This post is going to be a bit different from the others. Words may go through one eyeball and out into the ether, because many of you may not know what on Earth I am speaking of.
But this is for those who will.
The solo portion of my trip began about a week ago. I wanted to work more with Benjamin, the Shaman I met a few weeks prior, so I had to make that happen for myself.
For those of you who don’t know, a Shaman is a kind of medicine man or woman, curandero/curandera. Individuals who maintain a conscious connection with the earth: plants, animals, nature and also other (supposed) realms. They use plants for medicinal and/or therapeutic purposes, for themselves and for others.
Many cultures all over the world have Shamans, as they have been around for generations. The practice of Shamanism can either be passed down through the familiar lineage, through teachings from person to person, or maybe even through some unforeseen turn of fate. I have found that some people have a natural connection to nature, while others learn to build a connection over time.
If you have read my very first blog post, you can see that Shamanism is was brought me to where I am now. It has been a journey, through the self, through others, though the plants, the stones, the rain and the mountains. Through nature.
This trip, was not only to bring others to the knowledge of this land (and perhaps eventually to many other lands) but also to deepen my connection with the natural world. The world we all inhabit, but often look past for the purpose of prioritizing our jobs, our homes and our comfortable lifestyles.
I know it all too well, because I am also complicit. I too love the comforts of what I am used to, the security of the sort of bubble that comes with the habitual, almost mandatory (but still voluntary) capitalistic way of living.
But there is more. Much more. More for us, as a species, to connect to. We share this natural world. We breath it, we eat from it, we walk it, communing, without even realizing what it is, realizing that it is alive, that it is a part of us.
The past week has been much more than I expected. Benjamin recommend a couple of places to me, geographical sites. Ones that have been around for several generations, places so old, that the present people on the land have no idea what had happened there.
The Earth is full of these ancient places, I’m sure. But few are lucky enough to discover these places and be able to explore them.
The mountains, the rocks, the trees, all store energy. Memories from births, deaths, love, war and triumph. Some of the structures have been so still, just witnessing time, as it passes by. Recording moments in forms that many of us don’t yet understand. Forms that even I can’t quite wrap my head around.
Going to these places, and being open to feeling, can allow one access to different types of information. It could be in the form of sounds, sights, smells, tastes, or it could be a tingly sensation on your fingertips.
Everyone is their own individual being, made of experiences, memories, perceptions and thoughts that are particular to themselves, therefore, everyone has the potential to interpret it differently, in their own way.
But how do you know? How do you know you’re not just ‘making it up’?
This is not something that can be proven in the way that we prove that the world is round, or that Australia does indeed exist.
How does one prove how they feel? How does one prove a personal experience?
Whether or not it is the plant you’re touching that is giving you guidance, or yourself, you cannot know. But not knowing the source of information shouldn’t negate the experience, and the understanding of it.
All you know, is that when you went to that particular place, this happened. And when you picked that particular thing up, this happened.
Perhaps you may think that I’m crazy, and that’s fine. I’ve always believed that there is a thin line between craze and brilliance. =)
But I do feel that we must come to terms the with possibility that there is more to communication than the linear, verbal forms that we humans deem the most intelligent.
Ayahuasca, for example, is very intelligent. As are other forms of plant medicine (many of you who have worked with plant medicine may attest to this).
The plants are alive, so why would they not be able to communicate with us? And why would be not be able to understand them? Just because they don’t speak our language?
Communication can take many forms. When we are open to feeling, and I don’t mean emotional feeling, but sensory feeling, when we come out of our minds and back into our bodies, there is a lot of information that we can potentially tune into.
The information is perceived by the mind, yes. But judgement is a choice. The key is not to judge it, but to sit with it, feel it. Allow what comes.
Maybe it’ll make sense, maybe it won’t. Maybe it’ll change you, maybe it won’t. But one must be open in order to see what may show itself.
After exploring these places, I seem to be encountering others who have also worked with plants in their own way, both intentionally and unintentionally.
Talking to plants is not a thing of dreams, but of reality. Our reality. Perhaps you have also had your own interactions with plants? If not, perhaps you will.
There is so much to be discovered. Nature has been around for much longer than us, its intelligence is vast, sustaining, creative, and destructive.
It is something greater than us, but let us, at least, see it as our equal.
Let us learn.