Does that title even make sense? It rhymes, and sometimes that’s enough.
My first experiences with entheogenic plants were in the traditional setting with a Quechua shaman. I have much love and respect for her and feel a huge sense of gratitude for the way she introduced me to the plants.
On our first meeting she had no time for, or interest in babying me and coddling. She got straight to the point:
“If you drink you have made a deal, signed a contract, there is no going back. If you think you’re dying, if you cry for a doctor or to be taken to hospital I will say NO. This is your choice, I am not forcing you to drink.”
I know that would scare some people and it scared me a little but not as much as it excited me. Whether she knew it or not, it was a red rag to a bull and I was going in.
The ceremony was performed, I was left in awe looking at the stars, we went to sleep eventually and the next day it was done. It was the same for other ceremonies. There was some informal chit chat the day after as we shared experiences, but not much else.
In the years following I drank in circles in Europe and saw how differently things were done. Most noticeably the practice of ‘Integration’ the morning after a ceremony. It was a time to sit in circle and share the experiences of the previous evening, digest them, process them and integrate the teachings and healing.
Generally speaking in the Amazon this is not done as a tradition, as their culture, way of living and belief systems are very different. It could be said that integrations are not necessary. The healing work of the Amazonian shamans rarely comes with much of an explanation though some do.
In Europe I have seen that this process is often invaluable. The way we live our lives with so much more information and stimulation, means our minds are much more sophisticated when it comes to conjuring up bullshit. BS (a term that can be applied to belief systems or bullshit but generally meaning one in the same).
Lack of integration can throw up some common issues for Europeans or the people of the so called first world.
I have worked with a number of people in the UK who have come to me for an integration they never had. Whether their ceremony was conducted in the UK or abroad, the lack of integration afterwards proves very troublesome for them. The prevailing scientific, atheist culture can make a mystical experience with the plants completely overwhelming, even if you're not particularly scientific or atheist. The subsequent return to 3D reality can be a shock.
Once you know it, you can never un-know it and going back to daily life can be a bewildering experience. It’s the moment you realise ‘oh shit that stuff is real’ whilst your mind is still trying to tell you it’s not and it was all hallucinated. Which is simply a conflict and conflicts can be uncomfortable as we all know.
There can also be an increase in awareness when it comes to all kinds of phenomena such as telepathy, telekinesis, synchronicity, signs, omens, dreams, pre cognitions and general interactions with the unseen realm, which with our Christian history is usually boiled down to ‘angels are helping me’ or ‘demons are attacking me.’ Again, this can be disturbing.
All this can be saved with an integration that fully assimilates the experience and more importantly, goes into what these teacher plants are actually teaching. Which brings me onto my second issue.
The plant experience can be a light show with colours, patterns and shapes that you will never have experienced before and cannot explain, draw or comprehend. It’s part of the process that shows us there is more to the mystery than we can possibly understand.
It is very easy for our protective mind to focus its memory recall on the laser show and holding hands with extra terrestrials, as opposed to the real self work that was done and the lessons to take back into our daily lives.
I’m not trying to be a kill joy, the bliss, ecstasy and inter dimensional free fall is all an important part of the experience. Yet, we would short change ourselves completely, if we did not heed the advice and revelations given to us by these plants, regarding our shortcomings and flaws.
Each ceremony there will be a lesson to learn, an unconscious yet damaging behaviour pattern to undo, a memory to heal, a wound to tend, a message for ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
The integration process helps us to make this conscious and act upon it.
What is Integration?
It is a very simple but powerful process. We sit in circle and share, so that we may learn and teach at the same time as a tribe.
In the integration circle at Love Heal Forgive all is held sacred whilst nothing is judged. Nothing is true and all is permitted. There is no right and wrong, there is no good and bad. It is safe and it is filled with love for all that is. It is a place for radical honesty and deep healing. It is a place of growth and evolution. A space to unite as brothers and sisters under a banner of love.