Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Dominating the Spirits

Someone wrote me to ask if dominating the spirits, as I’ve written about, is more important than simply trusting the plant spirits. This is what I wrote back.
In terms of domination rather than trust, I think the trust comes from the domination. When we think of the spirit of ayahuasca, we need to think of where she comes from, where her roots are. That's the Amazon. And in that world--where men are concerned--traditionally outsiders are considered bad and unwanted--at least since the Spanish brutalization of so much of that region. Therefore, when an outsider comes on a camp of indigenous, there is no greeting. Instead there is a wild confrontation with a show of arms and loud voices and threats. This is true even these days in places where there are still some old warriors living. And it's true in some mestizo villages as well: I recently had a shotgun blast nearly take my head off as I walked the perimeter of some land I own just out on the Nauta road at kilometer 14. The fellow was alone and I was with three other people and we had a shotgun and so he fired from the brush, unexpectedly, before we even saw him. He didn't want to kill us, just frighten us away because we were, to him, such a threatening and potentially dangerous group.
Now, if you can see the spirit of ayahuasca, and the spirits that are there to help you specifically--whether for short term healing or even if they are your lifelong guardians--in the light of that sort of militant posturing, then I think the domination idea is clearer than our view of domination. In other words, you will be challenged by some of those spirits, just as if you walked into an indigenous antigua's camp. You will be asked in the most frightening manner what your business is. And if you run, that indigenous antigua will chase you and take everything you have. But if you stand square, like Moises taught me with Papa Viejo, then you will earn respect, and with it, a measure of trust. But you have to earn it. And that standing tall in front of someone who is threatening, and capable, of killing you, is the domination I'm talking about. It's not that you beat the spirit into submission, you dominate by being equal. You dominate by controlling your fear or by not having fear. You dominate by not allowing yourself to be dominated.
It's the same with many of the women in Loreto, by the way. You need to dominate them by showing them you are not intimidated by their looks, actions, the way they want to brush you off. And if you do, then you have dominated them, you have captured them (conquistar is the word they use to explain it). That's another story, of course, but a reminder that the theme of domination runs through all aspects of the culture of the region, including the spirit world there.
Now, I don't think that this comes into play very often early on in one's relationship with ayahuasca and the other spirits. I think mostly that they are pretty gentle with people. But relationships change and demands get made and the bar is set higher and higher the deeper one goes. At least that's my experience.
Now, as to your journal entry suggesting that what needs dominating isn't so much the spirits, perhaps, but our fear, well, that's on the money. But our fear has to be dominated in front of those spirits when they challenge us. And while they won't steal everything we have if we lose the challenge like Papa Viejo would have, they certainly are not going to give up what they have to share with us unless we've proved ourselves worthy and capable via that domination.
Make any sense?


Anonymous said...

Yes makes a very good sense.
Loreto women , papa vejio ... what is that?

phoenix said...

Thanks for the explanation. I was wonder about that when I read it in the book. I immediately thought of the Bhagavad Gita. Sometimes life presents you with a battle and you've got to pick up the sword and swing it. Its just what is on your plate. There are the stories of women who's fight have saved them from being raped or murdered. To quote Marianne Williamson "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Gritter said...

"Forever changed" is how I would interpret my post-ayahuasca life.