It is common for a shaman to go through the fires of a trial or initiation with which he is to learn to heal himself before he can begin his healing work with others. This initiation could be equated to going through a life crises, or anything that sends him into the dark depths of his soul. Although the crises can be circumstantial, it can reveal what was already there within. The Shaman learns his way through the darkness so that he can help guide others along in their own healing. He can be assisted with the use of plant medicines which can help him to become more aware of his self and whatever issues he may have buried deep down inside him. They are not a quick fix, are not always pleasant, and are quite different from suppressive effects of what I consider “drugs”. The three most common plant medicines you might hear about in the shamanic world are Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Iboga.
The Doctor and most of the world have a bag of labels and pills ready slap on anyone going through a “tough” time. Some people do have some pretty intense mental illnesses’s which should be handled by specialized professionals, but that is a very small percentage. Most of the world has a hidden crises within them. Some are ticking time bombs. They have buried something down so far that they can be triggered to snap and do something to act out on that energy like hurt other people, or even shoot them with guns and kill them. Others suffer in a silence and develop a cushion of addictions to numb their feelings. One of the most profound medicines you will ever find is that in a moment of difficulty, you do not reach for a bottle or pill. The temptation to escape the issue is strong, but hiding it is the very thing which will draw the shaman away from the completion of his healings. When he is ready he will experience each release to its full intensity.
I myself have eaten peyote in the sweatlodge and tipi meetings countless times over the past year, but I have found for myself lately that the plant medicines aren’t as necessary, and that in time and with increasing awareness they become less needed. Its kind of like moving on to an even greater source of medicine which is hidden within the self. It just takes some time, and a lot of courage. It takes bravery to allow the fires of transformation to burn you alive. Sometimes that’s exactly what it feels like when you go through healing. As much as you want to run away from the feelings you simply allow it to be there and observe it. Nothing to fix. You allow the issue to arise and open up into your awareness. Without putting a time limit on how long it will take, it begins lose its momentum, it loses its pull as it opens up into your space of awareness. You integrate the lesson, and you grow. You become fully alive, and experience the fullness of your being. You experience both joy and sadness, but you find the greatest value in the source of your awareness that experiences those feelings to their fullest, your self. Many of us are going through a shamanic initiation.