Still getting used to the idea that I can write about these matters so close to my heart and be heard. It feels good! The feedback so far has been wonderful; connections are starting to manifest. Thanks to all who reached out to me since Tuesday and for all the encouragement.
[And by the way, yes, I AM in the new Bob Weir movie - my 0.5 seconds of fame occur right after the one hour mark. (just had to get that out of the way...:)]
I have a bit more from the Forward, as I found my original notes last night:
I am a part of a circle of people who practice walking through life in a sacred way. We believe the Creator is alive in all things, and that everything has its own spirit which is a part of (and not separate from) this creation. We also believe that certain spirits are available on this Earth to help us, to teach us, to help us connect with the divine spirit of God, to instruct us, and to heal us, so that we can be more available to do the work of God here. Many of these spirits to which I refer are found in sacred plant medicines known since before the beginning of recorded history to various indigenous peoples. We in the Western culture have not grown up in these traditional ways, and in fact our culture has a deep fear, mistrust and unease around the concept of altering consciousness. Yet the wisdom and intelligence of these medicines are undeniably finding their way into our Western culture.
To the Western person who has heard the calling to participate in a relationship with these medicines - such as myself - what I have found on the one hand is profound healing, the clearing of generational dysfunctional patters, an expansion of my consciousness and ability to be more fully present, the evolution of my capacity to feel joy, a permanent and evolving lightening of my vibration, and a deeper connection to God. On the other hand I have found deep-seated fear, prejudice, judgment, misunderstanding, suspicion, and misinformation about these medicines. Because they have the power to alter our consciousness, they have been labeled psychoactive or psychedelic drugs, the use of which is a crime (a felony), as these labels classify these sacred medicines as Schedule One controlled substances, the same category as heroin and crack cocaine.
This is, simply put, a grievous error caused by ignorance.
(Some prefer the darker, more conspiratorial view, that this perspective is the result of a deliberate campaign of fear and misinformation designed to keep people from accessing the wisdom and transformation these medicines can engender. Only you can decide which perspective you believe.)
This prejudice and fear become even more pronounced when the subject turns to raising children in these indigenous ways. I once mentioned to an acquaintance that I had taken my daughter to a medicine ceremony, at her request, when she was thirteen. The reaction was extreme, and basically amounted to this person believing that what I had done was child abuse, that I was an unfit mother, and that I was lucky Child Protective Services did not take her away from me. The fear this subject brings up is real, and the danger to parents and families even more so. For me to have taken my children to indigenous plant medicine ceremonies and allowed them to take the medicine if they wanted to was for me to risk our very lives together. And yet this is my spiritual path, as it is for thousands upon thousands of others.
This book is intended to create a dialogue, to offer a different perspective, and to hopefully shed some light on the use of these sacred medicines in the context of families. May our children be medicine for us and for the world. May we always have the freedom to express our true spirituality. May it be so.
Some helpful definitions (from http://www.merriam-webster.com):
2. the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease; the branch of medicine concerned with the nonsurgical treatment of disease, 3. a substance (as a drug or potion) used to treat something other than disease, 4. an object held in traditional American Indian belief to give control over natural or magical forces; also : magical power or a magical rite.
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1) : a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary (2) : a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease (3) : a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body (4) : a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device , 2. a commodity that is not salable or for which there is no demand —used in the phrase drug on the market, 3. something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness
1 My definitions
Medicine: Something you take to get better from what ails you, to consciously cure yourself. Using medicines requires effort. I also like Webster's "Something that affects well-being."
Drug: Something you take to escape, to numb, to get away from your self - from stress, from pain, from symptoms. Using drugs requires minimal effort, like taking a pill.
I think starting here with these definitions is important, because in this country we condone drug use on a regular basis - pharmaceutical drugs, that is. We also socially accept the use of alcohol, which is a drug and which alters consciousness, despite the overwhelming evidence of the harm and death it causes. People use the terms 'medicine' and 'drug' interchangeably: this is the medicine I need, please go to the drug store to get my prescription drugs, etc. I will have more information of a statistical nature in my next post, but I am sure most of us are familiar with the fact that American children are among the most highly medicated (ie. drugged) children in the world. How can we as a country justify this nation-wide pandemic while at the same time condemning and outlawing the use of naturally occurring plant medicines among conscious, spiritually-oriented people and their families?
I also think it worth mentioning, under Webster's 3rd definition of medicine: (a medicine is) "a substance (as a drug or potion) used to treat something other than disease." The sacred indigenous plant medicines do just that. They treat the soul; they help the ego to dissolve, illuminating the oneness beneath the illusion of separation. They connect us to the essence, to the sacred, allowing what is not that to fall away. They help us to be better: better people, better parents, better children. What a gift.