I recently heard someone say that there was no rhyme nor reason for a bad trip. That sometimes they just happen on mind altering substances. Something to be endured and brushed over in a sense… This being the biggest concern for using psychedelics, after psychosis in the predisposed, I felt to explore it as my thoughts are evolving on the subject.
Having spent time in Jamaica recently I thought I would try my hand at a bit of Marijuana again. With a lot of Jamaicans smoking the classic “Marleys” (where a whole bud of weed is used to make each individual conical joint) without seeming annihilation, I gained some confidence.
I say gained confidence as I had a very unhealthy relationship with poor quality skunk when I was at University. Pretty much every day for years on end I would smoke weed, mainly because my housemates and Ex-boyfriend did. As I was constantly stoned I had little insight into how much I had gone down the rabbit hole of paranoia and pejorative thought. It was bad, very bad…
Thankfully that phase ended with Uni. I smoked a few bits of weed here and there over the last 6 years but never anything heavy and pretty much always with regret… This past few years, I completely left it behind, saying weed simply wasn’t for me…
Back to Jamaica. So here I am, pumped up with zest for life and optimism and I decide to smoke. Sometimes i’m a bit absent minded, other times giggly and at others sleepy. Not too bad. I gain confidence. Then a few nights ago I am offered a spliff and decide to smoke a little… Each strain is so different .. And well, the paranoia hit HARD! Joy of joys…
Now, let me explain the paranoid to you a little.. First theres the physical symptoms, dry mouth, heart racing.. Then theres the inertia, need to lie down, can´t have a conversation, horrible hunger. Then, and this is the stickiest part, the thoughts start coming. I´m actually getting old, no one will ever love me, an enormous fear of death and mediocrity, life has no meaning, I will die on my own after years of pain, the painstaking unbearable loneliness fo the human condition, that thing I did last week was SO BAD, i´m a fraud, humanity is UGLY, I am a meaningless blip of pointlessness…, existential angst to the MAX.
This mental chatter is SO different from the usual inner chatter. It is quite… overpowering. But then, this time something different happened.
I started giving back as good as I was getting! In other words having an argument with my inner demons. I began making firm assertions, “I AM loveable, life IS beautiful, you’re only just getting started, you will die as part of a large beautiful community that will have cherished you… etc. And then… I realised, I was fighting.. And then I had an aha moment! Which is that I was fighting the death of my Ego.
No f**king. way! This thing that we had been counselling all the Retreat participants about for the Mushrooms (something i´d never encountered on mushies) and it was happening to me now. I realised I had a chance to “let go and die”. It was so unexpected as I had never associated the “Ego Death” experience with Weed, I always thought this was for other Plant Medicines. Now I could see, of course, why not Santa Maria (cannabis as she is known in Latin America)? She is a plant teacher too…
I once met some beautiful blue robed men of Seek Warrior linegage at a Ceremony just outside of London… They had come to offer their entrancing devotional music to the space and they told me something very interesting… They said that Marijuana was the teacher plant of their traditions and that in Northern India they typically brew a chai tea with the Hindu Kush strain of the plant, SO strong, that they are high for days. Of note they shared that they believed that of all the strains, the Jamaican Sess was the only other one they considered a true Teacher Plant capable of imparting ultimate wisdom.
Anyway, I digress! Back to my paranoid evening… So, realising my profound opportunity, I stopped with the positive affirmations, a breath of invigorating zeal though they were, and just let go. I expanded into the boundless forsaken realms of nothingness. Into my own absolute insignificance and without the resistance…. somehow found myself in a a place of calm. A place of cruise control within the black lonely infinity, the pejorative thoughts dried up, the tension left me and then, I slept.
What was this place? The Nothing of Never Ending Story fame… And then I remembered my Shamanic Training in Hawaii 3 years ago… Where we had danced between levels of Egoic consciousness.. A concentric birds eye bullseye from the Observer, inwards to the Experiencer, ever inwards to the centre of the bullseye, the Void… The place before anything was manifest… Terrifying to some and yet so, so Sacred. This is the place where the first sound sounded and creation shew forth. The birthplace of Maya, where polarity first drew itself apart into something other than I. In it’s nothing it is everything. In it’s oblivion it is comforting. It is the place those who experience deep suffering long for. The Ultimate ceasing of the incessant minutiae of the human condition.
This is the space Michael Pollan so vehemently spoke of on his recent podcast interview with Joe Rogan. Having smoked the psychedelic venom of the Bufo Alvarius toad, containing 5Meo-DMT, he recalls being unbelievably glad when he realised he was coming back to something.. ANYTHING other than the nothing “he” had been floating around in….! HA! and it is like this, that us incarnate beings cling to Life. to the self, to the Ego so desperately. Link to that podcast here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz4CrWE_P0g
This is what Marijuana taught me. That it is this clinging that leads to the suffering, the anxiety of needing to be something. And that if we let go we can open ourselves up to so much more that we dreamed was possible… As courageously as we can hold ourselves in the not knowing for is reciprocally how much we shall be rewarded with when we land on the other side..
Thank you Santa Maria for all you have taught me!
p.s. This image is of Magu, the Taoist Deity of Hemp. Isn’t she divine…? (she does appear to be holding a mushroom tho…. upon closer inspection!)