Plant/Fungal Medicine and Decolonization

October 12, 2021

A painting of an extra colorfield field, desnly occupied with plants beings of the same variety.
Reading Time: 13 minutes

When we meet the members of the Plant Kingdom as shamans, we see and/or describe it and its medicine differently than the West or the scientific world, for many, many reasons. Our shamanic interactions and relationships with the medicine produce distinct descriptions and terminology as well.

When we explore the Plant Kingdom with the naked physical eye and trained/educated mind, we see flowers, herbs, weeds, trees or in more scientific terms:

“Composed of four evolutionarily related groups: bryophytes (mosses), (seedless vascular plants), gymnosperms (cone bearing seed plants), and angiosperms (flowering seed plants). Divided into two main groups green algae and embryophytes (land plants).” (1)

In the modern civilized world, fungi were considered a part of the plant kingdom and were only taken out recently and moved into their own kingdom because

“We now know that they have unique physical, chemical, and genetic traits that set them apart from plants and other eukaryotes. For example, the cell walls of fungi are made of chitin, not cellulose. Also, fungi absorb nutrients from other organisms, whereas plants make their own food. These are just a few of the reasons fungi are now placed in their own kingdom.” (Flexbooks.com)

Great! Now that we got that out of the way. Let’s add to that the fungi; for purposes of the shamanic, which is what I do and the indigenous way of passing on their teachings on (“their” meaning the teachings of the plant beings).

In much of my written work I refer to and will continue to group the magical mushroom medicine in with plant medicine.

I personally have never heard an indigenous family member or indigenous shaman refer to anything titled fungi medicine.

The West is very logical and science indeed has discovered what makes most everything tick. Science has provided all the words, names and terms, haven’t they?

It’s fascinating; however, science is still learning how plants communicate and has only recently found that they communicate in electrical impulses and a system of voltage-based signaling, as is being researched by Ted Farmer (University of Lausanne).

Funny thing: the savage, indigenous may not have had it have the “classification” right, but the shaman did know that the plants beings communicated long, long ago and about their wisdom, way before science did.

Will the shamanic words and teachings be changed? By the shaman? No. By the West?

The West will use science, profit and convenience for mass production and probably will wipe away those primitive words, names and beliefs while wiping the floor with our traditions and anything that it cannot understand, as it has before, and you can fact-check that globally.

Should we ask the Natives of the North Americas? The Native Americans? Who weren’t even called by their names? God no! Too hard to pronounce. Oh no, that’s right, the man thought he had landed in India, perfectly good reason for not even respecting the names.

This is not anger. Let’s not say we want to talk about these uncomfortable things and then ask, “oh God, can’t they get over it?” or “what can we do?” and then repeat the same actions that were wrong in the past.

I hope you are starting to get a feel for what I mean.

The West has not actively practiced the new actions which involve “cultural humility”; it keeps repeating the old actions and asking for change, not just with the plant beings but on so many levels. In so many things the old actions keep being repeated and then we say we are stuck on “processing.” Stop repeating the same actions based on old fears. The new cannot be created that way. We have seen it. It’s not my opinion. We are still talking about racism and equality and housing.

The conversation about the plant medicine must unfortunately include those reminders or it is also not accurate.

Getting back to the little magic ones, if we really want to talk about the shamanic, to us they are not your prop plants, your scenery or decoration, and they do not want to be considered “options,” they are our allies and beings. In order to really dig into the knowledge of the plant kingdom we must be open to the experience of “more!”

If we limit the experience of the Plant Kingdom to the labels, terminology and what we read (credible or not) in the media, and to what others who are equally limited in perspective see and say, then we really are not having a true interaction.

Don’t get me wrong. We have the psychedelic experience but working with the plant medicine means exactly that.

In one interview Maria Sabina, the great shaman of Mexico, said she “never understood how people would not go to heal or ask something but instead to get a glimpse of the glories of paradise in their visions.”

The glories of what the mind imagined that paradise to be, it is far different when you see what the mind sees as paradise vs. the soul’s vision.

It’s kind of like when a therapist asks you what you want vs. what you value.

If not open to the full experience of an exchange then how will you receive?

The plant beings give. Maria Sabina and other Shamans like myself also give.

It is the way you receive and allow it to flow through you. It is not for you to hoard and keep. Instead you digest and feed yourself as well as others, through higher vibration and learning to allow yourself to just Be.

You allow yourself to receive so the web, the system, the super organism—whatever you wish to call it—can stay strong. All is interconnected, interdependent, and I refer to it as web or grid over grid, layers all happening at once, when passing on teachings.

A painting of an extra colorfield field, desnly occupied with plants beings of the same variety.

Untitled by Valeria Ribeiro

The plants will give, no matter what, even what you don’t ask because baby, they read you. And since they’re linked to the mycelium grid, they can also share this information. They can warn or know that perhaps the patterns they see include enough things to bring on illness so they will warn people at times of impending danger, illness or where they are going in their lives (their meaning the receiver).

The receiver must also know he is receiving not just seeing or being told of receiving.

My passion as an activist for the legalization of cannabis and the plant medicine was an innocent one. I was blinded by the desire to freely do something I respected and liked, something I felt was of benefit, even before I was able to receive as much as I do now and before I understood my relationship with the plant beings.

I say innocent one because it was pure.

The intentions were pure.

I developed a relationship with the plant beings from that point of intention throughout the years.

As the activists around the globe pushed, finally one day cannabis became legal in one state and the freedom was just beginning in my happy lenses! Woohoo, what a celebration. So much good.

Let’s take it back a moment before legalization began, when we had this:

“At the end of 1945, the American Intelligence Agency (CIA) was interested in research on psychotropic drugs with a view to its application in a possible chemical war against the Soviet Union. Before long, this would lead to the uncontrolled circulation of hallucinogenic substances such as LSD and other drugs that would culminate in the 1960s with hippie psychedelia.” (3)

To me this kind of stuff is like eating dinner or a good meal but soul food, you know? Consider that random previous paragraph just a little dipping sauce.

I didn’t know my history well enough when I began activism in my teens. Do I regret it? No, it was to be my journey, because you see, I just always knew.

I felt that they were not just plants and trees but beings, and I knew others did not see that but I just never cared I suppose. I would hug a tree in front of anyone and be laughed at but it just felt so good I couldn’t hold back.

Anyway, sharing is caring.

To continue, as we got deeper into the legalization of cannabis I realized what we had done.

Yes, indeed much good has happened; there is so much good that has come from it, but there is a difference. You can feel it.

When you smoke cannabis grown with love for the plant, in a high vibration environment where the grower feels the energy and is aware these are not just abstract scientific labels of flowers, you get a far cleaner and more powerful experience.

When smoking a dispensary pre-rolled cannabis joint, I and others can taste the chemicals and the actual energy of the plant is lowered by it’s unnatural environment of forced life and death, if you will.

Others have told me similar things.

Many have told me they won’t touch dispensary products. If you want something good, you smoke sinsemilla grown at home.

Watching how ready everything was, the warehouses for the mass production was impressive. I got to trim and did the west coast trimmer run. I did it so I could sit with her a little and learn from her.

She grew outside, tall and glorious. She got three men to care for her that may have not spent some extra time together had it not been for her. It was a good season for me. Learned about her, got to know her, talked to her.

Then I got to visit huge indoor warehouses, just thanks to friends I know.

She didn’t like it.

I understood once I saw her in that environment, locked up, with more light than she likes, pumped up with scent enhancing and color enhancing nutrients/chemicals. After I saw the little ones that didn’t make it just thrown away, not even made into compost or back to the dirt but just swept out of the way.

I didn’t like the way I felt when I saw that. I hadn’t been a part of that. I was part of a small grow outside and up on a sweet mountain. I got to meet others that had grows like that and she seemed happier.

As cannabis was getting legalized, up and coming was MDMA therapy brought to us by MAPS who fought so much because of the benefits it could bring to those with PTSD and prescription-resistant depression and more. Somewhere in the mix, Johnson and Johnson and other foundations and corporations began their movement with psilocybin.

I was not involved in activism for this. I can tell you many stories of art events, lectures, and workshops I facilitated and attended towards the legalization of cannabis, but not for that of magic mushrooms.

Next thing I knew they were being studied at warp speed. Everyone seemed to have a study going on and then they too were in cages.

Warehouses, shops, peddled products not even legal in many spots throughout the internet.

If I am to share I must do so because the indigenous voice must be heard. Not because I am here so hear me roar but because we are repeating the actions and mistakes of the past.

“If we’re entering a space where we’re going to be profiting from Indigenous knowledge and traditions, then Indigenous people should be stakeholders and should have a seat at the table,” Sutton King shared in an article that includes the science of what I am sharing and a little more on what Maria Sabina shared and her background. (3)

I was doing a season of my life with the plant medicine of the ongitos or magic mushrooms. I was having very horrible eye problems that were not really ocular but instead neurological. This read is not about that. Instead about the fungi being.

In working with the mushrooms I practice celibacy now—not before, not always. I encourage people before a macro dose to abstain from sex for five days prior and five days after. The why will be in other writes.

I also practice very cleansing and intentional eating habits for life, in my case because I am on my path. My practice is mine and different from others but when working with someone I encourage cleansing the blood, liver, gut and colon.

There is a reason and part of it is so the energy can flow faster and easier, more smoothly. So the mind can be clear, so the body isn’t even more sluggish, filled with plastics and chemicals and sick plants or meat. It is also for familiarization to begin.

I was on my very good healthy lifestyle and microdosing as well as macro once a month.

I had developed a deep respect for the fungi when years ago I was warned of something that was to happen in the future to me. I didn’t listen and it did.

I learned respect.

However, I always felt in my blood and knew they were not just plants, not just another thing we tap into to expand our consciousness; no, I knew there was more since I talked to the trees as a child.

In this particular season of micro and macro dosing for neurological healing, I created a deeper bond with them.

I saw their pain was now there. There was pain.

I received it.

It wasn’t just mine.

It was everything.

Others who worked with Sabina brought out deep buried trauma and intense childhood memories that perhaps did not cause trauma but did affect their self-esteem and level of self-love and awareness.

As I continued my work and healing with them I had one journey in which the visions, though gentle and sweet (I haven’t had a bad experience and in recent years even DMT experiences are all about love), the messages revealed were of another nature.

They did not like what was happening.

Not only were the elders and ancestors saddened, but the plant energy revealed something I had not seen or experienced before.

It was disapproval mixed with sadness, an all-encompassing neutral observation of Us and what had been happening and is happening.

At the time I had just started getting certifications to work with plant medicine in an urban jungle. I didn’t want to go work for the 10K-a-stay magic mushroom resorts and I didn’t want to be a part of unfair pricing and red tape. Still, I did want to be certified and studied as much as I could so as to provide whatever modern assurance was needed for those would were coming to me.

I wanted to provide great shamanic offerings in the urban jungle in a very traditional way because they are not my studies or part of a curriculum to me, or a certification—they are my traditions.

Our traditions.

I really believed that was good. Until that particular journey.

I suppose we talked for hours.

Myself and the trees, forest all around me. The hawks that visited and the earth broke bread with us.

I cried very much.

Feeling as if I had betrayed the cannabis energy too. But I didn’t know and all was washed away and cleansed as they asked me to see more and as I had always done, with them.

I did continue educating and expressing this quite a bit. Throughout the years since Maria Sabina’s death I had become more and more familiar with the chants/cantos that she did and more familiar with how she worked than with her involvement with the West in terms of all the knowledge she shared.

I had learned the cantos and of the dietas and traditions from other indigenous people in the mountains of Central America. I was traveling and working on farms so I didn’t need to pick up the laptop or books. I traveled to remote areas to sit with the indigenous and to learn about medicinal plants (psychoactive or not). I didn’t have to be in the virtual as I was in the real.

But later my experiences added up to an understanding that what I felt—when that door first opened and I saw the cannabis energy tubed up, lit up, tied up in this steal cage of a warehouse in the name of progress—was exactly how they felt.

It felt wrong.

An abstract painting of a big, dark loop.

“We” by Shadab Khan

It didn’t feel right. It felt like they would give because that is their nature but that it was the wrong pattern because it was again the same old pattern, only now magnified.

And now it wasn’t just the indigenous culture and traditions wiped away by the wiping out and colonization but of nature on a different level.

Fungi are very necessary in our ecosystem.

Mycelium is as well.

The trees are polluted and have struggled some even become extinct, making the plant kingdom weaker and off-balance, yet they’re continuing to provide our oxygen, their energy, and are even called in some areas (like the Amazon) the lungs of the world.

To put it scientifically, the harm we are doing to the fungi kingdom will not be without consequences.

I went back to Maria Sabina and realized that this very warning had been the fire in her work.

Now that I wasn’t in the rainforest, plugged into the virtual libraries, I got to dive into the things that she opposed, while always giving free healings, ancient wisdom and interviews.

She had passed on the very same thing they expressed.

That was when many things that season began falling in place for me.

Many feel I should be an influencer, a loud voice in the psychedelic trend.

I realized after that season of dialogue and exchange and after the confirmation received after digging into history and what is going on behind the scenes that I didn’t want to be a part of…that.

I had participated in a live virtual gathering with people from an organization that is very much on the front lines of legalization and they do claim to be practicing reciprocity throughout, but they also said words I will not forget:

“The warehouses are already being built to house the production of ayahuasca”.

My heart sank.

I know it’s true.

Mama Aya

Mama Aya

I am sorry. Please forgive. I am sorry.

To all the Plant Kingdom.

It is happening, and so much more.

Terence McKenna, not coming from an indigenous background, used to describe them in his early chats as extraterrestrial beings. He clarified many times that he simply meant beings not known to us or beings not from our existing wavelength so to speak, and how they communicate, as well as other useful things.

But Sabina and other great indigenous shaman left behind more and other teachings, teachings that do not serve the colonization of the plant medicine.

I will continue passing on teachings and sharing not because of anything else but the mere fact that I am indigenous and our traditions and culture must not be wiped away again and again simply because they are not the same as others, because they don’t share exactly the same perspective as the rest of the world.

Is that ego?

No.

It simply is part of our collective history that we continue to repeat, in different ways, again based on the same old fears; and it must be remembered and kept alive in hopes that someday we stop repeating the same actions and dare to create the new.

On a very positive note, there is new being created.

Many are actually doing something and decolonization in the plant medicine world is being attempted.

But the fact is Johnson and Johnson is a pharmaceutical company and they already have their hands on the fungi and are doing what they do.

Some organizations, like Decriminalize Nature, seem great from one end but are not listening to the needs and beliefs and knowledge of the Navajo. (3)

That article I am recommending gives you the science and the lingo that is nice to read to make us feel as if we have gained jewels of knowledge, while I simply share what I experience and how I too am guided.

The Plant Kingdom in the shamanic is energy composed of many beings forming a grid of sorts, a web to some. Plant Nature is free. The nature of plants is free. It serves and does what it is here to do without a choice. We however, have choice. Amazing, that word. You know? It has a huge, open or short-closed, vibration and, in duality, two sides.

Well, I will be back.

These are my opinions solely not the opinions of anyone here on Healers Magazine

To myself and other shamans they are beings.

Not options for health care

Not ‘what does the trick’.

Not trending.

Not stocks.

Not a high.

Not even just medicine.

The beings are healers and allies.

And until the mind is open to receive, the full potential of their healing abilities will not be known or felt, but their suffering will.

You can only mess with nature so much before it fights back.

It is life itself.

Like you, mushrooms are alive they are life itself and like you they are Nature itself.

My beliefs are a mixture of traditions, ancestors wisdom, science, and studies but mainly experiences with the beings.

I could read whatever or learn whatever but in my world as a free thinker I allow myself the freedom of learning and not judging, as well as experiencing for myself and not clinging to the safety of the beliefs of others.

If I did not experience it and I did not work with the beings of that plant medicine, I do not serve it.

That isn’t common in the West.

I am Guatemalan and Nahual plus Taino indigenous bloodlines, raised in the States. I now summer In Guatemala and travel around the world in the Mayan astrology teachings. I am a world-bridger.

I come in peace but am not in agreement, and don’t condone the treatment of all the Plant Kingdom. If I am to write and share about it, I must include these things and how we can not erase these traditions in the name of science, because there is more to this and all than meets the eye.

Citations

1. https://flexbooks.ck12.org/cbook/ck-12-biology-flexbook-2.0/section/8.12/primary/lesson/fungi-classification-bio/

2. https://www.wired.com/2013/12/secret-language-of-plants/

3. https://aspenbraininstitute.org/blog-posts/inside-the-movement-to-decolonize-psychedelic-pharma

 

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