The history of Western culture in the last two thousand years could be seen as the 'Empire of the Mind' conquering the exterior world and extinguishing the interior one, with the result that we have atrophied our spiritual connection. – Rak Razam
The world is deeply out of balance in these pre-apocalyptic times, and a serious correction, long overdue, is underway. The benevolent forces of the earth are reaching out into our culture and touching the consciousness of many people, invoking within them the necessity and the courage to transform and evolve beyond the self-destructive narratives that govern human life today.
The problems we face run deep, yet the consciousness of human kind seems firmly centered at base level. For many there seems to be little promise that a significant enough transformation can occur in time to avoid ecocide, which is suicide, because along with the industrial revolution we’ve reconfigured our knowledge base to exclude sustainable co-existence with the natural world.
So, then, what is available to us, as creatures of this earth, to remedy these crises? What catalysts, if any, are strong enough to cause the needed infectious tidal wave of personal and communal transformation? One strong enough to cause people to re-think their patterned lives and to restructure them? What in our world can help us to break through the fear of letting go of what we have now, in order to risk discovering what else may be possible?
Enter ancient wisdom. Ayahuasca and Iboga... kindred medicine spirits that are pushing themselves into the collective consciousness of the modern world. Their ancient secrets have been guarded for thousands of years by the indigenous tribes that have since time immemorial structured their cultures and cosmologies around the wisdom gleaned from communing with these plant teachers. Yet for some important reason there is widespread and growing interest in these sacraments as a means to alleviate the cultural malaises that so many in the ‘advanced’ world suffer from.
Used in shamanic and bona fide religious practices, Ayahuasca, native to South America, is a hallucinogenic brew concocted of the ‘vine of the souls,’ banisteriopsis caapi, and other DMT containing plants such as chacruna, or psychotria viridis. Iboga, native to the rainforest of Gabon, Africa, is an entheogenic root bark of the tree, tabernanthe iboga and an ancient sacrament of the Bwiti, a spiritual discipline whose African members number in the millions.
Both of these plant medicines are taken ceremonially as medicinal rites to facilitate physical and psychological healing, to teach virtuous living, to develop spirituality, to strengthen family and communal ties, and to deepen one’s connection to the natural world. They are the center pieces of shamanic traditions that have for ages been full-spectrum healing arts that address the total human needs of individuals and communities alike, while addressing imbalances between humans and nature. They bring a human-being into direct contact with the unseen spirit realms of the earth and the cosmos, allowing one to de-intellectualize the mystical nature of life and consciousness.
Unsurprisingly, both of these shamanic medicines are swiftly working their way into the consciousness of the modern, ‘civilized’ world. Transformation is the key to navigating these insane times, and these medicines strike at the root of global transformation, the individual. It takes tremendous courage to ‘step into the fire’ with these medicines, but for those who do, it feels distinctly like a calling or destiny, and very little like a desire or ambition.
Initiates are called to muster absolute courage and humility, and are returned renewed and cleansed with heightened energy and abundant inspiration. Often gaining clear signals about choosing and navigating life’s paths, initiates receive visionary insight into the value of life and the connection to the natural world. The message is similar for many: Wake up, let go of the past, balance the ego, refine yourself, refine your personal energy; and move your life in the direction of service, with gratitude for each breath that you take.
Fear is understood and overcome, and the infinite nature of human consciousness is revealed. Emotional healing happens instantly, and self-judgements and criticisms are re-apportioned into task lists for personal development. Impulsivity and addiction are understood as destructive forces that require domestication, and the impetus to do so is received abundantly. One reassess their connection to nature and sees, senses and directly feels the sentience in all things, thereby tempering their sense of seniority in the cosmic web of life. A new life path unfolds, deep, enduring questions are answered, and forgiveness is granted. A life purpose lost is re-discovered and the seeker becomes new, refreshed, and reborn into a new perspective that lasts a lifetime.
These plant teachers are one of nature’s greatest tools for communicating with human beings. Iboga is the tree of knowledge. Ayahuasca is the vine of souls. Together they comprise an entirely complete, organic language and are reaching out into the world seeking warriors of truth to translate and seed the message of the Earth, who is unmistakably our Mother. They are calling us, speaking directly to us in spiritual form, asking for our involvement in this life or death struggle to return to equity, respect and balance to our relationship with the natural world.
They are messengers of truth from the earth...are you listening?