Shamanic Medicine Journey #3 Aftermath
After the ceremony the facilitators offered anybody who wanted to stay overnight near the circle where the ceremony was held or go back to their tents/huts. I felt the need to stay overnight near the circle. As close to the sacred fire as possible. This fire burned for the first ceremony and didn’t go out until the very last ceremony of the weekend.
There were some volunteers who camped around the fire also. We talked about our previous experiences and they informed me about other ways to journey into the spirit realm. They informed me of the basics of a “vision quest” in which the participant spends 4 days alone in nature with no food or water. This vision quest helped them to connect with Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the Universe and their ancestors on a deeper level by totally depending on “spirit” for survival. This was practiced by their ancestors for hundreds of years and they wished to reclaim that spiritual practice.
I talked with the volunteers about my journeys with plant medicine and they shared some of their journeys as well. They helped me to really integrate my journey I had that day. They challenged me to revisit my fears that I met along the journey and to look at what really happened without judgment.
After integrating for a while we all laid down around the fire. There was no roof overhead; it was just us, nature and the stars. I will admit I was a little nervous about sleeping in the wilderness without any shelter. I was afraid that wild animals or poisonous insects may attack us when we were sleeping. When I brought that thought to the attention of the volunteers, they chuckled and one of them said “if Pachamama wants to harm you, then nowhere is safe.” They all seemed to be in agreement and laid down. Another volunteer said “remember this is sacred land” and rolled over to go to sleep with a smile.
I laid there with my eyes open and thought about what was said. I realized that my belief in Pachamama was about to be tested. I thought to myself “how could they be so sure that they are safe?” I thought of home and my house. I thought of how I would be safe in my home behind my walls and locked doors. Then I thought about the reality of that statement. I realized that home is an illusion, society is an illusion. We may feel safer in society but according to the facts, one is more likely to be harmed by another human in society than by an animal in the wilderness. The truth is animals tend to avoid humans and especially fire.
I had to come to the realization that these journeys I go on are not metaphorical, spiritual retreats. This is a sacred spiritual practice and it is serious. We get faced with the challenge of perceiving Earth as an intelligent being who loves us or an unintelligent planet with no spirit like science teaches to us as children.
If I lived on a planet with no spirit then I would lay there in fear of anything that can creep out of the trees and attack me. If I lived on an intelligent being that loves me, then I could close my eyes and go to sleep knowing that Pachamama is real and she does love me. She will not allow any harm to come to me because she is the “queen of the forest” the creator of all organic life and the animals and creatures will not attack if she does not allow it.
If I was to tell you all my fears went away at that point I would be lying. Although I did feel more at ease, I made sure the fire was blazing nice and bright and added more logs to the fire pit. I thanked the sacred fire for it’s warmth and light and laid down. I stared at the stars that were glowing very bright in the dark night’s sky. I took a moment to take it all in and think of the greatness of the Universe. I thought about how the Universe is also alive and intelligent. I thought about the worlds that may be near the stars I’m looking at and how those worlds may be other living beings similar to Pachamama. I then went to sleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that I was not in a shelter. I freaked out a little bit with any sound I heard from the trees and bushes. Fear came over me at times it was overwhelming. At any point I could have walked back to the tent to “safety” but I wanted to challenge myself to do something I have never done. Put my trust in Pachamama with no shelter.
Just when I was about to throw in the towel and go back to my “comfort zone” I heard snoring coming from the volunteers. I thought to myself “how could they be so comfortable?” I then sensed a presence near me. It was between me and the volunteer. It felt like a “Bear spirit” it was not threatening it seemed calm but alert. I felt another presence near another volunteer. This was a “panther spirit” it too was not threatening. I did not see these spirits, I felt them. Words cannot explain how I knew but I just had a “knowing”. I guess it can be understood as the 6th sense.
I felt very protected. I felt like somehow I was in the presence of family. Like a child who can go to sleep knowing his family is watching over him. I’m not sure if these spirits were mine or the volunteers or both. What if somehow we share the same ancestors? I won’t claim to know the answer to that. This time I felt very safe and went to sleep.
I woke up again but this time I was not afraid. I looked up and saw that some of the stars were moving. Some moved fast and some moved slowly. Some changed their speed from fast to slow and the opposite as well. I then saw some lights that looked more like they were moving from one tree to another. I stared at these lights for a while but for some reason I could not stay awake and I dozed off. As I was falling back to sleep I heard a male’s voice say “We all must return back to God.”
I then heard a buzzing sound in my ear; it was like a radio speaker turning to a different channel. I woke up and placed another log on the fire. I thanked Pachamama, Wakan Tanka (Universal Creator) then went to sleep until morning. I knew I was on sacred land and that my ancestors were with me and I felt so safe. I felt like I was home. A’ho