I returned from Iquitos, Peru on Saturday after spending nine days at the Espiritu de Ananaconda, a small Shipibo village in the Amazon jungle, where I and approximately 70 other people took part in Convergence 2008. I had come to learn about Ayahuasca, a powerful plant teacher, and to experience for myself the plant's effects. I participated in three traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies during my stay. My introduction to Ayahuasca proved to be a remarkable experience that I will describe in subsequent posts as part of my integration process.
My trip, I came to discover, was being scripted by an unseen hand and powerful natural forces. I left Seaside Park, NJ on July 8th with my passport tucked in my pocket and visions of my three-week-old granddaughter flooding my mind's eye. Things got spooky when the flight from Lima to Iquitos was cancelled due to vultures circling in the sky above the dumps of the city, obstructing air traffic. Another more prosaic explanation for the aborted flight was that striking workers had strewn nails and glass on the runway in Iquitos. I would like to believe that the vultures temporarily blocked our path so that I could connect on a deep level with a few fellow travelers before the conference.
Once I had rechecked my luggage and rescheduled my flight for the next day, I hopped into a taxi with Gabriel and we headed off to a cliff top perch overlooking the Peruvian coastline. Gabriel and I spent the next nine hours downloading information to one another. I shared my poems with him and he shared his art with me. The strength, depth, and immediacy of our connection astonished us both. By the time we boarded the plane for Iquitos the following morning, Gabriel and I had become not only friends, but brothers.
When we arrived at Espirtu de Anaconda, we were fully primed for sacred ceremonial work. Gabriel set up his computer to play his collection of trance mixes in a tent that Don Guillermo dubbed the Ayahuasca Discotheque. It proved a nifty place to chill and to maintain our groove. After stowing my gear in a tambo situated in a secluded spot along a jungle trail, I spent the remainder of the day getting to know other members of the group that had assembled the previous day. I've got to give credit to the spirits orchestrating this journey for bringing together such a collection of incredibly talented and creative people. It was only natural that we formed a closely knit tribal community.
The forces of attraction waxed strong in the jungle. I became entwined in the fantastic tendrils of Robert Venosa and Martina Hoffman, two visionary artists who shared their wisdom and love with me. They, too, were stranded in Lima the previous day. Katiri Walker, a Native American actress and activist, is another person with whom I have become hopelessly entangled. We share a common vision and are traveling a similar path. She has promised to introduce me to her Hopi grandmother when I return to Arizona in the fall. I am at her service. Two other people I will look up when I get back to Phoenix are Sharon Stetter, a teacher of Integral Yoga and agent for Dennis Numkena, and Harry Farrar, a network engineer turned DJ. Conveniently enough, both Sharon and Harry live in close proximity to my home in South Mountain Village, which will make it easy for us to get together.
I've added many new friends to my address book since my return from the Amazon. I am excited and honored to be part of this network of creative, like-minded individuals. There is much work to be done in the years leading up to December 21, 2012. Gabriel and I are already making plans to meet on Easter Island to conduct a sacred ceremony during a full solar eclipse on July 11, 2010.