Article written for the zine Queer states
I am writing to you from the Amazon, having had my first ceremony here on New Year’s eve into 2018. The Maestro Juan explained that we are entering a new consciousness, where we see and know each other as spirits, that we are spirits embodied in this time and space, in this body and form. I, since a while, have been reclaiming the word soul, at least for myself, and it has been taking me on a personal as well as on a world/religion herstory journey. Soul- our unique souls interconnected within the world soul, and hence from a soul awaken consciousness one sees the world and everything ensouled – is often associated as well with the underworld, the otherworld, the dreamworld, and guided by daemons. Connected to what one would call sub- or unconsciousness because it is not in our conscious mind and thinking and part of what one allows or is aware about oneself in an ordinary daily life, lets say a western life style of doing and producing. Soul is hence in the hidden dark places, in the forgotten or unexpressed parts of oneself, the ones we have not shed light on, the shadow aspects. Sometimes used interchangeably with spirit, soul is however associated more with the sensuous, with attachment, the body, even if it is considered as living eternally before birth and after death and hence on a life journey where it will reincarnate to fulfil it’s lessons and path, it’s mission. It is also seen as a container of opposites, residing within paradox, and hence does not have that transcendent, rising quality that spirit is connoted with. Spirit is also often more associated with the mind, though, as with soul, it probably is misleading to associate it only to a specific body part. Soul, which has been attempted to pin to specific body parts, evades this attempt as one can’t just narrow it down to the heart or lungs, but it covers the whole body and beyond. It is what connects us to everything, the others, the world and the cosmos. Inner reaches of outer space, our soul is part of the anima mundi, or anima kosmos.
My first Ayuasca experience was in 2002 through Santa Daime, a two day ceremony, and hence two ceremonies, as a sort of alternative Christmas present by my housemates who all went as well as our neighbour, all of them having done ceremonies for a while. The first day, being novice, young and not knowing much about it, after the third glass of ayauasca, of which they gave us one every hour, it pulled me back and down, and I was lying for hours, dissolving any sense of self, of my body, space or time. My ego was completely shattered. I was surprised as somebody not knowing myself to be drawn to dark energies or images, not preoccupied with death, nor specifically into Goth, witches or other more sombre energies or movements, I was in hell. I saw dying, burning, decaying bodies crying, screaming and reaching for me, from babies to skeletons to which like looking old women with long hair and putrefying and falling apart, in agony. I also saw/felt my body stretching over vast distances, like a thin elastic fabric, kind of evading, fading away, with holes, like liquid latex skin that you can peel away. After the first day, starting at ten in the morning till about ten at night, with some dinner and a good night’s sleep, the next day I felt refreshed and after a sauna session I entered the second ceremony, even though the previous day I wanted to get out and away and was asking myself why did I go again into such a situation, after I had not done any drugs for about four years, having left it in my early teens where I had sometime overwhelming experiences and intense scenarios, from the age of thirteen to fifteen, and hence a similar feeling of loosing control overtook me. Now I understand that surrendering and letting go is part of it and one of the lessons, and that hell and the underworld are part of our collective subconscious and part of mine.
Luckily Ayuasca opened my heart and mind again to substances for a consciousness altering intention. Even if we as teens did sort of ceremony like gatherings in the forest, at somebody’s home or in a chalet, with LSD and shrooms mainly, we also consumed them and other drugs as recreational drugs in different situations, and I felt an inclination in people to abuse them, or it seemed to me a self-destructive path, and that scarred or moved me away from it at the time. Now after the ceremony I started to talk with other participants, with doctors, meditators, Buddhists, artists, parents who had their kids in the ceremony and got to learn about Ayuasca and more generally the role certain plants play in our life, the relation to our consciousness, soul and spirit they connect us with, and how humans and tribes had these relations with plants since time and all over the world. The difference is that it was integrated into the community, the tribe’s rituals, and hence not forbidden and criminalized as it is nowadays in many places. If consciously approached and supported, these botanical beings communicate with us, heal us, teach us and support us on our soul journey, to reconnect with other dimensions and the divine, hence entheogens.
It took me about four to five years to enter again a ceremony among friends in France, in which we held the space for ourselves, three of us, and drank at our own timing, as well as being free to have our own connection to the plant without santa daime’s set structure. Again, I had this overwhelming unpleasant feeling of losing control, only this time I went outside and surrendered, purging into the river and then, when I lifted my head to the sky, I was in heaven, I felt the interconnectedness of all the dots, the love of this cosmic dance. I kept saying thank you and amazing, as well as singing and could feel that all three of us went into a deep state of consciousness. It was profoundly beautiful, probably the most divine experience I had, and it stayed with me, I would cherish it, talk about it and my interest in Ayuasca grew more. However, surprisingly, it took about eight years till I made it to my last ceremony before coming here, in Ibiza, within the community “Semillaz del Luz”. The message from the ceremony was to do a longer ceremony in the Amazon. Now here I am, in Pucallpa, after three days in a centre with Maestro Juan and my first Tobacco ceremony on the morning of the 31stof December, which consists of drinking the Tobacco liquid and seven litres of water and hence, purging. I felt like I had finally arrived here in Peru. It was flowing through my veins and lightening me up, as well as grounding me and I felt like a panther, quiet and serene. A bit later I started to have a pulsing in my vagina and I processed my sexual herstory and relations, as well as creating a cosy space for myself in private and dedicating good time to honouring my vagina and my womb. And she started to write, taking space and attention and asking for attention and respect, for grace and admiration. Since I am in this jungle land I feel such female nourishing energy, the Amazon and it’s fertile, green land, humid climate, lakes, rivers, flowers, birds, wildness….and in the paintings here of visionary artists, such as Pablo Amaringo and his students, and the walls here astound with paintings of women, sirens, older women shamans, strong Amazonian girls, female and strong beings. I am not in the position to go into their culture much as I am a novice here, and I do not really know how the women here stand in society, and images of nude sexy women washing your car or for a party poster are also to be seen, at least at a lesser degree than the female honouring onces, in jungle villages. Also, most women look like the female idea with long hair and it seems very traditional in terms of loads of babies. Never have I seen so many pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Long turn to come back to what I wanted to say, that it seems like the culture, and maybe because of the Ayuasca, people seem to honour the feminine, such as the nature and nature spirits, and the soul with the underworld and the cosmos, life beyond birth and death. Ayuasca is considered as the vine of death, or the vine of the soul, as well as as the grandmother, and hence as a female energy.
Our New Year’s eve ceremony was sweet, very soft, enough to make me feel that I was being filled with warmth and soul, and to feel like a channel for Ayuasca to sing through me, to listen and follow the voice inside of me and letting it out. In that state I feel the vibrations of the voice and the patterns I sing even clearer, and it becomes a massage, like shining light in different body parts, creating specific frequencies for specific energies, such as when the panther emerged again in my vision my voice responded and went very deep. It is beautiful how the senses merge and to hear each other’s songs and to relate or respond to them. When I went to lie down I started to process again ancestors, family members and our relationships, and I felt like a call to introduce some of my family and friends to plant medicine, to spread the light. I also processed personal memories, some clearly physical, such as in my nose, and I had images of the plundering of the villages there within the inquisition and how peace can be plundered upon, how beautiful this place is but also how fragile in the sense where oil companies are surrounding it and there is still work to do on our human global consciousness towards global peace and love. But above all, the work is first and foremost within oneself, as well as the cultivating of peace.
The Beauty of Ayuasca or other entheogens, as well as a feeling of interconnectedness, of the divinity and creativity of life, is among other gifts to connect us to soul, and that can be in different forms, entities, visions, archetypes, it can shapeshift and is able to become everything, to feel yourself not only as one with everything, but to feel yourself as somebody from another time, another place, an animal, an element. Like queer, soul is fluid, liminal, and evades definition, cannot and maybe does not want to be contained, it resides in what is for example considered as divergent, uncanny as well as sublime, mercurial.
I feel lucky and privileged to have had access at an early age to LSD and shrooms and then later again to Ayuasca at the age of twenty, as well as to a lot of information about it, books, articles, and also the Breaking Conventions Festival and now a wider community of people around the world, here in the jungle, locals and internationals, who respect and honour this plant and the role of entheogens and other plants to our consciousness, health, spirit, soul and world. It allows a direct experience of god, of interconnectedness, of the sentientness of everything. Hence it gives an experience of what is described as deep ecology, though a lived and felt experience, which one could say one feels anyway, babies maybe feel, some lucky kids and beings, but I would say is quite risky to lose growing up in our western lifestyle. At least the way we treat the earth and our environment, as money-making capital that we can plunder, as something that has no life nor soul, to me it doesn’t hint such a consciousness. Entheogens hence can be deeply religious -religion probably being connected to the French relier which means connecting, -in interconnecting us humans, beings, nature, earth and cosmos. It supports an environmental consciousness through direct knowing and feeling via a mystical experience. Entheogens also often connect us to our deeper self, our innermost, a journey inward, into our emotions and psyche, as well as our eros, our sensuality, our sexuality. In that it makes one more subtle and hence aware of our subtle body and therewith respect each other’s subtlety, beauty and grace. Personally, it puts me in a state of pure love, gratitude and reverence. I feel like I am here as a guardian of this earth. We are not owning it, it is not for our private property and the resulting greed, competition, tensions and wars. Like all the cells, organs, neurons etc. in our body are co-operating, we are in a time of global communication, information and technological means that we can become a global community co-operating in synthesis for the good and better of all and everything, all beings and the earth. We can remember our creative divine nature and as a society, shift our value system towards co-operation, creativity, mindfulness, diversity, happiness, connection, peace and love instead of the norm, competition, product, ownership…
It is evening now and I am off tomorrow morning to do a 20 day plant dieta with Ines Sanches in Niwerao Xobo. I have been dieting on the tree plant Shihuahuaco since the first, three days, and after our ceremony tomorrow evening I will see if and what other plant I would relate with till the twenty-fourth of January. I have been intending and working toward making this journey happen for a long time and now I am in my thirty-fifth year, and I take it as a rite of passage, some dedicated time to travel where I need and where it takes me, underworld, otherworlds, and this amazing place of this world, to listen to this land, the plant, my soul, my voice and the cosmos, to let go and surrender, as well as with the intention to grow (to) a mature empowered woman, free and strong to give my thanksgiving to this world and life, to serve and care creatively.
Oneness in multiplicity and multiplicity in oneness