Are plants smart? Do they know more about you then you know about yourself?
According to Vedic Traditions, all memories are stored in the East, including our subconscious dreams, waking moments and future events.
There are many ways to access these levels of awareness, including crossed-legged meditation in a temple, climbing mountains, yoga, dreams—and one which I found to be more expedient: working with shamans with sacred plant medicine.
After years of therapy and energy work, I still arrived full of anger and resentment.
Immediately after swallowing the sticky bitter liquid Ayahuasca, my mind cast doubt into my decision: “The shaman is evil, and I made a mistake.”
I was not allowing myself to surrender to my dance partner or the music; the plant inherently knew that the first level of healing needed to take place.
Looking back, it is clear that my inability to surrender was like a concrete sidewalk preventing a shoot from bursting through into the light of day.
As early as the fourth grade, I remember choosing my own reading material in class and my fits of rage were like tentacles, strangling every relationship throughout my life; the plant accurately honed in on my inability to trust.
After the first few sessions, I was able to gradually shift away from my mistrust of the shaman and medicine. I began to relax and allowed the teacher to hold the space for my healing—she rocked me gently to console me, teaching me to trust others and myself.
As the medicine brought me deeper, I realized that abuse and anger are multidimensional issues buried deep within certain organs of my body.
One time, during an earlier session, I discovered that the abuse I encountered as a child was buried in my ovary. It’s rapid throbbing indicated a great need to release years of pent up pain and anguish.
As a healer, I watch my own clients struggle with their inner demons. Recently, one client shamed her child in attempt to try and get her to exercise.
Some people cling to relationships as if they were gripping the bar tightly on a roller coaster ride; anything to prevent separation. In my work, I use a combination of conversation, energy, homeopathy and when appropriate, I use plant medicine.
Working with other experts in various fields helps my clients move from pain to health in far less time than the 25 years it took me. I have one student who went from the traveller voted less likely to succeed, to a powerful healer—and happy family member in less than three years. It is heartwarming to watch her grow.
Last year, I organized a trip to a Mexican community and will be returning this year.
The Grandmother of this spiritual community, Maria Teresa Valenzuela, is a Curandera, who I have grown to trust during the past ten years. Her group has made our group feel most welcome. We will also work with a male shaman, named Tatateuvenal, who I found to be a gentle and impeccable seer.
Last spring, I was there with a small group.
The first night, Tata looked around the circle and called me out from the group and asked me to sing a song. Perplexed, I asked Maria Teresa, “How does Tatateuvenal know that I have songs buried within me?”
I struggled throughout the night to retrieve the ceremonial words I had previously stashed when my local community lodge had disassembled in strife.
A few nights later, I was prepared to sing and did so. That night, during my inner journey, I felt his loving songs, which allowed me to explore deep, lingering pain. I asked the plant to show me where faith resided and was shown that it required an absence of doubt.
During the course of this mystical journey, I was taken on a magic carpet ride into my inner domain and discovered where the energy was hiding. Like the blindfolded one in a hide-and-seek game, each time I found one place, I was made aware of another, and could hear a voice calling my name, becoming me to an even deeper level of my subconscious body.
At the end of this powerful experience, I felt the love of the community welcoming me back, celebrating my rebirth, and accepting me as a member of their tribe.
From the windless void, a sweet song emerged, which I plan to transform into a book. I continue to work with my teacher who guides me as a healer, and as a loving member of society.
The anger has ceased to control my life and I am ready to embrace the fullness of my destiny.
Learn more about working with Ayahausca in a 25-minute dialogue between Maria Teresa and Renee Baribeau, The Practical Shaman, here.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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