Plant Medicine

“We are suddenly caught up in something that has nothing to do with the human world. We feel something that is outside our narrow human perspectives. In that moment, we are pulled out of ourselves into a world that is more ancient than the human – a place where living intelligences can touch each other as kin. We discover then that trees have been doing something more for the past 300 million years than simply pining away for our emergence.”

– Stephen Harrod Buhner, 2014

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Plants as teachers, healers and protectors reach back as far as the record of our time began

Plants have been around far longer than human existence and will most likely be around long after we are not. These green ones are our ancient ancestors and the roots of our existence are entrenched with theirs, we even share the same DNA coding. Throughout every wisdom tradition, religion and culture, traces of the significance and sacredness of plants as teachers, healers and protectors reach back as far as the record of our time began.

Plants importance as spiritual healers is still honoured and practiced throughout the world through indigenous peoples, wise women, healers, and medicine people who live in close communion with nature.

However, we have largely forgotten the conscious life force and intelligence of plants and how to respectfully communicate with and utilise their healing abilities.

We have always been dependent on the plant kingdom:

  • from the air that we breathe
  • the nourishment of our bodies
  • for warmth
  • shelter
  • medicine
  • spiritual protection

In Ayurveda, we are taught everything entering the body becomes part of your cellular make up and overall well-being, whether through ingesting plants orally or through the skin or air. This is also experienced in Aromatherapy, through the use of leaves, flowers, stems, bark, seeds, roots or peels of plants being drawn upon to create essential oils. The essential oils can be absorbed through the skin or the scent molecules directly affecting the brain, specifically the limbic system, influencing emotions, mood, behaviour and our disposition. Humans live in constant communion and symbiosis with the plant kingdom whether we are conscious of it or not.

Due to their lifespan and consciousness, plants are the keepers of the wisdom of the earth and their spirit the very same that flows through all of Life. When respectfully approached they can offer insights and medicine that can restore and allow us to re-member innate ways of finding balance within ourselves, and how we interact with all that is, all that was and all that will ever be.

Despite the predominance in today’s society for a human-centric worldview whereby all things seemingly revolve around us, and how we can exploit them for our benefit or how reductionist science attempts to reduce the significance of all of life to their chemical components, the dominant worldview cannot explain many things such as consciousness, evolution or the biosphere. The natural universe, in its endless Mystery, never ceases to amaze and bewilder.

A more-than-human-lens

‘Fact’ is synonymous with ‘reality’ and anyone who catches a glimpse beyond the constructs of society and the mundane day-to-day living, know, because they have experienced, that there are different levels of perceived reality. The connotations of this ‘other’ than the norm being ‘real’, shatters the illusion and threatens the accepted cultural and societal foundations upon which the construct is built. Any reality outside of the accepted and maintained common experience, whether through mental health or purposefully induced shifts of perception through psychedelics for example, or the interaction with an intelligence not of the human lens, are often considered pathological. Why? Because they undermine the human centric worldview!

With this in mind, in order to truly access the wisdom of the plant kingdom and attune to its spirit as medicine, we must forget all that we think we “know”, throw off the constructs that blind our sight and numb our senses and perceive the world through a more than human lens.

To free ourselves from our conditioned orientation in the universe, allows us to access a deeper understanding of our place within the whole. We begin to realise we are part of a far vaster design of life and that we are no more important (nor less!) than the green ones, animals, stars or natural “resources”. That in fact the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘other’ are a self-imposed illusion and the spirit of plant medicine can help us access this understanding.

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“We feel the touch of life, of a nonhuman awareness, upon us, but more… we experience something unique to most humans in the West. An intelligence, just as subtle and sophisticated as our own, but very nonhuman, reaches out and communicates with us. Across species divide, in spite of our isolation, a different kind of language than our own, one filled with meaning and intent, tells us something. And a new world opens up… We experience in that moment what the ancient Greeks called aisthesis, the touch of a nonhuman soul upon the deeps of us – and know that ours touches them in turn.”

– Stephen Harrod Buhner, 2014

Working with Plants

By working with plants in ceremony we can experience Life in ways that are not normally accessible to our human consciousness. There are a number of plant and fungi teachers that are known for their vision inducing and healing effects. Ayahuasca, Huachuma (San Pedro), Peyote, Iboga, Psilocybin mushrooms, and others have been used ceremonially throughout the eons for psycho-spiritual healing, to gain access to the spirit worlds and to help many species (not just humans) take evolutionary leaps.

Entering communion with these consciousness-expanding Plant Teachers is a journey, and each voyage taken is like casting afresh off shore to unchartered waters. While drinking from the same cup as your fellow passengers, each experience will be completely different, depending on the state of your own internal sea. Like a wave returning to the infinite ocean of awareness, along the way some may experience dark storms and troubled waters, while for others the sea calmly reflects back the points where the light touches, often a combination of both, sometimes nothing at all. Almost guaranteed is that when these powerful and nurturing plant teachers release you back to the shore of this reality, you cannot help but see with new eyes as you come together with unbounded love.

Release and Clearing

As the spirit of the plants moves through your consciousness it can feel as though your physical reality begins to dissolve. Your body may react by what is known as ‘purging’ (in the form of vomiting, evacuation of the bowels, shaking, yawning, sensations of hot/cold, rapid mental images, sweating, tears, body sensations, strong emotions, etc.). However, there is no need to fear any form of purging as it is all part of a clearing and release of what no longer serves us. Instead, look at it simply as a physical manifestation of the cleansing the medicine is providing physically, energetically and spiritually. It is said that rather than us “getting sick” we are “getting well”.

comprehension.
The realizations that come to light in ceremony stay with you as you go forth, a completer person, connected more deeply with ‘reality’ and higher realities with self-understanding closer to the truth of all things and with a greater capacity for LOVE itself to blossom, radiating from our hearts and moving through our whole being affecting all that we engage with.

The journey is never over

What you encounter during Medicine ceremony changes your being and it is possible to carry this change of perception into your everyday life. Once you have seen between the veils and felt the underlying energy that connects all things, it is hard to fall back to sleep. The power of this work, and the ultimate gift from these ancient plant teachers, is to offer an exceptionally deep and rapid rate of personal transformation and evolution of consciousness.

They offer a window, into yourself to explore, release and ‘to wake up’. To experience the complete surrender of ‘self’ into something higher and vaster than is within our human lensed comprehension.

The realizations that come to light in ceremony stay with you as you go forth, a completer person, connected more deeply with ‘reality’ and higher realities with self-understanding closer to the truth of all things and with a greater capacity for LOVE itself to blossom, radiating from our hearts and moving through our whole being affecting all that we engage with.

Master Plant Teachers

S

ome plants are more than just our allies and are considered master plant teachers and sacred healers. These green ones are the gate keepers and key holders of potent and timeless wisdom. When approached with reverence, they impart and unlock within us a vaster knowledge about Life that lies outside of our limited human viewpoint. Their teachings give us a direct and intimate understanding of our inner world which in turn moves us into a more balanced relationship with the natural world around us that we are so much a part of, as well as our day to day lives. Having spent time working with numerous plant teachers, our primary calling has been with Grandmother Ayahuasca and Huachuma.

In ceremony, Grandmother Ayahuasca and Huachuma [San Pedro] have similar consciousness altering effects. However, as different plant species they have unique spirits. Ayahuasca has a powerful yet feminine essence and evokes a formidable inward voyage of self-enquiry. She is to be met in darkness and stillness, preferably at nighttime and is accompanied with ‘Icaros’, songs of the jungle, mantra, spiritual songs and silence that conjure her spirit and guide our consciousness. Huachuma is a more outward experience allowing for engagement with the natural world around us and each other. It may show you the connection and blend of realities with their ethereal glow of life. The ceremony takes place usually during the day and its effects lasting into the evening.

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca (aya, iowaska, ayawaska, and yage, Mother or Grandmother Ayahuasca)

The word ‘Ayahuasca’ comes from Quechua and means ‘Vine of the Soul’ or the ‘Vine of Death’. It is also referred to as Mother or Grandmother Ayahuasca and holds a strong and nourishing feminine essence.

It is a brew from the Amazon that has been used by shamans and indigenous tribes throughout South America for eons for mind-body emotional healing, spiritual advancement, and as a way to better understand ‘reality” and help find purpose and truth.

It is made from Chacruna leaves, which naturally contain *DMT and brewed alongside the vine Caapi or Banisteriopsis Caapi (B. caapi) (MAOI). The blend of these two plants creates the profound and magical brew that we know as Ayahuasca.

*DMT is often referred to as the ‘spirit molecule’ because it is naturally present throughout nature in many plants and animals and in humans is produced in our pineal gland, when we are born, when we dream and when die, and so could be said to bridge the veils between our physical reality and the realm of spirit. DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a tryptamine molecule which intensifies and prolongs the psychotropic effects of ayahuasca consumption.

What is Huachuma?

Huachuma, a cactus of the Andes, is also known as San Pedro or Wachuma. It’s Quechuan name being “punku” meaning “doorway” (Heaven/Charing 2006: 92.) or ‘San Pedro’, named after St. Peter (upon colonization of the region) who held the keys to the doorway of heaven. It is known as a heart medicine and its use in ceremony goes back 5000 years to the roots of Andean spirituality. This medicine has a beautiful and kind essence, bringing us in closer relationship to our own hearts and emotional field. It can help reveal the mystical world around us along with heightening awareness of our collective reality, which can serve us in helping ourselves as well as each other.

During any of the plant medicine ceremonies, at times you may be completely lucid while at others you may experience visionary imagery; particular colorful geometric patterns, out of body experiences, dream like visions or a vast array of physical or emotional states. Many of these experiences help us resolve past pain, recognize greater truths and integration leads to a vaster capacity to be with ourselves, hold space for our loved ones and meet the world at large with greater compassion and care.

In every ceremony, space is safely and lovingly held by experienced guides. Sharing circles are an integral part of the ceremony space and following each ceremony (after some solid sleep time!), we share time connecting and reflecting on the experiences. The learning is continuous and integration a key aspect to the journey.

YOUR RESPONSIBILTY: We strongly feel that one must sense a call to this kind of work. There are many beautiful paths to follow that assist our ‘waking up’ process and not everyone feels called, nor needs to walk ‘the medicine path’. We each have our own unique make-up and soul path. The first step is in recognizing what our soul whispers for and to follow that intimation. Our invitation to you, if you feel summoned to this work, is to become clear around your intention. Curiosity may guide you to the doorway, but you are responsible for meeting this experience with sincerity and integrity. We approach these plant teachers, and those who facilitate their ceremonial use, with reverence and gratitude for the gifts that they generously share. Our only expectation of you is that you show up respectfully with clear intent and a willingness to do your work, not to “check one more ‘spiritual’ experience off the list”.

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