there is a land that calls to me–
the trees whisper your name-
a sacred place, that stirs up shadow/
where the land brings visions-
i had longed to visit alaska as long as i can remember
the mushroom connects me to magic—
deep connection heals by cutting away any untruth/
feeling like alice in wonderland, heeding the call— following the white rabbit— followed my dreams to this holy place– (start before you’re ready) i didn’t want to arrive and start taking– we picked up garbage, bought locally grown food from farmers, and supported indigenous people by buying their crafts— gathering the end of summer medicine from a holy place— sacred. just a sample.
intended as a quest, this journey would no doubt connect us with powerful medicine-
the boreal forest stretches across the northern hemisphere, circumnavigating the globe with it’s unique green band —the boreal forest’s severe winters, short summers, and high latitude make it a unique and crucial eco-region for the planet.
the boreal forest in alaska is, in essence, very similar to the ancestral home of my Scandinavian forebearers. as the northern areas became ice free around 11,000 years ago migration continued northward from central Europe, (and 40,000 years prior to that [roughly], my ancestors traveled from africa. )
in alaska, it’s a homecoming- there is a remembering- the medicines of my ancestors are growing here: arnica, rhodiola, velarian, angelica, rose, yarrow—-
as mentioned earlier i loved and knew the land instantly– and as i am learning about colonized approaches to gathering I made a practice of communing with the land, and offering reciprocity by supporting indigenous crafters, and local farmers. i packed out rubbish whenever i saw it.
….it was all medicine: fields of giant chamomile and birches decorated with chaga — resinous and fragrant conifers— amadou and betuline (conk-type fungi)
and amanita muscaria-
amanita muscaria is a strong ally as a i travel my medicine path-
it has been the center of many dreams and visions and the source of transformation and connection—
i can’t help but feel an intertwining with the fungal being.
a few blog posts back i wrote about an impromptu ceremony i experienced in the forests of alaska, with amanita muscaria-
i learned: deep connection cuts away all untruth.
amanita muscaria is one of the oldest and most revered medicines throughout the earth and her peoples, as it inhabits the majority of the planet.
while i work mainly with the vibrational and symbolic medicine of this mushroom, it has a diverse array of medicinal properties.
the muscimol in amanita muscaria is a powerful agonist for GABAa receptors in the brain— this induces a sedative, hypnotic state, where the changes in perception and mood could be described as hallucinogenic. this mushroom has aided divination and ceremony and it could be argued that the source of human spirituality and magical thinking emerged during these expanded states, offered by the connective healing medicine of this mushroom being.
i feel like i am a detective- do i feel as if i am returning to an ancient way of being? do i feel a deep love and connection with experiencing this wild medicine? Does it feel empowering to follow dreams and intuitive messages to this powerful medicine on a soul quest? Yes. it is a great ecstasy and joy in life to be reconnected to this symbiotic medicine–it is rewarding to travel into the unknown and uncover more of your primal nature- I can imagine my early and wise ancestors wandering through the forest, working with this medicine. i feel restored.
i am honored and humbled to be connected to this being. i quested and found the medicine. i feel empowered through connection, which is what this mushroom offers those who work with it: connection. access to mystical states and earth wisdom. a birthright.
it is impossible to ignore the medicine of the birch tree while we’re here:
always the forest is calling my name, drawing me near. what is your message?
i am lost in a holy land—complete deja vu although i’ve never been here—
there’s nothing better than hangin with chris in the forest— he is the forest.
there is a truly a mystical element to alaska—
the rosehips are the size of walnuts, the dahlia’s as large as my face-
the days are long and yet during our visit, near the equinox, the daylight is rapidly waning. the glaciers color the water blue,
and denali rises over the land like a stern and impossible beacon of truth.
the mushrooms were abundant — we were able to attend the girdwood fungus fair and take a walk with steve trudell, who co-wrote Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. We were excited to attend a lecture by Noah Siegel, who co-wrote Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast (a highly recommended mycology resource.)
i saw the aurora borealis, a green ribbon of spirit dancing in the pre-dawn sky- i held onto my baby and stared with tears on my face– wonder filling my being. i return home forever changed.
the tracks of spirit, a journey following spirit, is one of healing and transformation. i believe in questing.
connect to spirit.
the unseen becomes seen.
(as i write this covid-19 has restricted most long distance travel for me—and i am wistful and longing for adventure, so i revisit this pivotal journey from sept 2018 with deep appreciation for the wisdom of the land…) it’s raining in the mountains of northern california in the midst of a wild fire crises. there will be mushroom hunting this weekend.)