After a quick look at Cuenca where I spent Christmas, I made my way to Vilcabamba, another 5 hours south. Vilcabamba stands as a sort of a “San Marcos” of Ecuador. It’s a tiny village, very “tranquilo”, renown for it´s healthy lifestyle and perfect climate as much as for longevity records among local people, most of them would live over 100 years…
The gringo invasion has started and lots of expatriate enjoy the special energy of the place. In town, you can access all sort of real good quality products, fancy coffees, very healthy food and so on. It´s becoming sort of a new age village, lots of massages, some therapies, meditation centers. People come over to relax, enjoy local hikes, dip into rivers, take long naps or just do nothing.
What brought me here was the overall atmosphere that I really look after and also the fact that this far south starts growing another medicinal plant I wanted to connect with: the San Pedro. Another sacred plant largely used by traditions, especially in Peru. The San Pedro is a cactus, it can be HUGE and has small spines. It´s the cousin of Peyote aka brings you to similar realms and states of consciousness.
I was really happy to meet a couple of friends sharing same interests than I do. They had a lot of knowledge to share, especially about plant preparation, conservations etc. One day, we set up the three of us on a hike with the goal to look for a San Pedro cactus. They are not everywhere, you still have to bush around to find them. Actually, people have it often at the entrance of their property and use them as a guardians of the place. Most of them don´t know too much about it – often nothing – but still the tradition is there. We eventually bumped into a beautiful one hanging on the ledge of a property. It was more than 2 meters high with two small ones sprouting from the base and a flower was opening at the very top. We asked the grandma if we could use a baby one for ceremonial purposes, she was okay with it. We cut it delicately at its base, scratched the spines of so we could stuff it in my backpack – God it´s heavy!
It was 3 days before New Year, we had to find a place to cook it and prepare it so I could organize a ceremony on New Years day. That wasn´t too hard to find, so 3 days later, the 31st, we where staying at a friend´s place, making the necessary preparations. The San Pedro is fairly easy to prepare, it just takes some cooking time… Unlike the Peyote that you can eat raw, it doesn´t work the same way with the San Pedro, being much less concentrated in mescaline, the magic molecule. So one has to boil it long enough to make the extract that is consequently drunk. We heard 10 to 12 hours of boiling time but my friend Oliver had done it in only 5 hours, saying that it worked just perfect. We trusted him, prepared the cactus, took off the white parts, peeled the skin and boiled it a good 5 hours over a fire. Easy. At roughly 7pm, is was done.
We separated, I wish them a happy new year and started heading to a place I had spotted a few days ago…
Magic was on already: fire flies where flying all over the place, the moon started shining bright and the air was warm.
I laid my bags down, set up my tent, collected wood before dipping into the river to refresh my spirit and somehow ground myself before what was coming up. Back to camp, in my ceremonial clothing, I took a deep breath, filling up my lungs of the moment, looking as much outside as inside, before opening up the sacred circle – one of my favorite moment.
Finally, I grabbed the medicine and started drinking it. I was told that it tasted really bitter and can be pretty disgusting. To my surprise, it wasn´t! So I thought it must be pretty lightly dosed which made me drink a little more than what I had planned to…
Then is that moment, that weird moment when you feel in between places. You know you have set up yourself for something that it is irremediably coming but still you are here, grounded and waiting for the mystery to appear… and that moment is long with the San Pedro and can take as much as 2-2.30hours. In my case, it started kicking around an hour later and then each minute seemed to experience and accelerated density of consciousness… my body started to feel really distant and I began to be immerged in my thoughts.
“Good old Seb, you wanted an experience, get ready my friend cuz it´s coming and it´s gonna hit hard this time…”
In no time, I lost all common reference to any ground realities and could barely distinguish the difference between physical realities and thought realities – WTF, I realized I just totally and absolutely overdosed myself!
While I still had regular access to common sense and logic, I made a quick check up of the situation, and looked what options I had available to me, what kind of “ground” I could access:
- I am alone
- I have 1 litre of water – oups!
- I have tiny 3 bananas and 1 papaya / not much ground!
- I have 3 candles and a lighter (fire is THE most essential reference to ground realities, besides clearing energies)
So here I was, on the edge of a 12-16 hours journey with pretty much nothing but me & my young spirit, ready to fight.
I secured my survival equipment, things I couldn’t lose: my headlamp, my lighter, my Mp3, my drum, food and water.
I sat by the fire, feeding it while I could. At the same time, I could feel the place filling up with all kinds of beings and energies starting to poke me in every directions. The doors of my energetic body had swung wild open and I was now as vulnerable and visible as the fireflies flying around me. I was stuck with myself and all my daemons materializing just everywhere and challenging my integrity – BASTARDS!!
My first instinct was to look for the ground by any means. I tried vomiting, stretching, eating… but forget it, I couldn’t avoid what was too obvious. I tried going to the river, a mere 100 meters away… but as I got further, my fears grew stronger and I started stepping into their realms WITH my physical body – OUPS – back to camp! Then I tried to change my focus and ignore it, but I guess that a part of me really wanted my death and just kept sucking and sucking my Life energy until I found myself reaching some depth of existence that I didn´t know existed. I had to face it, there was no running way - The only way out was to face it and fight it!
“Ok Seb, it´s time to prove yourself how much of a shaman you are…”.
I started gathering my knowledge and paying attention of which kinds of dimensions I was finding myself. I knew that the San Pedro was an Upper World spirit and that it would take me to Conceptual consciousness - “I” was my thoughts and was experimenting a conceptual fight for the “I” - NO emotional realities whatsoever, maybe for the best! Every bits of my thoughts was fighting to possess my identity.
Good news, I am pretty good at breaking down concepts into psychic atmospheres and can really peer through them, in normal states at least. Than I had THE MOST IMPORTANT concept any spiritual warrior need to possess, I know that – I create my reality, in whatever dimension I find myself. I also know that sucking zombies and weird astral eccentricities live INSIDE my beliefs – Do not mistake the symbol for the reality of it!
From there, I just have to review my beliefs and thought patterns, make adjustments and close psychic doors to stabilize my energetic body / my identity.
Well, that is the theory at least, it´s another story when you are facing your OWN FEARS, as they ARE SCARY! Pinpointing the source that gives them validity as an art and requires HONESTY and FAITH by the bucket!
Back to the journey. I had to learn conceptual fighting on the spot. I tried other techniques I know could work for Ayahuasca, as for example calling the spirit of tobacco and using it for cleaning and protection – useless here! The fire was out, I somehow managed to light a candle I dig in the grass. By now, they had invaded almost my entire being, as far as my physical senses! My sense of existance was gone, I was walking dead in a living body, fighting to keep my thoughts clear. I could hardly stabilize my vision, everything was blurry although I wasn´t dizzy. Some crazy techno music coming from the valley had a satanic tone behind and made me laugh as I thought that nothing, absolutely nothing was on my side! I realize once more I had not lost my sense of humour, maybe my most precious ally to fight tricky situations! I tried it against the spirits, didn´t work. I called for help, my helping spirits and my power animals. A sudden relief came and I was given some power although it didn´t last very long as I haven´t reconnected with them yet and can´t really fight along. At some point I even called for angels to come and help, whom never came and made me laugh – of course, I never believed in angels!
“Ok, concepts, fight with concepts…”
I sat and started calling for Solutions. A light appeared and started giving me a direction. Then I called on Hope and felt a clearing. I bounced on Trust but could feel my trust lacking Honesty and flickering in front of my Fears – Damn it, what is it I fear so much!
“Remember Seb, you just have to remember as you know everything…”
Yes I knew, I knew what I had to do, only I was so scared of doing it. I knew that there is a part of myself that scares me to the bones as it really challenges my views of reality and of “what” I think I am. I knew that it was one of the main psychic door they were using to get inside, my main fear, fearing of accepting my multidimensional selfhood, fearing of accepting the existence of other personalities trying to break through me.
“How much Existence can you stand?”
Without options, I took a quick piece of it and used it to fight back… in a time it takes a single moment to unfold, my vision cleared, my thoughts stabilized and through my voice, the deep sound of Existence started speaking. - Here I was, yelling like a fanatic Mujahideen from the depth of my being, claiming the piece of existance that belonged to me - I could see the surrounding shaking in front of it. Holding onto it, I went back where I was journeying and started looking at the mess I made. I had channeled soooo much bad energies, the place was filled with all sort of weird monsters that I had to chase, claiming my piece of Life too, cleaning the land with the sound of my voice, rooted in an unquestionable Faith in my Being. No more concessions, no more questionings.
It still took me a few hours to clean the place. When I was approaching it, the pressure was so dense that I could barely stand it more than a few seconds. They were challenging me to their best, trying to take me off the seat of my Being, looking for a piece of it! By now, I had set up my candle some 5 meters away, where I would regularly go back and recharge myself before going back astral bush trimming!
Once done, I had to stay very alert the whole night and regularly call upon my new power. They couldn´t overtake me that much anymore but I knew I still had a lot of other breaches to fill in and that my reconnection had barely begun.
By now I knew. I knew where to go, where lies the answers, the way out, the light, salvation… which takes me to another paradigm…
Fear – a new paradigm
Fears can be seen as our most precious friends. They stand as GIGANTIC psychic signpost showing us where is hidden Power, Love & Freedom. A more pragmatic way to translate that “behind darkness lies the light”.
Ultimately, fear always relates to death. When we fear something, we believe in Death. Energetically, death translate as a feeling of None Existence. So it’s like calling himself dead, taking our very sense of existence away. So when you face your Fears and accept them, you start accepting other parts of yourself, the ones that gives you a reference to Existence…
- Indeed, to the extent you can live with Death is the extend you can live with Life – IT’S THE SAME THING! -
I came out of that experience with a new sense of Being, so much more power and Faith in Life, a new psychic reference inside my Being, a true sensation of How Much Multidimensional we are, how we ride across time and space, filled up with an existence rooted so far out from our usual concepts of Reality…
Happy New Multidimensional Year 2015