I used to emphatically be part of the love+light brigade: rainbows, butterflies, cupcakes and sprinkles. A sprightly pink tutu'd fairy twirling my way whimsically through life. Until the dark day... the day my twins were arrived - in dark, violent and fear-drenched fashion - and I wondered for years if I (as I had once been) would ever return.
The answer was no.... who I was would never again come back. I needed to come back different.
Come to think of it.. that was always the reason for their traumatic arrival, wasn't it? To wake me the fuxk up and force me, brutally, to stand once and for all in my power. My dark power.
This post is about The Next Time (I took a psychedelic journey) - and what I found.
“We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.” ― Terence McKenna
A few weeks ago I wrote about my first, exceptionally conscious step into the mind-expansion that is psychedelics. Specifically, ethically-sourced psilocybin as a powerful portal into the faces of Self that nobody told me about along the way. I've spent my life thinking my education had made me an expert in brain things.... yet looking back now I realize I only ever knew about my brain theory - where things are, how they're shaped, the way blood flows through. Yet, in practice, it took me arriving on the Mayan coast, setting foot upon this sacred land - and it took that particular mushroom journey into the mountains of inner Mexico, to experience what consciousness is actually about.
Oof. What a powerful lesson in knowing how much I don't yet know.
I had never been drawn to plant medicine. Actually, I gravely opposed mind-altering substances of any kind. - but why? Because that's what I was taught. And, looking back now, I realize how I got off my whole life on being 'the good girl'. Until that dark day.. when all my goodness wasn't enough to save me from the path my birthing journey would take... when I was left in a lifeless heap on a sterile OR table.. and that's how 'the best thing to ever happen to me' would begin? What had I been good for? Now, when everyone's attention was turned to the tiny twins my body had made - nobody would swoop in to save me but myself. And that's what I've had to do. When psilocybin crossed my path recently, I knew it had arrived for a reason - and with a message.
The other day, I took my second conscious journey inward.
"Only the slightest hesitation this time around... more so out of unfamiliarity than fear. What will be different this time? Spurred by Mark's comment about microdosing as a way to regulate my struggles and knowing that my ball of psilocybin cacao was oxidizing as we spoke, I felt the full-bodied YES I needed to step upon the path once more."
The mushroom cacao I lovingly crafted was warm and luxurious. Silky, velvety. Comfort. Prepared this time in water instead of milk so I could familiarize myself with the difference (milk is known to neutralize 'poisonings' and these mushrooms had been ground up for a while so they were at the end of their half-lives, for sure."
Like the kambo healing I read so much about here - this was a poisoning I welcomed. The alleged "healthy" state of affairs I see around me isn't working for anyone.
You know, it's funny... we spend our lives poisoning our bodies and calling it 'life'. We toxify our bodies and minds with the shit 'they' sell and mass produce: fast food, pharma, the perfect throw pillows for every season and designer fingernails to match. - so those addictions are okay, right? - until they're not. Until fast food clogs your heart, pharma vaporizes your liver, and your throw pillows vaporize your bank account.
I see my 1/2 dranken cup of coffee on the bedside table and decide to make a mushroom mocha. Now it's even more mind-bendingly comforting to consume. Mushroom cacao anchored in the deep, delicious, groundedness and complexity of coffee.
I didn't get the grind consistency right the first time. It's still a little bit too coarse. The gritty texture isn't impossible to swallow but would be so much smoother without. Live and learn.
It's 1045 a.m.
This journey doesn't have expansive mountain vistas and hummingbirds and sunshine. This one is a true inward journey - in a dark, cool,cave-like bedroom in a silent home. Alone.
My mind feels like it usually does when I close my eyes: blank, empty, asleep. I keep thinking back to how this felt in Tepoztlan - the magic, the power, the beauty of that majestic mountain setting. That was, and will likely forever be, one of the most powerful experiences of my entire life. I'm already looking into renting that same property to host retreats and share what I felt with others.
I am absolutely enraptured in the science of psilocybin on the inner workings of our brain. I am inextricably woven into every molecular interaction, every impact on every bit of serotonin and how/why it functions so much more effectively than long-term antidepressant use. I have immersed myself in this completely from a theoretical standpoint and now my practical experience is slowly (s.. l.. o.. w.. l.. y..) catching up. I crave to be able to rattle this off readily to anyone who asks. And I do.
-- I write down ideas for workshops and seminars as they arrive to me. My body relaxes.
I begin to brainstorm the power of placebo in the exploration of consciousness. Anyone riddled with thoughts they feel they can't control is an ideal candidate for this work.
Big systems pack their coffers by distracting us from things they tell us we should avoid. We're plugged into their system from birth. I think back to a book I picked up in a used book shop in central London a few years back... Manufacturing Depression. I exchanged a few notes with the author. Man. What a beautifully controversial and unreasonably powerful read.
To me, healing is nothing more than the complete and total honouring of each one of the emotions you feel - holding nothing back, letting it all come up, and setting it all the fuxk free. Digesting every single hidden, silenced, and shamed belief, fantasy, thought and fear - and allowing it to set itself free to the world.
In truest, deepest, darkest (and most transformational healing) you agree to face everything. It will feel comfortable. It will hurt. It might make your stomach turn. But then you will be free. Because you are strong.
And it is time to be set the fuxk free!
Though my experience with mind-opening substances is admittedly super limited, I can't deny the incredible ideas and breakthroughs I've arrived at in these states. I understand why we learn over time that the most brilliant authors, artists, and problem-solvers approached their work through the portals of substances.
Preparing for a journey, I begin with such a beautiful intention. Preparation of comfort - physical and emotional. A warm, nurturing, comforting drink. A heavy down-filled duvet and my journal. Setting the entire stage up just to create. Just to be the vessel through which ideas pour in from the ether and our through letter-shaped scribbled beneath my pen.
This is the stage I set as a beautiful space for my mind to come and dance... and as it begins, slowly, slowly, I just sit back and watch the performance. What will my mind have to show me today?
I minimize external disruptions. Not that they're a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it means they do momentarily pop the bubble I'm intentionally blowing.
I close my eyes and look at the screen of the inside of my mind. Is it on yet? - the movie? The edges of my optic screen are a little grey and 'snowy' like an old, static-y TV.
The body buzz is slight.. almost imperceptible and easily mistaken for total relaxation (a state we don't allow ourselves to surrender to nearly enough).
I give myself the bare minimum amount of light I need to write.
You have to be ready to see what your mind is going to show you.
And suddenly, behind closed eyes, I see a dark insect with demonic, candle-like eyes. The vision could very well be startling, but it's not. Hello. Who are you? What are you here to tell me? I feel no inherent good or bad.. only what I myself make of it.
My body feels relaxed, tired, a little bit of a head rush.
My room is cold, dark, cave-like.
Come to think of it, if psilocybin is acting predominantly on my serotonin pathways then it makes sense that interruptions cause friction - they're a total messing with established body chemistry.
I don't want to sleep through my journey but I feel exhausted. Which is strange... it's first thing in the morning and I slept well last night. What is my body telling me? Apparently that it needs more rest.
I draw a line across my page and settle into reflection rather than writing for a bit.
- a few intrusive thoughts about a particular life circumstance I'm dealing with right now.... I write down the reflections but don't wish to make this journey about it so I set the thoughts free.
"The radical thinkers are a threat."
The thought is random, spontaneous, but I can feel it in my entire body. So I write it down.
On the screen of the insides of my eyelids appears a big, stiff, metal machine trying to print copies / posters of some sort. It's dark, oily, covered in dirt.
My sense of smell has gotten slightly sharper.
I am so overwhelmingly TIRED.
So what, other than sleep, counteracts tired? I realize I'm just suuuuper relaxed and I feel like I'm watching my dreams. I'm still conscious, awake, but in this powerful and reflective dream-like state where my dreams are vividly playing out on the screen in front of me.
"The asleep-asleep don't know they're asleep. When you're consciously asleep you consciously choose sleeping and wide-awake reflection even in that sleeping state."
Ohh. Cheetah! She appears out of nowhere on my ride side. She disappears as quickly as she came but her presence is unignorable. What are you here to tell me? I write it down to remember to reflect upon later.
We need to regularly clean out the random shit we clog our brains with.
Every one of these scattered images that appear in my mind sticks in a profoundly powerful way. I can't help but remember the years I spent studying the attentional blink phenomenon in school - emotion-induced blindness to stimuli that appear in short succession of one another (milliseconds) - but the fact that the brain can imprint meaning upon a stimulus even if just presented for a tenth of a second. That's sort of how this feels.
How am I actively cleaning out the random shit I clog my brain with on social media? All day, every day, I am flooding my brain with milliseconds of messaging that its within someone else's agenda for me to consume. Am I adequately offloading that at the end of the day? or do I carry these other micro-impressions with me unconsciously through my days? That's what they want, right?
Have you ever considered how devices have created this powerful invisible cage around us steering us all into a virtual world created for us by someone else...? They've imprisoned us by our own wants. We will all be imprisoned and we will all continue asking for more. Like drug addicts begging our dealers for another hit. How long until the hit leads us blindly off a cliff?
Hmm. Interesting. The king of the jungle.
You have to go into the storm to lead others out.
An hour has gone by.
Mmm. What an incredible, womb-like refuge. Maybe that's why I love this heavy down-filled comforter so much? because it feels enveloping and womb'y. Completely surrounded in darkness and none of it scares me anymore. Lioness of the jungle.
Don't belittle anyone else for being afraid for things you aren't. It's your job to lead them out.
There is no competition. The truest guides admire other guides. We're all looking for messages.
This time around there is substantially less light. There are no colourful hallucinogenic shapes or kaleidoscope effects. This time it's darkness. This time it's a deep, powerful meditation on the power of the darkness, the power of my shadows.
We're taught to be afraid of the darkness and avoid it, distract ourselves from it with the addictions they give us - rather than overcome it. If we overcame it, it would make us too powerful - too self-assured to be easily distracted. Then we'd be on the other side of the net. We're useless to them out there.
From an evolutionary standpoint our brain chemistry is hardwired for darkness - this powerful negativity bias that attunes us to the threats and things that cause us pain. And, it's good to be aware of those - but if we delve solely into them then that's what causes us to suffer.
I've arrived in a powerful state of presence. I'm temporarily knocked out of it by circumstances as they unfold - but overall I've arrived in a place of powerful awareness that there's actually nothing wrong. I don't actually need anything.
Mmmm. This is such a hyper-charged dream state.
Ohh. What's that? The eye of Horus? Why did that appear? I've had so much Egyptian symbolism appear to me and I know literally nothing about Egyptian symbolism which is super frustrating.
When nothing is wrong you don't need anything. When you're peaceful inside you don't need anything more from outside of yourself to make anything 'better'.
Literally entire economies would collapse if we collectively came to this conclusion. Can you imagine what would happen to the women's beauty industry of women suddenly decided they don't need more than coconut oil and sunshine to feel flawless and powerful? or a little mud-stained war paint to bring out their inner warrior goddess?
This moment, this darkness, this comforter in this bedroom cave right now is giving me the most powerful nourishment. A womb-like state between worlds. The ultimate source. The ultimate reconnection. The ultimate well of power.
What? Why did that vision come up? I did spend a few days reading about the mythological and historical significance of the Mayan underworld.. specifically the complex system of waterways, caves and cenotes upon which the Yucatan is built. I was reading specifically about Cenote Suytun. The womb of mother earth. Pachamama. Maybe that's why the imagery has reappeared now?
Most modern-day religious teachings portray the underworld as the place where evil resides... salvation comes from heavens. Yet ancient civilizations believed in the exact opposite. There weren't evil forces below the earth... it was from the center of the earth that all of us came - from the womb of Pachamama herself.
The realization washed over me in an instant: I didn't go to the stars during childbirth to collect the souls of my babies like they told me, whimsically I would. No. I fuxking went into the deepest depths of the underworld to stand, unknowingly, face to face with all my fears I had (or would soon) overcome. I went to the underworld during childbirth because that's where my unfuxkwithable strength and fearlessness comes from.
Oh my goodness. I just realized that dark, demonic insect was a SCARAB. There's more of that deep Egyptian symbolism.
So. What's a scarab? *noted to research later.
(As it turns out, Egyptians used the scarab beetle as a representation of the human brain: feelers represent our senses / limbic system, the pituitary glad a.k.a. the third eye, left brain as the sacred masculine, left brain as the sacred feminine. It is believed that humans once had 360 senses, and now we've devolved into a mere five.)
The next wave of realization washes over me:
I am dark, powerful priestess energy. My teachers are ancestors and sacred symbols that I, myself, must learn. My teachers are plants. My teachers are visions. My teacher is my connection to Source, and to myself. My strength does not come from followers or others telling me I'm good at what I do or who I am. I already know this.
I must go INSIDE to detangle.
Nearly dying was my initiation. That was my closest and most prominent visit to the underworld. But I wasn't meant to die that day. I identify so strongly with the Dark Goddess circle, with talismans of initiation: keys, daggers, snakes, the Moon. I was shown these symbols a long time ago and I ignored them. I wasn't ready.
I close my eyes again and look to see if there's anything else that wants to come through. Fire. I am the fire. △
My strength with the struggle of adjusting to motherhood needs to come from Source as well.
I am living upon water. Life moved me onto water - which carries away darkness and negativity. I didn't need more love and light, I needed to move straight into the fury and hellfire.
From total darkness, I emerged. Battered. Bleeding. Dissociated. Then I had to start putting the pieces back together. Making sense of what the painful lessons taught me. Why they came.
Oh. Baby Wolves.
Dogs are the liminal edge of all we pass through in the cycles of life - riding the thin veil between human and spiritual world, the passages through life and death.
Dark Goddess Hecate travels with twin dogs. I now have twin wolf cubs. And I, too, traveled the underworld with them. They are the liminal space for me. They are the passage. The Portal.
I am at complete oneness with my own inner underworld.
My strength doesn't come from being told I have it. My strength comes from no longer fearing the darkness I've come from.