Mystic in Mexico: Synthesis

peyote raysThis is the last in a series of blogs I wrote about a peyote ceremony. To read from the beginning, click on this link to return to Part I.

My peyote experience occurred last November and yet, I’m still processing much of the information I received. Every time I sit down to meditate on the rising sun or even if the sun has been up for an hour or so, the portal appears after several seconds of concentrating on it. I’m very conscious of the energy at my solar plexus chakra being blocked, but must admit that I began actively working to unblock it only recently. I’ve been meditating and working to release the old stuck energy that I understand now is layers of emotional pain going back generations.

My intention for writing about my peyote experience was not to inspire others to try it or any other mind-altering substances. I personally would not use peyote carelessly and, based on a discussion with the shaman’s assistant, Mario, and further research, I believe that most people do not experience much of anything when it is used outside of the context of a spiritual ceremony with a proper guide.

I struggled with sharing what I learned while under the influence of peyote. I know much of what I related is probably pretty hard for many to believe and I don’t blame you. But I felt compelled to relate some of what I learned of the existence of realities alternative to those that churches, governments and mega-corporations spoon-feed so many of us from cradle to grave. I personally feel as though I’ve spent the last decade working to undo the brainwashing I received under the influence of schools, governments and media for the first several decades of my life. I’m encouraged to learn that there are so many interesting and exciting things about the way the world and our Universe work.

I found it interesting to discover that many anthropologists studying the Huichol and other indigenous people who use peyote in spiritual ceremonies dismiss the resulting visions as culturally induced hallucinations – the result purely of combining psychoactive compounds with religious indoctrination occurring over a person’s lifetime. Anthropologists maintain that people see the Blue Deer because they’ve grown up hearing how it’s the vision that appears as the messenger. I find it interesting then that my first vision was not of some white-bearded, flowing-haired old man sitting on a throne in the clouds. Or Santa Claus! Because my dad took me to the ice rink to play ringette on Sundays instead of dragging me to church. But I didn’t see Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or John Travolta. My first vision was of the head of a blue deer despite not knowing anything about the connection between the Blue Deer and peyote, nor the Huichol interpretation of it. Similarly, how is it that I saw a portal through the sun and the matrix, both visions of which I’ve since learned are spoken of by the Huichol? I’d wager a guess that the same anthropologists who dismissed peyote visions as nothing more than culturally-dictated hallucinations might find it difficult to explain how peyote induced these visions in a whitebread Canadian woman with no prior knowledge. So much of what I learned over the course of that three day period were things I’d never heard of or even imagined. Can what I saw and heard be explained or rationalized scientifically? Perhaps the greater question is why do we so often feel the need to try to explain or disprove the mystical source of such a powerful and illuminating experience?

I’ve come to believe that some things in life cannot be explained. I prefer to leave the mystery of peyote’s power intact and wonder, for all that it taught me about myself and the Universe, if peyote might not be the fabled “Tree of Knowledge.”

Mystic in Mexico Part VI: Light and Dark

3d_dolphin_skyThis is the sixth in a multi-part series. To read from the beginning go HERE. If you’ve read the previous posts, you’ll recall that Part V ended with me lying on a bed doing a chakra cleanse to ground myself. I’d been told by an authoritative voice that my solar plexus chakra is blocked and that surfing will help me to open it.

I breathed in deeply, thankful to hear that surfing was something that would help open my sacral chakra and thereby aid my spiritual development. I’d always intuited that surfing was good for me in ways that go way beyond developing my trapezius muscles. I’d always known surfing can be a deeply spiritual pursuit when approached with that intent, but it was comforting to get confirmation from the voice of Hikuri.

I checked in briefly with my heart chakra and saw its energetic connection to my blocked solar plexus chakra. I vowed to work on opening those important energy channels and then moved on to my throat chakra.

When I checked in with this chakra, it was the same cotton-candy pink I’d observed the sky to be that morning. Normally, the throat chakra is blue though. Nevertheless, its energy was healthy and strong, but I cleansed it by visualizing white light coming down through the top of my head and polishing the pink light. You are directly connected to Sirius through your throat chakra. I understood immediately that the color pink represented Sirius and that my throat chakra was currently glowing pink because at that moment I was intimately connected to Sirius’ energy. You are meant to communicate your experiences with the rest of the world through this chakra.

Throat = Communication

I understood that it is my Purpose in this lifetime to use the gift of communication for the benefit of others and the planet. Sharing my experiences and any insight given me by this energetic connection to a higher wisdom is my dharma. This was not the first time I’d received spiritual confirmation of that, but it was comforting to have it reaffirmed by Hikuri.

My third eye and crown chakras were weakened the same way my heart chakra was and I cleansed them and again vowed to do the work to get the energy in my solar plexus chakra unblocked.

As I lay there, I suddenly felt moved to go swimming in the sea. At that very moment Hikuri piped up again, You need to immerse yourself in the sea to rid yourself of the stagnant energy around your body.

I took a narrow path down the steep embankment to the water’s edge. My head was still buzzing with the energy of Hikuri and the sun’s reflection dazzling off the water’s surface seemed particularly bright after laying with my hands over my eyes for so long. How long? I had no idea. I also have no idea how I ended up in my bathing suit, but I did.

I carefully picked my way around the rocks in the near shore and entered the sea, feeling the warm water envelope my legs in a sensuous caress. A hundred yards or so to the south, a pelican sat on a large rock sticking up out of the water. I felt instant affinity and love for him and thought, “Hello brother Pelican,” and the voice of Hikuri replied, Yes, pelican is your brother. The rock is also your brother. Everything is alive, everything is filled with the energy of the Universe. We are all one because we are all energy.

The reality of that oft used phrase, “We are all one,” descended into my body, into every cell of my being with a power I’d never felt before. It was no longer just a platitude. I knew it to be one of the great Universal Truths.

With the water up to my knees, I plunged headfirst into the water. As I did so, in my mind’s eye, I saw myself as a dolphin, then a Humpback whale, an Orca, on and on through a list of many cetaceans and then finally a Humanoid species that could breathe under water. I saw an underwater city filled with similar people who could communicate telepathically and were technologically and spiritually more advanced than our own society. Atlantis, I thought. I once lived in Atlantis.

Yes, you were once able to spend long periods of time under the water. This is why you need not be afraid when you are held under water by a wave. You have a great capacity to hold your breath and remain calm under water because it has been your home over many lifetimes. You must remember this when you surf. Before you enter the water, especially when the surf is big, you must pause to ask your ocean dwelling brothers and sisters and the sea to protect you. Listen for any messages – they will tell you if you must not enter.

I played in the water, submerging myself to feel the water run over my body. I felt elated and youthful. I watched as Crystal, dressed in a loose white Oaxacan dress, came down to the beach, undressed and joined me in the water. Seeing her comfortable in her nakedness, I got out and removed my bathing suit, and returned to the water again. I told her about the voice I was hearing and the information it was imparting.

“Yes, I could tell you were having a deep experience. I knew you needed to be on your own for a while to let the process continue. Being in the water is good. It will cleanse you and allow you to continue the journey.”

We shared more of our insights and played like children in the water until I felt it was time for me to gather my things and head for home. I felt moved to write down the experience and record the details.

I said goodbye to Crystal, who in parting told me, “Guadalupe blessed your ATV before they left.”

I smiled at what I thought a peculiar thing to do – blessing a four-wheel motorcycle made of metal and plastic – but then I remembered what Hikuri said. We are all energy. I mentally gave thanks and hoped the ATV would take me where I needed to go on the next stage of my journey.

* * * * *

I drove slowly towards home, taking in the colors of the landscape as I went. Everything seemed to glow and vibrate with life-force energy. The warmth of the sun felt good on my arms and back.

Closer to home, I came to a place where the beach widens and huge sand dunes covered in scrub vegetation loom along the western horizon.  Just past a lone house recently built on the beach, I looked up and saw a flock of pelicans circling high in the sky. Their behavior was not normal and I stopped to watch them.

Pelicans normally like to fly in V-formation just above the crest of the waves near shore, using the lift of the updraft coming off the face of waves. They rarely get very far from the water, preferring to rest on rocks surrounded by water or on the beach right next to the sea. These pelicans were flying inland and very high. I’d never seen pelicans flying so high. And they were not flying from Point A to Point B as they normally do either. I watched as they flew in a clockwise circular motion, and then, to my great surprise, turned 180 degrees and flew along the exact same path counterclockwise. The tips of their wings flashed silver in the sunlight. I was astounded! Then they broke formation and a group of five or six of them swooped down and flew directly over my head.

Look at the sun and meditate with us, came the message as they passed by.

I turned the engine off, swung one leg over to sit side-saddle on the ATV and looked again at the sun. The portal was still visible, but the sun was strong now and hurt my eyes, so I closed them. That’s when I heard the ravens calling from their perch on the beach house roof.

I’ve always had an affinity for ravens. I love how intelligent and playful they are. Ravens figure in many of the world’s mythologies, often as a creator and bringer of light, sometimes as a trickster or divulger of secrets. I’ve seen them all over North America – their distribution is vast – but my respect for them was solidified one winter’s day on Baffin Island.

Raven 2I was in the town of Iqaluit working with the federal government to assess the impact of several World War II military dump sites on the local environment. A local colleague and I drove over to one of the dumps so he could show me how they’d fenced the area off to control unwanted waste disposal there. A deep ditch ran between the dump and the access road, its three to four foot depth necessary to accommodate heavy Spring melt water run-off. There, in the dusky light of an Arctic winter day, I watched a flock of ravens playing in the ditch. “Playing” is the only term for what they were doing for it had no evolutionary purpose, no edge of competition. They looked like an energetic gathering of small, feathery children. From where they were gathered at the top of the ditch, they jumped, two at a time, and slid on their backs down the snowy embankment to the bottom. Then back up they would go, using a combination of hopping and flying, to take their place at end of one of two lines where the other ravens stood waiting their turn. Yes, waiting their turn. I couldn’t make this up. The playfulness they displayed, combined with their seeming “polite intelligence,” solidified my fascination and respect for these birds.

I do a pretty mean raven imitation, if I do say so myself. And I like trying to communicate with them. So when the pair on the beach house roof started to call, I listened intently and discovered I could understand them.

You are Raven, they said. You are to be an intermediary between our two worlds. I understood, again on some universal knowledge level, that they meant I contained some spirit of the raven within me. The same way Native Americans describe someone as having “bear” energy or “eagle” power.

While I was contemplating what the raven had said, a dark figure suddenly appeared to my right. I knew instantly that it was Death. I shuddered. And then, Death took my hand.

Return to read Part VII of Mystic in Mexico and discover what Death has in store for Dawn.

Mystic in Mexico Part V: Sirius Wisdom

SiriusThis is the fifth in a multi-part series. To read from the beginning CLICK HERE.

I stood and gazed at the spinning, vibrating portal beckoning me to leave my Earthly bounds and travel to the mysterious world beyond. I felt light, as though my feet were barely touching the ground and I knew all I had to do was relax and accept the invitation and I would be whisked away. But to where? And who would be on the other side? My mind raced with questions as I was gripped by the fear that by entering the portal I would be atomized, cease to exist in my present form, maybe entirely. I pictured my body vaporizing and my life being over. No soul remaining, no new life, just complete nothingness. It struck me then that the invitation to pass through to the other side may have come from a dark force. I shuddered. No, I would not go. I shut my eyes and mentally declined the invitation. When I opened my eyes again a second later, the vision of the perfect wave was gone.

In its place was the scenery as it should be – a gentle bay headed by a line of dark bedrock jutting from the sea’s glassy surface, small waves breaking in the rock-strewn near shore, the sandy, rolling landscape dotted with cacti. Everything was normal, except for the colors. They were still psychedelic. The sea had turned golden and the sky was cotton-candy pink. At its center, the sun continued to rise, continued spinning wildly clockwise, and still looked like the portal vibrating in and out. I couldn’t take my eyes from it and felt its vibration in every cell of my body, which hummed, I thought, at the same frequency. That’s when I noticed five objects or symbols at the center of the portal. They were light grey, but blurred. I could not make out what they were, but I sensed that they held meaning if only I could discern what shape they had. The sun, I realized, was only visible as the outside edge of the orb I was looking at, and there was a second circle inside the sun. The planet Sirius. A chill went through me. Sirius? The planet I’d been drawn to my whole life, I now realized, was connected to our Sun by an energetic portal. My mind quickly understood the connections were not physical, but energetic and that Hikuri was allowing me to see the energetic connection between these two heavenly bodies.

I was becoming aware now that knowledge was being imparted to me in a non-verbal manner. I suddenly “knew” things that I previously had no knowledge of. For example, the fact that Sirius is not only the brightest star we can see from Earth and therefore the “sun” of the night sky, but that it is also the giver of energy to our sun and therefore our entire planet. The God Star, as it were.

GOD = DOG

Something I overhead Ayax say to Mio early in the night came flooding back to me.

“Oh yes,” he said, nodding and looking over at me, “Dawn is definitely a Sirian.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about then, but now I understood. In my minds’ eye I saw a flash of blue atomic particles and understood them to be a Sirian being. I instantly understood that Sirians are not physical beings, but are energetic in nature. Then I saw a cloud of these blue particles entering my soul the day I was born. Within me I carry the energy of a Sirian. Sirians have been sent to Earth to help us. 

This was all a bit much to absorb and as I stood there staring at the sun, trying to comprehend what I was learning, Crystal approached, touched me gently on the shoulder and tilting her head towards the house, softly said, “Come Dawn. We are going to eat something.”

I looked towards where she gestured and saw Guadalupe standing on the side of the hill that led to Crystal and Fernando’s house. He was looking at me and waiting. Mario was next to him, his back to me, busying himself with something. I felt rooted to the ground and reticent to leave the portal. Crystal encouraged me again to come with her. With great effort I pulled my gaze away from the portal and nodded that yes, I would come. Behind her, I saw Guadalupe turn and continue up the hill towards the house.

I turned to collect my things and, as I did, recalled that I’d not checked on the moon since seeing the vision of the perfect wave. I looked where it last hung suspended in the sky over the western hills. It was gone.

*****

I sat in the middle of a large table in the small inviting space of the casita that served as Crystal’s kitchen, as she boiled water for coffee, mixed juice-flavored crystals in water, and prepared a simple meal of quesadillas. My head was buzzing and felt amorphous, like it was full of air and had no solid boundaries. I declined the coffee Crystal offered me. The idea of eating or drinking anything was repulsive.

I wondered at everyone’s behavior. Was I the only one who felt this way, had seen what I’d seen? Guadalupe and Mario sat a few feet away, to my right at the end of the table. Fernando leaned against the frame of a window behind them, his arms crossed, his usual quiet, introspective self. To my left and several feet away stood Ayax, his hands on the edge of the table, words flooding from his mouth like a plague of locusts. He was talking excitedly about a myriad of topics, many of them related to visions had on previous peyote journeys. His voice reverberated in my mind and I had trouble following what he said, nor had I any desire to.

Slowly my energy shifted and I began to feel more grounded. The chatter, eating, and drinking around me seemed to reconnect me to the mundane material world. The coffee smelled good. I pulled myself further out of my trance and asked Crystal for some. As she poured my cup, she turned to Guadalupe and asked him how old he was. “Seventy-one,” he said. All of us reacted with surprise. He didn’t look more than 50. Life as a shaman is good, I thought. He looked shy and embarrassed by the attention and Mario, perhaps sensing this, began telling us what it meant to be a shaman’s assistant and how they’d both felt called to come to Los Cabos to bring their ancient wisdom to the people here. He turned to me and said he could use a translator to help him with the English-speaking expats who were interested in their work. I responded as positively as I could, but my mind was so consumed with the effects of the peyote that I couldn’t focus enough to have a substantive conversation. Guadalupe sat quietly as the rest of the group conversed.

With Ayax’s flurry of chatter on hold between the other discussions, I turned to Guadalupe and told him of my portal vision, the perfect wave and of my sense that I would cease to exist were I to heed the call. He and Mario both listened intently and maintained eye contact as I spoke.

“No,” Guadalupe said, shaking his head gently. “You need not be afraid. That is the portal of wisdom. You will learn much if you cross over to the other side.” He said no more.

A conversation ensued between Mario and Ayax about the portal and what it meant, but I was lost in my own thoughts about what I might have learned had I not been afraid to accept the invitation. To lessen the sting of disappointment, I rationalized that it was not meant to be. Not yet anyway.

Ayax had moved to a vacant chair on my right, chattering away. Each of his words was an irritating poke in my brain. Just as I felt myself getting tense, Crystal appeared at my right elbow again.

“Let’s go outside Dawn,” she said.

Leaving the dimly lit kitchen, I squinted as we entered the intense brightness of the outdoors and I noted it must be mid-morning by now. The chatter of voices faded behind us and I felt my irritation drop away.

Reflecting my own feelings Crystal said, “I couldn’t stand to listen to him for a moment more. I need to be somewhere quiet right now. Don’t you agree?”

I nodded my ascent and she showed me to a little building containing a bedroom and a small bathroom. Crystal suggested I lie down on one of the two twin beds. “The boys are going to the beach. You’ll be left in peace here and can relax.”

At first I resisted the idea of lying down in a strange space, but then realized she was right. I needed to lie down, close my eyes, and “be” with whatever it was that was happening to me.

I lay on my back and relaxed into the softness of the bed.

“Take as much time as you need,” said Crystal as she left the room. I heard her outside ordering her sons to go to the beach and leave me alone.

I took a deep breath and sank further into the sensation of comfort surrounding me. The room was brightly lit, the sun coming in through two large windows on the south side and two doorways located at the room’s east and west ends. I wanted to be in darkness, to have no external stimuli to distract me. I just wanted to “be.”

I gently pressed the heels of both hands on my eyes to block out the sun. To my surprise, the blackness I sought was punctuated with fine iridescent green lights resembling early computer screen displays. The lights were fine, long dashes on a black background, intersected by red and blue iridescent lines.

I thought it was a digital representation of peyote and for some reason that thought was comforting. The vision made me a bit uncomfortable though and I decided I needed to get further centered. So I began doing a chakra cleanse.

As I checked in with my first and second chakras, I realized that I was unusually and acutely aware of the status of my energetic body. I quickly determined my root and sacral chakras were fine. But, as I worked my way up, I realized that the third, my solar plexus chakra, was not.

imagesA voice in my head said, Your solar plexus chakra is blocked. You must open this energy channel if you want your heart to open. I was aware of an “other” quality to the voice. It was not my usual inner voice. No, this was a voice of authority and wisdom. I returned my attention to the chakras and saw two helical energy channels running up and down my body in a figure-eight pattern connecting the solar plexus and heart chakras. The energy coming from both chakras was weak and fuzzy, instead of dense and concentrated like the first two chakras’.

The voice continued, Your solar plexus chakra is weak because of the emotional pain you experienced as a small child. You must heal the child in order to heal your energy center. You must forgive your mother for not giving you the love and affection you craved. You, adult Dawn, must give that inner child the love she needs.

As the words passed through my head I felt the pain and loneliness of the child I had once been rise in my chest, saw myself looking to my parents for something they were incapable of giving me. Mentally, I embraced the child, pulled her onto my lap and soothed her. As I did so, I was overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. I kept my hands pressed to my eyes feeling the tears come slowly at first, but soon I was sobbing and the tears ran so that they collected in pools in the wells of my ears.

I don’t know how long I lay there sobbing, but when I was done, I felt a calmness descend that I’d never felt before. I knew I’d released a significant amount of the negative energy I’d been carrying around with me all my life. The voice now told me that my heart would open when my solar plexus chakra was healed. It went on, Surfing is a good way for you to work with your solar plexus chakra. When you lie on your board to paddle, it is your solar plexus that comes in contact with the board. Your new yellow board is good, yellow is the color for this chakra. Put the solar plexus symbol on your boards, especially those that are not yellow. Riding larger waves is good for you. Facing your fears will help open this chakra as fear is an emotion governed by this chakra.

Any voice that told me to keep surfing, to challenge myself in the surf, was a voice I was willing to heed.

In Part VI of Mystic in Mexico, Hikuri imparts knowledge about Dawn’s past lives and the workings of the Universe.

Mystic in Mexico Part IV: The Portal

Sun PortalThe following post is the fourth in a series. To read from the beginning click here for Part I.

As the night progressed, one by one, people laid down to sleep, but Crystal, Fernando and I remained awake. I sat upright, avoiding the temptation to lie down, knowing it would induce sleep. Each time I felt sleepiness descending upon me, I’d eat another wedge of peyote and the it would lift. I did not experience the nausea some people describe, but I also did not experience any far out visions beyond that first subtle one of the Blue Deer. I’d forgotten my watch at home, but the constellations, as they rose and gradually made their way across the sky accompanied by the bright moon, served as a timepiece. Gradually Orion appeared, followed by Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky.

I have a particular affinity for Orion and Sirius, hailing from when, on still winter nights in my youth, I often lay in the deep snow blanketing our yard to gaze at the night sky. Aside from the Big and Little Dipper, the only constellation I knew was Orion. We’d learned a song in school about Orion and it played over and over in my mind’s soundtrack as I looked skyward. What other thoughts I had lying out there wrapped in my snowsuit, I don’t recall, but even then I knew there was much more to the Universe than my young mind could possibly comprehend.

Orion-in-Oct-1024x805As the night of the peyote ceremony progressed, I grew impatient for sunrise, feeling night would never end. The moon had arced its way across the sky and sat above the western hills behind me, shining down upon us like a huge flashlight. Orion tilted towards the hills laying on his side just above the moon, while faithful Sirius remained, as always, to left of and below his foot. I turned my gaze back to the fire and tried to concentrate on Guadalupe’s chanting. Something told me that sunrise would be a significant time in the ceremony. I bided the time.

After what seemed like another hour, I again looked over my shoulder to check the progress of Orion, Sirius, and the moon in their descent toward the hill. What I saw left me befuddled. Orion and Sirius had disappeared below the hill, but the moon remained in the position I’d last seen it. How could that be? I looked back at the fire, thinking it must be a trick of my vision and Orion and Sirius must still be there. I turned again to check and saw that indeed they were not. I nudged Crystal who sat quietly next to me.

“Did you notice the moon,” I said, gesturing with my head. She shook her head no, so I asked, “Look at where it is now. Please take note and then let’s look again in a while.” She agreed, noted the moon’s position, and we turned our attention back to the fire and Guadalupe’s chanting.

A while later, Crystal got up and left. When she returned, I thought it was a good time to check on the moon, time having been tangibly marked by her departure. I couldn’t believe my eyes! There it sat, in exactly the same place, a short distance from the top of the hills! When I pointed it out to Crystal, she smiled the same mischievous grin that Ayax had exhibited when I mentioned seeing the blue deer.

Finally, the sky began to brighten. As dawn approached, Mario instructed us that we should take our last piece of hikuri. Once again I chewed the strange cactus up into a mash. Having swallowed it, I prepared myself mentally for what I thought would be a sunrise ceremony, but rather than gathering into a circle and chanting as I’d expected, everyone began gathering their things while they chewed their last piece of peyote. Convinced that I needed to see the sun rise, I stubbornly ignored the others and sat cross-legged on my blanket watching the eastern horizon. Every few minutes I looked over my right shoulder to check on the moon, which remained hanging above the hill. I now knew for certain that it hadn’t moved for hours.

As I sat and waited, I remembered that people report seeing a green flash at the instant the sun breaks the horizon, so I focused my attention on the brightest spot, only breaking my glance briefly to check on the moon. The activity of the others around me was getting boisterous – they were talking, gathering their belongings, walking between me and the where the sun would rise. I wondered why they would ignore the most important moment of a new day and tried to stifle my annoyance. Eventually, I felt I had to stand up, or I might be swept up in their activity. So I stood, continuing to stare at the horizon. When the sky got so bright that it became clear dawn was imminent, I decided to ignore the moon and kept my eyes focused eastward.

In a flash of whitish yellow light, the sun suddenly appeared above the sea and the sky filled with an intensity that contrasted sharply with the many hours of darkness I’d just experienced. As it rapidly rose, I began to feel the pull again of the moon and turned my whole body to face it, half expecting it to be gone. But no, there she was hovering in exactly the same position. I turned to look at the sun, then again to the moon. Back and forth I went, conflicted about which body I needed to gaze at. I wanted to combine their energy somehow and felt as though I was a link between the two. After several minutes of trying to look at them both, the sun morphed into a strange rotating silver disk, so I focused my attention on it. Then I realized it was not a disk at all, but a hole, a portal of some sort. Beyond the portal the sky turned golden, the sea became lavender and a perfect right-hand wave broke continuously. Behind the wave rose a steep volcanic mountain covered in lush vegetation. I realized I was being beckoned to pass through the portal to visit the idyllic scene.

Despite feeling incredibly drawn to go ride that perfect wave, a different kind of wave, one of fear rolled through me instead. What would happen on the other side? Where would I go? Was this some cosmic trick? Find out in Part V of Mystic in Mexico: Sirius Wisdom.

Mystic in Mexico Part III: The Blue Deer

Venado AzulThis is the third in a multi-part series. Here is where you’ll find Part I and Part II.

We were then instructed to stand before Guadalupe so that we could be blessed. The sky was dark now, but a soft orange light glowed on the eastern horizon. As Guadalupe blessed the other participants, I kept my eyes on the horizon as the light grew stronger until finally the moon crested. Gradually, it rose to cast a long shaft of soft orange and then yellow light across the sea’s smooth surface. It appeared enormous so close to the horizon, powerful, and surely blessed the occasion with its presence. The full moon happened to be in my astrological sign, Gemini, that night. I watched it rise to the sound of Guadalupe’s soft chanting behind me. Crystal called me when it was my turn and I stood quiet and still in front of Guadalupe as he moved the feathered wand first to my left, then to my right, placed it between my hands as he brought them to my heart. Finally he held it to my forehead. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer for guidance.

Now that we had been blessed, we were permitted to eat our first piece of peyote. Mario had carefully cut a golf ball-sized button into wedges. He showed us how to pick the small prickly hairs off the outside skin before eating it and explained that they made the cactus taste bitter. I imagined they also didn’t feel very good stuck in the roof of your mouth and tongue! I cleaned my piece thoroughly and put it in my mouth. I’d heard that peyote can be so bitter as to make you want to vomit and that some people do indeed. Mario instructed us to chew it down to a pulp before swallowing it. As I did so, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it tasted much better than I’d expected. It was not bitter at all and had a texture and taste a bit like a cucumber, but with fibrous strings mixed into the soft meat. Next I noticed it also had tiny hard pieces in it, like sand particles.  When I’d chewed it down into the texture of baby pablum, I swallowed the pulpy mass down.

It was time to enter the temescal. Crystal invited me to enter first. I removed all my clothing except for my bathing suit and a light cotton sun dress I wore over it. The night air was fresh and humid, the sand soft and cool on my bare feet. The sweat lodge is a low structure constructed from PVC tubing and boughs of a local shrub called Palo de Arco (literally “bowed branch” because, like willow, it is easily bent and shaped into bows). The PVC might seem incongruous, but it is practical. The dome-shaped skeleton of soft branches and plastic tubing is covered with many blankets and tarps all the way to the ground.  The result is a pitch black cocoon-like space that retains the heat and steam of the hot rocks. There is a hole in the ground at the center of the tented space that is about three feet by two feet wide and almost three feet deep. This is where the hot rocks are placed. I squatted down low and, duck-like, entered the lodge where the tarps and blankets were thrown back to create a low doorway.

One by one, my fellow travelers joined me, gradually forming a circle around the pit. Once we were all inside, Crystal asked each of us to say our name and tell the spirit of Hikuri what our intention was for being there that night. One of the participants asked to be helped in his quest to quit drinking. As the other participants spoke, I turned inside to see what intention I carried in my heart. When it was my turn I shared what I’d found there, “I seek knowledge of the spirit world and to open my heart.”

Fernando began to bring in the now white-hot rocks one at a time. As each rock was dropped into the pit, we all chimed, “Bienvenida abuelita! (welcome little grandmother).” As the rocks were placed, I could feel their heat snaking up out of the pit and across my legs. After seven had been delivered, Fernando came back into the lodge with a bucket of water and the door was closed tightly behind him. Crystal took the bucket and after chanting something I didn’t understand, poured the water onto the rocks in a constant slow stream. A strong blast of steam rose and enveloped us. Outside, Guadalupe continued to chant his mysterious prayer songs.

The first thing I noticed was that the steam did not burn the inside of my nose when I inhaled, like it had the first time I participated in the temescal. Others were breathing quickly, as though under stress, but I settled in and felt the heat enter the cells of my body. Crystal began to sing a spiritual song. I closed my eyes and began to move slowly side to side in time to the beat of her song.

Once the steam dissipated, Fernando left the lodge again to move more hot rocks from the fire into the pit. Again, we sang out, “Bienvenida abuelita!” as he dropped the rocks from his shovel blade, one by one into the pit. This time he brought 13 rocks in total and I felt the energy in the small space rise as we all anticipated the stronger heat they would create. Another bucket of water was brought and, once the door was sealed, poured over the rocks. The intensity of the steam was acute, yet I felt remarkably comfortable and hummed along as Crystal sang. Someone began to chant Om and I joined in. Mystified at how comfortable I was, thinking I had not even broken a sweat, I reached up to feel my face only to discover that I was, in fact, sweating profusely.

I guess this is an effect of the peyote, I thought and was grateful that I was more comfortable in the sweat lodge this time around. I closed my eyes and appreciated the feeling of the humid, heavy heat.

At one point I opened my eyes and saw an oblong blue light above our circle. There were two dark spots at the top of the shape, where it was widest and a dark line running vertically down the lower three quarters. I knew it hadn’t been there earlier, but guessed one of the blankets on top of the lodge must have blown back to allow the light of the moon to glow through a blue tarp. But when I listened for the wind, I heard nothing.

When the sweat lodge ceremony was over, we crawled out of the small sandy space one at a time. I removed my dress and, as instructed, poured cool fresh water from a 50 gallon barrel over my head and body to cleanse myself of the toxins I’d just sweated out. The water was quite cool, but I enjoyed the sensation of it washing over my body.

I dried off and put on warm clothes. One by one, we gathered around the fire while Fernando busied himself adding fuel.  Blankets were laid out around the fire to sit or lie on. I joined Crystal on one and wrapped myself in a heavy blanket I’d brought to guard against getting chilled. The heat from the fire felt good and I turned slowly in a circle so it would warm my whole body and help dry my hair.

Guadalupe and Mario remained seated on the white plastic chairs on the South side of the fire pit where they’d been when we entered the lodge. Guadalupe continued to chant quietly and I wondered if he would do it the entire night. We chatted amicably amongst ourselves until I heard Mario telling Mauricio, “Yes, you may take more Hikuri.” I looked to Crystal for guidance. She nodded and said, “Yes, you may take Hikuri as often as you want. Let your intuition guide you.”

Mario added, “It will help you if you find yourself getting tired.”

I took another wedge, cleaned it, and chewed it to a pulp.

Guadalupe paused from his chanting, got up and stretched then. He looked around and asked no one in particular, “How was the temescal?”

Ayax, the cardiologist, replied, “We were visited by the venado azul.” (the blue deer)

I looked at him in surprise and repeated what he’d said, wondering if I’d misunderstood, “Blue deer?”

Guadalupe looked at him intently and replied, “That is an auspicious sign.”

Ayax continued, “Part way through the second round, I saw a line of small blue deer prancing around above the heads of the people across from me.” As he spoke he pointed away from himself and motioned with his hand up and down. “A line of four small deer trotting around the circle.”

Guadalupe said quietly, “El Venado Azul is the messenger. It is a good sign.”

I turned to Ayax and asked, “So it was not the moon shining through one of the tarps that I saw?”

He smiled mischievously at me and asked, “What did you see?”

I described the blue light I’d seen and turned to Crystal to ask her if the moon had shone through the roof of the lodge, but even before she answered, I suddenly realized I’d had a vision of the head of a blue deer.

The Venado Azul is the guide, messenger, and guardian of the sacred land the Huichol call Wirikuta, where the peyote cactus is collected. This spirit deer also symbolizes peyote and their names are sometimes used interchangeably. The Huichol refer to “hunting the blue deer” when they go on pilgrimage to Wirikuta to collect peyote.

I sat and questioned what I’d seen. My mind, the product of years of scientific and western dogma struggled to accept what I knew on a more visceral level to be true. Ayax’s vision was so similar. I felt a wave of understanding pass through me and acceptance of their explanation seemed to make me feel lighter. I felt my chest open and expand as I decided that the vision of the blue deer was a sign that my quest to know Hikuri was not misguided.

In Part IV: The Portal Hikuri extends an invitation to travel to another world. Will I go?