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Monday, October 11, 2010

Healing with a Handful of Dirt and a Marlboro

Originally printed in PNW pagan news letter widdershins, reprinted with permission from author.

Healing with a Handful of Dirt and a Marlboro
Article by Freya Ray
“Hey, we’ve got a healing crisis on our hands!”
“What kind?”
“Well, she went into the sweat lodge just fine. When she came out, she started spontaneously expelling a demon, speaking in tongues — that sort of thing. You should hear the spooky growling voice she’s using.”
“Has she puked yet?”
“Yup – kinda nasty dribbly stuff. While rocking back and forth on all fours.”
“Got it. Let’s see … I’ve got a bottle of Evian, a bunch of dirt and twigs and a pack of Marlboros. Yes. We can do this. Let the healing begin.”
I’m not really kidding. Of course, in the moment I don’t think it’s funny, as I am honestly scrounging around for what I can use to help someone desperately in need of help. Later, though, I can’t seem to resist the urge to find my entire spiritual practice hilarious.
Kitchen witching, pulling a McGyver, using mundane tools for sacred pagan purposes – whatever you want to call it, it works and sometimes it’s all you’ve got.
Some Situations Just Require Improvising
I have a Portable Witch Kit.™ Who doesn’t? It’s full of all the cool things I might want should I find myself in a Situation. A Situation could be any of the following:
· Sweat lodge, healing circle, or ritual fallout
· Someone’s living life a little too intensely and is frying on the energy
· Someone went and got themselves a demon, or a demon-ette (crud, guck, negative energy, that gray spot on their heart chakra)
· A breakup
· Psychic attack (see breakup)
· “Stuff” is up (childhood abuse issues, abandonment stuff, addictive patterns)
· There’s a sudden opening — a sweet spot, a softening in someone’s armor — that would allow some healing work to be done
· Past lives are rearing their ugly heads
· “Look! It’s an implant! Quick, let’s get it!”

I’d love to say I have my Witch Kit with me at all times, but it’s just not possible. I mean, first of all, it’s sort of unwieldy. It’s a small canvas bag, and an entire fishing tackle box of crystals. And even though the canvas bag by itself is fairly small, it’s not sturdy. It’s a precarious concoction including a glass candle; various bottles of things like Florida Water, Rescue Remedy and magickal massage oil; charcoal pellets; dragon’s blood; and a big honkin’ shell with sage in various stages of burnt in it, wrapped in a dish towel. The shell balances on top of the candle, but not well enough to rattle around in my car all the time. Besides, I like to have the shell out on an altar at home, so the whole bag has a tendency to get half-unpacked and then repacked when I need it.
Let’s look again at the list above and consider how many of these Situations would allow me to run home, assemble my kit, and come back. Hmm… that’s not an option. Much of the time, healing is like a first kiss. You seize the moment or the chance moves on and you’re “just friends” forever.

Tools to Consider:
You have the whole world at your disposal. What sorts of things can be turned to your evile witchy purposes?
When I teach healing with energy work, I ask my students in the tools class, “I can think of six ways off the top of my head to heal someone with dirt. How many can you come up with?” They start throwing out ideas, and it goes on for more than six every class. You can use mud to draw out toxins, make a fetish, hold a handful in your hand and put energy you want to get rid of in it and then throw it away, you can bury things in it, you can put your hands or body on it to ground, etc. It’s almost always available to you (even indoors – I’ve grounded out excess energy into a houseplant’s soil). Same thing with rocks and twigs, should you find yourself outside.
My favorite grounding ritual: lay face down on the dirt and give it back to Mama. One time a boyfriend and I were fighting, and he told me later, “I was so mad and I was crying and I went out in the yard and laid on the grass, and then I remembered it was you who taught me that and I was even more pissed at you.” Ha! Useful technique trumps current attitude about teacher. Doesn’t get better than that.
Of course when working with tobacco we’d all prefer to have a nice pouch of Drum or a fine Cuban cigar rolled on the thighs of virgins. All smoke has powerful smudging properties, and tobacco is unique in its flavor. In the right hands, it’s completely different from sage or sweetgrass or dragon’s blood or Epsom salts and rubbing alcohol or cinnamon or any of the other things you might burn for the smoke.
However, when you can’t have the best, any old crap-ass menthol will do. Honest. Just don’t inhale. Pull smoke just into your mouth and then puff it out onto the area you want to clear. For yourself, pull it into your mouth and then puff it out into your cupped hand. Use your hand to pull it where you need it – heart and crown chakras being the most common places.
Use that bottle of Evian! Water need not come from the Glastonbury Spring nor be buried by Rumi-chanting elves under the light of the Full Moon in order to be sacred. Wave a blessing its direction and put it to good use. Water can be used to help flush stuff out of someone’s system — that’s why massage therapists tell you to drink lots after a massage. You can use it to wash things out of your aura — add cider vinegar, sea salt, or Epsom salts, and it’s even more powerful. Water can be used to anoint, to gently bless. You don’t have sage handy? Throw them in the lake, or the bathtub!
Throw Something Away
So one time, at this festival, I had the opportunity to be the recipient of the combined healer energy from a Vicky Noble healing class. She was looking for volunteers for the group to practice on, and I happened to have a very groovy lump growing out of the side of my neck. Turns out the healing circle had zero effect on the lump (that benign cyst required surgery), but it was my ticket to some massive amounts of transformative energy that I desperately needed.
After this circle, I found myself standing in a doorway. My energy was stirred, shaken, massively bedrock disturbed. I needed to move it, fast, before I imploded. I was dancing at an outdoor performance, barefoot in a dustbowl surrounded by other festivalgoers. It came to me that I had to walk through that doorway naked and alone. Alone was easy — strangers who weren’t paying any attention to me surrounded me. Naked, well, that meant my jewelry.
I was wearing a little goddess in my ear, with a dangling amethyst crystal. I had on a string of rose quartz beads. There were toe rings. There was a silver fairy pendant, a gift from my sister, around my neck. I was wearing my juju! These things were all doing particular magickal jobs: balancing my energy, invoking the other realities I was learning to dance through, giving me rose quartz teddy bear love, and importantly — advertising to other baby witches that I was a proud new member of the clan. Naked. These things were performing functions, but they were also locking me into my previous energetic matrix. They were holding the vibrations of who I had been before Vicky Noble coordinated the energies of forty healers, all pointed at me. Although now, 10 years later, I can still tell you which pretty things I let go of, I can also tell you it was an easy decision. No deep thought was required at all. I just started stripping things off and hurling them into the woods.
The best was the rose quartz. I snapped the string and pulled the beads loose. I dropped them into the dirt. Then I danced them into the dust with my bare feet.
I was free. I walked through the door.
Should you find yourself in a Situation, look at what else is there with you. Is there some talisman that is holding on to what you seek to release? Can you or the person you’re working with be persuaded to throw or give it away?
Bring in a Little Sweetness
A friend brought a friend over to my house, and one thing led to another in the way things do. Next thing you know, I’m deep in energy work with the friend of my friend. After much excitement and an impressive display of our healing talent and her willingness to heal, things were settling into a quiet, wrapping up mood.
My friend and I settled on either side of our healing victim. I felt so strongly that she needed to know the sweetness of sisterhood. She needed to know, all through her, that she was loved and cherished.
I fetched the honey. I put a single drop on her tongue, while my friend and I held her and let her know she was loved. The honey communicated this message to her body on a level we couldn’t reach. I know it made an impression — I got several letters from this woman who had been a stranger a few hours before.
Puking is Your Friend
Never underestimate the value of puking. Both for you and for the person you’re helping. I mean, sure, there are nice, controlled Reiki types who make it through their entire healing careers without yakking their guts up on behalf of a client. Bless their hearts; I’m sure it must be wonderful.
I’m a shamanic type, though. I don’t get the luxury of standing off at a distance waving my arms around. I mean, sure, I wave my arms around (and yell and bite and whatever it takes), but I’m also directly involved in the crap coming out of someone. There’s a reason why I don’t do much healing work. I can’t avoid it all the time, though, and puking can be great.
When removing junk from someone, one technique is to suck it out of them. Now this is like siphoning gas from a car. (Anyone tried this recently as the prices keep going up?) You need to start sucking, and then get your mouth off the tube before you get a mouthful of toxic death. Same exact principle with energetic guck. You do a Clinton Inhale™(or a We’re Already Married Swallow™— pick your metaphor). Suck into your mouth, and then spit it out real quick.
If you’re a shamanic, full-body sort of healer like me, sometimes stripping stuff off with your hands isn’t enough. You have to suck it out instead. Two problems: Sometimes you don’t spit quickly enough, and sometimes the guck is extra wily and gloms onto you anyway.
What do you do then? Puke. If you’re lucky, you can do some meaningful dry heaving and call it good. If you’re not, sometimes you just have to use the full physical metaphor to get that crap you just ingested right back out of you.
If you’re dumb enough to add this sucking technique to your repertoire (or are already stuck with it — it’s not really something you choose), please remember one thing: If you have the urge to gak, don’t fight it. You will really regret it if you work to keep someone else’s demon-nasty slime-trail inside you. The short-term pain of throwing up is a thousand times better than the long-term pain of trying to find another sucker (oops! I mean healer) to get it out of you.
On the other side of the healer equation, puking can be good for the one being healed, too. If they’ve got the nasty in them and they’re trying to expel it themselves, encourage them to follow their urge. You’ll see them going green around the edges or perhaps retching a bit. Let them know that this can be an effective way to move energy, and they should go with it rather than fight it.
The body knows. If it can move the energy out with just a little mucous, it will do so. If it needs to go throw up for half an hour, it will do that.
Other Special Techniques
All right, I’m finished being disgusting. What else do you have at your disposal besides your digestive tract? Hands, breath, voice, warmth, the rest of your body. When helping someone move energy, I have wrapped myself around them and rocked them, using that instinctive child-like rhythm to help sort things out to where they needed to be. I have used my breath to blow things away or move them around. The voice is wonderful for toning (you and/or the recipient), doing a kung-fu cry to break up stuck guck, or telling a story about the energy leaving (guided visualization).
The hands are magick. With nothing but your hands, you can pull energy out, put energy in, balance chakras, smooth someone’s brow, or hold their hand. You can fix, heal, support, and love.

What else could you need?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Animist Service Societies

Lately in the face of having an real up and personal look at our current social system, as well as looking at the new laws on health insurance, I find myself thinking back to earlier times as well as other cultures who take care of each other in a much healthier way.

In my community there is a place that has been rented out to artists that was built and run by loggers a long time ago. This was a lodge they used for meeting and community get togethers as well as fund raising; the lodge was built for the purpose creating a cooperative that allowed loggers to gain health care. Other organizations around the united states where built many years ago that provided social services to people; the Odd fellows building around old town centers are a common site, few people know that the Odd fellows also own grave yards and the organization started as a way for low income members to be able to afford life insurance and to pay for burials of their members. The Eagles club, Moose lodge, Shriners, Masons, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club are but a few. Many of these organizations are considered fraternities or sororities, or as the Odd fellows was called in England when originated in the 1700's as a friendly society.

All of these organizations where built on the foundation of helping members when they needed it in a time where there was no social welfare system, state health care or trade unions. Most of these organizations were non-profit mutual organizations owned by their members with all income passed back to the members in the form of services and benefits. Local services clubs as they are also called such as the Kiwanis club provide fire wood to single mothers in the winter time and one Kiwanis organization that is local to me runs a garden that is worked by volunteers as well as prisoners and the food that is grown is donated to the local food bank. Other service organizations such as the Fraternal Order of the Eagles were created in Washington state as a society for the development of the performance arts. Organizations such as the Elks Lodge are mostly social organizations that also work as charity and fundraising organizations to aid their community. Interestingly the Elks lodge also works as a way of honoring deceased members...

"Deceased and otherwise absent lodge members are recalled each evening at 11 p.m. when the lodge esquire intones, "It is the Hour of Recollection." The exalted ruler or a member designated by him gives the 11 o'clock toast, of which this version is the most common:

You have heard the tolling of eleven strokes. This is to remind you that with Elks, the hour of eleven has a tender significance. Wherever Elks may roam, whatever their lot in life may be, when this hour tolls upon the dial of night, the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs. It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more. Living or dead, Elks are never forgotten, never forsaken. Morning and noon may pass them by, the light of day sink heedlessly into the west. But ere the shadows of midnight shall fall, the chimes of memory shall be pealing forth the friendly message: To our absent members."

In the past community members around the world saw the importance of these organizations because the government was not providing these services to those that needed them. Our grandparents knew the value of these organizations and often belonged to if not one several. Today we have our social services provided to us by privatized industry and our governments. The lack of personalized care and attention from our community wanes due to this dynamic today, and is woefully inept.

These society are nothing new animist culture as well had social and civic organizations, secret societies and rites associated to them, societies that encouraged every member to be a medicine person or the best warrior they could be; these organizations where also the law enforcement, and religious organizations of their societies. These societies worked, and in many cases continue to work to promote health and well being in animist communities. The names of many of the societies in Cascadia such as the Eagles lodge are often inspired by animist traditions.

A local therapist told me that he had gone over to do relief work in Indonesia after the tsunami hit there. He had planed to spend the majority of the time helping people cope with the trauma of surviving the tragedy. What he found however was a community that was extremely resilient. He found no cases of PTSD and people where coping with their grief very well. He could not at first understand why a society with no fundamental social services organizations or community mental health organizations could be so resilient.

What he discovered however was that each member of the community had a vested interest in each other community member. they also integrated ritual into their lives through building shrines which helped them deal with their grief (which reminds one of the Odd fellows as well as the Elks societies). This mutual care and care giving allowed these people to survive after the tragedy that occurred, and aided them in all other aspects of life as well, before and after the tragic tsunami. Working in the mental health field as a case manager and working daily with people in need I cannot help but look at the system I participate in as facilitating a lack of this mutual care, a passing of the buck if you will to state funded non-profit organizations, where the state has the final say as to how and who receives care; and why...

Value systems as well as aesthetics change from generation to generation, membership to social organizations such as those mentioned have wavered and waned. To belong to a civic organization today is a dieing tradition. Our needs are being provided for by state social services (sure they are) and it is easier to just pass the buck or live in tot6al apathy. We are becoming more and more divided and separate from each other; few of us know our neighbor next door or have even spoken to them. We live in communities? Many of us do not know what it is like to NEED aid from our community, and so invest very little into their community. These times are changing however. More and more people require aid due to the United States economic problems (all stemming from ecological devastation honestly) and it may be time again to reinvent or at the very least rediscover the community empowerment of the Service Societies.

Service societies can exist again and be motivated by bioregional as well as animist relational dynamics. Ritual and ceremony has always been a major facet in social cohesion as well as personal empowerment within societies. Mutual aid in assisting society members in helping each other has also empowered and co-created healthy communities. Groups that are forming now, such as a local organization like GRUB which teaches people to build garden boxes and grow food on their own property, Food not Lawns Organizations where also beginning to form aiding people to go local with their food production. These are non-profit organizations though, not necessarily service based societies. Non-profit organizations often times are funded by grants and not the community or members of the organization itself. Those that work for NPO's know too well that those who fund call the shots, if one wants funding then who ever is giving the money is in control. One must ask themselves what are the motivations of these people giving the grant? Are they members of the community? Do they live in your bioregion and do they understand the needs of those in your bioregion, human and other than human? Some may... but most will not. Funding provided by government funding to NPO's also continue the lack of regional autonomy, and further alienate us from our own home and community. This occurs because we are not giving the funding or doing the work for our community some one else it.

Dedication to Service

In my early twenties, I dropped out of college and studied and practice the art of shamanry, as well as the path of humble servitude. I took a part time low paying job, and ate approximately once or twice a day, some times eating road kill, dumpster diving or eating from the local food bank. At work I made bread from pizza dough that we threw away at the end of the day; and took it down to the park or the street's giving it away to any one who needed it. I would then get a cup of coffee and bring with me a book and a pouch of tobacco and I would sit on the busy down town sidewalk of the state capital I lived in. My daily mainstream mediation and prayer was a humble one, I would roll a cigarette and while smoking it I would ask life to bring me any one who needs healing and to help me to help them. I would say this prayer and open my heart. You can feel your heart when it is open, you feel loved by all that is, supported, and you feel love for all that is and supportive of all that is. I would put out my cigarette and unroll the tobacco and give what was left blowing my breath into it; my life force and then give it as an offering to life, on the side walk.

I did this every day for three years. I always had exactly what I needed to keep healing and helping others, even the eventual lack of fulfillment that led me to finding ways to help more people which placed me in mental health and finishing college.

During this time however I gave... I gave everything I had, I lead healing ceremonies with those I met, I built community and made strong and powerful allies in helping others. I brought healers to visit my community some times going into debt inorder to help others. The entire time I felt supported and guided and assisted by the land, by spirit, by the life force itself. In a very real way, moving my mind and body at times. I was the land, the whole in service to itself. My intuitive abilities soared! There where times where I began to understand what it meant to be a holy man, and I learned that there was not one thing I could ever do just for myself. In this time I went through an extreme healing and learning process as well; as I taught others I learned, as I healed others I myself healed. I needed help though, at times the need was so great but few where able to assist and so I spent time attempting to teach others how to awaken to the light within themselves and to serve others with humility. In a sense this is exactly what it is I am doing now.

When I started spending less time on the street and more time helping people through working with state funded agencies, I started to notice that the same power that came into me would enter into random people on the street. It was like watching a person get possessed by a beneficent being. You could see it, hear it in their voices, watch it in their behaviors... few of them new how to embody it for long and it would leave them. But I became aware that for those who allow themselves to live a life of humble service and who open their hearts to the whole the whole's ability to promote health and balance will become embodied within them, like a deity or bodhisattva of compassion entering into a monk in a trance dance. I saw that this force of nature or energy (we call it spirit in my community) was available to any one.

Over the years I have thought off and on about this path I walked in those years and from time to time I meet a young seeker and I recommend this to them. Few do so; perhaps they do not feel supported enough. Recently I watched the movie Men Who Stare at Goats, the NEW EARTH ARMY, I could not help but relate to these people, it was satirical of new agers, but the Jedi knights concept as funny as it seemed... was well possible, or some semblance of it. The notion of a group of people willing to embrace discipline and care for others using shamanic, and animist practice as a base of their philosophy, working with nature in synergy to aid others, this is possible... this could be! taking the shape of service communities as an organizational model bioregional animist societies could form on a membership basis focused on specific intentions, service to people in need on the street for example, care to the ill and the infirmed, care to the land and its need for healing and bioremediation, working with the spirit of place; with the life place, and the other than human persons of the life place. Done working with transrational practices allowing guidance and empowerment to heighten their efficacy in service.

It would be possible to begin small, groups of friends, meeting together donating small amounts of resources to their group intention. Through working with the spirit of place, with each other synergistically as well; the co-creation of rituals and ceremonies that would empower and create further social cohesion between society members. A deepening of ones synergy with place and each other could be developed through these practices, granting one help from the spirit of place in ones endeavor’s both personally and for the society and larger community. Meeting the needs of ones community or just narrowly working within ones own society could be a focus for these societies as well.

I would like to encourage people to think about beginning shamanic and bioregional animist societies with these thoughts in mind... this I believe is one way we can promote powerful changes in our communities, promote bioregionalism as a life way, and co-create healthy high synergy communities.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Making the Shift From Shaman to Animist Healer

As many of us know the term or label Shaman has become a loaded subject, a humpty dumpty word, and a term clouded with so many personal definitions and political associations that to utilize the word is an invitation to an extremely difficult discourse. I have mentioned before the need to revisit the original etymology of the word shaman and work from there. If we closely examine the word we see that it means “ one who knows” and as I pointed out previously here and the back yard shamanry page, it would seem that the distinction is that a shaman is one who knows about the animist cosmology of their people... at least enough to be called one who knows about it!

I have been finding more and more in my dialogs with others, as well as in my thinking and writing that this loaded term may be too difficult to work with any more. It was borrowed from the Tungus people and utilized by colonialism to describe something much to vast to go under one categorized anthropological label. The very vague nature of the term has allowed it to be specific and warped by the motives of individuals that do not always carry the clearest of intentions either.

So what do we do know? What would be and adequate shift in our terminology that no longer carries with it the clouded much debated qualities this term has come to hold? Even the use of the term shamanry as apposed to shamanism, though still a helpful clarification is still such a loaded coinage that it does not allow us to communicate clearly still. Not to mention that many traditional indigenous animists have brought up their grievance with the use of the word in labeling their own cultural practices.

My proposal is simple, and straight forward allowing clarity as well as a much needed opening line to discussing the importance of animism recognition today. The shift I think we require in describing that which has been labeled “shaman” in the past is to center the term itself in animism again. The terms Animist healer or Animist visionary healer, or animist spiritual leader, depending on the context of the relational dynamic a community has with their spiritual practitioners seems to work to create more clarity over all.

Working with this terminology instead of “shaman” helps in several ways. For one it redirects our attention to animism the origin point of what has been called erroneously “shasmanism”, it communicates clearly what we mean instead of working with a vague and cloudy definition that up to as many interpretations in today’s spiritual and academic circles as there are wasps in a wasp nest. It allows people to begin to see the relationship between people and place between being a healer and being an animist ie. having a relationship with nature for the purpose of healing. It also lets go of the potential for cultural appropriation and allows for people to discover their own unique ways of relating as a healer and as an animist.

Making a shift in our language helps make a shift in our understanding as well as our perception and behavior. It is my hope and has been along with the bioregional animism project that this shift occur so that the real strength of animist healing can really come forth in the world in new yet very ancient ways. In ways that are integrated in relationships with place, spirit and community. Essentially when one is communicating to another that they are an animist healer or that they are participating in an animist healing ceremony ect. they are telling some one that they are participating in a healing ceremony that revolves around a relational ontology. That they are participating in a relationship with spirit, with place, with community both human and other than human for the well being of not just themselves but that spirit, that place, and those people, both human and other than human.

It is my hope that in perpetuating this shift we will see practices evolve out of the armchair of the neo-shamaic counselors office space but into the permacultured gardens of communities that work with the land and cultivate not only fruits but intimate communicative relationships that create abundance, health and the ability to thrive, while keeping to our values as animist people.

Time will tell if this catches on... it is my prayer that it does!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sacred Economics

Healing and the new economy is a lecture by Charles Eisenstein. His work think lays out ways for animist healers and visionaries to work in a way that heals how we relate to the world. Allowing us to live as animists.

His work on gift economics is the prequel to his book on Sacred Economics.

A Gathering of the tribe

A Gathering of the tribe.
By Charles Eisenstein on Reality Sandwich
Once upon a time a great tribe of people lived in a world far away from ours. Whether far away in space, or in time, or even outside of time, we do not know. They lived in a state of enchantment and joy that few of us today dare to believe could exist, except in those exceptional peak experiences when we glimpse the true potential of life and mind.

One day the shaman of the tribe called a meeting. They gathered around him, and he spoke very solemnly. "My friends," he said, "there is a world that needs our help. It is called earth, and its fate hangs in the balance. Its humans have reached a critical point in their collective birthing, and they will be stillborn without our help. Who would like to volunteer for a mission to this time and place, and render service to humanity?"

"Tell us more about his mission," they asked.

"I am glad you asked, because it is no small thing. I will put you into a deep, deep trance, so complete that you will forget who you are. You will live a human life, and in the beginning you will completely forget your origins. You will forget even our language and your own true name. You will be separated from the wonder and beauty of our world, and from the love that bathes us all. You will miss it deeply, yet you will not know what it is you are missing. You will only remember the love and beauty that we know to be normal as a longing in your heart. Your memory will take the form of an intuitive knowledge, as you plunge into the painfully marred earth, that a more beautiful world is possible.

"As you grow up in that world, your knowledge will be under constant assault. You will be told in a million ways that a world of destruction, violence, drudgery, anxiety, and degradation is normal. You may go through a time when you are completely alone, with no allies to affirm your knowledge of a more beautiful world. You may plunge into a depth of despair that we, in our world of light, cannot imagine. But no matter what, a spark of knowledge will never leave you. A memory of your true origin will be encoded in your DNA. That spark will lie within you, inextinguishable, until one day it is awakened.

"You see, even though you will feel, for a time, utterly alone, you will not be alone. I will send you assistance, help that you will experience as miraculous, experiences that you will describe as transcendent. For a few moments or hours or days, you will reawaken to the beauty and the joy that is meant to be. You will see it on earth, for even though the planet and its people are deeply wounded, there is beauty there still, projected from past and future onto the present as a promise of what is possible and a reminder of what is real.

"You will also receive help from each other. As you begin to awaken to your mission you will meet others of our tribe. You will recognize them by your common purpose, values, and intuitions, and by the similarity of the paths you have walked. As the condition of the planet earth reaches crisis proportions, your paths will cross more and more. The time of loneliness, the time of thinking you might be crazy, will be over.

"You will find the people of your tribe all over the earth, and become aware of them through the long-distance communication technologies used on that planet. But the real shift, the real quickening, will happen in face-to-face gatherings in special places on earth. When many of you gather together you will launch a new stage on your journey, a journey which, I assure you, will end where it began. Then, the mission that lay unconscious within you will flower into consciousness. Your intuitive rebellion against the world presented you as normal will become an explicit quest to create a more beautiful one.

"In the time of loneliness, you will always be seeking to reassure yourself that you are not crazy. You will do that by telling people all about what is wrong with the world, and you will feel a sense of betrayal when they don't listen to you. You will be hungry for stories of wrongness, atrocity, and ecological destruction, all of which confirm the validity of your intuition that a more beautiful world exists. But after you have fully received the help I will send you, and the quickening of your gatherings, you will no longer need to do that. Because, you will Know. Your energy will thereafter turn toward actively creating that more beautiful world."

A tribeswoman asked the shaman, "How do you know this will work? Are you sure your shamanic powers are great enough to send us on such a journey?"

The shaman replied, "I know it will work because I have done it many times before. Many have already been sent to earth, to live human lives, and to lay the groundwork for the mission you will undertake now. I've been practicing! The only difference now is that many of you will venture there at once. What is new in the time you will live in, is that the Gatherings are beginning to happen."

A tribesman asked, "Is there a danger we will become lost in that world, and never wake up from the shamanic trance? Is there a danger that the despair, the cynicism, the pain of separation will be so great that it will extinguish the spark of hope, the spark of our true selves and origin, and that we will separated from our beloved ones forever?"

The shaman replied, "That is impossible. The more deeply you get lost, the more powerful the help I will send you. You might experience it at the time as a collapse of your personal world, the loss of everything important to you. Later you will recognize the gift within it. We will never abandon you."

Another man asked, "Is it possible that our mission will fail, and that this planet, earth, will perish?"

The shaman replied, "I will answer your question with a paradox. It is impossible that your mission will fail. Yet, its success hangs on your own actions. The fate of the world is in your hands. The key to this paradox lies within you, in the feeling you carry that each of your actions, even your personal, secret struggles within, has cosmic significance. You will know then, as you do now, that everything you do matters. God sees everything."

There were no more questions. The volunteers gathered in a circle, and the shaman went to each one. The last thing each was aware of was the shaman blowing smoke in his face. They entered a deep trance and dreamed themselves into the world where we find ourselves today.


Who are these missionaries from the more beautiful world? You and I are surely among them. Where else could this longing come from, for this magical place to be found nowhere on earth, this beautiful time outside of time? It comes from our intuitive knowledge of our origin and destination. The longing, indomitable, will never settle for a world that is less. Against all reason, we look upon the horrors of our age, mounting over the millennia, and we say NO, it does not have to be this way! We know it, because we have been there. We carry in our souls the knowledge that a more beautiful world is possible. Reason says it is impossible; reason says that even to slow -- much less reverse -- the degradation of the planet is an impossible task: politically unfeasible, opposed by the Money Power and its oligarchies. It is true that those powers will fight to uphold the world we have known. Their allies lurk within even ourselves: despair, cynicism, and resignation to carving out a life that is "good enough" for me and mine.

But we of the tribe know better. In the darkest despair a spark of hope lies inextinguishable within us, ready to be fanned into flames at the slightest turn of good news. However compelling the cynicism, a jejune idealism lives within us, always ready to believe, always ready to look upon new possibilities with fresh eyes, surviving despite infinite disappointments. And however resigned we may have felt, our aggrandizement of me and mine is half-hearted, for part of our energy is looking elsewhere, outward toward our true mission.

I would like to advise caution against dividing the world into two types of people, those who are of the tribe and those who are not. How often have you felt like an alien in a world of people who don't get it and don't care? The irony is that nearly everyone feels that way, deep down. When we are young the feeling of mission and the sense of magnificent origins and a magnificent destination is strong. Any career or way of life lived in betrayal of that knowing is painful, and can only be maintained through an inner struggle that shuts down a part of our being. For a time, we can keep ourselves functioning through various kinds of addictions or trivial pleasures to consume the life force and dull the pain. In earlier times, we might have kept the sense of mission and destiny buried for a lifetime, and called that condition maturity. Times are changing now though, as millions of people are awakening to their mission all at the same time. The condition of the planet is waking us up. Another way to put it, is that we are becoming young again.

When you feel that sense of alienation, when you look upon that sea of faces mired so inextricably in the old world and fighting to maintain it, think back to a time when you too were, to all outside appearances, a full and willing participant in that world as well. The same spark of revolution you carried then, the same secret refusal, dwells in all people. How was it that you finally stopped fighting it? How was it that you came to realize that you were right all along, that the world offered to us is wrong, and that no life is worth living that does not in some way strive to create a better one? How was it that it became intolerable to devote your life energy toward the perpetuation of the old world? Most likely, it happened when the old world fell apart around your ears.

As the multiple crises of money, health, energy, ecology, and more converge upon us, the world is going to collapse for millions more. We must stand ready to welcome them into the tribe. We must stand ready to welcome them back home.

The time of loneliness, of walking the path alone, of thinking maybe the world is right and I am wrong for refusing to participate fully in it... that time is over. For years we walked around talking about how wrong everything is: the political system, the educational system, religious institutions, the military-industrial complex, the banking industry, the medical system -- really, any system you study deeply enough. We needed to talk about it because we needed to assure ourselves that we were not, in fact, crazy. We needed as well to talk about alternatives, the way things should be. "We" should eliminate CFCs. "They" should stop cutting down the rain forests. "The government" should declare no fishing zones. This talk, too, was necessary, for it validated our vision of the world that could be: a peaceful and exuberant humanity living in co-creative partnership with a wild garden earth.

The time, though, for talking merely to assure ourselves that we are right is coming to an end. People everywhere are tired of it, tired of attending yet another lecture, organizing yet another discussion group online. We want more. A few weeks ago as I was preparing for a speaking trip to Oregon, the organizers told me, "These people don't need to be told what the problems are. They don't even need to be told what the solutions are. They already know that, and many of them are already in action. What they want is to take their activism to the next level."

To do that, to fully step into one's mission here on earth, one must experience an inner shift that cannot be merely willed upon oneself. It does not normally happen through the gathering or receiving of information, but through various kinds of experiences that reach deep into our unconscious minds. Whenever I am blessed with such an experience, I get the sense that some benevolent yet pitiless power -- the shaman in the story -- has reached across the void to quicken me, to reorganize my DNA, to rewire my nervous system. I come away changed.

One way it happens is through the "gathering of the tribe" I described in this story. I think many people who attended the recent Reality Sandwich retreat in Utah experienced something like this. Such gatherings are happening now all over the world. You go back, perhaps, to "real life" afterwards, but it no longer seems so real. Your perceptions and priorities change. New possibilities emerge. Instead of feeling stuck in your routines, life changes around you at a vertiginous pace. The unthinkable becomes commonsense and the impossible becomes easy. It may not happen right away, but once the internal shift has occurred, it is inevitable.

Here I am, a speaker and a writer, going on about how the time for mere talk has ended. Yet not all words are mere talk. A spirit can ride the vehicle of words, a spirit that is larger than, yet not separate from, their meaning. Sometimes I find that when I bow into service, that spirit inhabits the space in which I speak and affects all present. A sacredness infuses our conversations and the non-verbal experiences that are becoming part of my events. In the absence of that sacredness, I feel like a smart-ass, up there entertaining people and telling them information they could just as easily read online. Last Friday night I spoke on a panel in New York, one of three smart-asses, and I think many in the audience left disappointed (though maybe not as disappointed as I was in myself). We are looking for something more, and it is finding us.

The revolutionary spark of our true mission has been fanned into flames before, only to return again to an ember. You may remember an acid trip in 1975, a Grateful Dead concert in 1982, a kundalini awakening in 1999 -- an event that, in the midst of it, you knew was real, a privileged glimpse into a future that can actually manifest. Then later, as its reality faded into memory and the inertial routines of life consumed you, you perhaps dismissed it and all such experiences as an excursion from life, a mere "trip." But something in you knows it was real, realer than the routines of normalcy. Today, such experiences are accelerating in frequency even as "normal" falls apart. We are at the beginning of a new phase. Our gatherings are not a substitute for action; they are an initiation into a state of being from which the necessary kinds of actions arise. Soon you will say, with wonder and serenity, "I know what to do, and I trust myself to do it."

Monday, February 22, 2010


I read this on an internet entheogen forum the other day. It is quite amazing that these conversations go on over such great distances. Human beings are so amazing.At times I am just flattened by the reality that so many people have access to so much medicine, and how this is effecting people. I trust that spirit guides these people in ways I cannot imagine, and i know that it guides them in ways that helps the world, and i think you can feel that from the words below.

Question: Greetings to all,
A friend has been tempting me to try the sacred cacti (peruvian torch), but Im a little resistant because of the duration and since Aya has worked so well as an ally thus far. So I would appreciate any comments and advice.
What I mainly want to know is how the healing compares with Aya. The day after Aya I always feel thoroughly healed and extremely mood elevated. Is that aspect present in the cacti?
Any admonitions are welcome.

Answer: If you feel depleted or tired after working with the cactus it means its not done working with you, and you must go back to it to get more work done. Then you do, and you still might be tired or exhausted the next day... you may have seen the sun rise and this may have brought the power of the cactus to you for a few more hours giving you a look at what more you must do to get cleaned up and clear. So then you go back... this time you give more to the cactus then it gives to you, and you bloom, you flower, and after that you are no longer tired, you are well and you are well for a long time. there is no next day feeling fine healing... it goes on for the rest of your life, but for months after words you have this strong glowing inner power that attracts others that need healing, some people who you never have met or will meet again, think of you as holy, and this is the first time that had ever crossed their minds.
you are changed and you can feel it...
it requires perseverance and patience, much like the cactus it self needs to grow and finally bloom.