A Chemical Ecology

ReWild Yourself — Dispatch 6

Sixth Dispatch: Samhain - A Chemical Ecology
November 7 - 2014

This Dispatch of ReWild Yourself! is about a chemical death, a method of dying without really dying. It is about the shamanic death, the simulated death. It is about crossing over and returning with knowledge of something more than the layer of reality most of us live our entire lives engrossed and embedded within. Since the earliest days of human experience we have consumed medicines from our environment that alter our consciousness and enhance our sensory input and cognitive processing abilities. They make explicit and laid plain the concept of animism, the natural — even universal — human religion, as, under the influence of such medicines, all things are seen and felt to pulse with the same omnipresent lifeforce. This is not an intellectual process, but a visceral, immersive, "I saw it with my own eyes" experience. It is difficult, once initiated, to be convinced otherwise.

These substances, which most often originate in plants, but are sometimes present in fungi and animals as well, offer us a unique opportunity to confront deep, archetypical forces that are at play just behind our curtain of our everyday conscious awareness. Principally these are the fear of — or aversion to — death and isolation, and the deeply held desire for mystical union and bliss. These drive us, unbeknownst, like cattle are driven by the wrangler, shaping our behaviors and causing us to play out ancient human dramas like automated, programmed machines. These medicines give us a glimpse into these heretofore unconscious (or semi-conscious at best) patterns and allow us to emancipate ourselves from them — taking charge of ourselves and the course of our lives in a way that most can not even perceive as possible, no less will ever experience.

We, in the shamanic trance, immerse ourselves in bliss and experience the benevolence of the universe, and we dare — sometimes fearlessly, other times fearfully — to confront our own mortality. Mystic union — merging with the universal mind — is ecstatic and makes all other possible experience appear pale and redundant by compare. Reaching such a place, requires one to let go, to release the force that holds us in the human form, that holds together the story of who we believe we are and what we think ourselves to be. Such experiences require we relinquish our lives, surrender our egos, and let ourselves "die". This is not a true death of the body, but feels at the time as though it is. Like the salivation that follows the visualization of eating a lemon, here too our bodies are thusly fooled by the ego's belief that it is in fact perishing. The body and the mind's fear of death — its supreme fear — are triggered and we become acutely aware of the power this fear holds over us, has held over us, and all the myriad ways that this has manifested itself in our lives until now.  

The medicines give us a way to practice dying, to die without really passing away. It is a simulator, and each time we use it, we become more adept at crossing over, at passing through the veil, throughout the realm of hungry ghosts, and finding our way back to the source, to the universal mind. We merge again ecstatic. It becomes progressively easier to release ones grip on the mortal world, to perceive the illusory nature of this life, and to allow your "self" to dissolve away, revealing something more permanent and subtle lying there just beneath the surface veneer. 

Upon returning from a journey such as this, things can never be the same,you can never be the same. Once you have seen, once you have known, there is no return to the lifeless mechanistic world that our civilization purports to be objectively real. Once you have died and come back, your true, inevitable bodily death cannot hold such sway over you, such power. You are freed, or at least are freer than before. And this lays the foundation for greater emancipation in the life ahead, still yet to be lived. 

So it is that this Samhain Dispatch is dedicated to the secret chemical keys left hidden throughout the natural world. Concealed in the leaves and roots of plants, in the secretion of strange, otherworldly amphibians, in the phallic form of fungi that appear in a night and recede in the same. And, it is a celebration of the ancient human tradition, one we see literally throughout the entire world — that of humans altering their consciousness in order that they might experience the death that isn't really dying, and that subsequent ineffable merger with the divine. 

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Sneak Peek:

Articles and video by Daniel Vitalis

A Deficiency of Drugs
Bad Tripping
War on Drugs?
Mastering the Flat-Footed Squat
Crooked Crosses
Smoking Toad
ElixirCraft Mastery: 3 Ingredient Wild Food Pancakes
Twenty ReWild Yourself Tips!
Your Neo-Aboriginal Challenge




ReWild Yourself! Podcast interviews


Hunting Magic Mushrooms and DMT in South America

with Dennis McKenna — an ethnopharmacologist who has studied plant hallucinogens for over forty years



Using Entheogens to Free Our Minds from Cultural Conditioning

with Nora Gedgaudas — author of the international best-selling book, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and A Longer Life.



 Bufo Alvarius toad and 5-MeO-DMT

with Dr. Gerardo Sandoval Isaac — doctor, gynecologist, medicine-man and ambassador for the Bufo alvarius toad.


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Regular ReWild Yourself! Contributors

Awakening the Goddess Within 

with Alexandra Schueler of Wild Woman Speaks



Introduction to the Relevance of Entheogens

with Arthur Haines of the Delta Institute of Natural History

Arthur and I continue our podcast series, this time discussing the teacher plants.




Pan Seared Duck Breast

with Frank Giglio of Three Lily Farm


Voice of the Tribe: ReWild Yourself! Guest Column

The Clean Mile

with Kaleb Kinetic


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