Saturday, 21 April 2018

Book Review: Shamanic Healing; Traditional Medicine for the Modern World By Itzhak Beery

This book review first appeared in New Dawn issue 166, January-February 2018. © Brett Lothian

Book Review:
Shamanic Healing; Traditional Medicine for the Modern World.
By Itzhak Beery

In this outstanding new book on Shamanic Healing, the author Itzhak Beery takes us upon his fantastic and deeply personal journey into the heart of South American traditional medicine and importantly shows us how we can incorporate this into our increasingly disconnected modern world. Drawing upon his over twenty years of experience including being initiated into the Circle of Twenty Four Yachaks by his Quechua teacher in Ecuador and into the healing tradition of his Amazonian Kanamari PajƩ (shaman) teacher in Brazil, the author is uniquely qualified to bring the message of traditional Shamanic Healing to the greater modern world in this truly excellent book.

In the introduction to this book the author expertly explains the urgent need for the ancient traditional healing methodologies like Shamanism to supplement and be offered in tandem with our modern western medicine, to create a truly holistic and integrated healing approach. All too often western medicine attempts to treat the symptoms of disease without getting to the root causes (which are often psychological) and that is where traditional methods like Shamanism come to the fore. By being able to diagnose the root cause and not just the disease, the traditional Shaman is needed now more than ever in our ever more stressful and insane modern way of life.

Following on from this the author takes us back to where it all began for him on the Shamanic path, right through his over twenty years of experience living and working with his teachers in both Ecuador and Brazil in what is a fascinating tale of healing and understanding. Delving into the many and varied aspects of these traditional healing methodologies, Itzhak Beery shows us from personal experience an entirely different way of seeing the world and our place in it, from a perspective that the modern world left behind long ago, much to our detriment.

Chapter 2 explains for the reader just what exactly Shamanic Healing is from the perspective of the South American knowledge and healing systems, who can become a shaman and just what it takes if you have been called upon this path. Importantly the author delves into some the darker areas of Shamanism that is often ignored by western writers such as evil spirits and possession, including personal tales of encountering the dark side of Shamanism.

Chapter 3 outlines step by step instructions on numerous healing methods, ceremonies and techniques, including diagnostic and divinatory readings, much needed protection techniques and additional healing methods to aid the modern Shaman in their work. Whilst this will never replace actually being there and learning first hand from our traditional elders, it gives the reader an understanding of the forces at work and how to safely conduct oneself in the mystical realm of the Shaman.

Finally with chapter 4 the author presents thirty true and inspiring healing stories, including heart-warming tales of people utilizing Shamanic Healing to overcome everything from panic attacks, PTSD, depression and anxiety to cancer, chronic pain and much more. Whilst the modern western medicine systems continue to ignore more traditional healing techniques such as Shamanic Healing, people from all over the world are finding the answers to their dis-ease in these traditional healing methods, because they work. They have worked for millennia and are perhaps even more important today in our profoundly sick society. If you’re interested in the Shamanic path, and or a more holistic approach to healing, Itzhak Beery’s Shamanic Healing; Traditional Medicine for the Modern World is a must read.

By Brett Lothian

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The San Pedro / Trichocereus Appreciation Group on facebook

The San Pedro / Trichocereus Group on facebook is an open platform for everyone to freely talk about ALL aspects of San Pedro and Trichocereus cacti in general, where you can share experiences, shamanic journeys, growing tips, pictures, alkaloid information, extraction techniques, ask questions and post anything else you like that is San Pedro and Trichocereus related.

Join myself and over 9,000 members in interesting discussions about these majestic plants and their use, whether traditional or modern. If you love San Pedro and Trichocereus cacti, want to network with like minded people and learn more about these amazing plants, then this is the group for you! Scroll through 10 years worth of discussions, pictures and interesting articles and share in the San Pedro love! šŸ’ššŸŒµšŸ‘

Click on the following link to join, I hope to see you there, enjoy! ~ The San Pedro / Trichocereus Appreciation Group on facebook.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Book Review: The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide; Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys by James Fadiman, Ph.D.

 This book review first appeared in New Dawn Magazine issue 164, September - October 2017.
© Brett Lothian. 

Book Review: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys.
By James Fadiman, Ph.D.

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide is a fantastic book for the novice and experienced psychedelic traveler alike, covering the wide range of aspects and applications of psychedelic journeying, it is a must have for the modern psychedelic explorer. With the current renaissance of psychedelic study and exploration, (that is ever growing in popularity) James Fadiman provides a much needed guide for those looking to safely explore the many and varied benefits of psychedelic use, as well as for those looking to be a guide for others in their psychedelic experiences. Being called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,” the author having been involved in psychedelic research since the 1960’s, could not be more qualified to cut through the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the use of psychedelics, as well as extolling their many benefits and potentials.

In part one of this much needed and timely guide, the author expertly takes the reader through meeting the divine within and the entheogenic voyage, providing guidelines for the voyager and guide alike to achieve safe, effective experiences in psychedelia. Following on from this the widely respected writer and philosopher Alan Watts outlines the four dominant characteristics of transcendent experience, which is most apt in describing the effects of psychedelics. Rounding out part one, the psychedelic pioneers including such luminaries in the field as Albert Hofmann, Aldous Huxley, Stanislav Grof, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), Alexander Shulgin, Ralph Metzner  and more, describe their early experiences in their own words, which is essential reading for understanding how and why the modern psychedelic movement began in the first place. 

Part two explores the personal growth and self-exploration aspects of psychedelic use including the many therapeutic uses of psychedelics in psychotherapy and healing, which of course the ancient shaman from all over the world have understood for millennia, but modern western researchers and doctors have only begun to scratch the surface of, largely due to the ridiculous illegality of these medicinal substances. Neal Goldsmith explains the things that can go wrong with experimenting in psychedelia, which is integral to having a complete understanding of the experience and how to mitigate any possible dangers, which are very real for the unprepared and/or careless voyager. David Presti and Jerome Beck discuss the myths and misconceptions surrounding the field of psychedelic exploration, which are rife due the fear mongering propaganda of the ‘War on Drugs.’ Finally, the author explores the therapeutic effectiveness of single guided sessions which is touched upon again in part five.

Part three delves into the creative and problem solving abilities that psychedelic use can augment, together with Willis Harman, the author explores the breakthrough research of the selective enhancement of creative capacities and the facilitation of enhanced problem solving capabilities through the use of psychedelic substances. Including case studies and group problem solving sessions, this section helps to explain how ancient and traditional cultures that utilize psychedelics may have achieved their seemingly impossible feats of knowledge. George Leonard takes the reader through the fascinating Look magazine experiments in group problem solving using LSD, which makes me wonder what could be achieved if our world leaders all got together under the influence of a powerful psychedelic and managed to put their egos aside for the benefit of all. Lastly, the author explains how psychedelic research was tragically halted for over 30 years in what is nothing short of a crime against humanity.

Part four introduces some of the new horizons in the field of psychedelic research and discovery including the effects of sub-perceptual doses of psychedelics, also known as micro dosing. Whilst still in its infancy, micro dosing is gaining in popularity around the world as a way to improve normal functioning without having a fully blown psychedelic experience. Also covered are surveys of current users and the author’s personal account of becoming an inadvertent pioneer in the field, which are absolutely fascinating. Ending part four is the positive possibilities for psychedelics, of which there are almost endless potentials, which we are only just beginning to understand. Where the future of psychedelic research takes us is anyone’s guess, but the future certainly looks to be brightening with the modern renaissance of psychedelic study.

Concluding with part five, the author provides a checklist for voyagers and guides in entheogenic journeys and takes us beyond LSD into the realm of the sacred medicine Ayahuasca, as well as a very interesting report from a darkness retreat where Lindsey Vona explains her psychedelic like experience in complete darkness, without using a traditional psychedelic. Also discussed are the lasting results of high dose single sessions with psychedelics, creating lasting change and improvement in people’s lives and a questionnaire study of psychedelic experiences with Willis Harman, concluding with the authors profound last words on his hope for the future.

With this truly remarkable guide for the psychedelic explorer, which I highly recommend, James Fadiman has achieved something that will stand the test of time and no doubt become a classic reference guide for those intrepid explorers of the psychedelic state for decades to come. It is quite simply the best, most thorough book of its type and is sorely needed for today’s psychedelic explorer. With the help of this book you too can explore the psychedelic realm safely and successfully, for whatever your purpose may be. Safe journeys.