Closing of the Circle.
The Taoist sage Wei Po-yang said something along the lines of;
"Worry is preposterous, we don't know enough to worry."
In working with the Medicines of the South Americas, this becomes quite obvious. The amount of information which is afforded one is in itself preposterous, as there is no cultural language to contain it's breadth. The more I work in these realms, the more I realise I know nothing. I do know something of my role, however, and it is obvious to myself and others that the plants are very keen to work with and through me.
Walter Houston Clark suggested that
"much of mainstream religion reminded him of a vaccination. One goes to church and gets 'a little something which protects him or her against the real thing'".
Carl Jung said in 1958 that;
"the function of formalised religion is to protect people against the direct experience of God" (Grof, 1988)
This suggestion is certainly not without precedent amongst "important" thinkers in our culture, and yet those experiences which offer a marked increase in the possibility of contact with broader reaches of conciousness than mundane egoic habituations are routinely banned in our society.
There has been much discussion in this last mont of the nature of "God" and the dangers of endeavouring to standardise the experience thereof with dogma. The possibility of these Sacred Medicines to offer individuals the very real opportunity to see themselves in a much more integral light is without question. To be sure this experience may not be pleasant. The medicines in their respectively unique fashions hold up an often startling clear mirror to allow the individual the opportunity to see aspects of themselves as individuals in a vast web of life that they may previously have lacked the courage or the tools to look at. Even after such an experience the efficacy of the healing thus afforded is obvious, and even the most petulant would have great difficulty denying the great gift that access to these conciousness' offer.
Nonetheless, these Medicines remain illegal in many parts of the world in a time when their wisdom is most desperately needed.
In our final ceremony we drank San Pedro in the jungle, in order to cleanse ourselves in a beautiful waterfall in the Andes named "Los Leones". The opportunity to sit in nature and receive the wisdom of San Pedro's teachings is profound, and it was with some sadness that we began the walk back to Valentin's house to prepare for an Ayahusca experience that evening. As we arrived after an hour or so of walking, it became obvious that there was to be powerful healing that night. The langauge of the Yidaki was introduced to the land, and the work began perhaps somewhat prematurely with a powerful expulsion of old demons. One of the great gifts of the integral perspective which the plants afford, is the opportunity to see hitherto unknown aspects of conciousness which have an existence of their own within the psyches and bodies of those who might consider themselves beyond such "superstitions". Once the nature of a thing is known it is much easier to work with, and to see "disease" as a personality offers the opportunity to work with it in a very different manner than is usually known in the West.
The tension of the moment was alleviated somewhat by the arrival of the very cheeky spirit Mescalito, the spirit of the San Pedro cactus and also the Peyote sacred to the members of the North American Native Church. Tears of laughter turned to tears of sorrow as Australian Aboriginal spirits were sung into the ceremony, bringing with them tales of degradation of the land and her people. The realisation that Australia is in a unique position to offer much to the energetic healing of the planet was obvious to all there, as was the need for much singing of sacred song and dancing of sacred dance.
Grandmother Ayahuasca was offered and accepted, and the previously light tenor of the evening gave way to a dense and heavy atmosphere. Much purging ensued, and it became clear that the night was to be long indeed. Valentin's usual pronouncements to stay upright gave way to the offer of lying on one's belly, and offering all the sickness which did not belong in your body back to Pachamama, the Mother Earth. This offer was oft taken up, and there was little singing or interaction during the night. I was shown again many images of environmental destruction by Grandmother Ayahuasca, and there seemed in that little opportunity for redress. It was with great relief that the church bells were heard to toll 6 am, and that shortly thereafter the sun arose and brought with it the Water Offering which signaled the immanence of the closing of the ceremony. We shared the Food Offering with Valentin and his wife Maria, and then took our leave to return to our posada for the unpacking of what had been a difficult culmination to our process here.
The lessons learned with these Sacred Medicines continue to unfold over many months, if not the rest of a life time. No doubt new realisations will be made as the weeks progress and as we respectively go about our lives. Because of the nature of our 'lens' of unique personality our realisations will of themselves be unique, but there are many realisations that Durga, Christopher, Lakshmi and myself share. That the need for the healings offered by these medicines is much needed in the West is unanimous. That the way to healing must be found within the heart of the individual is also commonly held true.
There have been many "miraculous" healings in this last month, which I shall leave to the individuals involved to share. I am sure you will hear their stories in time.
With much love to all in my native land, and all my brothers and sisters about this beautiful Earth our Mother.
Aho Mitukuye Oyasin