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new full moon ritual psychedelics

Here we are, day 10, PSYJuly, Welcome back 🙂

Today we have a post from my great friend and spiritual ally Lucy Porter. I met Lucy in Mexico some years ago and we had some epic adventures together, spending our first days together in the desert eating peyote. Thrilled to share this piece from her today…

 

Syncing Psychedelic Sessions with Moon Cycles

Do you like entering into non-ordinary states of consciousness? How about surfing the ether on a wave of mutilation? 

I get it babe, me too. 

The use of psychedelics to open dormant parts of the psyche is no new practice. Hallucinogenic plants have acquired a sacred, animistic place in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. These psychoactive plants were consumed ritually and treated with the highest respect and intention. Being used primarily to commune with deceased ancestors and to receive important messages for the community. 

The dialogue around psychedelic usage is rife, and with practitioners emphasizing the importance of set and setting, clear intention and emotional safety; there is very little conscious integration of the why and the when. 

When is the Right Time to do Psychedelics?! 

Pre Christianity, The Ancient Sumerian Calendar was centrally focused on the moon’s transits. Infact, so focused that each month began on the darkest night of the month; the New Moon. There were no weeks in the Sumerian Calendar; the people lived solely on Moon Time. Astrologically, the Moon represents a person’s inner world. It’s the centre of receptivity and introspection. It’s their subconscious, their relationship to the mother, the womb, and the portal of life and death. Pretty cool right? Each month the Moon passes through four stages; New, Waxing, Full and Waning. Each phase symbolises a different living archetype, from birth, right the way through death and to birth again. Now, for those of you who have sat through a few psychedelic sessions; you know the feeling of dying to who you were and then being born again? But… then dying again?! 

I believe that committing to the conscious use of psychedelics is like the self signing a contract to transformation with a sharpie. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Priestess, it’s timing. Syncing up psychedelic ritual with the moon cycles is one of the smartest ways to utilize the direction you want your ritual to go. Ask yourself, am I taking this to call something into my life? Or, am I taking this to release something in my life? These are wildly different intentions and align with different points in the calendar month. 

New Moon and Waxing Moon

The New Moon and Waxing Moon are perfect for calling in. The New Moon is the very beginning of the month energetically and aligns with birth. Perhaps you’re using mushrooms to get inspired or to visualise a new way of doing things. Practicing ritual on the darkest night of the month helps you to bring in fresh energy from an open, receptive slate. 

The Full Moon and Waning Moon

The Full Moon and Waning Moon are for letting go rituals. Biologically the Full Moon marks the time of each month where the water retention in human bodies is at the highest. Equally, the tides come in and the oceans rise. Symbolically, Full Moons are emotional. They are a time for your sacred waters to flow. This is a great evening for a release ritual, and pairing psychedelics can help aid that process. It’s also important to note that having additional emotional support in the form of a friend or partner at the Full Moon ritual is recommended. 

We are part of a much greater tapestry, we are pawns in the eye of great spirits’ misty game of chess. In fact, we are eerily connected. The Moon is our sister and the Sun is our Brother, and you are both a small child, and an old man simultaneously. We are not an isolated incident but a fusion of interconnected energy. The more we can communicate with the Solar System’s natural rhythms, the deeper and more magnificent our rituals and psychedelic journeys shall be. 

I recommend the New Moon to start, call in some juicy goodness and learn to trust that Lunar Magic. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

Lots of love 

Lucy AKA Priestess in the City xo

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About Lucy
Lucy Porter is an Astrologer, Astrology Writer, Tarot Queen and Priestess living in the big, juicy city of London. She spends a lot of time sitting in her hot pink office talking people through their Birth Charts; and exploring their souls gifts and burdens through Astrology. Her mission in life is to make magic mega mundane and the mundane mega magic. She wants to see people reading each other’s palms on the tube and doing psychic readings at the pub.

santo daime ceremony ayahuasca

Day 7, PSYJuly!

Today I am sharing a post from my good friend and fellow explorer Robert Funke.

Myself and Rob go a few years back and have now collaborated on multiple psychedelic projects. Rob has previously guest posted on Maps of the Mind, and pre corona, he also came to work on the New Moon Psychedelic Retreat team. We were flatmates when corona hit a big pause button on that project, and during lockdown we both developed our practices, which included sitting for each other and journeying together.

During that time we also had formal meetings to discuss ritual and how it can be used for psychedelic journeys, developing our own understanding of the subject and practicing ideas. In that time Rob created a document which we worked on together, and the post today is a part of that work, with some practical examples that Rob has recently added to illustrate the ideas and concepts.

Rob is one of the single individuals through which my personal practice with psychedelics has evolved the most and I am delighted to share this work today.

My hope is that this post will spark ideas for you to create your own meaningful rituals to enhance your psychedelic experiences.

THE RITUAL

                                             A framework for psychedelic journeys.


The ritual creates community and connects the individual with the whole. It communicates values and complex concepts. The ritual emphasises that something is unique and extraordinary, that it is happening at a special time on a special place for a special reason, and the effects of it concern everyone participating.

The order and the sequence of rituals are very important. The structure is often foreseeable and the order is a reference to its social contexts. Movement is essential and highlights the transition caused by the ritual itself. Items become symbolic through a mysterious metamorphosis.

Who is active and who is passive within the ritual? And why? What does it tell about the religious, cultural or social context of the ritual?


Characteristics
    • ceremonious purpose realised in a very conscious way
    • use of symbols (items, scents, music, gestures – everything can be symbolically charged)
    • emotional involvement
    • personal meaning (no meaningless compulsive act)
    • more important than “what” is “how”
    • an inner structure
    • good rituals have space for everyone’s own expressions
    • sequence and symbols have to be well elaborated/considered

Functions

    • Spiritual: Who am I? Why do I live? Where do I want to go? To convey trust in a higher order
    • Psychological: Rituals open a room for emotions, dose and structure them
    • Social: They connect, bring together, assign roles
    • Time-Wise: They organize time, set a beginning and an end of an event

Dimensions

    • The interactive dimension emphasizes social interaction between individuals and groups
    • The innovative dimension creates something new without discarding the old/established
    • The symbolic dimension connects key symbols of a religious or cultural system with the ritual
    • The aesthetic dimension involves visual elements to create the ritual
    • The strategic dimension considers power structures
    • The integrative dimension tries to establish community and new social relations

Phases

    • Entry (preparation, opening ceremony, becoming present at the place and time)
    • Transition or threshold (the psychedelic experience itself)
    • Reconnection (closing ceremony, leaving no traces, back to life/everyday world)

Types

    • Initiation
    • Rite of passage
    • Healing
    • Celebration
    • Transformation/Transition
    • Cleaning
    • Mourning

Structure is dependent on

    • Intention/Type of ritual
    • Substance/Dose
    • Setting (alone/group, introspective/explorative)
    • Choice of the place and structure of the place (with base or center, circular, spatially open/closed, indoors/outdoors)

Tools

    • Altar (including items of everyone participating)
    • Power items for personal use
    • Burning incense
    • Fire place
    • Candles
    • Music/Silence
    • Singing/Voice/Speech/Chanting
    • Intuitive instruments for personal use (rattle, flute, drum)
    • Clothing, Jewellery
    • Decoration
    • Shaman/Guide/Sitter/Facilitator/Space holder
    • A place which is connected with the ritual and revisited every time only for this ritual

Scenarios/Examples/Structures

Rituals should be more about the structure or framework rather than a detailed sequence of the ritualistic act.

General Structure

    • Intention or purpose
    • The frame/rules/guidelines
    • The place
    • Companions, participators, facilitators, guides, sitters, etc.
    • Preparation (of the self/mind/body and the place)
    • The event/ceremony/ritual divided into opening, conduction or implementation? and closing

Single Session – Introspective

    • I tidy and carefully decorate my space, using an altar, items and scents
    • I wear clothes that are special or meaningful to me
    • I prepare everything I need to have in reach, like drinks, snacks, blankets, tissues
    • I prepare a playlist or am in silence
    • I am opening my session with a meditation and by saying out loud my intention and what I’m looking forward to, I wish myself a good and safe journey
    • I close my session with gratitude towards the sacred space I’ve created
    • I return the space to it’s previous form/function

Group Session – Retreat

    • held in a place that is the same/neutral for everyone and not personal to someone
    • it can be prepared only by the conductors of the ritual but it can also involve everyone participating in it
    • in a circle, it can be clarified or manifested whats the rituals but also the individual purpose
    • rules are defined and accepted by everyone
    • individual preparation before the ceremony starts
    • opening, ceremony, closing
    • aftercare and integration (optional, not necessarily essential or part of the ritual itself)

 

Using rituals for psychedelic experiences can help to help bring a sense of presence, clarity, and feelings of safety to the experience. Ritual can also help connect to something bigger and help to mark the occasion out as something special, something that is beyond an everyday experience.

Before talking about how it can help with psychedelic practice, though, I’d like to give some examples of ritual and how it’s used by high performers as a means to help them in some way focus their attention, enter a specific state, and perform better.

Athletes’ Rituals

Many professional athletes use rituals. For example, a football player having very specific ways of doing things before either heading out onto the pitch or when setting up for a penalty.

One ritual I love is used by one of the greatest sport teams in the world: the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. At the beginning of every game the entire team performs the Haka.

The Haka is a traditional ancestral ritual from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a fierce dance and chanting ritual that connects the team to their ancestors, to their history, and to the lineage of their land.

This ritual in particular helps the players connect to something beyond themselves, to connect to something bigger. By doing so, they understand that they are part of a lineage that extends beyond the players on the pitch. With its fierce nature, I imagine the ritual also gets the players absolutely pumped up, blood pumping in their veins, ready to face anything when the first whistle blows.

Creatives’ Rituals

Another example is writer Stephen Pressfield, whose books have been a huge inspiration to me. Pressfield says a prayer to the muse every morning when he enters his office to write. For him, his office is a sacred space. The prayer is one part of a series of actions he does before starting to write that also includes putting on specific clothes.

Other examples that I love are from musicians who have backstage rituals before going out on stage for a show or performers who have some special sentence or prayer that is said before stepping out onto stage or heading out to film an especially intense scene.

Rituals Develop Focus

Rituals are normally performed in such a way that the person is highly focused on the task. The way they carry out the ritual is not in some absent-minded, haphazard way, but rather in a highly focused, very attentive, and precise manner. Doing actions in such a way helps to bring someone into the present moment and helps to focus the mind. Indeed, if someone does anything in a very meticulous manner it can seem as if they are performing some ritual. I am reminded of some of the Ramen chefs I saw in Japan, whose attention to detail made it fascinating to watch and their work an art and craft in itself.

Ritual helps to enter a different state of awareness and can therefore be used as part of a psychedelic session.

Using Rituals for a Psychedelic Experience

Following a Set Structure

Ritual can also mean something that is done every time in a certain order. This can be almost a kind of a muscle memory, in that knowing that one thing proceeds to the next can enable you to clearly move from one thing to the other, giving your whole attention to it without engaging the part of your mind that has to make decisions (asking yourself, “What should I do next?”). For example, having a morning ritual allows you to wake up and not think about whether you should have a coffee or take a shower. If you have a set morning ritual, perhaps you just wake up, get a glass of hot lemon water, stretch, meditate, and then take a cold shower. You did not need to think, you just move from one to the next. This can be helpful when taking psychedelics, as making decisions can be very difficult and it can be very helpful to have a structure in place that you simply follow, moving from one stage to the next.

Ritual as a container

Rituals can also help mark the beginning and end of events. Just like a frame around a picture or piece of art helps to bring more attention to the contents, a ritual can be used to frame a psychedelic experience, to focus your attention to what is going on inside, and function as a type of container for the experience. Having this clear delineation can be useful for psychedelic ceremonies because it helps in feeling safe during what can be a wild and crazy experience.

Using rituals to help contain psychedelic experiences can help to bring feelings of safety to the experience. Ritual can also help connect to something bigger and help to mark the occasion out as something special, something that is beyond an everyday experience.

Ideas for Rituals

There are many ways to ritualize the taking of psychedelic substances, so here are just a few examples. Maybe you already have a pre-session protocol, but here are some ideas:

Washing

Washing yourself and arriving to the session clean can help to feel more comfortable and relaxed. The sensations of water can also help bring you to your body, especially if it is in a natural body of water or a cold shower. A hot bath is also wonderfully relaxing.

Clothes

Wearing a certain or special set of clothes. Maybe you have a lucky top, a favourite or most comfortable t-shirt. Maybe you would like to dress up for ceremony as you would for any special occasion. If you put on a shirt for work, why not put on something specific for a session?

Prayer

Saying a prayer can help to humble yourself and to open yourself up to possibilities of experience. Saying a prayer, religious or not, is in some way acknowledging that there are things that are out of your control.

Giving thanks

This is, again, humbling and a good practice for that reason. I think it can be good to give thanks even just as a mental exercise before consuming a substance. You’re again acknowledging that you are part of something larger and also being thankful and appreciating what you do have. I also think it is a nice way to close the session and a great opportunity to develop gratitude.

If you are with friends or a group you can maybe just go once round the group with each person, saying one thing that you are all grateful for. This can help to bring up warm feelings at the beginning of the session and start out on a positive note.

Altar

Having an altar can be a nice addition to a session or ceremony and needn’t be a religious thing. It can be as simple as having a set place with items that are dear to you. These could be photos of people, like family/friends, an image of someone you have a great respect or admiration for, or precious memories that you have. These things can be comforting to have with you by your side when you journey. What they represent symbolically will be magnified and can be of great support. When you think of them you gain some type of strength or inspiration.

The items that you choose may also be carefully chosen based on the theme of the session. For example, if you are thinking about your family, add some items and pictures that remind you of your family members. Or, if you are considering creativity, perhaps you add some of your heroes or role models from music, art, or science to your makeshift altar.

Ritualise Your Psychedelic Sessions

Ritual needn’t be complicated and you can start very simple and small. A friend of mine once put on bombtrack while we were taking our first dose of MDMA, which I thought was a nice touch. Ritual needn’t follow any kind of preset idea, you can be creative and come up with your own, too.

ozora transformational festival

What is the ideal society in terms of psychoactive substances and altered states of consciousness? This is a question I was asked recently and so in my attempts to start writing regularly and without overthinking, here’s some ideas.

Education

drug classroom psychedelic education

I’d like to see basic compulsory drug education in schools as I believe that education is the foundation of a responsible society. It would also be great if meditation and other practices were taught within a wider topic of psychology and consciousness. Education on how to deal with and express difficult emotions and mental states would be far more beneficial to individuals and society as a whole than some of the stuff thats compulsory in schools today.

Psychedelic Centres & Spaces

Licensed psychedelic centres would be awesome. Just like we have licensed premises and designated spaces where people can go and enjoy alcoholic beverages (pubs), we could have something like that for psychedelics, though of course it could be quite different. There could be something like psychedelic wellness spas out in the country, sessions coincided with meditation courses, or even cosy comfortable places in cities. The possibilities are endless.

country cottage psychedelic centre

There could also be events and places like we see at transformational festivals – places with lights and music for people who want a powerful sensory experience, but also chill out areas; quiet spaces where people can lie down and be looked after by others, or even just the two separately. I realise these festivals and clubs already exist but the current stigma and illegality of psychedelics make it a tricky situation and inaccessible or undesirable to a lot of people.

Personal Licenses

Another idea that could be good is that of licenses for use of substances with a certain potential for harm. They could be tied in to educational courses, so when someone passes an exam or demonstrates that they understand the basic effects and risks of a substance and have received some guidance on how it can be used, they’re allowed to make their own reasoned choice on the matter. This should be the case for all substances, including tobacco and alcohol, as many people get into detrimental relationships with these substances without properly understanding the risks beforehand. In terms of psychedelics, I think Leary put it pretty well when he testified before congress in 1966:

“I recommend respectfully to this committee, that you consider legislation which will license responsible adults to use these drugs for serious purposes such as spiritual growth, the pursuit of knowledge, or in their own personal development. To obtain such a license the applicant should have to meet physical, intellectual and emotional criteria.”

psychedelic license purchase

Coming Of Age Ritual

I also like the idea of some kind of coming of age ritual that involves psychedelics. Like the Eleusinian mysteries, the ancient Greek psychedelic ritual that was held once a year, that one only participated in once in their life. I’m not sure a psychedelic experience needs to be strictly a once in a lifetime thing, but in a specific format that is designed for when someone reaches adulthood, it could be incredibly special. And I think we are short of real meaningful and shared rites of passage in our culture, that we lack something sacred, something that really connects us to our deeper selves, to our community, and to the earth that we live on.

ozora transformational festival

“What would it be like to live in a society that included an initiatory psychedelic experience? That’s what Aldous Huxley explored in his novel, Island. At a certain age, the young people on Huxley’s island would begin preparing for the psychedelic journey they would be taking; they would begin learning a series of exercises that would lead them into new terrains of awareness. Adults who emerged from that journey would be prepared to take their place in the society and to play their role from a much deeper level of their being.”
– Ram Dass –Psychedelic Rites Of Passage

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What are your ideas on the ideal society in terms of psychoactive substances? I’d love to hear them, so please comment below.

References & Sources

Island – Aldous Huxley
The final book by Aldous Huxley, a utopian counterpart to his dystopian novel Brave New World. One of my favourite novels ever. At a glance, here’s some ideas explored (taken from wikipedia):

brave new world island aldous huxley

Psychedelic Rites Of Passage– Ram Dass
A short essay on the topic and what psychedelic rituals could mean for society, highly recommended.

Coming Of Age Rituals – Palo Alto Medical Foundation
A piece I found interesting on different coming of age rituals in other cultures.

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