Shaman Journeys into the Dreamtime : An Interview with Juan from Dream Magick journal broadcast groupApril 17, 2020
Juan quickly got my attention – everyone’s attention really – at DreamViews, when he shared with us his story of visiting Peru. There, under the guidance of a shaman, he ingested various plants to work with his dreams. His story was so amazing that I had to learn more. What follows is a part 2 of a 2 part interview where we talk about dieting with plants, Shamanism, out of body experiences, ayahuasca, visions, God, and especially dreams and lucid dreaming.
Your experiences seem specifically related to dreams, lucid dreaming, and the dream-time. What’s your background in regards to lucid dreaming? Is this something you’ve been practicing for awhile?
From the shamanic perspective, all realities are dreamed realities. I think by virtue of being human this is something that we all have been practicing our whole lives, although in most cases we are not aware of the fact that we are dreaming. We think we are really awake.
In lucid dreaming, one is working towards the development of the ability to know when one is dreaming and to also direct and control the dream when that realization occurs.
In the so called waking world, when one attains this degree of lucidity to create reality at will, it is called illumination or enlightenment.
One of the things The Buddha was most famous for saying was in response to a student asking him, “Are you a god?, Are you a master?, Are you enlightened?…..” and The Buddha said, “I am awake.”
The children’s nursery rhyme, “Row your boat” is really universal symbolism saying, “Life is but a dream.” The water represents the subconscious mind and rowing the boat symbolizes the ability to successfully direct the thoughts to create any reality you desire.
On a more personal level, I look at this all and say, whenever I die, I know that I am closer to that time today than I have ever been before. And anyone can say that regardless of what age they are and it would be true. It seems that this really is the dream that I am slowly awakening from because at least I know that it is coming to an end at some point. The more I think about it, this seems less like life, and more like a dress rehearsal for something called life which is about to begin.
In my diet with Chacruna this concept was a recurring theme. There was a dream where I was in the subconscious which was represented by being in the basement of a house where a film crew was busy working, and I was down there with them writing a script. What it really all symbolizes is that over 99.9% of all of the thought processes that are occurring are below the level of objective consciousness and neuroscience confirms this. We may not realize we are creating our realities, but we are.
A lucid dream takes place in an interior realm where there is no time, no space and no gravitation. One of the benefits of the lucid dream is instant gratification. Since there is no friction or gravity, thoughts manifest immediately in front of your eyes. If you can hold your attention there long enough, you know you are dreaming.
In the waking dream (the physical world), we have time, gravitation and friction. Things are moving a lot slower and so in theory it should be a lot easier to control the dream. However, over time, the opposite has proved to be true for most people. We create reality based on whatever we are thinking about the most, but things take a lot longer to manifest. We may focus intently on what we want for a period, but then we have to go to work, or we get distracted when the phone rings, or with anything that causes our attention to shift away from our original focus. The result is that we forget that we are dreaming. Then at some point in the future when what we originally were thinking about manifests on the physical plane we don’t even recognize it because by then our attention is focused on something completely different.
You wrote the following on the Dream Views forum:
“Also the more I study, I see that waking is to sleeping what living is to dying. Death is nothing to be feared because it is just a transition to another state of consciousness.”
I’d like to ask you more on this subject of living and dying. You say that at death you are transcended into another state of consciousness, but what does this mean? Is there anything of the current “you” that moves on – your memories, your likes and dislikes, your wishes, dreams, and desires – or is this transition from one state to another more of an abstract idea, such as the idea that there’s a primordial essence inside all of us – an energy of sorts – that continues to exist once the physical body dies?
I must have typed this wrong on Dream Views. I meant to say that waking is to sleeping what dying is to living because the dying and waking processes are basically the same thing. Every day of our lives really is a complete phase or cycle of existence. Every night when we go to sleep, it is as if we are dying to the day that just ended and in the morning we are waking to a new life.
When you look at how most of humanity treats each other it seems living more closely parallels a person who is asleep or disoriented at best. When you acknowledge all of the division, separation, wars, suffering and violence we read about daily in the headlines, it becomes very debatable that living has anything whatsoever to do with a truly awakened state of consciousness. On the contrary, all of the reports of lucid dreaming, astral travel, out of body and near death experiences are more in harmony with transpersonal states of awareness associated with the truly awakened state which acknowledges the oneness of all beings and universal or cosmic consciousness.
In my studies in magick and mysticism, I recall my teacher saying that the angel of death and the angel of life were in reality the same angel and that he only said one thing, “Wake up!”
This also is the universal symbolism of the door or the stairway. If you look at tarot cards or any of the ancient hieroglyphs you always see a doorway or stairway with the grim reaper in the middle (The Death Card). If you look more closely, in most decks you see a scorpion at the bottom and an eagle at the top. This represents that all forms of life evolve from the lower forms to more highly evolved forms and the door called life and the door called death are the same door. They are two aspects of one process.
The hermetic paths talk about the evolution of the soul as having a cycle of necessity that it goes through. In order to have any experience at all, a soul has to attract to itself a suitable form. So the cycle of necessity is the soul’s journey through all of the various kingdoms from mineral, to vegetable, to plant, to animal and finally to man. Each step in the process allows the evolving soul to have greater experience as it is capable of attracting to itself a more developed form in order to experience greater expression.
Science has proven that all life evolved from one single celled organism which supports this theory. The first question a mystic will ask that a scientist will not, is where did the single celled organism come from? The answer is something science cannot explain since they will not acknowledge a spiritual dimension, although it has been proven. Wherever suitable physical conditions are present there is always an all pervading intelligence present behind the physical dimension which is ready to manifest. I call this God or Deity. Many people call it many different things, but regardless of what we call it, it is all the same thing. Everything existing from minerals, to flowers, to humans, to the air we breathe originated from the same source.
In this process of evolution death is really just the passing from one state of consciousness where the soul (which is also called character, mind or spirit) undergoes a process of assimilation before attracting a more suitable form and passing onto another state of consciousness seeking greater expression. In the case of humans having the death experience, the physical body no longer exists, but the astral body persists and lives to have numerous experiences on the inner plane. In addition to the soul, all of the knowledge acquired through all the previous states of existence and the dominant vibratory rate of the individual at the time of death is retained and determines on what level of the astral plane the soul will reside before passing onto the spiritual plane.
Your experiences blur the line between lucid dreaming and actually traveling out of the body. This is especially evident in the following description in which you write:
“In my one week in the jungle I had numerous lucid and out of body experiences, however I could not believe what happened on the 7th day of the diet. I actually made contact with a spirit doctor! One moment I was in this physical reality and meditating and the next moment I was in another reality or another dimension altogether connecting with this interdimensional being.”
Since you practice lucid dreaming, you know how brilliant the mind is in projecting a 3 dimensional world for you to live and interact within, but which is in fact, a self-contained illusion. In this sense, how do you know that what you feel is an out of body experience is not just a trick of the mind? Furthermore, where are you when you travel of the body? Are you in the ” normal / real / waking world”, or some sort of astral dimension, etc? Also, I was hoping you could speak more about this specific experience. Who was this “spirit doctor” and what happened?
I think all of existence is a trick of the mind…the universal mind. The Kyballion which is a classic hermetic text sums it all up in a couple of phrases. The All is in The Universe and The Universe is in The All, and The Universe is Mental. In plain English, it really says that everything is consciousness. How could there be anything outside of consciousness? But then again, where did consciousness come from? And how did it become aware of itself?
The initiates of ancient Egypt said that “zero equals two”. One really was never considered to be a number because it was the unification of everything existing which contained all numbers and possibilities as a part of the whole. Zero on the other hand, had to equal two because in order for one to exist, something outside of itself had to perceive it. Something cannot come from nothing, so the fact that one existed at all meant that it came from something, not nothing. Therefore, zero equals two. This is the mystery of the divine feminine. It is the most sacred of all mysteries because there always were two. The mind really cannot even comprehend this fully. It is beyond language or description and it is all a self contained illusion. This is also the universal symbolism of the triangle. If you look to nature or anything existing for that matter, you see that it has always taken two seemingly opposite forces to create anything that could be perceived or experienced.
In other words, it really takes two in order to make one.
Everything that could exist does exist and it always has existed. The universe is just an infinite projection of all these possibilities coming into unlimited combinations and being perceived by the universal mind which contains within itself all of the individual minds creating the illusion of duality which we call reality.
A dream, a fantasy, a memory or a thought is really just where attention was focused on one of the infinite possibilities outside of the present moment. The only thing that makes the present moment reality is your undivided attention being focused on it to the exclusion of all of the other infinite possibilities you could have given your attention to and called reality.
Distinguishing between reality, a dream, an out of body state or an astral dimension is all a matter of focus. The lines of separation between the different states exist only in the mind. We talk about the physical plane, the astral plane and the spiritual plane as if they were separate planes of existence, but they are not. Everything is right here, right now. All is one which is a unified whole existing simultaneously.
That being said, within the unified whole, the astral plane or dream world does differ from the physical in the sense that the velocities are moving faster than the speed of light. Time as we know it has stopped, there is no gravity or friction and there is no distance or space. Whatever you think about immediately manifests shifts, an infinite number of experiences can occur in what might be one minute or one hour of physical time, and traveling about occurs by raising or lowering your dominant vibratory rate.
The out of body state differs from the astral or dreamworld in the sense that it is an extension of consciousness to an actual physical location. Walking through walls, reading thoughts, floating up through the ceiling or down through the floor to the basement are easy enough to do, as is being able to influence both people and the physical environment there under the appropriate conditions. You can also contact other spirits, energies or entities who happen to also be occupying the same physical space you have projected to just as easily as you could on the astral plane.
However, if you look at all of this objectively, you see it really is all a play on words for the sake of the mind being able to conceptualize it all. The only limits are within the mind and when you remember that mind is all there ever was or ever will be, it becomes almost incomprehensible.
Everything is within. Quantum physics is now proving that everything is a projection of the mind. Whatever we happen to be perceiving as reality is really a reflection of some inner condition or state which we are tuned in on and projecting outward that is being mirrored back to us. We have preconceived notions as to what reality is and if we access or experience something that does not conform to that definition we need a name for it in order to explain it. But it is all a part of who and what we are. There is nothing outside of the self.
In regards, to the spirit doctor I saw, this occurred during the last ayahuasca ceremony of the Chacruna diet. Normally, after about 45 minutes of drinking ayahuasca, you will begin to see visions, but in this particular ceremony, the visions began within twenty minutes and they were so intense it was more like smoking 5-MEO-DMT than it was to any ayahuasca experience I had ever had previously. It was so overwhelming that I knew I was leaving my physical body, in fact, I could not even feel my body any longer. The visions I had initially closely resembled the aboriginal art that is painted on digeridoos. I could hear all kinds of buzzing and humming and everything was vibrating and pulsating. The best way I can think of to explain this is that normally in an ayahuasca ceremony one may have visions, but this was so powerful that I was the vision. There was a complete dissolution of the physical body and ego and a morphing or merging with another state of being.
My next point of focus was the face of what the shamans of Peru call a “morena” which is not a black or dark energy, but rather a deep brown colored benevolent spirit. I recall sensing a love, warmth and compassion that was beyond the physical plane as I looked into her eyes. I did not need to say a word, because this vibration was so completely harmonious and beautiful that it dissolved any fears or doubts I could have had. I do not know where I was, but I was not in the ceremony house laying on my mattress as I had been just a few moments before. What seemed to be a few minutes later, I awoke as if from a deep sleep on my mattress in the ceremony house. For the next several hours, I lay awake contemplating what had just happened.
Technically the Chacruna diet was over, yet the most powerful experience was still to come. It was the morning of the 7th day when I woke up and we were planning to take the boat back into Iquitos after breakfast. The shaman came in and sat down next to me and begin talking to the group. Since I was the only one in the group who could speak Spanish, I was translating everything he said to the group. He began to explain that the songs he sang during the ceremony were called “icaros”. Icaros are songs that the healing spirits teach the shaman. They are much like a cosmic cell phone. The icaros are the frequency the spirit resides at and when the shaman begins chanting and singing the icaros, the spirits appear in the ceremony for healing. He explained that there was a hierarchy of healing spirits that helped humans to purify themselves and raise their vibratory rate to be able to access more interior spiritual realms. The group of spirits closest to the vibration of humans are called “morenas”. Morenas are always present to assist the humans in their evolution. When the intention on the part of the human is clear and their vibratory rate has been raised through the purification of the diet process, contact with the morenas can be made.
I had not said a word to the shaman about what happened the night before, so this was really blowing my mind!
As the shaman continued talking, he began to tell the story of how his grandfather had been a curandero and he began studying with him when he was only 4 years old. For a period of 10 years, he watched his grandfather prepare all of the various teas and baths for the diet process. When he was 14 years old he had been dieting and studying for 10 years and he was allowed to drink ayahuasca for the first time. He went on to explain how this was his shamanic initiation and since he had already been in a process of preparation and purification for 10 years, many spirits appeared to him in the ceremony.
At this point, I had been translating for about 30 minutes and I began to have trouble maintaining my focus and understanding what the shaman was saying. I thought I was just tired from the night before, which is common the day following a ceremony. I excused myself and let the group know that I just had to lay down for a few moments. I was already laying in a hammock in the ceremony house so I just snuggled under the blanket and closed my eyes. What I saw looked like something from an Alex Grey vision. I was viewing a world of pure vibration and energy. Everything was pulsating, breathing and alive. Everything had eyes, a spirit and consciousness. It was infinite, yet at the same time it was all one thing. Once again, there was a complete dissolution of the physical body and the ego. This was not a vision. I had merged completely with this presence in another world or dimension where both space and time did not exist as they do in the physical realm. There was an immediate deep conviction that this was a connection with plant sentience instead of contact with a spirit being from the night before. There were voices I could hear that sounded like munchkins from The Wizard of Oz movie that were greeting me. Two voices I can recall specifically, said, “Hey Juan! What took you so long?” and “Get in here! We have been waiting for you!”
It seemed like an infinity had passed where I had seen a vision so complete that there was no doubt left as to how my path would progress. I had received a complete transference of consciousness that answered any questions or concerns I could have had. This was a major source of healing that I had been seeking my whole life. I had found a surety and a knowing that resolved the doubt and confusion that had prevented me from taking action in the past. As I was acknowledging all of this information, my senses slowly began to come back. It seemed like the time I had been gone was an entire lifetime if not longer.
The shaman was asking me if I could help him continue translating. I asked how long had I been sleeping and they all looked at me with puzzled looks on their faces. Apparently what I experienced as a lifetime in this visionary state occurred in roughly 20 seconds.
Is God a meaningful concept/idea/entity in your life? How does a shamanistic perspective of God differ from a Western or Monotheistic viewpoint of God?
I believe we are all Gods. The awakening process is really the realization of this. Magickians say, “every man and every woman is a star.” The concept being that every individual is a God with an entire universe inside of them. I cannot conceive of anything existing that does not bear the stamp of deity, so to me all is God. Everything has that spark of divinity within.
Good or bad is not something I can conceive of either. That is another trick of the mind. Everything is what it is based on our relationship to it. If you take the flame of a candle and you say is it good or is it bad? To the child who touches it because he doesn’t know any better, it may burn his hand and the child would draw the conclusion that the flame is bad. But to a hiker stranded in mountains, the same flame is what saves his life so he would say it is good. The flame is just what it is. The good or bad is an illusion of the mind that is created by our relationship to it.
In all of the systems of thought, once a student has read all of the teachings that can be read for the sake of understanding the theory and the foundation for their chosen path, they will ultimately come to the point where they are told if they want to perceive the true mysteries of the universe, or if they want to know God, they must look to nature. The mystics would say, “There is only one book….the book of nature.”
In looking to nature, through observation these truths reveal themselves to the seeker.
As there is nothing outside the self, I find God and all of the answers to be within. This is what some would call the holographic model of the universe. Whatever is within is without. In my experience, the trick has been to learn to see through the heart and not through the eyes. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind tends to believe, but more often than not, what we accept as truth is illusion. Things are not always as they appear. In learning to see through the heart, we can perceive a reality beyond appearances which is the true essence of things. If we look for the divinity within all things that is what we find. But if we look for the fault in others, we find that as well because we are all human.
The saving grace of all of this to me is that the plant teachers dissolve all of these illusions of the mind so that one can rediscover their true multidimensional nature. They truly take us out of the head and into the heart so we can perceive the inner beauty and essence of things. All of the things that have caused the greatest suffering to humanity are products of the mind which do not exist in nature.
There are no money or possessions in nature that are worth fighting for, There is not a board of directors lobbying for special laws and rights for a chosen few, at the expense of the majority, and the trees are not considering pre-emptively striking the flowers because they might one day pose a threat by consuming too much sunshine.
On the contrary, what you find in nature is a specialization of parts as a result of a division of labor that works without deviation for the advancement and evolution of the whole. It is true personal freedoms were sacrificed along the way but only from the standpoint of individual ego or mind which nature sublimated somewhere in the process. The result has been the most harmonious co-existence of life on the planet.
From your report on Dream Views, I see that your experiences in Peru led to many realizations related to your job and working, and changing the nature of your work. What is it that you do for a living and what is it that you want to do to? I see you’ve registered dreammagick.com… is this related to your new career path? In sum, what are you future plans both professionally and spiritually?
Dreammagick is a vision given to me by the plants which is a shamanic approach to lucid dreaming. The concept that there is a physical world that we live in and that there is a also an inner world in which our astral body or soul is living in simultaneously is one of the principles on which occultism is based. The Hermetic saying, “As above, so below” confirms this. When we are awake on the physical plane we seldom realize that we are living another life at the exact same time on the inner plane. When we are dreaming, we may attain a high degree of lucidity in the dream state but we seldom realize simultaneously we are existing on the physical plane. Dreammagick is about awakening in both dreams so that we may re-discover our true multidimensional nature as human beings and discover our true purpose in life. It doesn’t matter if we began to awaken in the waking dream or the sleeping dream. What matters is that we begin to awaken.
There are infinite worlds, but in general, there are three main worlds which are the portal to infinite realms. In psychology, there is the subconscious, the conscious and the superconscious. In magick, it is called the physical, the astral and the mental planes. And shamanism calls it the world of the serpent, the world of the puma and the world of the condor. The yogis call it objective, divine and cosmic consciousness. Just about every system or religion call these three realms or worlds something different, but the process of awakening or enlightenment is the ability to be conscious in all of the realms simultaneously, or at the very least to be able to enter into the different realms individually at will.
When working with sacred plants I have always heard the shamans refer to the experience as the “dream”, or the “dreamtime”. With any of the sacred plants one can attain “illumination in an evening”, (which otherwise would take years if not decades to achieve through more traditional methods). I can’t think of a better definition for this process than “magick”.
I look at the things going on in the world today and I want to be part of the solution that assists in the raising of consciousness on the planet. Buckminster Fuller said , “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
One model for this transformation on a global level is a mass shift of human consciousness to a transpersonal state of awareness, through the use of sacred and medicinal plants.
Prior to this, I worked in the film business for 15 years and although I had money, power and respect, I was miserable. This was an important part of my path as well because it led me to where I am today. Through my work with the plant teachers I finally came to realize what the masters have been saying all along. The answers are within. It was through ayahuasca and the diet process that I found this space within myself for the first time and it changed my life completely. I hope that I can share this with others through writing, speaking and making retreats so that those who may be seeking a similar experience can discover the magick of the plant teachers.