Monday, September 28, 2020


Why do the lessons of Ayahuasca begin in full on classes months before I go drink again? I understand the integration period and the importance of continuing with the lessons received from the previous round of work. I understood where I was on the path of becoming a fully realized human being and knew I was avoiding a full on trip into the darkness of self. I had become brave enough to take brief forays into it and peek below, somewhat satisfying my curiosity, however I’d never fully gone back as I’d leave a lifeline that would get me out of the labyrinth and I was still guarded a bit. The time has come to revisit the horrors of my original forays into the world of plant medicines now equipped with knowledge and understanding. I set my intention for my next journey hopefully in 2021 to explore further the nether regions of self. As always happens, the preparation for in-person class comes fast and furious.

Jaguar training school is run by the darkness that lies within to train the human to release the jaguar out into the world. The darkness is not malicious; I know that now. It is relentless and can be perceived as malicious but understand it is tough love, so tough it can be deadly to enter into its advanced teachings. The teaching methods of the darkness are unique, somewhat cruel, and the training wheels are off in that it can kill. To forge steel is a heavy process and there will be casualties along the way. This isn’t for everyone; in fact I’d reserve it only for a select few. You will be exposed to everything that makes you tick and it will be intensified. You will be in a fight for your life as you confront everything. You will curse the darkness and try to bury it within again. Nothing is off the table in terms of outcomes. If you want to run - run. If you want to become an alcoholic to numb the pain and escape - drink. If you want to castrate yourself to escape desire - cut. If you want to run towards comfort - eat to obesity and numb the mind on culture and social media. There are no requirements to continue on the path and many ways off. I don’t know about you but I was never comfortable with failure. I was extremely uncomfortable however with the darkness that lies within.

Over a year before I drank Ayahuasca for the first time I wrote a poem about the darkness I perceived bent on destroying me.

I wanted to get rid of it and was at the point in my life where the crossroads of existence became centre stage. I was primed to start climbing the mountain towards enlightenment in order to receive my holy robes and be declared a winner of the game of life. I started searching for the meaning of life and wanted to transcend the human. It’s an exercise in frustration and I constantly was interrupted by the darkness within, always at my side, laughing at me and my fellow humans for their folly. I found plant medicines and went off in search of transcendence that way as a shortcut to my beatitude. My second time drinking Ayahuasca I was punched in the gut. The resulting beat down and paranoia chased me back home to live out life a cowering mess. I had a choice in whether I wanted to accept defeat or get up off the mat and fight. In reality, I had no choice if I wanted to live life fully. If I didn’t want to fight back I’d have to find a way to numb consciousness. Eventually, step by step, with the help of the feminine divine I battled back. I got pretty good at it and was able to right the ship and continue the journey. The darkness was still lying in wait; however it was abated while I figured out my plan of action.

I went back to the jungle to confront the darkness. I was scared and sat in the first ceremony prior to drinking wondering why I was back and going through this? I wanted to run again. Little did I know this mountain of a man was sitting beside me to my right, smoking away on mapacho, who would help me on this path with his encouragement and positivity. It was help that was huge and beyond anything I could ever payback. I was immediately confronted by the demon. I stood my ground that night and earned respect. In a way, the darkness accepted me as his student that night though I wasn’t aware I had enrolled.

I have subsequently been challenged with being strong, brave, courageous, and standing up for myself in both ceremony and in life. I have definitely not received straight As. I mean who really could? This is serious and difficult life lessons. My third visit to the jungle and successfully navigating the treacherous waters resulted in my transformation into a jaguar. Ultimately, the darkness is teaching you to become a warrior and invite you into the order of the jaguar. I got my spots for my courage. I faced the darkness and then was charged by a jaguar. I stood toe to toe with that jaguar and he became me. What a rush. It’s something I’ll cherish forever and a graduation planned out to perfection. That’s why don Howard coined the sanctuary SpiritQuest.

School was by no means finished. Higher education beckoned. I demonstrated I had the fortitude to be successful though I still had a lot of work to do. The darkness flooded me with all the desires and behaviours that were holding me back; so much so it was overwhelming at times. I cursed the darkness, wondering when it would ever stop? I wanted to be a shining example for everyone. I knew love was the ultimate answer. I could project that but lying within was still my humanness. How do I get past that? It’s lying within and making me a liar.

To become a warrior is hard work. Strength of steel comes from being battle-tested in life’s foundry and facing one’s own demise. Gladiators aren’t anointed and coddled or issued certificates acknowledging their bravery. It’s strange that I didn’t realize this seven years ago. I defined the darkness as being an adversary instead of being a teacher. The greatest teacher I have ever known. Without the darkness I could not lay claim to the following:

Strength, not being weak
Standing up for myself
Rising to the Challenge

These attributes are the domain of the darkness that lies within with an assist from the heart. This is what the teacher wants to teach you. It is a difficult path and he will stalk and kill you if you do not transform. He will dig down deep into your soul and pull all that shit up and make you confront it. He will imbue it with power and have it relentlessly stalk you. I slowly passed each test and was left with one more to go. I remember the night it happened last month. I finally broke free of the spell of culture and tasted complete freedom. I knew it immediately. This battle was over. I am a warrior. I now wait to return to the jungle to see what’s next. As don Howard would say, “There’s always more."

Onward ho! The journey continues towards becoming an adept of the darkness. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

within the one is found the two

The spiritual chorus preaches the one. Everything is derivative of the one and all of creation can be folded back into the one. To express this one, us humans have come up with a bunch of terms, including the polarizing concept of god which we in turn fetishize and transform into an object of worship and sometimes assign to an ideal that is used for human pursuits of power and monetary gain. The understanding of your place in all of this is your connection to all, in that not only are you a product of the universe but you are indeed the universe and from your perspective you are a point of that universal consciousness that is looking out upon itself. It is not only an empowering vision of creation but it also lowers anxiety about what happens to you when the body dies. If you like adventure then I wouldn’t worry about what happens next. You can go even further with this concept and discard the one. Grasping at the one is still objectifying and truthfully there are no objects. We delineate what just is, conjure duality, and selectively take subjective forms of energy and solidify them into objects.

Okay, I think the above is a pretty good explanation of what heady spiritual people preach, if I do say so myself. In our culture, science is king and therefore in modern spiritual pursuits we try and reconcile the two. Using core concepts of Eastern philosophy, allows us to bridge the gap and transform the woo into nuanced metaphysical speculations that allow consensus and eschews wishful thinking. This is all well and good however I like to push the envelope past the chains of what others think. I want experience and subsequently I want to put the experience through my filter and come up with my own concepts.

I have walked the desert sands of Egypt and explored their pyramids and majestic temples. I’ve sweated in the jungles of the Amazon basin. I’ve climbed mountains in the Andes and visited valley temples. I’ve spent a night out in the arid and unforgiving wilderness of the American southwest. I’ve ingested multiple plants that have altered my consciousness enough that I know there are many dimensions to this magical mystery tour we call life. I’ve tried to figure it all out. I’ve tried to grasp this elusive enlightenment. I’ve wondered where do I get my certificate telling me I’ve made it?

I understand the philosophy and I feel the universal connection. It’s undeniable. My experiential journey suggests instead of the one, all truth lives at the door of two. We are a reductionist culture and because of this, one is the holy grail. For me, it’s two and everything is derivative of the two. I’m talking about the divine feminine and divine masculine and their coming together creates the one which then reflects back out as a multiple duality of many twos. Envision this construct that comes from the mind of a human, if you will. It is a centre-point that contains two polarities. As a flow chart, the two as the divine feminine and masculine come together into the one which brings you to the unified centre-point. From the centre-point flows out all of creation into multiple instances of this duality into creation. The two must become one before they become the many.

I see this in the ancient Egypt as the great mother and her son, who is also the father; this peculiarity known as kamutef, the bull of his mother. In their literature and on temple walls, I see it also expressed in the concept of creation emanating from an androgyne source that contains the sacred two. In the Ennead of Heliopolis, of which this dual-sexed god Atum is at the head, it is said that the masculine light source Shu and the feminine water source Tefenet are always with and are Atum. The androgyne is the combination of the two and there is no getting around it. Even in the word hermaphrodite is presented in clear view the union of two great deities in the Greek wisdom god Hermes and Aphrodite, the goddess of love. These two go back into the hazy scrolls of history to the beginnings of Egyptian thought and the primordial beginnings of the Ogdoad at Hermopolis where the Egyptian counterparts of these two, Thoth and Hathor, stand at the head of all creation that comes forth from the primordial swamp of 8-town. The concept of union and attempts at artistic expression is depicted on temple walls such as this painted relief masterpiece inside the Khonsu Temple at Karnak temple.

The dual-sexed Kamutef

I see this concept in the sacred mesa of the Andes where the reconciliation of the two gendered polarities brings everything back together into the centre at the axis mundi. The great stone idol of the Chavin temple, the lanzon, brings together the feminine and masculine in this depiction of the sacred world centre.

Lanzon in the temple of the jaguar at Chavin

The temple grounds are made up of dualistic constructs such as the set of black and white limestone stairs leading to the temple as well as finding dualistic principles in the raised and lowered opposite hands of the idol in which the masculine points to the upper world and the feminine to the lower world. The temple grounds rest at the meeting point of the coastal and jungle civilizations in a valley where two great rivers merge into one. This reconciliation of all was called tinkuy. Achieved is balance and from this position the healing can be empowered and love for all can flow. In the jungle, are the symbols of the feminine serpent and the masculine jaguar. There are exoteric and esoteric understandings of the two.

Those that live off the land and in primitive dwellings we culturally denigrate as simple. Simple people paradoxically have the most profound symbolism. The modern symbolism from our culture of excess is bereft of ideas and suffering from malnutrition. Hidden in the jungle is the most profound teaching accessed by the brave and the courageous. I’ve searched high and low but never have I come across such a direct communication of what it is all about. Obviously, the serpent is feminine and the jaguar is masculine and they are ubiquitous symbols of the jungle. It’s a pretty simple exoteric depiction of life, creation, destruction, and renewal.

There were big teachings this last time through Peru earlier this year in the jungle that carried on into the Andes mountains. It included the direct experiencing of and understanding of the life force common to all, that connects us all, that originates from a common feminine and masculine vibration symbolized as the serpent and the jaguar. The serpent creates the vibrational body that undulates from on to off and the jaguar traverses this path. The jaguar moves freely. As visualized and communicated by Hindu adepts of yesteryear, when you raise your consciousness and enlighten all the subtle body chakras, energetic touch points you break free of, you meet the jaguar who roams the chakras as an expression of the power of the kundalini serpent which in the pre-Columbian South American religious thought are the three shamanic worlds. And finally you become the jaguar.

Everything comes from this one vibration with vibrations within each vibration. It pulses from off to on. Creation is the pulse with two extreme states and everything in between. From a holistic point of view it is one vibration. Within the one is found the two. The one can’t be without the two. The two always have their opposite. Try it; try to cut off the bottom end of a piece of string. What do you end up with? For the feminine and masculine there is no one. There is always the pull to rejoin your opposite, like a magnetic pull that creates the constant oscillation that creates life. How’s that for the esoteric? I’m so humbled by this knowledge that gives me the power to transcend any thoughts of annihilation and head straight into the gale force of life, full of courage and resolve. As the hero, I set out to rescue the princess; my feminine polarity. They seek each other and afterwards separate once again to keep this all going. It’s universal and timeless.

It's as close to the truth as I can get. There is a serpent and a jaguar and that’s it. The serpent’s body represents the pulsing form while the jaguar is the energy rushing forth along this serpentine highway. It also dawned on me the ancient Egyptians had something close to this idea in their great mother goddess Hathor and her son Ihy. The serpent lady would give birth to the wild bull Ihy, who would also be described as the perfumed effluence coming forth from her body. The rattling of a sistrum, an energetic vibration, much like the shacapa of the shaman in the Amazon, brought forth the Goddess and the power scent she gave off is the naked child come forth in wild abandon.

The clever adept pronounces non-duality. It all just is. It’s true. Within all, the is-ness is consciousness and once the pond is disturbed, duality becomes king through objectification. Trying to define non-duality is trying to define a state of existence; like taking a snapshot in time. Whatever it is we are living in, one thing for sure is it is constantly on the move and in motion therefore beyond definition. From the perspective of the realization of the one, being at the centre, where you become the axis mundi you see it all splinter into shards of duality made up of the feminine and masculine polarities. When I stand at my mesa, I envision I am the lanzon, the centre, the chaupi. I am everything. I look to my left and I see the feminine. I look right and it’s the masculine. I see everything. Lower world, upper world, and then back to self. My mesa represents the self, my self, and the totality of everything that comes from me. It’s all me. I am non-dual and I see it all break down into duality. All aspects and qualities of existence, psychologically and biologically, contained within it all. Which is the correct perspective? Is it from the standpoint of non-duality or does it originate from duality? What are your prejudices?

I look up at the sky, see the clouds, and I am stunned by the vastness of it all. I come to the realization it is the image of mind I am looking at. This vastness is consciousness. I am privileged and privy to having the ability to image mind and see how creation is the representation of the twinning pattern of consciousness and energy, yin and yang, feminine and masculine, serpent and jaguar.

The game is fascinating and I have a fascination with the game. It’s like being at the beach and grasping a handful of hot, white sand. It just slips through your fingers.

Monday, September 14, 2020


We start out in life centred with just the self, full of possibilities, and we create the higher and lower self. The higher self comes from an idealistic and utopian desire that suggests we can transcend the human and become ultra-spiritual, like it is some kind of holy game that we must play. In western culture, the church is the path for a lot of people who need to accomplish this task they have invented and subsequently must climb the ladder to heaven. For others, the church has become an oppressive game and hard to swallow; especially in today’s climate of science and reason. There are also the eclectic and eastern mysteries to spiritually one up the masses, everyone loves the one up game for the rush it brings to ego; alternatively for the atheistic among us are ways to become metaphysical such as being spiritual but not religious. There is even a term for it, SBNR, and the two factions engage in criticism of each other. A simple internet search will get you a front row seat to the accusations hurled at each camp. One is coined lazy and the other dogmatic. Humans are pretty special creatures; always doubling down on their chosen identities! Science has declared god is dead but still wants in the game. We have the current high priest of rational atheism and its revered saints of yesteryear. Science is the idol on which the faith, err I mean the logic, exists. These are all games; more high brow and nuanced versions of the childhood games we played such as cops and robbers or various modern cosplay scenarios. It’s serious and sometimes the fate of your soul rests in the balance which gives it the juice to take over your existence and morph into the meaning of life. Christians have just the one shot at the salvation of the soul! That’s deadly serious. Those who are not playing this game shake their heads in amazement without realizing the cultural and psychological underpinnings and consequences of this mass behaviour. We all need a game or to put it in more polite terms that isn't as condescending: We all need a purpose.

On the other hand, we create the lower self as well. Whatever behaviours or desires we want to explore from cradle to grave that we are told are culturally taboo or not allowed are buried. These behaviours go into the hidden closet. A closet that contains no light and therefore these questionable behaviours go dark. They can only come out of the closet when no one or society isn’t looking. We create such a barrier to our dark side that if discovered if can be mortifying for the individual whose lifelong project is laid bare. It’s almost as if we are to have a place we keep things that makes us tick that are reserved for only our purview. In a way these desires animate our existence as much as the acceptable behaviours we present to the public at large. Oh yeah he loves sports; spends all his free time either playing or watching sports! Let’s face it, though this may be true to an extant, we all have things we love or desire that no knows about or if they do, they are people not involved directly in our lives.

So, that’s the situation at hand. Everything originally radiates from the centre as the self and we create and enable the quest for enlightenment or the descent into hell. Heading full on to either path will bury the other, which is interesting. They are equal on the scale of psychosis. The religious nut though gets a pass. Has anyone ever gone on the ultra-spiritual trip and left it buried? By this, I mean all who quest to become holy make damn well sure everyone knows about it. From what I gather, the primary undertaking of one who does this is to present themselves by actions, dress, and behaviour as now being of the holy crowd. Evangelizing is a normal human trait and for those who are part of an exclusive club there are created ways to let others know you are part of their club. Therefore, I think by definition one who seeks the light lays their amazingness cards out on the table for all to see and basks in the recognition of who they have become; darkness be damned. And the darkness is damned! It becomes the hell region for all the sinners and those that don’t play your game.

I don’t know what the result is of one who heads down the path of darkness. Well, in a way I kind of do. I believe it leads to depravity, insanity, and chaos. The examples are all around us and we define it as pathology and not part of the human condition. We are loathe to accept it as 'normal.’ Doesn’t this just continue to perpetuate the madness? Aren’t they as sick as the ultra-spiritual among us? Granted, they do cause much more damage to society. It wasn’t always that way as the crusades, inquisitions, accusations of being an infidel, trials and burnings, and religious wars attest to. I would think as a remedy to our proclivity towards both paths that leads to aberrant behaviour we need to integrate all into the human experience and allow the darkness to come out and mix with the light. My ideal of an open and loving society would be inclusive of the whole human condition and celebrate it all. That means bringing the uncomfortable out into the open and recognizing and saying yes and that too. To reconcile all, instead of creating a divide of the holy and the damned, the righteous and the depraved.

The world at large is an accurate reflection of who we are as a species. An apt comparison is the stock market. You may think it is irrational but the market is never wrong. When you realize and accept the paradox of life, it’s time to let a little light in on the dark and conversely take a little shine off the light. Bring everything back to the centre; integrated and reconciled.

Monday, September 7, 2020

balance is it

The meaning of life seems to becoming more clear to me everyday. It is about discovery. The journey of discovery of who you are and that within you find the good and the bad. Now, most of us upon finding this out, want to be good. Some of us take it to the next level and want to become ultra-good, like in the pure and holy religious way. We invent spiritual outfits that will declare us holy and allow us to reach this pinnacle so we can rest assured that we made it into the rarified air. Religion is a great game and the precursor to secular role-play and cosplay outfits. Conversely, not many of us purposely take the other path and become super-bad. Those that do, we generally assign to pathology and look for an external reason which could have caused their anti-social behaviour. I’ve looked within and I have seen both the good and the bad. I’ve tried to leave the darkness behind. I also thought at one point the answer was to go all in on the righteous side of things.

The human condition is a paradox in that there is always a push towards the opposite of what we seek. If we go all in on the righteous path, then the traits that are buried to get to that point eventually become imbued with the need and power to manifest at inopportune times or just when given the chance. I was listening to a Ram Dass talk when he mentioned he knew this spiritual teacher whose teachings were contradictory. He would tell someone one thing and subsequently turn around and tell a different person the exact opposite of what he just preached! This confused so many people until he was asked about it. He explained that he was teaching balance. In order to allow the student to reach that goal he would assess each individual and give them the personal advice needed in order to take them to that centre where they would reconcile the opposites.

I found out that this inherent and vacillating condition is not something you can transcend but instead work towards taking off the sharp edge. What I mean is that duality will always remain; the divide will never leave us. I finally got it that what we want is balance and through this we will find peace and fulfill inner longings. The method towards transcendence of duality in this plane of consciousness is to find balance. It’s to go straight into the head wind of polarities and embrace both sides. The ancient shamans of the pre-Columbian Andes had the answer all along. It’s a process called tinkuy and is symbolized by the meeting of two great rivers where a strong current becomes greater by allowing for the joining and coming together of the flow of two bodies of water. The two flows become one. Similarly, the human is refined by bringing together those traits of light and dark and preparing them to be joined with their soul mate, whether that is in a physical marriage in this plane or spiritually where in my case she waits in order to reunite and once again become complete.

I know she is always with me; it is the Goddess I speak of. I have my own personal goddess who is my feminine soul mate. She awaits me as she has already gone through the purifying fires of incarnation, forged the contending spirits into a harmonious one, and reached this balance. The night I met her again for the first time, she implored me to come away with her; to leave my earthly bonds behind and re-join her. I had no idea what she was talking about and told her I wasn’t done with this incarnation. I still had stuff to do! I certainly did. I have responsibilities, a need to accomplish a few more things, and I also need to get my act together. I didn’t know how I was going to do that but I have finally realized what I need to do. Balance.

If I would have joined her I wouldn’t have been ready. The relationship once again would have ended in the long separation as I went off alone to sort out my shit. Ah relationships, I guess they carry on over to the spiritual plane.

I spoke to her the other day and she confirmed to me it is balance that I seek. I had climbed the spiritual mountain and found everything came with me up that mountain. I could act the part of an enlightened and holy being if I wanted to but that would be a drag. Who wants to live life being disingenuous and doubting whether they really deserve the honour? I know I still have my dark and intolerant side. It’s part of me; part of life. I’m cool with it all. It was another dose of the wisdom she drops on me when I’m ready for it. Love washed over me.

When I left work I went into the washroom and of course playing over the speakers was the song “Mysterious Ways” by the band U2. The lyrics describe her to a tee.

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You've been living underground
Eating from a can
You've been running away
From what you don't understand...

She's slippy
You're sliding down
She'll be there when you hit the ground

It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways

She's the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child

One day you will look...back
And you'll see...where
You were
By this love...while
You could stand...there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

For all my talk about my dark side and how it trolls me, well, she kind of does as well. However it is not a troll but loving reminders. I think she wanted to also let me know that though yes my dark side is strong, she is just as powerful and stands at the ready to always be at my side like she promised me a while back. I can go forth full of courage with my head up and heart forward.

Not only have I found the good and the bad within without being able to transcend either but I have found absolutely everything within. It’s all me and whatever you can point at, well that too. Through acceptance and owning it all I will bring it all back to centre and find balance.