Many people are surprised to find that the most challenging part of sitting in a Mushroom Ceremony isn't actually the Ceremony itself. In fact, the majority of the work you will do is before and after the Ceremony. The Ceremony is just a spiritual formality (lol).
I am going to go ahead and assume this is the case regardless of where you are having this experience, but specifically I want to discuss what it's like when you work 1-on-1 in Ceremony with Sacred Heart Medicine Sanctuary.
Before the Ceremony
I have recently had to start booking Ceremonies with the disclaimer of "this list of things are all normal prior to Ceremony, don't cancel because of them, and contact me if you are having trouble moving through them". It's important to remember that when Mushrooms are treated like a Medicine, they are allowed to be Medicine. As such, things in your life that need to be cleared out will promptly be cleared to make room for what's coming. The "universe" immediately conspires to help you heal, move forward and have the best experience possible when working in the Ceremony space. So, when a person signs up to sit in Ceremony with me personally, or sometimes even when someone is coming to train as a Facilitator, a number of things can start to happen. All of these things are part of the healing process and I attribute it to the sheer power of the Medicine.
Fun fact: I didn't require a deposit to sit in Ceremony until just a few months ago. Since people were frequently experiencing one of these things I discuss below, they would sometimes feel a little freaked out and cancel. I find that when a deposit is placed, they have emotionally, energetically and financially committed and therefore cancellation doesn't feel like an option. Turns out that when your only option is to proceed, the choice is easier and acceptance is automatic. In the end, they are *always* glad that they indeed went ahead with the Ceremony.
They feel intense fear. This goes for people sitting in Ceremony, Facilitators who are holding space and it even happened to me early on in this work as the Lead Facilitator. It is natural when our ego (or the persona, or both depending on your beliefs) knows that is about to die. Some version of yourself is always left behind in the process of Medicine work and the more real version of you has the space to step through. This is terrifying on a subconscious level to some and the resistance to that death of self can present as fear. Sometimes the fear is wrapped up in a specific story, such as fear of losing your spouse, fear of losing control, fear of getting arrested, etc. and sometimes it's just generalized fear. Either way, fear is a normal reaction to looking at a part of yourself that has previously gone unacknowledged and unaccepted as well as shedding the persona that was created to keep that shadow locked in it's closet.
Dreams. Many people report having vivid dreams in the weeks that lead up to Ceremony. Sometimes they have childhood memories that have long been tucked away and sometimes it's really intense or emotional spiritual-level dreams. I call those Shamanic dreams. They involve important themes and relationships in our lives that are being broken down or cleared. A lot of times, I share dreams with the person who is coming to sit in Ceremony and I either appear in their dreams or I have coinciding dreams that help support them in whatever thing they are trying to work through. On my end, in the days that lead up to a Ceremony, I often dream about the person's physical ailments that I can assist in healing or I am working with their soul to clear other things. It's a pretty fascinating (and intense) experience. These dream experiences are much more fun that the fear lol.
Psychedelic or spiritual visions. So many people report having psychedelic experiences days before the sit in Ceremony or they start to see spirits or other energy forms. This is another in-your-face experience of having the Medicine visit you to begin it's work. After all, how can you possibly have visions with psychedelic colors without taking anything. *wink*
Illness. This one is not as common on some of the others, but it's worth mentioning. Sometimes, and usually it's right after someone books a Ceremony, they get sick. Their body is literally purging something that no longer serves them and they get a good physical clearing. The physical clearing is more comfortable in the familiarity of your home rather than in the Ceremony itself. Previously, in my experience with participants, they would purge during our Ceremony and it would sometimes take up 2 or more hours to do so. Now when it needs to happen, it happens before we even sit, which is far preferable in my opinion. That way the Ceremony itself can be easier and more enjoyable.
Everything is on the surface. There is triggering and crying and sometimes even borderline psychosis. I know this one sounds intimidating, and I'm not gonna lie, it is. There are even times in the initial consultation that people start crying and they all say the same thing - "I don't know why I'm crying right now!?". That's because you're safe with me, my friend. You are safe to feel your feelings and you need to feel them because you have been avoiding them. It is super common and so normal to feel raw, emotional and all sorts of emotions that are usually easy to tuck away for a later date. But when you make the choice to face yourself in Medicine Ceremony, they all come out to be processed before that facing yourself part can happen. Or even as part of facing yourself if you want to get technical. I recently had one person who requested to cancel the morning of a Ceremony, legitimately considering checking herself into a hospital because she was feeling so many things. We talked about her not working with the Medicine, but merely participating in a Meditation capacity instead. Once she got to the space, she decided to partake in the Ceremony in full and did not regret it at all. I was so proud of her because boy I have been there. And it is hard as fuck. It takes a lot of strength to have all your repressed emotions hit you like a wall and to dive in anyway even though you are scared. She was a brave chick and I could not be more proud. I am happy to be able to share this experience because it's important to know that it does happen and the helpfulness of talking about it with your Facilitator. Sometimes the right thing to do is hold off, and sometimes it's not.
As you can probably see, the time before sitting in Ceremony is often more intense than the Ceremony itself. The clearing that takes place, which happens in so many forms, can be a lot. In fact, some people experience ALL of the things I mention. And some people experience none. However, when people experience a lot of intensity leading up to our date, the Ceremony itself is often just beautiful. It's beyond anything they could imagine. From where I'm sitting, the Ceremony itself tends to be a grounding in and integration of all that has happened leading up to that moment. But that's just life, right?
Rainbows and unicorns. Tears and shaking. Holding hands and cocooning on the couch. Ceremony itself can vary on so many levels, depending on what you need and not on what you want. This blog is not about this part, it's about the before and after.... For some more insight on the Ceremony itself, check out this post.
So this is where the second half of the work starts.
Sitting in Ceremony is many things. It can be a great reset. A clearing. A healing. It can show you an entire review of your life, a few key moments that you've never seen clearly or where your self-defeating core beliefs began. It can show you love and bliss and ego death... and so many other things in between. The important part is what you do with that information.
Nearly everyone I have ever had the pleasure to work with knows what to do moving forward from their Ceremony. Either they have gotten very specific and clear direction of how to move forward or I have. If it's me, I give them clear instructions on how to proceed, if I am provided with such information. Many leave the space with next steps on how to move forward with their life and it is, always, up to them how they move forward or what they choose to do with that information given to them in Ceremony.
You now know you have boundary issues. You have been shown all the ways that you allow other people to violate your boundaries and you need to stand up for yourself and reinforce your boundaries in the workplace or at home. It stems from having a childhood with parents who constantly violated those boundaries. Will this be easy? No. Is this your next step? Absolutely. It turns out that once you have healthy boundaries, other people no longer drain you and you feel more healthy and fulfilled in your life/work. Once you feel that, you are able to move up in your career, people start respecting you and you dodge the burnout you came to Ceremony to address.
You are shown that you have unaddressed trauma with your second grade teacher. She bullied you and embarrassed you in front of the class repeatedly and you have never accepted or moved past it. As a result, you don't have a super healthy relationship with your wife because she is the enemy female figure in your life and you are stuck in this energy that attracts women who control or degrade you, forcing you to relive that trauma over and over again. The Medicine shows you that this needs to be resolved through radical acceptance and love. It is up to you to take the time and effort to cultivate those feelings and release the past fully. Often through acknowledgement and repetitive journal work.
You are shown that you try to control the the outcome of situations and relationships constantly. When you put expectations on everything in your life as it's unfolding, you are not allowing for greater things to come into your awareness or be embraced. Addressing this will take a daily practice of mindfulness, checking in with yourself, catching when you are placing expectations, identifying the core belief behind why this happens and releasing that belief. This is legitimate work that takes persistence, diligence, and time. It may take weeks or months to begin automatically living each moment without placing expectation, but doing so will allow your life to open more fully and allow you to receive what you've been asking for (which you can't see because you are trying to control how it will look!).
Ceremony is an opportunity for the Medicine to show you what you need to see. This is why I think it's so important to have a specific intention, but also an open intention and expectation for Medicine Work in general. You may need help with your depression, but if you need to face or release some childhood trauma first and allow it time to settle into your life, the depression might be #5 on the list of priorities and will indeed resolve itself automatically after you deal with #1-4. The important piece is that you take what you are shown, and you run with it. Not following the instructions or insisting on coming back for more Medicine Work right away is just another form of Spiritual Bypassing.
You most likely don't need to keep coming back to Medicine work. And you certainly don't need 3 Ceremonies in a weekend. You need to fully integrate what you are shown and integrating that information is approximately 40% of the work that you come to Ceremony to do. I do fully support sitting in Ceremony on a regular basis, but with ample time in between these occurrences.
In my experience, Medicine Work is this: 40% Prep, 20% Ceremony, & 40% what you do with it. I can't emphasize enough that Psilocybin Mushrooms don't fix you, they show you how to fix yourself. The rest is up to you.
I saw this picture on the interwebs a few days ago. It seemed fitting lol!