‘They (shamans) are pre-eminently the anti-demonic champions; they combat not only demons and disease, but also the black magicians.’ Eliade
Newly kundalini-awakened people are actually very vulnerable to spiritual predation from human fake gurus and teachers. Some people have the perception of the kundalini-awakened person as an all knowing enlightened being but in fact more often than not they may be confused and scared. Following the huge light vision I saw in my field, I felt out of my depth and contacted someone who ran a kundalini yahoo group on the Internet. He seemed sincere, what he said to me seemed to make sense and I became active in the group. Over time, I became quite in awe of this man, as did many others. He came across as honest and caring through the Internet. Looking back, there were a lot of telltale signs that I should have spotted or perhaps was aware of but didn’t want to accept, because being part of this group, I felt special, a point of view he actively encouraged. His speciality was shaktipat. This is a long established tradition in India whereby a person that has the ability to do so, awakens the kundalini of another. This is not without its problems as it can create a dependency on the part of the aspirant to the guru. This teacher would give shaktipat over the Internet several times a year. One of these shaktipats coincided with a powerful spiritual experience that happened to me and I thought that although I hadn’t asked for the shaktipat I had somehow received it. The teacher was more than happy to encourage this perception, although in fact it had nothing to do with him. So, from then on I effectively gave my power to this man and felt my spiritual progress depended on his programme. Eventually this teacher who was American, was invited to Ireland to give a weekend workshop with shaktipat. Michèle and I decide to attend. I was still in awe of him but Michèle immediately began to see through him. Over the weekend he proceeded to use various subtle techniques of mind control and hypnotism much favoured by successful cult leaders. Some people might be made to feel special, others excluded. Pseudo-tantric exercises were given to create jealousy and sexual tension. He made it clear that he was all-powerful and that only he could bring us to the enlightened state. He said he could see kundalini and would awaken mine but I was already awakened and knew this. He was simply trying to put doubt in my mind to give himself more control. In fact whilst telling me I wasn’t kundalini awakened, he was also telling people that clearly weren’t that they were. On the night before the shaktipat I had a warning dream. In the dream I saw the teacher. He said, do not come into my church, it is a church within a church within a church…within…within. He carried on speaking in languages I didn’t understand before reiterating again at the end, do NOT come into my church. I was disturbed by this but had been looking forward to the weekend so much I didn’t want to listen. On the last day he took us aside and said that he was forming a community and would like us (because we were special) to be part of it. He said in 2012 the world would go to Hell but that Shakti herself had directed him to a safe place. She also had told him it was fine to have guns! I think at this point I was starting to see through him but it was Michèle that really snapped me out of it, telling me exactly what she thought of him and his whole setup. Initially I was very resentful towards Michèle for this but then suddenly the light of reason dawned and I saw clearly. Michèle had set me free. We wrote to some of the other group members to warn them, some listened, some didn’t. A couple of months later, numerous accusations emerged of sexual abuse of his female students and his little empire collapsed. What was most upsetting was that the people in our small group in Ireland were all extremely vulnerable in various ways. There were people with psychological problems, others were deep in grief, some had attempted suicide, others were sincere seekers trying to free themselves from a lifetime of catholic guilt and indoctrination. They came with open hearts and open wallets into the lair of a predator. They were also some of the loveliest people that I have ever met.
I am actually very grateful for this whole episode, I met some wonderful people and learned some valuable lessons. After this I was able to interpret warning dreams that came and also recognise if I was under spiritual attack or talking to someone who didn’t have my best interests at heart. At one point a friend of mine was involved with a Thai girl. This was really a money making scam, she was bleeding him dry whilst cheating on him with other men to whom she was doing the same. I actually quite liked her, it just was what it was, but she knew, that I knew what she was up to. She was from the north of the country near the Laos border. In Laos they are very big into black magic and all spells of this kind are written in Khmer script. The Thai girls go across to Laos if they want to curse someone. Through a dream I realised that she was definitely sending bad intention my way. In the dream I was walking down a street with the girl. In the middle of the road was a beautiful python. The girl went over and began to violently kick and punch the snake, then she picked it up by its neck and dragged it forcefully up and down. I was very shocked by this, not only was I dismayed at her treatment of the snake but I also sensed that what she was doing was very dangerous. After her attack on the snake (which I saw as my kundalini) she turned her back to it and couldn’t see it rising up behind her. Leaves grew from its body and I watched in terror as it rose to be hundreds of feet tall, a giant python tree, looming up behind her. She never saw it but proceeded to a school building. I followed her and we entered the canteen. Here she furtively gathered as much food as she could, eating and stuffing it into her pockets at the same time. There was a desperation there and I realised that she was really still a little girl not knowing where the next mouthful of food was coming from and that this explained her behaviour in adult life. The next day I dreamed I was in a zoo standing in front of two glass cases. The sign on the top one said Reticulated Python and inside, a python was curled up contentedly. The bottom one had a sign saying Anaconda but the anaconda was missing and in its place I could see myself lying on a bed. The next day the girl told my friend that she had had a very frightening dream, a giant snake had come to see her, it wanted her to go with it, it wanted to talk to her and show her something. She was too afraid and wouldn’t go. I certainly did not send this snake but it does seem that the spirit anaconda may have taken matters into its own hands! Later I think she tried again. I found myself in an altered state of consciousness sitting on my drum with a black and white striped cobra. I have never killed a snake in any spiritual situation except this one; I just knew that this cobra had to die. I crushed its head violently and threw it off the drum. The next day I did some research that confirmed to me where it had come from. There is only one species of black and white cobra and that is naja siamensis, the Thai spitting cobra!
Sometimes I sense that perhaps the universe is testing me by bringing me into contact with what I call ‘demonic’ people. I don’t mean they are walking around with horns or worshipping Satan or anything like that. Often they are actually quite nice in their own way, but I recognise something subtle working through them, which they may not even be aware of themselves. Always these people seek me out. That ‘subtle thing’ working through them seems to be the opposite of light creative energy. It is the heavy force that wants to slow things down, to stop creative forward movement, to derail you from your spiritual path. The first of these I met at an ayahuasca retreat. We had been there two days and there was a nice ambience in the group, a good energy. Then, a couple arrived late and the energy changed immediately. I came out of my room onto the terrace where people would sit and talk and that is how I first met the woman. She was the only person there and she called me over. I sat down, introduced myself and we started talking, or rather I started talking. After about fifteen minutes I realised she had drawn out of me a great deal of personal information but revealed nothing of herself. She was wearing dark glasses and so I could not see her eyes. Then her boyfriend arrived, a huge Mexican, he gave off bad vibes without even speaking. She left and he sat down next to me and immediately began to aggress me. He boasted to me how experienced he was with ayahuasca and how he was basically a shaman himself, running San Pedro and peyote ceremonies. Amongst other things, he said that westerners shouldn’t be taking ayahuasca, they had no right. This attitude was certainly problematic considering he was at an ayahuasca retreat full of westerners! But it wasn’t so much what he said but the palpable negative energy he exuded. His name was Eduardo; I later nicknamed him Eduardo el Diablo! When it came time to drink our tree bark tea he made a big show of praying over his. He seemed to position himself in the centre of the room, attempting to dominate everyone including the shaman. I tried to be non-judgemental but by this stage it was proving difficult. That night in the ceremony he was to show his true colours. It so happened that that night in the ceremony he was placed next to Michèle and from the very start he was arrogant and disrespectful. We had been asked never to point our feet towards the mesa out of respect, he immediately did just this and despite being asked several times, he refused to stop. It reminded me of a satanist going into a church and turning the crucifix upside down. After drinking the ayahuasca he became extremely restless constantly moving and agitated. In an ayahuasca ceremony your personal space is sacrosanct. No one touches you except the shaman or helper, as all the senses are altered by the plant. Soon he began to touch Michèle, rubbing his hands on her and talking. She had to repeatedly ask him to desist but he carried on. Eventually when Michèle was purging he demanded she give him her basin because he had lost his. In fact by insisting on having his feet pointing the wrong way he had actually kicked his bucket onto the mesa! Michèle of course said no, as she was purging but he snatched the bucket from her forcing her to vomit in her hands. This was such a disrespectful act particularly as you really don’t want to touch what you are getting rid of with ayahuasca. Then he proceeded to turn around and vomit all over the person on his other side. It was like the devil had been given a cup of holy water to drink, it was like something from the Exorcist movie! The next day he was confronted but claimed that he had no recollection at all of the ceremony. Well, amnesia isn’t normal with ayahuasca and nor was his reaction to it. That day, the woman came in and said they were leaving. This time I got to see her eyes and I didn’t like what I saw. They hadn’t come for purposes of healing or spiritual growth but rather to try and disrupt this from happening.
Another time in Peru, in Pisac, I was sitting at a table in my hotel courtyard, writing notes for this book. A woman came and sat at the table. She was wearing a long flowing white robe, malas and a turban. The type of clothes that say, look at me, I’m really spiritual. After a while I saw that ‘subtle something’ in her eyes, the same as with the woman at the ayahuasca retreat. It was as if she knew what I was writing about and had come to create doubts about everything I had experienced. She said that she was a kundalini yoga teacher so I shared that I’d had an awakening. She then said that she would never want one and that all true yoga teachers will tell you the same. I thought why call it kundalini yoga then, why not just call it exercise. She then said that people are always trying to climb ladders of experience. I write quite a bit about ladders in shamanism here. She then went on to criticise everything about ayahuasca, so that was a large part of my spiritual life thoroughly dumped upon! Actually, she really got under my skin as this was all delivered with a very calm sweet demeanour, which was utterly fake. It’s what I call the ‘namaste and fuck off’ syndrome. In an ayahuasca ceremony a few days after meeting her I had a dream, this is the only time I have dreamed after ayahuasca. In the dream Michèle and Dougal came running to me saying that the woman had captured some beautiful birds. Parts of my soul that have separated often take the form of birds. We found her and it was clear she was going to kill the birds. We rescued them and Dougal chased her off. This dreamed confirmed for me what I had sensed looking into her eyes.
During dieta in the retreat a strange but also quite funny thing happened. I was relaxing in my hammock when suddenly a face appeared before me. It was red; with a pointed chin, a black goatee beard, little horns and a big grin. In short it was the classic face of the Devil. Immediately a point of energy came up from my root chakra, up my spine and shot out of my third eye into the centre of this devils grinning face. The face then exploded into myriad teardrops of liquid and was gone. I feel that the demonic is here to divert us and test us. The word comes from Greek and one meaning is inner self. To sin, means to miss the mark. We must have a sure and ruthless aim to annihilate and transmute our inner demons.