Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ayahuasca Questions: Voices and Visions

I was recently asked two questions by two different people that both relate to ayahuaca. The first was whether ayahuasca, or the spirits of ayahuasca ever talked in biblical-like prophesies. The second had to do with telling the difference between general hallucinations or visuals and genuine visions. The first question I've never been asked before; the second I've written on but not in this space, I don't think, so I'll include that here too.
Remember, of course, that how spirits deal with me, and how I'm able to perceive them dealing with me is only my experience; they may deal with other people in a very different ways. So take these answers with that in mind.

On the question of spirit making biblical-like prophesy, I think the plants deal with different people differenty. In my case, a hard-headed New York Irishman, they're often very direct. And with me often needing help of the simplest kind--"Take the love Peter. Stop making people have such a difficult time giving it to you..." or the bit about "drink less, write more", well, for me that's appropriate.
There are other things as well, of course. In a recent ceremony I was taken places--places inside the DNA of DNA--that so overwhelmed me that I would hardly know how to write them.Heck, I am not even sure tht humans are supposed to know those places exist.
But in terms of prophesy of the biblical type, no, the spirits have not yet dealt with me on that level. They seem, in my case, to either deal with basics, like trying to fix my heart and the things mentioned above, or they show me things that there are no words for among us humans. Not necessarily bad things but things so inexplicable they can only--by me at least--be experienced, and even then the experience occurrs in dimensions I was previously unaware of and so don't know how to communicate.
Every once in a while, though, the spirits will make a request. The last couple of years I've been shown some things I'm to find in the mountains of Peru. I'm not sure to what end, but they are things I'm actively exploring for as I think they'll prove important to someone or on some level somehow. And in that sense I think there is a bit of prophesy, though it's not a case of "Find this and that will happen" so much as simply: "Go there. Move that stone. Something important will occur. We'll let you know what you need to do once you get there."
I have enough faith that these spirits are genuine that I'm trying to find these things; what happens after that, or whether I'm just crazy or dreaming, I won't know till I get there.

The second person started their question by saying they'd had ayahuasca and seen a line of soldiers marching. Dead soldiers who were bleeding and blind but still marching. The person wanted to know what that meant or if he was just having a strange hallucination. My answer follows:

I'm not going to even try to comment on a vision you had. But I do want to say that I think all the Master Plant Teachers produce both visions and hallucinations. The hallucinations, which come from our conscious or unconscious, from things we've seen or read or things we're dealing with are quite valid--it's not bad to have things brought to the surface for us to take a closer look at them. But I don't think they are the real heart of what the plants can offer. Those are the visions.
Problem is, how can you tell the visions from the hallucinations? The way I came with to be able to recognize the difference is relevant to me, and might be to someone else as well.
Years ago I was headed to Peru. Shortly before I left New York I had a dream in which my father, dead several years, asked me to find my mother, also dead several years, and ask her why my father couldn't be with her anymore.
Several days later I went up the Amazon to Julio's and the next night we drank. During my dream I remembered my father's request and thought I'd better try to find my mom, though I knew, even as I thought that that it was a ridiculous undertaking.
But surprisingly, suddenly, I found myself shooting through blackness. Deep deep dark cold. There was no wind but I felt I was moving through space at an incredible speed. And then suddenly, inexplicably, I was stopped by what I can only describe as a cotton gauze wall. It was white and bright. I tried to go over it, around it, under it. No luck. I wa just stuck there and wasn't getting any further. I wondered--feeling crazy--whether this might be the world of the dead, and began to call out to my mother. "Mom? Mom?"
And in a few minutes the gauze in front of me began to congeal into a shape and that shape was my mother. (The image you should think of is Arnold Schwarzennegger congealing out of air in one of the Predator movies, but then remember I saw my mother do that 10 years before the movie did it.)
Any my mother looked me straight in the eye and said: "Peter. You've got to stop calling me like this. It's so hard to come together in a shape you can recognize as me."
I was floored but asked about what dad had asked me. She said that was just a dream and that my father knew where she was and so forth.
There was more to our meeting but that's not relevant here. What was important is that the next day I was trying to figure out if I'd just made that all up, if it was just an hallucination. And then I realized that if you had given me endless paper, pens and time and asked me to write down all the things my mother might possibly say if I ever saw her again, that what she'e actually said would never have come up.
And when I realized that I realized that I'd had a real vision, rather than an hallucination. And that's been my baseline for separating visions from hallucinations ever since. I've modified it a little. I now say that if something wouldn't have come up in the first 10,000 answers then it was probably a vision.
So were the soldiers with no eyes and bleeding just a chemically-induced hallucination or a genuine vision of something happening somewhere or something that had happened somewhere at sometime in some reality. That one is for you to answer. If it's something you saw in a comic recently or a movie, or something like that, it probably wasn't a vision. But if it's something that's never crossed your mind, never entered your conscious, never been read in a book or seen in a movie--something that wouldn't have been on a list of 10,000 things you might see while under the influence of ayahuasca, then it might very well have been a true vision.


Selina Leclair said...

I think some dreams have no meaning until the time is right, then the message shines forth because suddenly it's in context. I'm a strong dreamer even when I haven't taken the medicine, but often I wake up with only vague or partial recollection of a dream. Then 3 months later, or 5 years (there seems to be no linear time in dreams) a dream memory will hit me - a memory of the exact moment I am currently in. I think of this as deja vu, though I hestitate to use that word since its meaning is somewhat sullied. Fixating on one aspect of a vision means missing everything else. Trying to fit a vision into some kind of rationalized box limits the scope of the revelation.


Anonymous said...

ah yes very helpful!

i had a similar experience of being told to go to a specific place, and that something significant would happen there.

that was at the beginning of a shamanic course, and as a result of my experience, first ceremony of the course, i ended up unintentionally causing our final ceremony to be redirected to that very place.

it was the island of the sun on lake titikaka.

and our final ceremony was definitely hugely significant for me : it was a sacred medicine pilgrimage across the island, where i realized that the essence of my being was the same as that land, and came into my power in a deep way.