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Monday, 11 May 2020

Mother's Day Special- the true meaning of the COVID 19 pandemic

The true meaning of the COVID 19 Pandemic and what we should be learning from it

Sometimes lessons are presented to us in ways that are so obvious that we miss them.
This pandemic has shut the world down now for two months, taken thousands of lives and threatens to crash our economic structures globally. In short, the human world has been brought to a standstill and nature is waiting for us to learn our lessons or prepared for more pandemics which will be worse.
Honestly I feel I am repeating myself, again and again.
But when I listen to dominate media sources, I don’t hear the wisdom of these times being clarified or elucidated in any but the most superficial and panicked way. The narratives run towards survival, blame, and victimization of humanity. I’m tired of hearing the whiney voices of people bemoaning their losses. And I reply:

You think this is bad! Unless we mend our ways, there is much worse coming!

Nature or Gaia, represents a whole network of interconnected beings, who like us, exist physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The three worlds of Gaia are: animal, plant and mineral or inanimate. These worlds are composed of many beings who all share the same morphic structures. These morphic resonances create a shared energetic field which all members have in common. Each species has a collective consciousness called species mind. All beings of the earth are nested within a greater hierarchy called Gaian mind. These energetic communities can be compared to conferences or courts where beings congregate in dream states, discuss and come to decisions about the future of the planet. These worlds were seen clearly by our ancestors, of all races. But in this misguided Cartesian flat world of modernity, we have forgotten and minimized our awareness of the Gaian mind, and our responsibility to all our siblings of Gaia.

This pandemic can be an opportunity to return to our older, wiser understanding of nature as embodied, sentient and representative of our own souls. The earthly networks of life are putting us on notice, and because She has ultimate power, we must either surrender to the lessons of growth and evolution or face extinction.

Gaian mind speaks to us in very simple terms; Her language can be understood by all. We don’t need to be an academic, priestess, or epidemiologist. We just need to pay attention to the events of our lives and be open to the environment around us.
Let’s follow some of the clues.

First, this especially virulent virus spread from wild animals to humans. There is controversy about the exact location, but the dominate narrative appears to be that this virus came from a dirty, disgusting wild animal market where wild creatures are caged, tortured, made to live in horrible unnatural circumstances. The animal kingdom is already angry at us humans, we have destroyed about two thirds of animal life on the planet and replaced it with our own domesticated animals which we need for meat, leather and manure. Of course, the animal world is infuriated by our dishonourable use of the earth’s resources, and the extinction we have caused to hundreds of their members every year.

So the pandemic is a lesson to teach us how to treat the earth’s creatures and resources more honourably with a spirit of compassion and love which we would naturally extend to the loved humans in our lives. These are our brothers and sisters, not just metaphorically, but actually. They share the same DNA, live in the same environments and we share a common mother, the earth. The animal world is developing viruses which are uniquely virulent to humans. They are designed to stop us in our tracks and take a step back. Gaian mind is giving us notice to review our behaviours, world views, and core values.
Clearly the earth is moving towards ridding her environments of the pesky parasites, humans, who have become arrogant, dissociated from the values of life and liberty, and are heading towards mass destruction not only of their own species, but taking a whole lot of other species and beings with them.
Here’s the thing to consider in this great shift we have to make towards realising our interconnection with nature. You can’t connect with someone or something you don’t know. Most people I counsel know almost nothing about their natural environment. When they go for walks outside, they have no idea of what trees, shrubs, flowers or fungi they are seeing. They don’t know the names of the birds they see and hear. Most people have zero nature relatedness. For most humans right now, we are living in a phantasy world of human-only inventions, technologies and consumables.  As Terrance McKenna said- we are the only species in the history of the earth to entertain ourselves into extinction.

We have also completely lost the ancient wisdom of recognizing the environment as the greater soul of human consciousness, which we are intimately connected with. The olden techniques of feeling intimately connected with Gaian mind, omen reading, using the environment as a mirror of the soul. These are all rituals and strategies to develop our awareness of interconnection. These techniques were minimized and fulminated by the last four to five hundred years of Cartesian thinking of separateness, control and commoditizing everything we can get our hands on.

We have also become incredibly disconnected from the first and most essential tool for understanding interconnections-our individual bodies. Many people don’t live in their bodies and treat these sacred vehicles of consciousness, like unconscious tools to be used and ignored when not needed like they use their cars, grass mowers or  computers. We have also learned how to abuse other people, turning them into slaves to our desires; underpaid workers, stressed care givers and sexual commodities.  The Cartesian era was needed to help lift us out of the control and manipulations of the spiritual hierarches of the past two thousand years. It has given us many benefits and insights into the complexity and awesomeness of the natural world. But we must proceed with scientific investigation hand in hand with the core truth of inter-connection.

What I do to the Other, I also do to myself.

The Other, can be anything or anyone who is in your life in an unconscious and un acknowledged way-your own body, those you have conflicts with, the environment, the animal and plants worlds, and natural resources from the earth of all kinds.
As long as we can collectively catch and torture wild animals of any kind, if we can keep wild animals in horrible filthy conditions, and sell endanger species for insane needs of corrupt medical models, as long as we can treat the earth’s resources like commodities, not gifts-then get ready for the next pandemic coming your way brought to you by the more-than-human natural world.
Theory is wonderful and can direct our lives in effective, compassionate and holistic ways. But theory must be put into action in small daily ways.

Try this!

1.       Develop earth honouring livelihood
The quarantine is giving all of us humans some time to reflect and grow. Reflect on right actions can you begin in your daily life-is my livelihood harming or caring for Mother Earth? What actions that dishonour the Mother would you like to diminish or stop? Be realistic. Develop right livelihood, right diet, right physical movement, use of materials from the earth.
E.g. I will volunteer for the board on a local non-profit recycling organization and give four hours a month to them.

2.       Develop earth honouring relationships
Reflect on your relationships-with other humans, other animals, the plant and mineral world. Can you imagine that each being is conscious and sentient and participates in its own unique way to the interconnectedness of the world at large- eagles, beach stones, someone half around the world whom you have never met. How could you bring this awareness more in line with earth loving ways-celebrations, honouring rituals and gathering, simple gathering together as a community?
E.g. I’m going the women’s circle next full moon and participate in the sharing circle.

3.       Develop earth honouring spirituality
Develop an awareness of the outer world, especially the natural world. Spend time every day in the more-than-human world to appreciate nature. Take your meditations outside and let the beauty of nature remind you how to be joyful, present and mindful. Learn Soul Catching (Star, 2014) to develop ways to feel closer to nature. Develop a spirituality that honours the earth. If it doesn’t than abandon it immediately. 

Let your inner light shine!

Be radiant in all activities.

Love the Mother.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Our Broken Children

Let’s face the truth here.
Our children are broken.
Our children are dying young, by suicide or violence, living on the streets, becoming depressed and anxious, not fitting in, not coping, not having kids, not working, not creating any kind of life they want for themselves. By recognizing what the Dark Machine is doing to our children, we can stop supporting it and maybe, maybe, slow down the environmental and social destructive forces that it creates.

First, let’s stop assuming that the problems with our young are their own fault. We can see that despite therapy, billions of dollars of mind numbing medications, millions of dollars of social programs and education initiatives, life coaches, inspirational speakers-they are still slipping, and slipping fast into illness, anhedonia, disconnection, and general despair. As a counsellor I see it all the time, either the young people themselves, or their parents and grandparents talking to me.  They sit across from me full of helplessness. They tell me how despite everything they do for themselves or their children and grandchildren, these young people, are still failing.
As Leonard Cohen wrote in his song “Everybody knows”:

Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

There is a general sense of foreboding with most sensitive people I know. They recognize at some level that we are on a precipice of disaster, and no one seems to be able to stop it. There is no honourable war to fight now; the wars for goodness and justice are over because we all lost. You only fight if you know who to hold accountable. In the past, sociopathic leaders and socio political groups with ill intent towards humanity and Gaia were visible. They dressed up so we could see them, proclaimed themselves openly as leaders. Now the true leaders of the Dark Machine hide. We know they are the top 1-10% of income earners, sometimes we can find their faces on the internet, but we can’t meet with them, vote for them or have any influence on their policies. Through their manipulations using technology, political structures and cultural control, we are forced to be obedient to their hungry ghosts of power and control. Or, if we willing to make the sacrifices, we can be quietly or openly defiant. Or, we can choose to try to ignore the crisis and hide in triviality and homocentric activities and world spaces. Which one do you choose?

Usually we start by blaming the victims. We ask them to change themselves as individuals-change their brain chemistry, or their beliefs and cognitive errors, or their goals or work habits. Usually we start with the individual and work out to bigger circles of influence-individual, family, social, community and then global. But I propose a different approach. Let’s start with the big picture first, with the global perspective-with Gaia Grief.

Expecting young people to make all the changes doesn’t work. I know many who although are good people with earth honouring values, are completely spent with surviving. With the erosion of labour laws, worker collective rights and protection from political corruption, they struggle with long hours of low paid work and relatively high cost of living.  Our economic inequalities are returning to pre WWI standards. The typical young person, especially if they have a family, haven’t the energy or time left over for self-reflection, or motivation to change. They are immobilized by the enormity of the situation, overcome by their own emotional responses of anxiety, depression and disconnection. Often their despair makes them unable to think clearly, act or change. Some young people I counsel, cannot rise out their beds in the morning, especially on the week end when they don’t have to go to work. They slide into hopelessness, dark and despairing thoughts. They hope only to survive another day, that day, if they can get by without killing themselves. And many do suicide, every single day.
Let’s take the simplest, most elegant analysis here. If our young people appear to be broken, then they are and they probably have good reason to be. We have handed over a broken world to them, and at some level they know there is no going back with the environmental destruction we have wrought upon Gaia.

There is much to be depressed about, as the media is constantly reminding us. The National Geographic estimates that one in four mammals is at risk for extension in the next few decades.
Mass die-offs are individual events that kill at least a billion animals, wipe out over 90 percent of a population, or destroy 700 million tons—the equivalent weight of roughly 1,900 Empire State Buildings—worth of animals.
And according to new research, such die-offs are on the rise.
In recent decades numerous studies have predicted that habitat destruction will doom some 20 to 50 percent of Earth's species within 50 years. Downloaded from
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Just as an example of our studied ignorance- when I was researching the rate of die off and extinction rates, I noticed that the direr of predictions had been expunged from the National Geographic website.

I remember as a young woman in my twenties and thirties watching clouds of shore birds rise up from the Gulf Island waters, huge flocks of swallows returning from their southern retreats, butterflies and moths so abundant that as I walked through my grandparents fields that I could catch them with my hands if I wanted to. Those large collections of animals are all gone now. If I see 2-3 shore birds along the beach, I think that’s a good sighting. If I see two butterflies in my garden I stand transfixed by their presence. I never see swallows any more where I live, the owls have gone, so have the bats and night hawks and the gorgeous lute like call of the Swainson’s thrust. Is no one noticing this tragic and brutal die off? Am I the only one with memory cells left? I met dog walkers along the river where I hike and they comment on several birds they have seen. I look at them sadly and tell them, there was a time this delta had huge flocks of birds, they gathered and flew around in huge cloud like formations which darken the sky.

As Terrance McKenna once said Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.

Is that what is happening? Are we all just so deep in denial that we have forgotten to look at the truth?

Let’s be frank here, the problem of our broken children isn’t only a problem of brain chemistry, early childhood trauma or ancestral trauma, wrong thinking, poor parenting or lack of discipline. This is much deeper and more profound than these simplistic answers. The proof of my theory is this-just ask any young depressed, anxious or addicted young person how they feel, really feel deep down. Then ask if they have any good reason for these negative feelings- and often they will tell you they had good childhoods, happy family and parents, their basic needs were taken care of, but somehow they are uneasy in a way that we as humans have not seen before in our young.

Do we have collective amnesia about the mental health of past generations? Here is what I remember, only fifty years ago. As a child and teen, I didn’t know anyone with (the list): anxiety, depression, allergies, autism, addictions or anyone who was on any kind of psychotropic medications. NO ONE! My grandmother in her 80’s took an aspirin every day for her arthritis, that was the only person I knew who was taking meds or who had any kind of chronic illness. We assumed in those days that most people were healthy and they were. Now it is assumed that most people have something wrong with them, some illness either mental or physical. We assume they should be taking expensive meds for these disorders. Does this not seem strange to you?

I believe that those who support the Dark Machine, those with outdated beliefs, are afraid to face the reality of how they are destroying families, children, teens and young people all over the globe. Their propaganda is built around ‘family values’, by which they usually mean patriarchy, Gaia dishonouring life style and uncontrolled consumerism. So it’s in their own best interests to keep this inconsistency a secret and they do this by turning on their own victims. They accuse the 99% of being lazy, overly worried and negative, misinformed and lacking resiliency. Their solutions are more hard work, medications, and expensive therapies. Their solutions are that young people continue to keep them in their glass palaces of privilege, concern themselves with non-issues and project their anger onto the  ‘evil’ Others- Arabs, Muslims, Blacks, Right Wing, Left wing, the Russians…your choice. They seek to keep us distracted with superficial homocentric entertainments such as social media, fashion and comparative self-worth images which show the 99% what they are missing. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

 I honestly think that if all anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications were banned tomorrow and everyone stopped taking them, climate change would stop. Right then, right there. There would massive revolutions, demonstrations in the street; those who are orchestrating environmental destruction would be forcibly taken from their positions of power. I’m not advocating violence; I’m just predicting that within the next couple of decades, if we have that long, we will see revolutions such have not been witnessed before in human history. Because we are a species of slow learners, it seems we have to really feel the pain deeply before we decide we must change. We have chosen frivolity over survival.

I had the good fortune of feeling what those with severe depression and anxiety must feel a few days ago. I woke up black as soot in my Soul. I hated myself, others, the world. I couldn’t hug my husband nor be courteous to the other people I met. I felt like I weighted a ton of massive, immobile black substance that couldn’t be transformed or lightened in any way. When I tried to say some positive things to myself, I didn’t believe it, even for a second.

 I’m going to be OK.
Ha! How do you know? Don’t feel OK right now and we’re supposed to live in the moment-right?
So what if I feel better for a while-soon this darkness will return, because it’s real and that other positive thinking is just horse manure.

Even the thought of taking some plant medicines to lift me up a little from this funk, seemed superficial and pointless. By chance or karma, I didn’t stay in this place for long. Somehow something healthier and more enlightened in me took over and by noon I was my usually positive self. But I felt gratitude for the experience because now I know how my son who has severe depression feels every single day. Non-stop, no let-up except with alcohol and other numbing drugs.
So what can each one of us do with simple everyday actions that can at least slow these coming end times? Something simple and plain?

I think each person who is concerned about their children and coming generations, must develop their own plan and actions to address the global crises we see coming towards us. For me, its commitments to my counselling, my writing, my giving of time and experience to disadvantaged individuals and community groups, to my own personal and spiritual growth. I purposely look for joy and appreciation every day, especially towards the non-human worlds of Gaia-the mineral, plant and non-human animal worlds. Creating and doing ritual with metaphors of interconnection, growing my own organic garden where I can appreciate Gia’s beauty, growing my own personal mycelium of like-minded people, supporting each other, discussing our thoughts and observations, being kind, practicing compassion. But always, with a view of the global picture-all life, all beings, all perspectives. And always with the intent not to be overwhelmed by Gia Grief.

I create in my imagination a future for humanity which will be unbelievably free, beyond anything we can picture right now. As soon as we can learn the simple but profound lessons of interconnectiveness, then wars, hunger, social manipulation and Gaia plundering will collapse. Because everyone will understand-that is done to the Other, is done to oneself first.

Realistically I don’t want to ignore the signs of disaster, the five horsemen of the apocalypse. But I won’t be overcome by them either. I somehow still have the ability to arise every day with some light and radiance in my heart, and go forward with some hope of the future. Right action, with compassion and a view of the whole. (Star, 2007)

Now for the practical part. Here are some suggestions to put theory into practice.

Try This!
·         When a young person, or not so young person expresses a mental state of anxiety, depression or substance dependence, try starting the conversation with the global perspective first.
Are you worried about the state of the world? Do you think you have a good future ahead of you? What do you see in the next fifty years in terms of environmental inter dependence? Do you seriously consider that humanity has a future?
·         If they have any amount of self-reflection they will probably answer that they have grave concerns about their future and the future of their children and grandchildren. Recognize those concerns, don’t minimize them. Their emotional states are probably based on real influences, in the real world. Acknowledge their pain. Acknowledge their struggles and predicament. Witness the truth of their experiences.
·         Then, when and only if they are ready to move through the despair, talk to them what could possibility be positive in the present state of the world. I see massive personal growth, and recognition of inter connectedness and inter dependence. This will be the basis of the next leap up of growth and consciousness. We will recognize our Good Mother and stop abusing Her. We will see the Other is actually just a reflection of ourselves. We will understand the environment is a mirror of our Soul.
·         Plan out a few things they can do today, this week, this month, this year to help this great leap up in consciousness be less brutal and destructive. Simple everyday solutions. I want to dance more. I want to develop a daily ritual that reminds me of interconnection. I want to create art that reflects the goodness of the earth.
·         Let it be simple, doable and something they can start today.

Turn up with your intentions.
Start today.
Work with what you have in front of you.

Star, J. (2007) The three great ways-balancing work, love and spirituality. Cowichan Bay: Long Boat Press.
Star,J. (2018) Soul Catching: Finding sacred connections in our environments. Cowichan Bay: Long Boat Press.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Advice from a three thousand year old priestess

"Nothing is higher than these mysteries...they have not only shown us how to live joyfully but they have taught us how to die with a better hope" Cerico

(Downloaded from

I have been disturbed lately by stories of the journeyers who have used plant medicines disrespectfully and suffered harmful effects of entheogens, plant medicines, holotropic breath and other therapeutic altered states. These are powerful therapies which when used with discernment, reverence and care can provide incredibly transformative and healing experiences. But these therapies come with risks and serious dangers.  The tragedies of those who have been harmed by mis use of therapeutic altered states can teach us how to proceed more safely and effectively in the future.
To help us understand these new (to us), largely uncharted waters of plant medicines and therapeutic altered states, let’s begin by studying the history of these practices. Perhaps we need to look to how previous cultures used plant medicines. Go back as far as possible to the first report of how these substances were first used.

Thomas Hatsis (2011, 2018) has written two very well researched books about Western traditions of using plant medicines.  These traditions were employed for thousands of years, not only in South America and Africa, but also in northern Europe. Christianity by the thirteenth century determined that entheogens were a threat to their male dominated hierarchy of power and control. Almost every vestige of these plant medicine traditions was destroyed. The wise men and women who were earth honouring and had knowledge of how to use plant medicines were tortured and executed by burning, hanging and drowning. However, some fragments survive that tell us about their practices and so their wisdom can inform our future.

The Elysian mysteries are one of the oldest and longest lasting entheogenic traditions of the Western world. We have much evidence that entheogen pharmakon were used in the ceremonies. The Elysian mysteries were a series of ceremonies that took place in the autumn of each year, and ran consecutively for over three thousand years. All participants were sworn under pain of death to keep secret what transpired in the ‘greater mysteries’ which were the ceremonies that followed ‘the lesser mysteries”. Almost unbelievably, what truly took place in those ceremonies is still secret today. However, from fragments which indirectly refer to the mysteries, we can gather some ideas of how the entheogen, most probably psilocybin mushroom or ergot extracts were used with incredible personal, social and global transformative power for good.

We have lots of material about the Elysian mysteries, if not the content nor ingredients of the pharmakon. But we do know peripherally, that there were two stages to the ceremonies. The first stage required the initiate to study the ‘lesser mysteries’ in Athens. 

The Lesser Mysteries were held at Agrai in the month of Anthesterion, our February... The initiates were not even admitted to the epopteia [Greater Mysteries] in the same year, but only in September of the following year."[ Kerenyi, Carl. Eleusis – Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Bollingen Foundation 1967, p. 48.]

The only pre-requisites for attending the lesser mysteries were to be ‘free from blood guilt”, and speaking and understanding Greek. The initiates had a vigorous regimen of healthy life style, they wore white clothes to distinguish them, had limited diet with no meat or fish, no intoxicants, and obeyed commandants for living which were the prototype for the Christian Ten commandants. They performed rituals and mediations every day and were supervised by a priestess. I wonder if there were some who were unable to stand the vigors of the lesser ceremonies and so were eliminated from participating in the Greater Mysteries.

The Greater Mysteries started with a long procession from Athens to Eleusis, a walk of about 19 km. This was followed by ten days of ceremonies, only after which, on the last night the entheogen Kykeon (drink) was given for the final revelations. Most probably, the theme of the ceremonies was death and rebirth, told in metaphor by the story of Persephone and her Mother, Demeter. This was a drama about the first Mother, the earth and all her beings and life systems. I believe that much wisdom was given to the initiates through plant medicines about how to be earth honouring and life loving.
Numerous scholars have proposed that the power of the Eleusinian mysteries came from the kykeon's functioning as an entheogen, or psychedelic agent. The use of potions or philtres for magical or religious purposes was relatively common in Greece and the ancient world. The initiates, sensitized by their fast and prepared by preceding ceremonies (see set and setting), may have been propelled by the effects of a powerful psychoactive potion into revelatory mind states with profound spiritual and intellectual ramifications. In opposition to this idea, other pointedly skeptical scholars note the lack of any solid evidence and stress the collective rather than individual character of initiation into the Mysteries. Indirect evidence in support of the entheogen theory is that in 415 BC Athenian aristocrat Alcibiades was condemned partly because he took part in an "Eleusinian mystery" in a private house.[70](Downloaded from, Aug 7, 2019)

The rituals were based on a symbolic reading of the story of Demeter and Persephone and provided initiates with a vision of the afterlife so powerful that it changed the way they saw the world and their place in it. Participants were freed from a fear of death through the recognition that they were immortal souls temporarily in mortal bodies. In the same way that Persephone went down to the land of the dead and returned to that of the living each year, so would every human being die only to live again on another plane of existence or in another body.(downloaded from

Strong memories have re surfaced for me during holotropic breath work of being a priestess at an oracle site where psilocybin was ingested by priestess and at special events, by initiates. Once during holotropic breath work, a vision was given to me of a huge dark cave or temple. People were sitting in a forum style, in the dark, each person held a torch. I was above the seats on a platform, looking down on a sea of lights, a very stirring image. As I was having this vision, one of the breath work helpers walked by and gasped. Later, without my telling about my experience, she related a vision she had seen when she walked by me. It was exactly the same on I had. Ego dissolution!

                …the 20th century historian Will Durant states of the mysteries, "In this ecstasy of revelation...they felt the unity of God, and the oneness of God and the soul; they were lifted up out of the delusion of individuality and knew the peace of absorption into deity".  Historian Waverly Fitzgerald sums the experience up clearly writing, "It was said of those who were initiated at Eleusis that they no longer feared death and it seems that this myth confirms the cyclical view of life central to pagan spirituality: that death is part of the cycle of life and is always followed by rebirth" . Every ancient testimonial reflects this same understanding and each has the same tone of enlightened liberation from the fear of death. (Downloaded from

I had more visions of this past live memory as the journey continued and with other plant medicines. I was a dancer at these ceremonies; archetypal myths were danced, sang and drummed in this temple. I was also an oracle at this place, I would ingest the substances, and then journey into the time/space net and ask questions to gods and guardians. I also helped with giving out the sacred drink that each participant was given. I think the ingestion of the ‘Kykeon’ was timed perfectly with mythological dramas that were danced and enacted on a stage below the forum seats. I have seen such forums at Ephesus and Rome; they are all similar in construction, designed to given maximum viewing for everyone. 

I was a priestess who carried a heavy stone amphora
around to the seats in the forum while another priestess ladled out the Kykeon into a cup which hung from a handle on the amphora. There was always only one cup per amphora, so no one could try to slip some drink into their own vesicle and steal it into the secular world. Each pair of priestesses was charged with the secrets of the ceremonies. However, I was not privy to the preparation of the Kykeon, that was reserved for a select few whom did not ever, in nearly five thousand years of the Elysian Mysteries, reveal the secrets of the sacred dramas, nor the ingredients and preparation of the sacred Kykeon.

I was also aware of the competitiveness among the priestess. How accurate the predictions, how elegantly they were delivered, the beauty and sweetness of the personality-these were factors jealously strived for. This competiveness created strife among the clergy of this temple, but it was a good competition, in the end, everyone had to accept the limits of their gifts and abilities. In this life, I met one of the main priestess at a conference. As destiny would have it, she came and stood in front of me, much as she had done three thousand years ago in the dark temple. An intense hatred, jealously and outrage rose up in me. I had to move away from her, the intensity of my emotions almost overwhelmed me. So perhaps the competitiveness of this ancient temple wasn’t so healthy after all.

Certainly we can look for guidance to the ancient past as well as contemporary cultures which escaped the destruction of plant medicine cultures, mostly by the colonization of Christianity and the forerunner of The Dark Machine. The difference between the ancients and indigenous cultures and the Western use of plant medicines, is that in the past, only highly trained, prepared, and chosen individuals take the entheogens. Lay people in the community could ask the priest or shaman for advice, healing and prognostications.

 Going into this very deep and sacred work demands respect, faith and a well-grounded ego which will come back together after the journey and keep you safe in this world which we are embodied. My tenant is “We want to renovate the ego, not demolish it

I am disturbed with accounts of high doses of plant medicines, the so called ‘hero’s dose” which could be misconstrued as a courageous and beneficial practice, and perhaps in the case of young men and women who see themselves as warriors of spirits, to be a good way to use these substances. I believe that if your journey brings you to places that you can’t remember, at all, or to places where your fear is overwhelming and traumatizing, then you are simply taking too much. Everything in life is dose dependent-water, food, exercise, meditation…so are plant medicines and psyche changing practices such as pranayama. There is no ‘hero’s work ‘here, just be cautious and sensible.

Advice from a three thousand year old priestess:

·         We, humanity, need to go back to where we got lost, about 3-5,000 years ago, back to a time when our understanding of the world was magical, shamanic, earth honouring, interconnected and sacred. We need to let go of the highly rational mind to understand where we are at this point of time, and return to a time of transpersonal understanding of life, the first mother, earth, and the eternity of Soul.

·         Don’t concern yourself with fears of aliens, non-earth beings or space travel. We will not be able to leave the playground until we learn to play well with Others, in all their expressions.
·         Take time and care to prepare for any therapeutic altered state. This preparation must be holistic-body, mind and environment.

·         Enter into the halls of entheogens with  well-educated guides, counsellors and sitters.

·         Prepare a solid foundation of wellbeing before venturing into entheogens. Be familiar and establish a daily sacred practice: breathing, mindfulness, conscious movement, self-reflection, rituals of integration, good life style choices

·         Take recommended doses, go slow. Better to be underwhelmed than overwhelmed.
·         Set and setting-scared interconnectiveness and unfailing respect for the life systems of earth, without these foundations you are a tourist, not an initiate

·         Develop your own rituals and expressions of sacred interconnections.  Metaphor is one of the greatest creative inventions of humanity-use it by creating rituals and ceremonies that are significant for you.

·         Therapeutic altered states should be spaced, no closer than one month apart. If you want to do these substances more than once a month, I suggest that other issues within your psyche should be examined and resolved before going further

·         Take time to integrate after the session, make commitments that arise from your insights. Without actions following insights, you are betraying yourself and all your teachers.

·         Fear not! The soul is eternal.


Image of amphora By Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) - taken by Ricardo André Frantz, CC BY-SA 3.0,
R. Gordon Wasson (Author), Albert Hofmann (Author), Carl A. P. Ruck (Author), Peter Webster (Afterword), Huston Smith (Preface) (2008) The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA.
Hatsis, T. (2018) Psychedelic mystery traditions-Spirit plants, magical practices and ecstatic states. Inner Traditions International. Rochester,Vermont.
Wasson, R, Kramrisch,S. Ott,J, and Ruck,C. (1986) Persephone’s quest-entheogens and the origins of religion. Yale University Press, London, UK.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

My therapist isn’t perfect

Mark, (pseudonym) sits across from me in sharply pressed blue shirt, black striped pants, and a beautifully knotted tie, well turned out are the words that go thru my mind.

All my previous therapists had their own personal issues and I couldn’t work with them. Men, women, young, old…I’ve tried so many different kinds of counselling. And I read a lot of psychology.” He smiles and settles back into his chair as if to invite me to show him wrong.

I shuddered inwardly; this was going to be difficult.

I listened for a few moments to his litany of unsuccessful therapist encounters, a subtle showing off of all the terms he had learned from the internet. Then I ask him to pause, something I frequently have to do to silence the ‘explanation compulsion’, that stuckeness in the cognitive mind while the ego tries to fix things.

Do you want to try something different?”
He hesitates, obviously put off that I have interpreted him, then nods although he clearly wasn’t sure this was what he was expecting.
I stand up and take a mirror off the wall. When I glance back at Mark, he looks like he had seen a ghost, perhaps he has, a hungry ghost.
I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” Loosens his ties, sits up straighter.
I put the mirror, a big one with a metal sculpture around it on a chair in front of him and sit back in silence.
Who is sitting in the chair now?” I ask him when he has collected himself again.
I don’t know”.
OK, let’s put ‘I don’t know’ in the chair.”

This is an interesting strategy, one that you can try at home, see “Thy this!” below. A good therapist, including the plant medicines, will be a clear mirror for you. There is a false perception that a good therapist knows better than you do, is further along the path than you. Sometimes this is true, but the best use of therapy is as a mirror in which you can recognize your own Soul.
Recently I witnessed a young therapist in session with a difficult client. She was working hard. Beware of that-if you are a therapist, or if you are the helper, notice if you are working harder than the client. If you are, then it’s time to step back and reassess the situation. Probably the client she was working with had narcissistic tendencies, and the two of them were in a tangle. The more she tried to solve the problem for him, the more he gave her the ‘Yes, buts…”.

The conversation went like this-
Therapist. “You could…”
Client. “Yes, but I’ve tried that and…” Or-
Therapist. “OK. How about this…”
Client “Yes, but I’m afraid of…” Or-
Therapist. “I understand, I’m wondering if you could…”
Client “Yes, but I can’t do that because…”

Or variations on that theme. A beautiful dance for two, which entrenches the client even further, and temporarily lets them believe that their assumptions about their own helplessness are correct and there is no way out of the emotional and spiritual trap they have created. The therapist is left with a sour feeling that despite all their hard work and effort, they were unsuccessful.

That is when bringing out the mirror is useful. And that is the beauty of plant medicines, there is no chance for resistance or denial. You can’t argue with a mushroom or vine or yellowish powder. What you experience is what you experience. The journeyer will have the opportunity to deny or resist what they learned while under the influence later, that is always possible and that is why integration is so important. Integration is catching what the journeyer saw in the mirror of Soul and translating it into terms that the cognitive mind can understand and work with. If the journeyer sees a mighty spider that tells her to dance more, then the integration is –how do you dance more in your life? Bringing what is glimpsed in the mirror and putting it into every day terms is the goal of good integration of any counselling insights.

Not all learnings during therapy or journeys have to have actionable. The integration may be a new way of washing dishes or walking to the store, or realising that we are an inextricable part of the Great Net and everything we do or say or think is significant. That may be enough. A body sense of rightness of being, clarity and inner peace.

Soul catching is another technique for seeing a reflection of Soul. By looking out into the great context of the environment, the environment becomes a clear mirror, better most times than another person or a theory or the internet. Soul Catching is the technique I teach through my book “Soul Catching, Finding sacred connections in every day environments” (Star, 2015)
The internet is the worst mirror of all for Soul. It is constructed for the purpose of illusion and keeps people addicted to the human-only world, with its attendant hungry ghosts, immature frivolities, or my beloved describes, a narrative written by a nineteen year old for a fourteen year old. Ha!
Keep in mind, the purpose of any therapy is not be lectured at by a superior person who has their sh*t together more than you. The purpose of good therapy is to be a clear mirror in which you can recognize your own Soul. That is all there is, there is nowhere, where you are not.

Try this!

1.       Pick an issue that you are currently struggling with- it can be something personal, relational, or spiritual. I feel like I’ve lost my life’s direction.

2.       Find a mirror and sit in front of it. Look long, hard and deep. Don’t flinch or look away for too long. You can take short breaks to rest your eyes.

3.       Ask the reflection about the chosen topic. Wait. Notice the environment. Notice if there are messages from the environment. While I was taking a break from looking in the mirror, I gazed outside and noticed some honey bees flying between the flowers on my balcony. Message: Keep working hard on your projects. Be a bee. Don’t worry about the future too much; just do the work before you today.

4.       Keep talking to your reflection. Use a following back technique (See previous postings) “I hate looking at myself in a mirror. I wonder why? Well, when I look into this mirror right now I notice how wrinkled my face is. So I’m wondering why that feels uncomfortable. Why is that uncomfortable? Well, because women are supposed to be beautiful, perfect, sexy, young and unwrinkled. Who says that?

5.       Keep going with the questions until the bread crumb trail leads to the home place of your concern. “I don’t have to look like what the Dark Machine says I have to look like to be accepted. I can like myself, even with my wrinkles and older skin, its ok, it’s me.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Plan a techno free week end - Turn off the f**cking machines!

This morning I woke up extra early-4:50 a.m. We are approaching the summer solstice, these lovely long days in the northern hemisphere when we bask in seeming endless hours of light and warmth.
I treated myself with a walk to the beach. The water floated below banks of soft mists, washing the horizon an indistinguishable border with the sea. Islands and boats appeared to hover in the air. A doe with two fawns stepped gingerly over the beach stones; a heron squawked and rose slowly up into the rose coloured sky. 

Then, I started to count the ghosts.

One ghost walked along with a baby carriage, a dog on a leash, and …you guessed it, a cell phone in her hand as she scrolled through whatever trivial distractions the Dark Machine (See previous postings for a definition, but you will probably intuitively know what I mean) had on offer. Another ghost absently threw a stick for his excited black lab, while he…you guessed it, watched with the absorption of an addict, frivolous entertainment on his device. Even better, a group of young ghosts sat on the logs and …you guessed it, gazed with catatonically into the blue screen, ignoring each other and the natural beauty around them.

Here’s the truth. When people are absorbed into the Dark Machine through the portal of their devices, they think they are connected, but in fact they are absenting themselves from their bodies, their relationships, and most important, from their environments. The environment is the greater Soul which surrounds, protects and guides us with every breath of our lives. The environment is the most immediate way we experience ourselves, others and Gaia (Star, 2007).
Answer me this-at the moment of your death will you say to yourself-I’m so glad I spent so much time playing mind numbing games, reading frivolous gossip about other ghost people and sending meaningless messages to other ghosts who are equally distracted and narcissistic. I don’t think so!
Increasing numbers of people are coming to me complaining of the new aliment which is pandemic in our modern world-anxiety. I tell them this-if you are absent for much of your day, then you are absent from your being! No wonder you are anxious! You are wasting your precious life!

The Dark Machine’s technology doesn’t connect you-it absents you! Its seduces you into a human-only phantasy world of distraction, narcissism and unreality. Over time, the brain can’t distinguish between what is happening on the blue screen and what is real. The brain starts to send threat responses from the mid brain to the rest of the body, because the input it’s receiving through the senses, limited mostly to sight and sound, is frightening, disconnected and unfamiliar.
Let me assure you-the blue screen is not real! You think you are connecting with your friends, but I have noticed that people are more isolated from others than ever before. If you want to connect with others, especially with the environment, then go out and participate in reality. Not phantasy!

My father was a high school principal; my mother was a full time teacher and part time artist. When I was a child, we spent the week ends together and on Sunday night, we had supper with my grandparents. We had an old black and white TV in the basement; I was allowed to watch Mickey Mouse cartoons only during specific times on week end mornings. We had enough time for each other and for enjoying the experiences of being human. We had the summers off-we spent them either on my grandparent’s farm or my father hooked up the home made trailer to our car and we drove to the coast for a few weeks of beach combing, camp fires, hikes and crab hunting. My childhood memories are filled with scenes of riding horses with my Dad through the bush lands of southern Alberta, going on long rides in one his antique cars to the lake, picnics in the meadows, crabbing along the white sands of the west coast. My parents were both full time workers with very stressful jobs. But they made time for the good things in life-family, couple time, enjoying nature, art.

The families I see now have zero time for such things. The adults pride themselves on being workaholics, admitting proudly to this perfidious and destructive mental health disease.  They gobble down anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs without a thought of why they need them. They buy large expensive items they don’t need to fill the inner gap of meaningless and disconnection. Their kids start to rebel and disconnect with their elders, they hide in a peer driven world of immature phantasy driven by greed monsters who want their money and attention. Gradually their lives slip into greater and greater unhappiness and misalignment.

Another aspect of this disturbing trend of how the Dark Machine is invading our lives is that machines, like all constructed beings, have a kind of sentience. This machine sentience is not sympathetic towards living creatures. It is not attached to the living structures which all beings with DNA share. They are not linked with Gaia, except in a very marginal way because the materials they are made from are, of course, from the earth. But because they do not have DNA, nervous systems, emotions, energetic bodies of light, they exist in a two dimensional world of deathless, lifeless existence. They are created with unwholesome intent, artificially and dishonourably intended to consume, not to participate in the living systems of Gaia.  We should not be spending even more time with these lifeless forms, trying to develop better machines. We should be learning how to be stewards of the greatest ‘machine’ ever created - the inter connected living systems of Gaia (Lovelock, 1981).

Numerous researcher are discovering what counsellors, therapists and educators have suspected for at least a decade-too much techno time is damaging for the brain especially for developing brains of our children. A new study by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.(Johnson et al, 2016)  reports that children who are on screens much of their waking hours have a thinning of the cortex, the area of the brain that is associated with higher function thinking and reasoning.  This is also the part of the brain with capacities for compassion and taking the perspective of the Other. The report goes on the state that “most kids say they spend too much time on smartphones”. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents should not give any screen media to children young than 18 months. My response is ‘Are you f**king kidding???” Who would give their toddler a cell phone!
Tristan Harris (2017), a former Goggle manager, reports on how the Dark Machine spends millions of dollars in manipulative strategies to make their technology as addictive as possible. Dr. Gordon Neufeld ( also raises the alarm of how the Dark Machine is manipulating our children’s minds and bodies. This set of criminally minded nerds and business gangsters relentlessly manipulate media thru the Dark Machine to feed their own hungry ghosts of fear, and the need for control and power.

Finkelstein and Zuckerman (2010) in their book, The fattening of America: How the economy makes us fat, if it matters, and what to do about it, quotes research that found adolescents who spend too much time on screen develop poor life style habits such as low activity levels which profoundly affect their psychological well-being. There are many other research studies that confirm-too much screen time has detrimental effects on growing minds.  ( Twenge  et. al. (2018) links increased screen time with higher suicide rates and over all poor mental health. My question is this-if a teen is spending seven plus hours on their technos, then when do they have time to be human and connected into the real environment? This may seem old fashioned, but when I was a kid, there was no, NONE, techno crap to distract me from my embodied, real experience of the world. How I pity the child whose brain is so consumed by the fantasy world of the Dark Machine that they utterly lose touch with the real world.

Scary…No wonder we are seeing an pandemic of anxiety, depression, suicide , ADAA, addictions, addiction related deaths and a plethora of other mental health illnesses. All the Dark Machine cares about is its own consumptive feeding frenzy for money, power and control over others, especially young minds. The Dark Machine has no concern for the environment, relationships with others, including healthy relationships with plants, animals and other humans. It is a hellish construction without regard for life or continuance of life on planet Earth. Why would we feed such a monster? Unrestrained, it will bring a die off of life which will make the last ice age look like a picnic in the park.

One of the Dark Machine’s tactics is to spread a sense of inevitably of its power to dominate. James Brindle (2018) states in his book, New Dark Age Technology and the End of the Future,

In reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we’re living in a new Dark Age.

Most people feel so helpless in the face of this threat that they simply give in and go along because it’s easier than fighting with their teens or even toddlers (shudder) about techno time. They believe the lies of the Dark Machine. The Dark Machine creates a new familial construct-women and men, mothers and fathers, are now expected to work so much that they have no energy or time for their offspring or elders. This breaks up the family, weakens relationships between spouses, children, other adults and elders. Children are stabled in child care facilities, schools, institutions; elders are drugged and isolated in sterile facilities where they slowly fade away.

The political far right gives lip service to family values-but it is just that-lip service to cover up a march towards a slave society.  And believe me; slaves don’t have much time for their families. Why would big business give you time to be a good parent, spouse, environmentalist or person? Why would big business set up just and equitable societies so citizens can be housed in comfortable safe homes? All it wants is you working, day and night preferred, so you can feed its hungry ghost of consumption, distraction, and control.  Perhaps, as Terrance McKenna quoth, “Humanity will entertain itself into extinction”. (downloaded from 

Television (technology) is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coercion, brainwashing, and manipulation. (McKenna, 1993)

It’s time to take back your sovereign power and birth right as an embodied human. You have the right to resist all that threatens your survival and the survival of your family and future.

Be careful though, any strategies to protect our human family have also been anticipated by the Dark Machine. It creates storms of mis-information which appear to save us from ourselves, but in fact work to undermine the very institutions which provide the last ditch stand against total annihilation. Through ignorant populist leaders, the Dark Machine insidiously and methodically dismantles all that threatens its survival. Government infra structure is the only power on earth that is greater than the Dark Machine. So it methodically and carefully undermines social and governmental structures that hold our human societies in safety and wellness. The Dark Machine spreads urban myths and fake news about the evils of government and social programs. Without any sense of conscience, ethics or holistic thinking, it attacks all that has a long term view of the continuance of life on this planet. And its most powerful tool is technology and the spread of machine mind. (Jack, C, 2018)

I’m not suggesting that we give up all technology. At this moment, I’m working on a computer writing this. Soon I will publish on my blog and other people will access it thru the internet. But when this powerful tool becomes the master of our destiny instead of something which we utilize for greater well-being-then it becomes problematic. It’s as though the knife we use to cut our vegetables suddenly develops the ability to jump up and threaten to slash our wrists unless we do its bidding.
Of course, the enemy is us. It’s the indigence and preponderance of egoic power that allows and maintains the Dark Machine.  This imbalance creates problems with the other aspects of our being which need expression-compassion, right action and a vision of the whole, Gaia.

In the spirit of personal empowerment- I always add a practice part to my theory. Exercises, practices, and meditations that you can bring into your daily lives.
Start today
Use the resources you have
Work with the people in front of you

Turn off the f**king machine!

1.       Plan one week end a month to disconnect from all of your social media, and all technology. If your friends and family want to connect, they can call you on the land line.

2.       During this week end, no one and I mean NO ONE can access any technology, no screen time, no cell phones, and no social media. You can use the land line phone for phone calls-that is all. If you don’t have a land line then you are outta luck. Lock up your devices; disconnect all the computers and rotors in your home. Just unplug. Talk with your family members or other people in your lives about the Techno Free Week End. Tell them in advance that you will be off line for the week end. This includes work. No cheating, the machines must be out of sight as well as dysfunctional. Put a cloth over any screens in your home. You can treat this like a holiday. Bring out the board games, cards and other human to human activities. Remember everything on line or on the internet is fantasy-ALL OF IT!

3.       Get your life, your brain and your mind back. You’ll like being more present in the embodied experience of being a human in a real living environment.

4.       Notice how you are different without the fantasy world of the Dark Machine. Re-connect with real time friends, family, and environment. Go for walks, smell the air, listen to bird song and waves. This is how humans lived for most of our developmental ages. This is normal. Screen time is not! Notice how a quiet calm begins to suffuse thru your body and mind.

5.       This practice alone will reduce anxiety and its attendant sister- depression in a few months. Let you mid brain return to normal functioning. Align your attention into the real world-even if it is ‘boring’,  if the experience of being without techno distraction is ‘boring’ then allow yourself to hold and experience boredom fully. As you start to tune into it you will find it is much more than a slightly irritating feeling. It is probably the basis of how your monkey mind, undisciplined and without awareness, controls your habits, consumptions and beliefs.


Brindle,J.  (2018) New Dark Age Technology and the end of the future. London,UK:Verso Books.
Finkelstein, E.A.,  Zuckerman, L. (2010) The fattening of America: How the economy makes us fat, if it matters, and what to do about it. Hoboken, NJ:Wiley.
Jack, C. (2017) Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information. Downloaded from the-misinformation-about-disinformation-1.4309442
Johnston,L.D., Bach, J.G, O’Malley, P.A., Schulenberg, J.L. &Miech,R.A. (2016) Monitoring the future: A continuing study of American youth. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.
Harris,T. (2017) Downloaded from
Star, J. (2007) The River Books-The three great ways, love, work and wisdom. Cowichan Bay,BC;River Institute.
Lovelock,J. (1981) Healing Gaia. New York; Oxford University Press.
McKenna,T. (1993) Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution . New York.NY:Bantam. 
Twenge,J.M., Joiner,T.E., Rogers,M.L. & Martin, G.N. (2018) Increases in Depressive Symptoms,
Suicide-Related outcomes, and suicide Rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010
and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time. Clinical Psychological Science
2018, Vol. 6(1) 3–17.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The Good Man and Good Woman- Changing gender roles and archetypes with therapeutic altered states

The Good Man and Good Woman-

Changing gender roles and archetypes with therapeutic altered states

I have revitalized an ancient tradition of holding transformative practices (holotropic breath work) at the winter solstice. According to my ancestral past, the Celtic tradition was to review the bygone year at the winter solstice when the earth is in a state of calm repose (Anderson, 1987). The earth pauses in her rotation then, and so we can also pause in self-reflection before beginning another cycle of life. In this way, we develop a greater vision to guide us in the next cycle of seasons and life.

The journey to the ceremonial space is always challenging. Last year, a blistering snow fall blocked the road to the yurt we had chosen for our all night ceremonies. The treacherous pot holed, gravel road was covered with overhanging branches heavy with snow. Participant’s vehicles slipped off the road and slid into snow banks. All the participants worked together to get others unstuck. A metaphoric lesson-personal transformative work is never done alone. By the time we were ready to begin the evening, we had bonded as a fellowship- red cheeked, laughing and triumphant.

Last solstice we rented a beautiful large house on the edge of a rushing creek. The ceremonial space was warm, dry and well protected. We were isolated enough that we didn’t have to worry about loudly processing inside or outside. That night as we journeyed, a wind storm gathered, whipping trees against the windows and filling the creek below us with white water. Towards morning, the wind picked up even more, falling trees and bringing down the power lines. By morning we had lost hydro power.

When we began ceremonies in the early evening, men immediately shifted to one side and women choose the other. Not by my instructions, but by some unspoken agreement, perhaps a reflection of what Bache (2017) calls the field dynamics of mind.  He states after noticing how field dynamics acts in his classroom, that human group experiences can be compared to systems dynamics of advanced physics.

“In the subatomic world of quantum mechanics and the macro-world modeled by non-linear mathematics, all individual, particulate existence shows itself to be inseparable from its corresponding fields. Individual pieces of life cannot be realistically isolated from their surrounding matrix.” (Bache, 200, p.156)

As the evening progressed, the men on the left quickly embarked on difficult journeys, cycling thru series of crying, moaning, curling up into fetal positions followed by short periods of exhaustion and rest. My assistant and I comforted the men as best as we could, but much of their internal suffering could not be assuaged. At one point, one of the men dragged his quilt over his head and crawled over to his friend’s bed to hold him silently. His friend was too deep in his journey to respond. But later the held man said he was aware of his friend’s concern and felt loved and cared for. Normally I wouldn’t allow participants to interact during ceremony, but these two men were good friends and the one in distress was clearly comforted by his friend’s presence. Another interesting group dynamics was that all the men in the group were slim, smallish men who had suffered at the hands of bigger, dominate males in their lives.

 During the more intense parts of the journey, I offered a technique I call, ‘holding with heart”. This is a non-invasive somatic integration of being held in a secure and loving way in areas of the body that can dispel fear- feet, neck, heart, kidney, lower belly. This holding is done only with permission from the client, and is discussed before the session. This gentle somatic support in informed by Integrated body energetics (Erken & Schlage, 2012) as a technique to allow the nervous system to adjust to the neurological changes that are taking place, which elicit fear and anxiety from the Default Mode System (Buckner, Andrrews-Hanna,Schacter , 2008)

E (synonym) was able to sit up for a while and told me he was processing male roles taught and expected of him since he was a child. He felt that as his journey progressed, the dominate male aspect within his psyche was transforming into a more compassionate aspect that could understand the effects of the cruel dominate male hierarchy on others. E re-experienced trauma that had been imposed on him by school grade boys who isolated him the playground, took him down to the ground and punched him. He told me that all his life he held a deep sense of shame because at that moment, instead of fighting back, or calling for help, he’d ‘played dead’, didn’t resist, just lay there and took the beating. Finally, the boys tired of their abuse and left him alone.

Although this reaction was probably wise at the time, it imbedded itself deeply in his being as the response of a helpless victim. Throughout his adult life, he had struggled with being assertive and dealing effectively with male domination. During this journey, he clearly saw what he called the alpha male syndrome, or in the River’s terminology, the imbalanced Earth Way-the path of production, work, control, social status seeking, usually associated but not restricted to males of the humanoid species(Star, 2007)). This is the imbalanced soul path that is causing so much suffering at this time in our history.

J shared in the morning that when he was younger, he had been a smallish boy who had been bullied. Then he started to get involved in sports and developed a liking for running (not surprising), and had become very fit and physically strong. He disclosed with sadness that he moved from victim to being a bully himself. This is the classic way trauma is imposed and spread, like a virus from one generation to another. Boys are commonly hurt, challenged and bullied so they either become submissive males or they become bullies themselves to friends, colleagues, intimates and family. I can clearly hear in my mind the voice of my father who often lectured me:” There are two kinds of people in the world-those who push and the pushees. You have to decide which one you want to be”.
Perhaps these men, being small and on the ‘weak’ end of the physical male continuum, had unique opportunities to see the way the effects this domination is created, maintained and perpetuated through the generations. Certainly after approximately three thousand years of patriarchy as the predominate human cultural model, we can pause and assess if this is the way we want to continue. I believe we have the choice of transforming this toxic male role into the male role as steward of Gaia and life everywhere on the planet.

The women on the other hand were having entirely different experiences. They were either concerned and distracted by the sounds of the men processing their traumas, or drifted off into memories of beautiful places in nature where they felt safe and wise.

I went to bed later that night, most of the participants had finished their journeys and were on the descent, quietly lying and processing, listening to music. I left the male assistant in charge and crawled into my own bed. I was exhausted after hours of holding people, checking on them and generally monitoring everyone’s journey.  A few hours later, J, went looking for me.  He didn’t ask for help from the male assistant. Instead he went upstairs, couldn’t find my bedroom, nor determine how to make some tea and a snack. He collapsed on the kitchen floor, feeling helpless, crying and sobbing. He suddenly remembered the loss of his own mother who left him when he as an infant. Gradually, he realised that he was an adult man now, and he had to heal his mother wounds by finding nurturing and strength within, developing and nurturing the mother architype within himself. He realised that he was looking for ‘mother’ in his spouse and he had to progress from this dependant state and allow himself to be an adult man. He also understood that he had to allow his wife to be more independent and pursue her own life goals even if they were sometimes separate from him. He later said this realization was ‘like tearing off the bandage”. It had to done but it hurt. For J, the transformation of his own male role and archetype within allowed greater freedom and dynamics within himself and without, in his relationships with his wife and family.

Often immediately after a session, inner dream archetypes which appear during the journey, will appear in the outer world.  A few weeks later, He was verbally attacked by a male leader of a group where he was learning, ironically, counselling skills. We talked about this challenge and how this was an opportunity for him to meet the bully in his outside life as well as the oppressor within
 As Dr. Fredirika Fischer stated in her seminal (excuse the term especially in the context of male domination) work, Therapy with substance:

Truly effective and sustained changes in feeling, mood and behaviour can only really be achieved if the unconscious, pre conscious (psychic material that can be remembered again through questions and association) and conscious psyche can be drawn carefully into consciousness and processed in such a way that change become externalised in the everyday world.” (Fischer, 2015, pg.36)

Men and women are both traumatized by the toxic world view of the Patriarchy. This manifests inwardly as the sick man archetype, and continues to be perpetuated mostly by the males of our species. However, it is a cultural construct which is embraced and integrated by both males and females. Females engage in this kind of socialized gender roles also, although they generally are not as physical with their control tactics. However, with the increase of the sick man archetype, in our culture, girls are adapting these patterns and the sick woman archetype is now also on the rise. She is the disconnected, distracted, self-centred often mentally ill woman who perceives herself as either a victim or becomes a bully herself.

The old world view of patriarchy which has controlled humanity for the last three thousand years, has now developed into the domination of what I call, the Dark Machine-the culture of domination, manipulation and unwholesome focus on power and control over others and the environment. The Dark Machine cossets unfathomable economic inequality and dominates and gains control of our time, economics, futures and children. Much of this domination is through the misuse of technology, resources and Gaia’s creatures and inherent beauty. Instead of being stewards of Gaia, we have become plunders of Her resources.

However, we can have hope. With men like the ones who traveled with me at solstice, we can all see that there is a third choice to either adopting or supplicating the role of the oppressor. We can now stop the proliferation of these toxic roles into future generations and choose to transform them. By realizing and changing archetypes within transpersonal experiences, such as what we experience when we journey in altered states, we can also profoundly change our personal daily behaviours. We can realize in an instant that we no longer want to continue with the toxic roles of the past which have been handed down through socialization in childhood. These ways of being are deep; they reside within our very DNA structures, so deep that only therapeutic altered states can shift them. Only profoundly deep work such as is initiated by therapeutic altered states can allow us to become aware, and then intentionally transform these layers of roles, beliefs and identity. Once these roles and archetypes are changed, then our daily behaviours and attitudes towards others are profoundly and permanently changed. Ashes cannot return to being wood, so too, once these toxic roles are realised and transformed in the fires of awareness, they will never return to have control over us.

 We must be able to imagine the alternative to the dominate male-the Good Man and Good Woman gender roles, within our own lives as  harmonious relationships between male and female. The roles of Mom and Dad, husband and wife, parent and child, anima and animus can be transformed in an instant. Then healthier archetypes can guide our daily lives and foster less oppressive relationships. We can re-create them to be in harmony with a greater vision of the whole, to be healthy and allowing of each being in the network of Gaia to prosper, grow and attain their life’s purpose.
This new world view is part of the great leap up of consciousness that therapeutic altered states are fostering. It may be a last ditch stand given to us by the plant world to prevent our species from annihilating and destroying our home, the good mother Gaia. We can return to love of Her, of Her many animals, plants and eco systems worldwide.

Can we respond adequately to these crises? Only time will tell, but certainly reflecting and changing the Old World male and female archetypes, especially the sick man and sick woman archetype , will foster this quintessential leap up in growth and evolution-individually, familial, communally and globally.


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