Tag Archives: respect

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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Naysha: Why shamans aren’t vegetarians

I will talk about shamans and not about gurus or healers. I will talk about the reasons not to be a vegetarian or vegan from a shamanic point of view. I won’t say that one way or another is wrong or right. IT’S A DECISION. But there is a lot of judgment and misinformation on the subject. The silent war between meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans must stop. It is not helping nature.

We lost the connection with our food when we let go of shamanism and our shamans. We are responsible for the pain that’s going on and when we become conscious of the importance of shamanism and reconnect to nature, then we will begin to understand how to correct our errors.

The comfortable life that each of us has chosen has disconnected us from nature. The city provides you with so much comfort. You fill your refrigerator with food that you buy from the supermarket, since you don’t have time to grow your own food, because you must work 8 hours a day in order to maintain your comfort. It is the same in all aspects of modern life. We have given up our power of being INDEPENDENTS and INTERCONNECTED and instead we DEPEND on corporations and governments. These problems won’t be solved by us becoming vegetarians or vegans.

A real shaman knows how to provide their own food. All good shamans that I have met hunt and fish their own food, as well as grow vegetables. Their diet is of course depending on where they live, so shamans in northern Greenland almost only eat meat.

For me the experience of fishing has helped me develop my connection with water and other elements. When you are fishing you learn how to read the water and the weather conditions. You need to become the fish and this is how shamanism works. I can connect and feel where the better areas are and where the fish are at that moment in the day. And then when I get them out of the water I never feel sorry or offer apologies. I thank the fish for giving me its life energy.

When you kill an animal you understand life and how fabulous our existence on this earth is. Our bodies are containers than contains a great source – THE SOUL. In the eyes of the animal you can see when the spirit leaves. It’s the light that disappears from this reality to pass to another that is better. Life is a cycle. Death is not bad. It’s a process, a continuation. We are never really born; we are constantly dying since we came to earth.

When you live a genuine shamanic life you understand that everything that surrounds you in nature is ALIVE and HAS A CONSCIOUSNESS – animals, plants and even rocks. Just because they don’t move fast does not mean that they are not alive. They are just having a different experience on earth. Shamanism was born in the hunting cultures.

Is the pain of an animal a reason to become a vegetarian or vegan?

No, it’s not. Everything that is alive CAN EXPERIENCE PAIN and EMOTIONS, but this is not a bad thing. It is one of the reasons why we are here, to FEEL. Plants can also FEEL. We are just not used to listening to their pain, but they can still feel it. It is trough the pain that we know that is better to feel LOVE.

It’s a different thing when we kill animals in factories. There is no respect in it, no consideration in the way animals are killed anymore. In the shamanic traditions the animal must die fast and with as little pain as possible. In the Sami tradition for example they kill the reindeer by first cutting the nervous system and then with a knife to the hearth. Then they wait until the animal does not move the eyes anymore before taking care of the meet and everything else. They use every single part, to honour the animal, the skin, the meat, and the antlers. This is how it used to be when the shamans actively worked in the communities.

Nowadays even the vegetables are being dishonoured in the way they are being grown. People are poisoning the vegetables with chemicals in order to make them look pretty, which is not good. There are a many lands and forests being burnt down right now in the Amazon, in Africa, in Asia in order to grow vegetables.

We must find the BALANCE in OURSELVES, because that is where all these problems begin. The problem is not if people eat meat or vegetables. The problem is how it is being done. If you want to make a change and help nature, start collaborating in your community with farming projects, permaculture and such. Get active in politics.

We must stop the industrial way of producing meat and vegetables. And the most important is to truly start to reconnect with nature. It’s easy to admire nature through your car window, but to live in harmony with nature is a different experience entirely and that is what shamanism is about.

Naysha Silva

Photo: Hunting and Mentoring by USFWSmidwest on Flickr

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Spirit in the glass (Ouija)

When I first got in contact with the spirit world friends introduced me through the Spirit in the glass (Ouija). It was my very first tool for such contacts and it is also one that I have used extensively. Nowadays I have other tools that I rather use to make contact, but I still think that the Spirit of the glass has many strengths.

The tool is very simple. You need a glass, a large piece of paper, pens, a candle and friends. In its simplest form you draw circles for all letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0 to 9, a yes circle, a no circle and a start circle. Then you heat the glass, place it upside down on the start-circle, everyone places a finger on the glass and then you invite spirits to talk to you. If you manage to make a strong contact, the spirits will spell out answers with your help by moving the glass over the paper and stopping on certain circles.

A tool for contacting the spirit world

Spirit in the glass is without a doubt a tool for genuine spirit contacts, but it is also one that is surrounded by many strange ideas.

I think it is important to point out that the board, although it may seem very fancy and magical, is merely a tool. Like all tools it has strengths and weaknesses, it has merits and limitations. The tool itself is neither bad nor good. It just is. Our use of it may however be bad or good, respectful or disrespectful, loving or free of love. Choose to have a good intention and to do good.

Spirit in the glass is a tool for spirit contacts. If you do not seek such contacts you should not use the tool. If you want to have genuine contacts in a simple way I would however recommend Spirit in the glass, since it is safe, including and educational. Of course, one should be respectful and serious, but if one is so the risks are small.

Some strengths

Easy to understand and use. It requires no prior experience and most people can partake after a brief introduction.

Educational. Many reach a better understanding when they themselves are involved in channelling. Spirit in the glass is a good tool for practicing one’s ability to channel in other ways.

Including group activity. Everyone can participate and contribute. Compared with, for example, a group séance there will be less focus on one person and more on the group. It works well together with friends.

Some drawbacks

Slow. Other ways of channelling are significantly faster, but are also less educational, including and require specific skills/talents. The amount of information that comes through the glass is limited, but it is common that participants receive more through other channels.

Does not work for people who are shut off. People who are shut off to such experiences are usually not interested in channelling. If they are part of it, it usually manifests as problems in connecting or that the glass won’t move.

Contacts with the spirit world

One should approach the spiritual world with the same respect that you yourself would expect. For example I wouldn’t find it respectful to take such contacts when drunk, to ask silly questions or to treat it like a game. Be respectful and serious, but by all means do have a sense of humour.

I feel that it is ultimately the participants’ attitude and ability to work with the contact that determines how good it will be. There are those who are very ceremonial and sometimes quite theatrical when contacting the other side. When done properly it can help participants to find a common focus, but it is also possible to find focus in other ways, such as with a common goal for the contact.

The spirit world is populated by many types of entities and they often have their own agendas. An overwhelming majority of the spirits that I have been in contact with were pleasant and helpful. Only a few contacts have been pushy, manipulative or nasty. What you need to do when you attract one of those is to clearly say that it is not welcome, and to end the conversation.

Also, remember not to ask questions that you do not want to know the answer to.

Inviting the spirits

How you express yourself when inviting the spirits is important. If you open up by asking “Is anyone there?”, then anyone will answer. By being more specific you can avoid unpleasant experiences with spirits you don’t wish to have any contact with. Sometimes you have a specific person in mind, but you can also be more general in your invitation, such as “Is there anyone here that belongs to me?”.

A friend once compared the situation to a waiting room. All spirits who potentially want to talk to us are waiting there, good and bad. If you have a spirit contact that you trust, that spirit can act as a receptionist in the waiting room and only let good contacts pass. I often find however that our loved ones on the other side are so keen on talking to us that bad energies rarely get through.

Fear

If you are afraid of contacts with the other side, if you think that such things are frightening or if you are worried about attracting negative energies – then don’t try to get in contact with the spirit world. If you are invited to a séance, say no.

If you know someone who you know is scared – do not invite that person to a séance.

If you know that it is ok for you to have such contacts, but that you need to protect yourself – then protect yourself.

If you know that you can have such contacts without any special protection – then it is so.

Read more on the topic of fear and protection here.

Different roles when doing Spirit in the glass

Channel. Some in your group might be more psychic than others. If that is the case the energy will most likely primarily go through them and they might be given additional information.

Leader. It is useful to have someone who is good at keeping the group together and get everyone working in the same direction.

Questioner. It is good to send questions through one person, so that you don’t end up asking different questions at once. You can have one person asking the questions or alternate.

Secretary. It is often appreciated that someone has written down the answers you get. Have someone take notes.

Helper on the other side. With time you will find spirit helpers who want to work specifically with you. In many cases it is an old relative or such. They are often good at locating specific spirits that you want to talk to and can keep bad energies away.

How to do it

Preparation
  • Be safe. Do it with people and in a context where you feel safe. Agree to support and be honest with each other, and not to ask questions that you do not want to know the answers to. Work in a state of mind which is good for spiritual work – calm, focused and sober.
  • Have several friends along. The more people, the more energy, the easier it is to establish contact with the other side.
  • Set aside time and be sure not to be interrupted. Channelling is a nice evening activity, but can be done during all hours. Before you begin you should turn off everything that demands your attention, such as your radio, television, computer and mobile phone.
  • Create a suitable atmosphere. I like to dim the lights, have lit candles and clear the table of everything else.
Working with the board
  • Place the board on the table.
  • Heat the glass over the candle and place it upside down on the start-circle.
  • Have everyone place one finger on the glass; I suggest the left index finger.
  • Have one person invite the contacts that you want and should have.
  • Allow it to come. Sometimes the glass may need a little nudge to get started.
  • Have someone take notes.
  • End the conversation by simply saying thank you, as you would with an ordinary person.
  • If you want to continue you can then invite the next spirit contact. If you want to quit, say thank you, turn the glass over and put out the light.
A few more tips
  • If you want to contact the spirit world it is of great benefit to be properly grounded. If you stand firmly you can go much further in your contact.
  • A person can be good at receiving messages from the spirit world without actually being able to comprehend or interpret them. I have met several people who have a strong contact and find it easy to hear the messages, but who are confused in their interpretations.
  • Scary energies are especially drawn to scared people. It is my experience that such entities are like shadows. They cannot really hurt you, but they can scare you so that you hurt yourself. If you are afraid I think you should refrain from such contacts until you become braver.
  • If someone is the main channel, it is common that that person gets tired first, since s/he is supporting with the most energy.
  • flerafingrarIf you are few participants you can give the glass more energy by placing two fingers on the glass (index and middle finger) or even four fingers (for example, index finger and middle finger of both hands).
  • If it feels like the glass is stuck or pressed against the table, try have the participants remove their fingers one at a time. Sometimes a sceptic will block the energy without even being aware of it. When this has happened to me it has been ok for the person to stay in the room, but without touching the glass.
  • Add circles for repeated contacts. In this way the spirit does not need to spell out the name, but can simply go to their circle to show who it is.
  • Be creative and intuitive when designing your board. I have made many modifications to the original version, some of which have been very good and others unnecessary. Good modifications, for example, have been the circles with smileys and the circles with the words perhaps, irrelevant and both. I added circles for the four elements, but they have been superfluous.
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Breathe in glitter

Breathe in glitter.
Breathe out black smoke.

Breathe in rainbows.
Exhale grime.

Continue until the smoke and grime is gone;
until you are only breathing glitter and rainbows.

● ● ●

I have Milea to thank for this sparkly version of a cleansing breathing exercise. One often hears that one should breathe in light and breathe out smoke until all the dark is gone, but it I find it to be much fun with glitter and rainbows. And you can of course change it to what suits you best.

So go ahead.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in pink bubble gum flavour, kisses, spring air, love, respect, and the smell of freshly baked bread.
Exhale factory smoke, old sweaty gym socks, dishwater, dog poop, anger and envy.

Now how do you feel?

Photo: Breathing out the Warmth by LearningLark on Flickr

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Why we need more than 12 steps

Step 1 of the 12-step program goes like this:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol
— that our lives had become unmanageable.

My very first step to recovery began with just the opposite.

I realized that I ultimately had the power over my life and with that understanding I chose to retake conscious control and responsibility for my life.

The 12-step program was founded in 1935 and is a product of its time and of the American Christian context in which it was born. In it the process to quit drinking is intimately linked to the belief in something greater than oneself that one needs to surrender to. The steps to recovery are detailed and follow each other in a way that easily reminds you of a machine or assembly line. The machine metaphor is easily available because the program was created in an industrial time when many thought models used the machine image.

In the 12-step program the person appears to be broken, and therefore needs to turn to the great mechanic in the sky to be repaired. The machine helps him/her to diagnose the problems that the mechanic needs to remove, but the main responsibility still lies with the mechanic.

The program has helped many people, but is surrounded by a belief to be able to help everyone, which is of course fundamentally wrong. No program, no action or intervention can help all people, because we are basically on different journeys, exploring different aspects of life and living in different realities.

People who do not believe in God, for example, often find it hard to embrace the 12-step program. Today many try to dechristianize the program to make it more accessible to non-believers, but the fact remains that the program is steeped in its history. Six of the twelve steps include direct reference to God, which is said to be a male entity.

The program also becomes problematic if the person finds it hard to work with the image that s/he is a machine that needs fixing, or if you like I have the understanding that the power to change is something internal. I do not recognize myself as powerless. I need quite the opposite – to remember that all power originates from me.

It’s good that the 12-step program is available, because there are people who feel the need to externalize power, who need to admit themselves powerless, who need to surrender and who furthermore need a detailed description of their recovery work beforehand. This does however become very problematic when participants believe that it is the only way, in the same way that many religions believe that they represent the only truth.

It becomes even more problematic that the 12-step program is so dominant that it is many times the only option, which is sometimes even forced upon people. Recently an American man was given a hefty settlement after a court forced him into a confessional sobriety program. In Sweden the alternatives to the 12-step program are hindered by authorities contributing to the 12-step program’s dominance. For example it is not uncommon that social assistance is conditioned with participation in the 12-step program, or that the only treatment available is based on the 12-step model.

At present there is an immense void when it comes to substance abuse treatment in Sweden, which leads to the majority not getting the help they need. There is a growing need for programs based on other belief systems, just as there is a growing need for programs that cater to atheists. We need programs that see people as organic beings, rather than machines. Or for that matter programs which liken the process to a journey, a release from a mental prison or a power struggle. The images we use for our recovery are extremely powerful tools. There is a need for programs that places the power to change within myself (all power in my life is based on me), just as there is a need for programs that place power outside of myself (I am powerless. God help me!).

This all stems from the fact that we need to help people based on their own beliefs about life – not from ours. To impose alien concepts on people in order to assimilate them in treatment is free of insight and thoroughly disrespectful. But above all, it is not good treatment, since it will be less effective.

Photo: So far by Stephen Cummings on Flickr

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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 effects of alcohol

This is my list of the effects that I have discovered in alcohol. It is possible to add more, but the fact remains that the positive effects are almost negligible in comparison with the negative. Alcohol is by far the most dangerous and destructive drug I’ve come into contact with. (I have however not been in contact with heroin and crack cocaine, which are two other dangerous drugs that have a lot in common with alcohol.) It would be hugely beneficial if people would switch to other substances, both at the individual level as socio-economically.

Negative effects

Physical

Toxic, there is a real possibility of dying
Health degrades rapidly

Mental

Ego booster
Increased risk behavior
Aggressiveness
Less responsible and respectful
Everything is someone else’s fault
Depression
Can trigger mental disorders, such as schitzophrenia

Spiritual

Clogs the body’s energy structure

Positive effects

Social lubricant
Relaxing

Photo: The angry drunk

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Stories of illegal healing

Yesterday I randomly searched YouTube for people’s stories about how they have healed and grown using illegal substances. Despite deep stigma and threats of reprisals these stories are not hard to find.

All these people are someone’s child. They are siblings, parents, friends, colleagues. You probably know several people who have similar stories, even if you haven’t heard them. Each story is about someone’s life, and every life is a universe in itself.

Listen to their stories. If you still think that these substances should be illegal, stigmatized and users hunted by the judicial system – please, explain your reasoning to me. Tell me why Ruth shouldn’t have been given Ibogaine for her crack and heroin addiction, why Rachel who was sexually abused at age four should not have been given MDMA-assisted therapy, why Alex’s parents should not give autistic Alex cannabis and why Deepak Chopra, one of today’s great spiritual inspirators, should not have taken LSD.

Tell me why people should respect the law more than they value their own recovery.

Iboga / Ibogaine

Howard Lotsof accidentally discovers Ibogaines ability to abruptly break heroin addiction.

Ruth Zupan solves a crack and heroin addiction with Ibogaine …

Patrick solve intractable PTSD with Iboga …

Psychedelic mushrooms / Psilocybin

1 grams of psychedelic mushrooms solves Stickys long and complex depression, and his social anxiety.

Annie got terminal cancer and with it very much worry and anxiety, which psychedelic mushrooms solved.

He became one with the universe …

LSD

My own story where I solve a 13-year long alcohol addiction on my first dose of LSD…
http://wilby.nu/my-first-lsd-trip/

The famous philosopher and writer Alan Watts about his encounter with LSD and what he could not deny was a true spiritual experience…

Deepak Chopra’s first spiritual experience was with LSD…

MDMA

As an adult Rachel Hope solves intractable PTSD that she has had since she was sexually abused as a young child…

Bob Walker solves 50-year old intractable war trauma with MDMA…

Cannabis

After receiving a joint from her son Belinda Hethcox treats fibromyalgia with cannabis…

David suffers from Parkinson’s, but has a decent life and is able to feel pride thanks to cannabis.

Autistic Alex injured himself seriously but was helped by cannabis.

● ● ●

If you have any favourite stories, please feel welcome to post the links in the comment section.

Photo: Don’t cry my love by Axel Naud on Flickr

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Declaration of love to a dance culture

Early 2006 I stepped into my first raves and was utterly astounded. I had been to tons of rock festivals before, where binge drinking, fights, vomiting and bad behaviour was customary. Suddenly I found myself in a context where quite different standards were upheld. Five steps inside the door at that first rave a guy began talking to me.
– I haven’t seen you before, he said.
– No, this is my first rave party.
– Oh, how wonderful. Welcome! Let me introduce you to some of the people here.
He took me on a tour and I got to shake hands with a dozen people, including a couple of the DJs who would be playing that evening.

There is a world of difference between a rave party and an alcohol driven party. One of the most striking things is that fights almost never occur. I’m not saying that they actually never occur, but violence is extremely rare at raves. The only violence I have witnessed at a rave is the violence that police have used against ravers.

Another thing that I feel is characteristic of raves is that they aren’t as shabbily sexualized as other nightlife places. Again, I need to voice a disclaimer and say that there might of course be creeps going over people’s limits here too, but the problems are definitely much smaller than at a regular pub. Above all it is ok to talk to both guys and girls, without it being assumed that one’s intention is to get inside their underwear.

But this sounds wonderful. What’s the problem?

10687219_739723502730828_7189171724004085676_nWell, some people claim that the rave scene is very drug-intensive. I can confirm that it is. There are those who in their eagerness to get the establishment to accept them, claim that is not the case. But it is. Ravers smoke cannabis, drop ecstasy, snort amphetamines, eat magic mushrooms and drink alcohol. Yes, those who want to demonize rave culture can easily dismiss their parties as drug orgies and be partly correct.

But not quite correct, because there is much more to the truth. My experience is that there are a lot of drugs at all venues, but they are handled much more discreetly at a regular nightclub. At a rave there is a silent agreement to respect each other, no matter what your drug habits are, as long as they do not affect the respect we have for each other. Therefore, no one will react if they see someone light a joint or snort a line, as long as they do not behave badly afterwards. Which they almost never do, should be added.

The nastiest people at a rave tend to be those drinking alcohol. People are wary of them, since they have a tendency to fall into people, to be unpleasantly loud and not respect others’ personal space. People behaving badly at a rave are almost exclusively drunk; not high.

Another very interesting aspect of drug taking at raves is that there are a remarkably high proportion of people that don’t use any at all. They are far more numerous than at any other night club. It is common for people to be drawn into the culture because they want to do drugs, but when they are there they find new friends who help them feel better about themselves and ultimately inspire them to stop using drugs.

If you call raves drug orgies you’re missing the bigger picture. For many rave culture is in fact quite the opposite – a salvation from destructive drug use.

Photo: HV4V5019 by Patrick Savalle on Flickr

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Nine tips for mushroom rituals

∙ Set a clear intention. Be clear about your intentions and consecrate the ritual, preferably to Mother Earth.
∙ Be clean. Wash before your contact with higher realities.
∙ Feel nice. Dress in clothes that you like, that you feel pretty, handsome and confident in.

∙ Be a little tired. The mind has a way of trying to hold on to and continue categorizing things. By being a little tired the mind has less chance to do so and it will be easier to reach other realities.
∙ Do not eat before. The stomach takes up the mushroom. If you have eaten heavily before the ritual, the stomach will be working to take care of the food. Do not eat four hours before. A little water and fruit is ok.
∙ Relax. Follow the flow. Do not resist. Meditation is recommended, especially in initial stage of the journey.

∙ Dance and sing. These are powerful tools for processing, reinforcing and spreading emotions. The music that you create yourself in that moment is the strongest. You can also use mantras, if you feel comfortable with them.
∙ Don’t mix. Treat the mushroom with respect. Mixing the mushroom with dirty substances such as alcohol, nicotine or amphetamine is not respectful.
∙ The place. Some locations, such as power spots, are particularly suited for rituals. Choose the location carefully.

Photo: Homage to Luna by John Tracy on Flickr

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