Good Medicine for a Shit Year pt. 1
Welcome children, gather round as your favorite rascal and ne’er-do-well fills your minds, and more importantly, your hearts with the AM radioactive, iridescent embers of his latest barefoot, tie-dye revelation: I am the messiah. Full. Fucking. Stop.
But then you already knew that, somewhere deep inside you you have always known that the messiah would be nearly unknown in this supersaturated, commercial plastic fuck-pile of a generation. The millennial messiah would obviously be someone who spent the vast majority of their life drawn to the filthy, degenerates of this world and would, getting lost in the wilderness of oxycontin, heroin, MDMA, cocaine, and their gratuitous intravenous application, bring light and love to those broken heaps of people at the bottom, the real people that the rest of society would prefer to ignore, before leaving most of the drugs and nihilism behind and accepting his divine birthright: the mantle of messiah.
Now before you completely lose your shit and call my mother, ruining her perfectly fine day by imploding her fragile skull with tales of her son’s complete psychological collapse into delusion, let me say this: you are also the messiah. Not in the dogmatic sense, I’m not either (probably). WE are, each one of us the perfect embodiment of the potential redemption of the human race stuck in the bullshit we’ve been fed since we got shoved into that perfect implement of soul-destruction called the public school system. “Forget your dreams, go into debt for the potential wealth available after you pay it all off, spend the most lively, productive, potentially-dangerous-to-this-broken-system years of your life putting off all but the bare minimum of government-sanctioned joy until you’re too fucking old to be a hassle”. Sound right? Obviously the powers that be are a tad more subtle and a lot more insidious than that but it rings true to me.
Now that you’ve accepted that you are your own personal Obi-Wan and the only hope that your life has of getting any better (you’re very welcome) let me tell you how this sentiment finally stopped being just words and really sunk in: ceremonial application of medicinal psychedelics, specifically ayahuasca. If you’ve read any other posts on this site or even the first two paragraphs of this one, you will no doubt be aware of my former propensity for using the vast majority of substances currently classified as drugs by the shit-lipped, cock-nosed, troglodytic agents of the archons, with squinty little anuses instead of eyeballs and a cold lump of shriveled, white wolf shit where a heart should go that would prefer to keep us small and NEED to keep us well away from our own sovereignty to continue living their best cyberpunk apocalypse. Ayahuasca was, until just a few months ago, on the feast day of St. Cyprian of Antioch no less, the last great frontier of mind, heart, and soul expansion in my life. I had always pictured my first time being in the jungle of Central or South America with a wizened shaman singing his icaros (healing songs) through a haze of tobacco and incense smoke and guiding me through a life-altering healing process at the hands of a healing goddess-plant who is made up of all the medicine and compassion that the universe has to offer. However, the universe had different plans and I was lead through a series of synchronicities revolving around tiny, feathered love-warriors to a five acre plot of land run by some of the sweetest and most magical people I have ever met. An oasis covered in cedar, Douglas fir and madrone trees with wild huckleberries in abundance and, as a simple boy from Oregon who usually prefers the company of trees, huckleberries, and cats to humans and who is already well-acclimated to the environment of the great PNW I can say without any reservation that I wouldn’t change a single fucking thing. The magic, healing, compassion, icaros, loving plant-goddes, even the shaman (though certainly not what I had pinned on my vision-board) were all present with the added benefit of being around two amazing friends who blazed the trail and eased my many fears about leaping into this uncharted territory, one spectacular and incredibly badass spouse, a very cool forest cat, and all of my favorite trees. Looking back it seams clear that this could only have happened in the forests that I’ve always felt at home in and been in love with.
Let’s get right to the heart of this thing; creating your own “Personal Legend” as Paolo Coelho puts it in his book The Alchemist which, though a bit basic, should be required reading for middle schoolers because it gives a fairly solid road map of how to follow the signs that the universe puts in front of us, the meaningful “coincidences” or synchronicities that lead us towards what you could be forgiven for calling your destiny. I didn’t read Mr. Coelho’s book until very recently but it reminded me of something in a book that I did read in middle school: Don Juan and the Yaqui way of knowledge by Carlos Castaneda. In it, Don Juan, an old sorcerer, mentions something about personal power and walking only paths that have heart and I am a firm believer that Don Juan and the titular Alchemist are speaking about much the same thing. As my favorite sorcerer of all time, that rakish chap Mr. John Constantine puts it; “surfing the synchronicity super highway” seems to be the best way to live out one’s Personal Legend; the great destiny attached to all of us at birth, letting the things we love lead us to our reward. This works regardless of what it is you focus your desire on, I’ve tried it. For years all I wanted were drugs and escape and they showed up in abundance and just kept showing up; more drugs, stronger drugs, better quality drugs, bigger drug dealers, more dangerous situations to escape from and holy shit come to think of it; even though they led me to dark, frightening, life-threatening, MRSA infected, cracked out, strung out places, they led me right back to my Personal Legend. All it took was shifting the focus of my desire from death, oblivion and escape three degrees back toward life. I had willfully turned away from all paths with even a pantyline of visible heart and yet, after a simple decision to turn away from my own destruction, here I am back on a path that, judging by the synchronicities and the way my life is going, seems to have heart to spare.
The hummingbird synchronicities started in June. By definition a synchronicity is a “meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved” and because a synchronicity, like a dream, usually holds a bare minimum of interest or meaning for those outside of the event I will spare you the details and simply say that hummingbirds were drawn to me in alarming numbers and proximity for months, one actually buzzed my hair, and another hovered within a foot of my face while I was in my backyard for a full 30 seconds which for a hummingbird is probably long enough for a 10 course meal packed with fast-paced, effervescent conversation, gravity-defying post dinner sex, a tiny honeysuckle cigarette and a glass of lilac wine. At the time I was unaware what, if anything, the hummingbirds or whatever sends synchronicities into our lives were trying to point out to me but, especially with the warp-speed winged hair tousling and the long face-to-face hover, I noticed an immediate change in my mood and energy. During the tiny-feathered tousling I was coming home from a shitty day at work and was grumbling to myself and in a Bog of Eternal Stench kind of mood and just as I was unlocking my front door, a hummingbird launched out from under the eves of the house and tousled my hair as it went. My Bog of Eternal Stench mood was immediately replaced with a shocked, grinning wonder. A similar shift happened with each encounter I had (2-5 per week) over the course of the two months that led to me telling a magical friend of mine who came into my life, as expected, through another series of synchronicities, about my string of swift and sweet hummingbird synchs. When I was done with my laundry list of hummingbird encounters he mentioned that he knew of some friends who put on legit ayahuasca ceremonies out in the woods on beautiful property not far from us and that these folks were beautiful, loving, trustworthy, amazing people and that they had some openings for a ceremony in early September. My badass wife immediately said yes. Apprehension set in immediately. “I don’t know, I always wanted to go to Peru and do a proper ceremony with a shaman. Is it safe? I’m not sure if I could get time off work” etc.. Then, almost as an afterthought, he mentioned the thing that made him incongruously start talking about ayahuasca after my hummingbird rant: “My friends that run the ceremony, they’re called Beija Flor”. Raising an eyebrow to indicate my utter confusion he cut me off as I was about to ask the question he was answering.
“It means ‘hummingbird’ in Portuguese”.
My chin hit the floor and I told him to sign us up.
To be continued...