First Ceremony

Hi Everyone,

First, thank you Carmen for putting your letter forward to the group of us on the other side of
the ceremony. Yes, I am a mental health therapist and yes this was my first time using altered
state medicine. I struggled throughout the evening not understanding how this was supposed
to go. At one point I think I was trying to figure out if I could get up and go to the bathroom. I
believe Brendan, “in the water”, helped me out here and said “Just go!”

Eyes open? Eyes closed? What if Fay and Feliz think I went to sleep? What if I stay past my
welcome (2pm ) without knowing? So much worry and, as it happens with me often, hidden
behind humour. With loving patience and acceptance I think I did settle for times and
moments to journey and listen to Aya, and Aya too, patiently and lovingly let me come and go
as I needed.

In my journalling Sunday, I wrote, “When my journey began, it was pleasant, like Mother Earth
and the Creator joined me in a playful manner. We laughed together. I believe it was Mother
Earth who winked at me and smiled and encouraged me to follow her. She showed me that in
days past that the Creator too had always been with me. We laughed in delight at my sudden

This came to me Monday I think: During the early stage of my journey I also heard Branden,
two to my left, struggling. I recalled him saying he was scared during his previous time in
ceremony with Feliz. I recall calling out, “We got you.” I believe Brendan said, “Thanks bro”.
Whatever the protocol might have been, I felt like I took a first and small step into this way of
travelling, that is knowing I was journeying together with others, but also separately and

Back to my Sunday Journalling: “Then I took more medicine. The sounds in the room
changed. It was like I was carried off on a fast moving train to where I don’t know. Wispy
sounds and whistles were all around. I was dropped off somewhere in the dark. There were
sharp sounds and rattling. It felt like the ground was swallowing me. I could no longer sense
where I began and ended, like I was being pulled a part and succumbed. Was this death? I
was so scared. But I had help. The loving humans with me reminded me I could pull out if I
wanted. That was enough for me to decide to stay on the journey the best I knew how.

I recalled later that I wanted to write to my partner Bailey at some point in the evening. In more
reflection I am aware that writing keeps me in my head. Even so, I felt the loving humans with
me come to my aid, Brendan from the left with paper, Feliz helping me with getting some light,
one or two others helping me sort out a pen or pencil. I’m not sure about the timeframe, but I
think this acceptance of my little dilemma helped me to settle back to following the voice of
Aya. In reflection I am so deeply grateful for this miscellaneous-looking moment.

Sunday Kicked my ass. More journaling. I fluctuated between fear, shame, sadness, and
retreat. Also arose clarity, increased compassion, and a couple deep bouts of tears. The
following days have been quite contrasted: clarity, integrating the ways I know how so far, and
times of profound peace and joy. I’ve also been given some unexpected little gifts from the
Creator? Mother Earth? Medicine?—Im not altogether sure. Maybe its Aya helping me equip
further for integration work and healing to come.

Feliz, Amrit, Justin, Brendan, Carmen, Brendan, Andrei, and Fay, I was honoured to be in
ceremony with you. Little to say, if we ever get the chance to journey together again, my
partner Bailey says she will sign a waiver so you can tape my mouth shut:).

Love – Mark

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