As a nurse, I was an early proponent of medical cannabis but rarely endorsed products. I was and remain very busy educating the public about the benefits of this super plant, its ability to mitigate suffering and boost the human endocannabinoid system, while dispelling the stigma associated with 80+ years of prohibition.
One of the most powerful ways of working with cannabis is through plant medicine ceremonies. A plant medicine ceremony is a spiritual ceremony facilitated by a person who has an intimate relationship with the plan and is able to receive guidance from this plant for herself and for others. As recreational cannabis becomes legal in more and and more place, healers are able to legitimately hold ceremonies and speak publicly about them.
Recently, I facilitated such ceremony in California. We opened the ceremony by smoking a hybrid flower using my ceremonial pipe. This is a special pipe that I use only during cannabis ceremonies. After the first round I passed out several Weedgets pipes so that the attendees could be in charge of their cannabis consumption throughout the evening. People react differently to cannabis, so some need to smoke more than others. I prefer to use flower in a ceremony setting because the spirit of the plant seems to be strongest in a flower. I source my flowers from growers I personally know because the energy of the grower will directly impact the energy of the flower. Prior to discovering Weedgets, I also offered vape pens and edibles as some people had problems inhaling the harsh smoke. With Weedgets, the need for vape pens and edibles during ceremony went down significantly.
Halfway into the evening, as everyone was deep into the medicine, one of the attendees called me over. She said she is completely sober, experiencing zero effects of the medicine and is bored. By that time, she had smoked quite a bit and sufficient time had passed for the effects to take place.
“Sucks for you, we are all having fun” I teased her. She had a good sense of humor so I knew she would not be offended.
And then we had a conversation about why she was feeling nothing. This was the same conversation we had the previous week when she came in for an intuitive reading so that she could get the most out of the ceremony.
“You are still pretending that everything is fine in your inner world.” I told her. “You are fearing the pain you may experience once you acknowledge that what you went through two years ago actually happened. You fear that you will start reliving it. But you are already reliving it, every day. You know what happened, your body feels it, yet you pretend that it did not.”
What happened to her two years ago was one of the worst things that could happen to a woman. She was raped. As many of us do when experiencing unspeakable trauma, she shut down her emotions. She decided to pretend that everything is fine. That nothing happened and that life is continuing on as planned. I’m familiar with that and with the repercussions that come. I too had shut down my feeling after my mom passed away and manifested a disease the effects of which I still see to this day.
Luckily for this woman, her friends knew that she was not fine. They were very concerned about her. That’s why they brought her to me and sat with her in the ceremony. She needed help and she could not do it alone.
“Let me go into the darkness with you,” I offered. “I’ll hold your hand and I’ll make sure that you will get out. I promise that you will not get stuck in the experience.”
“I’ll try,” she replied.
We sat together for about five minutes and simply breathed. Then I saw her energy shift and spirit showed me her visions. I knew they were her visions because they came to me in black and white and the energy they projected was very similar to the energy she so hard tried to repress.
If you you are wondering about my visions, I saw what I always see – on medicine and without. I saw what happened to her physically and energetically. I witnessed her trauma and the effects of it. I felt how she felt. It was not pleasant, it never is, but I’m trained to handle that and to clear myself afterwards.
For the rest of the evening she was deep into the experience. And I was there with her, holding space and making sure that she does come out of it fully.
She went through the process we sometimes call “soul retrieval.” Soul retrieval is a healing practices to restore lost life force. This loss of life force (also known as soul loss) often happens when we suffer a trauma or a loss. This is a protective response that takes place so that we can survive and go on. The problem with that is that even though we continue living our lives, we are not whole and are not fully present. This low life force generally shows up as anxiety, lack of energy and disease, most often one that effects our immune system.
“Thank you,” she said the next day. “After we talked I could feel you next to me the entire evening. I kept thinking you were sitting to my right. But every time I looked, you were across the room in your own seat. I even felt you holding my hand, yet your physical body was six feet away from me. Every time I became scared, I felt your presence even more strongly. Sometimes I even felt that you were touching me. I opened my eyes to look but you were still in your seat. I feel better now, more complete, as if something heavy was removed from me.”
“You are very welcome,” I replied. “You did all the work. You are very brave. The healing energy will continue to work on you for the next three days. Be sure to get plenty of rest and avoid alcohol.”
About a month later, she called me. Her voice sounded much clearer and her energy was lighter and less chaotic.
“I just wanted to thank you. I am not sure what happened that night, but something lifted somehow. I feel I can be more present for my daughter and I’m not as tired as before. I am glad I spoke up.”
I’m glad she spoke up too. In ceremony, as in life we must realize that we don’t have to go it alone. That we have people who love us and who are willing to help. Yes, it is up to us to go through our journey but we do have love and support to carry us through these difficult times. That’s what we are here to do as humans – support each other so that tomorrow is slightly better than yesterday.
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