Pre-New Year Wondering


It’s Sunday, just two more days ’til January 1st 2019. As time goes by, I find that very quietly, below my conscious thinking, I am experiencing an openness to the world, at times in a global or universalist sense and at times in a very particular sense. feeling connected to someone or something specific. It makes me wonder about the message that Wakanda has yet to impart to me. Is there something in it to help explain this change to how I am experiencing the world?

As I ponder the experiences I realize that God’s spirit is present in all of creation, it is the DNA of creation and we share that DNA. Therefore we are related to every creature, every life and even things we would not consider life. But since we are most assuredly related to our Mother Earth as is everything else on the planet, then we are related to everything else.

Science also assures us that particles from space, star matter, are passing through the atmosphere all the time adding new things to the planet and to us. We breathe it. We drink it. We eat it. So we share star matter DNA as well. God’s creation is God’s word of creation according to Jude-Christian belief. To me that means we are all related in the spirit (word) of creation. To love creation is to love our families. We can learn a lot, spiritually and every other way from those of our families that we have always considered alien and to be subjugated. I look forward to growing through better relationships with all of earth’s children and the children of star matter our cousins.


God smiling

Again, A Monday Morning


That’s DANGER!, my cat. He was a kitten then, acquired after a trip to New York that found my house with squatting mice, upon return. No more mice. Of, course, when you get a cat to solve a mice problem, then you have a cat problem. So it is with everything in life: one thing leads to another and, inexorably, your life becomes something different. I think DANGER!’s name was a warning or at least sign that said “be careful, things are going to get dicey ahead.” And so they have.

So the process continues. I have a regular meeting with my spiritual director on Fridays. This last Friday we met for the 1st time since my return from Panama. Tom was quite interested in my experience, had good questions and even expressed interest in participating in Ayahuasca ceremonies himself. There came a time, though, when I was explaining how my process was going when Tom made an interpretation of it which included a kind of caution to me to understand my experience in a different way. What was clear to me, though, was that Tom had not truly understood what I was saying and also did not understand my need to be affirmed in my experience at this time rather than issued a caution. Normally, when these things happen, I become “resistive.” Wakana recognized this right away during our Siba. In the past, when resistance would raise it’s protective head, I would go silent, get angry and just wait until the pressure passed. This time, with Tom, I pushed back until he understood what I had been saying and as a bonus I was able to claim my need for affirmation at this time, rather than passively (and angrily) accept his untimely words of caution. We both recognized this as positive movement on my part. Something that happened as a result of my Ayahuasca ceremonial experience. It’s embarrassing to say that, at my age, I still have had so little ability to speak for myself in a positive way. And that is another piece of my puzzle that I would not have been able to cop to before my encounter with “Mama Aya.”  I have to say I am grateful. I am also a little surprised that something I have struggled with for so long has become workable for me. It still feels dangerous but not in the same way.



Thursday the 2oth: Processing


That is the Spokane River when the water was high. Now I am back in Spokane and have been sharing with a few folks our adventures. Talking with my boss, Kay, was enlightening. She pointed out how this pilgrimage was very much an Advent adventure waiting to give birth to the Christ in me. I thought about that whole experience after the 1st Ayahuasca ceremony of feeling like I was pregnant with a baby elephant.  That and the healing experience with Wakana seemed to confirm that giving birth to a new form of spirituality was in the works… is still in the works. I think about the resistance that Wakana warned me about during the Siba. I recognize that that resistance is buried so deep inside that I don’t have access to it except as a response to something  that I feel is being forced on me. I do not seem to have the ability to manage that resistance. That will change now that I know it is there. Another thing Kay talked about is four styles of response. She’d been reading aobut it and says that the author talks about a style of response that is resistive. Only 17 % of people respond in that way. Well, apparently, I am in the 17%. Not bad, of course, except that without that knowledge I have no ability to choose how and wen to resist. These are things that I have been working on for a lot of years. Truth to tell, that I was resistive to most of the help that I sought. It’s a trust thing. Another piece of the puzzle. Pretty sure I would not have figured any of this out without the help of “Mama Aya.”

I’ve talked to Dan and Leroy a little. They too are processing but have not had anything significant to say that i can add to this post.

Backing up  little I want to say that working through some trust around what I was getting into was the core of my work during the 1st ceremony. I was raised with a lot of mistrust that is what one might call a universal mistrust. I have come to understand that my mistrust was planted in me with shame and fear to keep me in line with the beliefs of my parents. What I did not know is how deeply ingrained that mistrust was causing me to have paranoia. That got worked through but I am still working to reconcile new experiences with old beliefs. As long as you live you’re working out the stuff put in you from infancy, even. It’s grace.


A Week Later


It’s been a week since Dan, Leroy and I have left Panama. What you see above is a photo of the Grotto altar at Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto in Portland. I took Leroy there before taking him to catch his flight back to Las Vegas. Leroy was overwhelmed by the beauty and holy peace of the Grotto. Me too, really.

I knew that I would still be processing my experience with the Ayahusca and that is true. I am still awaiting Wakana’s message to me from “Mama Aya.” So I do not have “closure” for the experience yet. But even with that I would be processing for a long time. I know that Wakana has a lot on her plate so I am being patient as I await her e-mail. I return to work today and I will be sharing this experience with my colleagues there. They all expressed a lot of interest in what I was about to do. My two daughters were quite interested as well and it was fun and good to share with them our experiences.

So far I am most surprised at how so many things over many years led me to this journey. Many of my Christian/Catholic friends would be alarmed that I was doing something so pagan. But God our Creator, has led me over many years to understand that the world is imbued with the Creator’s spirit. As am I. My prayer and my work is to deepen my experience of God through deeper experience of the world, to get to know the spirit in and through other people and through the flora and fauna of our wondrous earth. Engaging in a spiritual ceremony using Ayahuasca is one way to do that. To engage in these things with a wise and caring person such as Wakana makes it an enhancement of my own spirituality and helps me to broaden and strengthen my sense of God in the world. St. Francis of Assisi  would get it. I will be exploring this further as I continue the blog. I will continue the blog until there is nothing more for me to say. I hope, for those of you who read this, that you will find something that brings you closer to the ever-present spirit of God in everything that surrounds us.





Sunday: Horn for my ear


What you see in that picture is not a funnel. It looks like a funnel, walks like a funnel but in reality it is the ear horn I bought after our first ceremony because, with the noise of the music, I was unable to hear the shaman when she spoke to me. I have had the ear horn available since then but it wasn’t used once due to altered circumstances. For those of you who don’t know what an ear horn or ear trumpet is, in the old days a before electronics, nearly deaf people were obliged to ask others to speak into the bell of the horn which would then funnel the spoken word more directly into the ear. It works – a little.

Last night we had a very intense night of spiritual activity with several healings and heavy contact with spiritual entities of one kind or another. It was so busy that our debriefing took over two hours with some follow up activity for a few people. As a result we did not get back to the condo until nearly two o’clock. Each of us wiped out in our own way. I will not try to describe all that went on right now. I just wanted to make sure that y’all knew that we had a big night and got home safe. As with Thursday night, I was unable to process much of what happened to me. For that reason, I will not attempt to describe it at this time. After I get the feedback from Wakana, and am able to put it together with what I do remember, I will tell my story of the ceremony.

Leroy again had a big night and Dan seems to have had a good but unremarkable night. Once we have had a chance to compare notes I hope to share some of their third ceremony stories. For now, thanks for checking in. This has been an amazing  experience, one I would not hesitate to follow up on if given the opportunity. There are big things happening in the world as we all know and not all of it is happening in the political realm. The most significant things are, no doubt, happening in the spiritual realm, making me more convinced than ever of the need for a positive, open and loving spiritual life, and a story to convey the importance of living that life.


Ron.                                   image

Sabados:Dia de Madre (en Panama)


They’re getting ready for Christmas in Boquete, Panama and, also, today is Mother’s Day. Dan, Leroy and I are biding our time until we head out for our last ceremony. We are all looking forward to it and trying to home in on an intention to take into ceremony with us. Two of the larger group will not be there today; one because she is so wiped out and the other because she had to go back to Costa Rica. Tomorrow, appropriately, will be a day of rest and recovery from the strains of the Ayahuasca ceremony. We will have Monday to explore someplace other than downtown Boquete, maybe do a little hiking. Then: We’re outta here on Tuesday. We have a nine thirty flight out of David to Panama City. There’s a two hour layover, thankfully, so we can get through security and on to the Copa Air flight to LAX. Three hours in LA and on to Portland.

We are all looking forward to this last ceremony as well as now trying to figure out how this experience will fit into and alter our lives in the future. I came here hoping for a transformative experience and although I don’t feel transformed, I know that even with a transformative experience, transformation is a process. I hope that having begun I can continue the process and realize a new life back in the mundanity of “regular” life.

At this moment both Dan and Leroy are taking naps so I can’t really query them about their hopes for this last session. But earlier today, Leroy had talked about developing a new discipline, becoming more compassionate. Worthy goals indeed. Dan doesn’t really talk about what he hopes to get out of this session though he would, if asked. I will let y’all know tomorrow how it went. And I will keep posting until I don’t have anything else to say. So If you have followed this blog, please check in again. Maybe something interesting or troubling or wise and profound will find it’s way into this space.



Friday Afternoon


Above is the rainbow that appeared in the sky shortly before we set off for the second ceremony. I took it as a good sign – and, indeed, the whole experience last night was very positive.
After the first ceremony I had been made aware of something in me that wanted to be born. As I told Dan and Leroy, it felt like a baby elephant – past it’s due date. Then, after I went to be and was trying to sleep, I was given a sort of Lamaz instruction on breathing and a mantra to help. Last night, though I remember little of what the journey was about, I know that the breathing exercises and the mantra helped me through. One of the intention cards I had drawn was about sacrifice. I was led to allow the joint pain that I often have when lying down to become a sacrifice for others in the room. In our debriefing, others reminded me that sacrifice is also about making sacred and that pain often accompanies healing. That’s the value of a debriefing with the other ceremonial attendees. I heard other attendees attest to healing that they had received and to being encouraged to take their spiritual journey the the next appropriate place.

Dan story was about receiving a tool to be make more compassionate assessment of himself and his experiences. All in all a very positive experience for him.

Leroy experienced the profundity of how the medicine actually works and with a second dose he was able to pick up pieces of himself that had been hidden away for a long time. The whole experience “satisfied my craving for how this all works as well as showing me to the full potential of the medicine and how deep it can go.”

Tonight we are scheduled to have dinner with Anya and Chichi. Anya is the person who made this connection to the Ayahuaca healing possible. Chichi is her husband. We are all looking forward to that and, fortunately, we are not so wiped out this time that we will be able to enjoy it.



Thursday Afternoon:


Above is the river we will cross this evening when we return for our second Ayahuasca ceremony. I don’t know the name of it and I don’t know how to ask.

Dan and Leroy are looking forward to this night and what it will bring to them. The Shaman tells me that I have resistance and need to quit resisting. I honestly don’t feel like I am resistant but we all know that there are things that go on deep in our psyches that we are unaware of. My plan is to do my best to let go of or explore or whatever I need to do to get past the resistance (easier said than done.)
Leroy has a son named Cortez (I am honorary godfather) who was born with a major disability which makes communication difficult. Leroy has long felt that he has been missing something by not being able to understand Cortez’s spirit. So Leroy has set a goal of being able to make that connection and to make it lasting.

Dan has long made negative judgements about his self. His goal is to learn to be more compassionate toward himself. So we all have bridges to cross and below you will see one of the bridges that we use to get to the ceremonial venue. I truly hope that the metaphorical bridge I have to cross does not collapse under my feet.


Wednesday Evening

Just about 24 hours ago we began our first Ayahuasca ceremony. We did not complete until around noon today. The ceremony itself consists of coming together as a group. There were 12 of us including the shaman and two helpers. Sort of standard fare with each person introducing home/herself and then stating the intention they had for the ceremony. Rapé was administered then we prayed and had a under meditation. One by one then, we were called up to drink the Ayahuasca. We settled onto our mats, listened to the music that was provided, closed our eyes and let “Mama Ayahuasca” get to know us, show us visions and help us to move toward achieving the intentions that we had set out. It’s a long night.

People struggled to overcome their own resistance to the changes they were attempting to achieve. My personal intentions involved dealing with fear and vulnerability and connecting with my roots. As the visions came on I felt a lot of fear. I tried to understand why I felt so torn between the healing I was being offered and old ways of believing. I know that God is a loving Creator and mother as well as fathers to us all but I struggled with fear of the unknown and prejudices I have had ingrained in me since childhood.

Eventually I settled into an internal dialogue that helped me to better understand the dynamics of my root relationships and to experience compassion and new understanding for my parents, children and others whom I have loved intimately. I was able to see where I had hurt others in ways I had not realized and look for ways to make amends. Leroy faced extreme challenges to his spirituality and found ways to deal with them effectively. Dan seems to have had the most fun connecting with his inner six year old.

We were all emotionally and physically wiped out by the long night and hard spiritual work. We had breakfast together, debriefed the ceremony, heard the wisdom of those who have gone through this before us, cleaned the house up and wended our way home to take a well deserved rest. Tomorrow night we do it again with fresh intentions and high hopes for an improved life.




Monday Morning.

So after an arduous journey aboard Copa Airlines to David via Panama City, we rented a car and proceeded to lose ourselves in the Panamanian outback for a couple of hours. Fortunately, Leroy’s stubborn persistence in making his phone connect to local systems, he’d and Dan were able to map our route to the Shaman’s house. Wakana greeted us warmly despite our belated arrival. It was decided among us, that I would be the first to participate in a Siba, which is the preliminary counseling session that determines the goals for the Ayahuasca ceremony and helps Wakana learn how to assist us in the journey. Part of the Siba involves having a mixture of herbs and ash called rape (pronounced rapay) which helps us relax and let a more free-association experience happen. This session lasted three hours. When I was done, Dan and Leroy were back, after securing pour lodgings, to a) pick me up and b) let Dan have his Siba experience. I took a nap. Then we picked up Dan cam back to Boquete and had a delicious dinner at Big Daddy’s restaurant. We played a few hands of cribbage after showing Leroy the game. He held his own but Dan still kicked ass. 

This morning we will do some exploring of town, pick up some needed items and then take Leroy out to Wakana’s for his Siba. In the mean time what I’d like to do is show you the view up the hill from and down in the backyard of our AirB&B: imageimage