The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the category “ayahuasca”

Embrace of the Serpent

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We saw the most AMAZING film on Prime: “Embrace of the Serpent” which I cannot recommend highly enough! It’s the story of two Amazonian explorers, German Theo von Martius in 1909 and an American named Evan in 1940. They are both searching for the rare, sacred, and medicinal yakuna plant. (It’s a loosely fictionalized version, based on notes and journals, of two real explorers Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes.)

Both explorers are led, geographically and spiritually, by Karamakate, a shaman who is the last surviving member of his tribe (the rest having been wiped out by rubber barons). Featuring Nilbio Torres as Young Karamakate and Antonio Bolívar as Old Karamakate (Both amazing in their roles; neither with any formal acting experience.)

Aside from the actors playing the explorers and a couple of other minor roles, the entire cast is composed of indigenous, inexperienced actors.

Despite its length (just over 2 hrs; we watched it over two nights), it was absolutely engrossing from beginning to end.

Filmed entirely on location in the Colombian Amazon, in black and white, the cinematography is magnificent. In indigenous languages, with some Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Subtitled.

A must-see if you are interested in ayahuasca, spritual journeys, indigenous culture/music, the history of Amazon exploration/ colonization and/or the universal human experience.

The Karamakate character reminds me  Ipo, who seems to have lived in a similar environment,  and in possession of the same universal wisdom.

 

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Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Have More Fun in Bed!

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Lately, I’ve been taking an intellectual and philosophical deep dive into the mind-expanding qualities of psychedelics (without actually doing any myself.)  Just finished the very excellent “How to Change Your Mind” but Michael Pollan and am reading the slightly more scholarly “Way of the Psychonaut” by Stanislav Grof.    Grof was one of the original LSD researchers, back in the 60s, until the US government classified it and other hallucinogens as illegal substances, in the same category as heroin.   (Timothy Leary really fucked things up for those psychiatrists who were doing legit research.)

When he could no longer use LSD, psilocybin,  etc.,  he developed what he coined holotropic breathing,  holotropic from the Greek meaning “moving towards the whole,”  i.e. the integration of the mental and spiritual.   Most of us have heard of “altered states” vis a vis psychedelics but Grof finds that imprecise.  One’s state could be altered by a high fever or a mental breakdown, for example, but such states are not generally beneficial to our psyches.   So, how does one put oneself into a holotropic state with the goal of having a positive spiritual experience without drugs?

Holotropic breathing.  It takes quite a bit of practice and guidance from professionals, so I’m not suggesting you try it at home however it does bring on a hallucinogenic state that can be used for spiritual insight and growth.

During all this reading, I’m also taking an advanced hypnotherapy class (via Zoom, of course) with the very brilliant Melissa Tiers.   Last week, she taught us an interesting induction using a specific kind of breathing which, while not exactly Grof’s method,  works very well at quickly down-regulating the mind and body.  Essentially,  you breath in deeply, fairly quickly,  and exhale for twice as long. So,  inhale counting to three or four,  exhale slowly to six or eight.  (This is an excellent way to de-stressify when you’re feeling overwhelmed.)

As my regular readers know, I’ve been trying to astrally project at will for a long time.  My attempts to do so were the basis of this blog.  But,  I haven’t had much luck, to date (though I seem to have done it in dreams.)   I have tried getting myself into the proper state before bed, but either a) I fall asleep or more likely b) my darling husband starts snoring which just harshes my mellow.

Being that he wakes up much earlier than I do, I’ve started meditating in the morning, once he’s up and out of bed.  Rather than just do a normal meditation, i.e. with yogic breathing, or a Reiki style meditation, I’ve been using a version of Melissa’s breathing technique,  with an open-mouth, slightly forceful exhale,  a bit similar to Grof’s technique. My body starts to respond immediately.  It feels light and tingly, the precursors to an out of body experience.  The challenge has been to keep my mind focused on the breathing, and not become distracted.

The other morning, I finally succeeded!  Rather than floating straight up however, my astral body fluidly rolled forward, as if I were curling smoke. At the end of the bed, I just took off!  I was elated,  thinking “I’m doing it!!!”  I suppose I could have, should have, gone somewhere interesting but I but I was just so thrilled to be out of my body I was happy to just fly around the house.  I was singing loudly and joyfully  “The Sound of Music.” (I know it’s seems silly, but it captured my joyous mood — imagine Julie Andrews singing, spinning around,  in that beautiful alpine meadow.)  I did a couple of loops around the house, and then came back to bed where I felt asleep and didn’t wake up for a couple of hours.  (I asked Michael if he heard me singing and of course, he did not.)

Now I have a dilemma!  As you might imagine, I would like to be practicing every day until I can achieve lift-off at will.   Problem is,  I can easily end up in bed half the day, precluding me from getting anything else done, especially if I end up falling asleep, which is always a possibility.

Question:  When I do this, am I being a psychonaut or just a lazy slug?

 

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Trippy, man

First published Aug 28, 2018

My husband has just become certified in somatic body work.  One of the things they learned was holotropic breath work which he said was positively trippy.   Coincidentally,  I am reading Michael Pollan’s excellent book, How to Change Your Mind, about the history of therapeutic psychedelics, both medical (mostly LSD and psilocybin) and shamanic (mushrooms and  ayahuasca).

Since I do not have access to any psychedelics,  I am going to try experimenting with holotropic breath work.   Have any of you readers tried it?  Any thoughts?  Experiences to report?  Please share!    Music/drumming is helpful in keeping the rhythm, so if you know of any good tracks,  I’d love to know about them.   Also:  a Vogue article

I will keep you posted…but as I might have mentioned previously,  we are moving in the fall, and right now, I am crazed with packing and all the other stuff involved with selling a home (actually two) and buying another.  No time to be trippin’!   Once we’re settled in,  I hope to have many new and interesting posts.   Thanks, as always, for your patience and indulgence.

-Adrienne

 

Update:  March 2020    I still have not had the chance to try holotropic breath work but I have been reading Stanislav Grof’s “Way of the Psychonaut” which is quite interesting.  It’s not a difficult read but it’s the kind of work you need (well, I need) to read slowly, and digest it in small bites.  Reading some philosophy, too.

I begin my Reiki Master certification in a couple of weeks. (Hubby already got his in January.)  The more I do it, the more it seems to work.  More than anything, it’s a way of thinking, of focusing energy, and of visualization while breathing.   My teacher, Lorrie,  hold biweekly meetups in which she reads tarot,  does Reiki visualization/trance work,  sound bath with large crystal bowls and a gong.  I LOVE the bowls!  I could be happy just lying there and letting the sound and vibrations wash over me for an hour.  Alas,  because Lorrie does so many things, and because there is discussion, there isn’t much time.   Also, last week, we did some aura viewing.  That was the first time I was able to actually see an aura.     I call her meetups Woo-Woo PuPu because it’s a little bit of everything woo.   It’s a nice group of people, many of whom where in my Reiki training, and who will be in the master group.  It’s nice to be among people who have various psychic abilities.

I haven’t been doing much channeling of late.  I am exploring other aspects of psychism to see if I have any abilities elsewhere.  Also, I’ve been volunteering for local free alternative medicine clinics. Various practitioners offer their services to the community (Reiki, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, hypnosis, etc.)  That’s another nice group of people.   I’ve also become a literacy volunteer which is wonderful — I adore my learner — but takes up a big chunk of mental energy.

I’ll keep you all posted if/when anything new happens on the psychic frontier!

Stay safe, everyone.  Wash your hands often,  and as if you have to put in your contact lenses but just cup up a dozen jalapenos!

-a

 

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Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Trippy, man

My husband has just become certified in somatic body work.  One of the things they learned was holotropic breath work which he said was positively trippy.   Coincidentally,  I am reading Michael Pollan’s excellent book, How to Change Your Mind, about the history of therapeutic psychedelics, both medical (mostly LSD and psilocybin) and shamanic (mushrooms and  ayahuasca).

Since I do not have access to any psychedelics,  I am going to try experimenting with holotropic breath work.   Have any of you readers tried it?  Any thoughts?  Experiences to report?  Please share!    Music/drumming is helpful in keeping the rhythm, so if you know of any good tracks,  I’d love to know about them.   Also:  a Vogue article

I will keep you posted…but as I might have mentioned previously,  we are moving in the fall, and right now, I am crazed with packing and all the other stuff involved with selling a home (actually two) and buying another.  No time to be trippin’!   Once we’re settled in,  I hope to have many new and interesting posts.   Thanks, as always, for your patience and indulgence.

-Adrienne

____
Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

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