Along with the shamans and animals, came the dreams of the plants. In waking life I have only ever taken two entheogens, ayahuasca and amanita muscaria, but in the dream state I encounter not only these but many other plant teachers. Often I will enter into communion with the plant, which leads to an altered state of consciousness just as impressive as if taken in waking life. Although all peoples have been given there own sacred plant teachers, I sense that all these plant teachers are connected and work together in the spirit world.
In the following dream, ayahuasca made her presence felt through the jaguar.
I’m in a house doing the washing up and putting rubbish in bags, I’m having a good clean up. I go to the window and suddenly a jaguar appears, his paws on the sill. He then bounces happily around the garden. I then realise that there are other people in the house and it is a spiritual retreat. A man with fractal ayahuasca patterns on his forehead pours some seeds into my hand. I give some to Michèle saying, ‘it’s pergalum harmala’. The man says, ’these will keep you going in the coming months’.
The house cleaning reflected the personal cleansing I was doing in anticipation of taking Ayahuasca. Pergalum harmala is Syrian rue, a plant used as an alternative to ayahuasca in what are known as ayahuasca-analogues. It feels as if ayahuasca and Syrian rue were in co-operation here.
In my first ayahuasca retreat a famous Sufi singer from India took part in the ceremonies. In a vision I saw her kneeling in a temple, her head arched right back, the Ayahuasca vine growing out of her mouth towards the heavens. Plants that have a strong relationship or association with ayahuasca have also come.
I dream Michèle and I are smoking mapacho (jungle tobacco) from a sacred pipe. I open a cabinet; it is full of San Pedro cacti.
Ayahuasca is said to love tobacco. The San Pedro cactus, a phallic expression, is her polar masculine opposite, the Shiva to her Shakti. Although I have never taken this entheogen its spirit has nevertheless been very communicative. In a dream a shaman told me, when the Chavin call, you must go. Chavin de Huantar is one of the most ancient and important temple in Peru. It is set in a very remote location, high in the Andes and was designed specifically for the ritual use of San Pedro. Next I dreamed I was sat in San Pedro ceremony with a giant who told me how they had called down the Anaconda Terra to Earth from the sky. After this, in shamanic consciousness I was brought to Chavin. Two giant black centipedes came to protect me. They are the scariest spirit animals I have ever seen, no negative forces could come near me with these bodyguards and I walked freely around the temple complex. It was very beautiful and great columns of golden light connected Chavin to the Heavens.
Considering that African spirit shamans came to me it is not surprising that their great entheogen, iboga, also came in dreams.
I go into a beautiful house. Some women give me Iboga in a silver cup. I go to the top of the building. There are beautiful gothic windows. My friend that I brought for ayahuasca is there; we talk because he still needs healing. There is a narrow gothic arch in front of us with light streaming through it. He tries to go through but can’t make it yet.
Mushrooms appear frequently in my dreams; they are usually glowing to get my attention, like the power animals. I have found that amanita muscaria, commonly known as ‘fly agaric’ has a great sense of humour. In a shamanic state of consciousness I found myself walking down a street pushing a wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow was full of ceramic bowls, all spotted red and white like the mushroom. They were the type of bowls you might use for breakfast cereal, so I think the mushroom was saying, eat me. Then I came to a house, and on the doorstep was a radio, again spotted red and white, surrounding it were amanita muscaria mushrooms. Blasting out of the radio was a song that went, we are the mushrooms, we are the mushrooms, over and over! This made me laugh but I knew they wanted me to enter the house, so I did. Within the house I received important information that I needed to help another person, so there was a serious aspect to this but the way that the mushroom chose to broadcast its message via ‘amanita muscaria radio’ was hilarious. I detail later on, the truly amazing dream communications from amanita muscaria.
Trees, herbs and flowers have also brought their messages; it is not only the entheogens that are teachers. Once, during an asthma attack, I asked for ways that might help me with this condition. First, I saw my stepdaughter cutting lavender, she gave me a sprig and told me it was good. Then I saw Michèle pointing at a wall where two plants grew. One had small bright yellow flowers and I recognised it as St. John’s Wort. The other was like a small shrub with chicken eggs stuck on it. At first I couldn’t figure this out but then it came to me, it was aubergine, also known as eggplant! A little research soon revealed that essential oil of lavender is very effective in relieving mild asthma attacks. Although St John’s Wort is a powerful medicinal plant, it turned out that it should be avoided when taking asthma inhalants as it can cause an adverse reaction. The aubergine was interesting in that some studies have shown that asthmatics may benefit from cutting this vegetable and all other members of the nightshade family from their diet. Contrary to this, the traditional medicine of Suriname uses the roots of the plant as an asthma cure. It is amazing that such a simple presentation could provide me with so much information, yet this is how plant spirit shamanism works.
I have found the communications from trees to be very beautiful and powerful. When I returned from Peru I started to think how I could apply what I’d learned about shamanism there, into a European context. The dieting of trees made me think about the shamans and druids of ancient times in Europe, how trees were sacred to them and I had a strong intuition that they must have been doing something very similar. Not much has survived as to what they actually did as theirs was an oral tradition. It has been suggested etymologically that the word druid means ‘wisdom of the oak’. I became convinced in fact that they learnt from the plants and trees directly as do the curanderos in Peru. The oak was noted as being particularly sacred to the druids and with this in mind I decided to diet a large and beautiful oak on my land under which I often meditated. I filled a bottle with water from an ancient holy spring near my house and I put twigs and leaves from the tree in it and left it to marinate for a couple of days. I then drank the water three times a day and put oak leaves under my pillow at night. I straight -away felt very ‘green’. The first night I had a beautiful dream. I found myself climbing a mountain. To get to the top I had to pass through the Tomb of Lao Tzu, there was a guardian who let me pass. I made it to the snow covered summit where there was a green plant growing. I knew I must bring some of the plant back with me for other people. I managed to grab a few stalks and leaves before sliding quickly down again. The next day I received a beautiful vision. I saw the oak tree and a lamb. They were joined as one, the lambs nose reached up to touch the tree’s branches that were leaning down to meet it. Oak in Irish is ‘daour’ meaning door and my experience confirmed that the oak is certainly a doorway into the spirit worlds.
In a vision the oak tree showed itself to me with a luminous blue khadag (Mongolian prayer scarf) tied around it. I had one of these, so I obliged and tied it around a branch, the tree looked very beautiful like this. This led to another vision where I was shown the root system of the tree. I could see into the Earth and below the roots a vast black anaconda spiralled. I could see that via this snake the Earth consumed all energy. Above the anaconda, the tree roots drew up the recycled energy as silver light, bringing it back up and out into the world.
The Amazonian shamans say that one plant will sometimes direct them onto the medicine of another. I sense that the relationship I’d formed with amanita muscaria connected me to the spirit of the birch, one of the trees the mushroom lives in symbiosis with. The tree appeared to me in a dream and I woke up suddenly with the word ‘birch’ reverberating through my head. The following night in a vision my head was enveloped in green birch leaves. The next day I made birch leaf tea and discovered that a course of this was exactly what I needed to treat a health problem I had at the time. It is clear to me that the trees have not forgotten us and still offer their friendship and healing, if we are only open enough to remember and let them in.
In a beautiful dream full of classic enlightenment metaphors I found myself standing in a clear flowing stream. All around my feet were water lilies. Looking down I realised that the whole universe was contained within each flower. I collapsed on my knees, crying at the beauty of this, as clear water splashed on my face.