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She got me in the dark garden, around midnight.
I am laying on my belly, on the small concrete wall, eyelids shut, forehead resting on the back of my hands. I recognize Her as the chants of the cicadas become very clear and sharp in my ears. She is waking up slowly inside my brain, coming to life nearly six hours after I drank the tea. This is not a surprise anymore. It is our second encounter; I now know that my body assimilates the chemicals much slower than normal. This is not an unexplainable mysterious phenomenon, but rather one that is chemically explainable.
Today, I accept the Plant’s visit with no fear. I am sure this will make all the difference in my experience. I accept to look at all the ugly things she might show me. About the world and about myself. I accept to listen to her lessons, even if I am not ready to hear them. I know they’ll make their way inside of me anyway. With time, She will achieve Her aims. During a month if needed. Or during a year. Or along my whole life, if it takes that long.
From where I am, laying on the concrete wall, I can hear, clearly and loudly, three distinct soundtracks. A meter away from me, on the terrace, my shaman’s croaky voice is talking with a couple. This duo came to Abadiânia especially for the ritual – the man is the one who helped me breathe during the first ritual in Arraial d’Ajuda. The second soundtrack is a pair of voices coming through my right ear, from the fireplace in the middle of the backyard – it is João and another guy talking – they both also came from Arraial d’Ajuda for tonight’s ritual. The third soundtrack is an acute vibration piercing the calmness of the night: the chant of the cicadas.
I can hear those three soundtracks – these five voices and the insect’s chant –, incredibly distinctly. I hear them separately, as if I would focus my attention on each of them. But also, simultaneously, as if I was witnessing all of them globally. I can listen to, with sharp clarity, all these separate soundtracks at the same time.
Even more strangely, I seem to be hearing those three soundtracks not from inside my brain, but from above. From a space in between, few inches above my head resting on the concrete wall. I rationally know where all those sounds are coming from – the terrace, the fireplace and the bushes. However, they seem to be happening from nowhere. The sounds are not altered by their physical location. They are happening everywhere equally. Or my perception is not altered by distance.
This trip is going to last for a bit. I’d rather get comfortable now. My palms push the concrete half-wall to help my upper body straighten-up. My nose turns to face the obscure garden, lighten by a small fire. I want to look at the sky, look at the trees. I want to observe nature and see the Plant’s beautiful creations. Before I even asked him, my friend João has read my quick gaze towards the fire and started setting up a mattress there with blankets and pillows. He is being so sweet to me, caring and protecting as an older brother. I stand up, step across the concrete small wall and walk towards the fireplace. I sit on my straw mattress in a crossed leg position and stare at the flames.
But quickly, my gaze falls towards the muddy ground. There I notice, running in all directions, many ants. I see each of them very clearly, very distinctly. I can see the details of their dark-brown heads, their two other body parts and their six legs. I see with such accuracy, as if there was a spotlight piercing the black night, lighting up my vision of the scenery. And the more I look at the muddy ground, the more ants I see. At some point, I surprise myself to be observing about twenty insects, focusing on each of them separately, but simultaneously, on a 500-centimeter-square piece of ground. I am having an amazingly precise, but global, vision.
Conscious-unconscious thoughts start occurring.
Ants, I recall, are a very common symbol, widely used to represent the industrialization of society. But ants also represent an unknown, super-organized and maybe underestimated, intelligence.
I watch the men on the terrace. And suddenly, I recognize the importance of sexual energy. I recall teenage. The ignition of sexuality. The first crushes. The excitement. The first disillusions. And the repression that follows. I acknowledge all the repressed feelings of love. From the first one. For the father. And I realize the cruelty of sexual energy. And it’s importance in our development, as humans. How it leads our lives, through separation and union. How we all suffered from it.
My shaman joined João on a wooden bench by the fireplace. They are talking about the Santo Daime ritual, the way it was conducted and how to improve the organization. Then my shaman shows João a new case he purchased to carry the rapé – the tobacco powder we inhale to provoke the purging process and realign our chakras. As I listen to them, I remember this young woman I judged few weeks ago for being cold and superficial, talking about clothes, fitness and nutrition. As I watch the scene by the fire, I remember all those groups of friends I have joined for few months or years, sharing for a while their favorite topics and interests. My new group is all about spirituality, ayahuasca and rapé, which is inhaled anytime we’re at home doing nothing. Every group I gathered with was, in my eyes, better than the previous one. Each group was more evolved, more intelligent, more loving, happier and closer to Truth – in my eyes. But now I understand. Seeing some people more evolved is only another subjective point of view, another lie. There is no evolution. It’s just a shift of interests.
Now I understand. In the end, it doesn’t matter what people are talking about, they are all saying the same thing. Whether we talk about fashion or drugs, careers or travels, we are all aiming for the same thing.
An infinity of sceneries to stage the same search.
An infinity of languages, words and knowledge to decorate the same need.
We all mean the same thing. We all say the same thing. We want to be loved. We want to be healed. This is what we are all saying all the time. In various languages. Love – global love – is the only Truth.
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