światosław / tales from the world

cycle

November 11th, 2019

 

I started my adventure with ayahuasca not by any kind of extraordinary psychedelic, visionary experience, but as concrete physical healing, one not separable however from intellectual and emotional understanding. I had stones in my kidneys and associated pain while pissing, during nearly whole winter, in period that separated two first ceremonies and then until I went to Brasil. Finally, there in the jungle, standing in toilet, watching rain pouring outside, I realized that I am urinating without any problem, just as the rain in front of me.

 

That flow, circulating movement, is life. When it is broken for some reason, when the circle is not complete, when our blockages, stiffness, our lifestyle choices affect it, decay and degeneration begins. There is no flow in death, no juices running in dry stick.

 

Same thing applies to any nature, the one in us and the one “on the outside¨ alike, this is for example why often great wave of purge runs through the ceremony, pushing people down to their buckets, right when long accumulating throughout the evening clouds finally burst with tropical rain.

 

We go through same circular journey, harvesting, smashing, cooking hundreds of liters of murky brew, then concentrating it, drinking in the night and puking it out with what needs to be purged, emptying those buckets afterwards under trees where new vine grows.

 

Some have it hard. Having read a lot before coming here, they are suprised to have several ceremonies without vomiting, without visions appearing. The block is strong in a culture so focused on strenghth and fixed truths rather than surrender and flexibility.

 

Now the dry season should already be over. And yet our tanks are empty, water shortage, distruption in the cycle. We have giant pots of ayahuasca drying out, waiting to be cooked, and no water coming. In the time of climate change, the ones to first feel its effects are those who live like us, in tune with elements, not sheltered from them by brute force of money and machinery, petrol and pumps, able to postpone the direct consequences.

 

This happening in the very same period in which we are supporting indigenous Achuar communities fighting consequences of petrol contaminating their waters ( https://web.facebook.com/notes/psychonauta-foundation/to-give-back-petrol-contamination-in-amazon/2451079018477235/ ) shows us clearly, Standing Rock is here too, and it is coming to you. It also shows again the meaning of the medicine work.

If you are able to see that and do the work in the internal universe within you, you will have no doubt what matters in the world out there.

 

highest

November 10th, 2019

 

 

“highest inna di kingdom trees balancing over we.

humble within wrong is good spirit.

that is good spirit”

 

Often when I look at this king of trees towering above our horizon, I recall the song by Midnite, ¨Kingdom Trees¨. A lot of rasta metaphors are about plant world, and it was through rastafarianism I started my spiritual explorations outside of Europe. This syncretic mysticism, especially its ¨roots¨organic form, grounded in basic of nature, helped form part, to use again rasta figure, of my foundation, and until today remains a source of in-spiration, even if other plants now are fuel for my reasoning.

So to the roots I bow and today pay the homage for wise person that has just passed, Vaughn Benjamin, lead singer of Midnite.

 

Within being wronged, I found my home, in the shade of highest of trees. Now the tough part, while abundance and strength rises, to stay humble.

 

 

light fantastic

November 7th, 2019

 

It requires no great futuristic abilities to say that very soon enabling your child to experience magic away from tablet or smartphone screen will be both a rare luxury and an act of social rebellion. Do the move first, without worrying about the others. It is the same as any other step out of cultural trance, like giving up socializing with alcohol or rat race for the best school. The benefits can be only truly seen once you make the jump.

riding the broom

November 7th, 2019

 

 

Art of healing can be compared to art of carving, in this aspect of removal of excess as a way to reveal hidden beauty. It is not so much by adding something – like a magic pill that makes you full – but by getting rid, purging, removing obstacles that block one from understanding and his body from healthy growth and flourishing, we are allowing patient ( the one who is patient ) to heal.

We are talking of course about so called “alternative” or holistic healing, not paradigm of broken machine, that cares not much what made it broken. This holistic approach does not simply respect spirituality, as some helpful gimmick for aiding proper, biological course of treatment with improvements in psychological well being. Here, spirituality is essential, and what we are personally interested in, is not superficial layer, which god you worship or what colour of robes put on, but what is under the Mask, and what is in common. So if you look at actual practice of many serious spiritual traditions, you will see that activity of cleansing of physical environment is very common one. It may be symbolic, like sage or palo santo smoke to ward negative energies, but very often it is literal, as first step given to apprentice, here is your broom. Remember that quote from Terence Mc Kenna, comparing psychedelics and eastern traditions with their meditation, when admitting his lack of patience, he said that you can either spend 15 years sweeping floor of ashram to get a glimpse of something, or just take psychedelics. Well, maybe that is where his main mistake lied, and why he never was able to connect deeper with Amazonian shamanism with its discipline, but chose rather to experiment with his DMT pipe and mushroom megadoses, blazing trails for legions of current psychonauts, who often also have trouble with sweeping their filthy yard, but no trouble at all breaking next boundary of high.

This example here is given, because grandpa Terence was one of great inspirations on my way, and so I feel entitled in a way to give this advice to fellow psychonauts. The idea of our project here, Psychonauta Foundation, is not to abandon exciting journey into one’s soul, but to furnish the voyager with tools and skills, in other words, give him foundation, so that the journey is more productive and one can bring something back to the port. Because after a while, it is being in the port that can become more difficult, and so I believe Mc Kenna was completely wrong in his quote :

“It’s not hard to sweep up around the ashram, but it’s hard to take psychedelics.”

It is opposite, tells you someone who really has been places. You may have encountered elves or angry Somalis, in this realm or another, but does really more and more continue to bring you more meaning? You might have understood this easily about consumerist society and money, when unhappy with it, you set for your psychedelic oddyssey, but can’t the same happen with unquenchable thirst for experience?

When you sweep the floor and enjoy not only the beauty created by act of cleaning, but act itself, as you enjoyed the ceremony last night, that made it filthy, you come closer to balance and peace with this world, that eventually has to be left behind. But I believe the access to eternity lies not in dreaming about its shape and form that is to come, but in firm grasp of your broomstick, now.

al haqq

November 7th, 2019

 

 

It is both sense of great joy and fulfilment for us, who had exchanged stimulation of nomadic life for being settled in this forest, as well as essential part of the therapeutic process, that our camp has become a meeting place for people from so diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages and paths of life. Source of healing is precisely the energy resulting from those encounters, exchange of experiences through conversations, feeling but even more through extraordinary, almost telepathic connection in the ceremonies, and so happens greater understanding of self, own suffering and way out of it, through honest seeing and acknowledging it in other, and so in all, in One. We are willingly laid bare in front of others, as we have maybe never even been in front of ourselves, and we can do it, laughing at the concept of shame, because we have seen that there is no Other. Rastafarian concept of I&I, Christian selfless love for one´s brother, dissolving the drop in the ocean, poetry of mankind has many names for what mystics had glimpsed, and there is no point in waiting who is do first step when effects benefit all. Forgive now, truly love yourself and rest grows from it.

To zarowno zrodlo wielkiej radosci i spelnienia dla tych z nas, ktorzy zamienili stymulacje nomadycznego zycia na osiadly tryb w tym kawalku lasu, jak rowniez niezbedna czesc terapeutycznego procesu, ze nasz oboz stal sie miejscem spotkan ludzi z tak roznorodnych sciezek zyciowych, kultur, grup wiekowych i spolecznych. Zrodlem uzdrawiania jest dokladnie energia wyplywajaca z tych spotkan, wymiany doswiadczen, konwersacji, wspol-czucia czy tym bardziej niezwyklych, niemalze telepatycznych polaczen w ceremoniach, i to tak staje sie wielki cud doglebnego zrozumienia siebie, wlasnego cierpienia i drogi z niego wyjscia, poprzez uczciwe dojrzenie i uznanie go w innym, i tym samym we wszystkich, w Jedni. Swiadomie i chetnie obnazamy sie przed innymi, tak jak nigdy nie uczynilismy tego nawet przed soba samym, i mozemy to robic, smiejac sie z idei wstydu, poniewaz zobaczylismy ze nie ma Innego. Rastafarianski koncept I&I, chrzescijanska bezinteresowna milosc blizniego, rozpuszczenie kropli w oceanie, poezja ludzkosci ma wiele okreslen na ten przeblysk zrozumienia mistykow, i nie ma sensu czekac kto ma uczynic pierwszy krok, jezeli jego owoce beda dla wszystkich. Przebacz juz teraz, kochaj siebie szczerze, a reszta z tego wyrasta.

sweat as medicine

November 7th, 2019

 

 

Foundation myths of a culture tell a lot about its approach to fundamental issues of human life. Eating from Tree of Knowledge being a sin in eyes of jealous god, projection of priestly caste and rulers needing religion as tool of social control is well known example, another is work as punishment.

Judeo-christian perspective of paradise as some distant, lost place before and after, without burden of obligations and work not only can be read as longing of sedentary, agricultural civilization for times of free roaming nomads, gathering what they need from abundant garden of nature, but is also conveniently fitting in modern capitalist economy, with its obsession of mechanization, taking away more and more tasks from human consumer, in theory to make his life easier and happier, in practice fulfilling need only to create another, placing him in constant bipolar struggle between workaholism despite abundance already present, and idle emptiness in wealth and depression. It echoes in Warren Buffet´s saying that if you don’t find a way to earn in your sleep, you will be working until the end of your life.

And WTF is wrong with that?

Isn´t that approach, that work is means to a final end, result, redemption in vacation or wealthy retirement, corresponding with Christian approach to life, that the reward will come when we do the necessary work, some time later, so we have to face that dull hell of the present? Focus on destination, not the way, on prize rather than the game itself, is a source of perpetual unfulfillment and unhappiness. We created that exile ourselves, not angry Jehovah, not by being forced do the work, but by our minds taking over, with their worrying and preoccupation with future, and distorting image of present moment, including possible beauty of effort itself.

When we chop the wood, preparing it for the ceremony that comes in the evening, it is not that this sweating is something to be hated, and state of bliss after drinking ayahuasca something to be waited for and loved, because we fixed ourselves on the idea that this is ceremony, this is celebration time, sacred time, while the preparation, menial work is mundane and necessary. Chopping wood IS the ceremony, as much as burning palo santo or singing icaros.
Same logic can be applied to any activity. When you cook, you should not see that as a chore, necessary to satisfy yourself with gorging later. Etc, etc, but I should conclude with important : we heard the phrase, do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life. But that not only means, find your bliss, and become a windsurfing instructor.

It means : love everything

 

 

From the perspective of working within an old, non Western tradition of healing, what limitation and potential problem can be seen in new, so called “psychedelic renaissance” happening in the West? It is perhaps hard to convey with words, because it is precisely about words and intellect. In our opinion one can not effectively break the prison created in modern society by hegemony of mind, using tools and approach that to such extent favours the mind, the logical and disregards in worst case, or in best, is not very skilled in dealing with emotion, vibration, and much less with what is awkwardly labeled supernatural or spiritual.

 

The very idea that so called psychedelic substances are best ( or only ) to be used in clinical setting, by people with years of intellectual, university preparation, to help “patients” blocked in their development by dominant mind ( which is clear in issues such as depression ) seems only paradox when watched from outside of that paradigm. The mind and its relative, language, creates our world, so it is only natural that one living within it, knows no better. However, when then this way of seeing and working is projected upon the Other, who does have an alternative, which could perhaps be a way of salvation, there is a risk that this very alternative will be disregarded and destroyed.

 

Shaman blowing tobacco smoke on patient’s head can be only accepted as cultural relic, ancient practice that civilized people learned to respect ( very recently actually ) but would rather have delegated to museum unless it can be rationally A) understood B) proven C) explained in words/literature , all requisites of mind paradigm.

 

Of course, value of some non verbal “aides” to healing process slowly starts to be recognized, when intuition is given a bit of humble space, some plants will be placed in clinical setting, sometimes incense lit, young assistant to the professor will be permitted to choose playlist to play through patient’s headphones. These efforts are rather considered secondary improvement to the main structure, which is composed of authority of university degree, therapeutic tool of words and belonging of “clinical setting” to whole modern knowledge edifice.

 

From perspective of organic, traditional plant medicine systems this is kindergarten play. Good that these experiments are taking place, but very arrogant when those who are just beginning to get off their head and stand on their feet are looking down on the very foundation.

 

That foundation is somatic. It is emotional. It is, do not be afraid of this, spiritual. Intellectual understanding is just a cherry on top, it should be the addition, not other way around. But what is the biggest obstacle from being so? Impossibility of standarisation and so commercialization of both that non verbal knowledge and healing styles. Our civilization is, at least since spread of print, so much based on knowledge stadarized into small bits, that can be repeated, passed on a mass scale from mind to mind, that it simply does not want to see alternative, or perhaps sees it as shameful relic of pre-modern past.

This attitude is replicated in ways of modern medicine, if something can not be replicated in standarized bits, be it repeatable dose of chemically verifiable drug ( hence the psychedelic renaissance interest in MDMA rather than rough jungle formulas ) or standarized treatment procedures, to be taught in medical schools and books, it remains on the fringe – rather than essence it truly is :

somatic, sensual, magical experience of here and now, lacking rigidness of both religion it sometimes decays into, or fundamentalism of science, religion of urbanized societies; an ancient ART – art back from being lost in wastelands of ego, back to its primary function of making whole – HEALING.

Faerie land

July 2nd, 2019

 

 

Another way to access the world of the Fae was to find a secret entrance. These were typically guarded, but every once in a while an enterprising adventurer would find his way in. Often, he found upon leaving that more time had passed than he expected. In several tales, mortals who spend a day in the fairy realm find that seven years have passed in their own world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That gate is within, and yet, it opens magic doors everywhere in This reality.

 

 

 

 

 

“Taussig wrote that the perception of the shaman as the creator of order from chaos mirrors the romantic notions of the Western imagination rather than the reality of shamanism. The anthropologist pointed out that the very talk about the shamans’ mystical trips to the heavenly spheres and their organic unity with their tribes is an example of a ‘‘fascist fascination.’’ This is clearly a reference to the scholarship and intellectual background of Eliade, the classic scholar of shamanism studies, who paid tribute to nationalist soil ideology during his early years. The anthropologist simultaneously took on those of his colleagues who associate order with good and disorder with evil. Taussig saw in the anarchy and disorder of Amazon ayahuasca spiritual sessions a helpful antidote to the Western ‘‘fascist’’ order, which is rooted in the European Enlightenment with its logic, rationalism, and discipline. According to Taussig, in this spiritual anarchy lies the liberation potential of shamanic sessions. If we are to believe the anthropologist, one of the Putumayo shamans he met directly pointed out to him, ‘‘I have been teaching people revolution through my work with plants.’’

 

 

“Taussig pisał, że postrzeganie szamana jako tworzącego porządek z chaosu jest odbiciem romantycznych koncepcji z zachodniej wyobraźni a nie rzeczywistości szamanizmu. Antropolog wskazywał, iż samo gadanie o mistycznych podróżach szamanów do niebiańskich sfer i ich organicznej jedności ze swoim plemieniem to przykład “faszystowskiej fascynacji”. To jasna aluzja do prac i intelektualnych korzeni Eliade, klasycznego badacza szamanizmu, który oddawał hołd nacjonalistycznej ideologii ziemi podczas swoich wczesnych lat. Antropolog jednocześnie uderza w swoich kolegów, którzy łączą porządek z dobrem i chaos ze złem. Taussig w anarchii i chaosie ayahuaskowych duchowych sesji widział przydatne antidotum do zachodniego “faszystowskiego” porządku, zakorzenionego w europejskim Oświeceniu, ze swoją logiką, racjonalizmem i dyscypliną. Według Taussiga, to w duchowej anarchii leży wyzwalający potencjał szamańskich sesji. Jeżeli mamy mu wierzyć, usłyszał te słowa bezpośrednio od jednego z szamanów z Putumayo : “Poprzez swoją pracę z roślinami uczę ludzi rewolucji”.

 

[ "The Beauty of the Primitive. Shamanism and the Western Imagination", Andrei A. Znamenski ]

 

 

best spoken around the fire

February 6th, 2019

I am often asked, why not publish a book about my experiences? It for sure would be more effective in spreading knowledge about certain things and issues than this blog or random articles somewhere. But I came to believe that certain things are more important than “effectiveness”, like truth and honesty, and we all shift our values from latter to former, that unreigned beast called progress could be introduced to his potential fiancee, harmony.

 

First of all, I love how my life became in ways, let me use this fashionable word, organic. So I think it perfectly fits the style, if I pass certain observations, insights to individuals gathered together, going already through similar process, hence willing and ready to receive, by direct conversation. It fits the style of off- grid living, rather than jetting around the world of my days before. Feels right when it’s done while scraping the medicinal roots, so far removed from extracted single compounds, in bottles listing countless side effects in tiny sings called print.

 

 

 

 

Because it is not only about romantic fancy of stepping back into oral culture. I think that is not a coincidence that now, when we are recreating / rediscovering ancient techniques of communication with the spirit world, reviving the mythical, that alternative to print ways of communication become important. There is much more than words that direct, oral communication can convey to those who are prepared to hear it, going through initiation, open and present.

 

Word is like a seed, and it has to fall on fertile ground. Of course, one can scatter it in thousands of copies, hoping that some of them trigger something more than intellectual understanding, or worse, blind quasi religious following.  But we have wasted already so many trees, and besides, there is a risk of devaluation of the message but making it too public too quickly. Many initiatory traditions understood it, most likely long before Al-Halaj has been executed for his too enthusiastically shared revelation.

 

The other risk is of inflating one’s ego, enamored with sound of own message, its impact, influence, income it brings, and in the meantime, its readers, always happy to receive instructions from the exterior, live in the description rather than in the experience itself. Despite “those who know are silent and those who don’t know, speak” there has been too many Oshos, producing countless volumes, financing their limousines, and binding thousands of believers in stupor of attachment, while both the herd and the shepherd lived far from what was preached.

 

Word can be countereffective. It can be based upon and point to the example of someone’s experience, and then negated and opposed by the one who doesn’t have such an experience, and therefore block him from it. Word is dualistic discussion, constant monkey chatter, that scares away many more subtle messages present in the cosmos of the forest. And it is through the forest that I am learning in recent years. It is good to silence oneself there to hear more, especially in the path of medicinal dietas, path of vibrating with the plants. When one reveals secrets too soon and open, not only they loose their potency, but one may be blocked from receiving more. Better to keep tuning in, refining that shared vibration frequency, and then enable others to join in the song, in full presence and participation, until truth and harmony is so clearly visible, heard and felt that it needs to be discussed no more.

 

 

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