[Carlos replies] “This is absurd don Juan. What you’re saying is something monstrous. It simply can’t be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone.” “Why not?” don Juan asked calmly. “Why not? Because it infuriates you? … You haven’t heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal.” “‘But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. “‘Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?” “‘No, they don’t do it that way. That’s idiotic!” don Juan said, smiling. “They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators’ mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.” “I know that even though you have never suffered hunger… you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.” “The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I’m saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He’s an average piece of meat.” “There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic. “This predator,” don Juan said, “which, of course, is an inorganic being, is not altogether invisible to us as other inorganic beings are. I think as children we do see it, but we decide it’s so horrific that we don’t want to think about it. Children, of course, could insist on focusing on the sight, but everybody else around them dissuades them from doing so. The only alternative left for mankind is discipline. Discipline is the only deterrent. But by discipline I don’t mean harsh routines. I don’t mean waking up every morning at five-thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until you’re blue. Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations.
For sorcerers, discipline is an art; the art of facing infinity without flinching; not because they are strong and tough, but because they are filled with awe.”
― Carlos Castañeda, The Active Side of Infinity
In my understanding and experience, the delicate work with plants of power are initiations to doorways of a new awareness, thresholds to keep walking our path. 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. Its about waking up not keeping up numb with plant medicine or to escape reality. It looks more easy to avoid or excuse live’s challenges through plant journeys, as an spiritual bypass, than to accept and do a sincere discipline self work, living in infinity, fully present in the world, a spirit embodied, aligned with divine will. The real ceremony starts in our daily life, the journey of the world, our families, the earth and all our relations.
“Now being a shaman is no fun in any of these societies, and a lot of young people just don’t want to accept it. Unfortunately, those who choose to refuse the call don’t have a life. Either they die, or, in trying to lead more mundane lives, they exist as nonentities, what T.S. Elliot called “hollow men”. If the called is heeded, however, the individual is invoked to engage in a dangerous adventure. It’s always a dangerous adventure because you’re moving out of the familiar sphere of your community. In myths, this is represented as moving out of the known sphere altogether into the great beyond. I call this crossing the threshold. This is crossing from the conscious into the unconscious world, but the unconscious world is represented in many, many, many different images, depending on the cultural surroundings of the mythos. It may be a plunge into the ocean, it may be a passage into the dessert, it may be a getting lost in a dark forest, it may be finding yourself in a strange city. It may be depicted as an ascent or as a descent or as a going beyond the horizon, but this is the adventure-it’s always the path into the unknown, through the gateway of the cave or the clashing rocks.” Joseph Campbell
After being in the world of medicine journeys for many 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 as part of the initiations. 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 plants of power. I needed to review and recapitulate to start being and doing the real work around it. Plants of power require a different work, a work of integration with other aspects of the healing process: understanding psychology, shadow work, hidden (hyperdimensional) forces, mythology, embodiment practices, a deeper understanding and application of spiritual and shamanic work in the process of awakening.
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 that work. Plants of power are part of the awakening of human consciousness evolution with no doubt. All around the world we will find different messengers in different plants of power. The spirit of the ancient ones is still around us. Music/sound, healing arts, fasting, talks, immersions in nature, embodiment practices, mediation, movement, martial arts and many other aspects of the human experience that allow us to keep working towards an awakening journey, to enjoy fully this sacred human experience in a deeper and higher way to become full embodied frequency anchors of divine will.
“The world of people goes up, and down and people go up and down with their world; warriors have no attention following the ups and downs. The warrior choose only once, chooses either to be warrior or to be ordinary men/women. Everyone can see, and yet we choose not to remember what we see. Everybody has enough personal power for something.” Carlos Castañeda