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A guide to safely working with visionary plants, psychedelic medicines and life in general

Before you even think about it

Why am I doing this?

Before you consider working with visionary plants or other psychedelic medicines it is helpful to ask yourself why you want to do so. Your purpose for using a plant or substance is very important for the outcome and you will want to create an environment for your experience that matches your purpose.

I have identified four reasons for using substances, but there are certainly many more.

Recreational use
Many use plants or substances simply to have fun and explore. They take it at a party or for an adventure with friends. The altered states that psychedelics provide are often very pleasant and uplifting, and at the same time often feel very meaningful. Some plants and substances fit well in a social context, while others do not.

Medicinal use
Visionary plants and psychedelics are powerful tools for healing emotionally and mentally, but sometimes also physically. They often bring clarity to the situation and give tools, which is a starting point for working with one’s self-healing. It is also common for them to lower mental barriers or defences you might have towards dealing with a situation. This makes them powerful tools for deep therapeutic work where breakthrough experiences are common, but working in that way takes courage, safety and it is advisable to have an experienced person by your side.

Spiritual use
Visionary plants have been used in spiritual practice for many thousands of years and all over the globe. The plants themselves have spirits that communicate with us and are often respectfully referred to as teachers. Working from a spiritual understanding opens up possibilities to such things as being in contact with the spirit world, receiving messages from the other side or other entities, extracting intruding entities, working with past life issues, and so on. Here it is equally important to have courage, work in a safe environment and to have an experienced person by your side. For someone who works with visionary plants and psychedelics at this level there is often no strict division between medicinal use and spiritual use, since the spiritual work has healing effects.

AbUse
Abuse is important to be aware about, but it is uncommon that people abuse visionary plants or certain psychedelics. They are well renowned for being anti-addictive and often break abusive cycles, which make them excellent for treating and even curing addiction.

Am I ready?

Meditating by Take Back Your Health on Flickr.
Meditating by Take Back Your Health on Flickr.

Why are you considering visionary plants or psychedelic medicines? Many who consciously seek such paths feel stuck in one way or another. They come looking for healing and insight and a way to get unstuck. In some cases people are so intrigued by the medicine that they forget to ask themselves if they actually need it. They can often do more good for themselves by simple means of working out, eating healthier, taking up a meditation practice, doing yoga, making other life style choices and such.

Visionary plants and psychedelics are very powerful tools for working with personal and spiritual development and should be treated with respect. They should not be confused with drugs. To work with visionary plants or psychedelics you need to be mentally prepared to meet whatever comes up. If you know that you are not prepared to see and work through that which you have stored away sub-consciously, you should definitely not use these tools.

If you on the other hand are committed to healing and growing and want to gain access to knowledge so that you can help yourself, then visionary plants and psychedelics might be the closest thing to a miracle that you can find.

Medical background

There might be medical reasons for you not to use certain plants or substances. Check reliable sources for what might be relevant to you. Your shaman, guide or therapist should be able to help you out. In countries where such medicines are legal it might also be good also to ask your medical doctor.

It is not uncommon to be asked to hold a diet or do other lifestyle changes before or after working with visionary plants and psychedelics. If you do a one day fast before it is mainly to prepare your body and make the effect more powerful, but if you are asked to do a longer diet the diet is often also part of your healing.

It should be noted that the most popular visionary plants and psychedelic medicines are physically very safe to work with. Practically nobody dies from them. The potential risks are rather at the mental level, where people who are not willing to change can have very challenging and even terrifying experiences. The problem in that case is not the medicine, but the person’s unwillingness to work with what comes up. Such risks are greatly reduced when working under guidance with a therapeutic or spiritual intention.

There is a general caution when it comes to people who suffer from severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia. The fear is that the plants or substances might trigger the person to become even more sick. There are however other ways of understanding those illnesses. If the illness for example actually is a parasitic energy attached to the person, then visionary plants can be ideal to work with under the guidance of a shaman or such.

Preparation

Intention

81078079The clearer your intention, the easier it will often be for you to find answers, simply because it will focus you in that direction. Some intentions are very precise, such as finding the answer to a specific question. Other intentions can be very broad, but still not vague. Saying “Give me what I need and the strength to handle it” for example.

The mere fact that you are setting a conscious intention sends out the signal that you are open for receiving and working with yourself, which will make it easier to receive and work with yourself. Not setting an intention sends out an unconscious garbled signal possibly inviting things that you are not ready to work with.

I do however have the feeling that the plants consciously don’t give me what I want, but what I need. If my intention is in line with what is best for me, then the answers will be very clear. If my intentions are off, then they won’t be answered. If that happens it is important to be open to listen for what is really best for me.

Promise to yourself

One part to the intention and mental preparation that I find most helpful is to consciously and solemnly promise yourself to deal with whatever comes up. However challenging, hard or nasty it is, you will be courageous, face it and work through it. Having promised yourself to do so, you will be less likely to try to avoid unpleasant challenges, and meeting them head on you will surely solve them.

Set & setting

The concept of set and setting is a great tool for understanding some of the basic steps that lead you to have a certain experience.

Set, as in mindset
Where are you mentally and emotionally right now? What is going on inside you? What is going on in your life? Your experience will in one way or another reflect what is going on with you and what you need in life right now. To be safe you should be in a mindset where you are prepared and capable to handle the challenges you face.

Someone who is unstable and unwilling to face themselves and make changes in their life should not take visionary plants or psychedelics. If one for example uncovers disturbing hidden memories and then tries to suppress them again, there is a risk of re-traumatizing oneself. The same mechanism that can make it a miracle plant or substance for some, can make it a hellish nightmare for others. When we use visionary plants and psychedelics we often delve into the subconscious and find new things to bring to the conscious level. From the conscious level we can then begin working with it in order to heal and grow. One needs to be ready to take that ride.

Setting
Is simply the surroundings. Who are you with? Where are you? Do you feel safe? My best experiences have been by myself, with one other person or with a small group of friends that I like and feel safe with. It has always been understood that we take care of each other if anything happens. And above all, they have taken place in nature.

In your mind, place yourself in different places and with different people and feel the vibe of them and how well that reflects what you want to accomplish. A garden. A national park. In a cabin by a lake. In an art studio. At a rave party. In a pub. In a hospital. In a car. On a boat. In a ceremony. With a shaman. With friends. With bullies. With drunks. With your parents. In a messy dorm room. On a tropical beach. In a hut in the rainforest.

There are so many variations and some of them are obviously bad. Make yours good. Reports of bad trips almost always begin with the person not knowing about or ignoring to create the right set and setting.

Navigating the psychedelic experience

Go with the flow

Winter Walk by jimmy brown on Flickr.
Winter Walk by jimmy brown on Flickr.

The very best way to meet that which is challenging or even frightening is by accepting and diving right into it. Meet your fears head on by accepting and working through that which scares you. When you do so you will eventually resolve whatever is bothering you and come out on the other side, wiser and free of it. As long as you try to avoid whatever it is you will still in some way be trapped by it. Distracting yourself won’t solve your problem, but only add stress to it.

Unfortunately many are so used to avoiding discomfort that it seems counter-intuitive to face what is troubling you. Instead of meeting the discomfort it is common now-a-days to put a lid on things, distract ourselves or even sedate ourselves. That attitude can be very harmful when we work with plants or psychedelics, since they work in the opposite direction by raising our awareness and pointing us to the real issue.

While there are those who warn people to get in contact with their subconscious, that is the whole point of the exercise with visionary plants and psychedelics. So when you are faced by something, however awful it might seem, your best response is to accept it and go with the flow. Work through it and come out on the other side.

Acceptance is an important step

The first step in working with change is to bring awareness to the situation. We need to become aware that change is needed, but to be able to change we also need to accept how things are right now. It doesn’t mean that we need to approve of how things are, be ok with them, or anything like it. It just means that you need to accept the current situation as it really is in order to change it. Otherwise your actions will at best be misdirected, and at worst harmful for your growth.

Being aware and having accepted what is leads you on to be able to work with your change. The actual change might be quick like turning on a switch, or it might take much hard work. When you have worked through it all it is important also to acknowledge it by being grateful. Those who forget to be grateful often forget what they have to be grateful for.

Although the emphasis here was on acceptance, these four steps together form a very simple, yet powerful method of personal development.

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Change
  4. Thankfulness

One major aspect of plant teachers and psychedelics is to help us in that process. They help us bring awareness and often also show us how we need to change, but for the healing and growing to take place we need to accept how things are and put in the necessary work to change ourselves.

Changing the variables of setting

When you feel bad during a journey it can be because you actually have something that you need to deal with. In that case, accept it and dive right in. There are however times when people feel bad without being able to locate why. When the discomfort isn’t caused by something internal, it is caused by something external. When it is external simple changes in your environment can very quickly make you feel better. You can for example try this:

  • change your body position
  • look at your bodily needs. Do you need to go to the bathroom, drink something or are you hot/cold?
  • change the music, turn it off/on
  • change the lighting
  • change what you’re doing
  • change rooms or go outside/inside
  • change company

Any one of these variables and many more like them can affect your wellbeing without you even noticing it. By deliberately changing them you can figure out where the problem lies. The setting you have chosen has its own map of possibilities that can be changed to change the way you feel, for good and bad.

Change is the only constant

Nothing lasts forever. The effects of the plant or substance that you have taken will eventually fade away. Whatever you are experiencing right now will soon be no more than a memory. This can be comforting to remember when things are especially challenging. If someone is having a hard time and needs comforting, remind them that this too will pass.

Emergency landing

You should plan your journey so that this information is never needed, but if you really need to land from the experience you should eat. We raise our vibration when we work with visionary plants and psychedelics, so by eating we lower ourselves again. Food is earth and helps you find roots, but it can be quite a challenge to eat in that state since even a watermelon might taste like soil. Eating to land is a safe and natural way of landing, but it takes time and you will still feel some effects. It is also possible to cut the energy of some plants with lemon or chilli. I would definitely not recommend alcohol or other drugs or medicines to come down.

Calling the police/ambulance

A few people get the knee-jerk reaction to call the police if things get scary. In most cases it is a really bad idea to ask help from the police, since they really have no idea what they are dealing with. Their training does not include how to take care of tripping people and that insensitivity can be quite disrupting or even traumatizing. But of course, if there is a real emergency where the police or ambulance is needed – call them.

A spiritual perspective

The well known Mexican mushroom shaman Maria Sabina.
The well known Mexican mushroom shaman Maria Sabina.

The traditions that have worked with these visionary plants for many millennia are spiritual. They take into account such things as other realities, spirits, intrusive energies and past lives. The plants themselves are entities that can be communicated with and they are often honourably referred to as teachers. The plant teachers are naturally occurring and among others include San Pedro, Peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and Ayahuasca. These all have powerful entities connected to them who often heal and teach us things.

Chemical substances such as LSD do not have entities attached to them. LSD can give many of the same effects by unleashing the persons own potential, but without the support of a plant entity, what comes out of it is left up to the person who has taken the substance.

These traditions also work with the understanding that people have an energetic body where blockages can lead to physical illness later on.

Respecting the substance and yourself

If one understands that the plants are actually powerful entities who help us work with ourselves, it goes without saying that one should meet them in a respectful manner. In traditional settings that is reflected in the ceremony, but respectful should not be confused with tradition or ceremony. Being respectful means being of good intention, willing to better yourself and treating the plant as the teacher and helper that it is. Respectful is making the effort to integrate the insights you have gained. Respect can be seen in how we prepare ourselves for meeting the plant, in what setting we choose, what clothes we wear and how we treat and help those we journey with.

There are certainly many ways of being disrespectful, but some of the more common are using the plant as a drug, using it with bad intentions and mixing it with other plants or substances. If you want to mix the plant with something else, then first ask its permission.

Navigating alternative realities

Visionary plants and psychedelics open doors to realities that are often hidden to us. To put it plainly – there are such things as spirits, angels and demons. Many sicknesses, especially mental ones, are actually caused by parasitic energies.

Some people have a natural instinct on to how to handle other realities, while others can feel very lost and vulnerable. If you have no knowledge of how to navigate such realities it is good to have a guide who does.

As so often it is really only fear itself that you have to worry about. If you feel that you need protection, then you should absolutely call it in. If you feel that you don’t need protection, then most likely you are fine without it.

Integrate the experience, live the insight

Plants and substances are tools that will show you what you are doing wrong and what you need to do in order to get un-stuck, heal and so on. They will usually not heal you, but will rather leave that work for you to do. What you do following the ceremony is therefore of utmost importance. To heal you need to properly integrate and live the insights that you have found. As long as you do so you are still on your way.

If you on the other hand go back home and don’t bother taking care of the insights you have gained, then you will quickly find yourself in the same misery again. It might even be worse, because you have become conscious about what you should do. In that case you stagnate and stand still. A person who comes back for the same answers over and over is probably not genuinely interested in evolving, but is rather seeking thrills. If you come back for the same answers you will soon find that the plants get fed up with you, in the same way that any therapist would if you kept coming back with the exact same issue. If they do get angry with you, your journeys will rapidly become increasingly uncomfortable.

Some people are very able to work with themselves after the experience, while others need the support of others. When doing such journeying with friends one has a support group in each other, but if one takes help of a shaman or therapist for the experience it isn’t always obvious where you can get the support you need afterwards.

To make positive changes in your life you need to focus on integration. If it is all about the experience and not about the integration, you will find yourself going nowhere.

How all of this applies to life in general

If you take a step back and exclude all plants and substances from this text you will notice that most of what I have written is applicable to life in general. Let me take a few examples.

Setting
Depressed people often unconsciously program themselves to be miserable. Everything around them is carefully rigged to keep their mood down. They are in a setting which is poison to them. If they applied the same technique of changing variables in their surroundings they could often solve their situation without medication. But instead of changing the music, changing clothes, relationships or jobs, many people medicate themselves. By doing so they are in many cases actually sedating themselves in order to continue functioning in an environment that is harmful to them.

Go with the flow
Our society is obsessed with avoiding the uncomfortable, at the cost of never actually solving it. Instead of facing the discomfort we sedate or distract ourselves from problems. If people in general were given the tools and courage to face their pain, sorrow, shame, anxiety and whatever else is bothering them, we would see far more healing at the mental and emotional level than doctors, therapist, shamans and medications can ever hope to give us.

Integration is the key
People are full of bright ideas and answers, but they are all quite pointless if you do not let them live. Insights that aren’t translated into action are only insights in theory. For them to have importance in your life you must do something with them.

A last note

b0397bda0b639548ff44316fb4e1f456Much of this text deals with the issue of challenging experiences with visionary plants and psychedelics, but I need to add that most of my experiences with psychedelic medicine have been joyful, marvellous, beautiful and eye-opening. There is so much love and wonder and I function so much better because of my experiences. So even if I believe in being prepared for challenges, leave the door wide open for your journey to be something totally other than challenging, because most of the time it will be.

Main picture: part of the painting Person Planet by Alex Grey

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Eating consciously

I have grown up with very good and tasty food, so my experience of food has been pleasurable and filled with satisfaction. Even so I find that the experience of eating is tremendously heightened when I do so consciously. For me it is meditation practice and I have borrowed some parts from yoga.

Preparing the food

I haven’t done this part as much as the rest, but it follows the same principles as much else. The very best food you can eat is what you have grown yourself. After that comes what friends have grown and way down the ladder of good food is the mass produced stuff you find at the supermarket.

The more aware one is when cooking the food, the better it will be. One way of doing so is by blessing the moment of making this food and then being free of distractions. Simply taking the time to make food and nothing else. Turning off the computer, phone, tv, stereo and radio goes far.

A friend once sent me a picture of his chopped vegetables, all in the shape of hearts. I think that is a wonderful way of charging the food with love.

Eating

Blessing the food. I look at the food, identify each ingredient and am thankful for it and also say my intention. “Here is the potato. I got this from my friend who is so good at gardening. It is really a wonderful place they have grown in and they have done so without any pesticides. Thank you so much for this potato. It will give me energy to write this afternoon.”

There are of course infinite ways to bless the food and it is up to you to find your way of honouring the food, yourself and the world around you. However you do it, it sends out gratitude and sets the stage for eating.

Smell the food. Many of us are far too focused on listening and seeing when we eat, because we distract ourselves from the eating by talking or watching something. Seeing is part of the experience of eating. Taste is a given, but smell is also an important part of tasting. And then there is the sense of touch, as in when we handle the food or taste its texture and consistency.

I begin by simply smelling the plate of food and trying to distinguish the different ingredients and by doing so I consciously open up the experience to more senses. It also sends a signal to the stomach that it is time to eat.

Eating in silence. As I mentioned many of us talk far too much during a meal to actually appreciate it fully. Some of my most delicious meals have been while doing a silent meditation retreat. Although the meals were very blend the tastes really popped out.

Eating slowly. When we chew our food properly we make it easier for our body to take full advantage of the food. When we eat consciously we direct our body to do so. Eating slowly also gives us time to fully appreciate the flavours, smells and consistency of the food.

The burp. When we eat slowly and consciously we will notice a small burp after a while. That is a signal to stop eating. We generally need much less food when we eat consciously and many of us are overeating anyway, so for many that burp comes surprisingly early. Try it out and see how it feels for you to listen for that burp. This tip I picked up from Natha Yoga.

Doing the dishes. Clean up afterward and do the dishes, so that the experience of eating is gracefully closed.

Photo: Green organic sprouts growth by Pawel Pacholec on Flickr

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Naysha: How can you know if Ayahuasca is for you?

Before attending a ceremony it is important to have good information about what are you getting into, especially if you don’t have any experience with visionary plants. Ayahuasca is a tool for opening, cleaning, healing, transforming, diagnosing, revealing and learning. There are several such tools, so how can you know if Ayahuasca is the right tool for you? Ayahuasca is not a magic wand that will solve all your problems. It is very important that you have that understanding in advance so that you are not disappointed with what you get. The plants and the spirit world give you what you need, not what you want.

There are certain things to consider before attending a ceremony.

1. Do you qualify medically to be part of an Ayahuasca ceremony?

If you are taking medication like antidepressants, sleeping pills, antibiotics, or drugs like cocaine, heroin etc. it can be mortal in combination with Ayahuasca, not because of the Ayahuasca itself, but because these substances don’t go together. It’s important that you consult your doctor so that you know how much time your body needs to be free of these chemicals in your blood. There are certain medications that you can avoid 48 hours before a ceremony, but it’s important you check. Chronic heart problems, hepatic and immune system problems should also be considered.

2. Are you mentally ready?

Ayahuasca is not something to mess around with. It is not a recreational drug. It is a strong spirit that will open your perception to the reality. Such information can be difficult to handle for some people – it can blow your mind. It’s very important that you do a ceremony with somebody that has experience working with this plant, like a shaman. If you have mental disorders it is important that you let the person in charge of the ceremony know, because depending on your problem the shaman can better know if Ayahuasca can help you or not. In my opinion people experience mental disorders because:

  • They are too open and and sensitive to everything around then. What they need is to balance the channel or connection again. Shamans for example have learnt how to work with the channel, when to open and when to close it. If you have a mental disorder of this kind Ayahuasca might help, but I haven’t tried it. There are other plants that can help before taking the step of going for an Ayahuasca ceremony. I would personally rather do a ceremony without the person taking the Ayahuasca, just to diagnose the situation and understand how it can be fixed. Most people with mental disorders have an imbalance in the substances in the brain. They have too much or too little, but these substances can be found in nature. Remember that most medications come from plants, some come from animals and some from minerals. Plants help us recover the balance in all senses, physically, mentally and emotionally, because they live in harmony. They are truly connected.
  • Possession. This might sound strange, but in native cultures it is a common belief that people can be possessed by entities of different kinds, because we are living and interacting with different dimensions. This 3D dimension is not the only one. Ayahuasca shows us this. Certain kinds of depressions can be caused by these entities and there are different kinds. There are the ones with a purpose – they don’t manifest or show themselves so much, but they are sucking your vital energy. Their mission is to stop you from your mission in life. They can enter at the moment of birth and it is often easier these days because of all the anesthetics that are used. The well known psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Brian Weiss, who is specialized in regression, has explained that it is at the moment of birth that the soul and the body are truly unified. If the soul is entering a sleepy body under anesthesia, the soul won’t be fully aware about other energies lurking there.

Traumatic situations can also allow entities to enter us, because in traumatic situations you are very vulnerable and open. If you are unlucky you are in the wrong place when you are traumatized and such energies can latch onto you. Other entities can also enter when people play with things they don’t understand, such as Ouija or by taking plants like Ayahuasca without guidance. When you take such plants you open different portals. That is why the shaman does diets as part of their training, because with the diets they get spirit allies or friends that help them in ceremonies. A shaman also learns how to create a safe space and how to hold a ceremony. Most shamans say that taking Ayahuasca without guidance is like going for a swim without knowing how to.

3. Have you tried other tools?

Before attending a ceremony, make sure that your problem can’t be solved in another way. Meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle choices can help. Remember that you have all the potential to change your life within yourself. The plants help us when we had tried, but can’t change or heal because our blocks are so big. If you feel that you have big blocks that do not allow you to feel or to open yourself to embrace change, then Ayahuasca is something that will really help you. But it is important that you are fully aware that one single ceremony won’t be enough. Sometimes people do not feel or experience anything in the first ceremony, because the first ceremonies are mainly for purging and cleansing the body. It is very important that you do a diet before attending a ceremony, because this will help you clean your body a lot so that the Ayahuasca can work better.

You should also understand that Ayahuasca can help with certain problems, but not all. If the problems you are experiencing in your life come from emotional sources, then ceremonies will help you for sure. But if you want to heal a disease, then you need to take other plants. In that case Ayahuasca can be used to see what the root of the problem is, but because the problem has already manifest physically causing a disease, you will need to diet with other plants. You will also need time to heal. The shaman will know what other plants to do diets with, because in ceremony the spirit of the plants will let him/her know what help is needed.

4. Do you want to learn?

Ayahuasca is definitely a great source of information. It is how shamans manage to know about the healing properties of several plants, because Ayahuasca is a translator for other plants. I call it the Google of the spirits. Ayahuasca has learnt how to communicate with humans. She is the consciousness of the forest talking to us clearly.

Shamans learn about the healing properties of plants trough diets and ceremonies. In the diets the shamans connect with the spirit of the plant and in the ceremonies the plants show the shaman, much in the same way as having a conversation. They look like people, but different, and depending on which part of the plant you want to learn from the spirit appears different. Flowers are always shown as children and it is because they have the highest energy vibration. Roots and barks are shown as adults. They have skin colours and dress themselves with the plants. Chuchuwasa and tobacco spirit, for example, are black and can appear in a female or male energy. Plants have both energy inside, but sometimes one is stronger than the other. Usually the tobacco spirit shows as a black woman or an old man. In some traditions the stories about the first humans explain that they came from a tree and it was a woman. This can explain why the spirits of plants look like humans.

If we are conscious that we are all one, then we can understand that we can experience incarnation as plants, animals, humans and others things during our earth process, since everything that exists has a consciousness.

Ayahuasca help us make our unconscious conscious and through this process we can see, we become observers and thus can find the roots of our problems. With Ayahuasca you will experience death, a small spiritual death where your fears, your ego, your habits and your attachments must disappear so that you can be to reborn again as pure and clean as when you came the first time. Death in this sense only means transformation.

Taking Ayahuasca is a ceremony which begins with the preparation of the Ayahuasca. There are many details that people must know in order to achieve all the benefits of these plants. What do you know about Ayahuasca ceremonies? What you know about ikaros and diets? When the ceremony starts and the shaman starts singing the ikaros, the purging (vomiting) begins and after that come the visions. Visions of your light and your darkness. You will meet your fears, desires and wishes. If you want to grow, to evolve, you must confront them and accept the consequences.

Are you ready?

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: To Reiterate There Needs to be Artists to Remind Kids that the Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst World is Fucking Bullshit by Surian Soosay on Flickr

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My theory about Asperger’s syndrome

More and more people are being diagnosed with high-functioning autism aka Asperger’s syndrome. Some might see such a diagnosis as a confirmation that something is wrong. After meeting my fair share of people with Asperger’s I however doubt that they are actually the problem. I think it might be the rest of us that are falling behind.

Let me take some examples.

One trait that seems to me to be characteristic of Asperger’s is that you tend to speak the truth and stand by what you know is right. That is obviously quite problematic if the rest of us are used to manipulating and telling the occasional lie. But who is really the problem in this situation?

Another distinctive feature is that people with Asperger’s often have a special interest that they become somewhat obsessed with. That becomes a problem if one is expected to be a generalist who knows a little about a many things. But is the problem really that too many of us are experts? Or are perhaps too many of us talking too much about things we actually know nothing about?

People with Asperger’s often need to consciously learn behaviors and reactions in social situations.
“Now he raised his eyebrows in that way, which usually means that he is skeptical about what I said. An appropriate response to that is that I … ”
The rest of us do much of that subconsciously. We react to stimuli automatically. It can be a gift not to have to think about such things all the time, but is it really?

The rest of us often react to stimuli that we have not consciously perceived and provide a response that we are unaware of giving. We stored that response a long time ago, and many times it is not up to par. In the worst case scenario we continuously and unconsciously play back unsuitable responses without ever understanding that they are automated in us.

What is really more problematic? Is it to be unaware of one’s reactions, or is it having to deal with social interaction at the conscious level, which opens the possibility to consciously adjust reactions based on what you learn?

We often forget that we live in an ongoing evolutionary process. Since changes take place in a reasonably manageable pace we imagine that things on the whole will remain as they are now. We imagine that what is considered normal today will always be regarded as such. That is obviously wrong. Much of what is considered normal today will be regarded as completely backward tomorrow.

It must be quite tricky to have Asperger’s when everyone else is behaving in the backward manner that the rest of us often do. Then it may be worthwhile to consider who is really the issue. If those with Asperger’s are on the next evolutionary step, the rest of us could be the problematic evolutionary laggards.

Photo: Just let it be by Brigitte goes RAWR!!! on Flickr

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Structures vs The power within

Once upon a time I saw oppressive structures everywhere. I felt restricted, bullied and forced. By chance that feeling fit very well with my life as an alcoholic, which I lived back then. As an alcoholic it was always very convenient to have someone else to blame for my shortcomings and failures. I was angry and it was nice to know that it was someone else’s fault that I had no job, felt bad about myself or simply didn’t get things done. When I studied at university, I was a strong supporter of all theories that confirmed what I believed – that it was someone else’s fault.

Then came my awakening which made me stop drinking from one day to the next. The essence of that awakening was that everything begins within me. The ultimate power over my life lies in me and it is up to me to create that life. With that understanding I chose to remodel my life. I freed myself from alcohol abuse and began a journey of personal and spiritual development. I chose to heal and grow. Every single step on that path was taken with the conscious knowledge that I create my own life.

The past few months have not been comfortable for me. I have gone back to university and now I have once again been drowned in theories about the structures that oppress and bind us, but this time they feel like a lower vibration. Of course, I understand that there are actual oppressive structures, but it has also become clear to me that many, if not most, who embrace such theories ultimately do so to be angry, to have someone to blame or to be able to rest in their victim role. Even I started searching for ways that I am a victim and I managed so well that I soon understood how I was the most oppressed person in the room.

But there was something gigantic and for me very important missing – that which enables personal growth and recovery. Low feelings of oppression, anger and victimhood can certainly be channeled into action, but for many they mostly seem to be paralyzing. And let me clarify this and say that I do not see, for example, going to a demonstration or rally as an active action. In order to develop as a person or to heal, such seemingly active actions can on the contrary be very passive and even dulling, since they do not force us to question our roles or assumptions.

All this was very uncomfortable to me, because on the one hand I realize that there is a truth to this with structures, but on the other hand I know even stronger that all power in my life comes from within and this realization gives me the power to heal and grow.

Then came my third introduction to sociology in this lifetime and once again I had to wrestle Marx and the other guys. More specifically I became interested in the concepts of alienation and commodity fetishism. When we create something and put our heart into it, it can be felt that it has a soul. We have imbued it with our own energy and in many cases the process of making it has also developed us as human beings, even if it might only be technically. When the production moves into a factory, the process is fragmented and workers only perform a part of the whole, the soul is lost and the product is disconnected from those who created it. In short we become alienated from what we have produced. The item becomes a simple gadget without a soul, something outside of ourselves that has very little to do with us.

Then I found the sentence which released me from my discomfort. “The same dynamics characterize all sectors of […] society: people start to believe that social structures have their own life […]”. (Ritzer 2013, p. 231 – translated from Swedish) People create structures, but since we alienate ourselves from them we begin imagining that they are separate from us. When we want to change them we therefore approach them as something external to us. We attack them from the outside as something that needs to be solved or even fought.

Had we not been alienated from the social structures, we would have recognized them as reflections of our inner selves, which would have led us to seek the solution within ourselves. When we begin the process of reclaiming power over what we create, we soon see the truth that has been present throughout my journey – all power originates from within.

Once again humankinds less sympathetic traits shine through. We have the tendency to seek scapegoats outside ourselves. We want the problem to be somewhere else, with someone else or in something else. When we place blame we do so by pointing away from ourselves, but as the saying goes, three fingers are pointing back at us.

If you want to help others, start by helping yourself.
If you want to heal the world, heal yourself and you will heal everything around you.
If you want to destroy racism, begin by healing the racist within. When you do so, your whole appearance will shift so dramatically that you will plant love in the heart of others.

It all starts with you.
You are the Alpha and the Omega.
You are the universe expressing itself as a human.

When you change yourself, everything else changes.

Photo: Sam’s Organic Universe by Nicolas Raymond on Flickr

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Notes from my first journey on Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds, which contain LSA.

Preparations

I am trying the seeds on my own, but I have told friends what I am doing. I don’t have my children for five days, or any other appointments, so I have plenty of time to land comfortably afterwards.

The night before I have slept very well. At 14:00 o’clock I eat four sandwiches and two eggs. After consulting my tarot cards I decide to begin my journey at 21:00. As I do so I put on a watch and set it to 12, so that I always know how much time has passed. The times noted in the journey are hours and minutes after I have eaten the seeds. I always have my phone in my pocket, in case I need to get in contact with someone.

I open a sacred space and invite archangel Ishmael, archangel Gabriel and my friend in spirit, Walter. I also invite all beneficial energies to work with me, especially Mother Earth.

Dose

One of Azarius customers recommends that you take no more than three seeds the first time, but Azarius also write that a normal trip is four to eight seeds. Erowid places three seeds as a threshold or light dose, a common dose as five to eight seeds and a strong dose as seven to twelve seeds.

I am use to high dose sessions and very familiar with working with psychedelics, so after consulting my tarot cards I decide on a dose of nine seeds. I sing for and plant the tenth seed.

I would not recommend such an initial dose for beginners or intermediate users.

The journey

00:05   As with all psychedelics so far I can feel the energy as soon as I take the seeds in my mouth. They are quite hard and I chew them thoroughly.

00:40   The effect is really coming on and I lay down in bed to meditate with the seeds. It tells me how to place my body, but not much more. It doesn’t present itself, as mushrooms do for me. I have no closed eye visuals.

02:30   The seeds have worked through my entire body and also my face, which is new to me. I have a short purge (vomit).

02:40   The body load is very heavy and quite crippling. It lacks the clarity of LSD. I must focus to remain conscious.

Note to self: I must find ways to lessen the body load.

03:00   I need to remind myself not to compare the seeds to LSD, to let them be what they are in their own right. I have no problems operating things like my phone, but I do have a serious problem getting off the floor. No thoughts are buzzing.

03:20   Toilet break. It feels good to stand up, but I am being pulled to lay down.

Note to self: where I am now is not a good therapeutic dose. Too strong, since I am having to focus on being conscious.

03:30   I have beginning heartburn. I eat one Novaluzid, seven almonds and drink a glass of water. Even though the dose is excessive, I am fully able to monitor myself and I am aware of my bodily needs.

03:45   The experience is calming down slightly. I can move around a little more.

04:20   It is not good to lie on my stomach, since it lures me to become unconscious (unconscious as un-aware, not as in falling asleep). I lie on my back and practice a surrendering meditation. The dose is too strong to allow me to do this effectively, since I am putting more effort in to keeping aware and focused, than on surrendering. I do have brief breakthroughs though.

A friend checks in to see how I’m doing.

04:35   Significant increase of body load.

I go outside and notice that it is a full moon. I feel a strong activation of my left side of my body, lie down on the grass and bury my hands in it to strengthen the connection to mother Earth. I begin thanking her, saying things like “Thank you for cleansing me, thank you for taking care of all the rubbish I have, thank you for cleaning me”. I do so for approximately five minutes and then all of a sudden, as if my prayer of thankfulness has been heard, I instead begin saying “I’m thankful that I am cleansing myself, I’m thankful that I get rid of all my rubbish, I’m thankful that I clean myself”, which goes on for another five minutes. Mother Earth helps me and empowers me, but she also works through me as I work with myself. I feel grateful and happy, blessed, as I stand up with a big smile on my face and begin walking to the forest.

On my way I begin singing my first icaros (shaman song). “Hey. You’re ok. You’ll be fine. Just breathe.” I sing it with full heart and as I’m walking along a fence I become aware of something walking next to me. As I look through the fence there is a white sheep there. I put my hand through the fence to pat it and end up standing there cuddling and talking with it for a good ten minutes. I have grown up with sheep, but I have never seen one act this way. It is like a really affectionate cat rubbing it’s head against my hands.

Roar by Sarah Laval on Flickr.
Roar by Sarah Laval on Flickr.

I say goodbye, walk another 50 meters and feel the need to purge once more. I throw up violently and then lie down on the ground. As I lie there panting I thank mother Earth for receiving and transforming that which I no longer need. I feel a great release, especially in the throat area. A growl grows within and I soon find myself growling with immense power and joy as I connect to my inner lion. After having growled and sung and thanked mother Earth for a good 30 minutes I get to my feet feeling deeply relieved. I rub my medicine bag in the dirt before I continue walking along the forest path in the dark of the night.

As I continue to sing my first ikaros, my second icaros soon arrives. It seems very fitting, seeing that I am walking in the forest. “I am a walking tree, you are a walking tree :ǁ Feet on the earth, head in the sky. Our hearts join together, the two to one to meet :ǁ Bringing the light down, to the darkest ground. Releasing the dark side, into the light. :ǁ” The forest very much enjoys my presence and my song.

I get slightly lost and wander around the dark forest laughing about it all, but never have the urge to get my flashlight out or check the map in my phone.

07:15   Home again. Still very intense, but also very manageable. I have a cup of tea, feel happy and free. I begin working on cleansing unwanted energies from my life.

09:00   Still very strong. I feel a need to begin landing, since I am tired and hungry.

10:15   The experience is still going strong when I eat a baked potato and go to bed afterwards. No problem going to sleep.

19:20   I have slept for a little more than 8 hours. I am still a little spaced out, but more than that I feel relaxed, comfortable and content. I feel much lighter and grateful to have released whatever was in my throat. I am grateful for the guidance from mother Earth, for having connected with my two ikaros and for the strong connection to my inner lion.

After another night’s sleep I am back to normal, but still very happy and content. I seem to be dreaming more vividly after the experience.

In conclusion

Keeping in mind that this is my very first trip on seeds containing LSA I would say that the experience was very rewarding. Nine seeds is a strong dose with a lot of body load, but also great potential for solo shamanic work, or work with other shamans. For working therapeutically I would lower the dose somewhat, at least for the therapist, so that it wouldn’t be a challenge to keep focus.

I didn’t feel that the experience was as clear as LSD or as mystical as mushrooms, but it was certainly a psychedelic experience that can be used both for spiritual/shamanic and therapeutic work. I wasn’t able to have clear communication with the seeds, but will continue trying in future sessions. There seems to be a connection to earth and nature.

It was good that I drank more water before the second purge, or it would have been very painful.

I recommend a much lower dose for beginners and intermediate users, at least without a proper guide present. Also one should set aside the next day for integrating the experience and make sure to get enough sleep.

Photo: The Full Moon of Glen Ellyn by Jim Larrison on Flickr

Thank you Azarius for sponsoring me with the seeds:
Azarius bannerYou can also visit Azarius new Swedish website here.
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What is psychedelic therapy?

These last days I have had several people ask me how one works therapeutically with psychedelics.

First off – how one works depends on what tools one has to work with. Doing therapy with psychedelics doesn’t have to differ that much from doing it without. The therapist has access to the same basic equipment, so if you are working with a psychologist they will weave in psychology. If you are working with a yoga teacher, they will use yoga. If you are working with a coach, they will coach you. The term psychedelic therapy is simply an abbreviation for psychedelic ASSISTED therapy, or therapy with help of psychedelics.

Psychedelics can help in that process in many ways, for example by:
∙ lowering defence mechanisms
∙ opening up memories and doors of perception that can otherwise be hard to open
∙ giving the therapist clear sight
In my experience the psychedelics will also from time to time give me novel new techniques, as in the case when mushrooms taught me trauma release exercises. (http://wilby.nu/the-gift-of-healing/)

● ● ●

Personally I mainly take a shamanistic and coaching approach and I work with such things as coaching conversation, meditation, healing, angels, and channelling. I work intuitively, so except for a few initial preparations, sessions may vary greatly.

It is my firm belief that psychedelic plants are entities which I can have a conversation with and that teach me things – they are plant teachers. Thus it goes without saying that one should approach them with respect. That doesn’t mean to be without humour, get caught up in ceremony or speak in a bombastic manner. It means not to be stupid. Don’t mix the plant with other plants/substances without asking permission, don’t use it in settings that are not good and don’t give it to people that you know shouldn’t have it. (http://wilby.nu/the-sea-cow-that-taught-me-a-lesson/)

I begin by opening a sacred space where I invite the specific energies and angels that I wish to have support from. I ask them to keep us safe and I set the intention for the trip. After having ingested the plant I meditate with it. This was something that the mushroom taught me to do, and by doing so I have gotten to know the many different personalities of different mushrooms. When I meditate with mushrooms I simply ask them to work with my body, to heal me and also, when possible, to show me what they are doing. Some of my most powerful experiences and insights have come during such meditations and it is also a wonderful way to early on integrate the plant into my body. When we distract ourselves by running around and fiddling with stuff, we don’t get the full effect. The meditation on mushrooms usually lasts for 20-30 minutes, but I don’t set a timer. The plant tells me when it’s time to move on. (http://wilby.nu/mushroom-meditation/)

Then comes “the trip”. As I said earlier, I work intuitively, so I can’t really give you a worksheet on it. One trip might be all about locating and diving into an old trauma or a block in the energy system. Another might be about getting guidance from ones higher self, or getting in contact with nature. Or it might be all of it, or none of it. Most of the time I don’t do much at all. I’m just there, holding the space, having fun together with the person, answering questions, looking after the person. I always have the essentials along – water, flashlights and such. What I’m doing, more than holding space, is looking for the right moment to present itself. All of a sudden a memory might be triggered, a sensation be felt or a communication opened. Then I dive in and do what I can, but always in collaboration with the person I’m supporting, because in the end it is always the client who will have to do the actual work.

My experience is that it isn’t actually “the trip” that is the trip. The hours when we feel confused, stumbling around in the woods, laughing and crying – that is not the trip. The trip is taking all the insights that the experience has opened up and applying them in your own life. Integration and hard work afterwards is the key, otherwise it’s just thrill seeking. (http://wilby.nu/the-trip/)

Supporting the person to continue working with him/herself can be as important as the experience with the plant. If one doesn’t integrate and work with oneself between sessions the plants will, in time, be pretty pissed off if you continue coming back for the same advice. That is one reason why many people have delightful and meaningful early trips, but with time have much harder and scarier trips. They aren’t integrating what the plants are teaching them.

Finally I work with a very simple four step process in all personal and spiritual development. It is my own, discovered with the help of psychedelics, but I see the same basic structure in various systems. (http://wilby.nu/four-steps-to-personal-and-spiritual-growth/)

1. Become conscious.

As long as you are unaware that you have a problem, you cannot work with it. The first step is becoming aware. When you become aware of a problem area – explore it as fully as you can. I find that psychedelics are wonderful at helping us do this, since they really shove it in your face.

2. Accept it.

Many who become aware that they have a problem will immediately try to hide from it or force it down into the sub-conscious again. If you do not accept the problem, you cannot work with it. You must accept the situation. It doesn’t mean that you think it’s good, that it is where you want to be or anything like that. It just means that you need to accept where you are and the way things are at this moment in time. When you do so you can start working with yourself.

3. Make changes.

This for me is a very intuitive step. When I have become aware and accepted the way things are right now, life will show me ways to move forward. One needs to be open to all the different ways that life does so. It might tell me to begin a meditation practice, help out at an animal shelter, be more loving in close relationships or work on forgiveness. You will be shown what you need to move forward.

4. Be grateful.

This is truly a sign that one has done the full cycle. When one can look back on all the hurt and suffering with gratefulness, then one has learnt the lesson contained within the experience. Being grateful is also the best way to say thank you to life, for all the support you have been given.

A short answer to a very big question.
Feel free to ask questions.

Photo: Hands of light by Tomas Sobek on Flickr

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The choices we make

We choose just about everything in life.

Before we are born, we choose our parents and our context. Together with our soul friends we agree upon what relationships to explore, what challenges we want to face and what life lessons we must deal with. We choose our illnesses, character, limitations and talents.

When we are born, we then grow in the soil we have chosen and find the people that we are to grow with. Some of them will inspire us and others will hurt us. Some make brief guest appearances, while others are with us throughout life – just as we agreed.

The choices we make in life then give life its direction. This does not mean that our choices are always conscious. On the contrary, they are often unconscious, at least until we become aware of them. Before we become aware of the choices we made that led us to a certain place, situation or relationship, we sometimes imagine that it just happened. Sometimes we imagine ourselves as victims, because we don’t want to see our own responsibility.

When we refuse to see our own choices and instead choose the safe victimhood, we say no to responsibility and power over our own lives. It is convenient to blame others, but doing so also means that all solutions lie outside us, which is a troubling illusion. When we realize that everything is a result of our own choices, it means that the power to learn and grow in the situation is within ourselves.

Note that this does not mean that we need to think that all we experience is okay. We seem fairly agreed that rape is not okay, for example. If I knowingly or unknowingly made choices that led me to be raped it does not mean that I should blame myself and let those that raped me off the hook. It simply means that there is something in the experience that is a reflection of my choices and that there is something for me to learn from it. If I’m only focusing on the faults of others, I will miss my own lesson. If I want to grow I need to focus inward, not outward.

Once again – it does not mean that one should let others do what they want. It is that person’s choice to have their experience of life and that experience may very well include such things as punishment, feelings of guilt and exclusion.

Let me clarify one other thing. We humans are very good at dividing up the world in good and bad. That division is a very human phenomenon. At the soul level there are only different kinds of experiences. The soul wants to experience happiness, love and harmony. But it also wants to experience utter misery, despair, sadness, anger and chaos. In some lives we are the jailer, in others we are the prisoner. In some lives we are the whore, in others the pimp, in others yet the sex buyer and in other still we are the priest who curses it all. That’s why we continue to be reincarnated – we want to experience the full spectrum and thus draw all the lessons from life.

Photo: Everything’s just fine by Nathan Jones on Flickr

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Three ways of handling challenging insights

It is common that we lift things from our subconscious to our conscious when we are tripping. When we become conscious of something unpleasant and become aware of how we, for example, hurt ourselves, we need to choose how to handle that insight. I have identified three ways that I have handled them.

Repression

I ignore and repress it down into my subconscious again. This leads to the pressure increasing considerably. I know what is right, but I choose to ignore it. This will eventually lead to an explosion or collapse.

Justification

I convince myself that my bad choices are logically and right. I find rational excuses for why I should continue to violate myself or allow others to violate me, and tell myself that it is actually good. Again, I know in my heart what is right, but I ignore it. This increases the pressure in the same way as when trying to repress and eventually leads to an explosion or collapse.

Acceptance

I accept and am grateful for the insight that I have received and make changes in my life that are in line with it. My growth and development continues.

Many “bad trips” are due to the person not being open to making the changes that the insights require of them. Therefore psychedelics can often be quite traumatic for people who want to continue turning a blind eye and fleeing from themselves.

Photo: The Sun and The Moon by David Goehring on Flickr

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