Friday, 28 February 2020

How to Prepare San Pedro Properly: A Step by Step Guide

Please note that the following is for information purposes only and that preparing San Pedro is illegal in many countries around the world.

Trichocereus pachanoi
A lot of people like to make what is a rather simple and easy process much more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be, based solely off of internet rumors, misinformation and conjecture. For some reason, certain people have decided that they know better than the traditional Andean people who have been using these plants for at least 10,000 years. The following guide is based off of the traditional method of preparation that has been used for millennia.

Trichocereu bridgesii
The first thing you will need is obviously some San Pedro, with the typical dose being around one foot or 30 cm of a potent San Pedro cactus. Whilst Trichocereus pachanoi is the most commonly used San Pedro cacti, there are in fact numerous other members of the Trichocereus genus than can be and are used as San Pedro.

Trichocereus peruvianus
Once you have your potent San Pedro, you need to stress the plant to increase its alkaloid levels. The best way to achieve this is by leaving the cutting in a dark place for at least a few weeks to a month. Really, the longer the better. See the following link for more information ~ Trichocereus Potency: A Basic Guide for Getting The Most Out of San Pedro.

Next you will need a sharp knife and a chopping board. Then a large pot, pressure cooker or slow cooker depending upon your preference. You may also need a pair of pliers depending on which type of Trichocereus you're actually using to remove the spines, especially with plants that have long spines, such as Trichocereus bridgesii which is widely regarded as being the most consistently potent Trichocereus species. Now this is not strictly necessary, but does make handling much easier.

Now, all you actually need to do is to cut your section of San Pedro into thin slices and place them into the pot, pressure cooker or slow cooker.

Then cover with water and boil for at least 4-6 hours. At which time the liquid will become discolored, having extracted the active ingredients into the water.

Once you have done this, you can strain out the solid material leaving only the remaining liquid. For this you can use a colander, cheese cloth or even an old T-Shirt. Just make sure that you squeeze the solid material to get out as much of the liquid as you can.

The next step in the process is to reduce the volume of the liquid to around a cup sized portion. Simply keep boiling the liquid to reduce its volume. Once your San Pedro tea has been reduced to a cup sized portion, all you have to do is allow it to cool enough for consumption and it is ready to go.

Now, the flavor really isn't the best, but at such as small amount it really is not a problem at all to get it down. Just hold your nose and down it goes. When you hold your nose and drink the small amount quickly, you do not even taste it, but you will get a sour/bitter after taste that you can easily get rid of with a nice tasting chaser like orange juice to wash it down.

If you want to improve the taste, you can add sugar and salt to counteract the bitterness and spices like cardamon and cinnamon whilst it is boiling. Another good way to improve the flavor is to further reduce to around a half a cup portion and then mix with pineapple juice and lemonade.

You can also further reduce to a gum, roll this into balls and consume, but you will want to be very careful not to go to far and burn it whilst you're doing this. Once reduced to around a quarter cup you can place it in a shallow tray or dish and put in front of a heater or in the oven on low with the door left ajar. Or allow it to dry completely and then scrape it up and put it into capsules. Although all of this will be time consuming and quite frankly unnecessary.

A lot of people will try to tell you that you need to remove the skin of the plant and only use the dark green layer that is just under the skin, discarding the white inner layer and core, but this is a huge mistake. Some people say that removing the skin and inner white layer improves the taste, but in reality it makes no difference at all. Usually they will say that the skin, white layer and core will cause nausea and that removing them will reduce the nausea. That is correct in a sense, but also extremely wasteful and completely unnecessary as I will explain below.

The fact of the matter is that the active ingredient in San Pedro, mescaline, itself causes nausea. Mescaline is a non selective serotonin receptor agonist, which means that it works on all of the serotonin receptors. Now the psychedelic experience is caused by the serotonin receptor 5ht-2 being agonized by psychedelic substances. The feelings of nausea that come with many psychedelic plants is caused by the serotonin receptor 5ht-3 also being agonized. For more information on how psychedelics work in the brain, see the following link ~ Inside the Psychedelic Mind: The New Frontier for Consciousness Studies, Innovative Therapies, Micro-dosing & Creativity.

Chemical structure of Mescaline
Now, contrary to popular belief, not all of the mescaline and other alkaloids in a given San Pedro cutting is in the outer dark green layer. Up to 45% of the total alkaloids in a given San Pedro cutting is in the inner white layer beneath the outer dark green layer. So when you discard the inner section it will reduce nausea, in the sense that you're throwing away almost half of the usable mescaline and other alkaloids. See the following link for more information ~ Distribution of Alkaloids in Cacti, from San Pedro and Related Species by Keeper Trout.

The problem of nausea is usually vastly overblown and is actually not really that bad, but we all do have different systems, different numbers of receptors and different people will react differently. If the nausea is a problem for you, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the discomfort, namely use anti-nausea medication, plants or 5ht-3 antagonists. Cannabis, ginger and lemon essential oil work well in this regard. You can also use a small amount of datura or brugmansia as in the traditional "Cimora" San Pedro cocktails, although all due care should be used with these plants and please do your research before consuming them.

Datura metel
There are also other ways you can help to extract the active ingredients from a San Pedro cutting, being the freeze/thaw method, adding a weak acid such as lemon juice to the water you use to boil the sliced San Pedro or putting it into a blender. The freeze/thaw method is quite simply freezing and thawing your San Pedro cutting or slices a number of times to break down the cell walls, better allowing the alkaloids to extract into the water. The same applies to weak acids like lemon juice and blending. Now, this is not actually needed as simply boiling the slices for long enough will do this itself, but you can do it if you want, if anything it will just speed up the process. Using a pressure cooker will also speed up this process. If you're worried about extracting every last bit you can, just boil it for a longer period of time, this is where a slow cooker is useful as it is quite forgiving if you happen to forget about it and with the lid left on the water will not boil away.

Of course then some people will tell you that boiling San Pedro for too long will degrade the alkaloids, this is complete nonsense. The boiling point for mescaline is 180 degrees Celsius, where as the boiling point for water is 100 degrees Celsius, meaning the water will boil off long before the mescaline ever will. So, obviously keep an eye on your pot as it boils so the water does not boil off.

The last thing you need to worry about is of course what is known as "set and setting." Being the mindset taken into the experience and the place in which you take the medicine. Ideally you should be in a comfortable space, with people you trust and have prepared your mind for what is to come and have set your intention as to what exactly you hope to achieve in taking San Pedro. Information about set and setting, and the importance of intention is widely available on the internet and should obviously be taken into account.

*For more information on San Pedro and to freely discuss all aspects of the amazing plants, please join The San Pedro / Trichocereus Group on facebook.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Denisovans at the Gates of Dawn: Interview with Andrew Collins

This article first appeared in New Dawn Magazine issue 177, November - December 2019. © Brett Lothian

Denisovans at the Gates of Dawn: Interview with Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins is a British writer and researcher specializing in books that “challenge the way we perceive the past.” They feature such subjects as ancient astronomy, archaeoastronomy and the origins of civilization. A central theme of Collins’s books is that the Watchers and Nephilim of Enochian literature, as well as the biblical “fallen” angels and Anunnaki of Mesopotamian mythology, are memories of a human elite group that helped forge the foundations of civilization in Anatolia and the Near East. He asserts that this same region, particularly eastern Turkey, was the site of the biblical Garden of Eden and terrestrial Paradise. In this exclusive interview for New Dawn magazine Andrew Collins talks about his outstanding new book, co-written with Gregory L. Little, Denisovan Origins: Hybrid Humans, Göbekli Tepe, and the Genesis of the Giants of Ancient America and lots more.

Andrew Collins at Göbekli Tepe © Andrew Collins

1) In your fantastic new book Denisovan Origins: Hybrid Humans, Göbekli Tepe, and the Genesis of the Giants of Ancient America, you quite aptly begin with the paradigm shattering findings at Göbekli Tepe. Can you explain to our readers just what Göbekli Tepe is and how it has changed our understanding of human history?

Göbekli Tepe is arguably one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twenty-first century. It is a series of stone enclosures with rings of carved T-shaped pillars facing two large monoliths standing at their centres, like twin gateways into some invisible liminal realm. Located on a mountain top in SE Turkey, Göbekli Tepe was built enclosure by enclosure between 11,600-10,000  years ago. Thereafter the site was abandoned, its inhabitants spreading out across Anatolia and the Near East, and eventually into Europe, creating what is known as the Neolithic revolution.

Göbekli Tepe’s importance is its immense sophistication, and the fact that it constitutes the world’s earliest known monumental architecture. Of even greater importance is that it shows us that even by this age modern humans had a tiered hierarchical societies able to pull off such incredible feats of engineering. The question then becomes: Who built it and why?

For me it existed as part of a response to the cataclysmic events surrounding the Younger Dryas comet impact event of approximately 10,800 BCE. Caused most likely by multiple fragments of Comet Enke entering the upper atmosphere, air blasts triggered unimaginable wild fires across the Northern Hemisphere. The ash, smoke and debris rising into the air brought about a nuclear winter that instigated a 1200-year long mini ice that gripped both the American and Eurasian continents and did not end until 9600 BCE, the very time frame of the construction of Gobekli Tepe.

There is very clear comet imagery on one of the standing monoliths at Gobekli Tepe which tells us that its purpose was to create a place of easy access to the sky world, which was thought to lie in the northern part of the heavens. Here the supernatural creatures thought to be responsible for such cataclysms were seen to roam, their arrival in the skies marked by the appearance of comets.

These were ideas I first proposed in my 2014 book Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods. I am now pretty sure they are correct, as they have now been adopted by other researchers in this field, who also see the construction of Göbekli Tepe as a response to the Younger Dryas comet impact event.
© Andrew Collins & Gregory L. Little

2) The enigmatic Denisovans are the most recently discovered additions to the Homo genus, can you tell us what we know about these mysterious archaic hominids?

The Denisovans were not even known about before 2010. It was in this year that a small fragment of finger bone found two years earlier during excavations at the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia was sequenced. This was undertaken by the Max Planck Institute of Physical Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who determined that the bone came from a girl of around 13 years old who lived approximately 50,000 years ago. The uniqueness of the individual’s genome made it clear that she belonged to a previously unknown hominin group that would thereafter be known as the Denisovans after the place of their discovery (incidentally, "Denisovans" is correctly pronounced dee-niss-o-vans and not denis-o-vans). The exact status of the Denisovans does, however, remain undecided since some scholars are convinced they are simply an early form of Homo sapiens, and not a unique human type, the reason why they have so far not been given their own species name.

What the so-called Altai Denisovan genome also made clear was that this unique human group shared more gene alleles with Neanderthals than they did with modern humans, leading to the surmise that the Denisovans must have been a sister group of the Neanderthals. This conclusion was backed up in 2016 with the discovery during excavations at the Denisova Cave of two fragments of a Denisovan skull that was particularly robust like that of Neanderthals and other early hominin. Even earlier the discovery, again at the Denisova Cave, of two enormous molars had also suggested that the Denisovans would be found to be particularly robust in nature. However, this is now known to be only part of the story, for a recent examination of the finger bone of the 13-year-old Denisovan girl who lived 50,000 years ago makes it clear that the Denisovans had long, gracile fingers like those of modern humans. This means there is every chance they looked more like us, and also perhaps thought more like modern humans that they did Neanderthals.

What is more, evidence of a sophisticated mindset existing in connection with the Denisova Cave’s Denisovan layer had already been noted. This stems from the discovery of the beautiful choritolite (chlorite) arm bangle dubbed the Denisovan bracelet, which shows evidence of sophisticated drilling, sawing and polishing, along with the earliest known bone needles used to make tailored clothing. In addition to this, fragments of a bone whistle or flute were found in the cave’s Denisovan layer, telling us that the Denisovans must have had an understanding of music, while more recently archaeologists working at the cave found an ocher “pencil” with evidence of usage. This suggests that the Denisovans were able to write and draw. The discovery of horse bone fragments and equine DNA has suggested to some scholars that the Denisovans might even have domesticated and ridden horses.

All this implies that certainly by 45,000 years, and arguably earlier, the Denisovans displayed immense technological capability and advanced human behavior. It is also now thought they developed what is known as blade tool technology, which is the product of a complicated process known as pressure flaking. This is where a handle-like instrument, usually made of bone, antler or wood, is applied to a prepared stone core to literally prise off long, slim blades or bladelets.

This blade tool technology, which starts its life in southern Siberia and northern Mongolia, is then carried westwards across the Ural Mountains into Europe, as well as into southwestern Asia, where it is introduced to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic world of southeastern Anatolia around the same time that Göbekli Tepe comes into existence. This recorded path of blade tool production suggests that the ancestors of those who built Göbekli Tepe came not just from the north, beyond the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian steppe, but from much farther east – beyond the Ural Mountains in western Siberia somewhere. It is even possible they came from as far away as the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, where the Denisova Cave is located, or even northern Mongolia, close to the great inland sea called Lake Baikal.

Archaeologists now believe our earliest ancestors first encountered Denisovans and Denisovan-Neanderthal hybrids somewhere in northern Mongolia around 45,000 years ago. Sites in this region such as Tolbor-16 show evidence of modern human occupation, and yet they also have the same high culture associated with the Denisovan layer in southern Siberia’s Denisova Cave. This, then, is where our own slow rise to civilization began at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic epoch.
The Denisova cave, tooth and jewelry. © Andrew Collins
3) DNA evidence has shown that ancient modern humans interbred with not only the Denisovans, but the Neanderthals as well as certain as yet unidentified archaic homonids. Can you explain this complex web of interactions and how modern humans have benefitted from this gene flow?

What becomes clear is that both the Denisovans and modern humans must have gained their gracile fingers from the same source, a common ancestor of both populations from whom we split around 700,000 years ago. If correct, then it means that the stubby, blunt-ended fingers displayed by Neanderthals only developed after they split from the Denisovans some 400,000 years ago (and arguably earlier still).

All this gave every branch of hominin – Denisovans, Neanderthals and modern humans – the chance to develop their own unique genome, which helped engineer their physical appearance, capabilities, and material culture. By around 45,000 years ago the Denisovans were out in front with an acute level of human development, suggesting that as we encountered them in places like northern Mongolia we not only interbred with them, but also at the same time gained their technologies and understanding of our relationship to the cosmos. This then would have been the legacy passed down through their hybrid descendants to the founders of human civilization.

After this time the Denisovans disappear from the scene, in Siberia and Mongolia at least. However, one recent genetic study suggests that some Denisovan groups might have survived in Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia through till as late as 15,000 years ago. This tells us that the sophisticated Denisovan mindset might well have been behind the spread of Australo-Melanesian ancestry from Island Southeast Asia all the way across the South America, where both Australo-Melanesian and Denisovan DNA has been found among certain tribes of the Amazon.
Homo species interbreeding

4) A key theme of Denisovan Origins is the cultural and technological exchange that interacting and hybridizing with archaic hominids such as the Denisovans afforded us. In your opinion, how did this put us on the road to the flowering of modern civilization?

What the evidence is beginning to tell us is that the Denisovans were truly sophisticated in many ways – they created beautiful jewelry, almost certainly wore tailored clothing, used musical instruments, and may even have ridden horses. On top of this, there is every possibility that they were sea voyagers, and might well have traveled between Island Southeast Asia and the Americas, South America especially. All of these technologies were thereafter passed on to their hybrid descendants, who carried them out to the farthest reaches of the Eurasian continent. Yet it is the Denisovans’ apparent invention of blade tool technology that becomes crucial in telling us exactly how far their legacy reached and which cultures benefitted from it.

The westward pulses of Denisovan technology would eventually flower among the Eastern Gravettians of central western Russia at key sites such as Kostenki and Sungir. From these sites, as well other settlement areas in places like the Czech Republic, the Denisovan legacy was carried westward in western Europe by Proto-Solutrean groups, from whom emerged the Solutreans of southwestern Europe. Also benefitting from the Denisovans’ blade tool technology were the much later Swiderian and Post-Swiderian groups, who thrived just before, during and immediately after the Younger Dryas impact event of circa 10,800 BCE. They were an incredibly sophisticated bunch transporting exotic materials for use in blade tool manufacture across many hundreds of kilometers at a time. Indeed, in their eternal search for exotic materials the Swiderians of Poland created some of the earliest opencast mining operations anywhere in the world. As a whole, the Swiderians were nomadic groups of what might be described as complex hunter-gatherers. They used trade and commerce to gain control of communities as far west as the Carpathian Mountains of central Europe and as far east as the western foothills of the Ural Mountains, the later being their most likely original homeland.

It is the Swiderians who I believe came to bear on the Pre-Pottery Neolithic peoples of southeastern Anatolia, resulting in the rapid emergence of Göbekli Tepe circa 9600 BCE. You can see clear similarities between the carved art of Göbekli Tepe and that being produced around the same time by Mesolithic peoples of the Ural Mountains. The 11,600-year-old Shigir Idol best exemplifies this connection. This is a carved wooden totem pole that was found alongside other fragments of similar idols in a peat bog in the Middle Urals in 1984. It is fashioned from an enormous tree trunk and was originally around 5.3 metres in height. The style of carving, particularly of the human heads it displays, bears striking similarities to some of the carved human heads unearthed at Göbekli Tepe. It is surely no coincidence then that the same blade tool technology found at Mesolithic sites in the Ural Mountains is found also at Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites like Göbekli Tepe. There was clearly a connection between these two very distant worlds as early as 9600 BCE.
Solutrean and Pre-Clovis points side by side. © Andrew Collins

5) To this day, legends such as the destruction of Atlantis, floods of astonishing proportions and of the very sky itself falling persist all over the world about a cataclysmic catastrophe on a scale we can barely imagine, which you date to a single day around 10,800 BCE. Can you explain for our readers just what did happen on that fateful day long ago and what evidence there is to support this?

The Younger Dryas comet impact event occurred around 10,800 BCE. It was a devastating cataclysm that ignited as much as 10 percent of the world’s biomass. However, the cosmic events just kept coming, with further fragments hitting the Northern Hemisphere periodically for around 11 years, with some estimates suggesting they continued through until around 11,340 BCE; this being at least 500 years after the initial impact event.

What we can say is that the termination of the Younger Dryas around 9600 BCE coincides almost perfectly with Plato’s proposed date for the destruction of Atlantis, and also the emergence of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Anatolia.
Göbekli Tepe © Andrew Collins

6) After the Earth shattering events of the Younger Dryas impact, the way humans think, our social organization and the way in which we interact with the environment was forever altered in many parts of the world. Can you explain these drastic changes and how they are still impacting us today?

Understanding why Göbekli Tepe was built so soon after the Younger Dryas episode can be shown to relate to the state of mind prevailing among indigenous populations in the wake of this terrible human tragedy. Those that did survive would have feared that it would all happen again, and next time the world really would come to an end. Paranoia of this kind will have been widespread.

Visionary writer Barbara Hand Clow has aptly termed this fragile state of mind catastrophobia, the fear of further catastrophes.  I think she is entirely right in not only predicting the existence of catastrophobia, but also in the way it would have affected generations of humanity for many thousands of years afterward.

But how could you stop people feeling this way? How could you prevent catastrophobia from eating at the heart of a community every time a comet appeared in the skies? There were no psychoanalysts or counsellors back then, who could offer advice on how best to overcome this problem. There were, however, go-to people who would have been considered able to allay the fear of further catastrophes. These were the complex individuals known as shamans.  They can act as human interfaces between the world of the living and a perceived otherworld existing beyond the normal senses, and accessible only through dreams, visions, and the achievement of altered states of consciousness.

Shamans are able to induce trance-like states to propitiate, appease or negotiate deals with, among other things, the supernatural creatures seen as responsible for malefic intrusions into the physical world. This includes the appearance in our skies of comets, which in many ancient societies were seen as harbingers of death and destruction. Supernatural creatures of this type were generally considered animistic in form, most obviously monstrous canines (dogs), lupines (wolves), and vulpines (foxes).  Comets were also associated with snakes, which in myth and legend are occasionally seen as responsible for natural catastrophes associated with impact events.

Mississippian era shaman dressed as a bird-man representing the character Brain Smasher encountered on the Path of Souls cosmic death journey. In the sky, Brain Smasher is identified with the constellation Cygnus. © Andrew Collins

7) Of particular interest to our more esoterically minded readers is the belief system, cosmology and spiritual practices of the “Shamanic Elite” that are so central to your theories, and no doubt formed the very bedrock of so many of our ancient and modern spiritual belief systems. Just what did these enigmatic bird shaman believe and how did they practice their religion?

From the Upper Paleolithic age through till Neolithic times there would appear to have been certain universal principles in cosmology that were reflected not only in shamanic beliefs and practices, but also in ideas regarding both the origin of the soul and its destination in death. They featured the Milky Way as a kind of road or river along which the souls both of the deceased and those of shamans would take to reach an afterlife among the stars. Such beliefs were universal in both the Eurasian continent and in North America. For these beliefs to have existed simultaneously on both continents means that they must be at least 12,000 years old, and arguably much older still, for it was shortly after this time that the Beringia land bridge linking the Russian Far East with North America was drowned beneath the waters of the Beringia Sea. After this time there would have been no widespread contact between the two continents.

As many as 30 to 40 Native American tribes of North America share a belief in what can only be described as the Path of Souls death journey. This involved a leap of faith at the time of death (either for the deceased or the shaman in a death trance) towards a portal located where the ecliptic, the sun’s path, crosses the Milky Way on one side of the sky. This portal was located generally in the Orion constellation, with the messier object named M42 in the sword being singled out for this purpose, or in the Pleiades star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. The first appearance of the Pleiades following a period of absence each year signaled the beginning of a new year or season on both the American and Eurasian continents. It was a perfect time keeper, and so must have become important to ancient peoples at a very early date.

This soul journey was often made, certainly for shamans, when either of these asterisms, Orion or the Pleiades, were about to sink below the western horizon shortly before the rising of the sun at the time of the midwinter solstice.

From here the soul was thought to travel along the Milky Way sometimes going to the south, and even directly beneath the earth, until it would eventually turn northward and reach a point where the starry stream split into two separate branches. Each branch symbolised one of two possible outcomes for the soul: one led to the afterlife, while the other led only to oblivion (or at best reincarnation). A supernatural figure standing at the fork in the Milky Way would pass judgment on the soul. It could be male or female, although most usually it was a supernatural bird or birdman, which went by the appealing name of Brain Smasher or Skull Crusher. Its purpose was, we believe, to liberate the spirit of the person trapped inside the soul in its form as a skull or head. This enabled the freed spirit to enter the afterlife proper. As Graham Hancock points out in new book America Before, a very similar skull crushing figure stood at the same position in the soul’s journey in ancient Egyptian tradition.

These ideas are connected with the age-old belief that the seat of the soul was located in the head, the reason why the skulls of deceased peoples were revered during the prehistoric age as points of contact, not just with its former owner, but also with any ancestor associated with the person’s familial line.

Brain Smasher in Native American tradition was almost certainly identified with the Cygnus constellation, which is positioned exactly where the Milky Way splits into two separate branches. Almost universally Cygnus is seen as a sky bird. What species it takes varies from country to country. Across most of the Eurasian continent it is usually seen as a swan or goose flying down the Milky Way. In southwestern Asia (Armenia and ancient Greece in particular) it was the vulture, while in North America it was very often a large raptor or vulture. Among the Algonquian-speaking peoples of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River region it was a crane, goose, as well as the Thunderbird.

The one thing these birds have in common is that they were all considered soul birds – vehicles for the soul to travel from this world to the next, and then, when required, back again to the world of the living. It is most likely for this reason that bird related paraphernalia, such as bones, skulls, feathers and talons have been incorporated into the ritual clothes of shamans since the age of the Neanderthals.

I have no doubt that belief in a universal cosmic death journey involving Orion, the Pleiades, and the Cygnus constellation, all linked via the Milky Way, is as least as old as our first point of contact with Denisovans in places like northern Mongolia some 45,000 years ago. Why do I think this? Firstly, because these beliefs are so universal, and secondly because there are a great number of tribes and clans, particularly in Mongolia, southern Siberia, Central Asia and North Asia that have traditions of a progenitor referred to as the Swan Maiden. She descends from some kind of heavenly Birdland, often located in the north, and is forced to remain on earth when a mortal male steals her swan shrift or wings, which she has removed in order to bath in a body of water in mortal form. The man forces her to marry him and they have children who become the earliest ancestors of a particular human group or culture. The Swan Maiden of the story very often tricks her husband into giving her back her swan shrift, and once she has this she departs immediately for her home world.

Beyond the western shores of Lake Baikal – itself the location of a swan maiden legend – is the archaeological site of Mal’ta, which dates back 24,000 years. Here, aside from a large number of mammoth ivory female figurines, archaeologists have found as many as 14 mammoth ivory pendants of straight-necked swans, some with eyeholes at one end. They almost certainly depict swans in flight, even though the birds’ outstretched wings have been truncated. Four at least of these swan pendants, when uncovered, were found to be aligned north-south, as if this had some significance. After due consideration, noted Russian paleoarchaeologist Antoliy Derevianko wrote that this deliberate north-south directionality of the swan pendants, along with the special attention paid to them by the Mal’ta community (one was found with a child burial), suggests a connection not only with the north-south migration of birds, but also with the universal idea that in death the human soul took the form of a bird.  Derevianko also saw the existence of these swan pendants as a “significant first appearance of animism” in Siberia.

So we know that from as early as 24,000 years ago, and arguably much earlier, the swan was seen as a vehicle of the human soul on its way to a northerly placed heaven, no doubt the same Birdland from which the Swan Maiden at the root of many Siberian and Mongolian cosmogonic myths was seen to come. I would identify that Birdland with the stars of Cygnus, its bright star Deneb in particular, which I suspect has been seen as a point of entry and exit to the afterlife since the Upper Paleolithic age. Indeed, around the time of first contact between modern humans and Denisovans in northern Mongolia some 45,000-40,000 years ago the stars of the Cygnus constellation acted as pole stars, meaning that they were at the center of the heavens each night. This pivotal location, known as the northern celestial pole, has universally been seen as a hole through which the souls of both shamans and the deceased reach the afterlife.

Thus these beliefs are the legacy of our first contact with Denisovans as much as 45,000 years ago, their persistence lingering through till the age of Göbekli Tepe. Here the oldest and most sophisticated stone enclosures are orientated north-northwest towards the setting of the Cygnus star Deneb during the epoch of their construction. Similar ideas were carried into Egypt around 8000 BCE and later came to influence the design, layout and geographical orientation of the three main Pyramids of Giza, which all reflect the astronomical positions of the Cygnus constellation, the subject of my book The Cygnus Key (2018).
Artist representation of a Denisovan - Modern Human hybrid.  © By Russell M. Hossain
8) A large part of Denisovan Origins, focuses on the peopling of the Americas, where you and your co-writer Gregory L. Little propose a radical re-thinking of the established paradigm. Using both archaeological and DNA evidence, you both quite skillfully paint an entirely new and far more interesting picture of America’s ancient past, even explaining the mysterious finds of giants that the mainstream continually ignores. Can you give us a brief outline of this radical reinterpretation?

Until recently North American anthropologists, paleogeneticists and archaeologists all perpetuated the view that the First Americans came across from the Russian Far East some 15,000 years ago. They created what are known as Pre-Clovis bi-points, which with the emergence of the Clovis culture around 13,200 years ago would evolve eventually into the highly distinguishable Clovis Point.

This view has now changed. Firstly, a large number of Pre-Clovis sites have yielded types of stone tools and projectile points that have nothing to do with the later Clovis culture. Many of these sites are in the American Southwest suggesting a point of foundation in this region and not in the American Northwest, close to the former Beringia land bridge. Secondly, there is now overwhelming evidence from various genetic studies telling us that the picture is even more complicated, with migrations across the Beringia land bridge taking place as early as 24,000 years ago, while the presence of Australo-Melanesian DNA in South American tribes suggests further migrations to South America no later than 10,000 years ago.

Paleogeneticists and archaeologists are unwilling to accept that peoples carrying Australo-Melanesian ancestry arrived in South America directly from Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia. Instead, they propose that Australo-Melanesian peoples must have embarked on an extremely arduous coast-hopping journey all around the rim of the Pacific until they reached the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, where Australo-Melanesian DNA has also been found among the indigenous Aleuts. From here they would have traveled down the Pacific coast of North America, finally entering South America.

Such a theory can certainly explain the presence of at least some Australo-Melanesian ancestry in the Americas, although it makes far more sense to assume direct transpacific journeys as well, perhaps using the ocean currents and prevailing winds that would take a vessel from the northern coast of Sahul, the former continent embracing Papua New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania, past New Zealand and down to the Antarctic continent. From here the ocean currents would have carried a vessel toward the southern tip of South America, from where it would have been an easy journey northwards along the continent’s west coast, making landfall in what is today Chile, or along the continent’s east coast, making landfall in Argentina, Uraguay, or Brazil. Navigable rivers would then have permitted a vessel entry into the interior of South America, accounting perhaps for the presence of Australo-Melanesian ancestry among certain tribes of the Amazon. With all these journeys Denisovans or, more likely, Denisovan hybrids, would no doubt have been present, explaining the presence of Denisovan DNA in some South American tribes and populations.

Then there is the likelihood also of Solutrean peoples from southwestern Europe crossing the ice flows that spanned the entire Atlantic Ocean from northern Spain across to the area of the Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic coast of the United States at the height of the last ice age circa 22,000-20,000 years ago. This might explain why a large number of Pre-Clovis bi-points have been found in the Chesapeake Bay area that closely resemble very similar so-called leaf points manufactured by the Solutreans of southwestern Europe between 22,000-17,000 years ago. One particular example of a Pre-Clovis projectile point found in the Chesapeake Bay area is even made of a type of stone only available in France.

The presence of Solutreans in North America is backed up by genetic evidence, particularly in the fact that a particular mutation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) found extensively among the Algonquian-speaking peoples of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River and known as haplogroup X is found also among the indigenous peoples of southwestern Europe, this being the former territories of the Solutreans. It is not found anywhere in the eastern half of the Eurasian continent, telling us that it did not enter North America from the Russian Far East.

In the book I show that the Proto-Solutrean ancestors of the Solutreans came originally from as far east as Siberia and Mongolia and were most likely North Asian in origin. This is important since there is every reason to suspect they were carrying at least some Denisovan ancestry, as well as haplogroup X. Such a surmise makes perfect sense of the fact that the Algonquian-speaking peoples with the highest incidence of haplogroup X, the Ojibwa and Cree, also have the highest incidence in North America of Denisovan DNA, something that surely cannot be coincidence.
Map of the ocean currents and prevailing winds that may have determined trans-pacific oceanic voyages. © Andrew Collins

9) In Denisovan Origins you explain how the Denisovan and the Neanderthal homonids minds, most likely worked in a very different way to that of our own. In your opinion, just how did these archaic homonids differ from us mentally and what advantages did this give them?

There is good reason to suspect that the Denisovans had a completely different mindset to that of modern humans – one that acted almost like that of someone who would today form part of the autistic spectrum. If so, then some of their number might well have displayed what is known as savant syndrome, enabling them to advance quicker than their western counterparts, the Neanderthals. This is suggested by the fact that the Denisovans are known to have possessed two genes – ADSL and CNTNAP2 – that have been linked to autism in modern human populations. Is it possible that autism, and the savant-like qualities that often accompany autism, were responsible for the rise of the shamanic civilization at the start of the Upper Paleolithic age? This is the theory outlined in both Denisovan Origins and my previous book The Cygnus Key.

* This is part one of my two part interview with Andrew Collins, more to come very soon.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Trichocereus Scammers, Rip Offs and Thieves.

Are you sick of scamming lowlifes, rip off merchants, thieves and the people and groups who protect them? I know I am. It's about time we did something about it, that will stay in the permanent record, for everyone to see.

Unfortunately with the growing popularity of San Pedro and Trichocereus cacti, a lot of scammers, rip off merchants and thieves have been crawling out from under their rocks to take your hard earned money and cacti. I know I've been ripped off by a few people and had people try to jump my fence and steal from me.

Even more unfortunate is that a lot of these people are being protected and allowed to continue this disgusting behavior in various groups... Birds of a feather, flock together.

There were some facebook pages supposedly dedicated to this type of thing, but they are either no longer running or are run by scammers and the people that protect them...

So I thought I would give people the chance to make a data base of all the Trichocereus scammers, rip offs and thieves, and who and what groups are protecting them. I know a lot of people have had this problem and this is everyone's chance to do something about it in the permanent record. Facebook posts soon fall away and are forgotten, this is not going anywhere.

So if you have been scammed, ripped off and had plants stolen, or know of any of these things happening to others and the people and groups that protect them, please post a comment below!You can comment anonymously if you like, is up to you. 

One of the worst scammers that has personally ripped me off and many others is Moon Unit Botanica, otherwise know as Hubert F Alberquerque. Also makes up a bunch of lies to flog his plants as newbies don't know any better, which he takes advantage of. If you ever see a plant known as "foolsbreath" I guarantee you it is no better than any other bridgesii. The guy couldn't lie straight in bed... Most groups have booted this mentally disturbed individual. Except for the admins at the Trichocereus and Echinopsis Growers Worldwide Group. As far as I know, there might be others protecting him.

Another scammer and thief is Sam Pedro, otherwise known as Mush Room, Norma Slion, Darwin's Botanical and probably a bunch more names. He's ripped off a bunch of people and admitted in a private message that he's stolen a bunch of plants. He's being protected by the admins of the Trichocereus Community and the Trichocereus and Echinopsis growers worldwide group.

Another is Karl Dennis at KD Botanics. He has ripped off a ton of people and also admitted to stealing plants, is friends with Sam Pedro so no surprise there. Is also protected by the admins of the groups mentioned above.

Torsten at Shaman Australis Botanicals for years sold various T. cuzcoensis plants as T. peruvianus, knowing full well they were not. Sold a bunch of misidentified KK plants knowing they were not what he sold them as. Also has jacked up the prices astronomically on the named clones mentioned in The Trichocereus Potency Project... He is very dishonest and takes advantage of people. He is protected in all the groups except the one mentioned below.

If you want to join a group where this disgusting behavior is not tolerated at all, join The San Pedro / Trichocereus Appreciation group on fb.