Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Even though I had foreseen the global calamity of 2020 and written about it in the two weeks prior to even hearing about the COVID pandemic in Wuhan, I still didn’t know what would trigger the crisis. This part was not revealed to me during the vision I’d had during a Huachuma (San Pedro) ceremony on January 1, 2020, leaving me in anticipation of how it would all unfold.
When the world heard the news about COVID at the end of January, I knew right away that this was it. Even though I was expecting massive global changes, I had still hoped that the dire vision I’d had was just a hallucination. We kept our family vacation in February, determined not to let the growing collective fear affect our lives.
But on March 16, the government shut the country down with a day’s notice, locking down borders and paralyzing the country completely. Despite my awareness of the events and strong hold of reality, the fear started to creep in. Fueled by the mainstream media bombardment, it became harder to maintain inner peace. Scary footage from China of people dropping dead on the streets and smashing their faces on the asphalt was repeatedly looped on national TV, giving little hope for the future.
I got scared for my kids, and put all my attention into protecting them from the virus. We soon learned that children weren’t susceptible to the virus, which brought a wave of relief. But as the information continued to pour in during those early days, they said that people in their 40’s could be vulnerable to the virus. The fear for my children flared up once again, but from a new angle. I began to worry about what would happen to them in the world if we would die.
As you remember, the constant inpour of conflicting information at the beginning of the pandemic was confusing and fear-mongering. We all were just trying to make sense of what was happening.
During the first month I gave into fear, panic, and even came close to depression for the first time in my life. The future was bleak. The over-excessive consumption of news distanced me from my work and my medicine during this time, and I didn’t even enter my ceremonial space. I began to feel disconnected from myself. It didn’t feel right but I didn’t have the will to reconnect.
Overwhelmed by all the negative news, I merged with the matrix of fear. Although I didn’t have the desire to return to my work, I still had the awareness that I had cut myself off from the source of my spiritual strength. Following this realization, I woke up one morning, entered my ceremonial space, and drank a little bit of my Huachuma medicine, and went out for a walk. Looking at the mountains surrounding our place, I began to feel peace for the first time in months. Just after a few hours, I already felt reanimated, reconnected, and empowered.
I came home that day a different person; the person I always was before but had forgotten for a little while. I decided to repeat this at least once a week to maintain that connection. Aside from personal healing, I also enjoyed this time spent alone with my medicine since it had been many years since I’d had the opportunity to do it with guests always coming to work with us.
Over the next couple of ceremonies alone with myself, fear that I’d been carrying vanished completely. I regained my normal sense of self and grip on reality, the usual confidence with which I used to live my life. Filled up with joy, new strength, and clarity, I was back on track.
Peruvian people started to come for healing. It was amazing to see people transformed in just one ceremony. They would come in the morning before ceremony with fear on faces, and would be transformed during the day to go home with a smile.
I began to realize that during this crazy time, curing fear is the most important healing I can do for people. The rest is all a bonus. What else matters when you are living in fear and losing your mind to it? There is hardly anything that can bring you joy if you are scared and panicking. The world around you becomes a war zone that is constantly carpet-bombed by the mainstream media. You lose your ground and succumb to fear.
Huachuma allows you to see your fears as an illusion through which you can see with clarity. And when you do, your fears dissipate like fog under the sunlight. Our fears are just like scary clouds that can look like a monster for a moment but when we look back at them with new awareness, they have already morphed into a flower.
Huachuma gives you the power of vision and choice. Empowered by it, you are able to checkmate fear at will at any time. What is there to the freedom of mind if it doesn’t include the freedom from fear?
I am not a virus denier. There is a virus but so there have been, are, and always be many other viruses on our planet, for which we have the immune system to fight. But how many people know that we can also develop an immune system to protect our minds? This is not something you learn in medical school. This is something you learn through shamanic experience using sacred plants.
Living your life without protection for your mind is like surfing the web without having an antivirus software on your computer. You become vulnerable and are easily infected by viruses of the mind such as fear which can paralyze and freeze you just like a computer screen.
Huachuma upgrades your operating system, installs an antivirus and makes sure your hardware works at its best. This is the upgrade you need to install in 2021 if sanity and well-being are important to you.
As the world is falling apart, you don’t have to fall with it. The tree that withstands a hurricane is the one with deep roots. These roots are the profound connection to yourself that you can find during the ceremonies. Getting to the core of who you are on the deepest possible level when you realize your place in the whole scheme of Creation, makes you invincible to fear.
Filled up with Love, not only you become that tree that withstands the hurricane but also using your roots you support other trees standing nearby. This is why it is simply crucial to do this work in 2021. As the tsunami of the mental health crisis penetrates the fabric of society as a fallout from 2020, enhanced by the following years’ stress and pressure, there will be nowhere to go for help as mental health providers themselves are just as scared, stressed, and confused as you are.
The blind cannot lead the blind. Mainstream psychology simply fails to tackles the amount of anxiety, fear, and depression mounting with each passing day. In fact, one of the people I have had here at Huachuma Wasi during the pandemic was a therapist from Lima. He told me that about 80% of his clients who come to see him suffer from a pandemic-fueled anxiety. And words, he said, can only bring you so far. After spending with us just one day, he said that this experience would be invaluable to his clients. He understood that words have limited power and influence over the mind. It’s a crutch that helps you walk – but very slowly. Shamanic experience is the healing that makes you run again.
It is very difficult to describe the mechanism of healing, perhaps even impossible. Science can explain the biological interaction of chemicals in our brain, but it fails to explain the mystical experience that brings the healing.
Huachuma brings you to your senses literally and figuratively speaking. You can read all about the Power of Now but you have to be in the Now to actually experience it. This embodied experience of your existence in itself is healing. Healed from fear, you embrace Love and Love becomes your spiritual immunity.
That does not mean that I am immune to COVID. I can get sick just like everyone else. But I don’t waste a second of my precious time on this beautiful planet living in fear. Neither do I wait for the world to go back to normal so I can be happy again. I am happy again as I write these words and I create my own normal regardless of the dictate of the outside world. You too can do it and I can guide you through it.
Huachuma is showing us that the power of Choice is what we always have in every moment, just as the power to be in the Now, but we often forget to remember. If in the pre-COVID world plant medicine was a spiritual luxury for a few, today is a necessity for the many.
A properly guided plant-based shamanic experience can serve as a key to mental health. It simply shatters the fear matrix that crumbles under the weight of understanding and a deep sense of connection. And what is your life worth without it?
When you lose your mind, nothing else matters. This is the sad reality we are living in today. Scared to death by the current world events, people are losing their minds. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are skyrocketing at an all-time high and no amount of prescription drugs can help.
Look what is happening in Japan, for example, a highly developed nation that is plunging into a new wave of suicides due to shutdowns and social distancing measures. A ministry of loneliness has been formed to deal with the crisis. And no amount of technology can help them out, which tells you that hi-tech is not a solution to your problems. The fear has penetrated deep into one’s mind and like a cancer, is devouring it from the inside. Plant medicine is the cure that expels it like the antiparasitic medication kills parasites in your intestine. The process is the same although the mind parasites are much harder to expel and no amount of medication purchased at your local pharmacy can exorcise them out of your head.
This is what we do in Peru. We are here to help you to find a way back to yourself and empower you to be who you are. I simply choose high awareness over hi-tech.
It is true that traveling has become more difficult, yet still, not impossible, and for those who understand the need, no obstacle is big enough to overcome it.
This is the time to immerse in Nature and her gifts. Nature is the true pharmacy with all the shelves and remedies you need to cure your body, mind, and spirit.
The doors into Reality are open for those who dare to enter. The only guardian is one’s own fear. And when one enters, one understands that the root cause of all spiritual and mental disease is the separateness of the Soul from the Source, the separateness that has been now worsened by fear. When one finds Unity, one heals and finds inner peace. Self-knowledge dispels self-ignorance like light disperses the darkness.
It is not always easy to wake up from a nightmare at will. Sometimes we have to suffer through a heavy dream until it’s over. The nightmare of the COVID world is happening now, with no end in sight as new strains will keep coming to rock the world. Yet still, we can wake up from it at will by using sacred plants.
I would like to end this piece with a phrase from John Milton, who while speaking of the noblest kind of music describes the Huachuma experience as near as words can do:
“Such sober certainty of waking bliss”.
The healing bliss of Huachuma simply lifts you up from personal and collective fear into the realm of pure being-ness, where you are present to witness and participate in the amazing journey of life we are so fortunate to be a part of. At any given time in history, this experience has been held as deeply sacred and reserved for shamans and initiates. But in 2021, it is simply a cure that’s available for anyone who comes with a sincere intent for healing.
About the author:
Sergey Baranov is the founder of Huachuma Wasi, a healing center in The Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru. He is the author of Path: Seeking Truth in a World of Lies, The Mescaline Confession: Breaking Through the Walls of Delusion and The Cactus of Sanity: Huachuma in a Time of Chaos. Sergey’s passion for life on Earth and its preservation is the driving force behind his work. You can contact Sergey at www.huachumawasi.com.
Recommended articles by Sergey Baranov:
- The 21st year of the 21st Century: A Year of Chaos and Great Awakening
- Huachuma: The Unforgettable Mystery
- Climate Solutions are Obvious – But Profit and Politics Stand in the Way
- A Shamanic Bridge to a Better Future
- What is Shamanic Healing?
- Consciousness in Exile: A Shamanic Perspective
- A.I. and the Synthetic Reality – A Shamanic Perspective
- Psychedelic Spirituality
- Why Consciousness Expanding Plants Are Feared And Deemed Illegal
- Mescaline: An Ancient Medicine for the Soul