During the last 25 years, since my first experience with a visionary plant medicine, I have experienced powerful healing, realizations and profound awakenings. I saw that in many people as well. In those years, I also saw different situations, uses and abuses of these plants.
At the beginning of those years, plant medicine work was something that you could not find that easy on internet, in any healing centers or retreats. This desire to explore visionary plants became a spiritual path itself. Personally, I felt drown to explore more of this path in the amazon, coast and andes of Peru.
In my own experience, visionary plants became profound teachers on my path. I see them as earth’s high technology to help us awaken, reconnecting with the spirit world and divine creation. Many other spiritual teachings, healing, visions and insights came along the path. I have experienced a lot in over these 25 years of exploring medicine plants and training in the jungle and andes. I saw also the other/dark side of those practices. There is a very thin line between use and abuse when it comes to such powerful tools. That line becomes even more narrow when we start to awaken to a higher understanding and state of being/doing.
I came to the realization that visionary plants are doorways but not the path itself. I understood the initiation aspect to work with them on the journey of life. I also understood that those plants of power are on earth for everyone, but not everyone is for those plants. The awakening journey has many levels, thresholds and paths. It’s just not about one path or another.
Ultimately “truth is a pathless land” as Krishnamurti said. The whole spectrum of the human experience is wider than our ordinary consciousness can grasp. One of those thresholds for me was visionary plants.
After 25 years of exploring that world, I clearly see the importance of true and sincere respect for those initiations and ceremonies with these plants. They have the potential to open ourselves up into the remembrance of our own power, a power of creation but also a power of destruction. That power has a lot impact in human life. To keep that power in balance and aligned to the sacred divine will, we need to learn how to be responsible, how to respond to life and death.
Working with these plants, I have been seen people experience great realizations, healing and awakenings, but also many by-passings and traps. It so easy to blame the plant of our own limitations or weakness, or to say that the “plant told me” what to do (“spiritual downloads”).
The purpose of taking visionary plants is to remember your own power, your own inner medicine, inner “technology”, and inner healer; not depending on the “medicine” to keep walking your path in an embodiment way on earth. Walking this path is very narrow, like walking the edge of a knife. There is a whole movement of people in this day and age who are giving so much power to those plants and it is actually creating the opposite effect. Creating a whole industry and tourism around it making a big business of it. I understand on the basic level the intention to support and help others to awaken/heal – to share this “science” to more people. But people are starting to confuse the real purpose of these plants, even some indigenous people.
In my understanding and experience, the delicate work with visionary plants are initiations to doorways of a new awareness, thresholds to keep walking our path of self-discovery. A path which is lucid, like a lucid dream. But there are also dangers in these unseen realms with jungles far worse than any physical jungle on earth. It’s about waking up not keeping up numb with a plant or to escape reality. It looks more easy to avoid or excuse live’s challenges through plant journeys than to accept and do a sincere self work, fully present in the world, a spirit embodied, aligned with Great Spirit/Divine Will.
The real ceremony starts in our daily life, the journey of the world, our families, the earth and any relation. A real self work. After being in the world of medicine journeys for all these years, I came to the understanding that in ancient times those plants were meant for initiations, not something to take every weekend, let alone one’s whole life. There were also many restrictions you may not have been allowed to take them but you needed to “earn” it.
Now there is hardly any guidance around it. It’s just about giving the “medicine”. I had a long pause in my personal journey around my work contemplating deeply this situation. In a way I was participating in the “movement of medicine journeys”. After a strong disillusionment in many ways, it took me around 4-5 years to find different ways and new understandings on how to see and work with myself, walk my path and to find respectful ways to work with visionary plants. I needed to review and recapitulate to start being and doing the real work around it. These plants require a different work, a work of integration with other aspects of the healing process: understanding psychology, shadow work, occult (hyperdimensional) hidden forces, mythology, psychotherapy, embodiment practices, a deeper understanding and application of spiritual work in the process of awakening.
All these practices and experiences merged the idea and mission to facilitate plant medicine integration for men and fathers. My intention is to facilitate more grounded possibilities to transform, to integrate, to heal, to awaken, to remember, to enjoy fully this sacred human experience. To live in deep meaning and high purpose as men and fathers. Theres is a lot of work to do and share in more grounded and embodied ways and we don’t need plant medicine to keep doing it.
Fred Clarke Alvarez
“Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.”
― Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge