I say "within", because the medicine is still with me, and will be for the next four days I am told. Yesterday, my fiancee and I participated in a 12-hour Huachuma Ceremony with a local Bay Area medicine community. The ceremony, which is also called "San Pedro", "Master Teacher" or "El Remedio" is designed to heal, remove blockages to living soulfully and in connection to Spirit and reveal visions of the future. We worked with a brew made from the cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), as well as water, agua florida, tobacco and coca, administered intentionally in numerous ways and rounds. I won't describe the actual ceremony, as it is sacred, and is best experienced first-hand and with honest intentions. As such, I will only share my intentions, the visions I received and some new perspectives on anger. You can read more about this ancient practice (3,500+ years old) here.
I approached this ceremony with a few intentions. The first was curiosity. I'm a curious person and I wanted to experience this ceremony from which many respected friends and colleagues have received great benefit. I also really like exploring altered states of consciousness.
For this Huachuma ceremony, and beyond mere curiosity, I prepared and entered with a few intentions:
During the water ceremony, I experienced a 50-minute sermon led by a medicine woman who deeply irritated me. I experienced her words as new age pablum, warmed over non-dualist / Landmark philosophy, mixed in with her own angsty, teenage lamentations over not being an initiated adult and attempts at humor. At two minutes in, I wanted to scream. I experienced her as a child trying to say the words a spiritual teacher. Knowing that even this is medicine, I sat with it, opened my heart and mind to receive the gifts of the message. I vacillated between anger, and generating myself as love and understanding, trying to have compassion for this woman and what I judged to be her irresponsible, disempowering sermonizing, encouraging folks to disregard their soul's longings and dwell in the unity of God. I judge this to be a very dangerous spiritual message, especially in these times, one that robs people of a connection to their higher purpose and cause to lead with it, has them surrender their call, powers, craft and mission. I believe this has the effect of neutering people and making them dependent on non-dual spiritual teachers and communities (like hers), upon which they must return and pay dues as an escape from their heartbreak and discontent over the gross dysfunctions of the world.
After 30 minutes, and dozens of attempts to be present, open and loving, I could take no more of her non-dualist drivel, and left the ceremony. I sat outside within earshot of the roundhouse, closed my eyes and continued my prayers for compassion and understanding. After 15 minutes, I re-entered the ceremony and heard the last five minutes of the sermon. I perceived that I was the only one with such a strong reaction, as my fellow participants were riveted or placid, while I boiled with anger. The medicine woman was praised my numerous people for her "medicine TED talk". I take from this that her words are medicine, but they weren't mine. I take from this a deeper emotional connection to my values of wisdom, integrity and embodiment. I take from this the sacred power of discernment. This experience firmly rooted me in my purpose to inspire, liberate and activate purpose-driven leaders, and root out and burn down purveyors of disempowering spiritual bullshit.
I'll post any updates here as they arise. If you are interested in such a ceremony, I recommend working with Ayahuasca first to clear out the main blockages. Then type "San Pedro medicine" and your local city into Google and see what you can find. If you're interested in other approaches to revealing your higher purpose and removing the blocks in the way, please explore our Guides and Programs.