Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm Irked and It's Been Pouring Out of Me...

 I'm irked today, partly regarding ayahuasca. For those who know it, my rant might make sense: To others it will be ridiculous so you can quit now--unless you love a good rant. And since I have hurt every day, every minute of every day for the last month or so, well, I'm always in a foul, ranting sort of mood. With that in mind, probably several times today I have received letters, had friends call me and so forth, each with some definite thing about ayahuasca or the jungle. Definite is the operative word and that's what's irking me. One friend wrote about the dolphins and I've already tried to clarify that in an earlier post--and if I forgot to say the dolphins might actually physically transform or become fantastic teachers to some people, forgive me.
    But just half-a-hour ago a friend over for dinner picked up a book on jungle medicines and came out to the front porch and said: "Oh, the spirit of Una de Gato is a big black monkey, eh?" Una de Gato is a shrub with cat's claw like protuberances that's fantastic for improving the immune system and eliminating excess water in the body, among other things.
    Being in a semi-precious, stupid, foul, in-pain mood, I said that was ridiculous. I said I was tired of people who visit one curandero, listen to what he or she says and repeat it as if it's true. That's how bullshit gets spread around. What was true was that for that particular curandero in the book, he happened to see the spirit of Una de Gato as a large black monkey. But in fact, it would be nuts for a plant to have a monkey spirit. What happens is that we humans have to compartmentalize things so our brains don't explode. For that curandero, his brain compartmentalized the disembodied spirit of that plant as that monkey, which also allowed him--in all likelihood--to return to that spirit's presence. But someone else might see it as a wasp, or a rock or whatever.
    So what's irking me are people who get part of a story and repeat it as rote, rather than stepping back and trying to see how that story fits into the larger world picture. How many people have I met who have spent a month in Peru and told me they were called to open an ayahuasca center? Ten? Twenty-five? One is too many. Get your ass down there. Learn. Spend some years, two or three or something more than a month or two before you think you know how to serve people medicine. Want to write that book? Talk to three or five or fifty ayahuasqueros who have 1000 years among them serving the medicine and ask them what the spirits look like: You will probably wind up with a mosaic with a couple of archetypes rather than a list of animal totems that's really meaningless. Pablo Amaringo painted what he saw. Don Francisco Montes paints what he sees. His wife paints what she sees. And while there is something alike among them, they are all quite different.
    And me? I don't know anything, except what I've seen and learned but I know that 1) that's a very small window on a very large universe, and 2) my perceptions are colored by my life experience and should never be taken by anyone for reality, just my perceptions of what occurred. And I guess I'm just old enough to be tired of people who are spreading falsehoods in the name of truth. Even if they think it's the truth, it's just their truth, or the truth of their curandero/curandera, not some measurable truth. I think, and I'm sorry I've been rude in getting here but have also enjoyed it, that's important to remember.


Miguel said...
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Miguel said...

Well, you probably know as well as I do, that a lot of people take ayahuasca because they lack "purpose" in their lives. I know that's one of the big reasons why I researched and took it.

So it's not surprising that the first unexplainable and meaningful experience people have, makes them want to devote their lives to the plant that gave them that experience.

It also seems to be a veritable theme nowadays where people who do, then quickly turn around and want to tell other people "how to do".

I actually think this is detrimental to human creativity in general, because we now seem to have "how to" gurus sprouting up all over the place based on their experience, no matter how limited.