I don’t talk much about entheogens in my work, largely because I don’t use them.
I’ve been sitting with this article on the shaping of shamanism as a dangerous industry in South America, particularly with the use of entheogens as induction into ecstatic trance. I don’t condemn or condone the use of substances in trance work, though everyone I know who uses them never does so alone, always with a trusted master of such approaches to the spirit realm. The use of such chemicals is the focus of the article, though I’m not convinced it should be. I think something more compelling is at work.
That said, I’ve written several blogs and articles on the pattern of believing enlightenment hides in some far off land, and that trend concerns me deeply. Again, whatever works for you. Whatever gets you there. It is with all caution in mind that I say, the trade of spiritual tourism isn’t limited to tribal nations or economically oppressed countries. A thriving business of spiritual healing exists right here in the US, with potential wonders and dangers of its own. Recall 2009’s James Arthur Ray sweatlodge fiasco. The truth is, we’ve never had to travel far and wide to find charlatans, anymore than we’ve had to in order to find enlightenment.
Culturally, we are perched on the border of very interesting territory. We see old regimes falling, organized religions crumbling. Many seekers readily identify a hunger to connect with deeper meaning in life, a need to caretake self at every level available. Yet, even though many are leaving those old systems, we still carry with us old engrained truths. Foremost is the belief that we cannot, should not, find enlightenment for ourselves, that we must defer to a schooled master of esoteric truths, who will instruct us along the journey to find our own. Punishment for seeking enlightenment through ourselves is deeply engrained. As well, so many are deeply hurt or turned off by the established institutions that we run to anything that doesn’t resemble them for help. We don’t believe that enlightenment lives in our backyard–literally in the faces that look like ours, the Nature that graces our every day, the circumstances of our own creation.
These seem like small concerns, though they actually manifest as widespread cultural spiritual emergency, leaving people vulnerable to all manner of healers, energy workers, shamans, and exotic adventures that promise great release. Coming from historic frameworks that taught us no spiritual autonomy, the senses to intuit what is in our best interest are often undeveloped. Particularly for those in pain, every healing modality sounds promising, every practitioner is a saviour. Given that, I think it’s important for spiritual renegades to feel supported in finding the path and soul healing approaches that are right for them. In fact, I think the following considerations are good guidelines for anyone taking their spiritual path, direction, and healing into their own hands:
Though many of us have been on alternate spiritual paths and/or held the role of soul wellbeing facilitator for decades, this road still looks wild and daunting to those who are newly seeking support and direction. I encourage other spiritual healing practitioners to become involved in an active effort to educate clients and the general public about your work, why you do it, how you do it. Education will be the thing that not only informs our culture of its shamanic legacy and potential, it will also be the force that heals us all.
Kelley, The spirit of Tara, my ex wife and dear friend, has appeared to a new psychic friend. She seems to be warning me of something harmful that is coming. Three days ago was the seven-year anniversary of her passing, which was very unusual and unexpected in the jungle of Ecuador, while doing Ayahuasca with shamans. Any insight? Thanks, Flash.
Thanks for your note, Flash. The anguished aspect of Tara that I met was still in the jungle. You and I have done work around her death years back, though something that became evident this time was that this aspect of her was being held back on purpose, through no efforts of her own. I realized this as when I met her this time, she pointed behind me to a seething spiritual presence of indigenous magick that draws on the abilities of others. It appeared as a group of men dressed in plants, wool, and body paint.
My understanding from the altercation that transpired between myself and the men was that Tara wasn’t being held only for her intuitive abilities to be usurped by them, but everyone who energetically reached back to the point of her death in an attempt to understand what happened to her or do release work around her death, was being wicked of their abilities, as well. I don’t pretend to know what this presence was, it’s particular method, etc. What was clear is that they were a local force that had long-mastered the ability to draw on the spiritual abilities of others for their own use. They recognized Tara as a powerful intuitive, and they decided to keep this aspect of her soul there for good, to continue using and attract other intuitives to come find her. As these innocents came to help Tara, they would be leeched of power, possibly rendered unable to help Tara. In other words, this magickal force attached to those who have attempted to help Tara, and remained attached, drawing on power from many people over the years–including you. Especially you.
My guides intervened and took over the whole situation. They bound that presence to Nature, such that it can be gradually healed and released. It didn’t feel right to just yank it out and remove it. There was a need for this presence to come to know a more connected, balanced way of holding magickal power. Until such time, it is bound to Nature. Healing was done for Tara, whose final words upon her deathwalk were, “Heal Flash.” All healing that could be done for you and those who have attempted to help Tara over the years was given, and rooted into all present lives.
For you this means a steady return of power you haven’t felt for a long while, or felt but couldn’t hold onto fully. What was being taken from you is now able to be fully possessed by you. There may be emotional healing needed around this, as its return could stir some echoes of grief and longing. Overall, nothing is coming, Flash. It was already there, and needed to go. A light you’ve needed to see for a long time is flickering to life.
Edited to add: This article on ambiguous spiritual tourism and the use of ayahuasca just came out this week.