“If you think that the Truth can be known from words, if you think that the Sun and the ocean can pass through that tiny opening called the mouth, O someone should start laughing! Someone should start wildly Laughing – Now!”
Carrying blood descended from the Táltos shamanic tradition has made for a blessed, and never boring journey in this life. I experienced the mystic death in my early childhood, and that process of inner death and rebirth, sometimes called shamanic illness, opened a door inside of me. Exactly what is on the other side, I cannot say. Hafiz expressed it better than I possibly could in the above poem.
The opening I experienced unveiled to me a world hidden from plain sight, a world where all “things” think and feel and express. A world-view where all is animated by spirit blossomed inside of me, a knowing that all existence is related, all brothers and sisters, all one. For years I walked between worlds, unable to understand anything… it was a difficult time.
In the Táltos tradition (pronounced tal-TOSH) it’s said that a Táltos (shaman) is born with full ability, but no understanding. Born with the innate ability to interact with the subtle planes of existence, but without the knowledge required to control that ability, or even how to differentiate between the worlds of the mundane and the numinous.
My grandmother taught me what she could, though she descended from a lineage which was persecuted by the Christians for over 800 years before being almost completely wiped out by the Communists. Her teachings were always practical. She taught me in a simple way: learning by doing. With those simple teachings on how to work with plants, medicines, and energy, began over 20 years of shamanic training.
In adolescence, as my root in this world was beginning to stabilize, I deepened the work I was experiencing with plant medicines. They taught me that everything that had happened in my life was perfect; even all of the hardships and traumas. The bumps and bruises were cracks in my shell that nudged me down the path of healing. I learned that I can’t control anything, and that I don’t need to; I just needed to surrender to the creative and destructive forces of the universe. I began to understand the nature of the “blessed curse” I had received, and how I could use it to heal myself, and hold sacred space for the healing of others.
My interest in psychology and Eastern spirituality was sparked in my teens when I read The Road Less Traveled.
The realization struck, that the more rational, head-centered approach of psychology could help me gain an understanding of the chaotic and non-linear world that I lived in and struggled to navigate.
I became obsessed with understanding the expanses of human nature, and myself. That journey led me to studying with great minds such as Stanislav Grof and Dov Baron, and to seek out powerful curanderos and shamans from around the world. Along that path of seeking new teachers, shortly after the passing of my grandmother, I encountered Abuelita Ayahuasca, the queen of spirit plant medicine. She taught me how to harness, focus, and direct the gifts I had received. My relationship with her deepened my understanding of how to hold space for healing with plant spirit medicine in integrity, compassion, and tenderness. She taught me how to break my own chains.
The seeking, healing, and inner development led to an important understanding: shamanic healing is deep, profound, and life changing. However, it’s challenging to integrate into the modern disconnected world because it doesn’t provide precise tools for dealing with every day situations in an easily applicable way.
Depth psychology and transpersonal psychology provide awareness and tools that remove the boundaries between everyday consciousness and essence, but it can be slow, head-centred work. It provides the tools and clarity for integral living, but not always the compassion, trust, inspiration, or power to do so. In other words, “Knowing your shit doesn’t spare you from it.”
Eastern philosophy, drawn from the Buddhahood, Tao, Sufi, and Tantra, offer profound treasures, but are often bewildering, and too abstract for those who aren’t already personally familiar with the truths they impart.
The understanding unfolded within me that a balance of body, heart, and head; a synthesis of shamanism, Eastern philosophy, and modern psychology, has healing power beyond anything else I’d encountered. So, since 2008, I have been holding a sacred container for these practices to be explored with kindness, warm curiosity, and authenticity.
With Love and Gratitude,
“…The essence of every human being can see,
and what that essence-eye takes
in, the being becomes.
The ocean pours
through a jar, and you might say it
swims inside the fish! This mystery gives peace to your
longing and makes the road home,