Within the GOTT community itself, individuals and groups presented new and ongoing projects. These included activist efforts, like the Club Safety Awareness Initiative and Dance for Peace, participatory workshops like hula hoping and trapeze lessons, and community-building projects like the Reconvergence of the Tribes in Vancouver. Presenters also led group discussions on issues of interest to participants, such as Theo Rosenfeld and Jolayne Marsh's discussion on polyamory, and DanceSafe staffer Melissa Martin's talk on inspiration and motivation for activism in the dance community.
Collective leaders, activists, and legal experts held a discussion circle on "The State of the Underground," evaluating the status of the dance community's legal situation and act i v i s t p r o g r e s s.
While they were mostly unfamiliar with the psychedelic therapy model, they were far more knowledgeable than I am about the therapeutic and spiritual potential of psychedelic use in a dance environment. This kind of use draws on ancient traditions of communal experience, and deserves attention in the study of therapeutic psychedelic use.
GOTT participants sit on pillows, mats and other soft things during the opening meditation. This was the integration of all the lessons, the community-building, and the friendships formed during the event. After a day of traveling and rest, campers awoke to the sound of a single note breaking through the dawning chirps and rustles of the meadow.
They forged the ice-cold stream that divided the camping grounds from the area that would soon become the dance floor. Decked out in the traditional outdoor dance party garb of layered flowing fabrics, warm fuzzy things, and eye protective goggles, they created a circle around the meadow, as each person silently joined hands with the two nearest others.
When the circle was several acres wide, it suddenly collapsed on itself, into a chest-crushing group hug. The music began. Thus opened Altered States and the Spiritual Awakening ASSAJuly, Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl) conference that brought together experts from the fields of transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, entheogens, and consciousness exploration.
The event was organized by Stephen Trichter of False Profit, a limited-liability corporation with the mission of emphasizing human over financial value. Trichter's vision for ASSA was a conference that would be affordable to young people and students like himself he is a graduate student in psychology.
Outside, in the courtyard, participants ate catered meals and browsed tables set up by Erowid and MAPS. MAPS also provided assistance prior to the conference by facilitating donation processing. Inside, participants attended lectures, panels, and smaller, interactive workshops on a host of topics.
Several talks approached spirituality from a research perspective. Frank Echenhofer, Ph. Stanley Krippner, Ph. The six D's of shamanic technology - drumming, dancing, dreaming, drugs, diet, and deprivation - were of special interest to the crowd, which doubtlessly contained at least a few modern- day shamans. There were almost twenty different speakers over the weekend.
Visual artists, as well as musicians and dancers, are celebrated and supported at dance collectives events. This stronghold in the Sierra Madre Mountains long resisted the genocide of the Spanish Conquest, but has recently fallen to the modern world. Today, only about 10, Huichol remain in their homeland, and another 10, have migrated to other places throughout Mexico.
Theirs was a vividly rich culture that relied heavily on shamanic tradition to guide them and to keep them in harmony with the land. The encroachment of Christian missionaries as well as the forced farming of tobacco by the government has left the Huichol, not unlike the American Indians, struggling to keep their way of life from fading into nothingness.
As Tom Pinkson, PhD so vividly states:. The shamanic wisdom of the Huichol provides time-tested methods for opening the mind to a wider range of awareness than the materialistic-based understanding of the West.
She has spent half of her life in the Huichol community, and has personally witnessed the destruction of their ancient shamanic culture. As she beautifully states:. It is a spiritual component of Huichol farming that is missing in most non-Huichol modern day agricultural endeavors, but is as valid a part of Huichol farming practices as reading weather reports and planting by the moon are in our own. The personification of natural forces and the creation of relationships of reciprocity between human souls and immortal nature Spirits have sustained Huichol survival in their severe environment for centuries Valdez Amazingly enough, the Huichol have absolutely no history of war.
The Huichol are dependent upon corn, planting their fields along the steep slopes of their mountain homeland.
Corn was life for the Huichol Indians, as was a steady diet of deer. Due to overhunting by outsiders and the encroachment of civilization, there are no deer left in the Sierra Madre forests. The yearly cycle of preparing the fields, planting, growing, and harvesting the corn was surrounded by religious ceremony, as was all of Huichol life. But the farming of corn, as mentioned above, has been replaced by cash crops of tobacco. As Susana explains:. When traditional Huichol farmers place corn seed into the ground, they are entering into a sacred bond with the plants and every vital force of nature that contributes to their growth.
This give-and-take method has provided them with healthy organically grown crops that have fed masses of their people throughout the ages Valdez That balance has been broken, and the Huichol now stand as a broken people as well. It tells the story of their mile Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl) from the remote Sierra mountains into the heart of Mexico City to obtain 20 white-tailed deer from the city zoo in an effort to save the Earth from environmental devastation.
With these 20 deer, the Huichol hoped to establish a deer breeding project to repopulate the Sierra with the animals, thus allowing them and future generations to once again perform their ancient ceremonies, to Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl) with their past, and with their traditions. Now the Huichol themselves are as endangered as the deer they seek to protect. In the last few years, Mexican government development programs for indigenous peoples have been scaled back. As a result, the Huichol are beset by poverty, disease and social ills.
Huichol shamanism honors all of creation, especially the spirit of nature. For the Huichol shamans and peoples, this is, and always has been, their religion. The Huichol say we are created from the elements of the natural world: fire, air, water and earth. Because of this, each of us is a miniature universe, a mirror of both the natural and the Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl) worlds.
All the knowledge and secrets of these two worlds are inside of us and everything is perfectly arranged. Shamanism teaches us to tap into that arrangement, Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl), to understand and to live in harmony with the natural Tribe Of Circle - Altered States (Vinyl) spiritual worlds. Again, as Pinkson so articulately states:.
All aspects of creation are perceived as conscious, alive, containing power, purpose, intelligence, with importance and meaning—the earth, fire, sun, ocean, deer and other animals, plants, rain, rocks, trees, and rivers. Huichol shamanic wisdom recognizes the sacredness of reciprocity with nature, the lack of which puts us on a destructive path whose impact we experience today. Rather than a fear-based, control-with-force patriarchy emphasizing masculine sky-gods running the show, Huichol cosmology honors the Great Cosmic Mother as integral to life and its maintenance Pinkson The Huichol also believe that the practice of shamanism is accessible to all people.
Although the shaman are the teachers, healers, and practitioners, we can all learn the ceremonies and rituals that accompany just about every aspect of the Huichol life. Ceremony, sacred dance, vision quest, and pilgrimages to places of power in nature are all essential aspects of the Huichol form of shamanism. For centuries, they have conducted ceremonial rituals they believe heal the Earth and keep nature balanced. But now, through no action of theirs, the Earth is sick and slowly dying.
The land of the Huichol is dying.
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