Vital Spark Logo

home | about us | forum | search

Expand All | Collapse All

 

Creativty, Healing and Shamanism: Part 4

by Carlisle Bergquist, M.A., Ph.D.c.

A Dynamical Systems Model of exceptional encounters in Brazil.
© 1996 Carlisle Bergquist, MA, Ph.D.c.

The Valley of the Dawn

Phase portrait #2

Since I have described the personal evolution of Amyr through the healing or creative process in considerable detail, this section on the Valley of the Dawn will focus on the ongoing work of the organization. Bifurcation #1 again represents the need of the masses for healing and guidance. Neiva Chaves Zelaya responded first to this need and started the work of the Valley of the Dawn. Now, thousands of individuals who come to the compound for healing represent this need. Likewise, Neiva Chaves Zelaya passed on the invocation to a large group of mediums who have trained at the Valley of the Dawn and carry on the healing work. Phase portrait #2 thus shows the state of the organization, the gestalt, within which the healing mediums will individualize the work.

According to the Valley's description of their work, the collective need was first responded to by a group of spirits who lived in several incarnations. These remote origins as described by the Valley of the Dawn (Sassi, 1990) included; the "Equitumans" who lived near Lake Titicaca 32,000 years ago, the "Tumuchys" who were pyramid builders living 25-30,000 years ago, a people known as the Jaguars who left their imprint on many of the historic cultures of Central and South America and, several Mediterranean cultures wherein Christ appeared. There are also spirits of old black slaves known as the Old Black Men, and Indian spirits "Cacique Seta Branca" or Chief White Arrow and other Indian/White spirits known as "Caboclos" (or "half-breeds") who have committed to relieving the current suffering. Thus, these spirits responded to the collective need and continue their work through Neiva Chaves Zelaya who in turn passed the work to the present mediums. The current healing work allegedly actively involves all these beings.

Phase portrait #3

One must therefore consider all those just mentioned to be part of the evocative attractor shown in phase portrait #2. The mediums repeat this in individual work on each day by allowing their psychic processes to come under the influence of this attractor. Phase portrait #3 shows this involvement. This happens when individual mediums decide to train and use their psychic abilities for this larger work, and is repeated as they work in the healing service.

Phase portrait #4

The mediums allow their consciousness to dissipate and engage in the larger work. This is the unstable state when they have relinquished control of their individual ego structures and are opening up to the larger evocative calling. This is a dangerous state and could likely result in harm to the mediums if other influences were to enter them at this time. Allegedly, the ritual prayers of the group protect the mediums in this fragile state as they incorporate the healing spirits.

An Umbanda ceremony in which we participated in Sao Paulo demonstrated the danger of this open state of consciousness. We moved before the alter in Templo Guaracy to the rhythm of their drums so that we could experience the presence of the spirits. I felt myself starting to spin and lose consciousness. I begin to fall and stopped only by being distracted as my hand struck another next to me. That individual passed out and fell to the floor. I felt a strong force emanating outward from the altar. It would seem that this emanation could effect one negatively without training and the ritual support.

Phase portrait #5

The integrated ego of the mediums dissipates further as shown in phase portrait #5. Even the tie between the individual unconscious and the collective breaks down; information and matter-energy become available from the undifferentiated consciousness. This is a completely open (arguably) "egoless" state. This trance state is the vehicle into which a healing spirit (in this case one of the Old Blackmen or a Caboclo) incorporates. By my earlier definition, undifferentiated consciousness would have no integrated entities if it is undifferentiated; thus, it is the resource from which the healing spirits will draw to redifferentiate the new, or healed, individual upon whom they will work. The state shown in phase portrait #5 is the state in which the mediums remain while they do their work at the Valley of the Dawn. Thus, as individual clients come for treatment the mediums are in the trance state and the following phase portraits (phase portrates #6 -- #8) show the created, or healed, state in the client.

Phase portrait #6

The appearance of the new cyclic attractor (bifurcation #3) in phase portrait #6 represents the transference of healing from the spirit to the individual client who has come to the temple. The incorporating spirit accomplishes this through an embodying medium (apara) and an indoctrinator (doutrinador, another medium who is not in a trance but sits at the healing throne with the embodying medium and the client). According to the First Sun Master Tumuchy Mario Sassi:

The indoctrinator is responsible for everything that happens in the session. He follows up the work of the "Old Black Man" or the "Caboclo," enlightens the patient, indoctrinates the suffering spirit the Old Black Man extracts from the client and assures his satisfaction to the most. (1990)

Thus, bifurcation #3 is the changed state produced in the client during the session. It is a redifferentiation of the consciousness of the client in a healed form.

Phase portrait #7

A greater separation grows between the new attractor (the healed state within the client) and the attractor evoked as the collective need. However, the basins that flow to these attractors extend into the infinite undifferentiated consciousness. Thus, matter-energy and information are still being drawn into the new creation from outside the system as well as from the personal unconscious. Sun Master Sassi describes this process as follows:

After restoration of balance in the patient's vitality, the entity suggests his or her being forwarded to other Temple works, gives him/her advice or encouragement, suggests that he/she return or then presents him/her with some suggestions to balance his or her life. Never, however, does he/she interfere with his or her free will or take any decision for him/her.

After treatment the patient has various alternatives: he/she goes to the 'Cure Room' if he/she is handicapped by some physical disturbance, to 'Induction' if his or her problem be of an economic order, of a purely material situation, or just to the 'Pass Lines' if he/she has no problems of that nature. (1990)

The process just described is the final stage of the healing that occurs through the two mediums described in the previous section but focuses more on the outer life of the client. Thus it is the beginning of verification of the new form in the outside world. Verification includes feedback and, adjustment of the system in this final portion of the healing.

Phase portrait #8

The client, now having received the healing from the spirits through the apara and doutrinador, reintegrates him or herself, and leaves the Temple to return to daily life. Clients internalize the new, healed form and will further verify it in their lives. The Valley of the Dawn doctrine states that their healing work occurs solely on the spiritual level through "the technique of handling and manipulating energies" (Sassi, 1990). Clients may not notice the corrections made in the lives as they occur but, will see them demonstrated and verified in time. Master Sassi summarizes the verification of the healing work saying, "...statements and teachings must be tested and verified individually through the experience of each one, leaving no ground for doubt and uncertainty." Thus, individuals complete the healing cycle as they find their place in life and put the new internalized creation into practice.

Personal Ayahuasca Experience

Phase portrait #2

The appearance of the Santo Daime Doctrine is the cyclic attractor shown in phase portrait #2. The development of the doctrine made my personal healing experience with the Daime or, ayahuasca, at Ceu do Mar possible. The Daime, and the organization that has grown around it, exist to heal. The Daime ostensibly heals on what ever level the individual imbibing it requires. Likewise, practitioners say the Daime is a healing agent for the earth itself helping to bring humankind back into relationship with nature by distributing the healing wisdom of the rainforest. Thus, this need to heal as a collective generates the cyclic attractor in phase portrait #2. The collective need to heal invokes the service of individuals. In the process, the Daime heals these individuals as well. This is accomplished according to Alex Polari de Alverga, Padrinho of the Santo Daime community Ceu do Montanha (Richman, 1990) as follows:

The Daime has a natural relationship to our brain that turns a key and opens a door in our consciousness. On the one hand, it produces certain neurochemical actions based on its molecular properties--its alkaloids. On the other hand, divinities inherent in the component plants help us reintegrate with a system of knowledge that goes back to man's origins. The Daime adjusts and reorients the nerves, meridians, and internal energies that regulate the connections between the mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Therefore, in this personal experience, the existence of the cyclic attractor precedes my encounter with it though it could arguably be framed as a synchronicity of our request to experience Santo Daime and the organization's willingness to provide it. I prefer to think of the appearance of this attractor as when Raimundo Irineu Serra (founder of the Santo Daime Doctrine) received a vision of Our Lady of Conception and, upon her direction, brought Ayahuasca to seekers beyond the indigenous cultures.

Phase portrait #3

The congregation found its way into the temple at Ceu do Mar. There were about 150 people seated along two sides of an open sided tabernacle. The men and women entered the area through separate gateways and sat on opposite sides of the open air tabernacle. Outside, the surrounding hillsides were lush with tropical rainforest vegetation. The air inside was tepid and very comfortable. The men and women seemed relaxed thus abating much of the anxiety I felt about taking Santo Daime for the first time. I had experienced most of the hallucinogenic drugs during the sixties and seventies (like many people in my generation) nevertheless, it had been years ago and I appreciated the feeling of comfort in the room. A rectangular table with several chairs around it and a floral arrangement centered the room. A few minutes later several initiates came in and sat down around the table. A man amongst them rose and welcomed the crowd. He made a special acknowledgment of our presence and then started the ceremony.

Phase portrait #3 shows the personal unconscious opening and being progressively influenced by the cyclic attractor around the collective unconscious. In a similar manner, the ceremony began to draw me in. This process started when every one lined up along several lines marked on the floor. Several people throughout the room began a rhythm with simple shakers as the congregation started chanting hymns. The hymns sounded one after another. People participated with abandon from the very beginning: the feeling of celebration was evident on the faces around the room.

The celebration was infectious. I got up and took my place along one of the lines and began to chant syllables along with the melody since I could not speak the language and did not know the words to the hymns. People moved from side to side in a simple four step dance as the shakers drove the rhythm through the room. I tried to move with the group and rapidly fell into the step. A man came and directed me to move into another line shortly after joining the group. I was unaware until then that these monitors moved through the room arranging people according to height in the lines. They believe that it is important to manage the energy in the room. Thus, they separate the men from the women and arrange individuals by height along the lines. As people entered and left the dance lines these monitors changed people's positions accordingly.

Small green lights illuminated over four small windows at the far end of the room after about 30 minutes of this chanting and moving. People immediately left their positions and formed new lines at each window. The first serving of Santo Daime was dispersed to each individual as the came up to the window. One glass, about the size of an orange juice glass, served everyone. The dispensers seemed to fill the glass to different levels based on the size of the individual being served. My portion nearly filled the glass. I drank it down on two or three swallows. It was thick but not sticky and had a better taste than I had expected. Upon imbibing, I, like the others returned to my seat and waited for the rest of the group to partake. Once served, the shakers again began to play and everyone went back into the dancing and chanting. During this time (I believe as a cumulative result of the sound of the shakers, the chanting and, the dancing) I slowly and progressively altered my consciousness. About 45 minutes after being served the Santo Daime I began to feel its effects. The effects came on gently as if the proceeding ritual had cleared and opened me to receive it.

Phase portrait #4

Time became increasingly hard to measure but I believe we chanted for about an hour when the green lights came on again indicating another serving of Santo Daime. I lined up with the crowd again and awaited my turn. I was clearly feeling the effects of the first dose but they did not yet seem as powerful as I expected. This time after apportioning the Daime, the lights dimmed in the tabernacle and we went into a period of meditation. It is difficult to say the exact moment that Bifurcation #2 took place (as phase portrait #4 indicates) but my conscious relationship with the group was slowly collapsing through the invocation of the collective need to heal, individually and as a group. I believe that the bifurcation occurred when I began seeing images internally.

I found it difficult to speak with my companions as words began to lose meaning and inner materials surfaced from the unconscious. As I closed my eyes and surrender to these thoughts I suddenly saw serpents leaping upward. There were several of them at a time leaping skyward like a geyser of energy and form. Their bodies undulated, spiraling at times with such velocity and force that I could only submit in wonderment and watch them. The serpents were multicolored but, hues of red, yellow, green, black, and white stay in my memory of them. I have since seen drawings by others who have experienced ayahuasca and their images are similar to my own. After what seemed to be several minutes the forms disappeared. A constant streaming of light-energy, somewhat golden in color, replaced them.

The golden light came from somewhere deep inside me and sprang upward without limit showering out like a fountain at some imperceptible zenith. This energy felt familiar, I knew it as Kundalini (Rieker, 1971) which Yogic traditions describe as a two headed serpent that rests in the first chakra at the base of the spine. Gabriel Cousens MD. (1986) writes that Kundalini is thus of two kinds, one that is the life force that wells up from the base of the spine, and a second that enters the human system through the crown chakra. This second form is the descending grace of the Divine. Those who have experienced it sometimes describe the rising energy as having a warmth and the golden hue I had witnessed. They describe the descending Kundalini as a silvery, or bluish white light that feels somewhat cool and tingly. (My later observations would concur with this description as well.) Several minutes passed with this golden fountain shooting upward until another change occurred.

Phase portrait #5

Phase portrait #5 shows a break in the tie between the personal unconscious and the collective need. I propose that this is the final point of dedifferentiation in the personal ego (conscious and unconscious) before redifferentiation occurs. At this point material from the personal unconscious, fragments of consciousness, and material from the undifferentiated consciousness all converge upon the system. Don Laurico, spokesman for the Santo Daime group at Ceu do Mar had told us before the ceremony that Santo Daime was a healer: it works at whatever level healing in needed in an individual whether that be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. He had prepared us for some possible discomfort and assured us that it was all part of the healing process. I felt sorrow welling up inside me. I had hoped to avoid this sorrow. I trusted Don Laurico words so I accepted what was about to follow more heartened than I might have otherwise been for I knew very well what I was about to face. At this point in this essay, I must diverge into some of my personal myth to place the next events in context.

In the fall of 1990 I married a woman whom I had loved for many years. We had been happy. Throughout our relationship we had no more than the usual amount of conflicts two people might encounter. Seven months after the marriage, I met another woman while at a conference who elicited feelings in me of such power that I became paralyzed with confusion. I had not ceased to love my wife so I could not understand how I could fall in love with another. I am extremely loyal and it was not in my nature, or my history, to be deceitful or to "play around" on the side. Thus, after a month of deliberation, I chose to tell my wife about my feelings for the new woman not knowing what the future might hold. I felt compelled to pursue the wonder, passion, and love welling up inside me. My wife, who knew me better than I knew myself at times, realized that I would only tell her this if it were deeply important to me. She graciously agreed that I should pursue my feeling until I knew the truth in my heart. It was an act of great love, compassion, and self-sacrifice on her part, an act that will forever elicit my deepest respect and admiration.

The new relationship blossomed into full romance and for the first few months it seems blessed. Along with sharing many interests we seemed to have a natural rhythm together that bode well for the future. Most amazing of the many attributes of the relationship was the deep closeness and intimacy we shared. This intimacy was something I had received to little of as a child and every embrace was a healing touch. This closeness was at its fullest bloom in lovemaking. I had studied about the sexual ecstasies experienced in Tantric practices and Taoist sexual teachings (Chia & Winn, 1984, Chang, 1977) but, in this relationship it had come to life. The swirling energies, yin/yang, (Blofield, 1965) of the Macrocosmic orbit streamed back and forth between the two of us without our conscious effort. Sexuality became a spiritual practice in its fullest sense as well as a source of caring and sharing. Shakti and Shiva again embraced within our union. (Radhakrishnan & Moore, 1957)

Spiritual practices of all forms however, are not always bliss. The glimpse of ecstasy illuminates the deep reaches of one's psyche and thus requires constant "house cleaning" to maintain insights and spiritual growth. The power of our connection forced many such events in our lives to appear from the shadows. We, and our young relationship, began to meet trials that seasoned relationships often cannot surmount. Unfortunately this created much resentment between us and, though the ecstasy did not dissipate, the problems formed a rift between us. I carried great guilt about leaving my marriage and each shadow that appeared made me question my course of action. I reconsidered my choice but remained unable to deny the power of my feelings. I was unable to go forward, yet equally unable to return to my marriage.

My fears magnified in her and we both began to mirror the dark side within us back and forth. After some time this led to such a state of confusion that my paralysis had turned into a full blown depression. I nearly ended my life on several occasions. I filled with self-disdain. She likewise sank into anguish and eventually turned to another man for solace. Her other relationship continued for sometime without her informing me. I felt the change as surely as I feel the wind but I could never surrender to its possible truth. I felt betrayed beyond words. Finally, convinced of the deception and that I must break away, I too turned to another in the effort to be free of the ongoing intensity. The ecstasy has transformed into commensurate agony. I hated myself and doubted my judgment; I hated her and lost all sense of trust. I hated the other man for coming between us and spoiling our bond. Most of all, I hated that the spiritual sensuality that had been a scared temple between us felt defiled. All these events occurred shortly before my trip to Brazil.

As I submitted to the increasing power of the Santo Daime, the events and likenesses described filled my imagination in graphic detail. I feared this possibility upon taking the Daime but it was far too late to turn from it now. I accepted that I had no choice but to face the images and memories with all their embedded pain as they appeared and find forgiveness. Spirituality was easy in the illumined light of love. Now it required facing the hurt again and putting spiritual thoughts into action. I surrendered and asked for guidance.

As I struggled with the thoughts just mentioned I became aware of a brilliant glow near my head. It was slightly behind, to the right and several inches above. It was as if I could see it with my skull. The light was emerald green with a hint of blue, viscous, and almost liquid in quality. Unlike a transparent emerald it had substance like the lighter shades of malachite. The light bathed the portion of my head that was near it: it was soothing but had no temperature. The light began to penetrate and soon my skull seemed to glow with the emerald light. I somehow knew that this light was a healing light and allowed it to fill my entire body. I sat as if a vessel filled with this light for sometime, then it began to swell upward and outward forming a hemispheric dome with me at its center. I felt the burdens in my heart come to mind and, as they did I washed them in the light asking for healing, asking for forgiveness. It felt as if my requests were being granted yet something remained undone. I had to forgive as well as be forgiven. I had to forgive and ask for healing for those whom I felt had wronged me.

This process continued for nearly an hour as I struggled to bring myself to forgive when I did not want to. Sometime along in this period they served another dose of Santo Daime; I partook and returned to my healing work. I determined that I should form a mental image of each of the individuals involved and bring them into the dome of light. I brought in my girlfriend and washed her in the light. I brought in my now ex-wife and did the same. I thought of others for whom I harbored ill feelings, my former record partners who had in many ways cost me my career in music, one through drug and alcohol use and the other through lies and fraud. I really struggled to mean it when I said "I forgive you" and then washed them in the light. Finally, I realized that I had to "love my enemy" (as the Bible says) and reluctantly I formed a picture of the other man. Hatred welled up in my heart again but I brought him into the dome of light and asked to have the strength to forgive. I struggled but continued until I felt I could forgive him and then pass along the healing light, even to him. I repeated this process several times as I would think of another aspect of my resentments for various people. The light dissipated and then a very dramatic sequence of events began. They compare with Bifurcation #3 in the Dynamical Model.

Continue to Part 5
[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

Carlisle Bergquist is a psychotherapist, psychological researcher and relationship counselor skilled in Psychosynthesis, spiritual emergence and transpersonal issues. Visit his site at www.vantagequest.org/carlisle.htm

Back to Shamanism main page

T

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 1996-2011 RNK Studio (MCS) All rights reserved.