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Rites of Passage is a unique 3-module course, which delves back into the roots of ritual and sacred ceremony. It will guide participants through the methods in which our ancestors who adhered to a spiritual and shamanic methodology used entheogenic plants and fungi not just for healing but also to connect to the sacred.
Western culture has been stripped of meaningful ritual, more so those directly connected with or in celebration of the sacred. Our current health paradigm is in dire need of a culture shift, a shift from individuation to interrelation a reconciliation of the self to the collective. This is to say that for an individual to truly be able to maintain sustained healing, the society within which they live must also be healed.
I have felt the need to put this course together as I feel there is currently not much available in terms of education that bridges the ancient traditional perspectives on healing with entheogens with the current western approach. Psychedelics are quickly becoming medicalized and are being filtered through a reductionist, clinical therapeutic framework, one which historically has not been culturally inclusive or freely accessible to all. As people begin to experiment for themselves I feel it’s important to provide reflection and acknowledgement in the form of education to the indigenous cultures who have been the stewards of these healing plants and fungi for thousands of years. When looking to these alternative traditional approaches to healing with entheogens we are asked to view our healing through a spiritual lens and this opens avenues for radicalizing our perspective on what it means to heal. The spiritual and shamanic perspective is one that is rooted in spiritual ecology and a holistic, earth based methodology. One that works in reciprocity with nature and all its inhabitants, it is less focused on the individual and sees all of life as part of one ecosystem, aliments are perceived to originate in the energy realms and as such a holistic approach is taken when dealing with the individual in need.
So although we are calling this a ‘psychedelic renaissance’ I am really wanting us to start acknowledging the fact that these medicines have in fact existed for millennia and used successfully by indigenous cultures even also in the West, this aspect of the conversation seems to be diminishing rapidly as these medicines filter into the mainstream.
My course acts as an educational component to assist in the perspective shift that these medicines invite us to adopt. Spotlighting practices and rituals that would be of use to us collectively in these times of unrest and upheaval. It is imperative we start to look to ways of healing that encompass more than just ourselves as individuals, we need frameworks that can assist us in tackling larger systemic, ecological and cultural issues and although the ways of indigenous cultures are years old their models are far more holistic in nature that the reductionist frameworks currently being implemented in our current health paradigm.
I am currently training on a Psychedelic Practitioner program with Synthesis Institute in the Netherlands where we are being educated on a combination of perspectives, the traditional/ancient ways as well as the relatively new clinical track which is being shaped by results from recent clinical trials. This combined with my personal medicine practice facilitating my own healing from childhood trauma, systemic oppression, racism and the resulting complex PTSD, lead me through a working with a potent mix of holistic modalities that lead to a profound spiritual awakening. Healing is not recognized as a spiritual process in the western world due to the reductionist approach science has indoctrinated into us.
Coming to realize that much of our dis-ease steams from the fact that we have lost our connection to the sacred, to our mother earth and to our own humanity. Also I have come to the glaring realization that we are being deceived by this individualistic approach to healing trauma, because healing is a systemic issue. We can not separate trauma from politics, as long as we continue to deny this fact and ignore the origins of trauma we are fighting a losing battle.
So far many of the clinical trials that this new therapeutic model is building a framework around have neglected to include BIPOC and LGBTQ+ peoples which highlights not only the shadow of the industry itself but the fact that this frame work does not serve the majority but a very specific segment of people in the West.
Black and brown communities historically shy away from therapy and lean on community/family or passed down knowledge when working to find methods of healing. Let’s also not neglect the fact that with the current role out of Ketamine through the US, accessibility is also a huge issue and so far marginalized populations that could benefit from them are also being neglected. The current framework is catering for a homogenized demographic, which is predominantly a white, affluent segment of society it does not serve a diverse enough economic, social or cultural demographic. I hope my course provides an antithesis by not only honouring the roots upon which the movement originates but in highlighting the shadow aspects our current health paradigm fails to address in terms of our current perception of what constitutes healing. Reframing our perspective on spiritual growth by understanding the positive ramifications for leaning on an ancestral framework a foundation for working with sacred medicines.
By developing our understanding of the origins of these traditional practises we are better able to ensure we don’t appropriate and instead pay reverence to the medicines and they originate from. Not forgetting that traditional healers are still in existence and perhaps its time that we should be uplifting and supporting the work of elders and healers alive today from these traditional lineages rather than the western institutions that are currently taking the credit for these ancient practises.
There is a huge focus on the monetization of these medicines and less so on the long standing traditions and communities upon which much of this work has stemmed from there needs to be more acknowledgment of the origins of these medicines. Psychedelic companies need to speedily work at diversifying at all levels of their organizations ensuring BIPOC are fairly represented. It is possible to change the Western narrative of this movement but there is no point in having endless discussions about the lack of diversity if companies macro and micro are not putting this into tangible action and praxis. It is actually relatively simple, diversify your team, in larger organizations implementing shifts in their hierarchical structures by asking privileged white members in higher positions to step down to accommodate those from underrepresented demographics. Offer subsidized trainings to facilitate these reconfigurations. Sharing, recommending, supporting and spotlighting the work of BIPOC practitioners, educators, healers and facilitators in the psychedelic community to ensure they gain visibility. Organizations can support by building clear channels of reciprocity towards indigenous and traditional communities where these practises originate by creating funding channels, sponsorships etc. Subsidizing education and diversifying the current frame work to encompass more group/community healing models which would enable better access to psychedelic assisted therapy.
For centuries tribal rites of passage & initiation rituals have acted as vehicles for growth & awakening throughout many diverse cultures around the world. They were used ceremonially as transition from one phase of life to another, they nurture a sense of renewal and remind us of our ever-evolving nature through the journey of life.
People that under go a mental health crisis have no choice but to under go a shift in order to heal so psychedelics serve as a rite of passage which essentially is just a vehicle for their movement from one state of being to another. We can acknowledge that psychedelics can serve to facilitate these huge shifts in mental states as they can be profoundly transformative if supported with thorough/authentic integration.
Rites of passage can be seen as markers in our lives when we are making big changes, shifts or transitions. This can be anything from preparing to get married, becoming a parent, celebrating the recovery from an illness preparing for your passing or marking any sort of special milestone in your life. Sacred medicines assist us in address issues our rational mind might not be able to reach, they help us get to the root of psychological blockages that maybe hindering our path forward as well as assisting us in addressing the shadows contributing to these wounds or blockages. Using sacred medicines as rites of passage mean that they become our vehicles, guides or teachers assisting us in transitioning and preparing for these milestones.
Science has been revealing more data on the fact that our genes hold the physical traits, biological characteristics and memories of our kin, being our parents, grand parents, and great grandparents and beyond. Evidence has been found via epigenetic research that trauma can also be passed down generationally.
So many of us have had our roots severed, have been displaced and bare the on going consequences of generations of displacement, structural oppression, war and colonialism.
We can be liable for their traumas if the resulting karma from their past wounding goes unresolved, we bear the brunt of their pain passed down in our DNA and will continue to do so if we don’t take steps to heal our ancestral lineage.
We can start by delving into our most recent past, our ancestors always have our back, it's our duty to connect with them, glean their wisdom by asking how we can assist in our lifetime to contribute to dismantling and healing the traumas running through our bloodline. The main aspect to remember is remembering our interconnectedness extends to those that came before us.
Ancestral healing can shift generational trauma, which results in our improved well being, improves our relationships, revitalizes our spirit, catalyze cultural shifts, and awaken your consciousness to new realities.
First and foremost it is about working with intentionality, taking these medicines seriously as they are incredibly powerful substances.
There is a reason why certain cultures have used these medicines in specific ways with reverence ceremonially to support connection to their ancestors, the land, spirit and to heal. I feel it's about time we take this information seriously as it is relevant. We need to build bridges and connections not just assume that because indigenous cultures live differently to us we can not benefit or learn from their wisdom and practices, in fact, it's our very ways in the west that have led us to have so many diagnoses in the first place.
These medicines are incredible agents for initiating the activists within us, connecting us with our own sovereignty/autonomy. We need to see them more as aids in assisting and teaching us to live more harmoniously/in equilibrium and not just as inanimate drugs that enable neuroplasticity. We need to acknowledge them for their holistic value. It's staggeringly evident that our reductionist methods are not serving us, all we have to do is look at the current state of the world to know there will be no social change if things carry on as they are. Indigenous cultures not only heal for themselves individually but they do so in union with the land and community, in reciprocity with nature, there is a lot we can learn by looking to ancient ways of healing to build on in our current modern day.
We are disconnected from nature and don't see ourselves as part of it, we have eroded empathy due to huge cultural/social divides and we have developed an apathy at the current state of it all. Many feel powerless and this powerlessness is what leads to our existential angst.
Secondly its important to acknowledge that all people have ancestors and if you dig back far enough into your lineage you will find that people used some form of sacred medicine for healing in some capacity, this could be corn or herbs, sacred ceremony is not exclusive to the use of entheogens but we can apply the same principles and rituals to our psychedelic work. So it is important for us to lean on our individual ancestral practises to find the wisdom in how they honoured not just their individual healing but worked in reciprocity with the earth and their communities. We can find ways via our integration process to give back in some way, If we also begin by asking ourselves the ways in which we can extend our healing onto others we find that burden eases as we also nourish ourselves through this reciprocity.
By learning to cultivate our own personal rituals with integrity & intention, we can learn to pay homage and give respect to ancient ancestral ways without appropriating, instead following our unique path to recover our roots and excavate our own traditions.
*DISCLAIMER: The materials presented by this web site, www.yawntogether.com, are for informational and harm reduction purposes only and are not offered as medical or legal advice as to any particular matter in any particular jurisdiction. No reader should act on the basis of these materials without seeking appropriate professional advice as to the particular facts and applicable law involved.