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Tribal Spirits

I recently received an e-mail from a friend of mine about an aspect of his experiences with psilocybe cubensis which I thought you elves may find of interest.

I recently received an e-mail from a friend of mine about an aspect of his experiences with psilocybe cubensis which I thought you elves may find of interest. Here it is:


Dear ZZ

How are the two of you? I'm well and happy and thought I would share some thoughts with you concerning mushrooms.

One thing that I consistently experience while on relatively high doses of cubensis (5-10gms of dried) is encounters with what I can only call Tribal Spirits. To me, this is really what these mushrooms are all about, and yet I am hard-pressed to find much mention of this experience in the literature generated around the subject.

Let me enlarge on this. My first tribal spirit encounter experience was interestingly in relation to the Jews and what a beautiful experience it was. It started in a somewhat novel way. I was about two hours into the trip and was staring at a large wooden carving that I have of a woman's torso. Now while I was looking at it, it suddenly called to mind a wonderful bronze statue of David (as in David and Goliath) produced during the Renaissance by, I think, Donatello. With this association in mind, the carving suddenly seemed to become a doorway into what I can only call the Kingdom of Judah.

Suddenly I was immersed in an ancient Judaic world characterised by a feeling of being part of a noble, tribe living in the desert, with a strong sense of kinship with all those around me. It was as if the land and figures of the Old Testament had suddenly burst into life and I was a living part of it all. Now what is interesting is that despite my explorations of a great deal of religions, Judaism has probably appealed to me the least - far too law-bound for my anarchic tastes. And yet here I was being bathed in the most wonderfully noble spirit imaginable. What was especially interesting was my feeling that as a member of this tribe of Judah I was very dark-skinned, in fact pretty well black. Now I've read in a few places that the original Jews were probably very dark-skinned and this was an amazing confirmation of this.

The thought occurred to me that maybe inside my WASP body I had a few old Jewish genes hanging around, and that the archetypes hardwired into these genes had kicked in during the trip. However, I dispelled this notion on a later trip when I suddenly found myself immersed in the spirit of Japan while practising some Tai Chi while on the trip. Again - utterly wonderful. It's impossible to convey the feeling, but I became one with the essential folk spirit that I'm sure lives within every Japanese person. Suddenly I realised just how important a sense of identity with a racial/tribal group really is. Without this identification one is nothing - and yet all the politically correct thinking of today is that one should move away from tribalism towards a universal community. Bullshit I say. Tapping in to one's tribal spirit is I reckon what salvation (weird word that) is all about. The hallmarks of the experience were tied up with the importance of the family, the father, and the importance of the relationship betwen the father and the son. There was also a strong sort of warrior feeling to it all as well as a sense of sacredness of the Japanese soil.

OK, so I don't have any Japanese genes in me, so the explanation for why I had these experiences obviously lay elsewhere. And then WHAM I realised some months what the trigger had been. In the case of the Tribe of Judah experience, I suddenly realised that I had take the mushrooms over the celebratory period of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New year). Whether I realised this subliminally at the time I really can't say. And in the case of the Japanese experience, I discovered that I took the trip on the night of one of their major religious festivals. So I'm developing this theory that maybe when a people with a strong tribal spirit celebrate their religion, it sends out vibrations into the ether which get picked up on my bemushroomed people! Weird huh!

Well, I subsequently had two further tribal spirit experiences which were as revelatory as the first two. In the one, I found myself transported into an ancient north European, pine-forested realm, and experienced myself as a sort of wolf-man. Don't laugh. Yes it was sort of werewolfish but in the nicest way possible. At the same time as I developed this wolf identification, I started becoming aware of a group of similar wolf-men around me. We were sitting around a fire and there was this voice, this Ursprach, speaking through my head in some ancient Germanic tongue. Fucked if I could work out what it was saying, but it seemed that the language spoken was what bound us all together into a single organism. Again there was a strong warrior flavour. I subsequently stumbled on a book by Mircea Eliade called `Zalmoxis - the vanishing god' in which he described the ancient German `mannerbunde' (secret societies of warriors) whose central totem was the wolf. They apparently took some hallucinogen - conjectured to be amanita - and underwent a psychological transformation into wolves. This enabled them to fight with what was called `furor mystica' in which they became utterly fearless and fought like wild animals. Wowee!

Then, as if wrapping up things into a nice quarternity of Tribal Spirits, I had one in which I became one with the Zulu people. It started off with the feeling that my body had been transformed into what I can only call the Black Goddess, and She was synonomous with the entire continent of Africa. I had - this sounds bizarre but seemed thoroughly acceptable at the time - become one with the African continent and it was very female and amazingly sexy as well. Then I started hearing this chanting of African language going through my head, and again I was struck by by how central language was to the tribal spirit. Again, there was an emphasis on community, family and the warrior/hunter spirit.

I'm not a particular fan of the German writer/philosopher Rudolf Steiner, but I did come across something that he believed that really resonated with all the above. I'll reproduce it here:

'In earlier times....the social life of human communities was almost entirely the expression of Folk Spirits (Archangels). Their own soul, character or super-personality became (as it still does today in some communities) the culture or national character of the human community under its guidance....in some indigenous communities or tribes, the ego presence is so faint that the tribal Folk Spirits are even brough into partial incarnation. This can be seen in some initiatory dances, where after long and exhausting preparations inducing a state of trance, the dancers begin to MOVE AS ONE BEING (my capitals). For those privileged to witness such events, they describe that at the moment of incarnation - ie that moment when the individual dancers become `one being' - a presence of immense power is felt. What is witnessed is more than the sum total of the dancers, it is the tribal spirit itself with each dancer becoming a limb of that being.'
The writer then goes on to say - and this I found especially interesting in the light of my Judaic experience: `The history of the Jews and their trials spanning nearly four thousand years against al most continual opposition can serve as a picture of the strength of a folk spirit in inspiring and nurturing its people.'

Well ZZ, I hope you didn't find all the above too tedious to wade through. All I can say is that for me, trying to tap permanently into the tribal spirit - or maybe bringing a new one to birth - is about the only game in life worth playing.


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