I remember a moment when contemplating another ceremony with Ayahuasca that my fear of Her taking away a wound deterred me from the ceremony. I have come to know how sacred my wound is. That it attracts the healing I need specific for my journey. I know that it holds medicine, and when felt, loved and integrated also holds life force and power. My life force and power. My full inheritance of the gift of being human.
I had sat with Grandmother Aya many times and so the wisdom of those experiences lives in me. Many little ego deaths, but never the complete dissolution I always prayed for. I like to hang on. I love my life and I had spent decades dismemebered from the gift of it- I was not about to hand it over that easy. Nor should I ever, or I would bypass the extraordinary self love experienced by my inner healer rising out of the wound. I might miss the miraculous capacity to source almost everything I need from within. That is my path here.
I can see how that moment of fear was actually wisdom- from “the medicine” that is always in me. In hindsight, and because I have a good understanding (no one will ever have a thorough understanding of entheogens) of how the medicines of the Earth work with the soul- it was actually the medicine guiding me away from the ceremony and a potential bypass of what needed to be felt and dealt with in my “sober” mundane moments. Because the deep soul igniting work comes in the daily life where I am blessed to feel the full capacity of my human potential (meaning all the sticky and amazing emotions). The inner healer comes alive when I can navigate my humanity with the transcenadant understanding of how love and duality whittle us/me down to some fundamental truths that I have touched…
All things rise from love, everyone has the medicine they need within them, the medicine is always with you, the medicine knows best when used with reverence, there really are no accidents, everything is connected and your healing is all that matters. (There are caveats to some of the above as there are most things)
I have received so much direction, so much insight from my entheogenic journeys with various plants. But the insights could never have become wisdom, or healed my addictive tendencies, or revealed the full truth of why I am here (which is the greatest inheritance) without embodiment.
Embodiment rarely happens inside the container of a ceremony. Dissolution of what keeps us from embodying truth will happen, but not much embodiment. We get instructions for healing and an extremely potent, most uncomfortable and unconditionally loving look at ourselves and our patterns. We get to sit in the crucible of feeling so that we can rise out of the ceremonial space realizing only parts of us died, we did not die, and we just did something hard and beautiful and that kind of connection upwells self love and self agency in a way that flows into daily life.
As Glennon Doyle famously says “we can do hard things”.
It is that self love, of having made a choice that heals your life that lays you down in your heart at night with the beginnings of true peace- of true healing and wholeness. You will “know thyself”. It is inside this knowing that safety begins to restore itself within the nervous system because you understand where safety comes from, you touch the birthright of knowing why you are here (just one glimpse can feed you for a lifetime if you feed it back).
These are BIG claims. I know them, so I can speak to them. I have lived them. I have witnessed them. And it is NOT easy. Quite the opposite. You do not arrive to these truths by turning away from every aspect of life and just dousing the dark with light-even if what I claim sounds utopia. Working with psychedelics, especially entheogens because of their mastery, is far from a bypass.
Taking a little blue pill (that can have benefits in the very, very short term) and endless talk therapy in my opinion can actually be the bypass as there is rarely real healing that happens. These modalities often skates the surface, all the while the deep inner voice gnaws away at you telling you that there is something else, something you are missing. Because this really can’t be it?!
Caveat- plant medicine is NOT for everyone. It is soul rendering, devotional work when done right. The nervous system must be able to sustain the journey and the integration and some nervous systems can be overwhelmed by psychedelics. There are amazing therapists with accolades up the wazoo that can help with many amazing modalities like FST (Family Systems Therapy) EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing), CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy)etc. because they also embody what they are holding space for. They are [mostly] no longer working from their unintegrated wounds. The wounded healer is greatly misunderstood (for another time).
However, most of my clients have been through what mechanized medicine can offer and have suffered or reached a dead end. They are seeking something else because to live a life of coping skills (whether healthy or not, they can still become an addiction) is not really living. They are a beginning to healing but not supposed to be the baseline. So they turn towards alternatives like psychedelic healing.
Many of them ask me if using psychedelic medicine is a bypass…
“Spiritual bypassing has been defined as the “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues and psychological wounds.” Traditionally, bypassing is associated with classical religion and new age spirituality. However, within the growing field of psychedelics, bypassing is becoming increasingly apparent.”Dandelion.Earth
I ask them why they believe psychedelics may be a bypass. Mainly, they don’t want to be blasted into orbit and sucked back down into an ungrounded “love and light” life. I also ask whether or not they feel that their lives are worth feeling a greater capacity of self stewardship and love. Most of us carry the worth wound, the flagellation wound, the sinner archetype in our blood. To give up the pain is to hand over a whole twisted cosmology inborn through our epigenetic trauma, and fear losing what has been mistaken as an essential identity to receive love. This can feel like death, and it is of parts of you.
Where the path of plant medicine can become a bypass is when one mistakes the medicine as the healer and keeps returning to the altar and not integrating the wisdom of the previous journey into one’s life. This is classic codependency. It is easy to miss that it is a bypass because it feels like the right thing to be engaged with your healing at such a deep level- constantly. Being reliant on the healing modality itself, regardless of how benevolent and loving it is, is still addiction. Too much of a good thing, is still too much.
I have seen many people fall into loops of codependency with ceremonial plant medicines because, especially with Aya, the community connection is so delicious. For many it is the first taste of true belonging and acceptance. It’s dizzying actually- all the love vibes in a community doing medicine together. The vulnerability, the tears, the laughter, the resonance- is everything that is our birthright, just forgotten. So we return again and again to cling to that which we thought we lost so long ago (nothing innate is ever lost). Not realizing that one of the main messages that entheogens provide is an unconditional love and belonging that rises from within. A belonging that has nothing to do with external validations and reflections- a belonging with Source. Because when the Aya vine disappears (is is being over-harvested from its natural habitat) and the communities disband, or a world wide lock down happens- it matters how you respond and find your center. It matters how navigate the persistent waves of life with the medicine and senes of community within you. And that can only happen outside of the ceremony space, away from anything interfering with your raw and real experiences of life.
In the case of individual assisted magic mushroom journeys the same can easily happen, because often, and I experience this in many of my clients, there is a projection into the field and onto me of Mother. The tender, loving, supportive presence of unconditional love and the deep longing to touch that deep love (mother wound) is very intoxicating and profoundly healing. It is part of my role to hold that transmission, as it is an embodied archetype in me, but only to awaken it in the hearts of my clients. I have to be very neutral and gentle when I end a ceremony because my simple leaving of the space can feel like Mother abandoning child which will leave the nervous system confused and clinging for more of what it just thought it lost -again.
I have also encountered many a client where the question rises out of a projection from their therapist who is clinging to fear of losing their livelihood. Rather than be supportive about their client’s curiosity and strive to encourage integration, they splash psychedelic therapy with cynicism to avoid feeling the fear of change, of evolution and of being mirrored in their own incongruence with their own healing- or being left (unintegrated mother wound). Many contract, run out and begin to learn all about psychedelics from books and webinars so that they can stay with the trend and keep afloat and cling to their clients. This is not bad- this is human. It just needs to be named. It’s great that there is so much interest in these medicines. But knowledge from a book or a class about life and its medicines is not wisdom. Especially when we are dealing with people’s deepest inner chambers of the subconscious, the store house for trauma, you want someone who has walked into their own dark corners and continues to walk the path of alignment and integration with the wisdom of their blessed wound. Point being, know who you are working with.
Walking towards a path of psychedelic support, mainly entheogenic plants because they are a living being that one engages with, will shake loose every part of your foundation that was not built upon unified truth or natural law. I always ask my clients “are you ready to have your life change and to make changes no matter how terrified all the parts of you are that have held your ego in place to survive for so long?”. No one finds me who is not ready. I do not provide an experience for experience sake. I assist in opening doorways that are not possible to walk back through once the threshold is crossed. I help show each client the beauty of their soul by simply guiding them into how to hold the entirety of sensations that ripple through their nervous system as they de armor to reveal the inner healer.
Yes, one medicine journey can reveal answers that 10 years of therapy might provide. But it does not provide the healing. Healing is the embodiment of the wisdom that repatterns how the nervous system responds to life. When your nervous system re-patterns its feedback loops towards natural law and innate sovereignty, meaning you are making holistic choices that align you with the values and virtues of your heart, then your external life begins to reflect this healing. You become a walking vibration of potential and evolution- of love- which is why it is true that your healing above all else matters and is all that is needed from you here in Earth school. Because your healing reveals your gift.
~This begets a mini tangent about the inherent gift in each of us. The gift we are here to give is part of Natural Law and therefore it is evolutionary, relying on and a part of constant change- which is the healing feminine essence- the Goddess making more love. The innate gift is LIfe inclusive. Meaning that when we engage in a life aligned to cultivating our inherent gift, then all of Life thrives. Our creations create more life, rather then less- which is the expression of the healing masculine essence. The gift says- “what I want for me, I want for you. The wisdom in me bows to the wisdom in you- namaste.” The gift is born of love, is unique and holds no desire to control or cling. Unfortunately, the gift in you is purposefully manipulated and numbed out in order for the current societal climate of power over, control and corrupted capitalism to survive. And, mechanized psychology, like any mechanized medicine, will not bring you close to your gift enough to really transform or transfigure your life because it needs you to stay slightly sick, slightly stagnant and completely codependent for its own survival.
Recently I recieved an embodied understanding that I need nothing other than the Earth and my gift. When I make choices that bring me into alignment with both, then I step into a network of support that includes all of the things my old fear patterns tell me I can only get from the current patriarchal paradigm. The gift includes abundance, community, partnership with those that elevate my gift and my healing (even if the relationships breaks my heart wider), nourishment, wisdom and even money. There is an intelligence that knows I was born for and into this time, I chose this, my soul knew everything I would need and I packed it into my gift- which is like a medicine pouch living in my soul. And, all of those things can arrive without diminishing life elsewhere. I/We have a LONG way to go to see this original feedback loop play out because I still drive a car etc. But we must begin- well it is what I am doing and it’s a wildly gorgeous adventure I am on.
I have also learned a lot about letting go of old ideas of worth and wealth and how to sit inside the crucible of sensations that will try to keep me away from the truth and guidance of the gift. The guidance isn’t always, mostly isn’t ever, what my will and ego think is my gift or what I want. Most of my/our wants, are driven by subconscious programming that can take many clever disguises. You will know that you are living more aligned when you begin to heal the big stuff of your many heart breaks and experience in your day to day life what you experienced in the moment of tasting the Goddess’s bosom in your entheogenic journey.
Some people will choose to not partake in plant medicines for moral reasons. The appropriation is rampant because there isn’t a lot of integration into shifting or changing daily life. Appropriation cannot exist when you live in the gift. Inside the gift lives a codex of how evolution happens, the beauty of the third thing, how to honor who and what introduced the path to you, while growing something new from a slice of its rhizome marrying your own rootstock. I have felt rage and shame and resistance because of appropriation with these medicines until I sat with true, initiated elders in many traditions. EVERY one of them praises how the medicine has reached the western world, even if messy, because they know that natural law lives inside the Earth and Her medicines, and therefore can return the soul to living according to natural law where all of life thrives. To withhold the teachings is to break an oath in the soul to steward more, not less, connection. There is much to discuss and unravel here.~
In an entheogenic journey, the expanse of your heart, your soul’s voice, something deeper and wider that holds you is amplified- even if subtly as in the case of microdosing. You will taste the honey of true belonging and abundance- when you engage these medicines with understanding and reverence. You will work for this nectar so that you can also remember how strong you are. This is so that the cellular activation of that original blueprint of life in reciprocity can be felt through your integration practices. If you don’t taste a little bit of God in your journey, the impetus to make shifts would be much more elusive and challenging than they already can be.
Distilled down, the pure essence and divine intention of entheogens is to bring about the inner healer- which means you will do the work to bring about change and healing in your life by way of the guidance given. This is far from a bypass. You must be engaged on all levels for entheogens to reveal their magic. I have seen miracles in a matter of hours. But they, like all things unfed can fade. It is rare someone comes out of a journey sustainably different with very little leg work on the other side, but I have seen it (a lot in the breath work journeys I have held). That typically happens when the foundation of healing has already been laid by the individual, or if there is a life that needs saving and the Goddess steps in and heals what no human can. Some wounds just need to be dealt with on the Quantum level.
If you choose plant medicines as a path for healing, it is vital, and appropriate -to avoid appropriation and harm- to work with someone who can support your journey. This is where your beloved talk therapist, as long as they are supportive of your choice, and your beautiful coping skills can begin to do more than prop you up. They can begin to help you embody a wisdom and cellular memory of something you thought you lost- the gift of your life. There is a purpose to being lost that lives within the mysterious workings of creation. Because what is lost…. And who or what is it that finds you?…..
Blessed be~Shira Stardrift