When we understand human history and our evolutionary processes, it is clear that the core shamanic tradition worldwide is rooted in plants, just as plants are rooted in the earth. This is our connection to the Pachamama, the Mother Earth, which has been severed by religious dogmatism over the last few thousand years in the West and East. Ancient India was shamanic. Vedic texts praise Soma. The ancient Bon tradition of Tibet was shamanic. Soma, the fly agaric mushroom, ephedra, iboga of Africa, the Syrian rue, cannabis of the Middle East and other plants of the Old World were all used as shamanic tools to reach altered states of consciousness.
Peyote, Huachuma (San Pedro), Ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, Morning Glory seeds and other plant teachers of North and South America were and still are used for healing today in the New World. These are facts of history. Not assumptions or theories.
The term shaman comes from Siberia and means healer. Siberian shamanism was nearly destroyed by the Soviet anti-religious repression in the 1930s. But political oppression is not the only reason for the eradication of shamanic cultures. Climatic changes, which can transform a botanical landscape, can also contribute to the loss of ancient knowledge.
In any case, the ancient shamanic tradition of South America has survived aggressive religious suppression and persecution and has reached us in a living form that allows for a direct experience. Unfortunately, many other places have suffered tremendous cultural losses over the centuries and were able to preserve their shamanic tradition only in the form of folklore. Although that may be sufficient to maintain its identity and historical presence, this type of shamanism has lost its power to heal and guide people on their paths. No amount of drumming will provide you with the clarity you need to see and understand yourself. No amount of myths will teach you wisdom. No amount of legends told over and over again have the power to transform your life. All this is interesting but remains in the realm of concepts. Superficial should not be confused with the supernatural.
It is a great cultural mistake to label sacred medicines as drugs. This derogatory and ignorant view must be replaced with the truth.
Plant-teachers are the gateway to the world of Spirit, where healing and guidance are found. Plant medicine is a tool that can easily bypass words, concepts and belief systems – all of which at best can serve as road signs and at worse as gatekeepers. This is why sacred plants are feared and have been suppressed. They democratize consciousness and allow for a direct spiritual connection to Divine. They open up your doors of perception and allow you to stare at yourself and the Universe with fresh and unbiased eyes. This is where you find an abundance of healing energy that is as full of insights as the ocean is full of fish. And this ocean is a neutral water where you can fish with your mind all you want. No one owns it. Dare to enter and claim your place in the Cosmos. Responsible use of psychoactive plants is the rope we can use to pull ourselves out of the quagmire of materialism and the mess we have collectively created as modern humans.
We have to return to nature. But that doesn’t mean that we have to abandon our homes and build huts made of branches. This is just another extreme. A return to nature means opening our hearts and minds to the intuitive learning from plants, which truly are the greatest and oldest teachers of humanity. With their help we find a place within from where we can think clearly and feel deeply. The ability to see inside yourself objectively and honestly brings healing and change.
In this era of information, ignorance is a choice. We may remain asleep to all the madness we see in the world or we can take responsibility for our lives and together try to make a difference.
Please watch our new documentary, The Cure:
Recommended articles by Sergey Baranov:
- What is Shamanic Healing?
- Consciousness in Exile: A Shamanic Perspective
- A.I. and the Synthetic Reality – A Shamanic Perspective
- Psychedelic Spirituality
- Government Is Not Your Friend – It’s Your Employee
- Why Consciousness Expanding Plants Are Feared And Deemed Illegal
- The ‘New World Order’ For Dummies
- From RoboCop to RoboBees – Is This The World You Want To See?
- Between Life and Death: How Peyote Saved My Life in Mexico
- Mescaline: An Ancient Medicine for the Soul
About the author:
Sergey Baranov is the founder of Huachuma Wasi, a healing center in The Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru. He is the author of Path: Seeking Truth In a World of Lies, The Mescaline Confession: Breaking Through the Walls of Delusion and Write Your Zen in 30 Days. Sergey’s passion for life on Earth and its preservation is the driving force behind his work.
You can contact Sergey at www.shamansworld.org.