The ability to create safe sacred space is a gift. The power of ritual expressed in a deeply grounded ceremony touches the heart and mind. It moves us effortlessly into the realm of spirit and allows for deep, meaningful conversation, even without plant medicine.
The Ceremony is a self-generated ritual that delineates the inner world from the outer world—separating the wheat from the chaff—to create a rich nourishing space, a sacred container, and a place to offer our prayers and blessings, express our gratitude, and release the accumulated burdens of everyday life.
In sacred space we sit knee to knee, talk, listen, and look. We ask for help, pray for guidance, and yield to a Higher Power. We surrender to a process of open inquiry and deep contemplation, and allow ourselves a new perspective on the matters before us. Where two are gathered, a third arises, in spirit. We are supported and well attended by the non-physical realm.
Fire is a transformative element. It releases from wood the energy of stored sunlight and burns with an intensity all its own. For thousands of years people have gathered around fire for light, warmth, protection, and to commune with the Divine. The container that holds fire is a crucible that separates dross from gold. The fire asks for our truth, nothing more or less, and burns the rest away, a cleansing and purification.
The most difficult challenges we face in life are fuel for our transformation. The losses, disappointments, regrets, and failures, these we bring to the fire. We symbolically release the stories we’ve carried that no longer serve us, because where we’re going we can’t take the old story with us.
In this sacred space a conversation emerges to take us beyond the drama of everyday life. We move through our stories of hurt and pain, and lift ourselves out of pride and ego. Sweeping past the facade of pretense and appearance reveals deeper self-awareness and the genuine expression of who we are.
With an open mind and heart, we see each other with clear eyes. We communicate with a commitment to tell the truth about how it is, what we’re up against, and what calls to us. Our speaking is authentic and true, our listening is generous and soulful, and it is this we reflect back to each other.
Enter plant medicine.
Psychedelic means, “mind manifesting.” The hallucinogenic effect of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, softens the rigidity of the mind, dissolves the barriers of the ego, and allows a clear, heartfelt exploration. The mushrooms cause an expansion of awareness and a profound fluidity in thought and feeling.
The effects of psilocybin mushrooms are an aid or tool that provides the impetus for deep healing. They amplify the capacity to examine our social conditioning and reactive ways of being in the world. Plant medicine helps us to rise above the battlefield and come to a new perspective. When we step outside of ourselves we see “that thing we do.” We become acutely aware of the habits of thinking and behavior that got us where we are. Author Steven R. Covey wrote, “You can’t talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into!”
Working with plant medicine ultimately leads us to change our negative beliefs, to change the conversation we have about ourselves, others, and the world, and correct our distorted perceptions. We “see” a different world and this is healing.
When psychedelics are used within the sacred container of a ceremony—on the earth, around a ceremonial fire—something magical happens. We open ourselves in an intense and powerful way. New insights flow into our awareness. If there’s conversation, it is very intentional. We are moved to meaningful inquiry by an internal state of expanded awareness and a flush of well being.
As we cull forth new insights and personal revelations, what is sacred within us comes to light. We’ve entered into a rarified arena of thought and feeling. I call it the “shamanic space,” a field of deep, soulful awareness. From this lofty space we offer our prayers and blessings to those we love and what we hold sacred. With deep gratitude, we bless ourselves and the process of self discovery and self healing we are engaged in.
My primary function in a plant medicine ceremony is to hold shamanic space with love. I have witnessed the miracles that arise there. Experience reveals again and again the miraculous phenomenon of a unified healing field.
When plant medicine is used in a ceremonial way, we’re not “treating” anything. We’re “spelunking”–exploring a system of inner caves. We drop into the depths of our being and illuminate what we find there.
The psychedelic guide holds the line, and the light, for a safe journey.