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Why I Quit Ayahuasca

By Kat Courtney on Friday March 10th, 2017

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The Journey That Changed My Life...

I’m alive because of Ayahuasca. I am connected, soulful, expanded, and spilling over with self-love, mostly because of the blessing of attending around 1,000 sacred plant ceremonies. But if my intuition proves correct, I will never drink Ayahuasca or any other plant medicine again.

Why? Because it worked too well. Let me explain.

The Standard Story: Ayahuasca Saved My Life

When I first found Ayahuasca – or rather, when she first found me – I was deeply depressed, though I pretended to be the happiest, chirpy-ass blonde L.A. girl you would ever meet. I had paralyzingly painful migraine headaches at least every 2 weeks. I drank alcohol almost every single day, as much as my body could handle. I did drugs most weekends to escape and to feel better, but increasingly, they were making me feel worse.

I was fake. I was miserable. I was dying inside and out.

In short, I was on a fast-track to total self-destruction, but I appeared as though I had the ultimate ‘dream life’. I had a famous boyfriend. I co-owned a video game studio. I was interviewed on national television and a major documentary. It would seem this small town Montana girl had it all figured out.

Life was exploding. And I was imploding. But then came Ayahuasca. In my first cycle in 2006, in the Amazonian jungle, I woke up to the truth: I hated myself, and I hated my life. That was the most honest realization I had ever experienced.

Dying inside and out“…the most honest realization I had ever experienced.”

She (Ayahuasca) also gave me the courage and resolve to do something about all this darkness. I knew I had to change just about every aspect of my life. And that was OK. Because for the first time, I finally believed I deserved to feel better.

When I Grow Up, I’m Gonna be an Ayahuasca Shaman

The changes started the moment I returned to my L.A. home. Career, friends, boyfriend, house, drugs, alcohol – every part of my world started experiencing the necessary overhaul.

And in those 2.5 years of massive transformation, I drank in as many ceremonies as I could afford before I was offered the blessing of apprenticing with a couple of different maestros. In the process of ending the old destructive patterns, I thought I had discovered my life’s work: To be an Ayahuasquera. A shaman. A curandera. A healer.

I gave my all to this process. Every piece of me was committed. I did a total of five intensely restrictive and challenging plant dietas (spiritual retreats) that spanned a sum total of almost three years. I became an organizer for a very large national Ayahuasca community, in which I did all the interviews, production, and aftermath assistance in addition to co-leading ceremonies. I sat in hundreds of Ayahuasca ceremonies with the maestros I worked with; guiding thousands of people through preparation, the medicine itself, and integration.

It’s an unspeakably challenging process, working with these plants. Learning to facilitate. The level to which one must be honest, transparent, strong, courageous, trusting, and disciplined is indescribable. My teacher warned me it would only get more difficult, and that was true, but that only made me more dedicated. More willing to give more of myself.

Things are Not What They Seem

Over the course of a year or two, about a decade after I went full throttle, it became abundantly clear to me that my life’s path was different than I imagined. I was not meant to lead ceremonies. My attachment to the process almost killed me, in truth, and maybe I’ll share those details some other time. The circumstances aren’t important right now, however, what I mean to share is this: Shamanism is not for everyone.

I wanted to be an Ayahuasca Shaman“I thought I had discovered my life’s work: To be an Ayahuasquera. A shaman.”

The fundamental understanding of anyone committing to a shamanic path is that there are good and bad energies (spirits) all around us, and a shaman aids in protection and clearing. Plants have spirits. Animals. Rocks. And humans, of course. The earth itself. The shaman is the bridge walker; traveling to other realms to help with soul retrieval and spiritual cleansings that impact the tangible (body) and intangible (soul, mind, emotions, etc.)

I watched people with cancer heal themselves. Diabetes. Depression. Lyme disease. Kidney failure. Heart congestion. PTSD. Intense emotional traumas. You name it, I’ve seen it transformed in this process.

Nothing is Capable of Healing Us. We Have to Do It Ourselves.

Ayahuasca itself, contrary to what others say, is not a healer. She is a consciousness expander, which is far better. She shows us how to heal ourselves – if we’re ready and willing. She can’t force it, she can only show us the portal. If our soul knows it’s time, then magic can unfold.

She opens us up to a different perspective, a more expanded view of ourselves, our tribe, and our world. She gives us the opportunity to understand our true nature, our patterns, our fears, and then provides guidance (through the vessel of a trained and authentic shaman) to choose differently. To heal. To expand.

Ultimately, however, Ayahuasca is what I call “the medicine of duality.” She works by creating deep experiences of contrasts, like fear and fearlessness, darkness and light, resistance and surrender.

But the more I worked with her, the more I became more singular in my awareness. By that I mean non-dual. And by that I mean – all contrasts collapsed into the one. I learned through EXPERIENCE (as opposed to thought) that hot and cold are just opposite sides of the same coin. Darkness and light are both made of God-stuff; they are all from source. And so in the highest truth, they are fundamentally the same experience, we just receive them from a filter of preference and feeling and compartmentalization.

Duality dissolvedDuality dissolved and I could see divinity in both the light and the dark.

In the true spirit of duality, she also helped me to own the truth of our human experience – that is, our divine (perceived but still very real) separateness. That means going deeper into the soul, where the pain is undeniable. I have experienced fear so wildly intense I sincerely thought I would combust from the realness. In that space, every moment felt like a lifetime. Each millisecond I had to hold on for dear life, thinking something far worse than death was about to consume me.

Despite knowing it’s all an illusion, my emotional experience hit every corner of the spectrum. And to that part of me, this shit is very, very real. My soul doesn’t give a rat’s patootie if my mind says it’s all just perception. I feel. And to the part of me in separateness – my mind and my soul – that’s the real deal.

Until it wasn’t. Until I started experiencing it all as oneness. Until I accidentally uncovered a more unified truth.

Experiencing the Darkness as Part of the Light

I still feel the darkness – so intensely at times, I think I might lose consciousness. But I never, ever believe it’s anything other than exactly what I need. I know it’s all love. And in that, the duality has fallen away.

This actually made me powerless as an Ayahuasquera.

Why? Because although I see and experience all those spirits, including the demonic ones, I started to deeply understand they are only projections that stem from our current perspective and vibration. They are both real (if we believe in them), and then when we see the bigger picture of reality, they become projections.

Both real and unreal. The ultimate contrast.

The trick of this is if you don’t believe in their existence as entities, and in our fundamental separateness, the tools fall away. They become ideas rather than tangible tactics. Holograms rather than bona fide methods.

It became like watching a movie. Yes, I would see the dark energies around a given being, especially while they were being doctored and helped. But I personally could not separate that those entities were simply (or not so simply) there not to torture and maim and harm, but to teach and reflect and assist. Darkness is the bad guy that teaches us our most profound lessons. And since we can’t kill the darkness, we might as well turn our curiosity to it and dare to understand.

Seeing the truth of the darknessThe darkness is both real and unreal.

There’s Nothing Wrong Here. Except that We Think There’s Something Wrong.

I stopped wanting to interfere with the beauty of our journeys. I stopped feeling like something was wrong. I stopped believing in the boogeyman. I stopped knowing how to combat the darkness because I realized that darkness is there to teach us our lessons. Yes, it fucking sucks to have illness and disease and paralyzing fears. Pain and loss and separation and drama and OMG there’s so much suffering in this world!

But none of this is an accident. These are gifts that we must own, integrate, understand, and love before we can transcend them. The only way out is through.

As Ayahuasca would tell me, you can hide kid, but you can’t run. Shadow is part of self. Self is part of all. There is nothing to fix. Only to listen to. Only to understand.

To sum it up, I learned to accept everything as perfect.

And since I saw someone’s (and my own) dis-ease as an aspect of the soul; as an opportunity to heal and expand and grow, I no longer felt being a healer was my calling. Outside of duality, there is nothing to heal.

I was out of a job. I had been divinely duped.

Getting Dumped by Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca, in her infinite wisdom, pushed me out of our relationship. She basically dumped me. She dumped me HARD. But as I recovered, I discovered what is always, always true – that this experience was a supreme and ridiculously awesome gift.

It was not done to me, this dismantling of identity – it was done for me.

And so, despite once dedicating my entire life to Ayahuasca and plant medicine, despite giving up everything to do this work, despite tattooing the plants and animal totems all over my body – I am personally done with shamanism.

Or am I?

The only way out is throughThe only way out is through.

Life is always full of contrasts.

In truth, I am done with my old identification with shamanism. I had to do the ‘let go of something so a bigger vision can materialize’ trick. I once thought that there could be nothing bigger or more rewarding than helping people ease their suffering. As usual, I was wrong.

Understanding Suffering, Not Eradicating It

Now, I am taking all that profound learning, all those nights of terror and breakthrough and bliss and duality, and embarking on two journeys (duality again):

1) Deepening my own relationship to soul. Doing my best to own that I am only a vessel of divinity, that I don’t know shit, that everything I go through (especially my suffering, the part I resist the most) is a gorgeous blessing, and that the intention of learning and expanding is all there is, because it all leads to love….

2) Guiding others through the uncharted territory of the soul. Helping whomever is called to work with me to know themselves – and thus the entire experience of consciousness – in a more whole and complete way. Whether they are working with Ayahuasca and the master plants or not, I am overjoyed to help people understand their true essence. Their eternal nature. That everything is both real and not real. That we are both mortal and immortal.

I am not doing this by leading ceremonies. I have chosen instead to be the ‘before and after’ guide, as that is where I can stay in my integrity.

Authentic Shamans and Journeyers are All Spiritual Warriors

I honor, with all that I am, every brave soul who both facilitates and participates in these sacred, time-honored experiences. It is NOT an easy path. But it can be – and often is – the most rewarding experience of one’s existence.

Find your own truthEach person’s journey with Ayahuasca is different. Embrace your own.

I am humbled and overjoyed to be the cheerleader. To guide the before and after. To help in the unraveling. To the connection to truth. To a deeper understanding of self. And most importantly, to a more complete experience of love – love of self, others, and the whole cosmic multiverse. And that means loving our shadow which, in its most complete form, means loving Death.

So thank you, Ayahuasca. With all that I am and all these tears I cry for you now, I honor you. I adore you. You will be Mamacita to my soul for all of eternity. I will miss our crazy ceremony times together. More than I can express. It seems impossible that one could grow out of and away from you, but such is my truth.

But to watch others experience the unique messages you have for THEM – it’s like being with you myself, repeatedly, in a continuous stream of truth and love.

Go Forth and Find Your Own Truth

If you are called by her, answer. If you are called again, keep answering. It will be the journey of a lifetime. But if it ever feels complete, do not take offense. All we can do is be true to our own soulful awareness. That’s love. And love really is all there is.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

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Words By Kat Courtney

Originally posted on

 

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comments

  • Maggie

    This is absolutely beautiful. It’s raw in its honesty, magnificent in its truth. I felt your words, expression, spirit rising through this piece of art created through your journey and felt truly humbled by it. Thank you. Bless you.

  • Cristobaldelicia

    I cannot help but wonder though, it doesn’t sound like you had a lengthy apprenticeship, that you mainly learned through experience, diving headfirst into the role of shaman. If I am right, do you think if you had been fated to remain a shaman, perhaps you would have been steered towards a lengthier preparation, more time with a maestro? I’m going through similar doubts in yoga (although as a much less intense experience!) I don’t have a lengthy apprenticeship with a teacher. But is that a result of the modern world, as yoga experienced in the 21st century in America? Or if I was meant to continue, would I have found a more profound relationship with a teacher? Has it been a spiritual detour after all? I think I’d actually prefer to be shaman, working more with plant teachers and less with the gross physical body. Good luck with wherever new experiences you are being brought to!

    • deborah j barnes

      gross physical body is wow, i can’t help but feel that the old “gods” speak in this way and is part of the old story that is crashing, now! Life in the body aware state is a gift , as actualizations are created from beliefs and beliefs change with perceived realities. In the interrelated, construct of energy and life it is time to embrace the whole of experience in ways not yet practiced. Also in nod to drug experiences and altered perceptions all good for awhile. I have found that connecting with energy, life spark and paying attention to the so called serendipitous voice when i respect the “more” based on the concept of a living planet, everything changed. I am now doing yoga plus with a flow and appreciation of sparkly cells and a forgiveness that applies to mental, emotional and physical “states” of the new healing ideas that are part of next story. I have heard stories of ecstatic dance and think there is probably a similarity. As in beliefs change what is actualized… much can be changed when our limiting old story is given a needed phase out and the new one arises with a more feminine , loving embracing nurturing balance.

  • Simon Clarke

    Thank you for your story. I have taken a different path using marijuana but come to a similar place. My relationship has changed to it over the years and over the last two years has allowed me to connect to my soul and hear the truth. Unconditional love for the Self being the heart of it. The journey to bring the ego into consciousness. Just this week my soul told me that I have to be committed to suffering. That acceptance of suffering is necessary to grow and accept my true Self. To accept my pain and fear and transform that energy into meaning. I have had the duality paradox too. Achieving connection and separation perhaps the final part of consciousness. I have had transcendent experience of Being where duality becomes oneness. I now believe my path lies in showing others that a committment to suffering is logical and essential for growth and development of consciousness. Take care and lots of love XX

  • Shirley Jackson

    I loved this article. Have come to so many of the same conclusions with marijuana……it can take you to such heights of connection….and then realize this connection is all present all the time. I bless the window it provides knowing that ultimately it is all,possible being completely straight with that which is “The Light of Truth”. What a great journey this all is.

  • Stan N

    Wow, what a great article !
    I’ve always been curious about Ayahuasca,as I’ve never used it and as a recovering
    alcoholic, I discovered what the spirits of alcohol could do to me,so I’m fearful of engaging with any plant spirits.
    I’ve reached many of the same conclusions about our life’s purpose having taken a different path.
    Nice job on laying out your story, it was a pleasure to read, I enjoyed it and found it enriching https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c688aed8d61395244a98bc1284bac773719333335163dacdb4164d2bb8ae8df3.jpg .
    Thanks !

  • Luzia Domesle

    hello, many thanks for your awesome article. I had similar experiences some decades ago with ketamin which was my teacher that showed me the light and the darkness and the zero point of all-and-nothing. I used it for traveling to the other world and for meditation. but after several years there was the point to say good bye and leave it completely because there was nothing more to teach. years of integration of all the experiences in dayly life followed while I built my career as a psychotherapist. in 2000 I had a singular experience with ayahuasca in the setting of a Santo Daime ritual which showed me the ultimate truth of being a spark of divine light. recently I was called again – to the holotropic breathwork – a method to reach all this spaces and states without drugs, mushrooms and plants but only with your breath and special music, which I can recommend deeply.

  • John Otvos

    Excellent exposé of the self, the Self and SELF. If we are perfect and there’s nothing to fix, then no worries, be happy ‘bout the big smilie on the faces of the glacier sheets ‘round our sacred E~air~th. Not! Personally, any drug is, as mentioned in this article, simply a messenger, a portal into mind, big mind and The Ocean. My own single encounter on a fall weekend, was that our human condition is absurd with the constant flow of the Yin/Yang of experience. Witness this, be with it, see it, taste it and know that all is the Way of Love. We are evolving as a species. But damn, it’s so slow! hahaha

    • deborah j barnes

      ok here is a small part of the theory i am following – part of a work in progress.. a little art work as life work thing..Framing for understanding can be a challenge! Anyway i have researched the lost feminine..that which got left out of the Whore Madonna construct of the ancient Greeks that influenced the west. Aspects of procreative agenda and the like make sense of what we have called progress. However as that way of “seeing: is getting us in a real mess..it is time to apply the juxtapose of the self and the whole self and actualize from the new beliefs that are arising. The greys in gender construction -the spectrum is lost in many old story ideas, understanding self in relation to the whole is part of what i think will help our evolutional leap past procreative agenda to co-creative.

  • Julian O’Neill

    I find your story very interesting. it takes a woman to see through dualistic tradition. it sounds more Goddess oriented. I got a book some time ago called Shamanism: Foundation of Magic, by Ward Rutherford where he says how it is often accepted that the shamanic techniques of ecstasy are the prototypical model, but he reveals this is not so, and that there were more anciently the ecstatic vegetal rites of the Goddess where ALL the celebrants became possessed after ingesting the consciousness-changing substance. There was no need to a shaman. And in the Goddess mythos there is no battle between ‘dark evil forces’ and ‘good pure light forces’ because as you see it is all dynamically related. I cannot recommend this book enough, return of the Dark/Light Mother or new Age Armageddon? by Monica Sjoo. I believe that there was a suppression of the more open, and ‘wilder’ feminine oriented vegetal rites by authoritarian male dominant shamanism, Example the Bon Po shamanic monks in Tibet ‘crucified’ the Goddes via their cartography to control ‘her’. In the Shamanism book Ward Rutherford said there was a rivalry between the shamans and the more communal rites of the Goddess and how the shamans feared ‘Descent’ more than ‘Ascent’ and their most feared enemies were female entites living below, the ocean etc.

    • deborah j barnes

      Hi Yes, the missing voices of past and present add much to understanding. The “ownership” of breeding stock also comes to mind in the discourse of hierarchy and procreation that is omnipresent in today’s distorted “reality.” The facade around the “self” that the ego identifies with, has become so extremist that it appears acceptable to murder great swathes of people :legally” as a way to control and maintain that reflective image of power and wealth, that so persists. As an alternative story ..what? (an alt to masculine hero journey is in the wings, I have a version and keep looking to find others as a way to help further entry to “the next stage” of development that is aligned with new knowledge and can break the stranglehold of the old deadly construct. A species that damages it environment too greatly gets sick and will die out if measures are not taken. Some ancient clans actually stopped having babies in times of famine. However as species who intervene we can take our skills, tools, our connected beingness and do..do what it takes to actualize a world that is love guided and quells, forgives and understands the fear guided past in ways that can open the discourse of shadow and meaning in the whole of choices. There is a long new exciting path ahead if we leap this old snarly tale behind!

      • Julian O’Neill

        I agree. The great book From a Broken Web, by Catherine Keller goes into this, and shows how the ‘warrior egoic hero’ mindset perpetually needs a monster to define its cut-off, unmoved, sense of self. This is what is so playing out on the world stages. A carry on, from ‘commies under the bed’ to ‘the Terrorist’ bogyman. Some say that these people are also obsessed with the occult and encode their activities, hence notice how the recent London ‘terrorist’ attack happened on 3/22 as did exactly one year to that, the terror attack in Belgium happened on 3/22 also. And how that very number appears next the secret society emblem the Skull and Bones!..I do not know of one (they are mostly male) researcher into this who speculates that the ancient Goddess mythos was suppressed by a warrior mindset who them tries to impose a control-freak matrix, even including numbers to maintain their mental and physical control. This mindset seems to derive from solar-phallic mythos, radically different to the lunar-based myths of the Great Mother which rather understands the nondualistic dynamic of nature and reality. Whereas the solar phallic boys depend on dividing up reality into conflictual opposites so as to divide and control/conquer. To get people seeing themselves as an enemy. One example is in Christianity where believers are told they are naturally sinful and destined for ‘Hell’. A VERY deep form of divide and control!

        • deborah j barnes

          In that it became such a pervasive story I went for a why and found Jung’s theory of the fear of the great mother helpful. The vulnerable infant realizes at some point that momma is not always there on command! This is good for the creation of the “self” the individuating that supplies that necessary diversity in eco systems! Love that bit. Also the procreative drive of our early species prompted the nesting, provider construct and according to novelist Shuler in “She Who Remembers” the slighter female was thrown scraps after the hunt so learned to forage , to plant and to barter sex and her seed knowledge for protection and meat- making for a more secure environment for the young. Makes sense and it aligned with some ideas i have had about materialism, war tween the sexes and all the gaming used in relationship struggles for power. The point now seems to be to try to understand , forgive and move along into an intelligent, courageously vulnerable, loving co-creative story rather than do “as those who went before” Data collecting is really an awful predictor for the future as is AI- both are stuck in old think and used to “choose” thus creating a future with an ever more limiting vision of all that is possible (QA is not applied very wholistically!) Adapting nonsense to fit a belief system that constructed a manmade “reality show” does not create real sense even when that is abstracted into cents!! Silly humans ..however the not funny is at the door. I work with projects that allow me and others to experiment in combining information, supporting local talent and small businesses while building trust, relationships that are responsive and inclusive and lots of good juju. Flattening hierarchy is challenging and the best way to open the project to the more in the larger potential that is “everywhere” – hidden in plain sight!

          • Julian O’Neill

            I personally am with the feminists who expose Jung for the matricidal sexist his theories revealed. Ie the notion you have to kill the Great Mother so as to find the ‘Self’> He also was anti Expressionist art, refusing to do a forward of a book for a famous Expressionist artist, because he said, the artist’s work was too reminiscent of his ‘ disturbed patients’. I am sure infants in the times of the mythos of the Great Mother did not feel they needed their mother on command. I think the creation of the ‘self’ which feels alienated from nature is when the warrior invading mindset divides the vulnerable mind from what the Great Mother as metaphor deeply represents, the oceanic connection with the natural world. it is still doing this with its suppression of ‘Her Fruits’, the psychedelics, which inspire this ec~static sense of connection, thus undermining all the control and divide mind control relentlessness done to the child as soon as they HAVE to leave their mum to go to the enforced schooling system which greatly traumatizes many children as it did me! .I remember very clearly the very first day I had to go to school. I was sat in the comfort of my mums lap pleading with her I didn’t want to go. I must have smelled a rat lol But I was right. I had a hell of time throughout all my schooling years. I hated EVERYTHING to do with school. It is no coincidence that when this mindset has invaded indigenous peoples lands, the first thing they do is separate the children from their parents and community and force them to forget their language and customs, and do violence also physically against the children. Much later I was to discover the expose of the education system courtesy of John Taylor Gatto. I think that the reason some kids like school is because their home life sucks.

          • deborah j barnes

            okay did not know that aspect of kill the great mother and actually have to go back and see if that was the meaning. The feminist reactionaries that were seeing the dominant male in everything created a good launch point but understanding the gender/ choice spectrum that is necessary for relativity has shifted me from duality thinking.
            Its not mother on command its about feeling vulnerable and realizing the mother is not part of self. Think how kids often think they did something to cause split in parents and such. Still in the land of all about the self..little by little we form identity that is our I AM. okay all good until one realizes that the self is in a larger reality, a part of something larger, a whole of all possibility, all consciousness. This juxtapose is enlightening and yet few seem to know how to utilize it in daily life.

            At the same time the masculine hero story has been part of the cultural heritage and language and that in itself has torked thinking! In my own self defining process -for an art installation, video idea- i found this to be a matter of sorting and weeding through the stories told to me and my own interpretations- this is a healing and mobilizing process!

            Then a lot of the old ideas, stories, beliefs and constructs are seen in the light of an ideology that was set up for probable good reason and yet like many things put into motion it tends to remain. Status quo right or mainstream..
            As far as the idea of great mother itself..a metaphor that stems from early goddess think. All seems folded into what has become manifest now. Nature is not a mother, god is not a father! that is human thinking and is part of my issue with the words 🙂
            So in the inheritance we can discover a lot and that can lead to a discerning , intelligent change of course which seems aligned with nature as the entangled field of energy becomes as “visible” to the human perceptive abilities.

            That said, i think that i am in a process aligned with evolution which nurtures “matter” and consciousness in ways i have yet to fathom.

            terms like spirit, sacred and soul are tainted in old think but are very real to the knowing and awareness that is part of this experimental process i am embracing. In old think the chaotic, flailing of finding a new way was too much..seems reason was born of that and women as source of passion and unreasonableness were dived to be controlled 🙂
            cheers,d
            thanks for great conversation!

          • Julian O’Neill

            same to you. . As I understand it, the male think has been the toxic idea that consciousness = masculine and the ‘unconscious’ (though in times past this may have been termed the ‘underworld/otherworld’) = feminine, and so the ‘hero’ was believed to be this consciousness killing the ‘monsters of the unconscious/underworld’ hence the warrior myths like Perseus storming the underworld and beheading Medusa -she whose stare could turn MEN to stone. So it seems clear to me this cut-off-masculine-idea-of-itself fighting against the deeper parts of his nature. And this is why I think that psychedelics are so prohibited for the ‘common people’ by this culture which is supposed to be in the Age of Science, but shares this fear of them going way way back into the past. A good book that goes into this is called Shamanism and the Drug propaganda, by Dan Russell. As I am seeing and experiencing it, the ruling class want to control the narrative on ‘reality’, and to do this they prefer and very push (even on children, such as ‘Ritalin’ which is basically speed!) sedative, suppressant and stimulant drugs, which of course include tea, coffee and sugar.

          • deborah j barnes

            Thank you, this added to the “recipe” As i have tried my share of psychedelics and really do not know if they helped shift my thinking or if i was a shift in progress . Is this a matter of conscious evolution -natural growth simulators where one becomes aware of the serendipitous role of the universe or just a matter of exposure to certain stimuli? I am thinking it is a dance and the dancers create the stage and the stage then appears real and then one day the crowded stage stifles the “motion’ enough that a few fall off and a few others start to question the structure itself. This is where the questions form. Those intent on dancing along in same way as before have so filtered out the whole, shut down the sensory fields that they have lost “self” in being the self they trained to be! Something like that 🙂

          • Julian O’Neill

            I know this, that as I told you I hated school, and was right to. As a little child I had a magical sense of nature, but from the ages of about 8-15, I had become completely dulled to nature, and was obsessed by the ‘Big City’ and my ideal was New York City–my mythic city. But ironically I got to go and live in big city London when I was 15, and when there was turned onto LSD, and these experiences totally brought back and HOW my sense of a deep magical sense of connection with nature, and matter in general. I saw seemingly solid matter breathe, ripple, wave. Colour seemed alive (which of course it is) and not confined to ‘objects’. Same with sound. All vibration, all alive, and all connected deeply with me which is energy, and vibration, my bodymind. So this was a crucial turn around for me. I realize now that so-called ‘education’ is to divide you from the natural world and indoctrinate you into citi-zenhood. This is why when this mindset has invaded indigenous peoples, who themselves have had very close connection with the land, first thing they do is forcibly take children away and put them into schools, and violently forbid them to speak their native language.

            In the book The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram he says how indigenous language is deeply connected with the land, and so it would make sick sense to those who want to divide them from that connection by prohibiting their lanauge.

            But getting back to psychedelic inspiration, I don’t think it is a dimple case of what some believed in the ’60s, that putting LSD into the water system will wake people up. I have found that cults from the ancient past did use psychedelics substances and yet also indoctrinated dualistic beliefs, For if it was believed by some that the psychedelic fungi came from outside of nature (because of no microscopic technology which could detect spores), then myths could arise that ‘spirit’ descends INTO ‘matter’ so as to save ‘trapped spirits’ and help them escape nature.
            So I feel that very anciently a solar phallic mythos suppressed the lunar-based mythos of the Great Mother which would have understood ALL that springs from Earth as being sacred to Earth and revealing this ecstatic connection with Earth.

          • deborah j barnes

            Wow the gallery owner told me about that book
            -Spell of the Sensuous- when i showed the Water installation at his gallery.
            Yes the abstracting of life has resulted in a huge distortion and yet because i
            also like to play with ideas as to how evolution aligns with human maturity it
            is all “ok” the plus/minus aspect is how we as a species develops
            understanding and corrective actions, thinking along the whole of the
            “story” In another way the Unified Field or OneLove concept is
            my way of saying god to get past the old interpretations. New words for a new
            era!

            The thinking under economic theory -another form of domination-is very
            abstracted (blinded and disconnected to real values that are not measurable and
            yet have developed over time to chain many humans) Then again the building of
            wealth and power is a part of that thinking which led to early trade.
            Trade and sharing were interrelated and helped the species flourish in ideas as
            well as goods. Ok class on the Silk Road helped me realize much of this-
            concepts from Genghis Khan to now.

            Anyway it all seems to come around to a what now and how to reintegrate
            “knowledge” in ways that will lead us off the old track. How can
            “we” nurture and enable the “tipping point” ?

            I wish i knew more about the story as to how the Earth is Flat thinking changed
            over time. I suspect the pagans understood more there as well. Then again, some
            old legends point to the ceremonies where people thought they were responsible
            for many things like volcanoes and displeasing the gods.

            That is akin to toddler thinking which aligns with my theory

            I keep trying to create projects and experiences for people in ways that allow
            them to feel the possibilities.

            Or write a
            book or script to show the benefits the pluses of a next story.

            You?

          • Julian O’Neill

            I think that throughout the so-called changing paradigms, from solar
            phallic paganism, to organized religions, and philosophy, and into
            science there has been and continues an intent by the ones funding these
            institutions, now known as the ‘1 %’ to maintain a separation from the
            natural world. Even in the generation sof the psychedelic movement, via
            its leaders Leary (’60s) and Terrence McKenna (80s – 90s etc) were both
            psychedelic transhumanists. meaning they both put forward ideas that
            technology was going to be our saviour. This is the agenda of the elite.
            Some say their plans is in getting people willingly implanting their
            micro-technology so that they can be ultimately controlled. To do this
            they must continue making people feel dulled to nature, and then they
            offer their solution of a virtual world. When you see how people people
            of all ages and types are walking and sitting around face glues to their
            little plastic devices it is not hard to see that –for me–nightmare
            coming true. So I am all for remembering our deep connection with nature
            because we ARE nature. We are not machines.

          • deborah j barnes

            The school trauma is huge and i can understand your pain. And yet i am glad i learned to read, write and am going to a university class on Medieval Women this afternoon. I also see the set up as a way to maintain that which is beyond tolerance-hierarchy itself! Patriarchy was called out in feminism, this path of mine seems to be about flattening the construct to understand and embrace the voices of diversity for that is where creativity and curiosity are born. I also have experienced the “miracle” of people in motion, validating each other and doing what i could never have imagined. That is love action. Species on the Verge video was the frame for it. The whole one size fits all seems to come from the Newtonian version of physics with the mechanistic universe . Then humans actualized a lot of machines 🙂 Techy machines opened up new network and web ideas which have helped expand and at the same time shrink possibilities and human potential. That is the rub- for the old thinking attempts to always fold ideas into into its usury notions that hierarchical thinking is all about! Hierarchy is ego defensiveness and when one lets go ….

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