Mysterious Macchu Picchu

Mysterious Macchu Picchu
from my 2007 trip to Peru

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Love New Mexico

In May, 2008, I attended the annual conference for the Society of Shamanic Practitioners in New Mexico. It was a great conference but I'm writing about what came after. I had asked my son, Yvan, to go with me to the Carlsbad/Guadalupe Mountains area to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of my father's passing.
My Dad was a well-known geologist/paleontologist and had done a lot of field work in the area we were visiting. He had especially loved Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan. We had an amazing time. Driving to Carlsbad Caverns, every cactus was in full bloom, just really beautiful. The Caverns, of course, are awesome. This was my third or fourth visit and Yvan's second.
The next day, we had decided to hike around (not up) Guadalupe Peak. Not up, because I not feeling real great (more on my shamanic illness in a later post). The temperature was in the 90's, I was having my cardiac arrythmias and was generally pretty out of breath. (These arrythmias weren't deadly, just debilitating; the deadly one was treated with a pacemaker, now only 2 months old.) We hadn't gone far before I told Yvan that I wasn't sure I could make it. He said, " Well, we'll take it really slow and turn back whenever you're ready." That was all I needed. I think I got a second wind because we did quite a good hike. I think my Dad would have been proud. I did leave something there in his memory - very small and organic. If you look at the picture of Yvan pointing, that's where it is. Don't look for it, because you won't find it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Madre Ayahuasca and the Praying Mantis People

My second time taking ayahuasca, I wasn't apprehensive. After all, the first ceremony had gone well - none of that throwing up that you hear about and highly interesting, to boot, as the shamans worked on all of us. But the plant is different each time and demands respect. Just before the ceremony, Don Theo announced that he was feeling weak. He had some kind of virus. He might as well have said, "And so, my friends, you are at the mercy of the plant." Madre Ayahuasca was about to dish up some tough love.
The ceremony is carried out in total darkness. I sit propped against a wall, eyes closed, a bit euphoric. The visions before my closed eyes resemble the colorful weavings in the markets. Beautiful. I open my eyes. There are extra "people" in the room - 2 beings, about 7 ft. tall, wearing white hats and ponchos. I can't see their faces but I feel they are concerned for us. One of the beings approaches me. He looks like a huge praying mantis. I feel like I'm about to leave my body. I will him away and as I do so, the nausea comes. I stumble into the bano, do a reality check. I do not hallucinate in the lighted bano. I return to the dark room to the sounds of retching, vomiting and hyperventilating by my fellow participants.
I grope my way to my seat on the floor. Almost immediately, the Praying Mantis approaches. I continue to fight the nausea, fight the out-of-body feeling, fight the fear that I'm about to have diarrhea. Back to the bano. All is calm.
Back in the room, the Praying Mantis is relentless with his attentions. And I give in. "I'll let you work on me as long as I can stay in my body," I tell him. I lean back against the wall and feel my throat chakra being expanded. It feels great. The nausea begins to subside. Outside, rain is falling, frogs are croaking and I have another vision. I see my parents together, young, healthy, smiling at me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jaguar and Black Madonna Have Their Say

Before I talk about taking ayahuasca, I should tell about how I was led to ayahuasca. (Ayahuasca - S. American hallucinogenic plant medicine, the Big One, the vine of death, Madre Ayahuasca) I woke up from a dream one night in which the following words were spoken to me: "When you're bitten by the anaconda, you drink the special water." This made no sense at the time. A few days later, I was reading Shaman's Drum, cover to cover like I always do, and came upon a series of articles on ayahuasca (not unusual, as it is an oft-covered subject). I heard a voice in my head say: "Turn the sentence around." I realized that the sentence was: "When you drink the special water, you're bitten by the anaconda." The "special water" was ayahuasca. But I had no interest in taking it.
Sometime later, I had a shamanic journey and was greeted by a jaguar (we'll call him Mick Jaguar). He told me that I needed to develop a relationship with him because he could (1)get me that car by the same name or (2) send me to South America, where he just knew I wanted to go. Problem was, I hadn't given any thought to going to South America. But Mick was persistent. Before you could say "Lake Titicaca" I was looking for a trip to Peru, one that would include ayahuasca.
It took me several tries to find the right trip to Peru. 3 different trips fell through, for one reason or another. In the meantime, I'd had a journey where I first met the Black Madonna. She predicted some awful things that were going to happen in my workplace. In this journey, there was also a native woman from the Pacific Northwest who helped me.
The Black Madonna's predictions came true. Things did fall apart at work Jaguar told me that ayahuasca would heal my depression. And I found a trip to Peru with a woman from the Pacific Northwest. The saga continues....