Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My intuition tells me I’m transitioning into a new phase of learning. I can’t quite articulate it yet, but it feels like the things I’m being taught bear some resemblance to a shamanic path.  I think that as we try to uncover our full humanness it’s inevitable that we will be brought back to a connection with the land and with nature.  And when we have that connection we’re able to fuse with the matrix and become more than an individual ego, and when we’re more than ego, creation can flow through us and seemingly “miraculous” things can happen.  Shamans and healers are people who can shift into that higher form of being—they fuse with the matrix.  The teachings I’m receiving seem to be leading me along a similar path.

In January I had a dream which I wrote down elsewhere.  It keeps coming back to mind so I figure I should probably jot it down here.

I was with a group of people crossing a mountain.  We had been told by this wise, elder, shaman-type man before the start of our journey that we needed to find a particular pass through the mountain and only take that.  But as we searched for the pass (the shaman wasn’t with us) several of the men became frustrated and began suggesting alternate routes over the mountain. Eventually we found the pass and the shaman was there waiting for us.  He was rebuking the men and insisting that this was the only way we should go.  It was implied that it might be okay for others to take different routes, but for us—to achieve our mission, whatever that was—this was the only way.  The mountains were very tall, rocky, snow-covered and treacherous-looking anyway, under very ominous skies.  And the pass was more of a passage. I’m not sure if it was a deep, deep fissure in the mountain or an actual tunnel—it seemed like a tunnel.  It was a narrow, well-lit passage, about two feet wide with a sandy or dirt floor, sloping downhill.  It seemed extremely ancient.  Over time, logs had been brought in and placed as steps to make the descent easier.

We came out into a room in the rocks. There were all sorts of strange botanical items available.  I was intrigued by some exotic nut-type things that sort of resembled tiny pinecones.  They were about ½ inch to ¾ inch long and nubby all over.  I was told that if eaten in large quantities they would induce visions and hallucinations, but in small quantities they were just a highly nutritious and tasty snack.  I was going to take a small bag with me but I marveled that the US would allow them into the country given their mind-altering properties. (I got the sense that we were in another part of the world).  Then someone was displaying this green jelly—a big long glob was spread out on a table-like rock.  I was getting some of that too when they told me it was catnip jelly.  I thought, Oh no, I’ll be attracting every cat for miles around on my way back.  (As we had come down the passageway, we had passed a dog and two cats curled up together, shortly before we reached the room.)  The dream shifted then and Collin and I were moving back into the Longmont house.  I was working out front, which was very lush and abundant—everything was much, much nicer than in reality.  I realized that the energy there was actually exactly what I most needed to be immersed in at that time in order to accomplish what I needed to accomplish.

Parts of the meaning of this seem pretty obvious.  There is a particular path to knowledge, very ancient, and you must be willing to listen to the guidance you receive about the way.  It is actually a far less treacherous path to follow than the paths others take—it is well-protected.  Many have labored over the centuries to make the way easier for those who follow.

The foods I figured were metaphors, at least the nutty things were.  A few days before I had this dream I had written on my blog that a full immersion in voluntary simplicity was necessary to experience its transformative power.  Individual, discrete changes were good, but nothing like the transformation made possible by a radical immersion in simplicity.  That’s what the pinecones represented—a few of them were nutritious, just as a few changes in your lifestyle would be good for you, but a full dose led to something transformative.

The green jelly I couldn’t figure out, except for a weird synchronicity that just happened in the past few days.  At the library on Friday I took out a few books on herbalism, a topic that has always interested me but that’s really reawakening with force now that I’ve gotten back into growing things.  One book was called The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green.  I’ll have to get my own copy at some point because it teaches you how to make tinctures and distillations and there’s a myriad of other techniques for preparing herbal remedies that I haven’t seen compiled in one place before.  In the middle of the book he described how he was trying to make a glycerin-based suppository but something went awry and he ended up with a quivering mass of jello.  Eventually he tasted it and discovered it was good—the jello quality helped to diffuse any unpleasant tastes in the herbs.  He had invented herb jello.  On the next page he included a recipe for herb jello that uses regular, store-bought lime Jell-O—just the very color of my catnip jelly in the dream!

Then today I was reading another library book called Tales from the Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Health Secrets of Shamans, Healers, Mystics, Yogis, and Other Healers, by Chris Kilham.  In the first section of the book, where the author was in the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil, I came across this:

On another occasion she and Nonata made a drink of buriti (Mauritia fluxuosa).  The fruits of the buriti palm looked a bit like small pine cones and were hard when picked.  But after a day or two soaking in water, the scaly outsides of the fruit were easily scraped off, revealing a pumpkin-orange starch.  Maria and Nonata mashed the fruits, mixed them with sugar and water, and strained the whole concoction, producing a rich, sweet, creamy drink.

While it didn’t say anything about this fruit having hallucinogenic properties I just find it odd to have come across a reference to something edible and pinecone-shaped so soon after having this dream.  (I looked Mauritia flexuosa up on the Internet and it did not look like the nubby little things in my dream.) Still, I consider it a synchronicity of sorts and I feel that I’m supposed to be learning about herbal and botanical things at this point.

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