Alcohol, tobacco and drugs have become a major problem in the lives of countless addicts. Yet nothing is inherently wrong, it is all in the manner and intent. When sweet wine and teaching plants are taken in a sacred way, they become helpers and allies. For personal development with sacred substances to be effective, however, there must be tradition, ceremony and people who are initiated to conduct it. Wisdom, an increasingly scarce commodity, must guide how they are taken, as misused sacred substances can have the opposite effect. We need the wise and the initiated who know how to use them. But these people hardly exist anymore and are increasingly rare. It is better to avoid these substances in the absence of a guide who knows their sacred ways. As, if consumed in a profane way, without guidance and without tradition, they become poisons.
We can illustrate this with several examples. In the ancient Greek cult of Dionysus, people got drunk to find ecstasy and union with the god of wine. These were sacred moments that elevated the spirit. This spirit remains in the wine of the Catholic mass. In some ceremonies in South America and southern North America there were fermented beverages similar to beer that were used in some ceremonies to bring people to greater ecstasy and bliss to commune with the spirits of the ancestors and the land. But used in a secular way, nothing destroys the human body as quickly as alcohol consumed regularly. All peoples in North and South America use tobacco as a sacred plant to commune with the invisible worlds. This is the purpose of the sacred pipe also called the peace pipe, the chanupa. It was the offering that was given to the sacred fire to invoke the spirits and to appease the elements. This is very useful and beneficial. Only very old people can afford to smoke quietly in front of their homes while observing life passing by, as they are at the end of their lives and almost ready for the spirit world. Otherwise the use of tobacco was reserved for sacred ceremony and prayer. We know the damage done by habitual smoking. The same applies to the use of the coca leaf. For Native people of Central and South America, the coca leaf has many medicinal and spiritual uses. However, if it is used in a profane way, when it becomes cocaine, crack, and other similar products that are very harmful to health, it destroys the human body. We see from these three examples, which we could extend to all sacred plants, that the profane use of a sacred plant turns against its user because it is not the mission of this teaching herb.
We are in a society where the possibility of exploring one’s potential and fulfilling one’s mission in life has been greatly diminished by the restriction of freedom and the control of the population by a system that is rapidly destroying the planet. Not only does this system pollute and destroy large natural environments in order to provide colossal amounts of money to a small number of individuals, it also destroys the human being. This is intentional as a person who is diminished in body, heart, mind and spirit is much easier to manipulate. He is programed and conditioned to respect the prerogatives of society. Thus, people need help in order to be able to take some pleasure and relaxation in a routine and stressful life. Thus, the use of sacred plants such as tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, cannabis and other plants that were once reserved for spiritual use are now part of the daily lives of many people. Indeed, it can anesthetize the difficulties of a synthetic and artificial life. There is very little love in a society that exercises blind justice, which has an often ridiculous and very restrictive bureaucracy, with taxes and laws that are very limiting and have a great impact on life energy. Many people are forced to work long hours most days of the week, often in stressful environments that they do not like, in order to make ends meet. Thus, these plants are useful despite the fact that they slowly destroy the health of the organisms that ingest them.
It’s possible for all human beings to reflect on their life mission and to take the energy that is currently given to addictions (which can also manifest in many activities such as video games, gambling and compensatory eating), to increase the potential for self-realization and personal development. We all need ecstasy, bliss, those sacred moments of eternity when we see life with awe, when we feel that the universe loves us and that we have our place in the infinite diversity of life that surrounds us. In such a symphony of perception, we understand that the stars are alive, we understand that the elements speak to us, we understand that animals are allies, we understand that plants live and breathe that they sense us and are willing to work with us for our health and happiness. In such moments, life takes on meaning and in the culture of many native people these privileged moments were realized through specific well-organized ceremonies where sacred plants were consumed.
Such moments of realization and spiritual perception accompanied the person for the rest of his or her life. There is no need to consume again. So it is with the truth. When we know something is true, it is impossible to forget. Such a realization, such an experience, leads to a meaningful life, a life of purpose, a mission of the soul that leads us ever further on our evolutionary path.
We must not forget that our souls are eternal, immortal, and that the earth is only a school that we visit temporarily before returning to the spiritual world to discuss our progress with our guides and teachers who are more advanced before returning in another body, in another country, in another experience, even on another planet, in order to continue our training which leads us to become great creators in the eternal light.
In Canada, there was very little use of sacred plants. The ancients here preferred fasting and prayer, solitude and difficult experiences to push the spirit beyond the barriers of the physical body. The aim is the same, to increase our capacity to evolve, to give the spirit predominance over the body. It is through this example that we can understand that it takes discipline to evolve on the beauty way.
Spirituality has almost completely disappeared from our computerized, digital world. Government and science have become the new religions. Despite this, the soul and spirit still exist within each human being. The teachings are there. They are available. There are ways to transform our habits so that our potential goes in a way that allows us to evolve rather than sinking into illusions of ecstasy that destroy our life force and our health while binding us with the chains of addiction.
The shamanic practitioners that I’ve trained, and many other shamans around the world, have teachings and healing modalities that can help to transform these detrimental life patterns and direct them towards our personal development. There are also organizations that have helped hundreds of thousands of addicts around the world to transform their addictions into a spiritual path. These organizations exist in most countries of the world and are not dependent on any external structure such as a government agency or charity. In fact, each chapter of these organizations is completely autonomous and lives off the voluntary contributions of its members. The members are all addicts who help each other to solve the addictions that have plagued their lives. Their addictions have often led them to illness, prison or death and it’s often as a last resort that they have turned to these movements. The best known of these is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The recovery of AA members is due to the mutual support of addicts and a twelve-step spiritual program. To name some of these movements, let us mention Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Affective and Sexual Addicts Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc.
Thus, there is no shortage of ways to heal oneself of a dull and bland life in the service of a life-destroying system. The important thing is to understand that the desire for substances in itself is not bad, we need tools to evolve. On the other hand, taking substances or indulging in activities that lower our vital energy and damage our health does not lead to evolution, but to death.
More than ever, the planet and future generations are begging us to contribute to life in fullness. Let us learn to use these legitimate desires for our evolution, to become co-creators of a life filled with love, peace and joy, in harmony with all the life of this beautiful nature that surrounds us.
This is my answer to this important question.