April 6, 2021

Sacred Medicine

For many moons now have I ventured the hidden paths of my consciousness. I visited areas I would never have found without mother nature. I would like to talk to you about my experiences I have gathered through psychedelic medicine - as one might call it. I figured the tools I use for my spiritual work should have their own space and not be mixed in with everything else. With this I would like to talk about my own experience with different kinds of plant-based indigenuous medicines. For those of you who are wanderers in the realms of consciousness, these tools might pose useful in reaching new heights or gaining clarity over some matters. Some of them are quite powerful and need to be used carefully. This page is of a solely informative manner and does not urge you to do any of this. That said, please use my own experience as something to learn from and get an idea of how to progress to reach your own specific goals.

Set and Setting

Hello young Padawan, before I start I need to lecture you about the set and the setting. First of all I need to say something about what is not an appropriate setting for any sacred medicine that I will be talking about on this page. Speaking from my own experience it is not advisable to consume any psychedelic substance in the company of strangers. When you are experienced yourself, go ahead. Otherwise refrain from doing so. First it is important to build a relationship with whatever you plan to explore. The way I did this is alone. I like to do things on my own and I do not necessarily need company, although it can be nice. I learned a great deal by gathering experience by myself, because I learned to depend only on myself and not on others. We tend to look at the Shaman and stare at him in wonder. How do you become a Shaman? You gather experience. You go into the forest on your own and gather experience. Unless you feel very comfortable and have already gathered a lot of experience, I do not advise the forest in the beginning. It can be nice, but it can also be intimidating and very scary. After I felt rather comfortable I started to do mushroom ceremonies alone, in the forest, at night and without a tent. In the end we are all subject to our own decisions and any experience is something we can learn from. My experience told me that I am not like other people. I deal fairly well with anything you give me. Where other people crawl on the ground in agony, I stand up and take a second dose. I am quite resilient and this is why I understood that not everybody likes it the hard way. So based on my own experience and my observations I would like to speak about the set and setting for any experience with substances.

The most important thing about the setting is privacy. Rapé is something which can deliver quite an intense experience and therefore you do not wish to be disturbed. Right now I am living with my parents, so there is the chance that someone just walks into my room or knocks on the door. Even just a knock or a question can be quite disturbing, especially when you are in the middle of a session. Therefore I advise you to lock your door - when you do not live alone - or talk to people about it. I have established some boundaries to make sure that people at least knock before they come into my room, which wasn't always the case. Be open and remember that this is your private space and you can establish rules for your space. This will lift a lot of the possible anxiety you might be feeling, before doing any kind of ceremonial work. Another possibility is postponing such activities until everyone is sleeping and the house is nice and quiet. I prefer to do it this way, but that also means that most of the time I do Rapé after midnight. This has the benefit that I can focus completely on myself. In addition, the energies are very different in a dark room as compared to the same room during daylight hours.

Now imagine a nice and clean room. That is what you want. Take a look around your room and be honest to yourself. Is it tidy? Is it clean? When there is dust on your ground, or the last time you swept the floor or washed your bedsheets is more than 4 weeks ago, I suggest you get to work. It is very important to keep your room clean and tidy. Remove old cobwebs. Bedding should be changed every week or maximum every two weeks. I suggest every week. During our sleep we release a lot of pent up energies, which then will be caught in our bedding. Keeping them clean and washed will give you a better sleep on the long run. In addition you can use the time to sort out some of your belongings. Do you still have old stuff from your Ex? Get rid of it. Clothes you haven't worn for at least a year? Get rid of them. Broken things you couldn't throw out? Get rid of them. Furniture that stands in the way? Get rid of it. Now this might sound crazy, but from my experience it was the most relieving thing to take 6 to 7 plastic bags and fill them with unnecessary things. You do not have to be so dramatic of course. Start small and work your way up. Getting rid of things can be scary, but it is so freeing for the soul. As we clean our room we start to realise how much stuff we had. How cluttered everything was and how little space we had to breathe. Almost everything I own fits in one room. Amazing. I love it. I got rid of all the DVDs I had, because they are obsolete. Online streaming saves a lot of space. Who needs CDs? You get the point. Once more, why am I saying this? I am telling you this, because I went through this. It took me ages to figure out why I felt so claustrophobic in my room. It took me months of spiritual work to realise that my furniture was way too much and I needed to get organised. As I cleaned up on the inside, I started to clean up on the outside. The order is not important, but I now believe that first cleaning up on the outside, will make it easier to clean on the inside, simply because bot are reflections of each other. Plus, the outside you can see, while you will have to work hard to get to what's messy on the inside.

Now that I have lectured you enough on the topic of cleaning your outer mess, what makes it easier to come to the inner parts? I believe an altar is a nice tool to focus on. I doesn't have to be something fancy or expensive. I just used what was available and build something I really like. Whenever I say a prayer or do a ceremony, I sit in front of my altar, light a candle and light some incense or some resin (I will do another entry on smoking later on). What to put on your altar? I put on things I like. Crystals are great, natural things and maybe things which have an emotional value to you. Something positive that reminds you of a loved one maybe? I also like feathers which I find outside. A stone you like? Also statues of gods or Buddha can be used. Basically anything you wish to assist you in your prayers. A ceremony is a prayer, in my opinion.

I decided to share an image of my altar with you. I love it. On the left you see an amethyst and below some copal (resin). The middle is formed by a piece of wood, which I gathered from a tree outside. On top I keep my coal bowl to burn the different kinds of resins. Then a candle and two feathers. The right side starts with my Rapé collection, my Kuripe, a nut from the Lala-Palm tree from South Africa, a metal ring with a rune and some turquoise. Also a lighter that reminds me of someone special.
Now, to give you an idea of the setting, this is how my altar looks like. Very simple. Easy to move in case of guests and nothing fancy. I really like it. The bowl is for spitting and in case I need to vomit (behold). The pillows just make it easier to sit straight. The tissues are for a running nose and whatever else might occur. Tears, spit or snodder - pick one. I like to be prepared. The bottle of fresh water is not on the picture, but I always make sure to have some available.
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Releasing energies

There is one more thing which I would like to draw your attention to. Over time I have realised that there are different ways to release energies. First, what do I mean with this? Emotions for instance are energy. E-motion. Energy in motion, you could say. When there is an energy blockage in our body, there is somewhere pent up energy, which does not flow as it should. The plant medicines I will be talking about on this page are nice tools to release these kinds of energies. I feel that it is necessary to mention that this can also be accomplished with Yoga, stretching, breathing or meditation exercises. Something very efficient is a combination of both plant medicine and physical exercise. For now let's stick with the plants. Where was I? Right, energy.

How do emotions cause our internal energies to block and stop flowing? I cannot go too deep into this topic, as my knowledge is limited, but there are a few things to say nonetheless. The way I perceive it is that when I have emotional stress for example or I am afraid and I do not confront these emotions, they accumulate over time. In our body there are certain spots, where certain emotions have their roots. This is connected to the accompanying Chakra. (To know more about Chakras and which emotions and traumas can be relevant in these areas, please read about this online. I usually only look up the things which are relevant for me, so this is something very specific). Anyway: This can be random things, which you would not thing could cause trouble. Maybe a friend is going to visit and you are very nervous, because the last time you met you had an argument and now you are wondering how the meeting will go. Keep wondering for a week without confronting this fear and voilà, something starts to hurt. Fear often sits in the neck, so there is something to remember. Also the lower back is a very sensitive area for me. This is where our roots are. The root chakra. Financial issues, problems with your ancestors? Take a look. The thing is that the longer these emotions of fear, anger, guilt, greed or other linger in our body, the more they can throw us off balance. After months or years we simply think that it is normal and we can do nothing about it. You can and you should do something about this. Whatever method works for you, use it. The reason why I created this page is to give you the tools to take responsibility of your own body and your emotions. Learn to understand what is going on inside of you and start the journey to freedom.

Well, there is still the matter of how energies are being released. Energy can be released through any opening that your body has to offer. Farting, burping, yawning, crying, vomiting, pooping, peeing and sweating are some of the ways I release energy myself or know from other that they do so. Sometimes I have to yawn for a long period of time and always when I allow myself to yawn very deeply, tears start to come. It is like I am crying the tears that have build up in the past. I usually do not cry just like that. I might find a lonely tear running down my cheek when I am emotionally moved by a movie, but the way I cry is through yawning. Vomiting is something which happens very rarely in my case. As I seem to be very tough when it comes to any substance I will be discussing here, it take a lot to make me vomit. Not so however with Jorema. This gets me pretty much every time! Burping is something that happens on a daily basis, as well as farting. My stomach is kind of a problem child and I am still working on that. As energies are also kind of digested in the stomach, I suppose that this is why I release a lot of energies through the stomach. Well, in this case better out than in! Something else which I like to mention is cracking. I often feel the need to stretch or flex my body somehow. This is often accompanied by heavy cracking sounds. The way I see it this is nothing harmful. 'Modern Science' and our finest doctors still seem to be struggling to decide, whether these cracking sounds are healthy or not. In terms of energy I would say they are, sort of. Energy gets trapped and pressure starts to build. At one point this pressure causes tension and this tension can be released with a simple cracking sound. Still, I believe that if it cracks a lot it is worthwhile to look into Yoga to know how to release these energies in a more gentle way (also great advice for myself - I am a lazy Yogi!).

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Rapé - Amazonian Tobacco Snuff

I am very pleased to introduce my favourite medicine: Rapé. I would like to share with you some of the things that I know of it, but mainly the way I experience it when I use it. First off, what is Rapé? Rapé is a mixture of different natural herbs and ashes, blended together by a shaman and infused with an intention. One of the ingredients, which is iconic for Rapé is wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), which has a much higher content of nicotine than the commercialised version we get in the shops. It is not used like the western tobacco snuff, but in a ceremonial context. These ceremonies can vary depending on the person. Here I will not go into too much depth of how it can be used, but how I use it. First off let me give you some pictures to better understand what the subject is on:

Rapé and what you need

This is an example of Rapé. The powder can vary in colour and grain size. Some are very fine, while others are a bit less fine. One thing they have in common is that they are all quite finely ground. This is important to easily blow it into the sinuses and for the absorption through the mucous membrane.
Like I said, there are different types of Rapé and each has a unique flavour or strength. Some are more spicy than others and the effect is also different from Rapé to Rapé. Onca for instance has a very strong and male energy, while Rosa blanca feels a tad bit more gentle with a feminine touch. I haven't researched this, but this is what my feeling tells me when I use it. To every occasion there is a different type of Rapé. At the moment I have six different kinds and when I do a Rapé ceremony I let my feeling decide which is the right one for the occasion.
When you are on your own it is best to use a self-applicator, called a Kuripe. With this you will then blow the snuff into your nose on your own. This is great when you intend to use it for yourself. It also gives you the possibility to practice and gather experience, before thinking about giving Rapé to someone else.
On the right side you see a Tepi. Tepi's are used by a shaman to give Rapé to another person. This is a sacred act, as there is a direct connection and an exchange of energy between the receiver and the person giving it. This is why I believe it is important to first cleanse yourself properly and gather experience, before you start giving other people your bad vibes.

This shall be all on the introduction of Rapé. What I would like to give you now is my experience and my own routine or way of doing it to eliminate uncertainties. There is no need to be afraid, but I recommend a certain level of respect. All other information you can gather on the internet, when there are some facts that are missing or if you would like to go more into depth. I would like to continue by talking about the setting which is very important in any kind of ceremonial or spiritual work. You might have heard the term "set and setting" before, but what does it mean and what is important? This article is not finished yet in case you stumble across it. Come back for more sometimes during this week.

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