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Shamanic Approaches to Healing Addiction

Shamanic Approaches to Healing Addiction 86

Jonathan Davis, Guest
Waking Times

Are There Other Ways to Deal With Addiction?

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of ancient shamanic medicines, and remarkably one of the most promising uses for them in the modern world is the healing of the destructive relationship we have with their modern cousins: substances of recreation and abuse.

Keep in mind that all of the shamanic medicines listed below have the potential to do harm when facilitated by practitioners who don’t have the appropriate level of training and experience.

The True Purpose of Culture… and Psychoactive Substances

Before the written word existed, knowledge was passed down through culture. In each generation, the vital information learned through life experience that could help ensure survival for future generations was encoded into story, dance, song and ceremony so that the accumulated the wisdom of that generation and all the ancestors before them could be remembered and passed on indefinitely into the future.

In the world we live in today, we may have the written word, but culture seems to have lost its original purpose of carrying information designed to prevent us from losing our way and becoming self-destructive, and potentially even leading ourselves to our own extinction.

One of the most self-destructive aspects of modern ‘culture’ is our relationship with substances that have the ability to alter our consciousness, i.e what we commonly call ‘drugs’.

Long before these self-destructive aspects of modern western culture, there was a long history of knowledge around the use of non-ordinary states.  Psychoactive substances, for almost all of human history, have been used to support the original purpose of culture: to preserve and enhance our ability to survive and thrive in our environment.

Iboga and Ibogaine

The chemical compound found within iboga – ibogaine – has been found to be effective in many cases to completely cure heroin addiction (and other addictions) in a single session.

Iboga is a plant from the equatorial rainforests of West Africa. The most well-known use of this plant comes from The Bwiti tradition in Gabon, where it is used in flood doses for initiation rituals; introducing the initiate to a fully immersive and personal experience of the world of the spirits. This initiation can last for around 72 hours, where the person is in an intense and non-ordinary state. Reports from recipients often describe a strong, loving, masculine presence guiding them through and supporting them as they experience all the pain they have ever caused others – from the perspective of the person who was harmed. This is by no means the only kind of experience, however, it’s common enough to mention. Like all visionary shamanic medicines, the healing is occurring on emotional levels as well as physical. Practitioners claim that the healing also occurs on spiritual levels.

On a neurological level, ibogaine resets the opiate receptors in the brain to the state they were in before the addiction. Though, this is a double-edged sword because, on one hand, it completely removes all craving, but on the other hand it also removes tolerance. Therefore if a person relapses (often due to social reasons), there is a high risk of overdose, if the person was to take what they had come to consider a normal dose.

Ibogaine is illegal in many countries where the war on drugs still continues to escalate. It has been shown to also be effective for other forms of addiction including cocaine and methamphetamines.

Kambo a.k.a. Sapo, or Kampu

The Phyllomedusa Bicolor frog of the Amazon jungle is known as the Giant Monkey Frog for its ability to go anywhere it chooses in the jungle, including high in the canopy, and far from water. It is able to do so due to a secretion that has the two-fold effect of keeping moisture in, and being poisonous to predators. Kambo is also known as the king of the amazon, as predators know to leave it alone and it is, therefore, free to roam where it chooses without interference.

Several tribal groups in the amazon, including the Matsés, use this secretion as an intense purgative to remove parasites, flukes, and anything else that might be obstructing hunters from being at the absolute peak of their capacity to sense and track game.

Kambo could certainly be described as ordeal medicine. Think of the vomiting, sweating, and evacuation that comes with acute food poisoning and then imagine a shamanic jungle technology that causes this natural function to be switched on, on purpose, for about 20-30mins. Kambo is not a visionary medicine and the secretion is not ingested. Small, light burns take the top layer of a person’s skin off so that the frog’s secretion is able to make contact with their nervous system (by being placed on the burns).

Kambo has been effective in assisting with addiction interruption and acceleration of the withdrawal process in a wide variety of addictions, (along with a great many other ailments), according to extensive anecdotal evidence.

On a scientific level, the Kambo secretion apparently contains the highest number of peptides of any substance known to man, and more research is needed to understand it from a modern scientific perspective. It is, however, proven to have powerful analgesic effects.

Kratom

This plant is being used in a method of addiction recovery known as ‘stepping down’. It is itself a mild opioid-containing plant, which is about as addictive as caffeine. People suffering from opiate addiction have experienced rapid success in getting off pharmaceutical and street opiates by switching to kratom, as a way of achieving immediate relief from withdrawal symptoms.

The person first steps down to Kratom to get off the more intensely addictive opiate and then is able to come off the Kratom with little or no problem.

Drug abusers have also long known that they can escape the pain of withdrawal from a substance like crystal meth by switching to opiates like heroin. Meth addicts are also seeing success with healing their addiction by using Kratom in a similar way, which brings the relief they seek, without the continuing harm of further drug abuse.

CBD Oil

Cannabidiol or CBD is derived from cannabis and is useful in helping to rehabilitate the damage to the central nervous system that can come with extended drug abuse, particularly for meth users. Over the past 50 years, CBD has been progressively bred out of recreational strains of cannabis, in order to make room for more of the intoxicant, THC. CBD has many medicinal qualities including being a natural antipsychotic.

An interesting combination being explored is the combination of Kratom for addiction interruption and CBD oil for central nervous system rehabilitation in meth abusers to relieve and heal the extremely raw feelings of nerve sensitivity that can result from meth abuse.

CBD oil is illegal in many territories, despite it not being an intoxicant and having an incredible number of healing qualities already proven by science.

Ayahuasca

An excellent example of the Amazonian visionary plant medicine being used for addiction interruption can be found at the Takiwasi healing center in Peru. Prof. Jaques Mabit accepts addicts for a 9-month program, which combines the use of Ayahuasca and other non-visionary master plants from the amazon, with western psychotherapy and a live-in community environment.

Ayahuasca is used initially to assist the purging process, in order to accelerate and reduce the severity of the withdrawal period. Throughout the program, it is also helpful in allowing the participant to understand the root causes of their addiction and heal past emotional trauma.

While far from perfect, the rate of relapse and re-use is exceptional when compared to modern western rehab methods.

Canadian addiction specialist, Dr. Gabor Mate, has also seen success working with ayahuasca. You can find out more about this in the episode of ‘The Nature of Things with Davis Suzuki’, called ‘The Jungle Prescription’ at the end of this article.

Huachuma and Peyote

Huachuma, sometimes known as the San Pedro cactus, as well as its northern cousin, Peyote, both contain the visionary chemical mescaline. The cultural mecca of Huachuma is the Chavin temple complex in the Peruvian Andes, used in ancient times to allow thousands of participants to attend Huachuma rituals together. Peyote has been a medicine of tribes, such as the Huicholes in Central America who still, to this day, participate in annual pilgrimages into the desert to collect their sacred medicine. Peyote has also migrated north and can be found being used in the Native American Peyote Church.

These medicines are anecdotally known to heal heart and blood pressure problems, along with a wide variety of other ailments. There is also a great deal of success claimed around healing alcoholism, as well as other substance abuse problems.

Psilocybin

There is a good deal of peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that psilocybin is highly effective in breaking nicotine addiction. I would not be surprised if this was the case with other addictive substances as well. A great video from ‘The Atlantic’ on the modern use of psilocybin in clinical trials, at Johns Hopkins, can be found here,

LSD

LSD is a man made substance originally derived from Ergot Fungus, which may well have been the elixir served at the Temple of Eleusis in ancient Greece. The Eleusinian Mysterieswere large scale rituals not dissimilar to those held at the Temple of Chavin in Peru. Initiates included Socrates, Aristotle, and Pythagoras and may have actually had a significant influence on inspiring the founding of western civilization.

While LSD may not be a traditional shamanic medicine, there were those who explored its potential for inducing a non-ordinary state and being used as a healing tool for almost 30 years, before it escaped the lab and was banned in the late 60’s. Remarkably, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was a supporter of LSD as a tool for addiction interruption.

With the ban on scientific research slowly lifting during the 90’s and 00’s, one of its most impressive clinical uses is in the treatment of alcohol addiction.

MDMA

As spoken about in the Uplift article The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection, trauma, and the severance from family and community that it can cause, is very likely the underlying reason for addictive behavior.

While not a shamanic medicine in the traditional sense, MDMA is being trialed extensively in the US for use in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, for people suffering from extreme trauma (PTSD).

The theory is that the MDMA has a mood elevating effect, allowing the participant to go into the traumatic memory and come to emotional completion, without being triggered into an experience of trauma flooding. Trauma flooding is an overwhelming and immersive experience of re-living the event, which itself is traumatic and potentially only compounds the original trauma.

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be helpful in finally releasing the pain and trauma at the root of a person’s addiction. Hopefully, clinical trails will give way to legalized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy by the end of this decade.

Plant-based 5MeO-DMT and Otac, The Sonoran Desert Toad

Arguably the most intense experience a human being can go through, other than their own birth or death, 5MeO-DMT consistently takes the subject into the very deepest states of non-ordinary awareness. This can include the temporary dissolution of personal identity and a sense of return to the oceanic oneness at the essence of all existence.

Participants report having the experience of becoming all of the infinity of existence. Transpersonal psychotherapist and theorist, Prof. Stan Grof suggests that this unitive state of oceanic oneness may be exactly what we are all craving, and may be the underlying desire at the root of all addiction.

Perhaps this state of oneness is where we came from and where we return to, and during the time we exist in this physical reality, we can experience an immense pain of separation from this state of oneness.

5MeO-DMT participants often return with a feeling that this sense of separation causing them pain is actually just an illusion, and that we are in fact always in a state of connection to ‘the source’ or to the infinite unity of all things. This separation may be the original trauma; the original feeling of disconnection discussed in my previous Uplift article ‘The Opposite of Addiction is Connection’.

Perhaps this is a clue as to why crack cocaine addicts, meth addicts, and others have been assisted in abstaining and recovering by working with what is arguably the most intense shamanic medicine of all.

Sweat Lodge

The sweat lodge is one of the earliest known shamanic ceremonies. It is a ritual cleanse which involves literally crawling into a warm, damp, dark womb-like environment and going through the ordeal of intense heat, for usually four rounds that correspond with the four directions, and then having the opportunity to crawl out again renewed.

Pain and intense experiences such as ritual ordeals have the potential to open up a heightened state of neuroplasticity, so if a person wishes to change an unhelpful behavior pattern, an ordeal ritual can be helpful. Addiction is one of the most challenging behavior patterns possible so it may take a series of sweats to rewire our neural pathways, and also sweat out the toxicity of the addictive substance and its associated lifestyle. If medicines that induce psychedelic visions aren’t your cup of tea, then working with a traditional sweat lodge may be a helpful path for you.

Breathwork

Another method of clearing trauma used in shamanic cultures was working with the breath to flood the body and brain with oxygen; triggering a non-ordinary state. This can allow for the rapid re-arrangement of things within our consciousness that have become misaligned, including the release of trauma. In this instance, just as deep breathing can bring the pain of physical injury down from a something like an 8/10 to a 5 or 6/10, so too can the deep breathing of a breathwork ceremony dilute emotional pain. For those who are dubious about the thought of MDMA as a medicine, or those who can’t wait for years for it to become legal, breathwork could be a good avenue for releasing the underlying trauma at the root of the addictive behavior.

How and Why Do These Medicines Work?

One peer reviewed paper at a time, science seems to be proving psychedelic theorist James Kent correct on his hypothesis that psychedelic substances bring about a state of accelerated or enhanced neuroplasticity. This is an important point relating to why ceremonial use is so different to recreational use.  When people take these kinds of substances casually, it seems increasingly likely that they are in a heightened state of being able to rewire their own brain… but towards what exactly? The randomness of a party or festival? On the other hand, a ceremonial setting encourages focused work on a chosen intention which means the neuroplasticity isn’t rewiring ones brain into randomness at best and a tangled mess at worst, it is instead wiring the brain towards a greater state of coherence around the person’s chosen intention for healing or personal growth.

It is my contention that this extends to ordeal medicines such as sweat lodge, vision quest and initiation rituals involving pain.  Consider when the first time you burned yourself on a hot stove.  Pain causes extremely accelerated neuroplaticity, helping it become ‘burned’ into our memory to never make the same mistake again.  I feel it is likely that over the coming years we will see clear evidence to show that indigenous initiations involving ordeals are a technology for bringing about a non-ordinary state and a heightened state of neuroplasticity so that the lore and law of their culture can be passed on and never forgotten.  We may even find that all forms of non-ordinary states bring about varying degrees of enhanced neuroplasticity.

There may be no behaviour pattern more ingrained than substance addiction, so it’s easy to see why non-addictive substances which enhance neuroplasticity may be of benefit.

Drugs are about dulling perception, about addiction and about behavioral repetition. What psychedelics are about is pattern-dissolving experiences of an extraordinarily high or different awareness. They are the exact opposite of drugs. They promote questioning, they promote consciousness, they promote value examinations, they promote the reconstruction of behavioral patterns.
– Terrence Mckenna

A Final Tip

Should you wish to explore any of these options it is important to thoroughly understand the legality of these medicines in the territory in which you live. Travel to another country may be required.

When choosing a practitioner, look for people who are, without any doubt, in service to the good of all instead in service to them self above others. Humility, reverence, and self-discipline are key qualities to seek out. It’s also best to seek references from people who have had similar challenges to you, and have been successfully helped by the practitioner you are considering.

The Nature of Things with David Suzuki – The Jungle Prescription

About the Author

Jonathan Davis is an Australian writer focusing on shamanism and alternate modes of healing.

This article (Shamanic Approaches to Healing Addiction) was originally posted at Uplift Connect, and is reposted here with permission.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A part of a person’s essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan

A part of a person's essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan 87
Photo: pixabay.com

A new method of scanning the human brain has produced amazing results. It turns out that in every person there is a certain part of his essence, which accompanies him all his life from the moment of birth to death.

Scientists believe that this is the core of a person’s self-awareness. It combines memories of the past with fleeting sensations of reality and provides a basis for anticipation of events in the future.

It turned out that a certain part of a person’s consciousness is consistent as they grow older and older.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been interested in the question: can this sense of “personal self” be stable throughout life? A new psychological study with the results of a brain scan made it possible to conclude that a certain part of a person’s consciousness really accompanies him throughout his life.

It is consistent as it gets older and older. Miguel Rubianes, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, says the aim of the study was to answer the question: Are we the same person throughout life? In combination with the results of other studies, scientists have concluded that there is a certain component that remains stable from birth to death.

The other part of consciousness remains susceptible to current changes. The scientists recognized independence as the basis of identity. And every time a person uses the word “I”, he means a thread that connects together all the events and experiences that have occurred in life.

Experience gained over the years changes a person, changes the components of his identity. Each case associated with personal experiences, a broken heart, a successful career step, expected or unexpected failure lead to the fact that a person compares himself to himself before and after these events. It is a neurological programming scheme that involves visual self-knowledge as an indicator of connection with your impressions of yourself.

This effect makes it possible to cope with memories and recognition of information when it is associated, for example, with one’s own photograph of an infant. Although this principle has a lot of evidence, scientists believe that the very mechanism of the brain involved in this remains a mystery.

This study was published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop 88

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes do not notice how time flies past us, what miracles surround us. We do not have time to listen to the rustle of leaves in the wind and we miss those minutes when the crimson moon hangs at the very horizon.

Below are 10 films that reflect the beauty and diversity of our world. You watch such a movie and forget about everything.

Kytice

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

7 fairy tales-ballads based on Czech folklore are filmed colorfully and poetically. 

They endure a time when people were closer to nature, believed in miracles and the spirits of the forest, when the terrible and the beautiful were merged together.

Ashes and snow

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Gregory Colbert’s documentary has no plot, but it attracts with its stunning, unrestrained beauty, reflecting the unity of man with nature.

The film was shot for 13 years in the most exotic corners of our planet: Burma, Ethiopia, India, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Tonga islands and many other picturesque places.

The fountain

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main character Thomas tries to find a cure for his wife Isabelle. Every day she gets worse, and he cannot be near, because he puts experiments in the laboratory. In his soul, love, the desire to be with Isabelle and the desire to extend her life are fighting. 

Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical drama was filmed in vivid colors, despite the fact that the director did not use computer special effects.

Samsara

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful one and a half hour trip to the most amazing places on the planet. 

Director Ron Fricke showed the inextricable connection of all people and events on earth, the cycle of death and birth, the versatility of our world, where beauty coexists with nondescriptness, and the end means the beginning.

The Bear

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The story of a bear cub that lost its mother and nailed to a large wounded bear. Together they have to go through many trials, the worst of which is meeting the hunters. 

The wonderful plot of the film is combined with stunning music that helps you immerse yourself in the world of nature and feel it with your whole body.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The harsh Siberian nature, untouched by man, the majestic Yenisei River and the small village of Bakhta with a simple way of life. 

People live and survive in these parts, rely only on themselves and also ask only themselves. Four seasons – four lifestyles for each of them.

August Rush

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Young musician August Rush does not know his parents, but he really wants to find them and for some reason is sure that if he plays, they will hear and recognize him by his music. 

Mesmerizing music permeates the entire film and works wonders to dispel the evil spell of separation.

Baraka

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

A documentary masterpiece, a philosophical essay accompanied by superb cinematography and music, goes without words. The only and main actor here is life in all its diversity and unity. 

The gaze of a monkey sitting in a hot pond is equal to all the depths of cold space, and the dances of the aborigines are synchronized with the movements of the forest.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful and unhurried philosophical parable about a wheel of time moving into infinity. Each time, with the beginning of a new cycle of rotation, life on earth is renewed, and everyone has the opportunity for a new rebirth. 

The film by Korean director Kim Ki-dook tells about two monks – a teacher and his student – and the obstacles that must be overcome on the way to finding harmony.

Chronos

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main characters of the documentary narration are cultural and historical monuments. 

They absorbed the life of the people who created them, and have remained for centuries as an imprint of bygone eras.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video)

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 89

At present, the Coronavirus epidemic is making a comeback in the mainland. At the same time, anomalies have also appeared in various places, such as meteorites falling from the sky, red “odd lights” in the sky, earthquakes and so on. In Beijing, where the epidemic is in urgency, “three suns” appeared yesterday, which stood high above Beijing for more than two hours, which was very eye-catching.

According to a comprehensive report, at about 9 am on December 29th, a spectacle appeared in the Beijing sky and the “three suns” were reflected at the same time. According to the netizens who filmed the phenomenon, the whole process lasted for about 2 hours starting from around 9 o’clock in the morning. Photographers called it a “bilateral sun” wonder.

The online video shows that there is a faint layer of white clouds in the sky, and a bright big sun is mapped out from behind the white clouds. There are two small suns on both sides. Although the light of the small sun is not as bright as the big sun, the coexistence of three suns is still visible.

A netizen posted:

“Beijing today can see the sunshade on both sides of the city around noon today. In some areas, there is also an arc around the zenith and a very light 46-degree halo. Huairou has an external halo.”

Netizens were on alert:

“Something is going to change.”
“The three suns are still so cold?”
“I always feel that there are so many spectacles this year. Rain, snow, and rainbows ring the zenith rainbow.”
“What’s the sign? Begin to interpret…”
“Great omen.” “Frequent astronomical anomalies in recent years especially recently.”

Since 2020, the Covid epidemic has ravaged the world, and various anomalies have appeared one after another across China, including crows flying all over the sky, some cities being overcasted, extreme thunders in February, tens of thousands of sparrows blocking the way and so on.

At around 6 o’clock in the morning on March 16, the shocking landscape of the “three suns” appeared in the sky in Hulin City, Heilongjiang Province.

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 90
In the early morning of March 16, the shocking landscape of three suns appeared in the sky of Hulin City, Heilongjiang Province. (Weibo picture)

On the morning of March 18, Shenzhen suddenly went dark. On the same day, Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin and other places were hit by strong winds of magnitude 9 to 11, and sand was blown in some areas. The sky in Beijing became muddy yellow, debris was blown into the air, and pedestrians were blown over.

On the same day, the Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace in the western suburbs of Beijing set off a huge wave. The waves were turbulent.

An old man in Beijing said that the rising tide of the Lake in the Summer Palace is a big omen and that China is about to change its route.

On May 21, Beijing went from thunderstorms to heavy rains, and then suddenly dark, day like night, and hail. Some netizens said:

“If there is a omen in the sky, something big must happen, usually a disaster.”

At the end of 2020, meteorites descended from the sky appeared in China , the sky showed pink “exotic light”, earthquakes, “three suns” and other phenomena.

At 7:25 in the morning on December 23, the Qinghai Seismic Network recorded a bolide falling into Nangqian County, Yushu, Qinghai. The video showed that after a loud noise from a distance, a big fireball suddenly struck across the air. Experts said that what fell into Qinghai was “a super meteorite.”

When the meteor fell, a mysterious and strange “pink light” appeared in Delingha, north of Yushu , Qinghai that day , which netizens called the “red moon”.

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 91
Twelve hours after the meteorite fell in the morning in Yushu, Qinghai Province on December 23, a mysterious pink cluster of light appeared in the Delingha area north of Yushu, causing concern. (Video screenshot)

At 7:51 on the 24th, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake occurred in Maduo County, Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai Province, with a focal depth of 7 kilometers.

Many people believe that the earthquake and red light may be related to the bolide in Qinghai.

Recently, epidemics have broken out across China. Not only has Beijing cancelled large-scale mass events, but also all large-scale meetings originally scheduled to be held in Beijing. At the same time, the prevention and control of the epidemic in Beijing has entered a state of emergency.

Some analysts say that there are omens in the sky and changes in the world. Coupled with many disasters in 2020, according to ancient astrological predictions, it indicates that there will be major events in China in the coming year.

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