You can’t dismiss something because it isn’t described in a model of reality. A model is a simplification. It can’t possibly include all the variations in which reality can express itself.
Photo: Believe by Leland Francisco on Flickrby
There isn’t one truth.
There isn’t one reality.
There isn’t one path.
There are many truths, just as there are many different realities.
The paths we walk lead in different directions and have different goals, so therefore we often find different answers.
Photo: A couple walking in sunset silhouette by Darin Kim on Flickrby
You see what you are looking for.
Look at a random group of people. Decide that you want to see someone pick their nose, for example. Soon you will see just that.
If you hadn’t decided that you wanted to see someone pick their nose you would likely have missed it, but since you were looking for it you noticed it.
That is one reason why we have very different views on reality. We are looking for different things and are therefore confirming what we expected to see.
Looking for someone who is picking their nose is harmless, but when we begin interpreting things it can quickly become quite strange. Someone who does not like immigrants will for example find many examples of immigrants behaving badly, but will also interpret situations as such even when that interpretation isn’t resonable.
Photo: Not So Pretty by Emilio Labrador on Flickrby
There is a lot of confusion about shamans, healers, gurus, sages and many other loosely understood titles. People have all sorts of preconceived ideas and prejudices when thinking about shamanism, especially since shamanism is usually seen as an archaic practice left behind by the modern world.
Shamanism has existed as long as humans have walked this earth, and is an integral part of the human expression. Shamanism is expressed differently in different cultural groups, but a good general definition is that the shaman is a person capable of restoring order and harmony in individuals and in the group.
Shamans are sometimes described as intermediaries between the human and the spirit world. But essentially shamans are people with a strong interest in the cultural, social and political aspects of their societies, and who facilitate personal growth and evolution within the community.
American psychologist and consciousness pioneer, Stanley Krippner, describes shamans as “community-assigned magico-religious professionals who deliberately alter their consciousness in order to obtain information from the ‘spirit world.’ They use this knowledge and power to help and to heal members of their community, as well as the community as a whole.”
Shamanism is essential to the modern world because it deals with interpreting and understanding consciousness and reality. In the West there are vital questions being asked about our sustainability and our lifestyles. There is a powerful desire to create a consciousness and behaviour that not only fulfils the well-being of individuals but enables a sustainable and respectful relationship with the natural world. To do this we need all the tools we have at our disposal. Shamanism is one of those tools.
Naysha Silva Romero
Photo: Blue Hair Reconnect Zíta Rá Woodsculpture Art Installation by Dominic Alves on Flickrby
It’s not important to me that other people think like I do. When I tell about my experiences, it isn’t to convince others. You may think and feel exactly what you want.
What is important however is that I have the right to think and feel whatever I want. Just as I think that it is important that you have the same right.
I’m not interested in pitting my description of reality against yours in order to determine which is correct. In my opinion they are both right. They are both true, just not for both of us.by
The first time I bought magic mushrooms they were still legal in Sweden. After a night of heavy drinking my friend and I came home. We wanted to continue drinking, but there was nothing left. I brought out the small plastic bag of mushrooms. My friend did not want any. On the bag it said “Contains mushrooms for three trips. If you want to become a shaman, eat them all.”
– Why would you not like to be a shaman, I asked myself and proceeded to eat the whole bag.
My friend was a little worried at first, thinking that he would have to save me from jumping out the window, but calmed down when he saw me lying helpless on the floor. I lay there all night, unable to move from the spot. All around little figures were moving.
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Many years later I once again met the mushroom, but this time without alcohol and with a higher purpose. Early on in my exploration I found the humour of Terence McKenna, who was an ethno-botanist, philosopher and influential psychonaut. Five grams of dried cubensis mushroom is the effective dose, he argued, and he advocated meditation to get in contact with other realities.
I am obviously somewhat different than Terence, but on the whole I like his approach to things. He has a playfully irreverent yet respectful approach to the mushroom, paired with an incredible curiosity and the drive to try to describe what he experienced.
When I started working with the mushroom it was in five gram doses and one of the first things that the mushroom told me was that I should meditate with it. I did as it asked, layed flat on the bed and closed my eyes.
– Welcome into my body. I humbly ask you to heal me and help me grow. Please work with my body and show me what you do.
The first thing the mushroom then does is to penetrate the whole body. You don’t get that full body sensation if you focus on doing other things, such as talking or fooling around. That is why meditation and focus are such incredibly important tools for working with the mushroom.
For me the first meditation is a very intense experience, requiring that I am aware, fearless and curious. What comes up from one’s own mind can sometimes be hard to meet, but it is also heavenly to free yourself from it. I always go straight into what feels difficult or uncomfortable, because I know that is how I solve it. But there is another side to the experience that is not from one’s own mind, but from the contact with another entity. The mushroom is clearly a separate entity that one can interact with. It can provide access to unusual abilities, open up ones sight, contribute to healing, help to make contact with the spirit world, teach one about life and about our place in the infinite.
For me the meditation lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. It is obvious when it is done, because then the flow ceases abruptly. Then I find myself in an alternate reality where there are such things as spirits and magic. There are fairies and angels. I can communicate with trees and feel energies. I can dive into people, channel power, connect with past lives and see across time. My eyes become large and my reaction to the outside world like a child’s; like seeing everything for the very first time.
Terence McKenna speaks warmly of smoking cannabis when taking mushrooms. That is one thing I do not agree with. I feel it is disrespectful to mix the mushrooms with other drugs, at least if one hasn’t explicitly asked to do so in advance and got yes for an answer. I find that cannabis distorts the experience, making it more confusing and often resulting in the loss of the deep psychedelic connection one has with other people. There are those who think that they can dampen the intense effect by using alcohol or other drugs. I believe that you should never mix with such substances, since they are dirty. It is disrespectful to the mushroom and the experience itself. If the trip is very intense I recommend to:
1. challenge yourself to face that which is intensive and potentially frightening, in order to process it and heal. Trust the mushroom, be brave and go with the flow. If you need you can hold someone’s hand.
2. change the surroundings. Put some music on, go to another room or take a walk. When one changes the surrounding, the mood changes.
3. eat. If you really need to land from the experience food is earth and pulls one back to the physical reality. You may find it difficult to eat, but it is a respectful and natural way to land.
After six to ten hours I slowly begin to come back to ordinary reality, even if the spirit world continues to be close by. The time is ripe for conversation and play with fellow travellers, or for contemplation and rest. It is a time for vision, creativity and silence. That is when I begin to integrate the insights that the mushroom has given me, because the real trip is the rest of life, where we live what we have understood. This is a crucial step if the mushroom experience is to be something more than a temporary rush. It is here, in the rest of life, that the healing and growth shows.
Some people are born with the ability to navigate and fully assimilate the psychedelic experience. When I work with psychedelics I usually call in the spirit helpers I want to have with me (angels and such) and ask them to keep me safe and help me. I don’t need the extra protection, but I am happy to have them with me and work with them.
The vast majority of people would probably like to hold somebody’s hand the first times they try mushrooms. With a sensible guide by your side it is easier to dare more and travel further. It is often also good to have someone who can mirror you. I am certain that most people would love the psychedelic experience, and that they would be able to draw positive life-changing lessons from them. Used in this way the risk of injury are negligible, close to none.
It is however important to note that there is a group of people who should absolutely not use psychedelics. Anyone who is trying to escape from him/herself, who is terrified of what’s inside, who wants to continue repressing and living in denial, that does not want to challenge the ego, who does not want to have contact with other realities, that are afraid of the unknown and do not want to see their illusions crushed, should definitely not use psychedelics.
Photo: stranger by Vanda Mesiarikova on Flickrby
That last sentence confused her. More real? Well, that explains why junkies stay away. They want anything but reality. She never found out why reality was so dangerous, apart from the risk that you would jump off high-rise buildings in the belief that you can fly. But that thought felt very surreal.
She had been thinking about it for a while and decided that she wanted to try LSD. And who better to talk to about it than her parents, in who she usually always confided? She regretted bringing it up when she realized that, for once, she could not have a rational conversation with them.
There are many who ask themselves if they should tell their family about their psychedelic explorations. On the one hand, it is something that is very important, but on the other hand, there is the concern that they will freak out.
I have asked myself the same question. After just a couple of doses of LSD, I had recovered from my addiction to alcohol and was on my way to overcome my long-term depression. Life finally began to brighten up after seven times two hard years. It felt very important to tell my family what was happening and how miraculous it all was. It was also a challenge for me. When I was an alcoholic I used to lie about everything and especially about how much I drank. But the LSD urged me to speak the truth instead, so I mustered my courage and told my family.
I felt better than I had ever done, but the reaction was extremely negative. It was not only negative, but also in many parts completely absurd. I particularly remember one thing they told me.
– It starts with LSD and ends with heroin.
I had never felt less interested in trying heroin, but apparently that was what I was expected to be heading for. When I drank there were some people smoking heroin in the town where I lived. I remember that I was interested, but I never managed to be in the right place at the right time. I also remember when my friend had tried amphetamines at an after party. When he told me about it I begged him to hook me up. He refused, since he thought that I would become addicted.
In retrospect, I know that I would have been if I had tested it then. I was on the run, fleeing from my life. In the most crucial way, alcohol is much closer related to both amphetamine and heroin than LSD will ever be. They are all drugs on which to escape. It is entirely possible to escape from yourself on alcohol, amphetamines and heroin. One can even say that is their main purpose. With LSD, on the other hand, there’s nowhere to run. LSD will find your most carefully repressed memories, shove them in your face and tell you to shape up. It’s really no wonder that addicts avoid psychedelics.
How the conversation I had with my family went?
Not good. It has been nine years, I have recovered from four addictions and one depression, but my relation to my family is really strained. They’re probably still waiting for me to die of a heroin overdose. But they’re waiting in vain, because since I stopped drinking I have not been the least interested in such substances.
Do I regret telling them?
No. I’m sad that my contact with my family has gone down the drain, but it was a great challenge for me to tell them. I want to live in truth and that was a first step.
Should you tell your family?
What you do is your own responsibility. I do however think that as many as possible should talk openly about their experiences. As far as I can see, there are two important reasons to come forward:
1. As long as you hide and lie about things, you will have discomfort. The chafing feeling can in many cases completely consume you and make you sick. To care for yourself, you should strive to live in truth.
2. The law is moralistic and is used to persecute and oppress people, especially people that think outside the government approved boxes. As long as we hide in the closet, the persecution will continue, because they do not understand that it is their own well tempered, creative and loving children that they are targeting. We need to step forward to break the grip that this offensive and destructive legislation has on our community.
Can it hurt to step forward?
Photo: Crazy Sister by joseloya on Flickrby
I was landing from a beautiful LSD experience when I was sitting in the loft of the barn, doors open, my legs hanging out, smoking a joint, looking out over the summer landscape. All of a sudden I saw a rip in the fabric of reality. A huge chunk of the sky was missing. The illusion of reality was ripped open.
Normally we fill those gaps with whatever we expect to be there, but now my brain was mixing the signals, so instead of filling the gap with clear blue sky and fluffy clouds, it was filling the gap with hard core porn. My brain could have filled the space with cute puppies, battling knights or a luscious meadow, but instead it found porn.
That was my first realization that I had a problem having to do with sex. If my brain is so filled with porn that it will fill rips in the fabric of reality with it, I am watching way too much porn. If my brain will fill a visible rip with porn, what in my perception of reality is being filled with porn without me noticing?by
As I explained in my last post on the subject, there are internal and external hallucinations.
∙ Internal hallucinations are projected from our own consciousness.
∙ External hallucinations are a consequence of our vision widening, giving us access to other realities.
Note that both of these types of hallucinations have to do with reality. They are not pink elephants sprung from thin air. There exist such hallucinations, but in my experience they seem to be very rare. I don’t actually think I’ve ever had one on psychedelics.
What can we do with these different kinds of hallucinations?
The inner hallucination is a reflection of your inner life and will often give you direct access to your subconscious. This scares many people, since they have carefully suppressed all things unpleasant. For those who do not dare face what they have buried, psychedelic hallucinations can be quite horrific experiences.
At the same time, this is why psychedelics can be 10 years of therapy compressed into one evening. To open up and air out the subconscious allows for miraculous recoveries, which many who have worked with psychedelics testify to.
To do this we need to face ourselves, for example through these hallucinations cooked up from our subconscious. I have found that the best way to do that is to be courageous and explore. Go straight into whatever scares you most, and do it with curiosity. There may be pain, but you will always eventually come out on the other side, and when you do you have usually defeated your fear.
The outer hallucination is a different reality. Shamans, medicine men, witches and the like have long explored other realities. In our materially oriented world we sometimes deceive ourselves that the only reality is the one we can touch, but that to me seems utterly absurd when people all over the world and in all ages have had experiences of such things as spirits, the soul, past lives and a spiritual connection to nature.
We can all gain access to other realities and such experiences. There are a variety of techniques and tools to get in touch with other realities and psychedelics are one of the oldest in human history. In a state where we have access to other realities, there are few limits to what is possible. For example, we might be able to see energies, speak with nature, get access to other lives and hear our soul’s wisdom.
There are those who use the word hallucination, as if it were an illness or something to be afraid of. A hallucination is nothing to be afraid of. Rather, it is a blessed tool to work in depth with oneself.
What you should be wary about is your approach to life.
Are you open to meet yourself and your fears?
Or are you on the run from yourself?
Being on the run is what actually puts us in dangerous situations.
When people talk about hallucinations the word is often assumed to mean delusions and fantasies thrown forth by our own brain. The hallucination is an internal phenomenon, brought up from our conscious and subconscious.
Shamans in South America are of a completely different opinion. The hallucination is an external phenomenon. What some substances do is open up our vision, so that we can see things that are otherwise hidden from us. When we see auras, energy patterns, spirits or other entities, it is because we actually see them.
So what is correct?
Both are correct. Some hallucinations are obvious reflections of what is going on in our minds and our emotional life. Others are obviously realities that are beyond our usually narrow range of perception.
It all goes wrong when you think that there is only one way to understand hallucinations and therefore dismiss the other as nonsense. Then you are missing a really big chunk of what is actually going on.by