The other night in my dream state a friend I have known on line for many years came to me with health advice & encouragement for me to better my life. We have never met, or spoke on a phone but have had a rich and deep relationship still ongoing.
Because of that connection (now stretching out to almost 20 years) I take his manifestation and appearance in my dreams quite seriously.
Such messengers are perhaps our better angels, those that come unbidden, but come none the less, to guide and encourage us to a fuller expression of ourselves in this life time.
I have had these apparitions off and on throughout my life. More so perhaps when I was younger, but they do come forward when I obviously need them. Are these occurrences just figments of the mind stepping forth in reaction to the conditions and events of my life?
Quite possibly, but they may be more than that. I have come to think as I have moved through this life that perhaps consciousness is distributed as a field, vast and infinite manifesting as matter. That we are individuation’s of a greater expression rather than discreet, isolated island of thought and emotion forever alone, forever singular.
So here I go off the edge for a moment….
So… better angels. As consciousness rises and perhaps falls like tides of an endless, ocean or clouds in the boundless sky. The better angel rises as a mist out of the ocean, or nephelococcygia, or like pareidolia dreaming phenomena in the clouds.
These dreams/beings appear when needed, I’ve experienced it, perhaps you as well.
(I feel better now!)
Onto another tangent:
Off and on for many years I have a place in my dreams not unlike “Plato’s Cave”. Every time I return to this place, there is always an ongoing great discussion which plies the depths of consciousness. There are many beings in this place, what a conversation that I join, dipping in and out of again and again over the years.
In my experience there is a teaching going on, an exchange of mind and spirit. Upon awakening, one feels the heightened state retreating, with a sense of well being which permeates my day after…. and here is the thing. Sometimes these events happen in our everyday “waking” world. For instance, you may have had an exchange with a complete stranger that has a marked, positive effect on your life. They come out of the blue, delivering the message that you need to hear, and then they are gone.
We are surrounded by promptings to live our lives more fully, more deeply and to do better for ourselves and others. The Better Angels are all around us, and we are selves are at times Better Angels to people who we have never known, or shall know but for our brief meetings. We must make all of the moments count I believe, and treat everyone with the care and love that you can muster.
I was once told a story by my first metaphysical teacher years ago when I was a lad, about a young man who had fallen on desperate times in London. He hadn’t a pence to put into the gas meter for heat, he hadn’t eaten for days… He decided that life was not worth living for, and that he was going to throw himself into the Thames. So, he set off for the river. Along the way, a thought came to him. “If but one person greets me, or does me a kindness, I will turn back, and live my life”. The story ends here in a question. Would any of us been the Better Angel who smiled, and greeted that young man changing his life path? It is something to ponder.
The Dark Gift is a talk I put together for the 2016 Exploring Psychedelics Conference at Southern Oregon University
(put on by Martin Ball & fellow travelers!) If you get a chance to ever attend this conference ii is one of the best.
The Dark Gift
Excerpt: The greatest gift as I perceive is what I call, The Dark Gift. The dark gift is the one that makes you work on your self. Pain, is part of it, sadness, regret, anger and misunderstandings are also part of the gift. As one observes ones self, as we examine these events and states and begin to let them go, and release others and ourselves from the various traumas etc over time it will become apparent what the dark gift is about.
As the darkness helps to define light, so it is in the inner worlds. The gifts that these moments give us, helped to define and develop the individuation’s of the greater whole that we are.
I believe that we’ve the templates inside that has all of the instructions and ways to trigger parts of the self to become wholly integrated and healthy.
Physical labor (chop wood! Carry water!), talking to friends, counseling, and the inner work of releasing the personal & societal constructs and of course psychedelics are all part and partial to the whole echelon of practices that leads to liberation and integration. One must question all of the assumptions and programming. Question Everything, be relentless.
All of the tools work in concert, because ultimately they point to the same goal:
As Lao Tzu said:
“ When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.”
In other words; liberation from thought forms, physical forms etc. In all of this be compassionate to the many versions of the self that make up you, and believe me, you are myriad within yourself.
Compassion is not holding on, but releasing and letting go. Compassion for yourself and others is the great key, “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – The Dalai Lama
Simplicity, patience, compassion, these are your greatest treasures. “Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends, and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself you reconcile all beings in the world.” – Lao Tzu, again.
The task of parsing out the various memories, dealing with the traumas is the great one.
When I was still in my teens I asked one of my teachers in the 4th way school I was attending “When will this task of working on myself be complete?” He laughed, shook his head and said:
‘It will never be completed. The more you uncover, the more you will find to work on.’
I have found this to be sage words. I am now the age he was when he told me this. I have to admit it felt unfair at the time, but it’s true. I am still working on clearing up what wells up inside of my consciousness. It is an ever ongoing process, and it is a daily ritual if done right.
So, as artist then, how does this effect our vocation, our work, our creativity? There are some benefits to this undertaking, you will probably find your creativity will increase. This to is part of the process the more you clear up the greater the release of creative energy.
You will have to come to terms with this as sometimes you will be consumed with the fires that are being stoked by the action of releasing old constructs.
When this creative heat hits, use these times to learn to focus and stay on 1 task at a time or you will dissipate the energy.
The more focused, the more disciplined you are about keeping on task and completing your projects the freer your artistic self will become.
You will find along the way that you will have limitations. Everyone does, believe me. But here is a secret. Within those seeming limitations, are vast uncharted land. This is a paradox, but very true, use your limitations as you find them to propel you forward to territories.
Limitations are borders of vast unexplored dominions. Press hard against them, that action will fuel the fires of creativity within. That is what they are there for, not to hold you back, not to batten you down, but to make you become more aware of the inner landscapes, and to further master yourself.
This is but a part of “The Dark Gift”. We will feature a video of the talk soon on Gwyllm.com
Here is a piece from 15 years ago. It was part of another body of work, that I never published…
The question is often more important than the answer. It took me years to figure this. Answers are often the death of engagement, of the profound entanglement of ideas, with all their various permutations.
I have asked this question, or a subset of it for over 35 years, since I first encountered these wonderful sacraments. For many years, I thought that I had broken something because of them. Why broken? Because the world that was being offered up by the society at large made no sense after the maelstrom and ecstasy of the psychedelic state. How could I get excited about monthly sales in all truth, when I had experienced heaven and hell in such profound ways that the incessant business chatter, and what passes for conversation often made little sense to me. I have gone over these experiences again and again, examining them and finding time after time, some nuance, some blessing that I had seemingly missed or forgotten.
Questions, musings and dreams… I often dream of psychedelics. I dream that I am consuming them, and having deep and profound experiences. I dream that I am chewing the leaves, swallowing the capsules, insufflating the powder, drinking the liquid, inhaling the smoke, just outright consuming them in all their various forms. The dream always starts with an inner tension, a fear. Then it opens up, slowly. What happens next is that I feel the power of the sacrament coursing through my system, walls melting, a shower of light, blessings descending and maybe even a deeper fear gripping my soul.
I first took Salvia in a dream. I first took DMT in a dream. The “real” experience with salvia was nothing like the dream. The DMT experience was very close to the dream. I often dream of Salvia, maybe more than any other substance.
One of the most telling of the dreams that occur, and the one that repeats often is that during these episodes, is there is always deep conversations with people and beings who are drawn to the unfolding events within the dreaming. Sometimes they are with me when I ingest, often they appear afterwards and engage with me.
What it is I am dream about, or have dreamed into existence. Waking, the state lingers and the images and emotions well up for days afterwards.
Questions. Why do strange and archaic laws repress these substances? What does it serve to have people, good honest deeply spiritual people locked away in the depths of a prison machine that churns them and destroys their lives? How has our civilization fallen to such depths to punish people for private acts that are by nature the wellspring of consciousness? It boggles the mind.
Article I wrote for the Entheogen Review back in the Early 2000’s. I swear all my writings are not in this direction!
I had been thinking about Anadenanthera for several years. I had first investigated it back in ancient times (the 80’s) when it was as rare as rare could be. Along with Virola, it was a great mystery. I had seen film usage of it, and it looked very, very painful. Now, I am not drawn to pain, especially in the nasal passages. I gave it a miss for a long time, though the reports that I had from many was positive. It started showing up in my consciousness again in a grand way about 2 years ago. I saw my first trees (albeit baby ones) in the hills of Oakland. Lovely. Then, all of a sudden, seeds were becoming available on the market. The carrier wave kicked in, and I started asking questions. Changes occur, and my interest is taken to other directions. I let it go…
Earlier this year, I receive a new revised copy of Plants of the Gods, by Schultes, Hofmann, and Ratsch. Lovely book, greatly expanded and has Ratsch’s influence all over it. (The book had been sent to me for a review, which if the Gods favor me with time, I will.) I go through it off and on for a couple of months until I stumble on two chapters I had never seen before, Anadenanthera Perigrina (Yopo) (pages 116-119) and Anadenanthera Colubrina (Cebil) (pages 120-123). I have always been drawn to Yopo, and I had thought that Cebil was just another name for it, but no, they are different. I read the chapters again and again and discover that there are some basic differences in the chemical constituencies. Yopo, seems to have a strong representation of DMT, and 5-hydrodimethyltryptamine (Bufotenine), as well as ringed tryptamine derivatives such as 2-methyl- and 1,2-dimethyl-6-methoxytetrahydro-B-carboline. Cebil on the other hand though similar in many ways has some different constituents in its make up, some varieties only have Bufotenin (C12H16ON2) whilst others contain 5meo-MMT, DMT, DMT-N-Oxide, Bufotenin, and 5-OH-DMT-N-oxide. It seems that some seeds contain up to 15 mg of Bufotenin. Intriguing stuff. Compounds I knew little or nothing about. I read the different chapters again and find out something I had never known. The usage of Colubrina/Cebil, seems to be (going on archaeological investigations), possibly the longest/oldest psychedelic in South America. Seeds, snuff kits, and pipes with burnt seeds have been found buried with mummies that are at least 6,000 years old. I have an affinity for smoking, and the fact that this was one of the early methods I get excited, noting that the chapter on Cebil is titled; Seeds of Civilization… ideas start to coalesce. I make enquiries. A friend gives me ten seeds, with a caution: “It can be very uncomfortable, watch your dosage”… I am cautious, and do nothing with them, but examine them for several weeks, then, I head off to Mind States.
So, I am visiting in California, and whilst there after the conference, I come across some seeds. Obviously, this was meant to be. I obtain them, and ask acquaintances about dosage and experiences. Some are positive and others not. Some say two plus seeds, others caution that such a dose could be very, very uncomfortable. One friend reports back that one seed smoked drove him to suicidal thoughts for the length of the voyage. Obviously, a plant not to be taken lightly… When following this line of enquiry I found people were also using it a third way, via doing it sublingually combined with the same lime that you use for betel chewing. This method seems to bring it on slowly. Though a sensible method of approach, I settle on smoking.
I get my courage up. I toast two seeds, until they make a popping sound. I take off the outside husk, and grind them to powder, then gently toast again. Then, cleaning out my favorite pipe, and as habit has it, wait for midnight. I load the pipe with two seeds. I settle back in darkness. I fire up and take a small hit. I close my eyes, and put the pipe down and I drift…
First thing I feel is like I have had a large dose of niacin. My face is becoming quite warm. My heart seems to be swelling in my chest just beating a regular tattoo. Then, it drifts back and everything shifts ever so slightly. I fire up again, and then again. Something is taking form in front of me. Then the realization comes, that the boundaries have gone. All that is, is this place, this moment. All that I was cautious about was for naught. In the inky blackness, red swirls pulsate, slowly a form begins to emerge through the patterns. It is jewel, a black jewel, multi-faceted, the facets delineated by pulsing silver lines, and white globules pooling. It is beautiful, and starkly alone, floating. Contemplating, my mind reaches out to it. With that, something occurs. Out from behind the gem emerges an old, ancient Indian women. Bent with age she excitedly hobbles up to me. She smiles, and says in some language, not English, not Spanish, “ You are here! You have arrived!” She is beside herself with excitement. More forms emerge around from the jewel. It seems the whole village is here. They gesture, reach out, touch and converse with me, and among themselves. Great excitement fills the air. I look beyond the slowly disappearing jewel. I see rolling hills, a village and Cebil trees, swaying in the hot breeze. All seems achingly familiar, then I slowly fall to sleep as the visions fall from me like dust. Little snakes of color remain, guarding where the jewel once hung, suspended in consciousness.
I wake the next morning, totally refreshed. I am very happy, and feel that something momentous has happened. Life usually good, is even better. I am excited for the coming evening. I am going in again. I want to converse with these people again. I want to see that landscape, and to behold the jewel.
Midnight again. I settle back, and take a large hit. As my head hits the pillow I can feel a great pressure beginning to bear down on me. Then, the heart starts up, with the heat in the face. The pressure grows. I sit up, feeling like I have taken about 4-6mg of 5meo-DMT. The universe is pressing against me with great urgency. I surrender to it. I feel the tryptamine carrier wave vibrating and sounding through my being, all beings, throughout the creation. The feeling recedes. Another hit, and in I go. Fractals, spiral nebulae, and the presence. Out of the void, the jewel returns. I smile inwardly, I have been awaiting this. The jewel, pulsing with its blackness and facets expanding, fills the inner sky. I reach for the pipe, once more. It grows in detail and presence. It is everything. The pressure I had been feeling had been coming from this source. Everything that my search had been for would be answered in this place. The tryptamine carrier wave grew louder. Out of the jewel comes a jaguar. Its head is thrashing about. The vision moves in a stuttering motion, and as it stutters, the jaguars head becomes a dragons’, then back again to the jaguar. It starts snapping its jaws together, flailing its head (s) back and forth. It sees me. The heads speed up, and it lunges, grabbing me by the chest, deep into my heart, and shaking me like a poppet. It goes on and on, I feel like it is feeding on me, yet I feel detached, like an observer to all of this. The vision recedes back into the jewel. I lay there exhausted. The sky is pulsing with color, and the jewels presence is now a brooding one. I hear a noise, and feel a vibration. My eyes open, and out of the jewel and sky, a giant dancing figure comes forth. It is an Indian, almost like an Eastern North American Indian, with a mohawk haircut. He dances from foot to foot. His head reaches into the sky, fading into stars. He perceives my form lying there, he hesitates for a moment, then jumps into my chest and sinks into my being. He is chanting the whole time. He emerges out of me and then grabs me again, and we merge and become one. The Carrier sound is now screaming loud. I start to fade, and lose consciousness of self altogether…
I awake two hours later. Colors are swimming, and the sense of self is morphing, flowing from object to object in consciousness, out into the walls, then trees, then back into the house again. I feel like I am going mad. I walk out into the living room, and gather my thoughts slowly as I look out the window into the darkness. The panic subsides. By the time I get up and head to bed, all parts of my being have reassembled, and are whole again. I fall asleep, smiling.
The morning comes with all its beauty, and I decide to give Cebil a rest for awhile. The amount of what I have harvested from these excursions, keep me very busy for several weeks examining all parts of the experience.
More To Follow…
I started “Gate Keepers”, a couple of years back. It is loosely based on an area of exploration in my life. Well, that is the mystery. Anyway, still working on it, I thought some might enjoy exploring it..
“Gate Keepers” 2-17-15
“The GateKeeper” – Gwyllm 2013
“Here comes another one”
The swarm converged on the gate, awaiting the arrival.
They readied their appearance. It was the kind thing to do with the larval forms when they stepped into the realm.
The being popped through the gate. The performance began. The Gate Keepers went into their routine, keeping the being occupied on this side of the next gate. It was over quickly as the larval one was pulled back to where it had come from. Another success. It was easy, fun and it kept the natural order of things in place.
They re-coalesced to their primal form; fields of light.
It was becoming more frequent for the Gate Keepers, and it was becoming harder to reform back into the whole as they were given to do. The larval beings were growing more impatient with the state of being that they were being held in, only a few over countless generations had made the jump to the second gate and beyond.
That was changing though, the assaults on the first gate was becoming more frequent. The hierarchy surely must know what was going on, even those in attendance upon the great ones? The Gate Keepers kept to task though, being it both rewarding and thankless it seemed.
The Larvals were coming up with new and novel ways of storming the gates on a more frequent basis. The Gate Keepers were not without compassion, they themselves were tied to the task that they themselves were seemingly assigned to. Everything, every being had its place in the measure of things. That was the way it was. The Gate Keepers, the Watch Makers, the Archons, and those above.
Everything cycled. These events with the Larvals had been occurring with more and more frequency over the last 70 or so cycles of the gravity well that they were held in. It was a choice assignment for the Gatekeepers, of all the gravity wells, this one was perhaps the most beautiful.
The Archons and the ones above had cultivated the gravity well’s fields of consciousness for untold millenia; siphoning off the symphony of emotions and desire that the Larvals emitted. New and unique tools had been developed to keep the harvest yield high; the Watchmakers would locate especially receptive Larvals and implant ideas and concepts that would fruit and give the most yield. Philosophies, religions, political systems, economic forces all were brilliantly implanted into the dreaming Larvals consciousnesses to great success; assuring levels of discomfiture that would perpetuate a growing harvest to their benefit. True, the larval forms would finally exhaust them at the end of their life cycle and they would obtain a form of liberation, yet even this had been manipulated with fear, and the re-birthing of their monads. Some would indeed escape the gravity well, but others would be held back by anxiety of extinguishment, and the ceaseless incarnations.
As the news of this success spread, more of the upper hierarchy descended around the gravity well participate in the harvest, with the breeding programs introduced by the innovations of agriculture, priestcraft and the state, more larval forms were created to fulfill the quotas. All was well, all was battened down nicely.
Yet, it was a constant task keeping the larvals in a state of sleep. Like all beings, their native fields were of light, and though they were submerged into the gravity well and the encasement that they manifested and expressed in, all seemed to long for or try to express their native state. No matter, with the power of the Archons and those above, the captive breeding programs were in the main a success. Even when the captive would adapt within the parameters of the systems that were designed to hold them in thrall, new innovations would be introduced to sway their attention back.
This is an extract from a book I am working on about various moments in my life. Everyone has a book inside, right? 🙂
Regarding Lime Kiln
I don’t tell this story often, but to those who understand. I have found that sharing these events tends to frighten some.
Anyway, early 1968. I had fled the Haight, after being popped there, in Colorado and Malibu all within a month. (1 arrest for jaywalking, another for hitchhiking, and the previous one, busted for marijuana in Boulder) At that point in my life, all I had to do was walk outside or be riding a bicycle down Highway 1 and I would get pulled over, and frisked. The US was… a little tense about creatures with long hair at that point… 🙂
So, in a mild state of desperation when I finally got back to San Francisco, I’d thrown The I-Ching for a solution to my legal run-ins, and it suggested I go south out of the different choices I posed in my question. So south I went, heading to Big Sur on the recommendations from flat mates in San Francisco.
I hitched down the coast, marveling as I went, and found myself eventually in Lime Kiln. Lime Kiln was a bit of beauty, a lovely creek runs through it, down to the sea. At the confluence of the waters, I was told that the Esselen people buried their dead long ago. Achingly beautiful, you could sit there for hours, and I did… I began to find healing there.
I explored Big Sur, spending time in Esalen and up at the Big Sur Store etc. You could sit alongside the road for up to an hour before a car would come in either direction, sometimes longer. More than likely the first vehicle coming along your direction would pick you up. I had people going the other direction pull around and give me a lift up the road for the heck of it. I met wonderful people, yet Big Sur was the real deal for me. I fell in love with Lime Kiln more than anywhere, it had real magick. I would wander up into the hills, and be totally alone.
I took to exploring up the canyon, walking through the Sequoia up to the kilns through the meadows festooned with poison oak and fern, moving through the shafts of light coming down through the trees. I would sit on the outcroppings of rock, silent – listening to the forest. I took to practicing meditation as I knew it, and when done with that would examine my life and feelings. It wasn’t a bad thing to examine; I had clarity finally after all the time spent on the street or in jail, or on the run. It had been a twisted path. I would pass the days then, meditating upon, examining and exploring either the inner spaces or the country side. It all blended. Sleeping at night next to the stream, peering up through the trees at the stars, stirred deep waters in my soul.
As time went along I was joined by a close friend escaping from San Francisco. We would hang out down by the shore, where there was another camp site, with VW buses and vans of various types. The main resident was a beautiful young woman, who would be there pretty much all the time. She had long curly blond hair, and a fair complexion often sitting on the rocks looking out over the sea. Most of the other campers were male, and they were all enthralled; she would smile, and on the weekend be joined by her lover. Still, some guys pursued just the same. As young men we were deeply impressed with her, as she would sit looking out to the sea. It was all very heady!
One afternoon of absolute stillness: I sit by the path, under the redwoods, bathed in light filtering through the boughs and branches. There is an intricate dance between two banana slugs, slowly circling and circling. It goes on for an hour or more. They spiral, and then they meet, shivering against each other. This goes on for hours, at least in my mind. Such beauty! I realize it has been a mating dance the whole time. I leave the lovers as the shadow fall.
People came and went over the weeks, and we finally ended up with a nice group who enjoyed each others company. We formed a camp together, cooking, and drinking tea, getting high. I did spend most of my time wandering the canyons, and along the shore alone. It was a golden time.
There were others at the camp sites strewn up the hill from the beach. Everyone was on the road in some way or another, having arrived at where they were heading or hesitating on this part of the coast. I learned more about the casting of the I-Ching, playing and working with it daily with one of the older men at the canyon. He was quite eager to teach me, and I was all ears. He would go over the Hexagrams, and used yarrow sticks rather than coins, “I doesn’t matter” he said, indicating that whatever tools that I used would be appropriate. He talked for hours about the practice, and how to use it properly. I drank it all in.
The weeks were quiet, but the weekends were crazed, generally we had plenty of room between our camps, but when the weekend would arrive, there would be a deluge of vehicles down from San Francisco and Santa Cruz. A handful would translate into hundreds for two days. People coming down from the Bay area, and Santa Cruz. Acid was of course everywhere, and parties went all night long. The weekends were festivals really, and full of joy and discovery. I had stepped away from Acid by that point, though I still enjoyed being around people who were experiencing it. One of the strangest sights I ever saw were a beautiful couple who had come down from the Haight, (and obviously on Acid) in the middle of a giant poison oak patch making slow, languorous love. As I drifted by on the edge of the clearing in my own daze they looked up, smiled and waved. I waved back, and kept on going up deeper into the hills to the kilns. I cannot imagine what the evening was like for them… Friends came and went, and often I had the camp site to myself for days on end. Come Sunday night, the campgrounds would have pretty much emptied out. The locals would gather and we’d sit around the fire talking about the events of the previous days.
A few weeks in a friend visiting from the Haight brought a battery powered tape machine with speakers (a rarity then!) with early French field recordings of North African music. It was mid week so we had Lime Kiln pretty much to ourselves. It was late at night, the fog was rising up from the Ocean and we were smoking hashish as we sat around the fire listening to music from the Maghreb, and elsewhere. It was very transporting. I had heard Sandy Bull, but hearing the real thing, well.
That night, the moon was full, and incredibly bright, as we sat listening to the music, watching the tendrils of fog waft up through the forest towards us. One tendril was drifting up from the ocean, and it meandered slowly along the path. As I sat there listening with my friends the fog tendril drifted closer and closer. The tendril reached us; out of the fog emerged a vision; an old Indian who stood there looking at us. Everyone at the fire saw him. We sat transfixed as he looked us over. Ancient, ancient, ancient… There was this feeling of communication between him and everyone around the fire. After what seemed an eternity he turned, and headed deeper up the canyon with the fog. We all acknowledged what we had seen. I took it as a sign, but of what? That unfolded over the years. Vision comes, but answers are different. It was for me a turning point in my life.
I can still see him peering at us, emerging as the fog, part but not. It was deeply moving. There was a deep sorrow in it, and a beauty.
I had felt presences before, especially regarding the land through peyote. I had memories of the wee folk in Newfoundland that talked with me as a very young child in the woods, but this vision is the one that leaps out when I summon it. So, in this life I have been blessed. Only in the last few years have I realized that most go through their lives without these events. I cannot fathom how that would feel.
Cave Of The Hands – The Esselen People