Perhaps more than a few among your number have some knowedge of the entheogenic substances which have been used throughout history by shamans, priests, adepts, psychonauts, and other spiritual Seekers. From the dimethyltryptamine-bearing blue lotus and acacia of Khemet, the psilocybin-rich fungus that was the Aztec Flesh of the Gods and the sacrament of the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece, the Amanita muscaria that was the Soma of the Vedas, the Gnostic Tree of Knowledge, and the trance-bringer of the Siberian shamans, to the Spirit Molecule of the 21st Century, there have been many methods with which Nature has provided us to contact the beyond. Today, we find that the tendrils of an entheogenic vine are reaching out to us from the jungles of the Amazon.
Seekers who travel to the dark and chattering rainforests of Peru to partake of ayahuasca, the visionary brew which for millennia has been drunk by the ayahuasceros, the shamans of that jungle, may well make the acquaintance of the terrible serpent known as Mother Ayahuasca. Mother Ayahuasca appears to be a manifestation of the Gaian mind, an utterly awesome and yet profoundly loving creature who cares deeply for the planet and its inhabitants. She is known to dispense both warnings and advice to those who encounter her, decrying the cataclysmic destruction which is being wrought by our species upon the biosphere and the selfish and hurtful acts which we as individuals commit.
Serpents have been worshipped in esoteric knowledge traditions all throughout the ancient world as wise and powerful beings – and resultantly have been demonised by the insidious Christian church. From the vilified creature who counselled Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, to the snakes banished from Ireland by Saint Patrick, the eradication of the reverence of serpent deities has been a goal of the cult of the jealous and warlike Demiurge, Yahweh. The Seeker may find it pertinent to consider why exactly a loving God might wish to alienate us from a power so long held as a friend and ally.
This portrait of Mother Ayahuasca also references the serpent worship of prehistoric North America. An example of a physical manifestation of this reverence is provided by The Great Serpent Mound, an enormous earthen effigy of the creature for which it is named. Although its true origins still wear the shroud of profound mystery, it is thought to have been constructed by one of the forgotten cultures responsible for the enigmatic megalithic structures that also pepper the landscape of that continent. The Seeker will no doubt also recognise that the feathers decorating the Native American dreamcatcher surrounding the deity here also refer to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of Mesoamerica. Whilst many interpretations of the significance of the feathered serpent have been advanced, the earthly nature of the snake coupled with the heavenly nature of the bird here represent the duality of body and spirit.
Moolight and firelight alike gleam from a forked tongue
The leaping flames of the ceremonial pyre
A wise eye catches the reflection of dancing embers
Scales as old and rugged as the bones of the Earth