Alex Grey Artwork Sacred Mirrors

Alex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953, the middle child of a gentle middle-class couple. His father, a graphic designer, encouraged his son’s drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighbourhood and bury them in the back garden. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture.

At the Boston Museum School – which he attended for a year – he met his future wife, the artist, Allyson Rymland Grey. During this period he had a series of entheogenically induced mystical experiences that transformed his agnostic existentialism to a radical transcendentalism.

Alex also spent 5 years at Harvard Medical School working in the Anatomy department studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also worked at Harvard’s department of Mind/Body Medicine with Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Joan Borysenko conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies. Alex’s anatomical training prepared him for painting the Sacred Mirrors – a unique series of 21 life-size paintings – and for doing medical illustration. When doctors saw his Sacred Mirrors, they asked him to do illustration work.

Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for 10 years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with his wife Allyson at The Open Center in New York City, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.

In 1972 Grey began a series of art actions that bear resemblance to rites of passage, in that they present stages of a developing psyche. The approx. 50 performance rites, conducted over the last 30 years move through transformations from an egocentric to more sociocentric and increasingly worldcentric and theocentric identity. The most recent performance was WorldSpirit, a spoken word and musical collaboration with Kenji Williams which was released in 2004 as a DVD.

The Sacred Mirrors series, take the viewer on a journey toward their own divine nature by examining, in detail, the body, mind and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. Begun in 1979, the series took 10 years to complete. It was during this period that he developed his depictions of the human body that “x-ray” the multiple layers of reality and reveal the interplay of anatomical and spiritual forces. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth, nursing and dying. Alex’s recent work has explored the subject of consciousness from the perspective of “universal beings” whose bodies are grids of fire, eyes and infinite galactic swirls.

To find out more and to purchase Alex Grey’s products click HERE or browse below…

Aldous Huxley Doors Of Perception

Aldous Huxley was born on 26th July 1894 near Godalming, Surrey. He introduces the thought that spiritual insight and personal revelation can also be achieved through the use of hallucinogens.

In the presence of an investigator/interviewer Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescaline in 1953. He sat down waiting to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything was transformed. Huxley described his experience in “The Doors of Perception” and its sequel “Heaven and Hell”.

Aldous Huxley died in California on 22nd November 1963.

Recommended reading: This book is considered to be one of the more profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs and what they teach about how the mind works.

Alchemy Shamanism Organic Food And The Doctrine Of Signatures

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

The 16th century alchemist and philosopher, Paracelsus, introduced in his treatise the Doctrine of Signatures, the concept that the Creator has placed his seal on plants to indicate their medicinal uses.

Underlying Paracelsus’ treatise was the premise that nature was itself a living organism, which must be considered an expression of “the One Life”, and that man and the universe are the same in their essential nature.

The 16th century alchemist and philosopher, Paracelsus, introduced in his treatise the Doctrine of Signatures, the concept that the Creator has placed his seal on plants to indicate their medicinal uses.

In this book of nature, Paracelsus noticed how the qualities of plants so often reflected their appearance – that the seeds of skullcap, for example, resemble small skulls and, it transpires, are effective at curing headache. Similarly, the hollow stalk of garlic resembles the windpipe and it is used for throat and bronchial problems. By the same token, willow grows in damp places and will heal rheumatic conditions.

Because of this, Paracelsus held that the inner nature of plants may be discovered by their outer forms or ‘signatures’. He applied this principle to food as well as medicine, remarking that “it is not in the quantity of food but in its quality that resides the Spirit of Life” – a belief familiar to those who choose to eat organic food and share the common concern over Genetically Modified substitutes that they lack ‘life force’, or spirit. According to Paracelsus, then, the appearance of a plant is the gateway to its spirit or consciousness

Shamans recognise the spiritual powers and qualities of plants in many ways: the colours of the flowers, their perfumes, the shape and form of their leaves, where they are growing and in what ways, the moods they evoke, and the wider geographical, cultural, or mythological landscapes they occupy

The doctrine of signatures treatise is not something known by indigenous shamans, but they understand the principles behind it well enough, that nature has spirit and communicates with us. These principles are not regarded as fanciful at all, but so important that they can save lives.

I discovered how the doctrine of signatures operates in the Amazon, for example, during my experiences with the Jergon Sacha plant.

Jergon Sacha (Dracontium peruviuanum)

My first exposure to this plant came about quite accidentally, when one day walking through the rainforest studying the properties of the plants, the maestro Javier queried why I always walked around with a machete. I jokingly replied “it’s against anacondas!”. He paused in thought for a moment and beckoned for me to follow him, a few minutes later we came across this tall-stemmed plant. He proceeded to cut it down and then whip me around the body paying attention to my legs and the soles of my feet… He then said “no more problems, you are protected against snakes”. I asked him why this plant was used in this way, and he indicated the pattern on the stem, which looks identical to the snakes in the forest. Later as I started to investigate this plant even more, I discovered some interesting correspondences; this is a plant, which is widely used as an antidote against snakebite venom in the Amazon.

This is accordance with the ‘doctrine of signatures’ concept. This doctrine is at the heart of homeopathy, folk medicine, and plant shamanism. The doctrine was revealed by the great alchemist and physician Paracelsus who lived in the 16th Century. The underlying principle was that the healing properties of the plant are not only in the outer ‘physical’ form, but also in their inner or spiritual nature. The Doctrine of Signatures holds that this inner nature can be revealed by its outer physical form or signatures. This plant is a clear demonstration of the outer form indicating the inner qualities. It’s use is directly related to it’s physical appearance, the patterns on the tall stem closely resembles the skin patterns of the highly venomous pit viper known as ‘Bushmaster’ or Jararaca which is indigenous to the Amazon.

The large tuber of the plant is a well-known and highly effective antidote for the bite of venomous snakes. The tuber is chopped up, and immersed in cold water and then drunk. Also the chopped tuber is placed in a banana leaf and used as a poultice, which is wrapped around the bite area. These procedures are repeated every few hours. Of course the deal here is that it works, and as it not possible to store anti-venom vaccines in the rainforest without refrigeration, this plant has exceptional life-saving importance.

Mocura / Mucura Petivera Alliacea

This plant can be taken orally or used in floral baths to raise energy, or take you out of a saladera (a run of bad luck, inertia, sense of not living to the full). Gives mental strength and you can feel its effects as also with Ajo Sacha, both are varieties of ‘false’ garlic and have a penetrating aroma.

One of its qualities is that on a personal psychological level it can boost one’s strength. For example it is considered good in countering shyness, and can strengthen one’s own sense of personal value and authority. One of its properties is to help people overcome ‘irrational’ fears & fearful memories

Medicinal properties include asthma, bronchitis, reduction of fat and cholesterol. This plant grows widely in the lower Amazon, and it is used widely in purification (floral baths).

Piñon Colorado Jatropha gossypifoilio

Has short-lived effect after drinking but helps lucid dreaming later on when you go to bed. Can be used as a planta maestra and it is a plant that maestros can take when being during their initiation. Can also take with tobacco.

The plant’s properties on the physical level relate to problems such as, burns, swellings, intestinal parasites, Insect bites and stings, vaginal infections, and bronchitis. It is possible to take the resin which is much stronger but toxic if too much ingested. The resin can be applied directly to the skin.

Piri-piri, (Cyperaceae)

Native people throughout the Amazon cultivate numerous varieties of medicinal sedges to treat a wide range of health problems, the native peoples for example, use sedge roots to treat headaches, fevers, cramps, dysentery and wounds as well as to ease childbirth. Special sedge varieties are cultivated by Shipiba women to improve their skill weaving and to protect their babies from illness.

Teresa a Shipiba craftswoman who joins us on our Amazon Retreats, told me that it is customary when the girls are very young for their mothers to squeeze a few drops of the ‘piri piri’ seed sap into their eyes in order to give their daughters the ability to have visions of the designs that she will make throughout her life.

The men cultivate special sedges to improve their hunting. Since the plant is used for such a wide range of conditions, it was once dismissed as being mere superstition. Pharmacological research has revealed the presence of ergot alkaloids, which are known to have diverse effects on the body from stimulation of the nervous system to constriction of blood vessels. These alkaloids are responsible for the wide range of medicinal uses. Apparently the ergot alkaloids come not from the plant itself but from a fungus that infects the plant.

Chanca piedra “Stone Breaker” (Phyllanthus Niruri)

This is a hybrid name “chanca” meaning “to break” in Quechua and “piedra” meaning “stone” in Spanish. This herb from the Amazon has been used by the indigenous peoples of the Rainforest for generations as an effective remedy to eliminate gall, and kidney stones. The plant has demonstrated its effectiveness against many illnesses including, kidney problems, urinary problems, colic, dysentery, jaundice and numerous other conditions. This herb has become widely used in South America as the herbal remedy for gall and kidney stones, and can typically be bought in capsule or leaf form from many stores. This plant is used only for its pharmaceutical properties, and is not a planta maestra. As a note, this plant is also starting to become known in Western Medical circles, as when I brought some back for my mother to help her with her kidney stones, her doctor was apparently familiar with this herb, but he still didn’t want her to use it due to possible contra-indications with the prescribed pharmaceutical medicine.

Reflections.

On reflection plant medicine is totally different than pharmaceutical medication which only affects one whilst it is being taken; these kinds of plant medicines seem to have a permanent effect in some way metaphorical or otherwise altering one’s consciousness or “DNA”. Paracelus, is still a source of inspiration to all those who work with the healing properties of herbs, and the plants.

One of the great revelations that we can experience in working with the plant spirit or consciousness is that we are not separate from the natural world. In our culture we perceive ourselves to be separate beings with our minds firmly embedded within our physical being (typically our head). The plants can show you that this way of being is an illusion and that we are all connected, all of us and everything else is a discrete element in the great universal field of consciousness or spirit.

Related link: The Attributes of Plants, and the Spirit of Life – a Shaman’s Perspective

Howard G. Charing is a partner in Eagle’s Wing Centre for Contemporary Shamanism. His initiation into the world of Shamanism was sudden, which was caused by a serious accident, which resulted in severe injuries and a near-death experience. After many months of physical pain and disability, he had a transformational experience, which started him on a path to healing. If you like to know more about his work, Howard conducts “Plant Spirit Medicine” journeys to the Amazon Rainforest.

Albert Hofmann Father Of Lsd Dead

Posted by Ina Woolcott

Dr. Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, and the man who launched a thousand trips died age102 on the 29th April 2008. I wish we would have gone to Basel this year now – ironically we did say that we should go this year as it nay be the last time we see Albert Hoffman, who first synthesized the drug in 1938 and then learned of its hallucinatory effects 5 years later, after accidentally ingesting it.

Dr. Hofmann called LSD ‘Medicine for the Soul, and although he took LSD hundreds of times, he saw it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. The pleasures of the psychedelic experience were unimportant to him, rather it was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as an almost religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life. His love for life can be seen clearly in his face no matter what age. You can clearly see his loving soul shine through.

According to Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Dr Hofmann died of a heart attack at his home in Basel, in a statement posted on the association’s website.

African Shaman Malidoma Patrice Som On Shamanism

THIS IS IMPORTANT: AN AFRICAN SHAMAN SPEAKS TO THE WORLD!

Posted By Ina Woolcott

Malidoma Patrice Somé was kidnapped at 4 years old by French Jesuit missionaries, raised in their boarding school, and given a Western education. The missionaries were attempting to convert and train a legion of black Africans who might go back to their tribes and bring them to Christianity. He did not escape the missionary school until he was 20, by which time he had forgotten his native language, having been forbidden to speak it by the Jesuits. To be able to communicate with his people, he underwent a process of ‘relearning’. He took part in a month long Dagara initiation process. The Dagara believe we are all born with a destiny, and given a name that reflects that destiny. Malidoma means friend of the enemy. Malidoma believes it is his destiny to come to a western audience in friendship and tell them about his experience of being torn away from his people by westerners. His book, Of Water and the Spirit, is really an autobiography, and his attempt to describe his experiences. His life in the Jesuit school was not a pleasant experience – he describes it as a jail, he was repeatedly sexually abused by the priests there. Since returning to the Dagara, Malidoma has been initiated into the rank of elder within the tribe.

Malidoma holds 3 Master’s degrees and 2 doctorates from the Sorbonne and Brandeis University. He has taught at the University of Michigan. He conducts seminars and retreats in Oregon and throughout the world.

The words in the video are written by Malidoma Patrice Somé, and are read by Reid Baer.

‘Ritual is the most functional means by which archetypal energies are dealt with – indigenous people have been aware of that for eons. Ritual facilitates, and provides us with, a unique channel to access higher power. Certain issues don’t want to be resolved mechanistically. We don’t have to know how the power works, we just have to show up and let the higher forces deal with the issues. The trap we feel inside ourselves is removed once we enter into sacred space. The energies know how to push obstacles out.’

Maldioma’s website: : Malidoma.com

To purchase Malidomas book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, click below.

A Look Through The Circle Opening Of The Fabric In Our Dreams

Submitted by Anonymous

My Husband has always been a hunter. For a long time, I was envious of this passion of his and jealous of the time he took away from me. One morning, before light, as my Husband left to go on a hunt, I made a conscious decision to give him “as he put it” my blessing and wish him luck and hugged him. I went back to bed. Continue reading A Look Through The Circle Opening Of The Fabric In Our Dreams