Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Falling Down the Entheogenic Tunnel Again

Today I set out to have a definitive, indeed heroic dose of sacred mushrooms to test the water after months of parched ground, leaving me drifting in mid life crisis. The little sprout fruiting buds I consumed are severely hyper-potentiated. What could have become a mushroom with a cap 10 cms across only gets to be the size of a pea, but with all the active ingredient of the never-to-become giant cap caught in its base, so 1.5 gms of this crispy dried stuff can be a dose of epic proportions.

Coming out the helter-skelter tunnel of an overwhelming mushroom experience - what do I make of the role of entheogens? Are they beneficent world-healing allies? Are they here to heal the biosphere and show us the secret of the existential quest?

The experience begins with a symphony of shrilling vibrations that, as they overtake me, spiral me into the visions. I love this herald of the onslaught of sacred mushrooms dearly. It is for me a synesthesia which is sensitive to my mental awareness, a tunable whiplash that takes it far beyond a drug effect into the dis/continuum of shamanistic non-ordinary reality. Visions come and go of impossible experiences I know I have had and witnessed first-hand yet I know could never have happened.

"And you also see our past and our future, which are there together as a single thing already achieved, already happened . . . I saw stolen horses and buried cities, the existence of which was unknown, and they are going to be brought to light." Maria Sabina

At the peak I felt as if I was suspended in a state of light-induced electrocution. It was searingly high and at the same time utterly pure. If I was on any form of synthetic I would be on the verge calling for an ambulance. It's only because it is a natural agent of the highest, purest quality that one can do something so extreme. And this makes it a living path, a living sacrament. I could barely get up from the bed and walk down the hall. As I sat breathless in the living room, non-ordinary reality was bursting out of my sub-conscious and across my peripheral vision so I was simultaneously in about five places at once. I was overwhelmed but at the same time didn't feel poisoned, just physically illuminated - animated to the point of annihilation. Idyllically my eyes didn't throw any of the previous acute primary angle closure crises from my previous case studies before my laser operation, even though I could barely read because my pupils were so dilated.

My whole creative life has been defined and fertilized by sacred mushrooms. All my scientific research, all my shamanic and messianic journeys, many of my love affairs and all of my spiritual quest. I consider myself a direct protege of Maria Sabina and hold true to the path of the teonanactl shaman - which my whole life journey is an expression of. If this wasn't a first schedule toxin I would have spent my entire life teaching all and sundry the path of the living sacrament of the Tree of Life true to my name and destiny. So you are right! ... how can I pretend that the sacred mushroom of immortality doesn't have a pivotal role in unfolding the healing of humanity?

That said we need to be very cautious. My anxieties about the misuse of ultimately potent visionary agents is very real. Maria Sabina herself has done some mortifying things leading to a young person dying of fear and the ayahuasceros and yopo snuffers have plotted curses against their enemies for witchcraft and resorted to poisoning their victims. All the societies that have used entheogens have in various extreme ways abused them too, setting up fearful shamanic visions of conflict, violence and mortality. So these allies and agents do have the power to heal the planet, but only in the hands of enlightened people who are selfless and devoid of delusions and pretenses. We need to be guides if we can muster the strength of character and non-violence to show people the way of unfolding. How can a person who claims to be a/the messiah of the Tree of Life not have delusions of grandeur? Because the mushroom speaks, I have no need of pretenses or any form of grandeur. Mushrooms made me realize my calling as Christo Rey twenty years before the millennium on a wild moonlit night in the wilderness. They took me to the Holy Land, where instead of being shut away in the Jerusalem syndrome psych ward, I was welcomed by liberal Jewish people as a kindred spirit and given the spiritual keys to the city.

I have taken and immensely enjoyed the intensity of ayahuasca, despite its nauseating dimensions, but for me sacred mushrooms provide the kindest, most organically acceptable face of the entheogenic abyss. They aren't quite as colourful as ayahuasca but the depths of the non-ordinary reality is as inscrutably potent and sufficient to bring one to terms with the ultimate incarnations of the bundle of life, death, the hereafter and the primordial beginning, alpha to omega. As the recent psychedelics conference in Oakland laments, the greatest tragic injustice of the entire Western tradition is the tabooing of entheogens by mainstream society under pain of inquisitional repression. This applies acutely to the repression of the sacred mushroom.

Mushrooms have given me extraordinary and horrific visions whose significance I still ponder to this day. Far from the Chilean ayahuasca messiah who burned his own baby alive because he thought it was the antichrist, I have nurtured all my children faithfully in the sacred way. I had a horrific vision that my firstborn daughter would be doomed to an obstruction to her own fertility as some sort of hideous sacrifice to my own destiny. Then her first offspring had Downs syndrome. What am I supposed to make of this? Is it sheer coincidence? Is it destiny?  Is what happened somehow a consequence of having that deluded vision? Was it a prophecy, or was it a curse? What is the relationship between prescience and history? These are the difficult questions shamans have to learn to ponder, often with no answer but continuing participation in this magical world, so long as we both shall live.

So, as the effects begin to stabilize, I look up at Maria Sabina's image, which always sits as a shrine on our mantle altar, and ponder the karmic connection I have with sacred mushrooms, with world destiny and with the healing of the planetary future and reflowering of sexual reunion of the generations of humanity, and of all life. Without sacred mushrooms I would be a nobody reading about mysticism and wondering what the mystery was. With sacred mushrooms, my life unfolds before me as a great journey, tacking my way up an endless fjord, with veladas marking the major tipping points where the journey of meaning turns about and we all duck for cover as the mainsail boom swings over our heads, amid strange affirmations from the world around us that this is not just a dream-like fantasy but the unfolding living universe to which we have become inordinate sensitives.

Because I partook mid afternoon, by mid to late evening the effects had returned to a mild high and I could sleep a reasonable night.  Next morning I am fresh and clear in the sparkling sunshine. A new man in a world reborn with the youthful freshness of a new day, my creativity and sense of emergence rekindled.

"But I, I am lord of two ways. I am master of up and down. I am as a man who is a new man, with new limbs and life, and the light of the Morning Star in his eyes." 
D H Laurence The Plumed Serpent"

Is it my karma to tell the world that sacred mushrooms are the living sacrament of the Tree of Life, consummating the destiny of the living planet? That Christianity is merely a shadow - a sacrificial husk of a sacramental tradition lacking its sang-raal, instead living the sacrificial filicide of a God killing his only begotten Son to provide the empty sacrament of soma and sangre - bread and wine so that, instead of discovering the gates of immortality ourselves, we must believe in Him in the delusion that such violence of consuming the flesh and blood of the dead god will provide eternal life. At best one can say all the traditional religions in their delusion were pointing prophetically to this realization, so that Christianity as our immediate forebear in the sacramental tradition is in a sense a forerunner of the unveiling of the holy grail.

The tragedy here as I see it is that sacred mushrooms are the most beneficent of the natural visionary sacraments but their tradition has been stifled by the DEA ad the war on drugs. Ayahuasca was never able to be conquered in the same way, because the Amazon is a law unto itself and the traditions of ayahuasca use have stayed strong in tribal traditions, amid resurgences of endemic worship like Santo Daime and the UDV. What is key to the unfolding is showing the world that sacred mushrooms are the holy communion which doesn't make one puke and actually feels pure and clean, so it could really become incorporated into the very fabric of an advanced enlightened society and become its raison d'etre without being a hard road to hoe.

So do I have a karmic connection here or what? Of course I am just one of a host of people who have taken sacred mushrooms and one of many enlightened people who in their art, in their music, in their scientific research, or social projects, from remission of terminal angst, to inducing genuine spiritual experience among middle aged straight subjects, try to pave the way for an new world order of visionary emancipation. But the karmic connection remains. Who else stands alongside me as the Cristo Rey of the sacred mushroom in this way? Who else can show the way to bring the whole tortured tide of history, belief and delusion to its natural consummation? We know life is a free naked lunch, but how do we give back the flood tide of abundance while we still walk on this magical Earth?


janeyk said...

love you, Chris. jane

Unknown said...

Hi Chris ... I've actually been aware of your work and observations on the tradition of the sacred mushroom since at least the mid-90s. Reading this post today, I suspect we are more or less 'birds of a feather' in regards to this mushroom. I was drawn to the mushroom at a very young age--about 13 years old, one day while purusing through various books in my middle school library I came upon the image of a woman incensing mushrooms over a copalero. In retrospect, I now realize the image was of Maria Sabina as photographed by Alan Richardson. The image had a very peculiar and powerful effect on my psyche, I immediately knew 'this is what I'm about.' Later that same day, I was walking into the boys locker-room and a friend of mine stopped me and handed me a bag of what must have been cubensis mushrooms. It was one of the earlier and more absurd synchornicities that has accompanied my interest in these mushrooms; I went home that evening and ate the entire bag--we estimate ~7grams, and my life has never quite been the same since.

About four years ago now, I spent a year studying the mushroom tradition in Huautla de Jimenez. In the interim between age 13 and age 33 when I finally visited Huautla, I spent time studying Buddhism, Sufism, lived for a time as a Theravadan monastic in Thailand, studied the NAC peyote tradition on the Lakota rez in South Dakota, studied yoga, drank ayahuasca with shamans in Peru for 6 months etc. But I ultimately consider the mushroom to be my primary spiritual teacher and ally, and consider my very first experience before the Mazatec altar as the consummation and completion of my spiritual quest/journey. That is not to say I am not growing or developing--which would be absurd, but that what the mushroom has shown me--particularly working within the Mazatec vehicle--far and away dwarfs and transcends any insight I have gleaned from other paths. From the time I first saw the image of Maria Sabina, to the very first time I sat before the Mazatec altar it was clear to me that this imagos of the sacred had been nothing short of a guiding angel in my life. During that night, as I stood before the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, I saw an energy--almost like honey-light, descend from the image of the Virgin and enter my heart. When it entered, I fell to the ground in a state of erotic-bliss, but Eros in the divine sense--in the Greek sense--the winged god of ecstasy. In that experience it was very clear to me that I had directly received the transmission of Sabina's tradition, precisely as you describe in your blog article here. So, I know precisely what you mean here ... as absurd as that sounds.

Feel free to contact me at mycologica7@gmail.com - or I recently established a twitter account @mycologica to talk a little bit about the sacred mushroom tradition-which I have directly experienced as being perhaps the single most powerful gnostic-vehicle there is ...

It is actually quite rare that I encounter someone--as you expressed in this blog post, who HAS in fact connected with the mushroom at the level you are describing. I hope to hear from you!

Dhushara said...

I agree that sacred fungus has a lot to teach humanity. I too believe in taking the direct route rather than spiritual experience being filtered through a religious path, although I have taken Buddhist initiations, wandered as a sadhu in the East and made an apocalyptic journey to Jerusalem for the millennium to set the tradition straight on sexual reunion and natural reflowering.

Serotonin psychedelic are showing us something pivotal about how consciousness is generated and how individual experience relates to the universe at large. Mushrooms are pivotal, both because they are natural, and because, by comparison with the other natural power 'plants' they have the best fit as a sacrament which is both powerfully 'enlightening' and neither toxic nor the 'hard road' that peyote and ayahuasca provide.

What we need to realize is that it is the conscious brain that manifests these weird properties we experience on psychedelics, so it is itself 'destined' towards psychedelic experience in its own evolution - which has something to do with the 'doors of perception'. I have gone into this in depth in my monograph "Entheogens, the Conscious Brain and Existential Reality" - http://dhushara.com/psyconcs/, which also deals with synthetic psychedelics and other complementary agents such as the dissociative anesthetics.

In essence, each of us has a microcosmic relationship with the cosmic totality, through our subjective consciousness, the nature of which is a 'vision quest' undertaken throughout our lifetime. Religions try to capture this to harness it to moral and social purposes completely unrelated to the actual quest about social control over large populations and reproductive control over women. Hence the messianic quest, which lies at the creation of major religions, is quickly stamped upon and subsumed to the religious orthodoxy, with the prophets banished, killed, or left crying in the wilderness in sackcloth and ashes.

Nevertheless the root driving force of all religions is the mystery of conscious existence. Hence it thrives on the stuff of myth and magic, from the Garden of Eden to walking on water, invoking imaginary realms of heaven and hell in frank opposition to the 'sap and dew' realities of the natural world, which is debased as a bestial manifestation of flawed existence, particularly sexuality, which is seen as the enemy of male aspirations to eternal life.

The irony in this is that the messianic quest IS the vision quest of discovering the roots of our own incarnation and our conscious unity with the cosmic totality extending beyond our mortal coil. Thus we find ourselves right at the centre of the cyclone and the buck stops with us. We each can save the world through fully understanding this immense secret. Many people go mad trying to understand this or become grotesque cult leaders, while traditional religions strive to suppress all new innovators, claiming Jesus is the Son of God and Muhammad is the last prophet, under pain of death.

Why I think mushrooms are very important in this existential equation is that they enable each individual to experience this inscrutable 'living truth' without being told a filtered or censored story about it, or having to adhere to any moral or religious imperative. This is the 'democratization' of spirituality. Western civilization has sought to repress it essentially because it opens Pandora's box on the confinement of Western culture despite its pretences to emancipation. This was particularly true in the time of Leary and Kesey when society was a narrow channel driven by men in pork pie hats, but it remains true to the extent that in a scientific age, when we have discovered the Higgs boson and decoded the human genome, psychedelic research is still with a few exceptions banned, as well as its use as a visionary sacrament socially, and consciousness remains the greatest enigma facing the scientific description of reality.