Growing With Medicine

As I said in previous post, medicine has been growing me for 40 years. Last week our son made this lovely piece of art for mom and dad. I saw it when he made it then I saw it again this morning. It really hit me- this is what I was feeling and trying to describe at the outset of this blog, when I plant it. This genius little kid put all those words and more into a beautiful image of family and medicine and love. Brilliant!


So thanks to Fynn, I don’t have to write about that anymore. This is how I came into the tipi. I began to grow medicine with and for my family, and through my fasting and questing, I was led to the right people. Starting with an eccentric artist, seriously devoted to the medicine right in my backyard, just off San Carlos reservation for fasting/vision questing with medicine, no joking around. Then to my ancestral home in Mexico with my Wírraríka relations who showed me how to respect the hunt of it. Then to the tipi I was invited, many years into my own sorting out my life with my family now, more responsibilities. Then to the gardens in Texas for making relations with the people who provide medicine to the church, learning of the lands and the ways it actually is there, beautiful and otherwise.

My 35 years ago look 🙄

And that is the story. My story anyway. There are many layers to the peyote conservation conversation. But the first part of it, for me, is to plant a seed and tend it with my family.

I don’t understand how anything can be better than this.

And I say this because if that loving purpose and intention is planted now, then the conversation can grow into something positive and productive from that. So that is my intention in the beginning of this blog. To give detail and visual perspective to why conserving and respectfully cultivating this medicine is a spiritual devotion for me and my family. It is literally the prayer for our family’s future. It doesn’t get more basic or sacred than that.

Now I want to invite some guest opinions that I hope to host in these pages soon. There’s many points of view, not just those of a Mexican Lorax. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not all rainbows and tamales and mescal beans.

There are many aspects to consider in conserving a sacred reliance for the future. Some of them are tedious and depressing- such as regulatory implications to consider and the sad state of affairs in the virtually militarized, ecologically challenged, human trafficking highway in the gardens of south Texas. We have tribal sovereignty and cultural rights directly affected and our conversation must include this aspect as if it were the main pole in the tipi

There are land based, long-term considerations which require considerable planning and resources. There’s the issue of protecting medicine in Mexico and whether or not we can ethically condone any reliance on these populations to alleviate supply challenges. And whose medicine is it anyway, whose responsibility? And who needs to do something about it? Is it a Mexican concern? Because most of it grows there, or are we to focus on protecting Texas while there’s even a sliver of hope? Should landowners be allowed to destroy medicine when converting their own private land? Should the status of peyote be raised from a threatened- to an endangered species federally?

These are a few parts of the longer conversation it’s going to take to evolve into any level of effective protection plan to help the medicine help us. I’m asking you peyote, to help us sensitize and enhance, and activate our endeavors for this purpose.

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A Race Nobody Wins

4 responses to “Growing With Medicine”

  1. Some good words brother, but even better pictures.


  2. My association with the Devine Healer of Dreams started when I was still an adolescent.

    A single specimen of Lophophora Williamsii was gifted to me by a strange fellow who was a recent arrival to my neighborhood.

    This event coincided with the Watergate hearings, and the end of hostilities in South East Asia.

    It is curious how things begin, the people and circumstances involved, and the lessons learned when one is truly paying attention.

    I am one who has experienced
    numerous events since childhood, that some would consider life altering
    and very difficult to process, within the “normal mindset” most modern Americans acquired from exposure to public education.

    I pursued an avid interest in what I considered tools of transformation.
    That is to say, I did everything I could to look beyond the veil of what used to be considered reality to most people. It seems these days nothing appears real anymore.

    This humble unassuming succulent sat unperturbed, watching my every move with a calm knowingness.
    It’s subtle changes and slow growth somehow encouraged me to be patient, center and focus my energy.

    During this time in my life, I had associations with colleagues who had no difficulty acquiring substances that though deemed illicit by society at large, were nonetheless intriguing to me, and teachers in their own right.

    One friend in particular convinced me to venture to the Verde Valley with him to retrieve a burlap bag filled with
    dried buttons that had been harvested by an indigenous fellow he knew. I was given a brown paper shopping bag full for doing the driving.

    My first real ingestion of the medicine was done by preparing a very strong tea, and venturing to a very remote place in the Mojave desert where the valley and surrounding hills seemed likely to receive no visitors during our stay.

    My companion and I fasted, prayed for protection, guidance and enlightenment, and then partook of the extremely potent and bitter sacrament in the most reverently ceremonial approach possible for two young white guys with no real training.

    Having no road man, rattles or drums, we naively embarked on a journey that would alter my life in ways I’d never yet imagined.

    The experience lasted easily twelve hours, and it became clear that words were unnecessary, and language was a cheap knock off of real communication with the All There Is.

    Hiking to the summit of the tallest hill, we encountered huge lichen mandalas that must’ve been thousands of years old.

    Suddenly, we became aware of the brevity and insignificance of a human lifespan, which realizing the value place upon it by society, seemed comical at the time.

    The wisdom in the medicine was on one hand quite humbling, and on the other made me aware of my inclusion in the oneness of all things.

    When it was finally revealed that our window into the infinite was closing, we gathered our belongings and departed.

    As we were driving out of the valley, I noticed through the rear view mirror a tremendous dust devil that suddenly appeared at our campsite, and sternly seemed to follow us out.

    My feeling at the time was ok, you’ve been shown the truth and now it’s time to leave.

    It’s as if the guidance and protection we were graciously afforded was being withdrawn. Very few words were exchanged on the several hour drive back to so called civilization.

    In the years since, I have nurtured and cultivated the original specimen, and acquired another in 1991.
    No matter where I’ve traveled or what circumstances I found myself in since,
    I’ve somehow managed to continue a caretaking relationship with these beings from another world.

    I have refrained from partaking of this noble sacrament since my initial experience in spite of the access I have, due to my growing awareness and respect for the indigenous people, and the strictly ceremonial usage they emphasize.

    Over the years I’ve seen a explosion in the growth of my garden, and am now being prompted by Spirit to reach out to they who would most benefit from my relationship with the medicine.

    That somewhat circuitous journey has led me to brother Leo, Morningstar Conservancy and the IPCI
    His decades long dedication and concern for future generations and their access to the wisdom of the medicine, has inspired me to share my experience and potential to further the cause.

    My hope is to be invited to an actual lodge and ceremony among they who’ve kept the wisdom for ages, and understand the significance of the messages being graciously dispersed
    by The All Father.

    In a similar context, and by another means a lesson was given that deserves mention. Please bear with me, this is important.

    I was once offered an artistic finishes school teaching position in Chicago in 2004, that looked good on the surface, but I was not sure it was the right decision for me.

    I had recently become aware of the Mixtec sacrament and guide known as salvia divinorum, and a friend who knew someone able to assist one in this journey, suggested that I seek guidance by that means.

    Typically a question is posited prior to inhalation, so I asked to be shown if it was appropriate and expedient to leave the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of gainful employment.

    The experience was indescribably intense, and sent me to a place where I had no connection with anything resembling an identity with self, an ego, or even an existence as a human male with a name living in a house, on a street, in a town, or on a planet.

    The utter loss of connection and control would be extremely emotionally damaging for most people, but I endured the initial discomfort I likened to being strapped to a runaway freight train hurling in every direction through space.

    When the initial shock of having no control of my experience had subsided, I witnessed imaginary landscapes of places that were vaguely reminiscent of celebratory festivals in times long past.

    A place where pageantry and brightly colored banners, flags and tents billowed in the breeze. There were no humans involved, just my awareness
    of the place.

    The culmination of the experience placed me in an impossibly dark, vast and cavernous expanse, that was presented as the all there is, or what I assumed was the universe. I realized that I was an extremely thin layer of transparent material that stretched so far as to simultaneously reach the edges of all there is.

    What appeared to me then was a grid system of impossibly bright aquamarine points of light that were reminiscent of a spot welders torch.

    These were countless in number connected by holographic transparent tubes of similarly colored yet not as intense light, equidistantly spaced apart in every direction throughout the universe ad infinitum.

    The answer to my question of where should I be was that I’m “Always Everywhere”, and at that juncture had no need nor advantage in relocation.

    When I returned to my body, I was changed for good. The things that once disturbed or angered me were realized as unnecessary and inconsequential.

    The admonition Mitakuye Oyasin became insufficient to describe our relationship to one another. We are actually because of the grid system I mentioned, fundamentally the same person; Inseparable from each other.

    I find these days that my life unfolds perfectly with symmetry and confidence, and what is known as amazing coincidence and good luck, seems to follow me everywhere I go.

    I know not what the future holds for any of us, but am confident that the Great Spirit has a plan, safety, and a way back to source for any who honor the earth and all creation.

    I have great respect for your enduring the challenges in life that have brought you to this point dear Leo.
    I offer my experience, knowledge and love, to assist you in any way you see fit.

    May all your dreams be realized with great joy and wonderment.

    Ah HO!


  3. Shiri Villarreal Avatar
    Shiri Villarreal

    So beautiful,brother! Thank you so much for sharing with us.🙏🏼


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