Saturday, November 05, 2011

Follow Up Questions about Ayahuasca from a Stranger

So the stranger from the previous post has asked a few more questions about ayahuasca. I've told him that this should be the last of them because it takes a long time to answer. Actually, I like being asked once I'm through answering, because sometimes strangers can ask questions that nobody has asked before and it's fun to try to come up with a legitimate response from my experience.
So here are his newest questions. My answers follow each.

1.) Let us say that one has developed certain abilities of extrasensory perception through Ayahuasca (e.g. clearly seeing the spirit world, seeing the internal organs of a human body, etc.) and a long apprenticeship with a qualified, traditional shaman. And then it happens that for a numbers of year one cannot return back to the Amazon and stays in Europe not being able to consume ayahuasca.

Do then these abilities of extrasensory perception remain completely intact or must one always consume ayahuasca to keep them active?

ANSWER: I don't know that you, or I, or any other curandero, develops any special abilities. I believe the spirits give you the juice, the ability to have those "powers" temporarily, as you need them. Therefore, so long as you and the spirits were friends, I think you would be able to access those "powers" when you need them. Even without returning to the Amazon or drinking more ayahuasca. But if you abuse your spirit friends, if you use their juice, their power, selfishly, I believe you'll stop being able to get those powers when you need them. I think people who fall into the brujeria trap find this out: They may have strong powers of negativity for a while but eventually lose all their juice and boy, isn't there hell to pay when that happens!
In terms of the kinds of "powers" I've been lent, here are a couple of examples: Once, when Italo badly dislocated his ankle and some foot bones, Chepa, my ex, told me to fix it. I said I couldn't. She said the spirits would help and that she knew I could do it. So I looked at Italo's ankle and foot and for just a second it seemed like I had X-ray vision. And I saw what was wrong and how to fix it. Of course I was terrified that I'd just break his bones but something let me try and I twisted, pushed, popped and pulled and by luck everything went back into place. He was up and playing again in no time.
Now I don't have the power of X-ray vision and I don't know how to set bones so complicated that have been dislocated. But in that moment of emergency, I was lent that juice.
However, if I ever hung a shingle outside that read: Bone Setter I'm sure I'd never have that juice or power again. Remember the key words, or at least the key words I was given: Use it, don't abuse it, or lose it.
Then there was the time, not long after the spirits told me that I would always have enough work so long as I did the work well, when we were broke. The electric company was sending a man out to cut off the electricity. Madeleina, then maybe 6-years old or 7-years old, was incensed. "The spirits told you they'd take care of us. They have to!"
I told her the spirits had said I'd have the work--and I had gotten a lot--but they never promised to make editors pay on time.
She didn't buy it.
So the electric guy came to shut us down and Madeleina was wild. I finally asked the guy if it would be possible to wait 15 minutes just to appease her. And then when a miracle didn't happen in 15 minutes, he could shut us down. He began talking about some shrubs along my property line--his way of stalling a few minutes.
And then, out of the blue, I mean out of the blue, a Fed Ex or some other special delivery truck roars past our house; in two minutes he's coming back our way and pulls into the driveway. He hands me an envelope. In it was a check for a story I'd done and been paid for probably a year earlier. And it wasn't just a check, it was a freaking bank check. It was truly a miracle. And I never saw that driver before or after. I don't even know if it was a real person or just a spirit visit.
But I then asked the electric guy if he could come back in a little while and I'd go cash it and pay him in cash. He said okay and Madeleina just screamed with joy, thanking the spirits for coming through.
Could I make that happen again? Was it my power? Not a chance. I was lent that extraordinary moment by spirits.
Back to your quesiton: I don't believe people get extraordinary abilities--abilities like you're imagining. But I believe that the spirits help us out sometimes. So remain friends with them, however you can do that, if you ever get the chance to meet one or more of them. I think they help everybody all the time, even if they didn't drink ayahuasca. Just imagine how many times you might have been just about to step into the street when something simply stopped you and in that second a car you had not seen roars by. And if you had not been stopped, bam, you'd be dead.
So I think they help us a lot. I just think it's neat to get to meet them and be able to communicate with them a little.

2.) You wrote:
"And then there is Hector, a Q'ero from high in the Andes. I've never had San Pedro with him but I have seen is impossible powers."

I don't want to sound like a miracle monger, but may I ask what are these impossible powers and in what way do they manifest?

ANSWER: Hector changes me just by giving me a hug. Sometimes I break out crying, other times I just beam with joy. He's one of the special ones. Impossible powers? Well, in ceremony one night, a San Pedro ceremony that he was not running but he had done the offrenda, the offering to PachaMama prior to the ceremony, at the Temple of the Moon outside of Cuzco, three people tried to interrupt the ceremony. They were loud, vulgar. They'd driven a car right up to the place, burned rubber. Two women and a man, I think. Drunk. Actually, under the influence of the medicine I thought they were just mean spirits upset that so many people were drinking good medicine.
They kept their distance at first, just yelling, cursing, asking what kind of sex we were having, farting loudly, burping very loudly. Just crude all the way. But the man was huge. Huge. I was wondering how I was going to take him down. It was my group, after all, and so my job.
And then suddenly, the three of them were at the entrance to the cave in the Temple of the Moon and about to enter. Hector was sitting next to me, outside on a rock, maybe 30 feet from the door. I got up to stop them from entering the Temple, where an alter had been set up and some guests were still receiving medicine. But as I got up, I turned to Hector: He wasn't there. He was standing directly in front of the Temple entrance. He had one hand up, palm open, like a universal stop sign. How he had gotten there I don't know. Either amazing aikido or magic, because he'd been sitting next to me a split-second earlier.
And the man looked like he was going to crush Hector--who's pretty good sized himself. And the women were loudly egging him on. Hector didn't say a word. But his hand was an impossible force for the man and the women. They couldn't cross it and finally slunk away silently.
That was an amazing display.
Later that night, as we all sat around a fire burning the offrenda, the offering to PachaMama, he asked me for a cigarette. I got it and was going to give him my lighter, but before I could he reached into the fire and picked up a red hot stone and lit his cigarette with that. Then lit a cigarette for me with the same stone. And he didn't burn his hands. And the hair on his arm didn't burn despite having been in the fire.
When he saw my consternation he simply said that as a baby his mother had given him the gifts of fire and ice and so those spirits were his friends and wouldn't hurt him. I believe him.
So that's the sort of thing Hector can do. And if you go to Cuzco and are supposed to meet him, you will. He will be where he is supposed to be. Have confidence.

2B) You spoke about many San Pedro curanderos you know. What about powerful Ayahuasca curanderos? Are there still any living curanderos of Don Julion Llerena (Jerena)'s calibre around? Really powerful and knowledgeable Banca Ayahuasqeros?
Further you said:
"Julio, Pablo and Bertha have all passed."
What about Pablo's friend, Manuel? Is he still alive? I believe he was also of the Matses tribe.
Are there still Matses around who would have such power and knowledge in spiritual matters as Pablo had? I mean, being able talking to animals, insects, plants, etc. and doing all other extraordinary things.

ANSWER: I'm sure there are wonderful curanderos around. Julio was my teacher and so he is whom I spent most of my time with. But there are many good curanderos. I can't evaluate calibre. For the worse have great days when the spirits really help them, and even the best generally have a rotten day now and then and the spirits don't seem to be around to help them at all. When it's time to find one you will.
One of Pablo's sons was named Manuel. His best friend, Alberto, is also extraordinary, but much less accessable than Pablo.
I think the Matses are losing their special abilities. I think that when they depended on them to stay alive, many had an uncanny, to say the least, understanding of the forest and the creatures that live there. But as modern times and things are incorporated into their lifestyle they depend less on those powers and so they lose them--or they stop communicating with those spirits and become estranged.
Don't get me wrong: They are still magic in the forest compared to most everybody else. But I don't think anyone who doesn't fully depend on hunting will be as good a hunter as one who does depend on hunting to stay alive. And the same with needing to communicate with the spirits of the jungle.

3.) Is it possible to acquire through ayahuasca (OR ANY OTHER MASTER TEACHER PLANT) perfect command of any human language one desires? EXAMPLE: Let us say that I want to study Tibetan, but there is no possibility of doing so in my country. Can ayahuasca (OR ANY OTHER MASTER TEACHER PLANT) teach and grant full command of Tibetan (classical and modern, spoken and written)? Or can the plant lead you to spirit teachers who can do so?

ANSWER: I don't know. I was never given that gift. And the only time I was given a book in an ayahuasca dream--a huge metal book with metal pages into which the words/images had been etched--I couldn't read it at all. So maybe, but not in my experience. Heck, they haven't even let me get my Spanish up to speed after all these years!

4.) Can ayahuasca (OR ANY OTHER MASTER TEACHER PLANT) reveal and teach about the healing properties of plants, which exist for instance only in India or Japan and nowhere else in the world? Can ayahuasca (OR ANY OTHER MASTER TEACHER PLANT) help you find a plant with specific effects such as extending human life?

ANSWER: Again, going from my experience, and knowing I'm not a curandero, I can only tell you what my experience has been: When I was shown a huge market with spirit plants in it, I wondered what the heck I was supposed to learn there. I mean, I don't know that much about plants and this spirit plant market was full of boxes of live and dried plant material. I had no idea what the purpose was in bringing me there. The guardian who had brought me heard my unasked question and told me just to shout out a disease or disorder. I did, and immediately a couple of plants jumped up and shouted what they were. I think at least one of them had a sign with its name written in English as well. So that's how I was to use that plant market.
Now, here in the US, once in a while someone asks me to go there to try to find a solution to a problem they're having. And on those occasions where it was possible to visit, nearly all the plants that respond are plants you can get here in the United States. Someone with a serious immune deficiency asked for help. I sent them una de gato, which I knew would work, but they refused to drink it. So I went back to the market and this time the shout that came up was Collard Greens! Half a cup a day!
Which was ridiculous, of course, until I looked up collard greens and discovered that they have amazing powers for bolstering immune deficiencies.
If I was in Peru and that question was asked, I'm sure a Peruvian plant would have been the one shouting its name. But what would be the point of being told of a plant that could have helped that person that they couldn't get hold of?
I imagine Julio, however he got his plant knowledge, was pretty much always given plants to heal that he could reasonably easily go out and collect. And if you moved Julio to Japan, I think he'd come up with Japanese plants, even if he had no prior knowledge of them.
But if you are asking whether I ever met anyone who could just go into a dream and study plants in another locale, no, I never heard of that. Doesn't mean it's not possible, just something I never heard of.
As to plants that extend human life, I don't know of any, other than a good diet full of garlic and onions and spinach and carrots and broccoli and all sorts of good veggies and fruits. Those things will keep you healthy a long time. But something specific like a fountain of youth for real, like in a novel? No, don't know of it, and I don't think Julio or Bertha or Pablo had either, as they've all passed.

Have a great day, everybody!

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