Thursday, 17 July 2008
Shamanic Pilgrims: Part 2
They are not figments of the imagination
Hancock on so called altered states experiences
GRAHAM: Well we have to let go. This is really one of the lessons that shamanism teaches if you want to explore those invisible dimensions that surround us, you actually have to let go of this one and you have to embrace the mystery entirely. This is where the visionary plants are incredibly helpful allies in that process. I am not saying there are not other ways to let go. But the visonary plants seem to have been provided to us in a process of co-evolution precisely to allow us to let go of this physical realm and enter deeply into other realms. The wonderful thing about shamanic travel in a sense is the absolute simplicity of it. The experiences you have may be incredibly complex and challenging but to enter into those experiences can be a relatively simple process with the aid of power plants like ayahuasca for example. You do not need an aeroplane or a motor car or a motor bike. You don't even need a back pack. You don't need any supplies. You don't need any physical object whatsoever. All you need is to release your consciousness from its captivity to this realm and it is immediately plunged into a whole other area of experience which is utterly bewildering and strange and terrifying when first encountered. But if you allow yourself to continue to explore that journey it becomes more and more familiar and you begin to be able to understand how what was at first disorienting and terrifying, can become an experience that allows you to learn and grow.
ECHAN:All you need to enter that realm as you said is the assistance of the plant and an ability to let go, which is a very big thing to do, it is very hard for people to let go especially we Westerners who are fixated on being in a space time location. That is the only place we can operate. The shaman thus has a lot to teach us about that. You yourself have been through a lot of very challenging situations over the past few years, suddenly being confronted by this new reality which I think we have to make very clear is real. It is not a world that is somehow imagination generated. It is a real world, as real as this one we are in now.
GRAHAM: I believe absolutely that the realms of experience into which we enter in shamanic states of consciousness are absolutely and totally real. They are not figments of the imagination. What we are doing is opening up our senses to a wider reality that is always there that we normally shut ourelves off from. Initially it can be extremely terrifying and disturbing to enter into these other realms but this has always been the mission of pilgrims, to be willing to accept terror, to accept whatever the road throws at you. This is not however a physical road and so you are not going to encounter bandits with guns, in that other world who are going to rob you of your posesions because you do not have any possssions! But you may actually encounter something more terrifying than that, being confronted with the possible loss of your own soul. These are the true dangers you encounter on the shamanic quest and so you must strengthen your resilience when you enter it.
ECHAN: Yes, pilgrimage is definitely a dangerous business but I think as many people will soon realise, being on Earth these days itself is a pretty dangerous business! With our depleting resources situation, climate changes and so many other things it is indeed dangerous. This is all hard enough but we do not yet have the attitude of a pilgrim which in fact would help us the most to deal with all this.
GRAHAM: What our society is teaching us to do is to value material possessions above all else, to try to accumulate those things in some way to make ourselves safe. But we are never safe, and we never will be safe in that sense. There is no amount of material accumulation that can make us safe. This physical life is only a temporary part of our overall experience as human beings and to me this is one of the great gifts that the shamanic journey gives us; it teaches you through direct experience that this physical realm with all its threats and challenges is a kind of illusion. It isn' permanent, it doesn't last, it changes constantly. When you begin to realise that it becomes easier to let it go.
ECHAN: Well this is how I see your role as being very important. Somehow, all around the world the ayahuasca message, the plant message is being communicated at an ever increasing rate. We have mentioned the 13 grandmothers council for example. They are moving around the world talking about native wisdom and the role of plants in our evolution. You yourself, who have been known to talk about more left brained aspects of our history until now, have made a big change in your direction. Other spokespeople have come forward and made us aware through documentaries, television and through books that this other world does in fact exist. I am looking at the fact that the shaman was a very small part of Earth culture even in the past, and so was the pilgrim. They were both still in the minority whereas the masses have always prepared themselves for safety and wanted to live that way. However why is it now that people like yourself are getting a very strong message from the shamanic world, from that multidimensional world that the shamans access, saying that we do need to know about this? It is happening globally. My theory is that we really need this information now because we are perhaps as a culture making a transition during which time that information will be the most valuable information we could possibly have.
GRAHAM: Yes, I agree with you on that.
ECHAN: I am thinking about the timing of all this. What is this about?