Saturday, June 3, 2017

Infinite Doorway
Heart-Flows With El Espíritu De Las Aguas
--- The first completion is the most difficult one to attain. ---
That statement is dead wrong on so many counts - but it's accurate for now.
Counterintuitively, there's always more than one completion and the definition of completion has nothing to do with it. Add to that there's no way to know how arduous future events will be and I wonder why I feel that first statement remains so true. 

After eighteen months of journeying in fear and confusion amidst tremendous revelation along an invisible path expanding through myself, my first completion came as one would expect from an soulular, altered-state sojourn -- in surprising and soul-heaving ways. And yet the distinction holds: to expect surprise is not the same as not being surprised. Plant medicines demonstrate this so well. Knowing you'll be surprised never lessens the surprise of spirit when it occurs.

After my gut-wrenching Ayahuasca experience in ceremony a month before, where I was turned into a transhuman machine by trillions of cloud-connected nanobots and forced for hours to analyze every life situation
(InhumanTransformations of My Soulular Machine) -- and then my followup San Pedro experience a week later that oddly and quickly morphed into a continuing Ayahuasca journey where the machine was burned out of me by raging bursts of primal, creative source energies bolting from a place above the sky and connecting me to the living Earth by flowing through the shape-shifting puma I had become (Soulular Renewal Overwhelms My Human Gadget) -- the insistent call from deep inside to return to ceremony space for a planned three days of Ayahuasca and Kambo was nothing less than a leap into the final unknown reaches of myself in hopes of finding some closure to it all.

A shaman I highly trust and respect mentioned his opinion that the optimum way to approach the Ayahuasca medicine for maximum benefit was to take it three times in a quick succession of three separate ceremonies. He explained how the first ceremony is usually the roughest. Things start working out in a jumble of energies in the second ceremony. He smiled as he related how it was in the third ceremony where the completion and satisfaction came. 

I didn't doubt he knew what he was talking about, but I assumed that such a prescription couldn't possibly apply to all people at all times. How could it? An Ayahuasca event is such a personal thing and people come to the medicine from vastly different personal spaces, held back by different-sized and contorted egos and possessed not by nefarious evil entities but by their own trickster intentions and unresolved shit. To use a Star Trek analogy, everyone walks into their own program when entering the holodeck. The holodeck enables one to experience one's personal landscape, fully dimensioned. It would be odd and misplaced to blame the holodeck for a nasty experience. Who blames the mirror for the face one sees? One must look to the program. 

And so, for the shaman to glibly pronounce a pat formula of three ceremonies as the optimum use of the medicine seemed a bit presumptuous and speculatively self-assured. Nevertheless, I found myself in a van heading south through rain-drenched countryside and being detoured around mudslides in order to do exactly what he had suggested. Don't get me wrong - this wasn't done reluctantly or with reservations. I felt a calling to do this.

I arrived at the shaman's house in early evening and joined others in conversation on a back patio. There were casual introductions, the darling play of the shaman's young daughter, nervous laughter among serious intentions, the lazy wanderings of dogs, and the sharing of rapé in sparkling bursts from a tepi pipe. The shaman joined us and served tea. In casual conversation that crackled now and then in intensity, he said the evening's medicine was a new brew, one he hadn't used much before. It was made with a type of Ayahuasca Amazon natives called the Spirit of the Waters, El Espíritu De Las Aguas. Other than the name, no other explanation was given although he added with typical soft-spoken reverence how he had journeyed with this particular brew only once before and found it most interesting.

Hearing such a tantalizing description from a shaman can be a good or bad thing. I imagined him smiling in that mischievous yet clever way so unique to him. His soft-spoken words would remind me how the polarity or lack thereof for anything was up to me. But what exactly did he mean by interesting?  "May you live in interesting times" is popularly thought to be an old Chinese curse and not a blessing. And yet the truth is, research has shown the Chinese know of no such curse in their culture. The earliest use of the adage was pinpointed to British diplomat Austen Chamberlain in 1936 who claimed he'd heard it from someone in the Foreign Service who had served in China. Which is a long way of saying -- the shaman's comment on the night's medicine was wisely engaging yet non-committal, evoking whatever was in us. How we took his comment meant so much more in the moment than the comment itself, which was his point. We had not yet drunk the medicine but he had already found a way to prompt the onset of our inward journey.

consideration of the process

There would be eight participants in the ceremony space. Last light faded fast and quick-moving dark clouds prompted a premature onset of night. The chance of a stormy time of it seemed likely in more ways than one. One-by-one we lit our flashlights and took the fateful walk back through deepening foliage with blankets in hand. Anxiety akin to a risky rocket launch electrifying the air before us. Upon reaching the small clearing, I fixated my eyes on the looming white teepee standing out from darkening trees and mountains blending behind. For the next twelve hours, which I knew would feel like an eternity, this is where my body would be. As far as the rest of me, I couldn't be so sure.

The shaman was in no rush to start the ceremony. It's his way to let the gravity of what we are about to do have time to sink in. It was a full two hours in the teepee before we drank the medicine. In that time, the central fire, the heart of the space, was lit and tended. In that time, casual talk and nervous laughter ebbed away into serious reflection. In that time, the shaman set out his things and established his space. In that time, he brought around liquid tobacco snuff for everyone to take.

With his almost quiet, compassionate humor on full display, he was insistent in our need to partake of the tobacco. He assured us it would clear our head, focus us on the moment, and energetically prepare the way within to meet Mother Ayahuasca. Despite his assurances, unless one really likes 200-proof tobacco, I can't imagine anyone finding this strong liquid a thing to look forward to. But the shaman was correct -- having to snuff a palm-full of the brown concentrate up both nostrils in one forceful inhale was surely enough to reset one's awareness and get your undivided attention. Mission accomplished. Patches of toilet paper were quickly distributed to handle the after-flow of the afterglow.

Afterwards, everyone settled in to await the main event. But once again, the shaman forced us to think and feel about what we were about to do before it occurred. He began talking to us in low tones. What he said could be a poem to some, could be a prayer to others. It was only him talking
impromptu from his heart but the word pictures and gravity of it anchored the ceremony space in sacredness and contemplation. By now, night was pitch black and rain began to fall. As the patter of it it intensified against the teepee, unspoken wonder arose in everyone about all that lay ahead. 

We all knew once medicine was taken, the fire would be put out and we'd be in total darkness. More importantly, the shaman doesn't permit purging inside the teepee. Which means all of us in turn, as the spirit moved us, would have to make our way through the other-worldly dark of the teepee into the rain and blackness outside in order to purge. Then it began to rain so hard that the shaman interrupted his prayer to close the teepee flap and instruct us on how to navigate egress and ingress. To echo the shaman's earlier words, it promised to be an interesting night.

The shaman sat crosslegged in his place opposite the doorway flap, facing the fire, and took hold of a tall glass bottle filled with a deep brown liquid. He silently considered it for more than a minute. His gaze passed with deep wonder and intent between fire and the bottle as if he needed to listen to messages from both. The only sound in the teepee was the fire crackling and the surround-sound staccato of the rain outside. Another minute passed, then he stood. Maintaining silent respect, he poured small glassfuls of the night's medicine for each of us as he made his way around our circle.

If you ever want to know what full commitment feels and taste like, sit in Ayahuasca ceremony space and swallow all that is given to you.  Staring into the central fire is irresistible afterwards. The silent magic of the moving flame becomes the perfect meditation. Only by then, the flame is low and about to be extinguished. When it is gone, there is nothing left except waiting for the journey and the conversation to begin. The shaman moved around the fire, his tall frame looming above us. As he worked, the flame reduced to burning coals. The coals then slowly dimmed in the cooling ash. Within a few minutes we were left with only darkness and ourselves. Just the way Mother Ayahuasca likes it.


Pandora has a box. People have egos. Same difference. Open either one and you never know how things may go sideways. Even more reason why many, probably most people who have just realized in full measure that they have indeed swallowed Ayahuasca will soon inflate their wonder with a clawing anxiety while waiting for the medicine to kick in. This unease can extend dimensionally if you take Ayahuasca enough. You get a churning sense how those first 10-30 minutes after drinking the brew, a time that seems relatively uneventful, is not so vacant as it appears. If you get quiet with yourself you can feel it -- something is scanning you through and through, all the way to your energetic body and spirit. When one becomes more intuned with the medicine, you begin to feel something reading you as soon as the nasty-tasting brown sludge seeps deeper within your body to find your soul. Something takes stock of your situation and comes to an appraisal of what you need and if you're ready. More importantly, it determines if you came to the medicine with respect and a heart set right. There is no way to hide your real self from this scan and no way to negotiate the outcome. What kind of ride your entheogenic rocket will have to endure is determined in those first minutes after drinking.

It is then Mother Ayahuasca makes her assessment of you. After which, the next eight to twelve hours are out of your hands while, paradoxically, all of it is focused on the most personal choices you make. Who do you think you are, what do you think is important, what do you believe, what do you hang onto and why, what do you hide from yourself, and how do you treat everyone you meet. Yes, Pandora has a box but in contrast, when that box is closed, everyone is spared the chaos and turmoil that awaits inside. Egos are like Pandora's Box except even when closed their chaos and turmoil festers and triggers a reactive unconscious in all of us. That hidden energy manifests in a myriad of ways in one's life. So often it holds our dreams and true self hostage and the ransom that's demanded only sucks us down and twists the only way out into a self-fulfilling knot.

Mother Ayahuasca takes us deep inside our Pandora's Box, then she takes us to the expanded beyond if that is what we need. She patterns her approach to the person who shows up -- both inside and outside the box. So it's important to show up as the person you want to be. That sounds impossible but the possible is merely the fully rendered version of our best intentions given breath within us. And yes, she will know you haven't accomplished the possible but it's impossible to avoid the less desirable judgment of her scan if you don't at least put your imagination into that space. Everyone has shit-monsters in their ego box. You aren't judged for that. What really unleashes your maelstrom is if her evaluation shows you've allowed your heart to get into the box with those shit-monsters. So it is best to approach ceremony space with humility, respect, and gratitude -- with gratitude being the greatest of the three.

After eighteen months and many ceremonies with Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and Kambo, the plant spirits seemed to have informed my intuition that it's best to approach them with a frame of heart -- for frame of mind means little to them. For this ceremony, I set my heart on filling the 10-30 minutes of waiting for the journey to begin while the scan was taking place -- to fill that time with slow, deep breathing -- and something else. The shaman had already recommended the best position to be in -- flat on one's back with arms at one's side and palms either up or down. No fetal position, no turning on one's side either left or right, and no crossing of the feet at the ankles. I made my breathing very deep but kept it slow and constant at that pace. But the most important heart element took a sustained meditative awareness -- and that was to silently recite to myself my gratitudes and keep reciting them, and if possible, to not repeat myself. Anything and everything in my life, past or present, or in the world that I was thankful for should be brought to mind and my heart should reflect with appreciation on it. And so it began -- gratitude and breath, sincere and deep, and then another, until the passage of time was unknown.

reflective faces

I knew the minutes must surely be passing into hours, and yet I still waited for the journey to begin. I had expected some rush of altered consciousness, a dizzying splash of other-worldly visuals, the voice of spirit intoning messages and questions to drive me deeper into the process -- but nothing. Nothing but a calming sense of peace and tranquility settling in, as if I was floating up and down all at once in a state of balance and harmony. Around me other participants moaned and shifted restlessly with the onset of finding their Pandora's Box opened. Some tore out of the teepee into the stormy dark. I listened with sharpened senses to their most mournful retching and anguished sighs. I felt so much compassion for them all the while I felt the urge to welcome the sounds as what they needed taking place. It was a strange place to be in - me being so peaceful and tranquil, experiencing no overt signs of the medicine having kicked in, and yet surrounded by others who were grappling with what sounded like terrible feelings and desperate needs clashing with the self-reinforcing illusions that held them in place.

I felt sure that any minute Mother Ayahuasca was going to show up for me with a sinkhole of psychedelic feeling exploding into a life review played out with larger-than-life disturbing symbols, all of which I would have to internalize until I violently purged in the wet and dark outside. And so I continued to recite my gratitudes. I continued the deep and slow breathing in the same position flat on my back. As endless time wore on, it became more and more difficult to find things to recite that hadn't been said already. All of the obvious things relating to family and friends, past blessings and present graces had been covered. As the hours wore on, I concentrated on finding little things, common things, things like strawberries and snow and clouds and pillows and waffles. 

It may sound funny now, but in the ceremony space, in the medicine, while playing out my intention to truly appreciate and have gratitude for these things, none of this was funny. And why should it? When you think how wonderful something like a strawberry or a pillow is, when you imagine a world without them, when you can remember all the times you enjoyed both of them in your life -- then mere gratitude seems inadequate to express the full measure of what it means to you.

Two hours became four as far as I knew and still the medicine had yet to kick in. I felt like my normal self except I was infused with that same floating up and down sense of peace and tranquility and being in harmony with nothing to do, nothing to worry about, and perfectly content. To manage to continue my recitation of my gratitudes, I thought even deeper about all the things I took for granted and so they didn't occur to me to be grateful for. That opened up a zillion other things that took me by surprise. Part of that surprise was my new recognition that these things naturally deserved gratitude like everything else. It made me reflect on why we tend to have a "top 100" list of things deserving of heartfelt appreciation and how did that list ever get started to the exclusion of so much. What priorities set those things above others? How much of my own wish-fulfillment ego was involved in creating that list? The depth of reflection spiraled out as the recitation and the deep breathing continued.

Finally, after six hours of lying in the ceremony space, feeling perfectly normal, waiting for the medicine journey to begin, I was exhausted and curious enough to silently give a shout-out to Mother Ayahuasca. So far during the whole night, I hadn't heard her speak to me once. And so I shouted my question -- "when is the journey going to begin -- will I have a journey with you tonight?"  Her answer was clear and immediate. I was shocked to finally hear her voice so close to me -- it shot through me as infinitely understandable, comprehensible, uncomplicated, lucid, coherent, simple, straightforward, unambiguous, and personally on my wavelength. She said -- "...the feeling IS the journey -- you've been on the journey all along."

Something in what she said, something in the way she said it hit me stark, plain, and center to my soul. Unexplained tears rushed from my eyes and clouded my sight. Suddenly I could no longer see the lighter shade of dark in the hole at the top of the teepee where the clouds had parted and a lighter sky was showing up. I started to wipe away my tears and Mother's voice was near me again. In the sweetest tones imaginable, she whispered to me, "Don't wipe those away. Those are healing essential oils. Rub them on you. Take them in."  

I followed her instructions only to find that when they touched me I felt a heavenly comfort descend upon the point of contact. I was overwhelmed by it and more tears came, which in turn, I rubbed down my face then down my arms and over my hands. Each touch of a tear invoke the blissful comfort at that spot which in turn triggered more tears. The iterative unfolding made me smile, then chuckle with a joy that evoked appreciation in me and at once I recited what I was going through as another one of my gratitudes. Immediately, a feeling of high energy vibration peace and tranquility rippled throughout my body and I gasped to catch my breath. 

For hours I had been waiting for the ceremony to begin, begin for me, waiting for the typical pyrotechnics of visuals and visions and purging -- and all along my journey was a ride into peace and tranquility. It was the exact 180-degree opposite of my first Ayahuasca ceremony 18-months before. Instead of trauma and isolation I had peace and oneness. And yet it soon occurred to me how I had been tricked into my lesson. For six hours I recited my gratitudes while waiting in peace and tranquility for the medicine to kick in. If Mother Ayahuasca had told me at the beginning that the feeling was my journey, I might have stopped my recitation and deep breathing. But she didn't tell me and I felt compelled to go deeper into gratitude.

And so for six hours I had recited, I had strained to find more and more things to recite without repetition. And in doing so, I went deep into a meditation and heartfelt exploration of what true appreciation and gratitude really means. Only by waiting for my journey to begin had my journey to a profound lesson been possible. In her way, just as the machine had been burned out of me in a previous ceremony, Mother had now burned into me a most intense and far-reaching sense of gratitude. And she did it by floating me in peace and tranquility through the better nature of myself. She showed me how gratitude and tranquility hold the same space. In that, there is peace. And knowing one is never alone in that space elicits such a sense of balance and harmony within. To be there, complete within yourself as so much more than the ego-box's definition of self, is to know the flow of one's spirit, just like the flow of healing tears, just like the spirit of the waters.

spirit of the waters

But the night was far from over. Dawn was still three hours away. All throughout the passing hours, the shaman had been busy in the dark. He sang haunting icaros, played exotic instruments, and shook leaf-bundles while making the rounds to check on each one of us. He blew aqua de florida, the shamanic cleansing spirit water in the direction of any psychic block or repetitive discomfort he detected. It was an ongoing dance in the dark between his efforts to guide and assist us and our need to hold space or rush outside to purge. It had gone on like this for six hours but now was the time to begin reuniting us with ceremony space and each other. He relit the central fire. It was a very small fire but after merging with the depths of darkness that had cradled us for so long, any light seemed brilliant and supra-colorful. For those who could respond, he brought around liquid tobacco to snuff up.

When he came around to me, he playfully tapped my foot with his foot to get my attention. When I raised my head to see what was going on, there he was, bending towards me with his signature slight smile and an invitation not to be refused -- "Tobacco?" Afterwards, he returned to his space and sat down cross-legged in his space and surveyed the scene with keen eyes and a slight smile of recognition for all we had and were going through - but even more so, for what was yet to come. One or two sat up and another propped up on an elbow to acknowledge him. Then he started singing. Low and almost quiet at first, then increasingly stronger. His words were not in English, of course, but they were also not in Spanish. It was an Amazonian native song, ancient and suited to the moment. In contrast to the dark and silence that prevailed in the teepee only minutes before, his song combined with the dance of the central flames to blast our journeys into a present too expansive to be contained.

For over six hours I had maintained my breathing and my position. During that time, all I had between me and the hard ground was one half of a blanket. The other half I had pulled over me. Lying flat on my back with arms at my sides and legs never shifting or crossing was comfortable to begin with, and surprisingly comfortable for a long time while suffused with the feelings of peace and tranquility. But now, with the reality of the teepee spotlighted by the dance of the central flame and the shaman's song churning away at my awareness, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. I felt a need to roll on my side, to shift position. 

But doing so was not as easy as wishing it. Any body movement seemed alien to me. I was not only out of my Pandora's Box, it seemed nowhere in sight. Strange how I could feel the discomfort but not the body. Strange how the idea of moving seemed redefined and no longer connected to the body. As the shaman's song intensified, so did the discomfort. I managed to roll my head and glance his way. It was true he was flashing me knowing glances but what did they mean? Was his energy and his song doing something to spur on this discomfort? It certainly seemed so but figuring it out drained away as the farthest thing from my mind. I needed to move and move I did, eventually. It took a few minutes but I managed to roll onto my right side. And that's when everything changed.

light in darkness

Never compare an Ayahuasca or Kambo purge to simple vomiting. They bear little resemblance to each other except something leaving the mouth is involved. With regular vomiting, expelling through the mouth pretty much sums it up. In ceremony, the physical component of purging is usually a minor component of what is happening. There are exceptions. There are people who simply feel bad and have to throw up immediately and little more is involved. But those are the same people who likely will be saying afterwards that not much happened during their ceremony. For those who break through into an experience, on the other hand, purging is so much more. Many might say it is a critical component of why you are there. And purging can happen many ways. There are the obvious orifices to consider, but even prolonged and suspenseful bouts of breathing and yawning can be a type of purge. For me, when I rolled onto my side, the snap-need to purge roiled and seethed within like an anaconda being uncoiled. A helix mass of energy erupted in dizzying spirals, starting beneath my rib cage and whip-lashing against my insides with a pressure not to be denied. 

I was the one disconnected from my body but now I had to move and move fast. The firelight was scant comfort as it guided me out of the teepee, but it was a big help. All night long I had heard others stumbling in blind desperation for the exit flap on their way to purgative glory. To have light as a guide became one of my new immediate gratitudes. Although, in the moment, I was in no state to meditate on it. I grappled to my feet like a new fawn finding its legs in a tornado. Luckily, I was next to the exit flap and had only to stumble forward to find the outside. But the outside I entered was nowhere near the outside I left so many hours before. Not by a long shot. Ever see something familiar to sight but every other instinct cries out with exotic and alien intuition?  Ever open a door and not see what you expected? Ever fall through an open doorway into a déjà vu mystery imagined by your higher self? Ever be forced to run only to discover your legs aren't your own? Ever wish the anaconda inside of you would stop expanding as it catapults from your face?

I managed to stop forward motion in twisting space over uneven ground with legs cold-boiling into jelly springs. Repeated purges came from below the bottom of my feet, not my stomach. Some of them were dry heaves filled with unseen chunks of systematized chaos and institutionalized turmoil. In between spasms of release came waves of high vibration instability that rippled compressed emotion into my energetic body.  I staggered back, slumped forward, and kept standing by leaning hands on knees. My gasps and sighs were another creature's drama, the last dreadful torments from an imaginary minion of Pandora's ego-box. The anaconda was only the vehicle to get the minion out of me; it was not a beast to be feared. In Inca mythology, the snake represents the lower or underworld. It stands for wisdom and knowledge, the beginning of new life. Incas believed the snake travels to the underworld where it sheds its skin to return "newly born." And so the snake is the symbol of transformation, the fulfillment of the circle of life.

The spiraling of energies continued and rocked me forward into another purge episode, for purges rarely come as a single expulsion. This time it was mostly dry heaves, those bursts of unseen cosmic air filled with what no longer serves. I felt alternately hot and cold, here and there, now and then. The sense of being empty and full merged with the wish to be beyond and present. I don't know how I got back to standing in the grasses near the teepee. A few feet to the left of me was the entry flap, out of which poured dancing firelight in an oval shape radiating into an unfamiliar night. The teepee was just behind me. The otherworldly now just ahead.

An attempt to catch my breath got suddenly interrupted by gasps of surprise. I looked up into amazement. Out in the darkness, no more than twenty feet away, rested an object made of crystal-blue-white light. The translucent shape looked to be a place to sit, like a couch. On the far left side of the object sat a person. This person was made of the same crystal-blue-white light. They sat there, almost motionless, their head turned towards me with steady gaze. Except for being made of light, the object and the person was more real than my blanket back in the teepee. How could this be? I mean, what could it be? I immediately tried to explain it away. It was simply light from the teepee shining on bushes in the distance. It was foggy-eye, a temporary aftereffect of the aggressive purging. It certainly couldn't be a person of light. And even if it was, why would they be sitting in that position, with head slightly turned to the left, a direct gaze held fast with little motion? There seemed no point to it except to show me how it's always possible to see light in the darkness.

At that moment the shaman started singing and banging a drum. The sound of it flooded out through the open teepee flap and enveloped the space around me. Coincidental or not, his song was the same one I had told him about a month before, after another ceremony. I commented how I liked it. It was the same song he had tried to teach everyone. He had them join in with him to sing it in the middle of the night. And now the light being's energy scintillated with the song's onset. At first I thought it was just the dancing of the firelight coming from the teepee, but the rhythm of the changes sparking in the energy field matched the song, not the fire. At once, my feet began to move in a most unusual way. My ankles swiveled as if triple-jointed. My feet rocked every which way in time to the song. I felt as if a blissful, sacred energy from an ancient ceremonial space had taken over my feet. From knees down I was back somewhere else, at another ceremony held outside around a fire, and the spirit had also moved me back then to express the oneness with the emerging joy I felt. 

It's interesting to note the Incas used one word "taqui" to describe dance, music, and singing. Although this word in Quechua means "song" -- the Incas never separated the three, seeing them as intrinsically interconnected.

spirit dance

The light being persisted in place for many minutes. I considered walking over to it, coaxed by some vague notion of verifying its existence. But I didn't have the legs under me to navigate that far. And besides, I imagined it would fade with each step I might take in its direction. It had to be firelight on some bushes anyway. It would be easy to see the exact spot to prove the point when daylight came. 

Exhausted, I returned to my blanket inside the teepee and collapsed with a post-purge energetic release. The shaman was letting the fire die down again and soon only the glow of reddened coals centered the space. I returned to my deep breathing but was too overwhelmed to engage in any activity like reciting gratitudes. I let my spirit go where it naturally flowed and assured my mind that it wasn't needed to get there. Random thoughts were inescapable and with them came other thoughts about the thoughts I had. One thing lead to another and soon I was ascending into another lesson -- and a method.

For the next two hours, my thoughts wandered. Each time they wandered into troubling realms, the feeling of peace and tranquility showed me how to redirect my energies away from Fear or Drama or what Mother Ayahuasca at another ceremony called "Story." Every thought led to another and eventually I was shown how, left to my own thoughts -- without the heart intervening -- an over-analysis of mind would seek out the lowest common denominator, resulting in a habitual infusion of fear and drama and convoluted story back into my wonder and concern. 

Over and over, a gentle nudge of spirit stirred me away from getting snared in a morass of negative thinking. Many times, I simply blanked my mind and started over with probabilities that led to positive outcomes. The technique was extremely subtle but tremendously powerful. It was as if the lightest breath of my intention could turn around a star ship battle-cruiser headed at light-speed for Armageddon. But unless one stayed aware and heart-centered, when and how to blow that healing breath could be missed. Miss it enough and one's mind came to the dramatic conclusion it didn't exist. 

To stay aware, I needed to match my thoughts against the proper vibrations from my heart. A mismatch signaled a needed mid-course correction -- a breath of spirit redirecting the flow away from the trap of fear and drama and story. It was startling how easy it was doing the most powerful thing. But even more startling was how easy it was believing such power couldn't exist. Again and again I was taken through examples of how easy it was to be distracted away from heart and into a blocked awareness focused only on pathways that slid into negativity - even when we didn't expect them to. Every thought I had became another example. I drifted towards a daydream state just above sleep. In daydreams healing finds a way to flow. This felt like flowing back to source. And so I flowed.

As I flowed I found myself asking if I should return for a second ceremony, which was planned for the next day. Immediately, I heard a male voice abruptly say, "No."  This was jarring, not only to receive a no but to hear a male voice. Where had Mother Ayahuasca gone? This "No" made no sense. He gave no explanation and his tone seemed final. I let it go for a half an hour or so while I rested and drifted, but it remained on my mind. And so later I asked again if I should return for the second ceremony. The male voice was adamant this time -- "No!" It was certain from his tone he wasn't adding anything and so I let it go and didn't press the issue. There would be time to consider it later.

Dawn came and everyone rested for a couple more hours. The shaman closed the circle with more tobacco snuff and another one of his impromptu prayers. It was time for the Kambo ceremony to begin. Those who felt called approached the shaman and received their points of venom. Having drunk the most water at the start of this second ceremony, I was the first to receive points. I hurried outside and spent the next hour and a half finishing the purges that Ayahuasca had started. Kambo works well with Ayahuasca. They say the medicine gives you the energy you need to get through ceremony and Kambo came through in that regard. But I did notice, unlike previous times receiving the frog medicine, I found it difficult drinking the volume of water I needed during the hour and a half. But when it was finished, I felt cleansed and rejuvenated. Since I had fasted before arriving at ceremony space the day before, I was also famished. I headed out with friends for breakfast, after which there would be rest, reflection, and getting mentally ready for the next ceremony, planned for the following night. 

But what about receiving "No" twice? What was that about? And what about the space where the light being had appeared? I checked it out but daylight brought no resolution. In fact, it deepened the mystery. There were no bushes or trees where the being had sat and watched me. That place was an open space with nothing for the firelight to fall on.
the sky opened up

The next night I returned to the shaman's house and soon discovered a cleaning circle on the back patio. Rough-cut Ayahuasca branches were heaped in a pile. Gathered around were soon-to-be ceremony participants industriously using spoons to scrape away the dirt and outer bark of the spirit vine in preparation for the long boil in the big cook pot nearby. Even though I had been told not to come back, I hadn't heard it from Mother Ayahuasca. Plus, I was undaunted to try out the shaman's prescription of three ceremonies in rapid succession. I was determined not to let the indecision about coming and the "No's" from the male voice add any fear or drama to the way I approached the second ceremony. As far as I knew, it was a test to see if I could stir clear of such negative thinking. Just another example, like the countless ones handled before. If I had learned anything, I shouldn't let such things taint this second night in any way. And so I grabbed a spoon and started cleaning the Ayahuasca vines. I was going to participate and I was looking forward to it.

Everyone soon discovered just how energetic the teepee would be. Instead of eight participants like before, tonight there would be fifteen people in the teepee, including the shaman. The prospect of that many journeys going on simultaneously in such a confined space made one wonder. It would be a testament to the abilities of the shaman if, without helpers, such a collection of traveling souls could be held in good energy throughout the night. And so, as before, we lit our flashlights and took the walk back to the clearing where the teepee stood. The threat of rain wasn't as severe as before, which was a plus. We all managed to squeeze our blankets and gear into personal slots facing the fire. The shaman tended it as before and repeated his reverent steps in preparation. Tobacco snuff and prayers, explanation of how things would process and answers for anyone's questions. By the time we drank the medicine it was 10pm and the night was deep and dark around us. The fire was brought low, then extinguished and fourteen participants awaited their journey.

As before, I started by lying on my back, taking deep, slow breaths, and reciting my gratitudes. And as before, I waited for the medicine to kick in, all the while I floated into a state of serenity and peace. Never knowing what might happen, I kept to my process and maintained position, breath, and recitations. When the night was half gone, the first six hours had repeated my experience from the first ceremony. I went deeper into gratitude. I found the place of peace and tranquility within to be normal and not the exception. And I had deep compassion for the many others around me who struggled with cruel-sounding purges and break-down episodes outside in the dark. The contrast of their anguish and the peaceful state drove so deeply into me. I had no way of comprehending what that particular juxtaposition was doing to me, but it felt it to be transformative.

After six hours of recitation in the dark amidst tranquility, Mother Ayahuasca began speaking to me as secondary lesson time began as before. Just like in the first ceremony, the next three hours were spent processing examples played out by my own mind. Again, it was a lesson about avoiding negative traps and staying with an uplifting flow that was heart-centered. She showed me in the way my own mind operated how easily we can be tricked into spiraling down paths that at first seem so benign but ultimately ambush us with low vibration negative emotion. Last time the method to practice was the flow of intention breath to stir one away and back on course. This time she summed up the method in two words. With firm resolve she gave them to me -- "Recognize and Interrupt!"

No matter what I thought, Mother showed how I could be tricked into letting it slide negative. And with the negative came negative emotion. And negative emotion was the internal quicksand linked to a bottomless pit that consumed one's potential and redefined the face of you. I kept being surprised how the most innocent thought always had a hook that could spiral down. I was shocked to be tricked into seeing how even the things we love can be turned and sent spiraling. There was no end to the ways we could fall prey to the downward slide. The best way to retrain ourselves to avoid the infinite space on either side of the tightrope was to "Recognize and Interrupt!"  Recognize what was happening and immediately interrupt the process of mind and feeling that was being sucked down.

In time, Mother even echoed what San Pedro had told me in the past - that "by fear and wounding they control you."  Fear, drama, story, and especially wounding are all techniques of control. Mother showed me negative memes which are hidden in plain sight, subliminally buried in our entertainments and advertisements, that work on the subconscious to trigger the slide into negative quicksand. On the surface, it may look like one thing. But in the background of intention and suggestion, the negative memes are being implanted. Like corrupting seeds, they lie there fallow in our minds until a situation calls them into our false intuition. We believe we are feeling our natural reaction, but it is only the response engineered to be triggered. To impress upon me how insidious they were, she droned them at me --

"Us versus them
Nothing can be done
More is better
Bad things happen
Nothing is certain
Justice at all costs
I need what I want
Everything is separate"

And the list went on and on. For every negative emotion possible within the human heart, there are dozens of memes ready to be a trigger.  Memes can self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures. Memes act very much like viruses. We could even call them mind viruses. Mother Ayahuasca showed me how all the thousands of negative memes can be collapsed into two things -- desire and a lack of concern for others. Be aware of these two always.

The goal of negativity, whether consciously engineered or not, is to short-circuit our natural flow to choose intentionally in each of life's situations and replace it with an unconscious reaction to subliminal negative memes to drive a reaction. The resulting negative assumptions and actions turn into belief over time and reprogram our ability to co-create. We start interacting with an artificial world instead of manifesting. As a result, spread over a populace affected by this negative energetic bombardment, society becomes reactive. The creative impulse gets redirected through negative programming and assumptions tied to our conditioned desires and needs instead of being a blooming of positive potential from our best aspirations and capabilities.

Assumptions are the hidden key to the power of our beliefs. Once assumed, our subconscious acts upon it as fact and the energy of this certainty manifests our reality like thought creating the path before a walker who imagines what the next step will be like, and so makes it so. Our natural, aligned state is one of heart consciousness. Doubt is a fear vibration that creeps into thought when belief is not completely aligned with our true self. Doubt is very powerful and damaging. Coherence is bringing things together in a state of logical, orderly, and aesthetic relationship; it sharpens or becomes more focused. Without the focus of heart-centered intention, there is nothing to prevent us from living our lives in reaction to negative memes we aren't even aware are acting as directors.

the down spiral

In the midst of all these examples, an odd thing started to occur. The lessons of recognize and interrupt spun on. All the while I began having crazy visuals of bizarre little creatures. Gobs of them kept popping up and filling my sight. Each time I was caught off guard and could only sum it up as strange, funny, outlandish, abnormal, extraordinary, weird, wacky, oddball, kooky, freaky, off the wall. They were the happiest of creatures but a bit too happy and knowing, if you can imagine that. I got the distinct sense they knew more about what was going on than I did. Despite their friendly, happy-go-lucky attitude, something else belied more going on. It was something in the way their facial expressions and eyes gave them away. Once they were bicycling in the air. Next they were rowing rowboats vertically up trees. Another time they were riding impossibly-designed roller-coasters. "Weeee!" they'd laugh with otherworldly glee. They'd always turn to look at me at the high point of their excitement, which after a while got a little creepy.

little creatures at play1

little creatures at play2
little creatures at play3

All of these little creatures looked the same except they were dressed with slight differences. Every place in the world became a wacky amusement park for their antics. When I thought they had crossed the line is when I shifted my lower back to get more comfortable. Little did I know my motion would release one of their rides -- a ride inside of me. I looked down and there stretched out inside from pelvic bone up to high under my rib cage was a curved track. It formed a semi-circle resting against my spine. On the track and held in place, awaiting release, was an equally curved boat with bow and stern as high points. The boat sat transverse to the track at the lower curved end by my pelvis. When I moved my lower back, the boat got released and slid fast, down and then up towards my neck. With the motion came an uproar of Weee's! and cheers and laughter from the little creatures. The chatter and noise erupted from my gut. I watched as their warped boat swung down and up and then back again into original locked position at my pelvis. They were all excited, stamping their feet and waving their arms as they cheered me on to do it again for them. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

The sight was so captivating and bizarre that, of course, I had to do it again. Weeee! and HaHahaha! and Whoopie! rose from my gut. It was the craziest thing imaginable but, like a wreck on the highway, it was hard to pull one's eyes away. It seemed such benign and crazy fun, why not do it again? And so I did it, again and again. Each time they went more berserk with enjoyment. Then I realized with sudden panic what was happening. And yes, they were tricking me -- just as Mother Ayahuasca had warned could happen, even with things we enjoy and love. I discovered their true intent not with any power of mind but simply when my stomach showed signs of needing to purge. But of course! How did I miss it? 

The silly warped boat on the track was repeatedly shoving its momentum from pelvis to throat. Each run of the ride was getting me closer to having to purge. I stopped right away and took breaths to try to calm the urge. I felt so tired and jelly-legged that I dreaded having to make my wake into the dark outside. I didn't know if it was worthwhile but I had to give it a try. I appealed directly to Mother Ayahuasca. I assured her I would purge - in fact I wanted to purge, but dawn was only an hour away and I would prefer to purge at the jungle toilet in the light rather than up through the mouth outside now. Surprisingly, she answered me and said that would be all right and the urge immediately subsided. Later, the shaman was amused but incredulous with this episode. He chuckled at the notion of someone bargaining conditions with Mother. I didn't care. I had to try.

colors of the sunset

Several times, when the creatures were showing their widest grins and happiest demeanor, they would stare at me and their faces began to contort in horrific, exaggerated ways. Crazy-happy quickly morphed into frightful-menacing. I soon realized this was yet another, this time graphic example of how the nicest things, left to negative memes, could transform and spin us down into the negative before we knew it. I stayed alert to recognize and interrupt their contortions by diverting my gaze, changing my thoughts, and welcoming them back happy again.

In time, the little creatures scampered here and there but increasingly they fell into the background. Instead, I started asking Mother Ayahuasca questions - questions about what I liked to do, where to put my energies, what more her lessons may mean. She showed me how I had come full circle from my first ceremony with her 18 months before. She took me back to that first ceremony, filled with dark entities running the ceremony. I had felt trapped in another dimension with them and they knew it. I asked her about all the entities had said about getting so much enjoyment out of the pain of our purges. I even watched them shape-shift and collect the purges. Mother was as calm as before in answering:

"You saw dark entities collecting the purge.
They liked it, they wanted more -- it seemed to be their ceremony to do this,
it appeared they were tricking people into anguish for their dark benefit.
And all of that is true -- but not the whole picture, 

for what is your truth now?
The only thing they were collecting 

was every by-product of the healing of the medicine,
a healing that got rid of things that don't serve you --
and those things that don't serve you - all of that purging -
they like that, so let them have it!
What was really going on?  The same thing you saw.
But now the perspective is completely different.
What you saw before was everything inverted from what it should be.
Now you have inverted it back. There is no anguish in being healed.
It's another example how you can be led down to the negative.
Everything here can be an example of that illusion,
how you're tricked into going into emotions that don't serve you.
Sometimes we do it to ourselves and sometimes others do it do us.
But now you know the power of recognize and interrupt

the power to steer clear with intention.
Put that same peaceful and tranquil feeling into your days."

I asked more questions but she patiently answered, "I answered that already. You can ask whatever you like, but the answers are going to be the same."

I asked her if I should come back for the third ceremony. She gave me an insight, "If you come back, it will be the same, just like now is the the same as the last ceremony." And then I understood why I heard the "No's" before -- simply because for now there was no reason to come back. The answers and main lesson would be the same. I had come full circle from the fear and drama and story of 18 months ago. In that there was a completion - my first completion.

I thought about the illusion of my earlier perspective and how knowing source was the opposite of that. Mother Ayahuasca bristled at the suggestion. "No! Source is not the flip-side of anything. They in no way compare, even as opposites! Don't ever compare one to the other -- source just IS. There is nothing else you can say about source! It exists! It is!" She was very adamant about this.

I thought about the Kambo ceremony to come as the first light of day began to show through the top opening in the teepee. Mother spoke once again, "You've made progress, from there to here. You don't need anymore medicine right now." I couldn't help but telling her about the shaman's prescription for three ceremonies in a row. There was no pause when she answered, "You were here last month, then we met again at the San Pedro ceremony, and now these two ceremonies. Four ceremonies. You can keeping repeating if you want to but for right now -- you're done."

I asked to clarify, "No more medicine?"
She repeated, "For right now -- you're done."

morning rainbow

The following morning I woke very earlier in my bed back where my wife and I were staying when I was not in ceremony. My wife was still asleep but I felt one of those other-worldly urges to get outside, close to nature. It didn't matter that the sky was totally dark with rain clouds. Outside, the rain came down. It reminded me of the sound of rain on the teepee during the ceremonies. I dressed quickly and made my way down a path to a covered lookout point. I climbed into one of the hammocks and enjoyed the call of the morning birds and the continuing cool shower.

Then it happened. Right before my eyes. Within a minute of me coming to rest in the hammock, brimming with peaceful, tranquil feelings -- it was then the clouds parted and a perfect rainbow appeared before me. The actual picture of it is included here. I felt an overwhelming sense of someone's presence, of someone's caring, of someone's assurance that it is possible to take the lessons and methods for healing into our daily lives. As a parting gift, Mother Ayahuasca or Source or Spirit or whatever name you give it, took me to a place inside that matched the deepest joy of ceremony space. The message that morning was -- such joy is not meant only for ceremonies. It's meant to be with us all the time. Of course the whole episode caused a rush of tears. But that was OK. As I was told, "Don't wipe those away. Those are healing essential oils. Rub them on you. Take them in."  And so I did. And so I do.

view through a rainy bus window

Days later, while talking to my wife, I mentioned the "No!' I had received from the male voice. It was so odd that it was that voice and not Mother Ayahuasca that answered. My wife's intuition made a suggestion right away -- the voice was Grandfather San Pedro. Just as Mother had shown up at his ceremony, he had answered at the end of hers. It's remarkable how the spirits of the medicine complement each other, even if we can only guess the depths of the relationship. 

Some time afterwards while still feeling I was in the medicine, the bus I was riding in paused in traffic. I turned to glance outside. There I found my face staring back at me from a rainy block wall. Behind the glasses I saw peace and tranquility and a new sense of connecting with myself and others. It may have taken 18 months and epic travails to reach my first completion - but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I have the utmost gratitude I can now say that. I wish the same for others. Meanwhile, I can only imagine, with positive intentions, what my second completion will possibly be. Whatever it is, I'm flowing towards it.

Friday, May 26, 2017


SO is the sound of inhaling breath and HUM is the sound of exhaling breath. 
It is used for deep meditation. 
No need to pronounce it -- just sit, feel, and think about the vibrations of words,
concentrate on your breath in and out. 
Sense the power in the ancient Mantra. 
Feel the music of breath. 
You will be OM SO HUM.

Bosque Medicinal

The mission of the collective Bosque Medicinal is to raise awareness of the importance to maintain Amazon rainforest's biodiversity. We want to inform the public about the importance of the rain forests for all the life on Earth, their significant role as a source of natural medicines and potable water, their ability to produce oxygen and bind carbon dioxide. To demonstrate why it is important to care about nature and show people how to do it gently. We want to protect the fragments of forest left, seed new trees for the reforestation projects and teach both children and adults about the importance of forests.

Link to the Bosque Medicinal Website

Support Ecological Reserve El Paraiso

The project of supporting the Ecological Reserve El Paraiso is mainly aimed at preserving the rain forest and its biodiversity in the area of the reserve. To engage general public in protection of the nature, Chart the teritorry and track its changes, significant locations, species distribution and biodiversity. We want to emphasize the importance of local ecosystems on a wider scale, and to high light current problems. Inform about on going events and attractions in the region.

1. Forest protection
2. Conservation of biodiversity of plants and animals
3. Reforestation of "el Paraiso's" neighboring deforested areas
4. Support of local communities
5. Promotion  and cooperation with the Runahorco Reserve management
6. Supporting Ecotourism

Establishment of a botanical garden
The project of establishing the botanical garden El BosqueMedicinal will focus on collecting plants from all Amazon. Plants and trees which are used in traditional natural medicine, traditional art, traditional architecture and crafts. Future visitors will become acquainted with these plants, get to know the environment in which the plants grow, possibilities of their utilization, their medicinal effects and traditional methods of their use.

Establishment of nursery seedlings of trees and plants
The nursery of tree and plant seedlings will help to reforest deforested areas and to support other environmental projects. Tree seedlings and various plant species will be mainly used  by ecological projects in recovery of damaged ecosystems.

Educational system
Project's educational system is not only dedicated to students of vocational subjects (such as zoology, botany, herbalism or environmental protection), its purpose is to teach children and adults about the importance and necessity of forest ecosystems.It aims to access alternative forms of learning about nature on site or in the surrounding areas.


Lord Bertrand Russell joined with the Frankfurt School in their effort at mass social engineering and spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society.

He wrote:

    'Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development.' The importance of mass psychology "has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 'education.' The social psychologists of the future will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black."

Russell said education will affirm:

    "First, that the influence of home is obstructive.

    Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten.

    Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective.

    Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark grey. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen."

Writing in 1992 in Fidelio Magazine, [The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness] Michael Minnicino observed how the heirs of Marcuse and Adorno now completely dominate the universities, 'teaching their own students to replace reason with 'Politically Correct' ritual exercises.

In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself.

Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people's minds by business and politics.

This program shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard's Erhard Seminar Training - into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.

But the American corporations soon realized that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.

Politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfill the inner desires of the self.

Both New Labor, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mold their policies to people's inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism learned to do with products.

Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s.

The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of individual. But what they didn't realize was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them.

Stew Albert, a founder of the Yippie Party of the '60's, lamented about what had happened:
     "Basically, the politics were lost and totally replaced by this lifestyle, and then this desire to become deeper and deeper into the self. By now, a grandiose sense of the self. And my good friend and one of the original Yippie founders, Jerry Rubin, definitely moved in that direction.  And I think he was buying into this notion that he could be happy and fully self-developed on his own. Socialism in one person. Although that is, of course -- capitalism."

Bertrand Russell
Sunset in the Cajas

"Western science started out with a story of a non-living, meaningless, purposeless universe.
It then discovered entropy and said it's all running down.
This is the bleakest creation story anyone ever thought up."

   - from the New Story film

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brillian Cloud Formation

“Good fortune often occurs 
when you stop expecting life to present opportunities to you 
and you start presenting opportunities to life.”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Soulular Renewal Overwhelms My Human Gadget

Two ceremonies - one journey.
What I'm about to relate is the second half of one plant medicine journey. The first part occurred a week before the second ceremony and is documented in Inhuman Transformations of My Soulular Machine.

The first part of the journey was with Mother Ayahuasca, Rapé, and liquid tobacco. The second part was with Grandfather Huachuma (San Pedro). Although the second experience included only San Pedro, the journey turned out to be an overpowering continuation of what Mother Ayahuasca had started with me.

face to face with myself

The skies said it would be stormy. Little did I know when I boarded the bus in Cuenca how prophetic those skies would be. Santa Isabel is where the ceremony space was. It's an hour's ride southwest of where I live. Just before climbing the hill into the main part of town, the bus stopped to let my wife and I off in what looked like the middle of nowhere in the countryside. Intercity buses in Ecuador will stop anywhere to take-on or let off passengers. There are regular stops for sure but where we asked to get off was a non-descript spot identified only by a small hand-written sign hung on a fence.

Nearby, through a tall gate and up an obstacle course of broken concrete steps rested a two-story country home with front porch and back patio and a pair of friendly dogs to greet visitors. One of those dogs was Squiggles, an old friend from other ceremonies in Vilcabamba. We were greeted warmly by the ceremony facilitator and his very capable apprentice and shown around the space. We were introduced to a wonderful woman from Sweden who'd be joining us. Two other participants hadn't yet arrived. My wife and I settled in and enjoyed the conversations.

In time, a good friend from Cuenca arrived as did a friend of the facilitator. It was the day of the Pink Full Moon and so we were drinking at one in the afternoon, guaranteeing that our experience would take us into the night and hopefully in view of the brilliant moon. With the recent storminess in the area, it was anyone's guess if the cloud cover would part for us to have the full moon in view later that evening. We gathered outside in a circle to share a prayer, express our intentions, and receive our glasses of Grandfather Huachuma. The facilitator also had a portion so he'd be in the medicine space with us and could better interpret where we were during our journey and what we needed.

As brief as it was, I shared my intention for my upcoming conversation with San Pedro. I simply wanted more clarity and perspective on the Ayahuasca ceremony I had attended one week before. As expected, the meeting with Mother Ayahuasca had been intense, but it left me feeling I had a couple unresolved dilemmas. If there was more insight that San Pedro could shed on what I had experienced, I would sincerely like to discuss it.

It didn't take long for the circle to dissolve as everyone dispersed to find their spot on the property from which to journey. It usually took a little while before San Pedro showed up in force so my good friend and I found a comfortable spot on the front porch to sit and talk. The facilitator joined us for a while and everything was muy tranquilo.  There came a moment, though, for both my friend and I when our spirits were leaving the conversation. We were being called to begin our day in earnest. We parted with good wishes for each other and I strolled to the back of the house, off the patio and around to the far exterior side of the house.

It appears very odd when I'm not in the medicine, but it's become a habit with San Pedro that when deep journeying for me is about to begin, I am called to find the most uncomfortable spot outside and encouraged to lay down there. It never fails, once I heed the call and go to that spot, I lay down and soon a remarkable comfort overcomes me. When I feel the comfort settle in I know the deeper ride is beginning. This process usually takes a while. Most times, I don't feel the pull to find my uncomfortable spot until an hour or two into the ceremony. So you can imagine my surprise when I felt a strong pull to do this not long after initially drinking the brew. This signaled to me a need and invitation to go deep very soon in my day. This was highly unusual but I paid attention to the call and found a nice hard ledge, a stone and tile walkway on the far side of the house to lie down on. That was sure to be uncomfortable. And yes, it was just right. I lay on my right side and let my sideways view of the yard and the neighbor's fields and house in distance fill my gaze.

And another highly unusual thing happened - or didn't happen. Without fail, in every San Pedro ceremony I've attended, I can rely on one thing to signal the medicine is working through my system and soon my journey will begin. That one thing is feeling a series of small muscle spasms in my leg muscles. When I feel those small, involuntary twitches in my legs, I know it won't be long before San Pedro arrives. And so it was doubly odd that I should be called to my uncomfortable spot without ever feeling a single muscle twinge. Not one. How could San Pedro be showing up without the telltale signs? How could I be preparing to go deep when the most preliminary sign of the medicine taking effect hasn't shown up yet?

Santa Isabel

It didn't take long for my eyes to close. When they did, I felt a rush of movement as if I was being transported in all directions at once. How can this be I thought? The answer came right away. The only way to move in all directions at once is to simply expand. This expansion of spirit soon encountered Grandfather Huachuma. He focused immediately on my intention. He knew how I felt and understood my need for deeper perspective and clarification on my Ayahuasca journey. Then, like a Father calling to Mother, he told Mother what I wanted and suggested she was the best one to handle this. From that moment on, Father stepped back and let Mother take over my expansion completely. The feeling within me morphed in a flash from tranquilo to energized, engaged, and erupting with explorations of me. This was no longer a San Pedro ceremony. I was back with Mother Ayahuasca and she was determined to give me the clarity I asked for - just not in a way I was prepared for.

She started by slamming me back into the previous ceremony space where I had been re-engineered into a transhuman machine that seemed condemned to endlessly analyze and strategize. I was shown how a need for strategy came from fear - and fear came from a lack of trust. Every situation in life, every person I encountered, had to be analyzed by the machine called Me. Worse yet, half of me hated doing this while the other half loved it. Half of me could stop analyzing only to have the other half strategize how to keep it going. And so the dilemma.

Then she made me the machine again. She plugged me into full power, maximum resources, machine intelligence capabilities and led me into the frame of mind where I loved being plugged in, loved being the machine. Once she got me there, loving it, she turned the machine around on me.  She told me - 

In an instant, all the processing power marshaled in my previous ceremony set to work taking apart every action and thought I had ever had in my life. Every part of who I was, who I had been, what I had done, my motivations, my inner thoughts, my secrets kept from others, my secrets kept from myself, my inner fears, my aspirations, my doubts, my motivations -- all were handed over to a hungry algorithm to be dissected.  Billions of moments, thoughts, feelings from my life got processed through the machine. But the machine didn't stop there.
The processing netted determinations.
The determinations were evaluated.
The evaluations were examined and trend analyses were mapped out.
The maps of the search spaces revealed patterns.
The patterns were studied for unconscious implications.
The implications fed into behavior modeling scenarios.
The scenarios were compared with all experiences from my past.
The correlations were projected into the future.
The projections were laid bare before me in the glaring light of absolute analytical certainty.

In reaction, I was shot through and through with intense nausea.
I was extremely uncomfortable. This was all wrong.
I protested - this machine didn't know me at all. That's not all I was!
I was more than a sum total of actions, thoughts, feelings interpreted and correlated.
The machine might think it knew everything about me -- but it was missing the point,
getting lost in details. I was so much more than a reductionist accounting of facts and figures.

Mother asked, YOU DON'T LIKE THIS?
I wanted so much to purge but found I couldn't. She wouldn't let me.

I rolled to the edge of the hard walkway ledge and tried to purge. Nothing.

I felt like I had descended into a machine intelligence version of ancient Egypt's Hall of Two Truths, where in the Duat the hearts of the dead were weighed against a single feather. If the heart was lighter or equal weight to the feather, the soul was judged virtuous and was saved. If the heart was heavier, salvation was denied. I wanted to purge out any extra weight but I was not allowed to purge. I had turned my machine upon myself and judged myself in the same way I had judged life and the world I knew. It made no difference how much I protested. I argued that none of this analysis truly knew me. I was more than all of that. Mother only threw it back at me.

Then she shifted tone. There was anticipation and revelation in her voice.

In an instant, I was jerked off my hard perch and slammed into the grass and dirt two feet below. My head was forced to the dirt and my hands forced to open. I didn't want to open my hands. To open my hands felt like the worse kind of vulnerability. Anything but that.
I tried to clench my fists and hide them near by chest and armpits
but a power overtook me and forced my arms to reach out to the dirt.
My hands spread open against my will and something ground my palms firmly into the dirt.

Over and over my open palms were compelled to feel the earth, to press into it. I shivered at the most vulnerable intrusion. It felt like my most vulnerable spot, my most intimate protective space was being pried open and accessed. And then Mother announced...


What happened next is indescribably intense. A massive discharge from above me passed into my body, down my arms, and out my hands into the earth. This was not mere sky lightning. This was energy from a source that empowered nature itself. My whole body felt electrified with a force that blew electricity away. It was soulular energy, life energy, nature's own energy. It made machine energy pale like a toy hand buzzer in comparison. 

The force of it was overwhelming. I gasped in a vain attempt to handle the load. I quivered and squirmed in the dirt and grass. It was the unstoppable force. It was source energy focused into a beam. It was using my body and hands to couple itself to the earth. I felt the discharge of it was powerful enough to be felt earthwide. This force went beyond the concept of power. There was no categorizing it. This was the ultimate authority. It simply was. 

the power of nature's source

The slamming intensity of it pinned me to the ground. My most vulnerable palms had not only been opened, not only been pressed into the moist earth, but they were being used as a conduit for the dominant might of spirit fire itself. There was something needed in forcing my vulnerability open. There was unknown intent in compelling me to move past such fierce feelings of violation. There was an area in the center of my palm, about the size of a quarter or fifty cent piece, that screamed out not to be touched, not to be used, not to be helplessly opened this way. As much as I didn't want it, as much as I thought I couldn't stand it, this force was going to burn that vulnerability, that reticence out of me. I felt how true power was not for analysis. It was for healing. 

I felt my vulnerability was somehow being healed. The stream of cosmic power-arcs flowing through me were not only blowing away my concept of machine power, it was handling something deeper in me, something that I kept even from myself. Why did I want to clench my fists and hide my hands from this force? Why did opening my hands feel like opening my underbelly to the wolves? Why was grinding that circle of vulnerability into the dirt so cathartic? Why did the massive discharge going through me feel like it was overpowering that spot with a deeper purpose? The more I was forced to grind my open palms into the dirt, the more the discharge connected me to the earth. The more I felt that connection to the earth, the more the vulnerability in my hands dissipated.

But I was having trouble catching my breath. My heart rate was maxing out. I gasped for air and thought my body wouldn't be able to take much more. With all my might I struggled to pull myself up onto hands and knees. I wanted to sit up and draw in deeper breaths, try to recover. The discharge from the sky eased off a bit and I managed to sit up. But I felt different. I was transforming. It was nothing like the transhuman machine transformation in the ceremony a week before. Instead of trillions of nanoparasites re-coding each of my cells, a more fundamental change was starting to take place. I felt it but couldn't describe it yet.

As I sat there, heaving air in and out of my lungs, I felt vestiges of the old vulnerability creeping back into my hands. Instinctively in protective mode, I started to clench my fists again. Once again I began to feel the urge to cross my arms and bury my clenched fists into my armpits for protection. As soon as I made a move to do that, I was convulsed forward with a discharge through me. I was thrown back down into the dirt. Again the power rushed through me. Again my hands were forced open. Against my will, my open palms pressed into the moist dirt with all my might. I twisted my hands back and forth with maximum force, grinding my palms down as if to push the earth away. Instead, the energy stream welded me to the earth. Like a single object, the energy, me, and the earth joined. With quivering intensity I felt the energy sear more of the vulnerability out of my hands.

energy through hands
The Machine Processes the Downloaded Energy

Overwhelmed and out of breath, I struggled back to a sitting position on the dirt. This time I even managed to climb up to a sitting position on the tile and concrete ledge above the dirt. But once I got there, I didn't think I could maintain myself. The energy had electrified every cell in my body. I felt light-headed. I felt like a 110 volt household circuit that just had the 765,000 volts of long distance transmission lines run through it. And worse of all, I felt echos of the vulnerability seeping back into my hands. I knew what that meant. I expected the power surge to hit me at any moment. Instead, a different kind of surge rippled through me. It was my transformation entering another phase of completion. The power of nature had another way of dispelling that vulnerability.

Mother Ayahuasca shouted out -

While still seated, the surge straightened my arms out and pointed them towards the ground. It continued to zap my arms and force my fists open. But when my fists opened, my fingers pointed down in an unusual cupped way. Then I felt a spirit join the energy burst rushing into me. I didn't know what it was but the spirit wanted to connect to the earth and use me to do it. 

I dropped to the dirt and found myself pressing my open palms as an energy burst shot through me. This time my legs and feet joined in for the first time, clawing at the ground. As the discharge continued, I finally got a sense of my transformation. The energy moving through me, animating my hands, arms, legs, and feet was all encompassing puma energy. I felt I was shape-shifting into a puma.

puma stare

As a puma, I could feel a complete connection to earth, without hesitation, without reservation, without any vulnerability in my hands. It was nature in its rawest, purest form, without reservations or machine-like vulnerabilities. There was no helplessness in my hands because I no longer had hands. I now possessed the large anchoring force of grounding puma paws. Where in the first ceremony I had transformed into the machine, now I experienced how the force of nature transformed me. In the first ceremony I felt what it was like to be an all-powerful machine. Now I was nature's puma and connected to the spirit and energy of creation itself. I was made to feel how there was nothing more all powerful and never could be.

puma headdress

As puma, I didn't need to go into the feeling of connecting to earth -- I WAS connected. I anchored my paws in the dirt with a fierce passion that was nothing less than the conscious expression of nature's energy. As puma, I wasn't feeling the energy of life go through me -- I WAS the energy of life. The oneness with nature's energy and the living earth spun my human mind and machine-like impulses out of conscious orbit. I was laying on the ground but my horizontal view suddenly appeared vertical. The human and machine in me clung to the sheer vertical face of the earth, desperate not to fall off, while the puma in me felt no disorientation.

hands rewired
Nature Processes the Downloaded Energy

It felt like being puma had rewired my hands. The way they processed energy was no longer machine-like, but natural. I felt a tremendous flow between sky and earth through me and my hands now felt a part of it instead of being an unwilling channel for it. Whatever was the deeply hidden source of my violation vulnerability had been burned out of me by the overpowering discharge and the feeling of becoming puma. I might never know what that was but Mother Ayahuasca had found it and ground it into the fertile dirt where a new spirit in me had sprung forth.

puma hands

I had convulsed on the ground for several hours as nature's energy zapped through me. Repeatedly I had struggled to my knees and a sitting position only to be slammed down again by the force of the discharges from above. In the last hour, it started to drizzle. That only made the pressing of my palms - my paws that much more earthy. But darkness was starting to fall. And where one lesson, one healing was ending, another was just beginning.

As I lay there stunned and blasted beyond the ability to cope, light faded. Night was but half an hour away and something was near me. To my horror I sensed the swirling presence I couldn't see was the same dark entity from a year and a half before. How could this be happening? There were no dark entities a week ago at the Ayahuasca ceremony. Why should they appear now? Was the prospect of night enough to coax them out of unresolved fear? I jumped up and sat on the edge of the hard concrete and tile walkway and repeated to myself forcefully -- They Exist and They Don't Exist!

I got up and walked closer to the back patio. I was too much in the medicine and the aftermath of what I had experienced to relate to other ceremony participants but I desperately needed to get away from the dark entities. I wound up sitting on the patio and someone thoughtfully brought me hot tea and then a bowl of fruit salad. I thought the combination might help ground me to the moment and bring proper perspective back but instead, it seemed only to provide a "bump" to revitalize my deepening experience with the medicine. My wife, who hadn't taken any medicine, appeared on the patio to see how I was doing. I asked her to hold my hand - I needed to connect with love.

It was night now and I laid down on a mat on the edge of the patio until Squiggles the dog came to get me up. Squiggles seems to have an uncanny connection to the medicine, having taken it several times herself. She seems to be the messenger of San Pedro at times, getting you up or interrupting a difficult moment when you most need it.

I got up and walked more into darkness behind the patio. I wanted to see the sky, perhaps see the Pink Full Moon, but clouds were obscuring everything. I had the impulse to walk farther back into the darkness and I started that way but then something held me back, warning me not to go. I shifted my stroll to another section of the backyard. At one point I was faced with a small stone stairway leading up to who knows where. Once again I had an impulse to climb the stairs to see a different vantage point. I got halfway up the stairs when once again something held me back, warning me not to go. 

don't go that way

For the next hour, Mother Ayahuasca played with my head. I thought I had dealt with the dark entities and reasoned my way into not fearing them, but then why wouldn't I go into the dark or climb the stairs? She wound a complex thread, showing me where me as the machine ended up. Where was the ultimate outlet for me as the machine -- who would I become? She shot me into the maloca a year and a half ago and transformed me into one of the dark entities. That was my machine. They were right when they said - You created this!

Then she wove a complex tale on how the dark and light came from the same energy, two sides of the same coin. She explained how as soon as we made anything sacred, we automatically created the profane. The more we sanctified something, the greater the abominations we created out of it. It was the great game, the grand play in which we all had a part. But behind the scenes, the good guy and bad guy were friends and laughed at how well they appeared as opposites. 

She even went so far as to say the energy of the machine and the energy of nature stemmed from the same source. They were merely directed at different purposes. She went too far when she suggested that the "power of nature" I felt go through me today was the same energy of the dark entities, the same force that energized the machine. Energy was energy - there was only one energy.

I couldn't accept this. I had felt something completely authentic and good, something powerfully spiritual just a little earlier. That same power of life and love in no way could also power the machine and the dark entities. That couldn't be! When she had me at the critical moment of despair, she revealed her design in taking me down this path --




All the plots of the heart's story
The Heart Complicated by Stories

And so, the last hour with Mother Ayahuasca was role-playing a deepening drama of despairing proportions. No matter what you figured out about the drama, the nature of the story of here and now, of us and them, of good and bad, of dark and light, the drama of the dualism could never be fathomed. You could always reveal more twists and turns, more complications, more terrifying reversals. In the drama was endless intrigue, endless complicity and double-crossing reveals. It was the nature of the story. It couldn't be anything but drama. And drama had to keep the game going forever.

But being the puma had shown me true oneness with nature, with creative power, with the unambiguous passion of the heart. There was strength in that. There was hope in that. There was the source of love in that. And none of it required a story to figure out. There was nothing to analyze about unconditional love. When one arrived at being the energy that sourced them and nothing more, there was peace and contentment of spirit.


puma in the wild

Late that night the clouds thinned and the Pink Full Moon came out in all its glory. Many of us went outside to lie down and watch it. I laid down, facing the sky and witnessed the hypnotic dance of light and gossamer clouds. In my stunned state, it was a soothing meditation.

For the rest of that night and two days afterwards I remained in a daze.
First there was the physical effects to recover from -- I was alternately sore and numb, fatigued and exhilarated beyond a capacity to react. My hands and arms felt different. Then there was the mental effects of taking it all in, trying to process what had happened. Most of all, the emotional effects staggered, astounded, and bewildered me. 

What vulnerability had been burned out of me? What did I feel about the many stories we tell ourselves about life now? How could I ever fully integrate the feeling of puma within me? Did I even need to try? It felt as if the transformation had happened. Unlike the shadow transhuman transformation into the machine in the first ceremony, the natural energy of the puma transformation this time had imprinted on my spirit and so it would remain.

I had never expected an overwhelming Ayahuasca experience from a San Pedro ceremony. At times, I never expected to survive and if I did, I wouldn't be the same. The "not the same" part came true. As far as the rest of it, I don't think of that now -- it's nothing but drama.

puma eyes

Here's some interesting information about PUMA:

Puma: (n) A lion (Puma concolor), also mountain lion, cougar, or panther, is a mammal of the Felidae family, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the puma is found in every major New World habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar, and the fourth heaviest in the world, after the tiger, lion, and jaguar, although it is most closely related to smaller felines. A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the puma pursues a wide variety of prey. It prefers habitats with dense underbrush for stalking, but it can live in open areas. The puma is territorial and persists at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. With its vast range, the cougar has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and in contemporary culture. WIKI (2) An archetype of the Kaypacha. (See, Puma Runa.) IGMP The puma is sometimes interchanged in this mythology with the jaguar, although the two species have different habitat preferences. For example, Cusco is sometimes called the Jaguar City, although a section of the city is named the Pumap Chupan, or Tail of the Puma. (See, Appendix D for map.) Some teachers of Inca shamanism use the jaguar as the archetype of the Kaypacha. PGO The master of the kaypacha who can survive from the coastal deserts to the highest mountains; a symbol of the impeccable use of the mind as an enlightened, sun-oriented principle; a symbol of right action, the perfect physical body aligned to use in the kaypacha.

Kaypacha: (n) (1) This world. (2) The current age; present era. (3) The world of material consciousness. (4) The middle world, filled with both heavy and refined living energies, typically symbolized by the puma; this physical world. RS Our world is a manifestation of another reality that exists in the Cosmos. This is the place where we remember who we are. (See, taripay pacha.) The Kaypacha is interconnected with the different worlds of vibration and energy. We are here to experience, not to judge. This is the world of the puma. Different realities exist within this middle world of experience. IGMP In the highlands of Ecuador, the Kaypacha and Ukhupacha are regarded as mirror images. ACES It was here, on the surface of the Earth, that the sun's light and the damp soil created an environment in which the implanted seed could grow. It was here that the encounter between male and female engendered a new generation. It was here also that forasteros (outsiders) and natives met and confronted the changes produced by their meeting. This encounter was called tinku, the dialectical and generative power of creation. Here the dialectical forces come together (sometimes violently) to create new life, biological as well as social. GOL The Quechua word kay means to be, to exist, and this. It is the world we are born into, having a linear space/time quality to its lessons and is the collective, multi-sensorial experience of humanity. It also includes realms that exist beyond these ordinary states, containing both seen and unseen sources of guidance for shaping our world. Inhabitants, both seen and unseen, are always present to instruct us in learning how to interpret Spirit in the form of underlying symbolism and universal patterns. PSPM This world, the realm of consensus reality; rather than being simply the material world, the kaypacha is physical reality and how we perceive it and also includes many unseen spiritual forces that reside here with us (for example, the awkikuna, mallkikuna, etc.); presided over by the Puma and Otorongo, who are the masters of operating in this world; associated attribute is llank'ay, or sacred industriousness. ANON1

The multiple levels and visionary experiences of this highly animated cosmos seem to have been created in order to initiate individuals into a reality that mirrors their own divinity. The kaypacha is a supreme opportunity for the soul to learn about itself, others, the universe, and the creative source/force that speaks through them. The kaypacha has also been referred to as the realm of humanity's hypnotic slumber and the domain of the otorongo achachi, or grandfather jaguar, and choquechinchay, or puma. PSPM 

Puma Runa: (n) (1) A shaman dedicated to ceremonies associated with the puma. The puma is shy but fearless, fleet and fast, secretive, and as animals of the night, hard to see. According to Andean belief, a shaman has similar characteristics. ACAI (See, Awakening the Puma. (2) There are a lot of these Puma People coming to Earth at this time, coming with the new Pachacuti. The puma is a warrior. The puma has balance. The puma has purpose. The Puma Runa have these same qualities in their spiritual quest as they experience all the worlds and their realities. A potential puma lives in every person. The puma walks alone, so part of our spiritual journey is alone. Only you can bring the heavy energies from inside of you. The great teaching of the puma is that it is the animal with the least ego, never seeking to be seen. You don't see the puma, only where it has been. IGMP (See, luminous warrior.)

Taripay Pacha: (n) Literally, the Age of Meeting Ourselves Again in the Inca prophecies when humanity will have the chance to consciously evolve in an era of harmony. KOAK In Andean Prophecy this word refers to a new golden era in the human experience. It heralds a coming together again of the Andean people, and the recreation of a new and better Inca Empire. QNO A Quechua saying that means time to find yourself. This time is now. IGMP Alternately translated as the age of re-encounter, encounter of the universe, or encounter of oneself; refers to a prophesized golden age of human experience in which we encounter ourselves once more as being one with the universe and thereby re-create the dream of the Inka Empire in a new and better way (See, the words which begin with tari above and below this term, which may serve to “de-Catholicize” the concepts contained in taripay pacha so the traditional meaning is clearer. -- Patt)

ukhu: (adj) Deep inside. QP (n) (1) Inner part; room (as in a house). RS (2) The within, the interior or the depths of both self and cosmos. ANON1

Ukhupacha, Uhupacha, Ukhu Pacha, Hurin Pacha: (n) Literally, inner world. Primarily thought of as the abode of the overturned order of the past and all things hurin. CSCR The lower world or underworld, the place of intuition, dreams and the subconscious. AVO The underworld which lies in the center of the earth. It is a cold and dark place, where the souls of the damned are eternally hungry. WPO Underworld; underground world; interior world; lower world; unconscious; inside of the planet; the world within, traditionally symbolized by the serpent; Hell (meaning after Christianization). RS In the highlands of Ecuador, the Kaypacha and Ukhupacha are regarded as mirror images. ACES Underworld or inner world of the dead and of seeds, both of which are referred to by the term mallqui. WOFW One must journey here in order for maturity and growth to take place, bringing aspects of the shadow into conscious awareness.  It is the place where (ayni) sacred reciprocity has not yet been realized. PSPM The inner realm, perhaps loosely parallel to the collective unconscious of Jung; the interior, personal realm of one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions; the understanding that one's own inner experience is reflected into a universal realm or the inner experience of us all; the master of the Ukhu Pacha is Amaru, the serpent, who teaches Yachay, the wisdom of having met oneself. ANON1 (See, ukhu, Ayar Ukhu.)