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Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening (a critical book review)

When I was in the process of realizing that my kundalini awakening, and the many years of spiritual crises, had many similarities with that of a traditional shamanic illness and initiation, I stumbled upon a book called A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening. It is by Brendan Ring, an Irish musician, author, and, in his own words, a mystic. I was thrilled, but was quickly disappointed. 

The style of the book is an endless description of Ring´s dreams, visions, and his subjective interpretations of these. Ring himself mentions that it is a personal account, but he also states that it is for other people with similar experiences. Well, the book will not be of any help with those with similar experiences; that is: the kundalini or shamanic awakened. On the contrary, it is deeply misguiding.

Ring doesn´t seem to realize that an, almost scientifically precise, often pages long, description of your own dreams and your own subjective interpretations of this, gives just about no meaning to other people than yourself. One could understand the style if it was written as a poetic novel, or if it was linked to supporting objective data and explanations, or at least, philosophical argumentations, but it is not. It only consists of these descriptions.

Such descriptions fill most of the book, and is only occasionally, and very shortly, paused with descriptions of Ring´s real life and knowledge about Indian philosophy and shamanism. Many of these are very interesting, but it disappears into the obscurantism of Ring´s own subjective world. One is getting more and more confused and often you lose the sense of when Ring is talking about reality, and when he is talking about dreams.

When you look into the actual topic of the book, a shamanic kundalini awakening (Ring´s own), there are equally huge problems. There is no doubt, if you take his words seriously, that he is going through a kundalini awakening. The real problem is whether this also is a shamanic awakening. Because the shamanic element in Ring´s world has to do with psychedelics, mainly ayahuasca, and secondary, a magic mushroom called amanita muscari. Ring is talking about Ayahuasca as a Goddess you can worship. Others might say that Ayahuasca is a drug which you can get addicted to. It depends on interpretation, and subjective guided interpretations there are a lot of in Ring´s book. Ring´s dreams and visions are similar to what you can see in the so-called Ayahuasca art. Jungians are dreaming about Jungian symbols, Christians are having Christian dreams, and ayahuasca worshippers are dreaming ayahuasca dreams. The below image is an example of so-called Ayahuasca art:

There is nothing in Ring´s ayahuasca dreams that indicates that he is called to be a shaman. In fact, he isn´t having the traditional signs for being called to be shaman. He hasn´t went through the shamanic illness, and doesn´t feel any longing after becoming a healer.

Ring´s kundalini is centred in the third eye. I guess we could talk about a third eye awakening. Psychedelics are also centred in the third eye. But you can´t reach liberation unless you work with the lower chakras first. On the contrary you can get lost in the third eye, and build up new conditioned layers of reality, new psychological and mental constructs. This means that you can´t work with the lower chakras at the same time as you are doing drugs.

This leads to the next. As mentioned: Ring´s dream account is more or less meaningless to a reader, but, if you have knowledge about the chakras, there are some indications of the above. At some point he is describing a dream where he is in a red room. The dream is fearful and involves a Tyrannous Rex (which he interprets as a spirit helper). He also talks about a red serpent. Later, when also talking about frightening dreams, he talks about a red and white bowl filled with maggots (and dreams where there are maggots all over his house).

Despite his self-acclaimed dream expertise Ring simply doesn´t get the message of those dreams. He is aware that the colour red is the symbol of the root chakra. He immediately see that the red and white bowl is a symbol of amanita mucaria mushroom, which he much into. He also knows that the frightening aspects of the dreams has to do with his own darker side, but he interprets the dreams in a way so he avoids the lower chakras. He doesn´t realize that they indicate that he has to do some work with his own personal stuff; meaning: work with the lower chakras. The red and white bowl refers to his root chakra, and tells two things: that there are maggots in his root chakra, and that the mushroom not is good for him, and that he has to stop taking it.

Dreams both have a compensatory and progressive aspect. Ring interprets everything in light of the progressive aspect, not the compensatory aspect. People who live too much in the head, who are intellectual fixated, or people who are unrealistic in their self-image, who are flapping and flying, people who in other words are lacking ground connection, are unbalanced in their energy fields. In order to compensate and contra-balance this lack of ground connection, the dreams produce certain types of red symbols. In dreams such people walk on red floors, have red stockings or shoes on, drive in red cars or on red bicycles. Common for these very different symbols is the red colour and the emphasize of the root chakra, legs, feet, earth. Ring´s obscure book and its lack of balance between dream and reality is itself an indication of an absence of the lower chakras.

A second problem is his worship of plastic shamanism, a word he doesn´t use, but which refer to white people´s abuse of indigenous cultural values which aren´t a part of their own, mark the word, roots. Ring is mentioning an episode which could be seen as a warnings against this, but which he interprets in his own way. In the chapter called “Demonic Diversions” he is telling about how the “universe is bringing me into contact with what I call ‘demonic people’”. The first person was at an ayahuasca retreat. It was a Mexican who tells him that white people shouldn´t take ayahuasca. The person is, according to Ring description, quite rude, I agree, and Ring is nicknaming him Eduardo el Diablo. In other words: he is making a joke out of him. Another time in Peru, in Pisac, he meets a woman, whom I, again according to Ring´s own description, can´t see as anything else as a sober minded spiritual seeker. Again Ring is making a joke out of her, writing in cursive “look at me, I´m very spiritual”. She was a kundalini yoga teacher, and Ring is telling her about his own kundalini awakening. She then says that she never wanted one and that all true yoga teachers will tell you the same. Ring doesn´t understand why she calls it kundalini then. But a true shaman would also say that he or she wouldn´t wish for anybody to get a shamanic awakening. This woman´s message is in my view very sober minded and wise. Ring tells that she also began criticizing everything about ayahuasca. Ring´s only reaction is to get personal insulted. Again he is using nicknames: “I call it the ‘namaste and fuck off syndrome’”. After the meeting he has a dream about her capturing beautiful birds (his own dreams?), and in the dream he knew she was going to kill them. Hereafter he “rescued” them and she was chased away. Again, Ring interprets the dream according to what suits him best. You could interpret this dream in a completely other way.

Ring tells about Iquitos, a small city in Peru, which he calls a kind of “Ayahuasca central” He writes:

“The spiritual energy is palpable in Iquitos, a raw magic emanating from the heart of the rainforest where plant spirit shamanism has been practised in unbroken tradition for thousands of years”.

The fact is that Iquitos is an Ayahuasca tourist spot for white plastic shamans who all believe they are shamanic awakened, and are confusing drug use with spiritual practice. It is astonishingly that people are capable of inducing this delusion into themselves. But on a more scary level, we see a world-wide Matrix Conspiracy propaganda project where drug abuse is being mixed with spiritual themes. Netflix has just launched a new documentary called: Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, which is a long commercial for beginning to use drugs. A long line of famous actors, musicians, comedians and writers are telling their best drug stories. It is incredible how this can happen without critique. The documentary is started and ended with Deepak Chopra, talking about quantum mysticism and that reality doesn´t exist. In other words: the typical New Age (postmodernist) "spirituality" which swims in subjectivism, relativism and metaphysical nihilism (there is no reality, there are no values, there is no spirituality, there is no enlightenment, there is no God, there is nothing at all). The end lines: Have a Good Trip! In other words: a commercial, which is gaslightning you into becoming a drug abuser.

Also on Netflix, you can see a documentary about Ayahuasca tourism called: The Last ShamanIn a last-ditch effort to prevent suicide, a clinically depressed young man travels to the Amazon to engage in an ancient hallucinatory ritual. Among other places, he visits the above mentioned Iquitos. Read the introduction to the movie here. Here you´ll find the director´s statement (Raz Degan). He tells the typical Carlos Castaneda inspired tale of himself traveling to the Amazon, where he finds a Shaman. Hereafter he is being initiated into the holy secrets. Read a review of the movie hereNow, if you are sober, you will quickly see that Iquitos, rather than being a place where "the spiritual energy is palpable", looks like a place for psychic wrecks and drug addicts. You´ll see types of people you probably would avoid if you were walking on a street in your hometown. However, in the psychedelic culture such people are suddenly being made into shamans and holy people. And this exposes the paradox of the psychedelic renaissance movement. You saw something completely similar in the counterculture. It reflects George Harrison´s own well-founded disillusionment with psychedelics which was, in part, brought on by his visit to San Francisco´s Hight-Ashbury district in the 1960s. Rather than finding “hippie” spiritual seekers, he found a lot of kids virtually homeless and strung-out on drugs (see my pop culture file on The Beatles).

One of the most contentious aspects of the New Age has been its adoption of spiritual ideas and practices from other, particularly non-Western cultures. Its belief that all traditions are free for anyone to use, rather than the private property of particular communities, has resulted in New Agers adopting and marketing the practices of Third World societies. These have included, for examples, "Hawaiian Kahuna magic, Australian Aboriginal dream-working, South American Amerindian ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremony”.

New Age a therefore a central part of a new kind of cultural imperialism, misappropriating the sacred ceremonies, and abuse of the intellectual and cultural property of especially indigenous peoples. The invasion of white shamans in Iquitos, and other ayahuasca retreats, is the most concrete example of this you can get. But people like Ring is only interested in his own rights to do this, and feel insulted if anybody criticizes this behavior. His central ideas revolve around his own psychedelic trip. That´s probably also why he doesn´t feel any call to become a healer.

The use of ayahuasca among the indigenous people in south America, is centred in the Jivaro society, which also is known for a high degree of violence and competition, and contrasts radically for example, with the peacefulness of the Conibo. And both Jìvaro and Conibo stand apart from Australian and many other tribal peoples who have long practiced shamanism without employing psychedelics.

I won´t go further into this spiritual misleading book, just mention some of Ring´s intellectual role models. He very strongly advice people to read John Allegro´s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, where Allegro argues that Jesus never existed as a historical figure and was a mythological creation of early Christians under the influence of psychoactive mushroom extracts such as psilocybin. Allegro is one of the contributors to the New age propaganda site, which advices people to quit critical thinking, and drop the line between fact and fiction, where-after they are free to dwell in pseudohistory and conspiracy theories.

Talking about conspiracy theories. Another central person which Ring advices us to read is Susan Ferguson and her text The Matrix and the Sanskrit Texts. Here she claims that the movie The Matrix contained some fundamental truths, which she without philosophical argumentation advocates as dogmas people should follow: namely that the universe is a temporal illusory holographic matrix made up of varying frequencies, waveforms pulsating at specific vibratory rates. Beneath the Veil, the ‘curtain of each atom’, there really is nothing out there but a vast ocean of etheric energy, the AKASHA, the silent unheard sound. Everything you see or hear or touch is nothing more than electrical signals being transmitted by the five senses through this underlying etheric ocean to your brain. Each of these senses supports the others in the illusion generated by the amazing intensely creative power of MAYA and the GUNAS, Prakriti’s three modes. These signals are interpreted according to our programming from birth and our DNA.

In the Kali Yuga, she preaches, it is the ‘job’ of the Darkside Forces to continually confuse and numb the inhabitants of this our world. There is a War in the Heavens, she lectures, and as above so below. The darkside entities are here in ever increasing numbers for the purpose of further deluding us into a complete and total ignorance of the Real. The frequency wave bands emitted from most forms of electrical-electronic appliances and machines excel at this capacity to confuse, delude, and stupefy. The Veil in these last days of the Kali Yuga has indeed become Borg-like (it should be noted that Ferguson herself, and her texts and videos, are heavily present on the internet, and apparently doesn´t practice anything else than internet propaganda about the Matrix conspiracy).

She then commands us to unplug from the matrix and plug into our own subject, and realize that our own subject is God. This is actually not what the movie is telling about how to unplug, and the whole thing is a repetition of René Descartes´ philosophy, which has just about nothing to do with Indian philosophy, on the contrary (I doubt that she actually knows that the Matrix movie is based on the philosophy of René Descartes and George Berkeley. She just repeat what she has read in other Matrix sophists). She doesn´t understand Indian philosophy either and is therefore misappropriating it, by mixing it with the Matrix movie. In Indian philosophy it is the subject which is Maya (or Matrix), and it is this subject you ought to unplug from, if you want to come out in reality and discover objectivity (truth). So, Ferguson is in reality, involuntarily I hope, ending up as a gaslightning clone of agent Smith.

Ferguson asks: Are you in love with love? In this question she goes from Descartes to New Thought (the create-your-own-reality idea) and finally Nietzsche (nihilism - again: note that she doesn´t mention these philosophies). She advices people to cut off from any external reality and go into their own subject, which, according to her, is the source of love. She writes:

I can tell you that you are heading for a place where THERE ARE NO REFERENCE POINTS! A location within where you will have grown beyond both the demons and the angels — a place where you will have earned freedom, because you will have experienced every polarity paradigm in all the time-space matrices and you are ready to create your own.

I cannot do this for you. NO ONE CAN! You have to choose it for yourself. Only your own courage can loosen the slimy sucker-tendrils that imprison you and drain your life force. Only the God-within you can know the precise sublime moment when you are ready to emerge from the Matrix – grinning ear to ear as you REMEMBER who you are!

Why is she using the word YOU? She can only say I, because, according to her own premises, there doesn´t exist any other person than herself and her own subject. All other people are an illusion (the Matrix). Her whole family, all the people who have loved her, are an illusion, all nature, all flowers, all the beauty in the universe, are an illusion. Only herself exists, and her eternal Sisyphean work of, every second, every minute, creating all the atoms in the universe through her own mind, all day, all years, all hundreds of years, all thousands of years, yes, in all eternity, creating the whole of the universe, again and again, because she is God himself! Complete alone in what you might call black enlightenment.

Main booklet:

The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (my personal interpretation of the Chakra-system)

Related texts on dreams and chakras:

Related texts on psychedelics and plastic shamanism:

Related texts on the Matrix Conspiracy:

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