I’ve been in Peru for two months now. It’s been quite the journey!! Definitely got to learn a lot about my own shadows, about darkness, about proper shamanic guidance for ceremony work with sacred plants and about shamanic dietas. I feel blessed. I feel super lucky. I feel super grateful for being here in the jungle with the Shipibo family of Antonio Vasquez Galaretta. These people are the embodiment of light and love. They are pure to the core of their souls and hearts. They really want the best for us. True healing, true medicine, on all levels of existence. I am so lucky. I got here effortless, just following the flow of life. I stayed with a group of 12 Dutch people at a different centre here in Dinamarca where I met Tete who introduced me to Antonio. It just felt right so I went for it. Good call.
On arrival to Peru, I first stayed in Iquitos for 3 weeks. I had contacts of friends of friends who had been in Peru for a long time already. Lived with the family of Arnaldo and Jenny in the middle of the jungle near a town called Tamishaku for two weeks. There I did two plant dietas, one with ojé and one with chiric sanango. The latter significantly improved my dream time and shamanic journeying but the effects wore off within a week. Maybe one day, a longer diet with this plant could be very useful. It is frequently used for shamanic initiations.
The reason I am in Peru is to learn about sacred plant medicine. Specifically I have the strong want to learn more about ayahuasca. About how to hold ceremonies, how to clean the space, protect the participants, guide the energies within the people and to keep any unwanted forces outside. Secondly I have a strong desire to learn how to channel. I ran into a great book that may bring me further on that path. I am also very curious to merge my soul with plant spirits. I read and heard many things about the ‘spirits of the plants’, how they are an intelligence on this world with which we have lost connection completely in the West (Heaven and Charing, 2014 and McKenna, 1992). Interesting enough no matter where you go, the ‘primitive people’ around the globe all share the same understanding of reality. Everything is energy made up of different frequencies of vibrations. Matter is the same as light, it simply resonates at a lower frequency. The outside world which we experience with our five senses is an illusion, a hologram. We create the world with our thoughts. We are all connected and we are all part of one greater intelligence. All tribes and ancient civilisations talk about the soul, about the afterlife, about higher dimensional beings with whom we can communicate and about a multidimensional reality within which we can actually ‘travel’. I always thought this ‘travelling’ would be with our physical body. How wrong I was has been proven to me through experience over the last years since my awakening, mainly with the help of our little friends the mushrooms.
I have been inspired by the ‘magick couple’ Paul Stefan Jureschi and Fabiana Vagelli. Over the last two years I have been working with Paul Stefan in ceremonies in the Netherlands and since January 2015 Fabiana joined. The first time I drank ayahuasca was on May the 10th 2014. Here I was reborn, it was my spiritual awakening. My life since has never been the same. The couple have helped me tremendously with exploring the deepest parts of my psyche, the light, the love and also the darkness and shadows. They are able to ‘channel’ higher dimensional beings and pretty much get answers to every and any question we may have in life about ourselves, others and about the nature of reality. They really are MAGICK. You can find more info about them through me, or on the following website:
Before meeting PS, I had a strong rational, reductionist, materialistic and scientific view about reality and spirituality. I actually thought all this talk about ‘energies’ and about ‘frequencies’ was a load of baloney. A soul?? Never been proven or measured. It does not exist!! Always had a strong resentment against any kind of religion and the accompanying blind faith in a superior intelligence such as God. Two different girls entered my life in the two years preceding my first ayahuasca ceremony who were very ‘spiritual’. They told me about souls and the ‘other worlds’, about ET’s, about frequencies and vibrations and how we were all connected. Even though I had gone through some pretty intense unexplainable mystical experiences in those two years, I still held a strong opposition against many of the stories. I knew there had to be more in life than just molecules, atoms and the physics of reality as ‘discovered’ by measurable sciences over the last eons. A soul however, doesn’t exist. When you die, it is game over. Nobody every measured the existence of the soul, it was purely based on belief and faith. Exactly those two factors have been the cause in my humble opinion, of most of the misery on our planet over the last thousands of years. Blind faith institutes such as the church (or any dogmatic religion) is very dangerous if you ask me. Look at the world. Male dominated partnership societies with no respect for human life, for our mother the Earth (McKenna, 1992) and completely out of touch with our spiritual nature.
This was my way of making sense of life: If you cannot prove to me rationally, logically or through experience, I don’t believe in it. I have had many internal struggles with this attitude over the last two years since my spiritual awakening. It is slowly changing into seeing my critical, rational mind as a gift instead of a burden. It had not been an easy path. Constantly defying my own beliefs and trying to open up to new experiences and standpoints. One shaman in Iquitos, Don Luis Pinedo, taught me the following after a ceremony:
“Get out of your head, move into your heart. The mind cannot know everything, it is too limited. What you see outside is an illusion, it is not ‘real’. Cultivate patience. Cultivate concentration. Once you have cultivated patience, you can do anything and everything! Go into a new situation ‘without knowing’.”
By this I mean, leave all your old beliefs behind you when you enter into a new situation. They will otherwise only limit you. Go in and experience all there is to experience. When you come out, look at what you have learned. What was useful? What resonated with you? What can you take out of it? Then and only then, throw everything out that makes no sense. This way you can fully experience whatever there is for you at this moment in life, without the limits the minds puts on it.
“It is very simple in the end. Not always easy, but very simple.”
He explained how the universe is just love. All of it. It is made of love and it is there for us to learn about love. The good and the bad, negative and positive, light and dark, they are all created from the same source. This coincides with what the indigenous people all over the globe believe, with recent quantum physics theories, with the statements of great legends such as Albert Einstein and Nicola Tesla and interesting enough with what is written in the bible. First ‘Let there be light’ and from there on God created the world. First he created day and night (duality) and from there on he created the physical reality which in essence is ‘slowed down light’ into matter. Read Drunvalo Melchizedek’s books about the flower of life and about the sacred heart space for more information about this and how the ancient civilizations applied this knowledge or watch the Spirit Science documentary about Sacred Geometry on YouTube:
Back to May the 10th, 2014. The first time I drank the sacred medicine of ayahuasca for without it I would not be where I am right now, nor would I be writing this blog post. This is my short report of a more than magickal night:
Ayahuasca ceremony. Wow…… Experienced, lived and became an unforeseen, inexhaustible and untameable primal energy. I was being super charged by it. I still am that force. I am it. De power is within me. Ecstatic connection, love, protection and grounding. My physical body is the residence for my soul. I have felt the separation. What the hell. Full of gratitude! What on earth is this potion called ayahuasca? I need to know more, learn more and experience more.
I wrote this addition a year later, in May 2015: I can still remember that ceremony very vividly. The explosion of energies. I went berserk at some point. Breathing deeper and deeper, clenching my fists, roaring like a lion. I was very much so awakened that ceremony. The incredible love for mother earth, from me to her and vice versa, was something I had never felt before. So much gratitude. Tessa singing the song, “I am grounded, I am connected, I am always loved and protected” resonated for weeks with me. I was living in a state of pure bliss, connectivity and inner peace for over a month. During that time I fell in love with Fiona McIntyre. Divine timing. So much light. So much love.
- I am a light being. A spiritual being residing in a physical body
- I am always guided and protected
- I am grounded and connected
- I am loved
- I am perfect
- I have my lessons to learn in life. It is a deeply intertwined path in life
- We are here to learn our lesson, and to provide our service. It is 50/50, both are equally important
- I have an immeasurable, infinite power residing in me which I can use in this reality, on this plane of existence. I don’t yet know for what though
I remember calling three of my girlfriends the next day. “I understand now!!! I have felt my soul!!! So this was what you were talking about all the time!!!” It completely changed my perspective on life, on reality and on spirituality. I was so thrilled by it that I felt everybody in the world should drink ayahuasca once in their life. This lead to some spiritual ego issues and manifestations of other shadows, all of which I have had the good fortune of working on since then. This medicine is not for the fainthearted, it is not for everyone. You have to be called to it. It is sacred and divine. It has an intelligence of its own. Not everybody is supposed ‘to wake up’ and that is totally fine. I believe ayahuasca has the intention and strong desire to spread out over the world. The plant kingdom is reaching out to us, to help us, to save us from extinction. The last two decades tens of thousands of Westerners have been drinking the medicine. A jungle city such as Iquitos attracts approximately 80.000 spiritual seekers every year. Many people in Europe and the USA are practising neo-shamanic rituals with the assistance of various sacred medicine such as ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote or San Pedro cacti and some with LSD. Other non-psychedelic tools such as meditation, shamanic drumming, astral travel and lucid dreaming, and many more techniques are also used for accessing altered states of consciousness. The efficacy of these states has been scientifically backed up, quite some research has been done in the west and many more projects are ongoing and being started every day. The therapeutic effects of these states pose potential solutions for many treatment resistant illnesses and diseases we are facing in growing numbers in the west (Winkelman, 2014). Mainly mental illnesses have been investigated, however some physical healing has also been documented. According to the indigenous people, 70 – 80% of all diseases can be cured with ayahuasca. If ayahuasca doesn’t cure it, then the medicine will show the curandero which other plants to use for the patient.
Ayahuasca didn’t cure me of all my depressions but it opened a path of healing to me that I believe no conventional psychotherapy could achieve. I read this statement the other day; “with the loss of religion in Western societies, we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.” What this means is that with the loss of religion we have also lost our touch with our innate spiritual nature. Science has provided a framework to make sense out of our lives in earth, but it misses the essence of who we are. You cannot measure the soul, nor can you measure essential states such as love and enlightenment. Most of us have been fortunate enough to fall in love in our lives, we know what it is but to describe that connection to another soul is impossible. It can only be experienced. Same goes for our connection with spirit. I had lost my connection, actually when I think about it I have only briefly experienced it for example during my first Vipassana meditation retreat. There I had an out of body experience which showed me the separation between the physical and the spiritual part of ourselves. I still brushed it off as something related to neurochemistry. Within the Vipassana retreat, you are invited to practice 14.5 hours of mediation per day, sitting in a very still position. This results in a lot of pain, especially in your legs, which you then try to observe with equanimity. Miraculously while being in severe pain, it suddenly dissipated and my whole body was filled with a very pleasant vibration. I soon found myself observing the hall with meditators from above, with myself sitting on the ground below me. After that experience I felt an unprecedented inner peace for a while. I figured my body produced adrenaline and sedatives in order to not feel the pain anymore and it were those hormones that created the state of utter bliss. Ayahuasca taught me that was simply not the case. I was connecting with the deepest parts of myself and because of it my consciousness disconnected from the physical plane into the void. This was something I have experienced several times with more intensity in the years following that retreat, with the help of psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca. True mystical experiences, life changing. Read ‘DMT: The Spirit Molecule’ by Rick Strassman for a more elaborate understanding of psychedelics and their power to invoke mystical experiences.
The quest never stopped. I become fascinated by the ayahuasca ritual and started helping with the organisation of the ceremonies in The Netherlands. Approximately 50+ of my friends and acquaintances have joined us, one by one experiencing life changing teachings by the medicine. I have seen the power of these sacred plants. I marvel at their existence and I frown upon the dogmatic views that the West holds against them, putting them in the same category as cocaine and heroin. They are listed as Schedule 1 substances meaning:
- No currently accepted medical use
- High potential for abuse
- Some of these substances include heroin, LSD, cannabis, XTC and peyote
All of the above are hilarious (except with regards to heroin) if you pose them to the original people that work with these tools for healing. It is absolutely absurd that plants can be prohibited to start with, more bizarre is that these tools of nature are consciousness expanding and are true teachers. For as long as we know mankind has always used substance to alter its consciousness. The true absurdity is that a depressant such as alcohol, which closes people off from themselves and those around them at higher dosages, is legal all over the world. It is our birth right to explore our own consciousness. How can a government restrict us from doing so?? It baffles me every time I think about it. Fortunately the Netherlands is a really liberal country and I have had the good fortune to be born there. I feel even more fortunate to be in the midst of the plant medicine centre of the world, here with the Shipibos in Peru.
I am here with Antonio Vasquez Galarreta, who you can find on YouTube in the documentary called ‘The Mirror of the Spirit (El Espejo Del Espíritu) 2014’. I am super grateful to have encountered this man. I think I have found someone who has a pure heart and can teach me more about the medicine.
My dream is to hold ceremonies for people in order to help them reconnect to their true selves, to plug them back into their birth right and to lift the veils of our limiting social conditioning. The world needs a lot of healing. Up until today I have not yet encountered a more powerful transformational tool than ayahuasca and psilohuasca (psilocybin mushrooms combines with extract of the ayahuasca vine).
Working with the sacred plants is not easy. It requires courage. It requires humility. It requires persistency and patience. It requires dedication to become a servant of the plant world, the intelligence that may be our last hope to save our species from total obliteration. We are racing towards a brick wall with 5000 miles per hour and don’t know where the brakes are. Many roads lead to Rome. Mine seems to be following the medicine path for now. Excited about the future. The next step is to open a 6 or 12 month dieta with Don Antonio here in Dinamarca. This is the way curanderos (plant healers) have been initiated for millennia. The plants actually start to teach you techniques of healing, songs to sing for the sick in order to cure and which plants to use for which illness. For us in the West this is a highly unusual way of learning, we don’t have anything that compares with it.
Depression, burn outs, obesity and the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants is in the rise since the 1940’s, while our levels of wealth are growing steadily. It is miraculous to see that however we have less stress about survival, we have never been this unhappy as the society at large (Strassman, 2001). I believe this is because we have lost connection with Mother Nature, with the spiritual part of existence and with our True Selves. The sacred medicine are reaching out to us, rapidly spreading out over the world. Many have found healing already, just like me. I am forever grateful to the plants and hope to be at their service for a large portion of my life. I realize that it is not the curandero who heals, really it is the plants that do. The curandero is simply a channel for the energy. He or she cleans and heals him/herself in order to provide a strong energetic container for the spirits of the plants to come in and do their work. It is humbling to realize it works this way. For more info about the work as an energetic healer, read Paul Eijkman’ book ‘Uwishin’.
Life is good. I feel blessed. Forever grateful for the flow the universe has taken me in order to land here in this jungle village where I am writing this article. I am surrounded by truly loving people, both of western and Shipibo origin. I feel at home. I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel grounded. I am up for the challenge, it excites me. Bring it on!
Much love from Santa Rosa de Dinamarca in Peru. Be well. Blessings. Love and light.
- Eijkmans, Paul – Uwishin, (unpublished). tsunki.com
- Heaven, Ross and Charing, Howard – Plant Spirit Shamanism, 2006
- McKenna, Terence – Food of the Gods, 1992
- Melchizedek, Drunvalo – Ancient Secret of The Flower of Life (vol.1&2). 2000
- Strassman, Rick – DMT: The Spirit Molecule, 2001
- Winkelman, Michael J. – Therapeutic Applications of Ayahuasca and Other Sacred Medicines. In The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca by Labate and Cavner (Editors). 2014