Sunday, August 03, 2008

Strange Alchemies for a Dark Age

The more articles that I have contributed to this blog; the more difficult it becomes to add another. It could be just a phase, I suppose. Now, Visible Origami is moving up on three hundred entries. That would make for ten books or more. It’s a lot of words. It’s true that no matter how much one has to say they could never cover the subject matter that this blog treats with. It’s also true that you can always find a new approach to say the same thing and that a new approach may well reveal something in a way that it can be understood better than it has been before. It’s also true that more words just add more confusion.

The radio doesn’t play the same song over and over. Television stations don’t play the same program over and over nor do movie theaters show the same film. The river is always the same river but you can’t step into the same river twice. Everything changes. We’re not the same person we were yesterday. So, I will go on writing. Hopefully there is good reason for this.

In my life I have been through many different situations. I’ve been in the same situation more than once and I have handled the same situation in different ways. I’ve handled things stupidly and without knowing that I was being ignorant. I’ve handled situations knowing that I was being stupid and willful ...and I’ve handled them well on occasion. I’ve been a chemistry set because, sometimes, certain chemicals have allowed me the propulsive fuel to break, even if for a little while, the suffocating darkness of these materialistic times. At other times my chemical experiments have only served to increase that darkness. These days my chemical experiments rely on two compounds and all of the rest have been eliminated from my practices. Those compounds are Ketamine and Ayahuasca. I can say with a great deal of confidence that these compounds prove to be remarkably efficacious in my efforts toward a better understanding of myself and the world in which I temporarily reside.

Under no circumstances do I recommend these things to anyone else. None of us are the same person, even if we do share the same underlying self. I find that I have shamanistic tendencies, tantric tendencies, personal propensities that are part and parcel of the person that I am. I am comfortable with my decision to engage in certain practices and I am confident that when my work is done with these compounds that there will be no new ones to replace them, unless some mysterious stranger places the universal medicine in my hands.

Each person’s journey is unique. I believe it is what we pursue that determines the good and bad in the things that we do. There is an old phrase; I cannot remember its origin. That phrase is, “He who loves much is forgiven much.” I’ve found that to be true.

In other times the world was not so much with us. It was possible to live outside of the turmoil of the world and to find a clarity and peace in our environment that made it possible to grow spiritually with a great deal less difficulty than what is present now. For myself, it has been necessary to employ certain agents that have eased my ability to obtain needed insights. I’ve tried just about everything and, by the grace of providence; have found what works for me.

Although there are a number of spiritual teachers who argue against the use of chemistry for revelation and spiritual gain, I seldom, if ever, have found that original scripture has much to say on the matter. One of my teachers once said, “Get wisdom any way that you can, steal it if you have to.” One might say that what I do is storming the gates of heaven. It’s also true that you can’t stay there if you haven’t earned the right to. The present state of the world finds a majority of the world engaged in daily chemistry experiments. In the main this involves alcohol, prescription drugs and a host of illegal comestibles.

I believe that I can safely say that the legal drugs of alcohol and prescription medicines are most certainly more harmful than the majority of illegal drugs. I think it can safely be argued that religious fundamentalism is also more dangerous than illegal drugs. It’s quite possible that materialism and the pursuit of money and personal gain at the expense of others is more harmful that the use of illegal drugs. It can certainly be argued that all of these are negatives for real spiritual growth. It’s a given that very, very few of us are free of all of these and that includes the majority of those who are called, or present themselves as, spiritual masters.

I have to look inside myself and see how it feels for me to be as I am. I can say that many times in the past I found that what I was doing went counter to what I was pursuing. I can say with confidence that that is not the case now. It is for each person to come to their own conclusions about what they do.

I find that materialism is so pervasive now that I am just not strong enough to carry on with confidence in my efforts without occasionally blowing the carbon out of my pipes. I approach what I do with reverence and ceremony and see it as no different than ingesting wafers and drinking wine that have been miraculously transubstantiated. In fact, I find that in my practices that transubstantiation has actually taken place. There’s a good book that came out some years ago called, “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” and it goes into some detail about this. Terrence McKenna and others have written extensively on the matter and I concur with most of what they say.

I don’t set myself up as a spiritual master. I am a mere student and a seeker after truth. I am intense about it. I would say that it occupies most of the moments of my every day. I am not comfortable going about the ordinary business of the day in pursuit of the ordinary goals of an ordinary life. I’ve no guilt or apprehension about what I do and that is what I go by. It is certainly different for all of you in one way or another.

I don’t use these chemicals recreationally although I have used some things that way in the past... still, most of the time I was trying to get inside myself, or outside myself, for the purpose of seeing more deeply. I really wanted to understand and was willing to risk whatever it cost to do so.

I don’t concern myself with breaking laws. If a law makes sense I obey it. If it doesn’t make sense or is hypocritical, I ignore it. Governments are quite often in this day and age more dishonest than its citizens. Governments in these days are the main traffickers of those things they have made illegal. I don’t recognize these governments. I recognize another government. I don’t accept conventional wisdom. I don’t accept the advice of experts who don’t know what they are talking about and medical authorities who injure those they are entrusted to heal.

I’ve no idea why I wrote what you read here today. I don’t think I’ve written about this here before and that may be the main reason I did so. It’s different. It may be less useful than anything I’ve ever written here before.

We’re on our way somewhere. We’re either headed there without any real idea of why or we are headed there intentionally. It’s not the same place in many cases in respect of the moment but... in the long run it is the same place regardless. We’ll arrive there stripped of everything except what we are. In the end it won’t matter how we got there. It may take longer and it may be quick... for the determined and energetic. Good fortune to you all however you proceed.

Visible sings: The Sacred and The Profane by Les Visible♫ Miracle of Love ♫
'Miracle of Love' is track no. 11 of 13 on Visible's 2007 album 'The Sacred and The Profane'
Lyrics (pops up)

The Sacred and The Profane by Les Visible

14 comments:

Ben There said...

I’m glad you addressed this topic because it’s been something I often wondered about. I have to admit, to me, drug use has generally seemed like something that would be in direct conflict with spiritual pursuits. In my experience it has only muddied the waters when what I am interested in is clarity. But I’ve never ventured much past alcohol and marijuana, and the latter only to a minimal extent. I don’t doubt the ability of certain substances to help provoke transcendent experience though. I’d say you’re a pretty good example that there is some usefulness in that approach.

As for how you manage to keep writing here at all, and doing it well, is beyond me. 300 blog entries now? Unbelievable. I’d never be able to thank you enough for these. If you ran out of things to say here tomorrow it would be perfectly understandable and I don’t see how anyone could hold it against you. I would’ve thought it would have run dry years ago but they’ve kept coming. And it’s my guess that that will continue to be the case.

The Village Idiot said...

Les,

Hope you're doing well. It's good to finally get a little break and be able to catch up on my online stuff, which includes the posts you've made since I last dropped by. It's hard to make the time to slow down and focus on what's really important these days. It's hard to bring God to work with us, or sustain that attitude in the face of modern distractions. Thank God for the drugs.

As you can probably imagine, I have a few thoughts about the subject of chemically-based spirituality as well. First, I would recommend Ayahuasca to everyone without hesitation so long as they learn and follow the rules. I say that because the active component of the mixture is DMT, and our pineal gland happens to be making it constantly right there inside our brains. The monoamine oxidase our body also produces immediately metabolizes the DMT, which is why we're all not tripping all the time.

The other component of Ayahuasca is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and is what makes the DMT orally active. So, Ayahuasca is basically just a way to experience the effects of a molecule our brains naturally produce! That's nothing short of amazing in my opinion. There are a few instances when the DMT produced by our pineal gland floods our system enough to overcome the MAOI; one is running a marathon or something similarly intense, another is a near death experience. Both are powerful stresses on the brain and it responds by letting us see The Light instead of the stress. Ayahuasca is a practice session for our death, and death is quite informative, don't you think?

(You may well already know all this stuff about it, but it's not exactly common knowledge so I put it in to make sure anyone reading this would understand what I was getting at.)

A great book for understanding the context of Ayahuasca; where it came from, it's cultural significance in the Amazon, and how it was used traditionally is One River by Wade Davis. In it he points out the statistical improbability of disparate (and often warring) tribes spread throughout the Amazon basin simultaneously discovering that mixing two specific and rather obscure jungle plants (out of the virtually infinite possible combinations among Amazonian flora) could produce such striking effects. Many of these tribes were geographically isolated from each other, yet the evidence points to Ayahuasca use having suddenly appeared everywhere at the same time. When asked about that, the shamans just shrug and say "the plants told us [the recipe]."

That you like Ketamine was a bit of a surprise to me, but then I've never tried it. Ketamine's synthetic, human origin doesn't bother me however; my non-use is more about non-access than some arbitrary notion of 'good' vs. 'bad' drugs.

Those who are of the opinion that chemical revelations are invalid or somehow not as spiritual as fasting, a Vision Quest, or going to church should remember that all those 'pure' activities simply prompt our brains to release certain chemicals. Let me add right here that our intelligence, personality, Intent, and what-not are what shapes our response to that flood of chemistry, whatever the source, and in my opinion makes the difference between a spiritual and a frivolous interpretation of an experience.

I say 'frivolous' instead of 'recreational' because my most profound spiritual experiences have also been the most recreational (by the end anyway). If God is Light and Love and Oneness, then getting closer to God should feel better and better, and recreation is all about feeling better. Making spiritual pursuits seem stern and serious and intimidating is a way to discourage others from a spiritual path, or at least that's how it seems to me. Keeps 'em in church filling those collection plates...

The key seems to be whether the hangover comes before or afterwards; bliss followed by pain (like with alcohol) is non-sustainable recreation. Pain followed by bliss (like Ayahuasca tends to be, or mushrooms, or peyote) tends to be the norm with sustainable recreation. I've had some profoundly spiritual experiences thanks to alcohol, but they were the rare exception and I know that that Path would not last long or take me very far so I don't seek to repeat them.

Consider other traditional spiritual practices such as the Vision Quest; pain from fasting and going a little bonkers comes first- insights and inner calm and bliss come later. Or the Sun Dance; serious pain first, bliss later (and so on, though with something like church I've felt neither pain nor bliss at all so I don't know where it fits in this scheme). Genuine spiritual pursuits resemble childbirth in this respect (no big surprise there) and false ones are exemplified by... heroin.

Someone I used to love once told me heroin made her feel like "God giving me a big hug." Somehow I doubt a real hug from God would require such a horrendous recovery period afterwards (excruciating hallucinatory pain and vomiting and prayers for death). I guess that God giving me a big hug feels like heroin then, but getting the cause-effect relationship in the right order is kind of important.

In the good 'ol days it was easier to pursue a spiritual path that it is now (here in Western Snivelization at least). The pace of life is too fast and the distractions too great for all but the most steadfast and hardcore seekers to transcend, so it's very fortunate that we have these chemical shortcuts to achieving the mindset we seek. Whether an insight comes from years of austere practices or a few hours of 'tripping' doesn't really matter; an insight is an insight. Calling one path 'good' and one 'bad' is to me just neuro-chemical and semantic hairsplitting and is probably agenda-driven.

Many years ago, the road man for a peyote ceremony I participated in pointed this out to me, though he didn't have to as the ceremony itself made it vividly clear. Now modern medical science is starting to agree:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=long-trip-magic-mushrooms&sc=rss

I'm not sure if I had a point here, or if I've already made it, but this is a subject that is important to me since I credit psilocybian fungi for setting me squarely on my life's path just as I was about to make the common atheist mistake of conflating spirituality with organized religion (oh, and blowing my head off). Yup, I went from attack-dog atheism to neo-shamanism in exactly 6 hours, and that night has informed every day of my life since (I ate a lot that night; an amount that is a little scary to contemplate now). I've seen a white supremacist realize the stupidity and cruelty of racism thanks to a 12 hour acid trip, and the change was permanent. Two others people I've known quit all hard drugs cold turkey (including alcohol and tobacco) after a 36 hour ibogaine experience and have stayed sober ever since. These stories are why I feel that promoting the responsible use of "entheogenic" drugs is a social duty (but providing them is not; prudence demands wearing one hat or the other and I'm so much better at talking or writing than being paranoid, so here I am).

FYI: Ibogaine fits in the same receptor sites as opiates and acts as a psychedelic sedative, so junkies who take it get off heroin or pills with no withdrawal symptoms and no subsequent desire to use again. It's more than just filling receptor sites; the psychedelic aspect is vital to that result. Underground clinics exist in NYC (and overt ones in Mexico along the US border) that offer ibogaine therapy to addicts with great success. It also works well for cocaine and tobacco addiction and to a lesser extent for alcohol. Oddly enough, it was prohibited and made a Schedule I controlled substance long before anyone in the US except a few anthropologists and pharmaceutical researchers knew about it. We can't allow a genuine cure for our addictions to be available... Where's the profit in that?

If a drug frees us from addictions or leaves us with a calm, peaceful mind or shows us the Light without casting us into shadow afterwards it's probably A-OK. If it does the opposite it's probably not.

Anyone contemplating taking the shortcut must do their homework first; drugs are a dangerous minefield to dance in and knowledge or experienced guidance are required to traverse it safely.

-The Village Idiot

P.S.- A verycool mushroom-oriented website I found recently (Mycotopia.net) has a section called "Storming the Gates" where people post their experiences, and it's amazing to see so many peoples' descriptions of awakening to Spirit with the help of the sacred molecules (not all do, but that's how it goes).

Visible said...

Man it is great to see you again! As one of the animals said to Mowgli, or maybe it was a serpent, maybe it was Ka; he said, "we be of one blood, you and I." reading you is sometimes like looking inside my own head.

Yes... it's harder now and it helps me. I'll be in ayahuasca land in a few days, give or take.

Ben There said...

Okay...so how do I get some?

Anonymous said...

Les and VI, ayahuasca or peyote or mushrooms for a first experience? . . . would that just depend entirely on the person, or do either of you have on overall recommendation there?

ellis

susana said...

Les,
The past few comments I have left have not appeared.
Perhaps you could just let me know why.
They were not offensive, rude or irrelevant.
Strange but true.

Visible said...

Susan;

They never came through. I've had lots of problems in this regard; web site hacks... blogger acting funny; not hah hah.... it's difficult. You got in this time though. Anyone else having problems email me.

Ellis; I just got in and setup and I'm cooling out after a long journey to my hermitage in the south. I'll get back to you on this. Please don't take anything until I do (grin)...

The Village Idiot said...

Ellis:

I'd go with mushrooms. Less body load than the others, relatively short duration (4-6 hours, depending on the dose) no special dietary restrictions, much easier access. The web (and that site I linked) can show anyone how to grow fungi easily at home, removing any exposure to the black market and it's attendant pitfalls.

Erowid.org has almost every known recreational drug listed alphabetically with a lot of info about each, including numerous personal accounts of experiences (both good and bad) and links to current research.

Most people who seek out info about growing psilocybian mushrooms lately have been looking for a way to cure their cluster headaches. Once the word got out about that handy side-effect, all kinds of folks not ordinarily into "drugs" started showing up asking about finding spores (not a problem, they're still legal in most US states!) and growing their own.

I've never had a cluster headache, but I hear they make a migraine seem like fun in comparison, and people have committed suicide from being unable to take the pain any longer. But the cure is right there for those who need it...

Turns out that for many who suffer from the condition, a weak mushroom tea (weak enough to be below the threshold for noticing any psychedelic effects) prevents the occurrence of any cluster headaches for up to six months. That's why I'm such a staunch advocate; I know that they're actually good for us, and they help ease the pain of people who are suffering tremendously.

Peyote is almost impossible to find on your own, or come across on the black market. If someone claims to be selling "synthetic mescaline" there's a 99.99% chance it's either LSD or a research chemical like 2C-B or an AMT analogue like 5-MeO-AMT. Stay away from anything claimed to be synthetic or extracted mescaline unless you personally know your source is capable of doing a San Pedro or similar cactus extraction themselves.

Ayahuasca can be mixed at home with legally-obtained plants (buy them separately), but there's a lot more to it than can be conveyed easily in a forum such as this. Also, it tends to have a higher body-load than mushrooms, which means physical symptoms like vomiting (peyote prepared by someone unskilled in the art causes nausea as well) and in rare cases can induce a hypertensive crisis (extremely high blood pressure) or a headache that feels like hot pokers sticking into your head for a few hours. That is easily prevented by carefully following the dietary restrictions, but sometimes people don't.

Genuine, unadulterated psilocybian mushrooms consumed in any amount will cause no permanent harm; even a ridiculous overdose will only freak out out a lot, but then you'll come back and be ok by morning.

A few benzos (xanax, valium) on hand can help to 'abort' the trip if it gets too weird, but I strongly discourage their use for any but the most extreme situations, such as someone panicking and unable to calm down which can happen in cases of poor preparation or when tripping in a bad setting like a movie theater or something.

There's lots to read out there, and I highly recommend doing a bunch of research before embarking...

-The Village Idiot

Visible said...

Ellis;

Email me.

99 said...

I'm pretty disappointed you seem to think it's okay to be childish if you just admit that you know it. That's really about the same as saying, "Look, I know I'm a liar, but I'm only human and lying is easier." Che Guevara used to point out that if people could change their hairdos, they could change their hearts. It hinges on the proposition that when you know you have control of something you then must exercise it.

Resort to drugs to reach this only means you are a slave to drug dealers and veterinarians for your "enlightenment". When your understanding is correct, you will not seek ketamine. Using drugs for this is identical to lying about having quit smoking; to wit: not improving your lung health, only generating another delusion.

If you're in it for the bliss, darling man, you will not stop seeking ketamine.

The way does not make the major depressive episodes any less painful; it just makes it so you can deal with them and still function.

Honestly, the drugs should be viewed as akin to Jill's stroke... glimpses of reality that should not be repeated. Repeating those glimpses to console yourself in your pain only reinforces the bars to your liberation.

Visible said...

99

I made my reply to you and a few others in the newest top post.

Regards,

Visible said...

Whoa... I just watched some of that clip 99 and I have to tell you that that woman's voice is so annoying that I just couldn't listen to the whole thing... other observations I will spare you except to say that she hasn't got a clue and she's a little too into her own show business. Not my sort of thing at all and no desire to reach anything like it.

metaphysician said...

Drugs are good. So you want to feel good? What's wrong with that. Any comfort or enjoyment you can get in this farce world of greedy vultures more power to you. Who can blame ppl for wanting to get "f*%ed up" look at the steaming shitpile we are in. Even a few hours respite from this is worth it. Don't feel guilty, feel good.

Visible said...

Yes, some of them are remarkable. Ketamine cured my depression...wiped out all of my bad habits... taught me a new yoga and gave me the will to practice it all day long... made it possible for me to talk to masters and took me right into Hellraiser and gave me the fearless endurance to just experience and witness. Unfortunately, the only person I know who will sell it to me wants many times what it costs and I only have so much money. I live well because I don't want anything. And I've always got a couple of hundred dollars to spend (which is all this should cost including a good profit). I don't have two thousand a month to spend on it. I probably even have that but I would risk the wrath of Khan from my beautiful consort if I did it and rightly so.

Sooner or later. It's got to be better than a quart of Campari a day which only forestalls the inevitable. I'm lucky. I have a constitution that is the envy of all and a protection that is well past the Secret Service but... eventually shit crashes and burns. Sure... I got that Phoenix thing but it hurts. Some pain is fine, I get that... but after awhile you get tired of playing Groundhog Day.