I thought I would delve back into the realm of Ayahuasca - the Vine of the Soul.
Almost a year ago, I contacted Benny Shanon. Mr. Shanon is one of the world's top researchers on Ayahuasca from a Western psychological perspective. His work Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience is a large tome documenting ten years of his, and numerous subjects, experiences with the medicinal Amazon plant brew.
I really enjoyed the book because I could relate to much of it and it was scientific and rational, yet bridged the seemingly irrational worlds of Ayahuasca and shamanism. This kind of work is great for helping us integrate worlds and to usher respect and acceptance to such powerful medicines as Ayahuasca. I encourage you to read the book, though it is hard to find - best to order it.
Mr. Shanon is a very accomplished and published academic. One of his more recent quotable papers had him suggesting that Moses was probably high on something like Ayahuasca when he was on Mount Sinai.
Mr. Shanon was very approachable when I contacted him and I wrote him a testimony of my own transformation after a few years of working with the plants and of course, Maestro Flores. He was touched by it and has promised me a detailed response ( I have not received one yet).
I will share this with you because I feel the time is right. I have tried to share this with those close to me to no avail. Most just stare at me blankly as they have no reference point to understand it. So I stopped doing that, but here on the blog, which is increasingly part of a community of people helping consciousness soar to new heights, I will share what is in many ways my most personal experience. Heck, why not!
In the name of understanding a little bit more about the mysteries of consciousness here is the testimony that I wrote.
An Ayahuasca Testimony
April 21, 2008
I have been taking ayahuasca for three years now. At least once a month, but often more. I have only taken the brew made by the Ashanincan curandero Juan Flores from Peru. I originally connected with Juan through the help of Jeremy Narby. I first tried it in the Amazon with Juan at his healing centre Mayantuyacu. Since then I take it at home in Canada. Juan has visited twice to my home where we have done ceremonies with him. After his first visit I started to take ayahuasca in a ceremony setting like he has taught me. At that point I started singing the icaros along with a recording of him doing a ceremony. During his second visit he invited me to sing and run the ceremonies with him. Now I am running the ceremonies for more and more people, including doing the healing soplado that he has taught me.
Clearly I could talk for days on end about my experience with Ayahuasca, but what I am more interested in sharing is the more dramatic, unusual and permanent changes that I have undergone, particularly the changes in my visual world.
Not soon after my first trip to Mayantuyacu I started to see brief glimpses of what seemed like foggy light. I noticed it as different and then tried to focus on it when it appeared. At first I had doubts that it was my eyes deteriorating or that I was making it up, but slowly overtime more stuff started to appear. Within just under a year I started to see with my eyes open a fluid like substance of tiny miniscule dots and an array of snake-like/worm-like, transparent things that would change their position. Sometimes they would be all bunched up; sometimes they would be stretched out. Theses forms themselves have circles in them. Almost bubble like. Over time I noticed one particular bunch of this worm stuff that was wrapped with other ones and almost created a sort of octopus object with tentacles. Now that it has been three years I feel like what I am seeing is fully formed and am I at a stage where I am learning to work with it or understand it better. The stuff I see is transparent with dark outline, and so it best seen outside with natural light, but more and more it is visible inside, especially with the light of my computer or TV. I describe this stuff as a projection. Because if I look up at the sky it is bigger, if I look at my hand it is smaller. It all depends on what I use as my “screen.” Overcast days are the best. I call this stuff a fluid because that is how it acts. Whichever way I move my eyes and direction of sight, the stuff and fluid like space of tiny specks moves that way as well and then it all settle downs until I move again. I can play with it that way by shifting my eyes up and down. The specks that surround the worm things and the bubbles seem to reach out to infinity. When I am working on something and not trying to focus on this stuff it often looks like shadow in my vision, but it is easy to ignore if need be. I feel like it is designed for me to watch normal reality and not be distracted but yet still be “informed” by it. Interesting enough if I shut my eyes, I can still make out shadows of the shapes. The next interesting thing that has happened with this is around the time of Juan’s first visit I noticed a specific dot that was very dark and stark. It only came once and awhile, but overtime it appeared more often. I quickly felt that this dot was connected to my mind as directed from between my eyes, mainly because I often felt incredible tingling in that spot as well. The dot eventually developed an outer circle and then two outer rings. I would only see it every week or so, but now I see it almost as soon as I step outside. The rings of the circle are much darker than the other worm stuff, so it really stands out for me. I can now see a subtle white glow around the circle that seems to be developing more. I can now see it as I am typing. If I am talking to someone it often appears on their face when I am looking at them. I find that when the dot and circle appears it is often on the periphery of my vision, but I can use my mind to direct it more in line and in front of me in between my two eyes. Sometimes I find if I think about relaxing and directing my mind backwards into the middle of my head that the circle and dot appears. Weird stuff.
It was not hard for me to determine that this dot and circle, or what I like to call my “point” is a target of mine. It is my guide. Its like I have a GPS for my life and I can watch it lead me there. Sometimes I feel it is a black hole or something. When I do ayahuasca now and sing the icaros the point becomes wider and looks like a black hole. It’s like an iris that opens up in the ayahuasca state even more. I asked Juan during his visit what this was that I was seeing. He told me a couple of things. He said it is as if I am holding a piece of cloth up to the sun and the light shines through and I can see the outlines and weaving of the material being held up. However, my intuition tells me that the light that allows me to do this is coming from me, not the sun. Second he told me the point is my work and when I see it, it means I am balanced and on track. Sometimes I see another point and I think he said that was his work. He also said everything I see is the information that I have and can access. Perhaps it’s my soul memory?
What is beautiful about of this state of being is that I am always reassured and have been able to leave any doubt behind, because I have my own visual guide that I can rely on and have faith in. The interesting thing about this experience is it has not freaked me out at all and seems normal, yet when I reflect on it from the perspective of the person I use to be, I am reminded that this is highly unusual and without doubt awakens me to the mystery of consciousness.
Now during my ayahuasca ceremonies I am beginning to learn how to use my hand positions to interact with the energy I am generating while I sing the icaros. As I sing and my experience is peaking I shut my eyes and can see a symbolic and geometric realm that is influenced by my voice as I sing. There are beings in this space, that seem made of the same material as the space itself, and they show things and I feel telepathically teach me what to do. They are very playful. While I am singing I find the sound of my voice alters in the way I hear it. At first it was hard to keep it together, but now I can work more without blowing my lid as I use to. Now that I use my hands I can see and hear the difference of my hand positions. I found a sweet spot with my hands that greatly amplified the volume of my voice (at least for me). I feel the hand movements help me direct my energy towards the other participants. I presume that knowing this hand movement and their relationship to energy can be used all the time in my normal life. I never use to sing. I was known to have a horrible voice. Now over time, with help of ayahuasca, I sing. My voice changes every ceremony as it reaches new heights and new potential. The vibrations that I am learning to generate with it while using the plant amazes me incredibly.
In the last few months I am now running ayahuasca ceremonies in my dreams, often with Juan in them. We are together in dreams at least once a week. I see this realm as the next frontier for me with my ayahuasca work. I will leave this testimony at this, because I could go on forever about this wonderful medicine. I come from a non-spiritual and rational background, and so I am curious about the real potential for integrating this medicine into my modern life and career as an artist and filmmaker. I like where Narby is going in relation to the molecular world and spirit world being the same. I feel like what I see is incredibly molecular in nature. My best description of something it looks like is what it looks like to look through a microscope.
Thanks for reading this testimony. I am interested in figuring out a way to best understand what I am going through so that it can be shared with others in a meaningful way. Any insight from your end would be greatly appreciated.
I wrote this a year ago. If I wrote it today it would be different as things have progressed. The number one teaching I get from this experience is that in the realm of the infinite, I (WE/ME) know so little and I (WE/ME) have so far to go.
It is truly humbling.
Be well my friends.
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