One of the most powerful ways of working with sacred plants is through medicine ceremonies. A medicine ceremony is a spiritual ceremony during which a power plant or healer plant is being imbibed or smoked. The participants will pray for healing or spiritual growth, then sit quietly and meditate. The ultimate purpose of the medicine ceremony is to go back to Oneness. Healing obtained in medicine ceremonies happens through restoration of our connection to God/Goddess/All-that-is, through removal of blocks to Oneness, and of entities and limiting beliefs. In the end all our problems originate from a separation from Oneness. By healing the separation and restoring Oneness everything can be healed.
The Shaman’s Sacred Trust
It is vital that the ceremony be conducted by an experienced, competent shaman who has made this particular plant his power plant through a special process such as dieting a plant (see Power Plants page) or through other intense shamanic practices, and who knows the sacred songs of the medicine plants employed in the ceremony, plus has several other power plants and helpers. At the onset of the medicine ceremony the shaman prepares the sacred space and creates a safe environment for all participants. This ensures that no negative forces, such as malevolent spirits or entities can affect the participants when their energy fields are being opened for healing by the sacred plant. The shaman also is responsible for giving healing during the ceremony wherever and whenever needed and may empower participants or cleanse them from negativity. Most people are not aware that a shaman’s energetic state and spiritual level directly affect the quality of the ceremony. Thus a true shaman will be able to facilitate great spiritual growth and healing for the participants, while a pseudo shaman will lead the participants further into separation and reinforces their negative patterns on the long run. Often inexperienced people judge a ceremony by their subjective experience, such as whether they had nice visions or felt good. They simply lack the spiritual depth to feel when there is something wrong on a subtle level. I personally had a so-called medicine ceremony with a charlatan shaman once and it ended up with me being very ill for a whole week afterwards. This was no ordinary illness nor healing crisis, but due to vampirism and sorcery (commonly know as black magic) employed by that person, who was a vampire shaman. It took me many months to get rid of it on all levels! Working with sacred plants in medicine ceremonies is a great responsibility and needs absolute integrity, great power, compassion and purity. It is virtually a sacred trust given to the shaman, to both uphold the purity and sacredness of the medicine plants, and to help the participants to achieve the greatest healing possible. When the medicine plants are not honoured properly or abused in any way, such as when people take them for a “high”, the spirit of the medicine plants eventually becomes polluted and ceases to work for humanity! Also, when a shaman lacks power or experience he could seriously harm a participant or he may be incapable to give the needed assistance when serious issues come up during the ceremony, such as when the medicine plant is expelling demonic forces and entities who put up a mighty struggle to retain control of the host’s body! A true shaman knows how to deal with this, while a New Age shaman is likely to be totally out of his depth in such a situation!
The Sacred Profaned
Only a shaman of the highest calibre can deal with those extreme forces, should they come up during a ceremony, which is the more likely the more powerful the preparation of the sacred plant has been. Integrity is also vital. When a so called shaman hasn’t integrated his shadow, or is on an ego trip, how can he be a vessel for divinity to work through him in healing? How can he be trusted not to take some of the power of others for his own? How can he be non-judgemental towards those going through dark emotions and experiencing a terrible healing crisis? Where there is judgement, there can be no healing. Only in a non-judgemental atmosphere can true healing take place. Nowadays medicine ceremonies have become very popular. And as a result, inevitably and sadly, the sacred has become profaned. A host of pseudo-shamans, charlatans and spiritual light-weights has sprung up. Many are cashing in on gullible seekers of enlightenment and healing whilst having no true love for humanity or the sacred plants. Others are on the ego trip and are wallowing in self-importance. Just one example of this: I have had people talk to me in tongues, claiming they were “channelling Native American spirit guides”. When asked to translate what these “spirit guides” were saying, they didn’t know themselves! Sometimes I don’t know whether I should find this amusing or sad. It is certainly sad that there are enough gullible people who fall for this kind of nonsense! These fake shamans do not have the knowledge, spiritual qualification, nor inner strength required for truly powerful and enlightening ceremonies. Though some of them mean well, they generally do more damage than good. Most of them do not even know the most basic principals of working with sacred plants, others ignore these ancient rules at their convenience. These rules aren’t just a system that somebody made up but are based on the experience of many ancient shamans who had direct communication with the spirits of the sacred plants and by trial and error have learned of their powers and their dangers. To ignore these principles at the very least will weaken the power of the sacred plants and diminish or negate any healing, at the worst it can lead to disaster. Whilst sacred plants are the ultimate vehicle for spiritual growth and healing, in the hands of a ruthless and evil person, such as a sorcerer or a vampire shaman they can be very dangerous, even deadly. I really cannot emphasize enough how much power for good or evil the conductor of a medicine ceremony has over the participants! Therefore, only entrust yourself to a person of impeccable character who has extensive experience with sacred plants and has undergone all the initiations necessary to be a true shaman, including death initiation, for without that one is not a shaman! I will later write an article about true and false shamans and how to tell the difference. Meanwhile go by this golden guideline: A shaman conducting medicine ceremonies must have both power and integrity. If the shaman is lacking in either of these qualities, run!
Correct Ways of Working with Medicine Plants
The work starts with the preparation of the sacred plants. Really, it already starts with harvesting. But as many of the most powerful medicine plants are from tropical areas, we in the northern hemisphere seldom have the opportunity to do the harvesting ourselves and have to rely on shamans abroad to do the work properly. Some sacred plants will absorb whatever is around energetically, even during storage. I have heard stories about Ayahuasca being stored next to a TV where cartoons were frequently watched and later when the brew prepared from it was drunk, people had visions of cartoon characters! Luckily they didn’t watch horror movies… A ceremony with a plant that was handled like this will certainly not be conducive to healing or to spiritual growth. The preparation of medicine plants is an art and a great responsibility and requires spiritual purity, focus, knowledge and power! Where these qualities are not given in the “shaman” the medicine ceremony will not bring any true healing and is likely to be detrimental, both spiritually as well as health-wise. Also, it is necessary that the shaman knows the sacred songs of the particular plant and sings them during the preparation and later during the ceremony as well. No negative thoughts must come in during the entire preparation, which may last from several hours for most herbs, to almost two days for some plants. No negative or even mundane conversations must take place in the area where sacred plants are prepared. Because everything spoken and thought in the place where the herbs are being prepared will go into the brew and affect it.
The Role of the Shaman
The shaman has to be able to channel a very high spiritual energy. The power of the plant to heal on all levels and to spiritually uplift and enlighten directly depends on the power and purity of the shaman! But what is happening nowadays is that many ex-drug addicts, or even some who are still addicted, now prepare sacred plants! For instance I heard of one person who smoked marijuana and presented himself as a great Ayahuascero! To drink a medicine brew prepared by such a person would definitely lower one’s vibration or even lead to a spiritual downfall. It would lead one into greater delusion instead of to Oneness and enlightenment! For maximum benefits prayers and mantras should be chanted incessantly by the shaman throughout the whole preparation, which can be many hours. Most New Age shamans do not even know the sacred songs of the plants, nor do they have the patience and focus to stay by the brew and sing songs for hours and hours on end. Nor can people with a scattered mind and many issues be in a state of focus and high vibration during the preparation of sacred plants. And to make it worse, many times when you begin the preparation of sacred plants, all hell will break loose. Negative forces will try to come at the shaman, often through other people to hinder the shaman from preparing the herbs or to lower the vibration of the brew.
Separation or Oneness
Another issue is religious conditioning. All sacred plants ruthless rip away conditioning to free people’s minds. However, modern man is so conditioned that he loves his conditioning! He loves his ball and chain and will do everything to keep it! Consequently people frequently mix Christian prayers and songs with medicine ceremonies, which is a big mistake. The sacred plants tear away all religious conditioning and shows you the truth about the universe and yourself, it brings you back to pure unconditioned consciousness. Sacred plants connect you to the Divine and gets rid of all preconceived notions that block you from the Oneness. One of the very first things they usually do is to get rid of all religious conditioning. This is necessary to end the separation, which is the cause of all suffering. But Christian religion for instance is built on that very separation, on the idea that there is a difference between God and the individual soul, as according to the Bible one is divine and great, the other is sinful and small, in other words God and man are like master and servant. It is in the nature of sacred plants to tear away such conditioning and show you your divinity and your inseparability from God/Goddess/All-that-is. Therefore to prepare sacred plants while chanting songs of separation, or praying to deities that promote separation and bondage, defies the whole purpose of the ceremony, which is after all a return to Oneness and wholeness.
To sum it up, the first factor for the efficacy and success of a healing ceremony is that the medicine plants must have been properly prepared. The second factor is that the participants have to be properly prepared. This preparation should be both physical and spiritual. In general, several hours of fasting have to precede the medicine ceremony. Quite often one may only have a light breakfast. There are also restrictions on what foods can be eaten. Often one has to abstain from meat, alcohol and sex for several days. Of course drugs during a medicine ceremony or in the days preceding one are completely taboo. Furthermore, the spiritual level of the participants also affects the ceremony. If some of them see the ceremony as a fun thing to do, or a great way of getting a “legal high”, then the energy of the whole group will be dragged down. If on the other hand the participants are meditators who are following a true spiritual path, and are willing to work on their issues and embrace whatever comes up during the ceremony, then great healing and very great spiritual realisations for all participants can take place. Any kind of energy will be amplified in a group setting. It is important to be very selective about who is permitted to participate in a ceremony, because one black sheep could spoil it for all! Ideally the shaman should take time to get to know would-be participants before any ceremony or group work.
Wisdom of the Ancient Shamans
Shamans throughout the ages have used medicine ceremonies with sacred plants to divine the future, to heal their patients or themselves, to get in touch with the Oneness, and to see beyond the veil of illusion. All these purposes are still valid nowadays. But we need to take into consideration that ancient shamans lived in a very different environment from what we are exposed to nowadays. They were living in a natural environment in harmony with nature and Mother Earth, and ate clean natural foods. We on the other hand, are living in an artificial environment and are eating poisoned and toxic foods (largely thanks to Codex Alimentarius). In addition, many people nowadays have various addictions to harmful substances or are dependent on pharmaceutical drugs. Modern man has largely forgotten how to live in harmony with Mother Earth and many people have become completely disconnected from nature. We therefore have to take the purification and preparation preceding ceremonies even more serious than ancient shamans did. If anything we should be stricter, not laxer!Ancient shamans not only lived in a much purer, natural environment but they also had greater respect for sacred plants. We would do well to learn that from them also. They were in awe of the sacred plants, and rightly so, for these plants have great power, both for good or ill. Would you pull a tiger by the tail or mess with a cobra? It is the same with medicine plants: they need to be treated with great care and respect. Ancient shamans knew that and therefore never took medicine ceremonies lightly. The preparation for the ceremony usually was rigorous and lengthy. They would fast, maybe sit in the sweat lodge, stay in total solitude for prolonged periods and pray for healing for days, sometimes weeks prior to the ceremony. They had to abstain from certain foods and activities and purify themselves to be ready for the experience. During this time they were focusing on nothing but the upcoming ceremony and their purpose and goal they wanted to achieve.Really, we cannot do anything less if we expect healing, empowerment or enlightenment from sacred plants. To get the most out of a medicine ceremony we have to approach it in the right way, see it as a sacred journey with the goals of healing, knowledge and enlightenment. We have to understand that these plants are powerful and that some of them could harm us if we disrespected them. Because sacred plants, like all plants, have a spirit they know very well if you are just messing around with them! At the best you will get no healing, at the worst you will get ill if you do not respect medicine plants!
Poisonous Power Plants
You should be aware that some of the traditional medicine plants used by ancient shamans are poisonous. There is greater power in poisonous plants — power which can be accessed by true shamans and used for good, but which would kill a meddler. The ancients had a fool-proof system to weed out hypocrites: they just wouldn’t survive the initiations of poisonous plants! That sorted out false shamans quite quickly and permanently! Here are some examples of poisonous power plants: Fly agaric, is a pretty mushroom found in the Northern hemisphere is poisonous. Yet it was used by Siberian shamans. Our modern story of Santa Claus goes back to Siberian shamans flying and entering through the chimney (through spirit flight or astral projection, of course). Fly agaric is also reputed to be the soma (divine elixir of the gods) mentioned in the Vedas. Thornapple is another poisonous power plant, much deadlier than Fly Agaric. Carlos Castaneda describes in one of his books his experience with datura (thornapple) during a medicine ceremony. Thornapple though very poisonous, was taken by native shamans as an empowerment. Thornapple is also sacred to Lord Shiva. Thornapples are offered to Shiva in Hindu worship. True devotees of Lord Shiva can usually smoke it safely, but meddlers have been know to either die from it or go insane! Thornapple takes away limitations of the mind (but if you do it wrong it may just take away your whole mind!). It is also useful for astral projection.
Benign Healer and Teacher Plants
Some medicine plants have special powers to either heal humanity or teach people the secrets of the universe and of consciousness. These plants wish to help mankind evolve. To receive the healing or teaching one has to be willing to undergo the initiations the plant puts one through. Many people want healing or enlightenment but are unwilling to surrender fully and do what it takes to get there. For example, when deep healing happens, quite often painful issues come up. Sometimes there can be physical pain during the ceremony. You could be plunged into a severe healing crisis after the ceremony, and it could last for days or even a week. One has to be willing to embrace this as part of the healing journey. Resistance only makes things worse, surrender is the key! The same holds true to the teaching imparted by teacher plants. If you are unwilling to let go of your rigid belief systems and your narrow world view, you may be in for a rough awakening. The teacher plants tend to be very loving, but that doesn’t exclude hard lessons being taught! Sometimes we need these lessons to grow. Below are some examples of teacher and healer plants: Diviner’s Sage is an excellent teacher plant from Middle America which is not poisonous, but needs a mature and balanced mind to handle it. It takes away the veil of illusion and the false identification with the body and personality. Having one’s identity taken away can be interesting and enlightening for the spiritually advanced but is terrifying to those who cling to their small selves. Many who took Diviner’s Sage unprepared, seeking a legal high, felt what the plant showed them was horror and came away shocked and traumatised. Though the plant is a benign teacher plant, it will not brook any insult or abuse. It tends to ruthlessly punish abusers. Diviner’s Sage is a very interesting plant that has a symbiotic relationship with man. It cannot propagate itself and needs the help of man to take cuttings and plant it out. For hundreds of years it has been tended by Middle American shamans. Diviner’s Sage is a perfect example of the interconnectedness of the plant kingdom with human consciousness. It is one of the many non-poisonous and sacred teacher plants that have safely been used in medicine ceremonies by competent shamans for hundreds of years. Ayahuasca is probably the best known healer plant today. It has become very popular in recent years but is now getting banned in many countries. When prepared correctly this sacred plant is a powerful healer and very beneficial. In fact it is probably the greatest healer plant on Earth! But it has to be prepared in a sacred way for its divine effects to manifest — and unfortunately this often is not the case. I know of several people who got very ill after ceremonies with false shamans who prepared Ayahuasca in a non-sacred way. And don’t think you are safe by going to the Amazon for a ceremony as there are false shamans of all colours. I heard of several cases where women were molested during so called Ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon. It is very hard for beginners on the spiritual path to know who is a true shaman and who is a false shaman. Taking sacred plants with a false shaman can be extremely dangerous.
Open Up to Miracles
My personal experience with medicine ceremonies is that they are a speedway to spiritual growth and healing. Medicine ceremonies enable us to shake off the shackles of conditioning and limiting beliefs and return to the Oneness ever so much faster. I honestly believe the gods have given us these plants so we can find our way back to them and to Oneness. And this is more needed than ever now as people are becoming increasingly dis-spirited, inhumane and disconnected from nature, and many are even losing touch with their own souls. I feel strongly that medicine ceremonies are needed to heal humanity from the separation from All-That-Is which is getting ever more pronounced due to the influence of the media, electro-magnetic interference and harmful chemicals in food, water and pharmaceutical drugs. People are becoming more and more zombie-like and robot-like, devoid of feeling and of compassion or even passion for life! It seems to me that humanity is suffering from collective soul loss. This is the result of our unnatural way of life. Medicine plants can help people to find themselves again, where now they are lost. Medicine ceremonies with sacred plants have given me great healing and spiritual growth. I doubt I would be where I am now spiritually, if it hadn’t been for the sacred plants. And it was in fact during a medicine ceremony that I attained self-realisation and broke through to cosmic consciousness. I have seen miracles happening in my life and in the lives of others, which they and I contribute to the medicine ceremonies we undertook. All you have to do to experience the miraculous power of medicine plants for yourself is to take them in a sacred way and to totally surrender to them during the ceremony. Of course the medicine ceremony must be conducted in a sacred way, that is the absolute prerequisite. But in the end all it takes to be blessed by the sacred plants is perfect surrender!
Save the Sacred!
Frankly, I love working with medicine plants. To me it is a way of life, and the most sacred and empowering work I can think of. Working with the sacred plants, meditating with them, learning and singing their songs, or communing with them in nature puts me in touch with the Divine. I personally have experienced great healing on all levels through sacred plants. Even my cats were healed when I prayed for them during ceremony! I have seen friends and fellow shamans being healed as well, some of them from dramatic diseases. The spirit of the sacred plants is capable of directly communing with us and healing us on a soul level. One needs to have experienced this to really appreciate the beauty and power and the divinity of the experience. The healing power of the medicine plants, especially of the Amazonian plants is so immense and profound, I truly believe we haven’t even seen one percent of what is possible. The sacred medicine plants are humanity’s benefactors and it would be very sad indeed if we ever lost them, or could no longer do this sacred work that uplifts and serves humanity. But unfortunately this is exactly what is happening now! We are on the verge of losing access to the sacred plants forever. Why? Because of Codex Alimentarius, a treacherous new food law which aims — among other things — to eventually do away with all herbs, even common kitchen herbs!
Codex Alimentarius outlaws all forms of natural healing, especially those that work with herbs and plants or with true spiritual power — in other words, anything that actually works! Even herbal books and herb lore may be banned, as Codex Alimentarius seeks to eradicate all forms of healing that do not depend on pharmaceutical drugs and invasive and expensive medical procedures, and seeks to also destroy all knowledge of herb lore and alternative healing — all this is to exploit humanity and control people and turn them into drug dependent zombies! Codex Alimentarius is really the witch hunt come back with a vengeance! (I am soon going to write about what the witch hunt was really about!) Already people are being prosecuted for growing herbs in their own garden, such as in France for instance. So if you want shamanic healing to be available to you in years to come, if you wish to have the option to work with benign shamanic plants or with any other sacred plant, if you want to be able to see a true herbalist in the future (not a Codex Alimentarius approved caricature of one) or if you simply want to enjoy a cup of herbal tea without being prosecuted, then fight against Codex Alimentarius now or these simple basic rights will be denied to you in the future. They are chipping away at our rights and our healthy foods bit by bit, day by day. Slowly, so we don’t notice it too much. Boiling the frog by slowly raising the heat, that’s what they do. All our healthy organic foods are taken away. They have put the seeds of the world in a vault beyond the arctic circle, unreachable and unopenable for us, the people! Our sacred plants and our heritage crops are being banned and destroyed by GM crops (I almost typed GM crap…). Will you stand by and let this crime happen, I ask? What will you tell your children when they starve, when they sicken due to nutrient starvation? It is high time that we all stand up for our inalienable human rights, such as the right to clean food and sufficient clean water, to healing, health and freedom of choice! Let us all work together to preserve the sacred, to save our beautiful Planet Earth and keep it in sacred trust for future generations!