Monday, November 30, 2020


The alteration of consciousness has allowed me to experience, albeit briefly, a love like no other. I’ve tasted the unity of all; a cosmic love that is bliss. I have been embraced by a Goddess I call my soul mate that makes me long for the time I leave this body and re-join her. This has been the most rewarding part of the journey and has been the catalyst towards the continual seeking of knowledge. Along the way I’ve learned a few things. Chief among them is that you cannot skip the step of first reconciling all within. We are all guilty of this. We taste the light and are very attracted to it so we head straight for it in order to shine and embrace our new-found holiness. I get it, it's pretty glorious to hypnotize yourself into that state, however temporary. We all realize the predicament we find ourselves in when we return home and the spell starts to wear off. We return to old habits and those in our life once again start to annoy us. We need another spiritual hit in order to get back to the heights of our newfound spirituality. Ram Dass said it best when he declared if you think you're enlightened, try spending a week with your family. It’s a never-ending cycle until you grasp the teaching. This class is designed to make you eventually realize that the serious work begins within the darkness of self. You are given a taste of the result but you never stay high. The adept needs to voyage into the depths and face it all. The desire demons are intent upon erecting obstacles to liberation along one’s path and reducing the human condition into a stunning display of weakness. When given a taste of power and desire fulfillment, we fold like one of those cheap canvas chairs. It has been a lifetime achievement to construct this complex being that you aren’t going to transcend with the wave of a wand.

The initial inquiry into the nature of self is fraught with the pitfall of the duality between light and dark. We see the light and it’s glorious, we are attracted to it, and want it. The roll of the expanded consciousness dice sometimes come up snake eyes and we plunge head first into the darkness. It’s a deeply upsetting psychological experience and the fear of this realm is off the charts. It’s called a bad trip and we try to subsequently avoid those returns. We come up with strategies and mantras, lucky charms, and the like to prevent that nightmare from ever happening again. It chases a lot of people away from continuing on with the class and those that forge ahead eventually learn how to navigate these nasty forays into the darkness of self. I count myself as part of the latter.
The master teacher is found in this darkness therefore when continuing on you eventually reach a point where if you constantly avoid the darkness then the experience is tamed. The knowledge available is so much greater than what you have been inviting in. At this point in your development, the crazy nights of the novice drinker are long gone. Sure, there’s still some apprehension but for the most part I know what I’ve signed up for. I’ve read a number of stories of some enthusiasts claiming Mother Ayahuasca has turned on or abandoned them. In reality, you put up the blocks and the course can’t continue the advanced lessons because you didn’t do the work. To continue the work involves surrender and letting go of control.
I think most of us are smart enough to eventually realize this predicament. Personally, it came outside of ceremony during the integration period. I document all my experiences and there is a paper trail detailing my success in learning how to navigate the ceremony which I learned by experience as well as taking advice from others who had developed strategies to move the experience towards the light. I think this is very valuable information, especially for a novice drinker who wants to continue on the path but has been given a one-two punch to the head and is wary about continuing on. As with all remedies, there are side effects and the end result of continually avoiding the darkness is an eventual taming of the whole experience. I got my spiritual bona fides during my trip to Peru in 2016 and in the final ceremony transformed into a jaguar. I knew at the time that an Ayahuasca ceremony would never be the same for me. I had reached a new level and was a worthy student on this path. I’ve been back since and it is true the experience has been markedly different. The next time I drank Ayahuasca, the experience was not dark at all which was pretty strange considering most of my initial ceremonies would take me straight into the darkness. The whole cycle of work reflected my mastery of the experience. Once again, I returned intent at peeking back into that darkness. Sure enough, through intention I went deep into my depths however it was not frightening at all. I got in but kept hold of the rope that would get me out. I know I have to let go of the lifeline if I’m to continue.
There’re two stages of fear in the inquiry of self. The first one, as I mentioned, is after the introduction to the darkness and you witness how unsettling it is. This causes the greatest number of dropouts. Eventually, if you want knowledge, you have to go back into the darkness. Chasing the light and bliss only gets you so far. You see unity and your place in the whole construct. You feel love for all. What about the hated and strife? To decide to go back into the darkness pretty much means by this point you have become a warrior and have the courage to face the fear. The knowledge of self is available to the intrepid seeker and it comes at you in ceremony and out of ceremony. A little bit at a time until you see it. Clarity arrives at your doorstep and it all becomes clear. Once you see it, you have to accept it. Fear creeps in again as you come to terms with this knowledge of self. To forge onwards, there’s has to be acceptance. You’re a warrior now and courage trumps fear.
I have wondered what Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan meant by becoming a "man of knowledge." It’s for those who want to know, have courage, and aren’t afraid of truth. It’s been over the last month that I became a man of knowledge when I added up the sum of my experiences in altered realities and my growth into the strong warrior I have become. The man of knowledge recognizes the inner strength within and its relationship to a darkness that is the master teacher, whose school is not for the weak, and doesn’t suffer fools for long. The student is to master their desires and become free. Once accomplished, the power through this liberation is yours and it's refined power, not the kind used for gain or to fulfill desire.
Upon taking up my cross and embarking on this spiritual journey, not in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up at this place standing on the doorstep of something so unbelievable and confounding. Not only that, but I’m not running for the hills. I had a tinge of fear and disbelief upon learning the identity of the master teacher but the allure of this strange mystery just continued to beckon me towards a rendezvous with destiny. The door is unlocked; all I have to do now is walk in and take hold of my fate.

Monday, November 23, 2020

liber pater

I could proffer you some advice if you are to go off in search of meaning, answers, enlightenment, a spiritual journey, or whatever you wish to call it; the guidance would be straightforward: your first stop along the path is liberation. Free yourself from culture and expectations; plus the old story and baggage you haul around. Like countless others, I didn’t do that and subsequently had to re-trace my steps and work to become free. I made my climb long and difficult due to a constant struggle with letting go of expectations, image, and self. All these chains and traits are the product of human social constructs that bind you to their mental prison.
From a wider perspective, you can see the chaos and breakdown happening within society, can’t you? As humans, we long to be free but don’t know how to go about getting liberated. In the mythic Greek literature, Dionysos is an outsider and he arrives from a foreign land. He’s an enemy of order and is embraced by the malcontents and those in opposition to structured society. He is scorned, derided, and chased away. Dionysos’ arrival on the scene gives you permission to be free. Everything becomes fluid. Where does hermaphroditism, gender identity issues, and the questioning of the social fabric we hold dear come from? Everyone is puzzled. Ask the Greeks - they intimately knew a god named Dionysos the libertine who would always pay a visit, especially when order became oppressive. Do you fight it or just observe? Are you concerned or smiling?
Dionysos is always coming to destroy order, whether that be society or your nice and tight life you have crafted. We men build and champion order and like a good Jenga game, the structure eventually gets knocked down. It’s the natural flow of the universal vibration common to all and we get pulled along. Culturally and individually, we face the dissolution of all we try so hard to maintain. It’s constant and really hard work protecting and ordering order. Seriously, you have to work at it or literally go to work, earn money, and use that money to keep your life together. Doing nothing leads to collapse. Funny how that works. I sat with that truth and finally realized I’m motivated to go to work because I’m addicted to order. I know I am because when I overdose on conformity and order, Dionysos always returns and questions me. I subsequently follow him on some kind of adventure to escape this hell I create for myself, all emanating from a proclivity towards order. Hell is spawned because of my pathological need to maintain order.
My life has been a struggle between these two polarities. I am constantly frustrated that I can’t maintain my facade and always drift back into some sort of hedonism or chasing of a thrill. I define it as a problem, unable to accept the flow. I’m pulled towards the liberation which I seek, yet I fight it and try to maintain order. I walked past a homeless person the other day and the voice inside me whispered, "he is free." I could not deny it. Think about that for a second. Freedom isn’t glamorous. As a society, we offer the dispossessed shelter and food which they accept but they don’t fall into the societal trap of having to earn a living and eventually go back out into the streets. Why don’t they want to play our game of social conformity? We can clean them up and get them a menial job. It’s mental illness we reassure ourselves, as we take great pains to not look into our own mirror of self because we might question our own sanity for the game we are playing. So, we try even harder to offer social services to invite the homeless back into our game. The plight of the homeless, unbeknownst to them, validates our life choices. We need them more than they need our handouts.
Ultimately, liberation involves dissolving all boundaries, letting go of attachments, and returning to the chaos always knocking at our door. You can taste liberation in this lifetime; I have and it’s sweet. I’m talking about being on a boat on the Amazon river forgetting about the worries of life and just being so goddamn high and in love. Being free allows you to finally exhale. I’ve learned it’s only the appetizer. To go all the way to Liber Pater involves dissolving the idea of who you are. Carlos Castaneda said erase personal history. Basically, kill your identity in order to be free. This expression brought me back to said boat ride in February in the grasp of Huachuma when Dionysos appeared in the clouds and he kept telling me this very same idea. Fuck me and my failure sometimes to listen to the plants.
On the boats heading off to the main Amazon river to visit the Murui Huitoto tribe I was so into the medicine and as high as the clouds. I was flooded with two sayings that summed up my bliss of forgetting who I was and how I was expected to act:
“Kill yourself in order to live.”
“The pious can go to hell.”
My intention revolved around learning now to stay in that high and loving state all the time. I sure got that answer and more all laid out for me. When I drank in the beauty of nature, of friendship, of the awareness of the wonderful world around me I was drunk in that state of bliss. When I engaged the mind at all it was clear that was the hell world. My thoughts went dark, I came down, I worried about the future, I wondered if I had the strength to complete this journey and so on. It was very unsettling. It was clear that it was a choice whether to live in hell or heaven and not even all that difficult a choice. Hey you! Give your mind a rest. The old “Be Here Now” choice; just live in awareness without spinning any thoughts or ideas.
I put this revelation off for a bit and here we are eight months later with the integration process challenging me and asking for a reconciliation with freedom and mastery. Castaneda writes about making yourself unavailable while erasing personal history. The reason for this line of thinking is primarily liberation. Having a history, means expectations of behaviour, and living a lie. Acquaintances and culture can manipulate you like a puppet because you don’t want to deviate from the identity you have created. If you have left nothing for these constructs to grasp onto then you can act independently. That’s one way through however for most of us our personal history is our life we have created. Sure at times we feel trapped but I would hazard to guess most of us don’t want to blow up our whole backstory and be left holding a big bag of nothing. That seems pretty extreme. It brings to mind the role of the Bodhisattva, a holy man who has seen through the game but re-enters into the game in order to help others see through it. It’s a noble call of service.
After seven years of plant medicine use, the information provided doesn’t upset me anymore. By this assertion I mean that when I first drank and met these archetypal spirits I was frightened and in awe of their presence as well as my newfound ability to lift the veil and peek into this obfuscated world. Now, I am able to listen and study the wisdom being offered. “Kill yourself in order to live.” Yeah it’s metaphor, don’t worry, I know that. My teacher has a twisted sense of humour. When I first drank plant medicines and he scared the shit out of me, he told me if I kept drinking the medicine and stayed on the path eventually I’d walk into the direction of an oncoming train and kill myself. I remember vividly that conversation with my shadow because he told me to stop drinking plant medicines, go home, and don’t ever come back. Live out your life, grow old, and don’t question existence. I left the jungle and he followed me home and harangued me; trying to put the final nail in the coffin so that I wouldn’t continue on this path. I did come back and I know my shadow now has a great deal of respect for me. I’m pretty sure he figured I was a weakling. Ha! I sure fooled him.
Seven years later, I can finally see what he originally meant by walking in front of a train and killing myself. It was metaphor as well, however at the time it was used to make me question this path I had embarked upon. I had to understand why I wanted to continue. I now sense he doesn’t readily accept students, as suggested by the fear induced and threats of death hurled my way. The adventure and chance at knowledge was too great to keep me away. Now here I am, standing on the train tracks. I understand what he was telling me. If you want to be free, you got to let the story go.
I see similar paths of earned respect with human teachers. For instance, my flesh and body teacher, don Howard, was very accepting to anyone who was sincere about walking this path. And I think he was genuinely surprised and happy when someone returned for another go around in the wringer of plant medicines. It’s very difficult and takes commitment but I remember just showing up again and I could feel the respect growing. There’s something divine about just showing up and facing the head wind of adversity, not knowing the outcome. Don Howard knew what it takes, what you are going to face, and have to choose. He let you progress at your own pace and had your back. I love that man.
How do I get liberated? It’s through mastering the self. That means all the attachments, desires, and pull of culture that call out to you are mastered. You become the King of Selfdom. You cannot ever defeat these challengers, that’s a tough one to learn, however you can rule them. After the continual frustration, you will learn this secret and that puts you on the path towards liberation. The only way to do this is to investigate the darkness within. Chasing the high will will never allow for a reconciliation with all.
There is a difference between liberation and enlightenment. Beginners in the world of spiritual seeking hear much of liberation and enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment without liberation is still beholden to cultural expectations of religious experience. You know what I mean, don’t you? It all begins with being free. It’s the foundation upon which everything must rest. In order to love unconditionally, you have to begin from the tract of being free. Free of conditions. To become free you give up judgment. You give up conceptions of right and wrong. You give up morality. Free means free. Sounds crazy, right? Murder is immoral. Being free naturally extends to wanting others to be free. Being free would mean not imposing upon others. Murder is an act of imposing your will upon someone as a last resort because you couldn’t control them. Frustration on this spiritual path I have chosen could have been avoided if I would have went into the darkness of self to begin with and reconciled that part of me. The high would have been tempered with the low and I could have seen where I was at.
I have to admit though I wouldn’t change this journey for the world. Everything that has happened has been perfect. It has all contributed to my growth. Through these trials and frustrations, I have been pressured and forced to find answers. The natural inclination is to wave a spiritual wand and reach the highest highs without having to work for it. You know, take a pill or drink a cup of brew and find that elusive enlightenment. My difficult journey, on the other left hand, has been perfect.

Monday, November 16, 2020

divine lineage

The divine feminine and masculine come together in the centre of the grand Mesa at the axis mundi here in the symbolic expressed by the lanzon from Chavín de Huantar.

Brought together are the left and right hand paths of the feminine and masculine along with the lower and upper worlds of these energies. All is absorbed back into the representative of the Chavín god. Everything is reconciled into the centre. It is also expressed as the serpent and the jaguar. The serpent as the feminine creates the form and the jaguar as the masculine is the life force that roams this form. They are the two eternal energies that make up the sum total of all. The multi-dimensional reflection of the non-differentiated form is from these two. You can’t see one without two and centring yourself allows you to see one, two, and the many. The many collapses into the one just as the two through sexual union becomes an expression of the one.

Standing with this knowledge at the Mesa will eventually lead to understanding. We are conditioned to believe chaos is bad and can be demonstrated in expressions of madness and unpredictability. I think that’s true. Psychologically, we relegate the feminine to chaos and the striving of the masculine energy to order and reason. The great intellect of Jordan Peterson even wrote a book on this paradigm called “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” and in turn riled up the feminist class amongst us. Well, he is a master of controversy and is in turn misunderstood as we looked towards our developed prejudices and fail to look into the heart of the matter. I also wondered what were his intentions in writing this book? Getting to know his persona through the internet, I certainly didn’t detect misogyny, instead a refreshing honesty.

Feminine energy is chaos. Masculine energy tends towards order. Just ask Apollo, the Greek god of light and reason. Within the sum of ourselves are the interplay of these two gendered energies, so it is not mutually exclusive to either sex of the species. Knowledge is a great tool but understanding is divine. Taking the sum total of all I know and feeding it into my central processor, the brain, allows me to synergize the whole set up. Late at night, I stand there in front of my Mesa performing ritualistic acts that allow me to re-centre myself. Sometimes the epiphanies come. Epiphanies are the computer spitting out the punch card with the results. I see the sum of all energy at the axis mundi and then scattered throughout my Mesa and refracted through the prism of my mind are expressions of this energy. The one and the many. It is indeed I who brings this Mesa to life! I take unity and objectify that energy thus creating the world. I use my masculine powers to separate and behold reality!

Now back to centre. This form in the centre is non-differentiated. Aha! That is chaos and I intuitively knew it to be so. The non-differentiated energy has no order and no separation. We assign that condition to being a bad thing but it is in fact the reflection of order. What is the correct state or reality of energy? Is it the feminine unity or masculine separation? Many esoteric and Eastern traditions will tell you that because we are the ones that objectify, it is actually the spiritual truth that we are all one. Is that the truth? Is it the truth because from our perspective of dominate masculine energy in the culture we erroneously think the opposite spiritual state is true? If you want to stop the world it is true. However, the interesting part of the equation is that we live in a verb. Consciousness and existence as we know it is a wave vibration. Existence is defined by motion, which creates the illusion of time and separation. So, stop the motion and we have the truth. If we stop the motion then we have nothing. Just potential, which is the other side of coming forth. Is that really true? Why do you think the static trumps motion and motion creates illusory outcomes? Why do you think feminine chaos contains more truth than masculine objectification? Is it unsettling to have your prejudices laid bare? Yes it is because my spurious foundations are revealed once again. My understanding lies on a foundation of shifting sands. What if you can’t have one without the other? The dependency of the two creates the whole. The truth is if you see the two energies not in a sexual union then you see multiplicity. If your universal view is a sexual metaphor then we are indeed all one. Maybe Einstein was on to something with the whole relativity claim? It makes claims of truth and fanciful chasing of said truth very funny, if not frustrating.

Looking back into history, we see many budding civilizations grappled with this origin question and the dominance of each energy pole. At first, it was the feminine asserting her power which allowed creation to flourish however we are now living in the order of the masculine. Looking into my crystal ball reveals the logical outcome is pathological order which becomes tyranny. The system then collapses. Gazing back into the past, in the Mesopotamian basin the triumph of the masculine energy was mythicized as Marduk defeating the water serpent Tiamat, who personified the feminine chaos. In order for civilization to take hold, she had to be defeated. In the opening chapter of Genesis in the Bible, we see hints of this very thing as Yahweh takes the chaos and adds some light into the mix in order to separate things. Here are the passages from the King James Version.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

In the beginning nothing was differentiated until the masculine energy came along and started dividing things up. The Old Testament is also a great primer on the actions of masculine energy not tempered by the presence of balancing feminine energy. Fire and brimstone indeed and Jewish mythicists got that one spot on! In Greek mythology, Apollo comes along and kills Python, the enemy dragoness. This act occurred at Delphi which was considered the centre of the world. With the triumph over the feminine serpent, the Greek god of reason enabled a new consciousness in humans that celebrated the rise of individual differences. Apollo was victorious however reason still called upon the oracle at Delphi in the form of the prophetess called the Pythia. She had the gift of vision - something the mind clouded by logic and reason had to discard in order to rule. In addition, in ancient Egypt we have the god Re and his association with the cycles of time created by the sun, continuing along daily in a sun boat that is forever threatened by the chaos serpent Apophis. This battle is enacted daily and motion is eternally perpetuated by victory over chaos with the help of the strong masculine energy personified in the god Set.

Back to my Mesa. Look at how I intuitively set it up, though I didn’t know what I was doing.

The axis mundi is in the centre and the table is full of differentiated expressions of this energetic centre. However, overlooking this whole construct is this image of a jaguar within the form created by a serpent. Somehow, I knew the archetypal two lay at the head of what just is and I left it in place to discover at a later date in my journey to nowhere. The two become one and the one becomes the many. This is the divine lineage from which we all come. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

avatars of consciousness

Consciousness is what is. Our universe is the result of mental processes that I can explain by metaphor such as the dreaming mind that creates worlds. Our individual capacity to do this is primitive; imagine mastering dreaming, which at this point of proficiency would be having control over your projection of consciousness. With this ability as the creator, you can create innumerable worlds designed to challenge or entertain and within these worlds we would naturally leave avatars for the perceptive among us to make the connection back to source, as the actions of these symbols leave undeniable clues for the initiated. The mystery can’t be mysterious without these subtle clues; instead it is just forever unknown and well, where’s the fun in that game? Consciousness as a singularity further consists of two opposites, the divine feminine and masculine polarities. The feminine creates form and the masculine is the magical energy that brings the form alive. To conceptualize this, here’s an image of a serpent and a jaguar.

In this sublime metaphor, you can see the serpent body created the form of our universe. Within that form, roams the jaguar as the primal energy that lights up this world. It is the life force. In ancient Egypt, its raw form was known as the Ka and the personification of its magical properties in the deity Heka; in the Indus Valley it is the composite power of the seven chakras caressed by the kundalini serpent, and in the Far East it is known as Qi; energy that resides and emanates from our spinal cord.

The plant medicine Huachuma is a potentiator of the life force to a level where you feel within its pulsing presence. The biggest variable in working with the energy load of Huachuma is set and setting and it’s exponentially amplified; as a consequence, the biggest factor of the experience includes where and who you are hanging around with for the day because what happens is you magnify your energy while others are amplifying their energy. The abundance of energy present within the natural setting also becomes apparent. If you can find a harmonic convergence with nature or someone else’s energy then magic happens. It took me a while to figure that out; I have always felt it but I never added up the pieces until experiencing it this trip. I can now understand this phenomenon can occur by grasping the love exuded within your environment as well as a shared interest between a group of people. While there is mutual attraction and synergy while drinking Huachuma, energy fields collide and harmonize, and it can be pretty intense.

Huachuma gives you the key to heaven. That statement has a hidden meaning because humans like to take things literally and will look for a door to heaven. We all fall for it. Huachuma will get you high and eventually give you this key to open the door and that’s all you got to do! I’ll be honest with anyone who asks about the key however I would kind of like to leave it at saying it gives you the key to heaven and let whomever embarks on that path to figure it out for themselves because it is how I was taught. You are given a clue but lack understanding as it takes a while to put all into practice. I can tell you what the key is however until you experience it for yourself it will not compute. For instance, I started drinking Huachuma five years ago. Three times each in 2015 and 2016 and then five ceremonies in 2017. I had a a two and a half year absence until this recent trip where I participated in six ceremonies and as a result, the sum total of all the ceremonies eventually allowed me to understand the key.

Humans and their mental activities are peculiar. There is so much truth to what we intuitively perceive and also what we experience when we perturb our consciousness vibration by only the slightest amount and enter a different reality. The realms of heaven and hell that our culture of logic and reason have discarded, do in fact exist. So does god and the devil. In fact, I’d be bold enough to state that in heaven you meet god and in hell you meet the devil but they are the same dude and that dude is you. Within, we carry these archetypes that constantly re-appear within the culture no matter where we plant our flag. Indeed, Huachuma gives you the key to enter into either of these realms.

My recent trip to Peru was another touchstone along this never ending path to who knows where. The plant medicine teacher Huachumon instructs with the light touch of a feather. A day with Huachuma can be pretty magical however you are given the choice in how you want to proceed. If you wish to be miserable then you can drown in your sorrows. Your state of mind or to put it bluntly, your lack of a state of mind is the key. I had done my fair share of work with Huachuma over five years and have always found the experience to have peaks and valleys where I vacillate between euphoric feelings of an all pervasive cosmic love, connection, and unity to a crashing down into the hell realms. As a beginner, you naturally assign these states to the effects of the medicine. I followed a similar progression with Ayahuasca, starting when I became very paranoid the second time I drank and had a bad trip. Instead of recognizing that the plant was revealing the paranoia within, I assigned one of the effects of Ayahuasca as inducing paranoia. Isn’t that one of the great things about this whole journey? It’s an advanced level course in self-discovery where your prejudices slowly crumble before you and you see it all starts with your own bad self.

My experiences with Huachuma have been similar. I was always slightly dismayed by the hell regions I would get pulled into that would send my mind into a feedback loop that was hard to snap out of in short order. The lesson kept repeating until finally I got it! It was me and it was a choice. The darkness lay within and if I wanted to embrace it then it came forth. All I had to do was choose love. It was so simple, yet the feather of instruction had to become as heavy as a hammer in order to drive home this realization. I remember it vividly when it happened: We were swimming in a tributary off the main Amazon river, which is an enchanted slice of heaven in the jungle that never disappoints. The sun was shining and the ambiance was perfect. I floated on the river and felt the waves of bliss. I swam towards the riverbank as a cloud covered the sun and the light-level dipped. A sharp turn in my outlook ensued and my thoughts once again turned dark. I caught myself right away before the dalliance with my shadow and knew it didn’t have to be like this. I embraced love again and looked up at the trees as the cloud cleared and the sunlight streamed through the leaves of the trees. Just then, a flock of exquisite butterflies passed by overhead. They were an obvious sign that I finally got it. Later, in the Andes mountains on this latest trip, at the Chavin temple the butterflies returned, showing me the intricate nature and harmonization of the energy as two butterflies flew together in lockstep with such grace and poise. The divine feminine is such a maestra at taking raw energy and creating such displays of beauty.

I recently came upon something I had read over seven years ago by a neurologist who had gone into a seven day coma after contracting meningitis. Upon regaining waking consciousness, he was able to describe quite vividly his experience while in this altered state. The most striking thing I read concerned this woman who escorted him through these realms, who assured him he was loved, and had nothing to worry about. She was curiously surrounded by an innumerable amount of butterflies. I thought to myself, I know this woman. I have met her many times and she is the reason I always return to that land beyond shared consensus reality.

It gets stranger still. For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face. When first I saw her, we were riding along together on an intricately patterned surface, which after a moment I recognized as the wing of a butterfly. In fact, millions of butterflies were all around us—vast fluttering waves of them, dipping down into the woods and coming back up around us again. It was a river of life and color, moving through the air. The woman’s outfit was simple, like a peasant’s, but its colors—powder blue, indigo, and pastel orange-peach—had the same overwhelming, super-vivid aliveness that everything else had. She looked at me with a look that, if you saw it for five seconds, would make your whole life up to that point worth living, no matter what had happened in it so far. It was not a romantic look. It was not a look of friendship. It was a look that was somehow beyond all these, beyond all the different compartments of love we have down here on earth. It was something higher, holding all those other kinds of love within itself while at the same time being much bigger than all of them.

I have had plant medicine ceremonies that we read about in the literature and think to yourself, "wow I want to have that vision." I have transformed into a jaguar; I have been in the presence of a giant boa constrictor that wrapped itself lovingly around me; I have gone into the hell realms and scared myself shitless; I have been to the castle made of gold and been welcomed by the Goddess; I have experienced a bliss like no other and met beings composed of nothing more than love and light. Through it all, the one thing that has remained constant is the presence of the butterfly. It’s the link between my ordinary world of perception and the visionary.

Monday, November 2, 2020

shadow path

At the close of the ceremony the third time I drank Ayahuasca in 2013, I went to the washroom and on my way back I stood against the handrail on the path back to the maloca and looked out into the jungle on this glorious night that was lit up by the full moon. I looked to my right and it was divine. The jungle was radiating the light of the moon and the plants were 3D extruded. I looked to my left and the path was dark, dull, and lifeless. I looked back right and sure enough it was bathed in an enchanted spiritual light.

It didn’t take me long to figure out the meaning of this waking vision. The right hand path up the spiritual mountain of achievement will lead to your enlightenment and it’s magnificent. The left is the path into the shadows and not all that much fun. I had a choice; I had the chance to become one of the all-time great enlightened sages. It was offered but deep down I knew it was the path of the ego, self-glorification, and not for me. I didn’t consciously choose the darkness. Instead, it chose me.

Indeed, I had faced the darkness head-on in ceremony and soon revealed was the left and right hand path. I had to make a choice about where I was headed or alternatively turning around and running from this crossroad. In the same ceremony as the paths, I was offered an unbelievable amount of universal power, which I had declined. At the time, I remember being a psychological mess and I had to turn back and regroup before coming back to take the left hand path. After mustering the courage to return, I soon became dismayed that the altering of consciousness continually presented darkness. I wanted to head towards the light but the left hand path, with the constant darkness, kept pulling me back in. It was my choice, as I wasn’t prepared to give into the conditions necessary to take the right hand path. I also didn’t understand the darkness was trying to teach and I just wanted to skip class and hang out in the light. A sane person would have found another spiritual path.

As I have revealed and related in this blog space, the darkness attacked and tried to kill me or at least neuter my power. I went back to the Amazon to confront this demon and in no time it was on me again. To my credit, despite outward projections of being quiet and meek, I’m really not. I have fire that burns within, I don’t like to lose, and I’m relentless. My quiet confidence borders on arrogance. The Goddess called me out on it half way through that first meeting. I was up for the darkness challenge. In turn, pretty much each subsequent Ayahuasca ceremony started off with darkness. It kept coming. I cursed it and stubbornly came back for more until I learned how to navigate and move past it. I still craved the bright lights, the grand Ayahuasca vision of light and transcendence however the majority of my visions remained in the subterranean realms. Some of them were just so weird and unnerving however I always came back and pressed on because it was teaching me something. I didn’t know what but I knew something was up.

The understanding and reckoning comes slowly once you start to get an inkling of who and what is behind this life class that is forever challenging and changing you. This has been difficult and I have wanted to run or find a safe place to jump off this ship. I was in port many times, satisfied with the answers I had received. I kept re-boarding the ship though because I loved the knowledge and the learning was a kick. I’m not sure what port I’m at now but as with all my stops upon the never ending journey this one is ultra-fascinating. You see, I had two main impetuses during my mid-life crisis: Number one was when I discovered the presence of the feminine divine I wanted to figure out how the adepts of old came into contact with her. The second burning question revolved around the darkness that lay within my depths that would come and go; an exercise in extreme frustration as I wanted to be gifted with a nice holy and white robe in order to project my success and goodness onto the world.

It was ancient Egypt that sparked my interest in different worlds. By this, I mean they had mapped out a hidden world of gods and goddesses along with an impressive corpus describing this alternative world, seemingly attained through changing consciousness. I studied and searched for methods to achieve this result, culminating in finding shamanism and plant medicines. Before taking any of these substances for the first time, I clearly remember the shaman asking my intention for undergoing this initiation. I blurted out, “I want to meet the Goddess and confront my dark side.” Poof! Your wish is my command. Over seven years later, through trials, tribulations, joy, sorrow, fear, elation, well pretty much the whole gamut, the shaman certainly didn’t let me down. I thought it would end after ceremony in the jungle, especially after the darkness scared the living daylights out of me. But no, I asked for it and it is going to dominate my life now. It will burn within until I get the answers I want. There’s been much gnashing of teeth and occasional bouts of wanting off the ride. However, I have stayed with it. Looking back, knowing I’m still deep within this trip, I would not change this for the world nor exchange places with anyone. I’ll shout that from the mountain tops.

The Goddess is a special woman full of love; every kind of love imaginable. A heart filling love of all, cosmic love, familial love, bliss, and insanely erotic love. She freely offers herself for your growth and benefit. She was the one who warned me about my chosen path, cautioned me about the upcoming darkness, and offered me protection on my journey that I, as an unwitting fool, stumbled upon. She was always there telling me I could call on her at any time - which I did and at times in major distress, I urgently needed to. I’ve always been independent but without her help I would have been crushed. Once she knew I had it in me to succeed, she encouraged me to go on the offence against the darkness. On the other hand, this darkness of self is quite the mysterious character. My initial forays revealed something quite frightening though very mysterious. I didn’t know what this was but I did know there was this demon within me. I went to battle with him, once I regained my strength from the initial beat down. That took courage. After slowly working my way through the tests of the darkness and facing it head on, I got my badge of undeniable courage. The class proceeded to the next level master class. Life’s challenges were amped up; let’s see what you got. It was an exercise in frustration. I want to be holy now and done with these desires of life. No, no, no you just can’t wave a wand and be done with them, you have to figure out how to integrate these little demons. Okay, more gnashing of teeth and despair over my predicament. Finally I got it. Master the self, recognize the obstacles within, and move past them. At the same time, I realized this darkness was the master teacher. Who I thought was an adversary was actually my teacher - the greatest teacher in the whole universe. Buddha didn’t go to Buddha school; his teacher was always waiting for him, for that day when he wanted liberation. A human teacher can only take you so far. The master teacher lies within. So, now I had to deal with this: Who is this guy?

I totally misread my teacher and treated him as an opponent. Maybe that’s the way it had to be? We all read of strict teachers; some of us experience them for ourselves. They are tough, relentless, and sometimes use non-ordinary methods of discipline and training to get you to break past your limits. Little did I know the darkness is an extraordinary teacher who will actually stomp you out if you don’t get through the course. The battle becomes life and death, which is pretty motivating to say the least. All my desires and choices I could project and clearly see where they were leading and the teacher upped the ante, attraction, and the stakes. Not only did I have to give up the pursuit of desires and let them go but I had to break the hypnosis some desire demons held on me. I had to go full on into them to break free of their hold. Once I learned I couldn’t ignore, bypass, or destroy them, I finally broke free. All I had to do was master them. Once I got the upper hand, it all went away. Tasting liberation is pretty sweet. He did a follow up to see if I really did have the strength. It was tough but I passed as I’m not weak.

Do I dare answer the question? I know who this part of me is but I think I’ll just leave the mystery in the dark for the discovery of future explorers. Ultimately, on this journey you do become a man (or woman) of knowledge as Carlos Castaneda wrote about in his Don Juan books. The knowledge is a gift for you, when you are ready, as a reward for your strength and courage. The darkness taught me that inner strength and courage. I was brave and I knew I could face up to anything after taking on this aspect of self and surviving. I was a jaguar now and I knew it. The fount of power is found in this darkness and being able to be free and touch it ensures I can move onto the next level, unencumbered with delusions of grandeur.

The left hand shadow path isn’t glamorous. There won’t be a cadre of followers on social media for you. However if it is knowledge you seek and you are worthy then you get to uncap the spigot. And then you know. Leave the right hand path for those who want the adoration and accolades. The hidden left hand path is like Fight Club. First rule...