Thanks for your kind comments concerning my well-being when I was away. I wasn’t in a great space when I left for Bahia two weeks ago. But I have to say I can’t imagine feeling any better now.
I’m sitting in my sunny sitting room with the snowlight reflecting up from the gardens below. It’s cold and icy here in London and yet 48 hours ago I was sitting on my balcony in Bahia with hummingbirds churring past my head, redhatches pecking at the cashew fruits that grow there, and the sounds of the jungle weaving out in vibrant tendrils from the green, green of the palms.
I know that I always wax rhapsodic when I come back from my adventures with ayahuasca but I can’t help but rejoice in that amazing Plant. This time, more than ever before, I recognized the very distinct external presence of the Vine.
Previous to that I’d been struggling with / hiding in the smug Western intellectual attitude that somehow it was my brain chemistry, my consciouness, my intellect that was working on my own psyche. There was no external entity, the Plant was just neurotransmitters. But I’m more respectful. From the Shamanic perspective, this world is full of many more things than just human brains. The spirit of Ayahuasca is a big presence in the world. And it’ll whup your ass if you disrespect it.
For the Amazonian Indians there is no doubt that Ayahuasca is a real presence that you interact with (if you’re lucky). It’s the World in fact. The jungle, the soil, the birds, the water, the rocks. It’s everything but my intellect.
In this sense, Ayahuasca is profoundly ecological and deeply suspicious of Western individualism.
I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient Greeks and their attitude to Gods. When a God appeared on Earth, in a human, in a tree, in a shower of gold, then those nearby were struck with terror, with awe. The place where the god appeared became numinous and bright, reality quivered a little and those who witnessed it felt sick to their stomachs before being lifted up into the brightness.
That’s exactly how I feel about the Plant. The day before I feel quite excited, intellectually, I can appreciate the honour of having this one-on-one with the Goddess, but then the afternoon wears on, the darkness descends like a bolt and then I feel sick to my stomach and intellect is useless. This is the emotional body of a child before he is able to speak. Experiences only register on a gut level.
But the ceremony begins, we stand in a group, share our intentions and drink. And then it’s done. There is no going back. The Plant’s bitter, fermented, moist substance is inside and the only strategy is surrender.
It was a great group this year. Small but very courageous. Almost everyone was working with their childhood memories and the constellations of life that spring from them. And everyone bravely threw themselves into the work even if it involved going to the most challenging, dark places of memory.
I received amazing confirmation of all the work I’ve been doing in therapy this last year – which has been painful and challenging on all sorts of levels. But in the arms of ayahuasca, it raced on and become turbo-charged.
I don’t need to go into it all here. The need for external confirmation is much less. But I did want to share the tremendous benefit of the work Silvia does in Bahia.
It’s been a very difficult year for ayahuasca-healing and Silvia’s project on the Land. She is such a great therapist and she is getting better and better. But this work with light is not without it’s unfortunate side effects. In her psycho-spritual therapist role, she is so egoless and works without any of the clonky self-presentation of many group therapists. My friend Joshua saw her as a hummingbird – a potent animal totem – hovering over us as we dreamt.
And yet, her positive work also pulls dark moths to it.
Despite the enormous benefit of her healing work, people, disgruntled with her for other reasons, have come out of the woodwork and tried to discredit her work. But I will not stand for that. I have to speak out in her support.
I have never come across therapeutic work that has the fast and powerful effects of Silvia’s work with ayahuasca. It’s interesting that the psychologist Deborah Quevedo had been in Brazil doing research into the effectiveness of ayahuasca therapy in treating things like neuroticism and shown astonishingly positive results.
I am convinced (especially since I’ve been studying psychotherapy) that the combination of childhood therapy, transactional analysis and the enormous spiritual power of ayahuasca will have a massive impact in years to come. And I’m proud to be associated with Silvia’s work and will always speak up in her favour.
The silly and frankly absurd slurs made against her in the internet are actually testament to how challenging her work is. If I had my way, I’d pay for planeloads of people to go to Bahia and experience the beauty of the place and the healing potential of her work. What a priviledge it is to be involved.