I bought that crucifix in 2005 in Albuqurque. It’s made of fused glass and you may notice that the “corpus” is symbolic rather than the standard human form. What I think is interesting about this corpus is the serpentine shape. We are told before we begin the ceremony that if Mother Ayahuasca appears to us at all it comes in the form of a serpent. For most westerners that is scary and symbolic of things opposed to God.
One thing I learned form my first Ayahuasca ceremony is that I would have to somehow reconcile that old Christian mythology with where God was taking me. What I did not remember/realize is that I had had the reconciliation hanging on my wall for a number of years. Now that I see it I am having a Homer Simpson moment – “Doh!” The good news is that if we work at processing the the various paths of our lives, sooner or later they come together at a crossroads that helps us to know that we are on the path to the mindfulness we are called to.
Ken Wilbur and others who teach Integral Spirituality would have a lot of questions for ma about all of this. I am still learning, growing, developing, evolving so the connections are not entirely clear to me but I can feel them. So I am processing this information, these connections, knowing that they will help in my growth. One of the things I have learned is that I need help. It remains to be seen what that help will look like but I have taken steps to get help. Another new thing for me. Would not have happened without the help of Mama Aya.
PEACE and LOVE, RON
A week has gone by since my last post. That is the nature of processing an experience. Two things have happened. 1) Wakana was finally freed up from holiday busyness to impart the message she had received for me. The gist of which is: that I get clogged up, due to the nature of my work most likely, with other people’s energy and that I need to practice a discipline of clearing out that energy and strengthening my own. Good advice. Discipline. One of those words nobody likes to hear. But she is no doubt right. So I am working on that.
2) I realized that my first ceremony was spent dealing with a very primitive paranoia that I thought I had left behind a long time ago. It was the first thing I needed to work out, though, if I want to develop my own emotional/spiritual life. The paranoia was around the sense that I can’t worship the Trinitarian God and and participate without condemning myself to hell in Ayahuasca work. It comes from almost my infancy. It’s a false choice, of course. But my infantile self was not able to recognize that and move on to work with Mama Aya. And when it came time to debrief our experiences, I was too ashaned to tell what had really happened. As a result, I did not get what I might have from working with Mama Aya. Thus I am “processing” which is what people with counseling backgrounds are familiar with. Reinforcing my sense that Mama Aya works with us around our own spirituality.
What I know is that God the Creator made all things good and any evil that comes from our world comes from inside us. I was prevented with a false choice as a child and still carried it with me. Having processed this now, I know that I would have a very different ceremony experience. I hope to make that happen someday. It is important to know, that the unfinished business we have will be the thing that Mama Ayahuasca will help us work on. It’s a good thing even if it’s a little disconcerting.
PEACE and LOVE, Ron
As I was leaving mass this morning one of my fellows who attends mass more or less daily, stopped me to say that he’d heard something he wanted to share. Dave paused a beat, took a breath and said; “Make a good day… not have a good day.” It’s common at the end of mass for the priest to say “Have a good day.” My response to Dave was that making a good day is too much work. I proceeded on to have my morning walk. I really need the exercise. But Dave wasn’t done. He raised his voice to carry to me as I moved away and said that the whole point is to work, be active not passive in making a good day.
I understand the impulse in a culture that believes that we have to be active, control things, dominate the day. However, I just left mass, the whole point of which is to remind us of our dependence on God, that the day cannot be dominated. I”m pretty sure that this insight would not have occurred to me without Mama Aya’s intervention. I think that she has opened me up, I have been passive in this because there is nothing else that I can do bit let her show me what I need to know.
As I walked this morning, I went down many paths of exploration regarding this encounter with Dave and my response to his words. What I realized, is that there are many adequate and “truthy” ways to think about making a good day. What Mama Aya has been helping me to experience is what “the truth” is for me. She has also been helping to understand that “my truth” is not “the truth.” My journey with her during the ceremonies was about understanding where “the truth” is in things and how the truth intersects with “my truth.” What I expect is pretty close to “the truth” is that, as a culture, we need to understand how dependent, how passive we must be to actually survive on the planet. Something to ponder, process further as I go along.
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.
PEACE, JOY and LOVE
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.
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.
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.