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Knives in the Amazon

Surgical history as content for hallucinogenic narrative experience


I sat awake in surgery

I smelled it all and felt each cut

Only this is 5 years after surgery and I am sitting in the amazon with the Ashaninka.

I am soooo tired and sitting sooo still. Following the structure of the ceremony

And I fight drifting into ‘sleep’ or trance because when I do the visions and sensations are the operating table.

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Is this what people call a bad trip? Or is it in truly experiencing this event, i can move the embodied memory through my system.

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Many people have begun taking cold showers in the morning. This is a similar process of training our nervous system to do hard things through repetitively proving to our body that the ‘hard thing’ is truly not very hard. And in fact, the reward for success is a healthy dose of dopamine that motivates our morning momentum.

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I see these hallucinogenic stories similarly. We have the amplified memories and stories around how painful it must have been to have our body cut open and sewn back together. We weren’t fully conscious because of the anesthesia, so we have possibly amplified the intensity of the experience overall.

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In fact, there were likely very calm, trained surgeons doing their very best to be kind and provide the care that our body needed to reach a state where it could resume it’s natural healing processes. These are in relation to the western paradigm of surgical intervention, which i believe is an outshoot of the technologically scaled impacts of the western culture. These intense speeds and stimuli relate to the intense interventions of surgery and triage strategies for fatal and/or severe bodily harm. So to say that surgery is ultimately aimed at supporting the body’s natural healing processes is technically my opinion on a possible integration of the western paradigm into the holistic frameworks of more osteopathic healing.


Still, surgeons were likely doing their best as a fellow human, to make the experience of incision and stitching comfortable.

This may not have been fully the case, and our nerves may remember the pains.


And these memories cannot stay in our system forever. Were they to remain, we would create protective strategies around them. We may even intensify these strategies to avoid the perceived threat, harm, or risk of violation. And these survival patterns may not be serving us in our waking lives.


So when we sit in ceremony, these stories surface. As grandmother ayahuasca works to calibrate the nervous system, our psychology rationalizes the experience of releasing these somatic tensions built around the repetitive nervous system firing. We create a dream, a hallucination of magical intervention. Perhaps a spirit comes to save us. Perhaps an ancient genetic super ability emerges deep from within our being, and we witness this ability as a self healing miracle. Mira - to look at/observe. We literally observe advanced happenings beyond our current scientific ability to validate.


I am in no way denying the reality of hallucinogenic and mystical experiences. In fact, I believe in the validity of multiple coherent ontologies; thereby, multiple coherent and partially compatible realities all overlapping on the consensus present moment. However, I believe that each timeline, reality, loci of consciousness, dimension, etc has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the secrets of human potential can be unlocked through consciously shifting our operating system between these frameworks. This is the shamanic work of egoic death, cocoon and rebirth spirals, and transformational healing. To travel between timelines in my experience requires a neuroplastic shift to an alternate patterning of managing our neurobiology. All within our reach and medical ability, yet very understudied, under-respected, and under utilized within mainstream culture. The art of changing our mind, our brain, our beliefs is emerging from the confined of the ordained, the licensed, the few previously tasked with wielding such technologies and knowledge. Now we each have access to the authorship of our healing and/or integration. And whichever methodology we employ is ours to choose, and ours to own. So again, I believe in the validity of multiple coherent ontologies, so far as one is able to return to the consensus present moment as a workable, integrated member of our civilization.


Therefore, when I was sitting in the amazon drinking with the Ashaninka and tuning my system through following the icaros until I no longer exerted any effort to do so, i was shifting into their worldview. I was fully allowing the songs to sing me. Fully allowing the collective energy of the ceremony to operate my brain and nervous system to tune me, tune my instrument, tune the guitar as it were.

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In this particular ceremony, I had the insight to stay present during the waking memories of the surgeries. To smell the blood and the internal bile and fluids of my own body. And to understand that this reality is equally as hallucinogenic as any other I create. Thereby, i was able to leverage my breathing techniques, mental stillness, and loving awareness to stay present to the pain and transformation. Self regulating my body through the surgical process and fully integrating this past intense event as part of the set of lessons I have created in my lifetime to unlock and prove my soul’s capacities and gifts.


Yes, this was an intense one. And yes, this informs my approach to future surgical interventions. And 100% yes, I am listening in a unique way to a surgeon’s reassurance, “you will be asleep for the entire process.” As I know that my body is me and stewarding the system of myself is far more involved than many choose to remember.




(image: trans* biohacker at the very beginning of the ceremonial plant medicine healing journey that would last the next 5 years and counting. AKA: me from the past. AKA: Ava)





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