The Plant Path

Why do people use psychedelic plants? After all there’s so many paths to take when going on a spiritual journey. And the plant path doesn’t seem to be the easiest one…

You might get dirty, or nauseous. You may start crying and vomiting, or worse! Likely you’ll have to face your inner darkness, as well as the darkness in the world. You could even find yourself in illegal situations. Nevertheless, some feel the calling and go out explore.

Motivations to walk the plant path

Over the past years I’ve met many people that are walking the plant path. Some of them became good friends. Here I give an overview of their motivations to interact with wisdom plants. Sometimes they all play a role in a single ceremony. In other situations just one or a couple of them prevail. Most likely these motivations balance each other out in a unique way in the life of every psychonaut.

1. Discovery

Many enter the world of wisdom plants out of curiousity. They’ve heard stories from friends or read about it and become interested. There’s not so much an intention except for discovery in itself and the wish to explore different states of consciousness.

2. Philosophy

Another reason why people get involved with plants of wisdom is the quest for answers. They’re looking for knowledge or insight into the nature of reality and the nature of consciousness. The plants of wisdom might give such answers, sometimes in a very direct way. Ironically, the experience may as well lead to more of such questions.

3. Ecstasy

Since ancient times plants of wisdom have been utilized to reach a state of divine ecstasy in which one is able to meet and merge with the ‘Source of Being’. Many psychonauts have reported such experiences. Sometimes they occur spontaneously, in other traditions this specific experience is cultivated.

4. Direct experience

In general plant medicine traditions are appealing because they offer a broad range of intense experiences: from working through deep personal and collective traumas to the heights of paradisical bliss. The plant path attracts those who want more than just read psychological or philosophical theories on life. Those who want to perceive and feel it for themselves.

5. Spirituality

Psychedelic experiences often become a catalyst for spiritual development. Deep insights in the nature of existence often come with feelings of wonder and awe. It’s basically about trying to understand who we are, what our place is in the world and how we should live our lives. The connection to a specific tradition and the people with whom we share these experiences can become an important part of our spiritual path as well.

6. Creativity and problem-solving

Plants of wisdom have since ancient times been utilized to solve the problems of the tribe. By entering a clairvoyant trance the shaman and/or participant is able to receive the information necessary. Currently, psychedelics are often used in a similar way when looking for a breakthrough in a creative process or in order to get clarity on which direction to go in life.

Interestingly, there’s been a lot of attention for micro-dosing lately. Low doses of different psychedelic plants are ingested: not to trip out, but to function better in everyday reality. Users find themselves more relaxed, happy and open-minded and perform better on creative tasks and problem-solving.

7. Healing and self-development

The plants of wisdom are often considered to be medicines: plant medicines. This could be understood in a very direct way: they help to cure a variety of diseases. Only recently scientific research into the medical potential of these plants has been taken up again.

Healing could be understood in a broader sense as well: as the ability to solve all kinds of obstacles on the physical, mental and social plane. Even self-development could be considered ‘healing’, in the sense of becoming ‘more whole’.

8. Connection

Partaking in a plant medicine ceremony together with others can build strong interpersonal bonds. In many settings it’s common for participants to share their feelings and intentions beforehand, and have a sharing circle again at the end of the ceremony. It can be very nurturing to listen and relate to each other’s experiences. The fact that entheogens open you up intensifies this process.

9. Celebration

Often plant ceremonies contain an aspect of celebration. Whether or not one experiences a mystical breakthrough or processes through deeply hidden parts of the self, a trip with the plants of wisdom emphasises your awareness of being alive. It reinforces your connection with the world around you. Reflection upon the mystery of being brings about feelings of gratefulness and happiness. Just the fact of being alive is often considered a reason to celebrate.

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