December 24, 2011
This is the night of day 36 and day 37 combined
What is truth? LOVE, that is the truth. When we learn how to focus it, we can use that powerful energy to do miraculous things.
I sat there during the night realizing I had just finished shedding my old skin from my face and arms. I had been sunburned really bad and was sunburned on my sunburn too. Now there I was in my new skin exactly where I needed to be in that moment.
I had just met Francisco a few days before. We had driven many miles out of town and down a very rough narrow road surrounded by trees, the last section needed 4wd to navigate. It was already dark and the large hut was already prepared. The structure was a large hut that was round and had a tall ceiling with a large hole in the middle to allow the smoke from the fire out. There were no walls around it, just a roof to cover us from rain.
When we arrived I was introduced to the shaman and we had a conversation that was translated by Francisco. I was expained in advance some things about tonights ceremony and he was informed about my ride through South America. He took an interest in the water I carried and the heart-shaped stone I have that was taken from the Umpqua river in Oregon. This stone was naturally formed in the shape of a heart and will be buried somewhere in South America. I have plans on getting a stone from South America to take back and bury in North America. This is my way of uniting these two continents. The place where we stood talking had a carved stone of eagle and condor. Eagle representing North America and Condor representing South America, this symbolizes the ongoing effort of the indigenous people from both continents in uniting these two continents. There have been many gatherings from natives of the two continents during the past years and next month there will be another ritual performed. This time they will be running carrying a prayer with them from North America. This will be a relay and the prayer will be passed on as it makes its way south. The prayer will make it to this spot where I stand and there will be a large ceremony here on these sacred grounds early next month. I was told that I should be here for that. That was something I would like to participate in but the time was too long for me to wait here.
There were about 15 to 20 of us circled around a shape of a large uterus to represent the feminine and a fire was built in the shape of an arrow at the entrance of the uterus to resemble the masculine. There were beautiful flower petals surrounding the outside of the uterus and candles placed every 8 feet or so.
The three of us sat there in this ceremony now bonded as brother and sister. My new brother translated what the shaman was saying. There were rules of respect that needed to be followed such as the way to walk around the large circle when having to leave or return. It needed to follow the rotation of the earth around the sun.
Soon small plastic bags and a napkin were given to everyone, these were for the vomiting that was most likely going to occur. It is good to vomit, a way of releasing and not holding anything in, much like not holding in emotions. Holding emotions in can be toxic and they too need to be released. I had fasted all day so there was nothing for me to vomit. Through the course of the evening my new brother and sister beside me had vomited a couple of times as well as many others.
The shamans cleansed themselves with tobacco smoke and then this very large rolled cigarette was passed around. It was about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. It was rolled with some sort of plant material and held together with little peices of vine wrapped around it and tied. I believe it was only tobacco but possibly other plant material, I did not know. When the person received it, they were to smoke from it four times, cleanse themselve with the smoke and either say out loud or to themselves why they were here. What question is being asked? This is a sacred ceremony and it is required to be respected as such. When a person goes into the ritual, it needs to be very clear why they are here and the question of what is being sought needs to be very clear. This is not to be taken lightly and not to be entered with the intent of a recreational event. Many people spoke out as to why they were here, they were filled with gratitude for being there. This new family I sit with speak a different language but I knew how they felt through their words.
There is a special song that was sung and everyone individually gets the chance to sing. A rattle and staff is passed along while one of the assistants to the shaman sits beside that person drumming. I do not know the words but each person who sings, sings the same song while shaking the rattle to a specific beat. Those who do not wish to sing would bring the rattle to their chest to give it respect and then pass it on.
After much explanation and giving respect and honor, a bowl with a spoon was passed around followed by a pitcher with a cup. We were instructed to take 4 spoonfuls of what was in the bowl and drink half a cup of what was in the pitcher. We had a choice to consume less but if we wanted the full experience than take the full amount. This is not for everyone, many people are not ready to experience that long journey within. Meeting your own soul can be very scary to a person who has spent their life hiding from it, a life filled with distractions. The typical American dream is total disconnect.
By this time the world outside the hut was pitch black, there was a very loud chorus of sounds, frogs, crickets and other things I did nto recognize.
During this time the fire was constantly being maintained by a short stocky man who is a master with the fire and the wood. The wood was stacked very carefully in the shape of an arrow. Throughout the night he was constantly stacking wood so that it comes to a point. A log on the right on top of a log on the left and then one on the left on top of the right at the point of it. This made the point higher and coals from the back of the fire was scooped up with a shovel spread out in front of the fire in a specific pattern. A woman assistant to the shaman would sprinkle a powder over the coals that will allow a sort of sweet smelling smoke to fill the hut.
The arrow moved slowly forward during the night and by morning had moved back again. It was the manner in which the wood was being stacked over the course of many hours which made it move foreward and then back. The firemaker was very grounded to the earth and made deliberate moves with a wide stance and every movement was purposeful. Every time a piece of wood was picked up it was carefully inspected for its size and shape for proper placement. He would then place it and sometimes pick up a piece of wood out of the fire to rearrange pieces. No gloves were used as he maintained the fire as if he was a skilled artist.
There was mostly drumming and singing through the night by the shamans. In the early morning hours while it was still dark, the main shaman began to speak. He talked for a long time, possibly an hour. I did not understand the words and becuase this was an important point, everyone was listening intently. My new brother unable to translate at this time. I listened to the words and felt their energy, their emotion. His voice was soft and gentle as the sounds came out like poetry. He stood gracefully with a strong presence. At times he was like a lion standing there holding his ground and occasionally the words would convey a forceful presence. Then with cat like agility he would shift around as he moved with the conversation. He would morph from the lion into a butteryfly as the poetry floated from his mouth filling me with their emotion. As he stood there he would morph back and forth from lion to butterfly and back again. There was a certain fluidity to his movements and the words he spoke.
The morning started to come, I saw that we were surrounded by a dense dark fog, slowly a mountain in the distance lights up strikingly white clouds at the top of it. They were moving and shifting as the clouds and fog began to burn off. The light was so incredible across the mountain that words could not describe it. The sky began to open up revealing pure white clouds against a pristine blue sky.
The clouds quickly changed as the sun hurried over the mountain and the darkness was replaced by a brilliant light, a dark blue sky followed by a bright blue sky.
As the light started to fill the hut a large metal water bucket was brought around by the second shaman. He would dip the metal cup into the bucket of water point it to the fire and then hand it to the the person. After drinking from the cup he would shake hands and welcome them back. I drank the water from the cup and was given a firm handshake welcoming me back.
Many large stones were brought in and stacked near the fire. Small logs were stacked to resemble a sort of grill. The firemaker then would walk over to the stones pick up the perfect one, hold it up to the sky, the four directions and then touch it to the earth prior to placing it. Each time a stone is placed some sort of powder was placed on each one. He continued gathering the stones one by one and each time he would quickly scan the stones and grab the perfect one for placement. He always knew which rock to pick and where to place it with quick puposeful movements. All the stones ended up forming a large pyramid shape structure and were perfectly balanced. Coals were placed around the base and also shoveled in the space below the stones, under the logs. Longer pieces of wood were stacked around the outside and the coals were fanned by hand until the wood caught fire.
The stones were being prepared for the Temazcal that was going to happen soon. My friends have to work today so we had to prepare to leave and skip the Temazcal. Before leaving I spoke to the shaman, he did not understand English and I did understand Spanish, but we understood each other perfectly. He asked me to wait as he walked back to the alter area and returned with a beautiful crystal shaped like a heart. This is for me to take back to North America and bury it. I placed my hand on my heart in gratitude and then hugged the shaman.
I did not attempt to explain my personal inner journey, this is more an objective account of the ceremony itself. I am very grateful for Francisco, a wonderful man.
This type of journey is for anyone and everyone, the difference is that many people are not prepared. For many who go into this without preparation it may seem like being dropped off in the amazon jungle to spend the night alone. Only more intense because the nature of reality is shifted too and your senses are heightened to a point beyond imaginable. It takes preparation, studying about it and having an experienced guide with you.
Some people have good visions and others have scary visions with demons. It all depends what is deep inside you waiting to be surfaced. It may be a time to confront your own demons. For those who practice this on a regular basis, it is like taking a walk in a very familiar woods, a place they know well. There they meet a spirit guide, have visions or get important messages.
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