By Luther Birdmaker
Corrective learning always begins with the awakening of spirit, and the turning away from the belief in physical sight. This often entails fear, because you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you… The fear of healing arises in the end from an unwillingness to accept unequivocally that healing is necessary. As long as you believe in what your physical sight tells you, your attempts at correction will be misguided. The real vision is obscured, because you cannot endure to see your own defiled altar. But since the altar has been defiled, your state becomes doubly dangerous unless it is perceived. ~ A Course in Miracles
It’s so easy to hide things from human beings because they only believe something is true if they can see it. Sitting there in a state of shocked disbelief as my state of terror began to subside, I began to think through the possible ramifications of what I had just experienced. At the time I felt that this disclosure was so disturbing, so strangely horrific, that it would destroy my life, would change everything. How would I tell Jenn what I had experienced without her cringing every time she touched me? Now, as I reflect on the strangeness of it, I have difficulty accepting that it could possibly have happened. And yet it, or something even stranger which my imagination cannot even fathom, did happen. I never for once ever considered that what I would see when my inner spiritual vision finally opened would terrify me beyond any fear I had ever known. And yet, this is want I wanted to happen, and I am grateful for the disclosure.
Over the course of the three years during which I had become a dedicated student of Ayahuasca Madrecita medicine, I had experienced many amazing and unbelievable things. And I had experienced incredible moments of healing. Thanks to this powerful medicine, and the ancient shamanic technology of medicine ceremony - the ritual of holding space, the singing of icaros and the sharing of unfoldment - I had overcome many fears, many ego traps, many self-destructive patterns. My life was flourishing as never before. But I had never had a vision, never had a visual experience during ceremony. All my experiences had been acoustic - the hearing and dialoguing with the voice of the Madrecita spirit, or they had been tactile encounters; situations where the presence of an entity, such as the mantis ET, had been perceived viscerally by my body as a whole.
Once during a ceremony in Costa Rica, in December of 2012 - the predicted moment of the Mayan end of days - I had experienced astral travel and encounters with many of my spiritual gurus. One after another, I encountered and was embraced by Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk, Socrates, and Rudolf Steiner. And as I suddenly jumped internally with excitement at the thought - Could Jesus be here?! he suddenly appeared out of nowhere, a swirling dancer of light and quickly enveloped me in his arms in a perfect embrace, spinning away the next instant and on his way. I melted into a puddle of joy and delirium. Another time, at the end of the third day of ceremony, I was visited by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who injected into my chest some kind of blue liquid energy. He told me he loved the book I had written about him and blessed it (amazing, because I always assumed he would have hated it), and even thanked me for writing it, for understanding him. ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ I asked him. ‘You’ve already done it,’ he responded. ‘ you’ve helped to share my message.’
These experiences were all incredible and strange and philosophically boggling. But they were not exactly visual experiences. Perceptual, but not visual. Going into the next ceremony, I started to connect the lack of ‘visions’ in my experience with an energy blockage. I began to feel that my so-called spiritual vision was blocked, and that it was blocked because there was something I didn’t want to see.
Going into the ceremony, I knew there was going to be a battle. For the entire duration of the previous ceremony, which had taken place at the end of the summer of 2014, I had been engulfed in rage, nausea, and the struggle with what I experienced as a wounded animal spirit - a sick lion - inside me unwilling to leave. Akin to all of the healing and subtle energy arts, Grandmother medicine (Ayahuasca) heals by helping to remove blockages in energy flow in your body-mind, whether they be toxic chemical substances in your various bodily systems, or negative emotional residues of anger, fear, sorrow and guilt in your unconscious mind. Given the way that this entity had completely dominated the entire direction and mood of the last ceremony, I knew it had to be one of the more entrenched blockages I had ever tried to undo.
Nothing else would happen until I dealt with it. It was a roadblock impeding my healing, growing process, and I needed to remove it before I could go further - with Ayahuasca, with spiritual growth, with self-knowledge. Little did I know that after my epic struggle to dislodge it, I would discover a far more formidable presence in my soul - a menacing extraterrestrial (or interdimensional) entity - that would engulf me in state of terror and fear, the intensity of which I scarcely imagined was even possible.
Back in August was when I first had become aware of the animal spirit, I had experienced nausea so intense I felt like I was going mad. Nausea, and the purging that it induces, is a central aspect of Grandmother Spirit’s healing techniques. Healing the unconscious mind is in this respect an inversion of the normal experience of sickness, where one’s nausea leads one to take the medicine which will relieve the nausea. But with afflictions of the unconscious mind, the nausea is not obvious and must first be brought to awareness. In my own personal experiences with this medicine, when the nausea reaches the critical level, one vomits; purges out the blockages and toxins which had laid hidden before the medicine pulled them out into the light of consciousness. And yet as I descended into the depths of the ceremony, the nausea kept increasing night after night, and no amount of purging seemed enough to release this sickness burrowed deeply within me.
Inextricably intertwined with the nausea was a rage I had never experienced or ever imagined I could even feel. Back in August, I had spent literally hours over the course of three nights seething with rage, spitting and snarling on all fours, pulling at the grass, and bellowing. The struggle going on in me felt as if I was trying to pull a diseased and distraught lion out of a cave he did not wish to leave. He would roar in protest, but each time the roar would turn into a cough, and the fury would trail off into a moan of exhaustion and weakness. I had no idea where this lion had come from, why it wanted to stay in its cave (my body-mind), or why his presence served as such a formidable blockage to my spiritual healing. By the end of the third night of ceremony, I decided I had had enough fighting and agreed to let him return to his cave so that I could rejoin the tribe in a celebratory spirit of dance and rejoicing which often accompanies the end of a medicine circle.
Nine months later at the beginning of the next circle in April 2015, I wondered if once again I would be pitted against the lion. As the medicine began to work its miraculous energies, I picked up right where I had left off. The lion was once again furious for being dragged out of his cave and the fight was on. I spent the first night in a continuous tug of war with him, overcome with nausea, anger and exhaustion, dismayed by his stamina and perplexed at his tenacity and motivations for inhabiting my soul. On the second night, the struggle continued, but I sensed that I was making some progress. Later in the evening, I asked the helpers looking after me to leave me alone for awhile. In the quiet of the darkened space I found myself, I heard the voice of Sanandu comforting me. There are entities present here who do not necessarily have your best interests in mind, he said, But I will protect you. His words would give me tremendous comfort the following evening when all hell seemed to break loose.
Talking to the shaman before the third evening, he had told me that strong animal spirits like the one I had described could take years to extract, thus to be patient with the struggle. This had put me on the fence about what to do: should I accept that he’s going to be in me for awhile and try to enjoy myself, or should I dive back in and try to make it happen tonight? “Ask him to leave and pray for help” the shaman counseled. “Show respect, but tell him he’s no longer welcome here and he has to leave.” I decided to go light on the medicine, but almost immediately I was once again engulfed in nausea and rage and realized I couldn’t avoid a fight. Madrecita had decided it was time for the lion to leave. I quickly left the medicine circle to isolate myself up at the house, and have it out with my old friend. After some time of thrashing I realized I didn’t have enough medicine in me to pull him out and asked my brother Christian to get more medicine from the shaman. He returned with a large shot glass half-full with medicine. As I clutched the glass to drink, I began to weep, suddenly realizing that somehow I knew what was going to happen next. An invisible relationship I had attachments to was going to end and my mood suddenly turned from anger to sadness.
The new medicine had an instant reaction, like pouring gasoline on a fire, and the struggle intensified, a war inside my body and my soul. I tore off my clothes, sensing that they had a toxic energy to them and needed to be not only taken out of the house, but completely destroyed. “Put these in the fire pit,” I told Christian, “They need to be burned.” The fight went on. The entity began to plead with me for its life. Please let me stay, I won’t bother you. You can’t do this to me. Absolutely not, I said. I’m sorry, I have important things to do, and I can’t do them with you living inside me. You are no longer welcome here, you must go! I prayed to Sanandu, to Jesus, to Buddha, to the Holy Spirit for help. The struggle seemed to go on and on. Finally, sensing the end was coming, the spirit asked for a gesture, a sacrifice, to show him that he had meant something to me. I took off my beloved Tibetan mala beads and with all my strength, pulled them apart. The beads exploded flying everywhere. As I came to my senses, I felt a new sense of calm. It’s over, I thought to myself. I began to cry.
But something still wasn’t right. I sniffed around, letting my awareness sink down into my heart, and I felt something hiding in there. Oh my God, I thought, the death was faked! It was at this point that my frustration and anger began to slide bit by bit into a state of fear. Whatever this thing is, it’s ingenious, I thought to myself. Like a mafia don who fakes his own death so that people won’t continue to look for him, I realized that there was another being concealing itself within my soul, and that it was doing everything it could to remain hidden. My fear increased. Maybe I’m not going to be able to remove this thing! This thought made me reel. I began thinking: I have a parasite in me that is intelligent, that can hide inside me and control my body, my nervous system, manipulate my thoughts.
What if I am at the mercy of a being more powerful and intelligent than me?
This realization was like a huge weight starting to bear down on me and I began to panic. The entity began to speak.
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