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Mazatec Traditional Velada Ceremony


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#1 elfstone

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 04:17 AM

My friend, Azure, has been working closely now with the Mazatecan elder, Natalia Martinez, featured in the documentary film The Little Saints by Oliver Quintanilla.

 

Natalia.JPG

 

Natalia utilizes the traditional Mazatec altar as the focus during the velada, encouraging the participants to maintain their focus on the candles/images there and advises them to avoid "falling in" to the trance, but rather to maintain their intention on invoking the sacred as a focus of the work with the mushroom. 

 

Mazatec Altar.jpeg

 

The typical Western approach, where one closes one's eyes and listens to music to guide the experience, Natalia calls the "lazy approach" and indicates it does not allow for the full potential of the mushroom to be manifested.  For those training with her, she offers a dinner plate full of derrumbes (Ps. caerulescens) and encourages one to maintain awareness throughout the experience.  This is a necessary training of attention which enables one to learn the art of directing the experience and working with what the mushroom presents to the undistracted mind.  Natalia has been doing this work, up to three times weekly, for the past 40 years.  She has an incredible energy for an 87-year-old woman.  During the veladas, she will hold the hands of participants and transmits a strong healing energy.  We have much to learn from the Mazatec elders.

 

Natalia Copal.JPG

 

The derrumbes are preferred by the Mazatecs because they are strong.  They will use other species when they cannot find the derrumbes, but insist that they are not strong enough for deep healing work.  The derrumbes also carry a heat into the body that has healing effects unique to them.  That being said, we have recently been working with the pajaritos (Ps. mexicana) fruits and find them very clear and deep at 2 to 3 dried grams.  Taking them once a week results in a set of experiences, each of which builds upon the previous.  There is a spirit in the mushroom, The Little Saints (los Santos Niños) which has much to say.  Having worked with them now for over 40 years, I am really happy to have connected with the traditional way of using them and am committed to following this path for the remainder of my life.  I cannot see doing them in any other way

 

IMG_0061.jpg

 

The act of focusing on images that carry the energy of the sacred makes a very big difference in how the experience opens up.  The Little Saints become something that one takes into ones body for healing and transformative purposes.  Utilizing it in this traditional manner, we believe it would qualify as a sacred plant tradition that would be protected under the Religious Freedom Act.  The ultimate goal would be to test this in the courts and open the door to personal use protected by the constitution.  This seems a more sane way to approach it, in my experience, than trying to medicalize it as a "drug" given by a mental health professional, which, frankly, even the thought of doing it this way I find aversive.

 

To further explore the differences in the traditional species, we are working wih 4 species traditionally used in Huatla and collected there by Azure, including Ps. mexicana (pajaritos), Ps. cubensis (San Isidro), Ps. caerulescent (derrumbes) and Ps. zapotecorum (also known as a derrumbe).  Each species has its own signature and we are determined to map these characteristics out through extensive personal exploration.  The Mazatec approach, of oourse, is to eat them often, taking them into the body, to fully experience their salutary and healing effects.  I will continue this practice until my last breath goes out.

 

Altar.jpeg


Edited by elfstone, 13 November 2018 - 10:26 AM.

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#2 Sikfreud

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:50 PM

That's awesome!! Medicine for the spirit!! I like your name too I'm a huge Terry Brooks fan.

#3 elfstone

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 03:31 PM

I was reflecting with my friend after our velada last night.  He recalled that back in the 1980's/1990's Terence McKenna would wax eloquent about the "5-dried-gram" experience, though he stopped taking it in 1988 after the mushroom started to get real with him.  In contrast, Natalia will heap a plate full of derrumbes, beyond measure, and which are far more powerful than the cubensis mushrooms, insisting that you eat them all and then further insist you drink a large cup of unsweetened cocao, which greatly intensifies the visionary aspect, while also encouraging you to maintain your focus on the candles/images upon the altar while keeping your original intent for taking the mushroom at the center of your awareness, and all the while  admonishing you to not "fall into" the trance state, but to maintain awareness while engaging and working intensively with the spirit of the mushroom, during which you sit erect upon a small stool in front of the altar.  All this takes us far far beyond anything we Westerners have conceived of in regard to what working with the mushroom can result in.  Having worked with them myself now for the past 40 years, this is new territory and I am anticipating learning a great deal more.

 

The territory that is now opening up, the benediction of inner stillness and spaciousness in the psyche, is a prelude for the emergence of other levels of reality that only present themselves to awareness when multiple sessions are undertaken, say once weekly for a year.  The last time we undertook this level of work, back in 1987, resulted in profound openings that emerged gradually and sometimes, surprisingly intense, over the course of that year.  I can't even begin to speak about the synchronicity that emerged and resulted in a major reorientation in my outer and inner life.  This series we are now undertaking, 30 years later, continues the emergence of a deeply profound shift in being.  I would be most interested to hear from others who have committed to this level of intensive work with the mushroom.


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#4 DonShadow

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 02:11 AM

On the evening of December 6th, I and two close trusted friends journeyed to an off-the-grid cabin in a rural area outside of my hometown to attempt a velada using the approach described here by Elfstone. I had been planning this getaway for months; my original intent was to emulate Stan Grof's approach, in which two sitters (male and female) would assist me in a sensory-deprived death/rebirth initiation-style session. My objective was to work through some recent conflicts with my family members, conflicts which arose as a direct result of my enthusiasm and convictions related to shamanism and mushrooms, which they misunderstand, and even find to be threatening and frightening. By necessity I have invested a lot of time and energy into understanding this dynamic, and the negative ways it has affected me and my ability to find my calling in this life. My circumstance is far from unique. I believe that the absence of organized rites of passage has resulted in widespread apathy, depression and fear for many many people of my generation (I am in my late twenties). This has resulted in a kind of metaphysical "bottleneck" through which we are forcibly passing, and many young people like myself are now embarking (with varying degrees of conscientiousness) on a path of self-initiation.

When I read this thread, I became inspired to rethink my plans. I decided to try the Mazatec way, not out of a desire to be trendy, but because it occurred to me that a time-honored tradition filtered through thousands of years of strategic communion with the mushroom might well contain a truth that has largely eluded the western mind. I realized that, while surely effective for many, the clinical roleplaying style of the Grof approach may neglect the reality that every interaction is a dynamic collaborative exchange. The top-down doctor-patient configuration creates a boundary of superiority, as if the facilitators or sitters are somehow in control of or invulnerable to the emotional forces emanating from the patient. It seems to me that traditional forms of shamanism attempt to manifest psychological or social equilibrium through the dissolution of habituated egoic personal boundaries. Decreased inhibition allows repressed emotions to flow freely, thereby achieving the ideal conditions for the expression of love and unfettered imagination---communion. Individual healing is an illusion, true healing is a mutual exchange, a balancing act of the soul.

With all of this in mind, I went about gathering objects and images to construct my own altar. I chose objects that contained deep personal significance for me, objects of beauty imbued with symbolism and powerful memories. I selected images that served as points of self-reflection; a personal cosmology. I suggested to my friends that they bring their own contributions in order to instill their identities into the altar. When we arrived at the cabin, we stoked the woodstove and set about organizing the place to minimize clutter and erected our altar near a large window to a view of the wilderness. We waited until after dark to commence the velada, about 8:00PM. I and my male friend had chosen to fast for the day in order to avoid gastric conflicts. I ate 3g of the Chicon Nindo strain of Ps. mexicana, he 2g. Additionally we each ate about 50g of high-quality cacao purchased from a local chocolatier. Our female friend did not partake, choosing instead to tend the fire and offer her comforting presence when needed. She was very sensitive to our needs throughout the night, and I was thankful for her gracious company.

A few nights previous to this one, I had taken a "test drive" in front of the altar alone in my room, at the significantly lower (but still plenty powerful) dose of 1g Ps. mexicana (Jalisco strain). I was very grateful that I did so, as it provided good practice for staying aware and focused on the altar. It wasn't too terribly difficult to do this at the 1g level, and it resulted in some profound openings. I became aware of a dynamic of thought that may be best visualized as a tunnel projecting forward from the eyes. When focus is maintained, this tunnel points straight ahead toward destiny, the ideal, or the imago form of one's self. When focus strays, unconscious deviations or pathologies form tunnels that branch away from the path of focus. If the divergent course is not realized and corrected, paranoid delusion and anxiety can emerge, and the body may in turn initiate a fear response. This can quickly spiral out of control and create a feedback loop of body-checking---a panic attack. At the 1g level, these delusions were never permitted to spiral out of control, and I eventually passed through a "membrane" into a state of serene revery that lasted for the remainder of the night, until I fell asleep at about 6:00AM.

In terms of potency, I found the Chicon Nindo strain of Ps. mexicana to be on par with the Jalisco, though a little friendlier in spirit. It was very lucid and clear, with no body discomfort whatsoever. Visually, they were not as animated as cubensis or Ps. cyanescens. I would gauge them to be about 2-2.5x the potency of cubensis, and probably slightly less potent than Ps. cyanescens. At the 3g level, it was far more difficult to return from a pathological thought deviation. It was very helpful to look straight ahead at a candle flame or an object, breathe deeply and repeat to myself the phrase "I am love". The delusions were much more convincing this time around and gained momentum at an exponential rate of growth. Still, the practice session payed off; I avoided a panic attack entirely, though I wasn't spared from total psychological annihilation.

The come up during the first hour and a half was gentle. I felt a bit jittery as this was my highest dose to date, but once the mushroom really sunk its claws in I became flotsam and my nerves were pacified. Engaging with the altar so intimately resulted in some truly remarkable experiences. The smell of copal and the beauty of the objects and images helped to anchor my psyche and prevent a "wipe-out" (it does feel a little like riding a bike). A powerful thought struck me in a moment of serenity: "We're trying too hard to be what we already are". I spoke this out loud, and my female friend who sat by the fire exclaimed "I knew you were going to say that!". When the spirit really descended, I perceived the velada with an intense nostalgia. Owing to the fact that I never looked over my shoulder, I felt that I was quite literally transported to the mountains of Oaxaca. It really seemed as if I had done this hundreds of times before, and I was reuniting with a long-lost friend. I say "seemed as if" only in retrospect, but at the time there was no doubt that I was experiencing a very real transpersonal memory.

This deep identification with the velada led me to a great struggle, which presented itself as intense shame and guilt for having trespassed on something so holy. I felt a crushing sorrow for my negligence and naivety. I was not able to dig myself out of this tunnel, instead I was left with no choice but to surrender fully to the awesome power before me. I won't elaborate too much on what happened next as it was a little disturbing, but I can say that it was simultaneously the most magnificent and horrific experience of my life. I was forced to accept the inevitability of my death; not just a psychological death, but a real physical death. I sensed the presence of knifeblades covering the whole surface of my body. My entire being surged with nihilism, and I was swallowed, decomposed, digested and excreted by reality. I distinctly recall saying out loud to myself "thank god life is not always like this, thank god I'll be whole again".

After passing through the worst of this struggle, I entered into a place that I would describe as the "continuum of infinite regress". In this crystalline palace of boredom, there is a solution to every problem. Therefore, there are no problems, because there is nothing to create the differentiation that generates a problem as such. There is also no time, since time is the measure of distance between problems. There are no memories, no references, no benchmarks; there is nothing but the eternal chaos of awareness. It is in our incarnated form that we find suffering, problems, and time, because incarnation is suffering. It is the willful suffering which we, as emanations of the eternal, have forgotten that we willingly chose in order to experience the beauty and splendor of the fractured Self. I was able, for just a little while, to step outside of the high walls of the pantheon, to glimpse into the emptiness beyond the metabolic ebb and flow of the soul, and look back over my shoulder to observe the cosmic stage I normally perform upon.

I spent a good long time speaking gibberish like a baby and drooling while barely able to keep my paralyzed body from falling from my stool onto the floor. My short-term memory was fried, but I felt quite talkative and wanted to chat, though this was not easy. When my body reanimated we put on our coats and boots and went outside to fire up a celebratory cuban cigar. It was very cold outside, and the ground was a jeweled blanket of hoarfrost. I was dehydrated and very chilled; I thought about how lucky we are to live in warm homes with fires, insulation and electrical heat. I thought about the thousands of years humans spent out in the cold, when life was little more than survival. Then I thought about all of the people in the world for whom this is still a reality. As my memory returned, the embrace of consensus reality brought a joyous confidence like I have never known before. I was released from all shame and guilt, wholly embraced by a complete forgiveness. I was so happy and grateful, just to be alive and in good company, in a safe and hospitable environment. This joy carried through our lively conversations that lasted til sunrise, and then a gentle sleep took hold. Throughout the following day the joy, calm and gratitude remained. I knew that the previous night's experience was the pinnacle event on my timeline. Despite how extraordinarily difficult it was, I wanted to do it again as soon as possible, and I intend to do so as frequently as I'm able.

In the days following the velada in the woods, I've found that I can apply the same principles of focus and awareness on the altar to my daily life. I perceive my path in life as a tunnel toward destiny. When I go about my day, i know that I'm on the right path if I'm obeying the directives of synchronicities or the call of my own curiosity, or if I'm using my skills in service to others. Occasionally I find myself deviating from this path, and I'm increasingly able to identify these distractions as "side-quests". I'm getting better at knowing when I'm on a side-quest, and how to extricate myself and return to the main path when necessary. There have been a whole host of other sensations too, but at this point it's a little bit too difficult to write about. I'm sure I'll continue to write, as it brings me a great deal of satisfaction. I think of writing as an enzymatic process by which psychological boundaries may be dissolved to allow for the generation of new ideas. I'm looking forward to what the future holds now that I've overcome a lot of the fear that prevented me from really engaging with the mushroom. I believe the Mazatec velada is an ideal container for the relationship. A good analogy might be to say that it makes more sense to bake a pie using a tried-and-true recipe, rather than eating a jumble of raw ingredients. The pie is well worth the extra effort! I hope that others will feel inspired to give this a try. It's pretty intimidating at first, but overcoming the fear is very rewarding, and there is peace on the other side. Thank you Elfstone for sharing Natalia's wisdom with us here.

Edited by DonShadow, 10 December 2018 - 04:43 AM.

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#5 bezevo

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 05:24 AM

thank you elfstone and DonShadow for sharing .

much to ponder


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#6 pharmer

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 07:53 AM

My objective was to work through some recent conflicts with my family members, conflicts which arose as a direct result of my enthusiasm and convictions related to shamanism and mushrooms, which they misunderstand, and even find to be threatening and frightening. By necessity I have invested a lot of time and energy into understanding this dynamic, and the negative ways it has affected me and my ability to find my calling in this life. My circumstance is far from unique.

 

That is correct, the pioneers always suffer the arrows.

 

Do yourself a favor and leave the nay-sayers out of your conversations and explorations.

 

How many of them dabble in some self destructive eating or drinking or whatever habits yet get down on you for your relatively risk free interests?


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#7 Alder Logs

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 11:30 AM

 

"We're trying too hard to be what we already are."

 

'T'was ever thus.  Our efforts at self definition create our barriers to being.  

 

I don't know why, but the thought of what Edgar Cayce described as the conflict in the end times of Atlantis comes to mind.  He spoke in trance of two factions: the Sons of the One Law, and the Sons of Belial.  I guess I bring this up because, don't we, when taken past our ideas of personal identity, just seem to see naturally how to be?   When I'm not this or that, and having this or that to maintain, isn't it clear in each moment, without any internal debate, what is my current assignment? 

 

 

When I go about my day, I know that I'm on the right path if I'm obeying the directives of synchronicities or the call of my own curiosity, or if I'm using my skills in service to others.

 

We have always had presence in the heart that knows without deliberation, as it so often is when our minds are in identity.  It is so wonderful to see we can just stay quietly in our being, free of pressures to be something made up in the illusions of a mental world.

 

Thanks for that report.


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#8 bezevo

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 01:34 PM

i agree Pharmer  " Do yourself a favor and leave the nay-sayers out of your conversations and explorations."


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#9 elfstone

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 03:01 AM

Altar.jpeg

 

We conducted a 5th velada this past Sunday, each now separated by about a week. The Little Saints have been active at an unconscious level, leading both my friend and I into increasing our consumption of cacao throughout the week and just immediately before the velada. My friend actually takes raw cacao and cacoa butter, melting it and adding it to coffee with maple syrup and cream. He had a large cup just before we began the session. So it was not surprising that the 3g of the CNM came in like a freight train that evening, completely taking my friend and I, fully entering our bodies and establishing their presence in us. That night the work centered on transforming the suffering my friend carries from ancestral lines. Having done this kind of work now for over 40 years, the Little Saints now fully enter me and lead me to pray and sing in a way that betokens their full presence. It is nothing short of a miracle. I found myself praying for my friend and being present for him as the Little Saints did their work of making him a clear vessel for manifesting their presence. This is serious work and reaches down into the depths of one's being. The encounter with the suffering one carries not only personally, but at an ancestral level, is the encounter with the Divine, for God reveals Himself in the encounter with suffering. When we stop running, the Divine reveals itself. He is patient with us and will wait for when we are ready for this encounter. People tend not to spontaneously pray when they are celebrating and happy, but only when they encounter suffering. It is our duty to encounter suffering with awareness, making it fully conscious and thus intentionally facing it. This is the way of the Logos, the way of our Western civilization, to honestly face the suffering in life, meet it in full consciousness and thus transform ourselves in relating with it, awakening our divine qualities of compassion and loving-kindness. The LIttle Saints have a depth to them that opens up awareness of the divine.

Someone earlier had mentioned the possibility of tolerance with multiple sequential sessions. I can attest to the reverse effect. Each encounter becomes more profound and deepens to unimaginable levels. Cacao is traditionally utilized by the Mazatecans during the velada because they know the affinity the Little Saints have for it. I would encourage experimenting with this as it can facilitate a deeply profound opening.

More to come...


Edited by elfstone, 11 December 2018 - 03:18 AM.

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#10 Alder Logs

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 01:43 PM

 

People tend not to spontaneously pray when they are celebrating and happy, but only when they encounter suffering.

 

Just as the perception in a person of some suffering might bring a prayerful attitude, finding such an attitude at the other end of the experiential spectrum might be in gratitude and thanksgiving.   Seeing beyond our stories is to see our innate freedom.   Even if we conceive no God or deity, our feeling of gratitude is yet a prayer from our entire being.   Is this not true?


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#11 elfstone

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 03:49 PM

I couldn’t agree more. I find the religious iconography personally uplifting, especially that grounded in indigenous tradition, as it is more in keeping with the spirit of Gnosticism, which is my path. This lies outside religious institutions and has been likened to a small, swift, silent owl. It is so powerful, creating civilizations, that it must remain hidden and subtle. Interestingly, following our first session, I came hone and let my little chihuahua out and a small owl flew up and landed in a branch in front of me. Synchronicity abounds around the Little Saints.


γνῶθι σεαυτόν
gnothi seauton
know thyself

Edited by elfstone, 11 December 2018 - 03:50 PM.

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#12 DonShadow

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 10:46 PM

...a small owl flew up and landed in a branch in front of me.


It sounds like it may have been appreciating the opportunity to give its wings a bit of a stretch.

#13 Samwise

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:21 AM

Thanks a lot for sharing elfstone and DonShadow, really interesting stuff to read about as there seems to be a considerable dearth of information out there on the Mazatec ceremonial approach to mushroom use, which seems a little strange given the considerable pragmatic and phenomenological experience these people have when it comes to using mushrooms, it seems likely they have wisdom to impart that could be of considerable benefit to fellow psilonauts. I'm interested in this approach, I'm intrigued about the retaining of focus and awareness during the mushroom experience rather than surrendering to the trance to see how this modulates the experience, as you describe. It seems like one's alter can be personally tailored to suit them individually which is good...in my own case, I feel I would resonate more with a Pantheistic rather than Christianised alter (and would preferentially select nature items like shells, crystals, pine cones etc, as oppose to Abrahamic religious idols and images).

Edited by Samwise, 17 December 2018 - 11:29 AM.


#14 pharmer

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:24 AM

psilonauts

 

first time seeing this idea

 

good one :)


Edited by pharmer, 17 December 2018 - 11:24 AM.

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#15 elfstone

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:30 AM

The Mazatec are very open and include the Chicon and other symbols on the altar. I see it as more gnostic and indigenous than Abrahamic per se. They are not bound by doctrine.

My friend who has worked with Natalia has shared that the Mazatec really don’t care what anyone might think, nor are they eager to share the Mystery they have guarded for centuries. They are opening it up to those who are receptive and sympathetic and have no other agenda than to learn what they know. Anthropologists in particular are regarded with suspicion and disliked as they are too busy with their own mental categories to really appreciate what is going on. My friend is now contributing to a museum that will preserve and present the heritage of the traditional knowledge.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a totally indigenous representation of the World Soul. It is quite alive and has its own agenda.
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#16 elfstone

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 07:30 PM

And so we continue the weekly veladas, which are a developing training process. We are using the CNM strain that my friend collected himself in Huatla several years ago on his first visit there. It is very clear and free of the noise that some of the cubensis strains have, which, I suspect, is caused by the other active compounds, particularly baeocystin and nor-baeocystin, which are not found in the Ps. mexicana strains. The Ps. mexicana also do not blue when handled and contain predominantly psilocybin and no psilocin, baeocystin nor nor-baeocystin. Thus, there is no weird alien archetype thing happening with the CNM. The trance state can become intense at 3g, with flowing visuals so sweeping that one becomes a point of consciousness flowing through an immense dimension of energetic processes and then it can open up into a vast spaciousness populated with multidimensional points of light, each of which can be entered by focusing on any one of them, but this is to get lost in the visions, so open eyes, focusing upon the altar, consciousness shifts back to the candle flame. The work is one of training attention to remain focused throughout the process and allowing the energy of the Little Saints to fully take up residence in the body while not “falling into” the experience. With the focus trained in this way, awareness opens and the Spirit fully enters and sweeps the body, heart and mind clear. At this point, the power of the mushroom begins to reveal itself. It teaches one how to ride the power of it, like riding a horse. And like a horse, it can be steered with intention. Focusing upon the candle lit for a person in prayer, awareness enters their being and their body, heart and soul becomes transparent. Their health and challenges to it are revealed in the light of the Spirit. This only emerges when the mushroom has done its work to make one a clear vessel which allows the Spirit to see, without distortion, what is going on and then to take whatever actions it deems necessary. At this point, the self is an open vessel, the Presence of the Divine revealing itself in grace and benediction. This path is our calling, one of many lifetimes, and we will be following it until the last breath goes out.

Edited by elfstone, 25 December 2018 - 08:06 PM.

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#17 swayambhu

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 06:32 AM

This is interesting- I myself recently went from experiencing the toadstool (or mandukaasan, as I have hokily translated it into Sanskrit; "Toad Throne"!!) lying down, listening to music in muted light to sitting up in a somewhat loosely articulated meditative posture (siddhaasan) in as close to absolute darkness and silence as possible. Or more simply put I went from passive vegatative mindset and posture to active meditative mindset and posture. I found getting rid of the music particularly important. I am not always terribly successful at maintaining a meditative mindset and posture when I am 100% sober, so you can imagine how it goes while under the influence of psilocybe fungus. But, it's a work in progress, like everything, like life.

 

Concerning the altar of the Mazatec curendera, coming from a traditional "folk" Catholic background, it was common in rural areas of Catholic European countries to have such altars or personal shrines in every home- A more open one perhaps in the main living area, featuring the "Hall of Fame" usuals, Sacred Heart, Blessed Heart, in our case The Infant of Prague, and much more elaborate and personalized ones in the bedroom featuring one's name saint or patron saint/s, for night time prayers and vigils. Night time vigils are still very much part of Catholic practice, and indeed I spent many boring, boring hours of my own boyhood sitting before meditational images or objects, purely because it meant that I could stay up as long as I wanted! On occasions, especially if the emphasis was tilted towards "Charismatic" experience, there would also be speaking in tongues, or other strange and esoteric exclamations. By all of which I am implying that there is perhaps more of the Roman Catholic faith to a velada than perhaps the non Catholic might want or choose to see? 

 

 

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a totally indigenous representation of the World Soul. It is quite alive and has its own agenda.

 

Despite knowing myself to be a bit troll-y for needing to point this out, but Our Lady of Guadalupe is a remarkable expression of a not uncommon iconography of Our Lady as The Woman of the Apocalypse, and is quite orthodox in that respect, though that does not detract from the unique power and beauty of the image. 


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#18 DonShadow

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 09:32 PM

I have been continuing with my own weekly veladas, having now undertaken a total of five since early December. Over the course of the month, some very powerful experiences have unfolded, posing serious challenges to my identity, my personal motivations, and my moral standing. Though I was more-or-less cognizant of it before, during my initial velada at the beginning of December, I started to become increasingly aware of my own severe narcissism, and the impact it has had on me and the people I relate with. I started by deconstructing it slowly at first, but I really fell apart recently when I reached what I would describe as a “singularity of hypocrisy”. In passing through this dense knot of irony I graduated to a perhaps more complete understanding of my personal quest, and how it reflects both the inner and outer worlds. I understood that in order to actualize changes in my culture, I must enact the analogous changes that will heal the historical fissures I foolishly opened in my own individual life. I think this is actually testable, and I would be willing to bet my life on the validity of this theory.

 

My narcissistic warpath has been an unconscious effort to heal my own family, and the pain I inherited from my ancestors. Through closely examining the narrative structures within my path of self-reflection, I was able to see clearly that, despite not being overtly physically or verbally abusive to women, I have been a destructive force in the lives of those I've entered into relationships with. Like Orpheus, I was a serial monogamist. This was largely due to habitual behaviors I inherited from my family and the dominant culture I am embedded within. My mode of attachment to women reflected my relationship with my elder sister and mother. My sister was very cruel to me, taking every possible opportunity to humiliate and deceive me, which made me very suspicious of women who expressed criticism and negative emotions toward me. On the other hand, I was my mother's counselor, absorbing the grief inflicted upon her by my father's work stresses and consequent rage. I was the family scapegoat, the trash-can for their unconscious projections. In turn, I attract primarily to women who are vulnerable and in need of love and counsel. Because I never learned how to love myself, I perpetuated a cycle of unwittingly deceiving women into believing I could rescue them. When my emotional reserves depleted, I would ashamedly withdraw and break their hearts, for fear that I would perpetuate my father's cruelty toward my mother and continue the cycle. Like my father, who made it his life's goal to save the world and neglect his own family, I have neglected those that love me in an effort to find my soul outside of myself. I've just never had enough love in my heart to be a suitable partner to any woman, despite that I have loved many quite sincerely. A tragic paradox.

 

My whole reason for writing here on this forum, for repeatedly looking death in the face, is to find my own soul, the source of Love. My calling is to put love back on its rightful throne, and I am fully committed to doing just that, even if I have to suffer terribly or even perish in the process. I know now that this doesn't mean running around pretending to be a guru or a saint, it means dedicating myself to the real work of facing the consequences of my actions head-on, in full realization of the immense difficulty I may face. Despite that this may sound a bit grim and hopeless, I say these things with gladness in my heart, because I feel that for once I'm not trying to hide from anything. Just because I'm a “narcissist” doesn't mean I don't deserve love. On the contrary, I am wholly deserving of love, but I no longer need look to external sources to find that love. I love myself because I've understood with conviction what is good, true, and beautiful, and I will do whatever is necessary to protect it.

 

Much of the hubris and immaturity presented by men (women less so perhaps) is, I believe, due to the absence of suffering in our culture. We unconsciously seek out ways to achieve this, to unhealthy and masochistic ends more often than not. Men are unsympathetic to the plight of women and marginalized people because we simply never learned how to empathize with struggles that we haven't personally endured. The myth of masculinity creates an unreachable ideal that drives men to commit terrible violence in order to unconsciously manifest suffering. Suffering is the glue that binds people together, it brings us all down to the point at which there is no choice but to love and care for each other, the place where ego and pride simply can't survive anymore. The consequences of this deficiency are far and wide, and will likely culminate in planetary catastrophe and great involuntary suffering if we do not embrace the desperate need for deep self-reflection and voluntary suffering.

 

I think people are beginning to wake up to the reality that we can no longer afford to run or hide away from our problems. We are our own worst enemies, hapless prey to the manifestations of our unconscious. It's not enough to point fingers at each other and make reactionary accusations, we have to work together to get to the bottom of what is really a profound cultural sickness, one which we have all inherited and must endure. Freeing ourselves from our addictions, breaking the bonds of history, this is the task of our generation, whether we like it or not. I for one am completely dedicated to this project, even if it means I have to be publicly humiliated, tortured, or even killed. A little melodramatic you might say, but I believe it is the state of mind required do what must be done. I know I blather on and on, and it may seem like I know what I'm talking about, but these are just the opinions of one small, naive man. I know what has worked for me, and so I share because I believe in the integrity of the ground I tread on.

 

 

A word on the actual experience of the velada: As Elfstone has pointed out, every session builds upon the previous, and each reveals deeper and deeper layers of a real presence which, I can only say, seems very much alive and eager to teach. Please take what I say with a grain of salt, I don't mean to pollute others' experience. All attempts to explain what happens in there will inevitably fall short of the mark.

 

I've experimented with a few different species of mushroom under the “lab conditions” of the velada. I'll describe their various properties:

 

-1.0g dry Psilocybe mexicana “Jalisco”: Surprisingly potent at this measure, and served as a good entry point to the velada format. This blew the dust out of the pipes, and prepared me for the 3.0g session later in the week. This strain is gentle, easy on the body, and was relatively modest in the visual department.

 

-3.0g dry Psilocybe mexicana “Chicon Nindo”: Very clean and welcoming, with no body discomfort or overtly ominous or evil overtones. Also modest visually, compared to most other mushrooms I've sampled. The 3.0g level was very potent, and resulted in an archetypal death/rebirth experience.

 

-20g fresh Psilocybe Hoogshagenii/semperviva: This mushroom is quickly becoming my favorite. It seems to have its own unique flavor, much more alive than any other species I've sampled. It was very easy on the body, and the onset was prolonged and gentle. It seems to have a slightly longer duration than others, taking around three hours to fully engage. This session provided a major breakthrough; I had the experience of witnessing what I identified as the spirit of Archangel Michael pouring from my altar in a stream of electric blue and gold feathers. He later inhabited my body, imparting to me his love, protection and courage, which was profoundly healing.

 

-2.25g dry Psilocybe cyanescens, wild picked: These are by far the most potent mushrooms I've sampled. They come on very strong, perhaps a little too aggressively. Visually speaking they are overwhelmingly lush, ominous at times. There is a slight feeling of body toxicity with these ones, particularly after the come-down. After this one I had a searing headache for most of the following day, despite keeping well hydrated. This velada facilitated my most powerful experience with mushrooms to date, it really illuminated my path and brought it home full-circle, allowing me to visualize my personal narrative structure on other scales of magnification.

 

-2.5g dry Psilocybe Hoogshagenii/semperviva: Characteristically similar to fresh, but this time I felt that I was a little more in control of the experience. I had very little fear entering into it. This time I was presented with a living world superimposed upon the one normally accessible to our senses. There were animated forces in this realm that seemed to be attempting to temper my reactions to their advances. They surrounded my periphery; I perceived each one as a kind of temptation which, when permitted to gain possession of me, would create an experience of fear or paranoia. This time I occasionally recited the Jesus prayer and focused on praying for all of the people in my life that I care about, and for the health of the world in general. This greatly reduced the fear and took the emphasis away from my own life and wayward thoughts. This was the most “balanced” and comfortable velada thus far, and resulted in a strengthened sense of personal autonomy and self-love.

 

Thank you again Natalia, Azure and Elfstone for your generous wisdom, I for one feel very lucky to behold it.

 

Yeeeehaw!


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#19 swayambhu

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 02:57 PM

I'm a big fan of your posts, Don Shadow, I seek them out. 

 

edit; And yours, elfstone!


Edited by swayambhu, 04 January 2019 - 02:58 PM.

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#20 elfstone

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:16 PM

We have taken a brief break in the work over the holidays to allow more time for family activities and to integrate what has been emerging these past couple of months. It has also allowed more time in the lab focusing on cultivation of the traditional derrumbes from Huatla, which are doing very well in mycobags using the 3:2:1 whole oats:rye grain: oat bran mix and inoculated with liquid culture methods. We also have the derrumbes growing strong on a mix of whole oats supplemented with shredded paper plates made of sugar cane bagasse. Primordia are forming already and we expect that a 10:1:0.5 peat:CaCO2:sand casing mix will serve to support good fruiting. The grow will be posted in the grow forum of the board once the process is completed.

Unexpectedly, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has taken up residence in my psyche and is resulting in a profound shift in my perception of the World Soul. I have had dreams where She appears to me and opens my heart to Universal Love. During one velada my friend presented me with rose oil sent by another initiate, who had also been to Huatla, and which she had sent as an expression of love for our work. The milagrosa of Juan Diego in 1531 immediately came to mind as I inhaled the fragrance of pure rose oil. With that scent Our Lady of Guadalupe took up residence in my heart and her presence has remained constant. I found a beautiful blanket with her image and gifted my grandson and friends with them. My grandson’s first impulse was to share it with his friends. The Mystery of the Little Saints is wrapped up with these images from deep antiquity and they have come to take up residence in my inner and outer world - nothing I ever sought or expected - but their Reality is undeniable at this stage of the journey. Going back to our roots and reclaiming the sacred images as they come alive in this work has given me an appreciation of the narrative of our Western wisdom traditions that I had lost in my scientific training. This is not about belief or disbelief, it is contact with the Living Reality of the Soul dimension whose language is this imagery. The work of Carl Jung has proven essential in developing an understanding of the significance of the activation of the Psyche that results from taking the Little Saint up into one’s physical body. I am no longer interested in seeking any “experience” by eating the Little Saints, but only in the opening of awareness to the Soul dimension. Seeing the landscape of the Soul, orienting to this landscape of emerging meaning, has become a self-organizing process that has resulted in leaving behind all ideas about what is possible as the revelation unfolds from a deeper layer of awareness than the little “me” could possibly imagine. I remain grateful to have had the Friend reveal Himself, take me by the hand, and lead me to parts heretofore unknown, revealing who we really are and can become. Awe and gratitude are my constant companions.


γνῶθι σεαυτόν
gnothi seauton
know thyself
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