and this is the passion that keeps my flame burning. Ultimately that is the allure of plant medicines and the SpiritQuest Sanctuary. They will help you figure it out with a dose of needed discipline. Don Howard gives you the space you need to come to terms with the fascination and unwavering belief that you can game the system and make these plants work for you. I call it the school of hard knocks because even though he directly tells you the answers you need to successfully work with the plants, you go rogue because nothing beats experience and then beating yourself up repeatedly until bruised while eventually you think well maybe I should quiet my mind and be more accepting of self and this magic carpet ride. Don Howard sees this and you can detect a slight smile and a twinkle in his eyes as he addresses the group, casts a quick glimpse towards you, as he then gives advice to the new initiates about to go through the ringer. At this point a wave of humbleness washes over you.

Whatever formula, shuffle of the deck, or magic potion I used this time seems to have worked. I side stepped a bunch of pitfalls. I stumbled onto the mystery in the Amazon and got chased away the first time I went exploring. Not sure how I pulled it off, but I came back, scared, but I had courage. Eventually I got my answer. I am no longer fascinated and I'm walking home now.

Monday, November 19, 2018

mirror image

When you work with the plant teachers the class doesn't end the next day after a good night's sleep. Often the immediate experience under the influence of the plant is a menagerie of strange visions, fear, ecstasy, and a feeling of relief as the roller coaster comes to a stop. Over the course of the next day or two you gather some insights about the experience but a large part of what took place remains mysterious. I have learned though that you will eventually find connection, or a teaching, with all the content of the class. I have dutifully recorded via pen and paper all of my forays into these realms. However that's not all. In your everyday life things start to happen that you then connect back to a ceremony and you get these epiphanies interspersed throughout your life. The plants are now with you always.

I first went to SpiritQuest in April of 2015 and worked with Ayahuasca and Huachuma. In the ceremonial maloca is this Shibipo tapestry of the head of a jaguar intertwined with a serpent.

It is so impressive and pretty iconic of the sum of my whole experiences in the Amazon jungle. You cannot help but look at it and be enchanted by the artistry and combination of these two motifs. I returned to SpiritQuest in June of 2016 and during the cycle of work with Ayahuasca had some really profound events and revelations during ceremony, all pretty much revolving around my ability to finally quiet my mind and observe. The end of the third ceremony, after a major breakthrough, was serpent charged. A large green boa slithered along the floor of the maloca and entered into my head and wrapped itself around me coming to rest on my left shoulder. Another white snake with flecks of black then entered into my mouth and made its way down to the base of my spine. When I lay on my bed later that night I felt the serpentine waves of energy throughout my whole body. Then during the fifth Ayahuasca ceremony I transformed into a jaguar, allowing me to feel the awesome power of an animal that rules his domain without fear. Just prior to this ceremony we were visited by a group of Shipibo artisans selling their crafts and I was able to purchase a replica of the serpent jaguar tapestry. I have printed out on canvas a picture of this tapestry and also use an image as a background on my personal computer. So I am constantly in contact with this image throughout my daily life.

The last month or so I have internally felt the coming together of the sacred energies within and have sat with them, thought about them, looked for connections with them in nature and mythology, and written quite a bit about this experience in this blog space recently. It's the discovery of the power archetype that combines the sacred feminine with the sacred masculine and this power is... how do I put it? Well it is it. I found the power in mythology that I experience epitomized as the Greek god Dionysos. Dionysos is an effeminate man surrounded by crazed women and horny men.

Love, community, play, nature, intoxication, and mystery cult are what he is all about. It is the sacred marriage of the two polarities of the feminine and masculine found in nature that symbolically combined present as the hermaphrodite.

The serpent jaguar motif of the Amazon is the harmonious combination of this coming together of the feminine and masculine energies. It is the sacred marriage that creates the internal union of the opposites, the intertwining of yin and yang, or the glorious hermaphrodite swan of mythology that ferries the two representatives of the sacred powers, Hansel and Gretel, to safety. I hung my tapestry in my room devoted to my spiritual explorations and I stand at the head of my mesa and look at it every night. A couple years now of looking at this magical image. Two nights ago I stood at this privileged spot and the magical bestower of the sacred epiphany visited me once again. When I stand at my mesa and look at this tapestry I am looking into a mirror. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

magnum opus

The Greco-Roman sculptures and depictions of Dionysos we have passed down to us show him with wine in a relaxed pose.

In the Roman Bacchanalia we read of intoxication and orgies associated with his cult. I was standing the other night at my Mesa where I have a miniature statue of Dionysos on the left hand feminine side and I started laughing because he is holding a bunch of grapes. The mysteries should be hidden so why not just hide them in plain site? Any observer would say cool, the Greeks had a god of wine and licentiousness! And so hidden remains the mystery cult. When you start pulling back the veil he's there, everywhere. When Apollo is absent from his Temple at Delphi in the winter months Dionysos is there with his ecstatic female followers, the maenads.

ecstatic maenads

At Eleusis he's there; he's the light born under cover of darkness. The mystery of Eleusis is a story about the abduction of Demeter's daughter Kore by Hades but Dionysos is somehow mysteriously involved. The light always returns. The popularity of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis and her mystery cult in the Greco-Roman world is due to the connection of Isis and Osiris to Demeter and Dionysos. Initiation into mystery cult begins and ends with Dionysos: birth, life, death, and rebirth, along with play, laugh, love, sensuality, commonality, unity, and nature. The feminine is given the permission to let loose and the masculine to become a lech, well represented by Dionysian coterie such as the maenads and satyrs which are our base instinctual natures liberated and coming out to play.


Cultures, fads, and civilizations come and go and expectations of behaviour and morals are flimsy, forever changing with the times. Dionysos reminds us our root instincts, some say 'animal' natures, don't change. 

There's this undercurrent in the appearance of Dionysos in Greek history and culture that goes all the way down into current scholarship where he is considered a foreign god. The post Bronze Age epitome of Greek reason was not accepting of this undisciplined behaviour, neither were the gods of Olympus. Reason and enlightenment are something cultivated by mature and disciplined civilizations. But that's just it; reason is a byproduct of culture. What we term instinct is always there transcending culture. Nature isn't subject to reason. Dionysos is indestructible and ever returning with the returning aspect giving him the aforementioned foreign designation. When society shutters itself into a nice and neat nuclear family full of patriotic citizens, Dionysos the ever coming returns in a frenzy; the 60's an example of an outbreak of peace, love, and anti-establishment behaviour. The authorities put an end to the revelry as they sensed the breakdown of their decades long social engineering project. The turn of the 21st century has seen a doubling down on authoritarian measures in the western 'free countries'. The threat of international terrorism gave the totalitarians among us the opportunity to put the lock down on society. Well guess what? The dam is going to break again and soon. It's already happening and this time it's not stopping. Dionysos is the eternal return.

I have written previously about what I consider to be the all. My contention is that everything is derivative of the separation of the ecstatic embrace of the divine feminine and masculine. We are in the post orgasmic state after the release of energy of the two primal powers. It's humorously called the Big Bang by physicists. However nothing lasts as we well know from just being aware. The universe is defined by movement and change and any attempt at objectification leads to delusion. The state of the universe we are in now will not last forever, it will return once again to unity. The divine couple will reunite once again and after the requisite foreplay will once again create another universe, the universe essentially a child of these two. Curiously within all of us are these two powers and we can reenact the divine play of creation with others and also within. And it isn't a microcosm of the grand movie, it actually is it playing itself out and you are it. Within the energy that animates all is latent omnipotent potential to birth as many universes as you can imagine in your philosophy. Externally we create by coming together sexually with a partner of the opposite sex which is a pretty good mirrored example of the dance of creation. Our externally manifest self physically mirrors the all pervasive energy of creation. Unbeknownst to all is hidden within the ability to unite both energies. Take myself as an example. I have a head start on feeling the masculine energy because that is my gender. However the feminine is within me, it is just hidden and due to culture and gender roles is locked away. Within all of us are the two polarities, this peculiar truth recognized by the alchemists of the Middle Ages. They had a funny way of going about it but essentially what they were trying to do is awaken and transmute the two natures and combine them in a sacred union. From there they envisioned immortality. So within she is calling to you: to free her, to rescue the princess. This is your quest, my quest, the only quest, and that road is long and winding. First is a need to recognize your power and throw off the dragon along with the chains of culture. When you find her you find love, wisdom, and happiness. At some point you will realize you are it, you are the divine masculine and the divine feminine. Then preparations for the internal sacred marriage commence. The sex is fantastic.

The union of these two powers that plays out repeatedly in creation conceptually creates the hermaphrodite. In fact think about this: when you are participating in the sexual act you combine and become one, essentially becoming the hermaphrodite. How then do you represent this combination in terms of a 'god', a strange one at that? As a culture you would say he is foreign as there is no place in society for such a god. He is effeminate. He talks about community and free love. You see where I'm going with this. This god is Dionysos. Dionysos represents the union of the sacred feminine and masculine. Dionysos is the state of creation totally unified. When he is torn apart then we have plurality. Eventually the energy wants to return to a state of coalescence. That is the state of higher consciousness, a current you can try and swim against but it will pull you along. Go with the flow.

Monday, November 5, 2018

sacred marriage

When you combine the feminine with the masculine what do you get? Culturally you get the marriage union. Sexually the end result is a baby. Mythologically you get the hermaphrodite. What about from the human psyche standpoint of enacting an inner transmutation while physically remaining the same? Isn't this what Dionysos is all about? Embraced are the feminine attributes of love, unity, play, pleasure, and a connection to nature and animals. All this whilst in a body and culture designating the masculine as stoic, hardworking, with an appeal to self and strong individualism, along with a strong dose of reason thrown in. This describes where I am currently in this most amazing journey of discovery. Both sides have great attributes and can be complementary. Forge each side through the fires of multiple incarnations, burning off the dross, and then the two sides become ready to be united. The shamans of pre Colombian South America called this two fold process tinkuy where the masculine was mediated into the best qualities put forth while extinguishing the desire to control, to judge, the anger, and the holy righteousness. The masculine focused and structured impetus when combined with the feminine artsy and chaotic side has an effect of a whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

In the myth of Dionysos he is torn apart by the Titans after his birth, with the only thing remaining being the heart. The remains of the Titans, after Zeus zapped them with a thunderbolt in punishment, formed the human body. Looking into this myth, I see Dionysos representing the world soul being torn apart upon entry into our world. We all have a piece of this heart which resides in the Titan body we share, much like a concept of an eternal soul. Indestructible Dionysos represents a primal unity, an ability to return to that state, and in this combination are the feminine and masculine attributes. The sacred marriage of mythology called the Hieros Gamos in essence reconstitutes Dionysos as the dual gendered all. The dismembered Dionysos within creation is recombined into the primal whole. He exhorts us to come together whether that is through wine, dance, sex, or community.

The Goddess I have sensed calling to me all these years would be the buried feminine half of me longing to reconnect with the masculine that has come forth. My soul mate. Are my complementary gendered natures on different cyclic scales and I need to synchronize them? Arrange them on the same vibrational frequency? Are we all individually microcosmic representations of the all and all in a process of tinkuy in order to individually recreate unity? Or are we it, nothing microcosmic about us, pretending we aren't? We all must mediate the feminine and masculine within. And then once we all do it the whole then comes together as one. Externally we look for completeness in a partner while ignoring the call internally. This is very interesting in that not only would we look towards cosmic unity as the divine embrace of the sacred feminine and masculine that are derivative of the ultimate unity but within you and I now are these two halves in a dress rehearsal playing out within all that will lead to a reconnection to source. The ultimate answer to the mystery of the origin of the universe is within us all as well, waiting to come together again.

Marriage is a dress rehearsal for the union within between your two gendered halves and all they entail. It is convenient to put the genders in a box and say feminine and masculine while ignoring the multi variations of the spectrum that each gender contains. The first work, if you are in for example a male body, involves recognizing all the masculine traits within. To become a candidate for the sacred marriage involves mediating all the good and all the bad of what it means to be a man. To be a protector of the sacred feminine; a medieval knight in shining armour. In the human act of marriage two people come together as one, complementing each other, and from that union they produce something even greater. Two halves come together as one and multiply. Within us are the fundamental workings of existence and to realize your full potential we have marriage to remind us that within is also expressed in this same outer construct. I am a man but I also do sense a feminine part of me that is buried. When I become comfortable with my masculinity then I can more easily connect with my feminine half. It was around eight years ago I first noticed her. I have awakened her within through an understanding of who I call the Goddess. She is a source of Love, healing, teaching, and wisdom and within my interactions with her there is a longing to be reunited and she has shown me how she has been locked away. She has asked me to come away with her, she has united with me on an intellectual level and an erotic physical level. Last December there was an afternoon I spent with the plant teacher Huachumon and during this time the most magical drum playing started up and there was this happy and erotic celebratory vibe. It felt like a marriage celebration. No union is perfect and there is work involved to grow however I feel we are together now and need to harmonize our relationship even further. This mirrors the human marriage and a need to work at it.

The connection with Dionysos involves an understanding of my relationship with the Goddess within where this union between us is enacting what is fundamentally the workings of all creation which is the ecstatic embrace of the sacred feminine and masculine. This oneness I see encapsulated in the representations of Dionysos. He is an effeminate man but he embodies attractive masculinity, has this wild band of frenzied female followers called maenads and these erect playful male followers called satyrs. He is ever returning and indestructible and leads us to discovering within are both traits that we can bring together in a sacred marriage to find wholeness. He reminds us with his connections to theatre that this is a grand stage to perform your song and dance and is there so we remember to play. Play, Love, and making connections with others is what it's all about.