Updated: Mar 11
My personal journey with psychedelics began when I was a teenager as it does with most curious open-minded experimenters. I was inspired by a close friend who was such a wise soul and her art was really progressive and 'out of this world' at 17 years old. She told me she would take small amount of LSD alone at home in her garden just to be more creative. It certainly worked. She is now a published author with a number of successful creative projects that have been birthed through her.
I eventually was led fully into the world of psychedelics and indigenous plant medicines by a genius chemist/wizard whom I later married. I spent time in the Amazon jungle learning about this powerful medicine that has over the last decade gained huge popularity with the likes of Will Smith, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan speaking openly about their Ayahuasca experiences. I started out in the jungle drinking and healing my own deep well of pain, however in those days there were no integration practices other than the advice to; keep drinking and purge it all out.
My partner and I soon started a neo-shamanic movement with psychedelic medicines across four continents, the legacy of which continues today. It was too soon for both of us. And yet we expanded and grew our little cohort over an 8 year period together.
It was an insane, powerful, emotional, sometimes disturbing journey, through the many fractelated aspects of reality. And I got to see and experience a lot of the darkness of unhealed humans when mixed with copious amounts of these hallucinogenic substances.
Taken circa 2009 at the Temple of the Way of Light, Peru
Article published about our work in the French Marie Claire Magazine, 2014 . That's me against the wall, on the far left.
My experiences progressed with this phenomenon and also included time working at two prestigious healing centers, in Peru and then Costa Rica. Both of which placed profit above ethical considerations. Even without hallucinogenic plant medicines, running spiritual businesses can be really tricky when it comes to integrity. Add psychedelics to the mix and this all becomes amplified with nowhere to hide.
Over the years I have also noticed that people were looking to get more and more out of their "experience" with the medicine, requiring for it to be made stronger and stronger. Other plants that compound the strength of the brew eventually were being added to placate our western need for "more", and the terms of business which are all about 'constant profit' and 'return on investment' were driven by meeting that demand. After all, if you are not doing it, someone else will!
Along with that comes the added danger of losing touch with reality completely for the participants in those ceremonies.
I am sure there is still some healing happening on some level in such spaces. Any psychedelic experience can be healing when your mind is expanded in a well-held and safe setting where your intentions are placed carefully. The idea is to experience a 'death' before dying. And yet how is it that participants keep returning, to continue to have their minds expanded, blown open and dissolved night after night? Was once, twice, three times not enough?
Dispenza-esque concepts aside, to me there is a limit to how much the human body can keep up with the spirit, when expanding the mind into those places. So often it becomes almost impossible to return, leading to what I call The Avatar Syndrome; a dire need to keep going back 'there', because this 3D world feels so empty of depth, love and magic.
Eventually I observed that these wild forays posing as sacred ceremonies) using indigenous medicines, without the much needed cultural context, was not taking people into the healing places I knew was possible when using these plants as a medicine. Rather, it kept people spinning in an ungrounded, almost delusional, egoic-dance of convoluted self-importance without adequate integration. Some might say it became a cult, and to this day, these substances willingly expand and lend themselves to the unhealed sides of those still craving power and attention.
In fact the medicine world now appears to be a breeding ground for cult leaders with messianic tendencies. And this is by no means an over-exaggeration. Accounts of sexual misconduct and facilitators taking advantage of vulnerable participants are rife. And I witnessed this all first hand, both in ceremonies and also for some after the ceremonies.
Over the years there has been an increased demand for the plants that provide such an experience and a surge of decriminalization acts passed for these substances in countries where they were once heavily legislated or banned.
So much of the post modern psychedelic landscape has now been optimised for capitalism - not at all what these sacred experiences were historically intended for. Sacred plant medicines (and the holy sacraments of the "religion with no name" as described by Brian Muraresku in his book, The Immortality Key) were meant to bring us into a deeper connection with our bodies, with nature and with the divine cycles and mysteries of life. Sadly, the sacred eucharists of old are becoming the next fast-food-fad for spiritual enlightenment in a bottle.
Some might argue that this is exactly what humanity needs right now. And for some, perhaps this is true. However, to me, as a healer, medicine is medicine and it is meant to be used as such - in doses that allow for a return to balance, be it psychological or physical. Once balance is returned, there is no need to take the medicine. Otherwise this will create yet another imbalance. Hence I have turned a lot of my work with these sacred plants to what is considered a microdosing level and in a way that is tuned into the individual. I find that this approach provides subtle openings to traverse 'limited mindsets' and 'stuck thinking' in small increments and in a way that can be more easily integrated into everyday living in 3D.
Environmental awareness is a large part of honoring the sacred space that these substances and plants connect us with. A respectful reciprocity is expressed through balance and a conscious give and take of energy and resources aka sustainability.
Microdosing and sustainability through small doses
Microdosing is the practice of consuming very small amounts of a psychedelic substance usually
2 - 25% of a regular dose, with the intention to improve quality of life, to enhance creativity and to awaken or develop perceptive qualities of awareness (intuition).
There is a loving and compassionate theme here for sustainability, not only of the person being treated, but also pertaining to how much we take from nature. Balance is a microcosmic and macrocosmic experience. There may be times when a larger does of medicine is necessary and appropriate. However I have found that in most instances, less is more when it comes to sustainability.
I tend to my sacred work now as an intuitive alchemist, by tuning into the individual and mixing in what they need according to what energies are most aligned for their personal healing journey at this time. I do not feel that there can be a one size fits all approach.
The effects of microdosing will vary, depending on an individual's personal brain chemistry.
However, they will never render the person any hallucinations or visions. Having an 'experience' is now reserved for very sacred events where participants will to be held in a safe container by a facilitator who has been extensively trained over several years to hold that kind of space energetically. However this is not ideal for everyone, not to begin with, anyway.
The observed benefits of microdosing include, but are not restricted to:
Clearer thinking and perceptual abilities
Increased problem-solving capacities
Increased focus and awareness
More emotional connection with others
Being more present and in a flow state (synchronicity)
Microdosing is a safe and relatively easy way to explore parts of yourself that have not always been accessible to you. As with anything, it is not a panacea. But in a world where plant medicine miracles are being promised around every corner, and where people are shamed if they do not achieve those lofty expectations, isn't it comforting to know that there is a grounded and responsible approach to sacred medicines that are now available to you and which gives the power directly back to you: For healing in your own time and in a sustainable way.
- Confirm your microdosing is coming from a reputable source. Especially if this is an organic substance, ensure you know the grower and that they themselves have a good relationship with that plant or at the very least an extensive experience with that medicine/substance so that they can advise you adequately and in a responsible manner.
- Take breaks between periods of microdosing to allow your brain the chance to gently begin adjusting to your new emotional and psychological state on its own. This not only prevents psychological dependance, but also prevents a resistance to the dosage you are taking from forming.
- Work with your microdosing with respect, ritual and care as it has a consciousness. This will greatly influence the outcomes of your healing.
- Start a new dose or a new microdosing program over a weekend to be sure you know how it will affect your ability to work and function. Microdosing can still be very powerful and you certainly want to be sure of how you will respond to something new (without unnecessary anxiety) especially if you know you are attending an important meeting or event.
- Get some sort of therapy or coaching at the same time. As with antidepressants that adjust your brain chemistry to accept more serotonin, microdosing can have a similar effect and will be enhanced with a gentle adjustment in behaviour patterns, thought patterns and gentle self-inquiry into the root cause of your struggles and challenges.
Remember you are microdosing to make some sort of adjustment in your life. The substance can only go so far without aligned action for life-balance to be restored.
- Microdose unconsciously, and without respect to the consciousness of the substance and or plant it came from. Even a compound or an extracted substance came from a natural source once upon a time. Work with your microdosing with respect, ritual and care as it has a consciousness. Give back something to the Earth, even if it is just a short prayer of gratitude before ingesting it.
- Think it will be all smooth sailing. Even microdosing can bring up childhood trauma and intense emotions to be processed. Be sure you have other tools and professionals to support you.
- Think that your microdosing program will work for your partner, your friends or your family. This is a very personal choice and allow compassionate space in your life for those who are not aligned with this kind of medicine.
You can find a boutique microdosing offering I call, Seshet HERE
Or if you have questions or would like to work with me on your integration process, please reach out HERE
About the Author
Scarab Deva is a shamanic practitioner with an MSc in Psychiatry, a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher, a Holy Fire Reiki Master Teacher, Family Constellation Facilitator, an intuitive healer, and spiritual coach.