Let The Inexplicable Sit Sacred

by | Holistic Living, Print Articles, Summer 2022

It cannot be taken lightly, the calling to take a ‘hero’s’ dose of psychedelic mushrooms – five grams to be exact.

A personal journey with Sarah Unsworth

Where and how it starts is a subtle personal journey and, when taken sincerely, the calling is felt deep within your psyche. It draws you with an irresistible force, in ways out of your control once the intention is fully realised. That was certainly true for me, once I had shown curiosity, the intrigue deepened and, within a year or so, the opportunity presented itself when I was invited to a long weekend retreat in the Cape. Yet, with all planning, I could never fully imagine the mystical magic of my first psychedelic journey. I simply had no context of the magnitude of it.

While I understood the importance of setting, from the research I had done, the beauty of the place, the brilliance of a full moon with its intense feminine energy, the private, safe environment and the incredible women who held the space with me, helped my full immersion into the depth of the experience. I was also blessed to be guided by a true holder of the sacred message of the medicine, the importance of which cannot be overstated. The thought put into her incredible playlist of music, combined with well-timed idyllic moments of silence, kept the flow of energy moving at the perfect level. Of all the words I wrote in the time leading up to the retreat, the only two remaining relevant are ‘overwhelming gratitude.’ A caution, if there is such a thing with an experience so extraordinary, is to be aware of the intention behind the reason for wanting to do it in the first place. Yes, it is a not a journey to be taken lightly.

It has taken time to process how to put into words something that is truly beyond words. Now, sitting on my deck, soft music playing on a night stilled from replenishing rain, the time feels right. You see, it was about remembering, remember to remember. My intention being to look into my soul, to those dark places where loneliness hovers and to understand why I feel that way at times when my life is so obviously full of abundance.

Called together by the beat of a drum, our guides, gate keepers and guardians were welcomed to join our space through a timeless and sacred ceremony. The setting was created with love and purpose to release each of us to our own unique and individual journey, no two being the same. It was done through the night, starting around 8pm, to encourage us to go within and I had no choice but to do that, unable to get up and walk around. Within minutes of taking the medicine, all that I have known to be ‘I’ disappeared completely and in its place the essence of my soul portrayed itself bold and bright in vivid, glorious technicolour. The room became exaggerated as imagery flooded my senses, all with poignant personal meaning; the sacramental cloth of an alter high above me; reaching helping hands; the steel bars of a bear cage in which I crouched, the ceiling fan changing shape to become an Ankh, somehow too an anchor onto which I could grasp.  Holding tight onto my mattress, I started to tremor, a complete full body trauma release, somehow realising it was needed on a level beyond physical understanding.

Over the next seven hours, when time was no longer time as I have known it, I became completely immersed and totally humbled as I was grounded, assisted and cared for completely. Sisterhood in all its glory. The psychedelic trip presented itself in full force, an intricate gridwork of geometric shapes woven with silver threads and insane colours woven onto a tapestry on which my life, in all its many forms, presented itself. I was given the lesson that I hold sacred within my being every memory which has its own remarkable and unique place in the making of ‘me’. Through this magical mushroom, I had the revelation that I have always been fully loved and fully supported, there is no need for loneliness. Through sight without sight, I was taken deep into those connections which hold me together.  I could ‘see’ the grid in its entirety, the links of how it all weaves into my story, and then to all beings with their own story, their own source. How else could I have survived the realisation of me, grown from child to an adult woman. I understood every moment has been fully connected to those I love and to those strangers who intentionally or unwittingly formed the intricate network of all that I am. Without it ALL, the good, the bad and the downright ugly, my life, as I know it, could not be lived. For that profound understanding I felt and still feel, a deep awe and extreme gratitude.

But, jeepers, what a ride! It was certainly more intense than I could have imagined and not for the faint-hearted.  I had been told to watch it like a movie and I was glad for that guidance.  I was both in the experience and witnessing it at the same time, strangely cognisant of the psychedelic trip I was on. At times, in moments of clarity, I wanted to both laugh out loud and cry with abandon, aware of all that was happening, and then that receded, reality dissolved and I was without logic, reeling with no thought, no process, just being. It had also been suggested to touch the floor next to the mattress to ground myself and, at times, I felt that was the only link to anything resembling reality, that cold floor holding me fast while the world far beyond my limited understanding, spun its almighty web around me. Our guide, through her training and years of practice, appeared huge above me, sometimes two or threefold, hovering, caring, quietening, supporting, while her helper, so graciously giving of her time to sit with us, held my hand when needed, reassuring me that I was still here, no matter where the expanse of my mind took me. And yes, my mind, my beautiful mind, was certainly shown to be stranger by far than anything known through waking consciousness. With my mind, this incredible plant, held sacred since times more ancient than we will ever know, connected to that part of my self where truth resides, which weaves the web of my journey, made fully clear and expansively visible in the majestic miracle I call my ‘life’.

And then it was over – and yet I know too, it will never be fully over.  That was certainly true on this weekend, as I had decided to take the cactus San Pedro, the grandfather of psychedelics, on the same weekend, just a day later.

The setting was different, now during the day, warmed by a raging fire to keep at bay the cold Cape air.  I had once been told that if ever offered, just say yes and I am so glad I did. What a blessing, as 15 grams of this revered plant transported me, while still being fully present, to a place where all that is clear and conscious presents itself brilliantly. Nothing like the intensity of the mushroom dose, San Pedro took me exquisitely beyond myself, where only emotion exists. Where all doubt is erased in the intensity of beauty itself, heard in the birdsong, seen in the glory of nature, felt in the immense story behind all things seen and unseen. It was the full realisation of absolute love.  No resistance – how can there be such a thing when confronted by the perfection of life at its absolute best. What an incredible gift that was, and one I am sure will remain with me all the days of my life.

And so, it lingers, in the vibrations of my body felt in moments of awareness, in the haunting music which transports me back so easily to that feeling of bliss. To a deep understanding that this unique experience has created a primal shift in my being, even if not yet fully realised.

Much has been written and spoken about psychedelics, from ancient knowledge passed through the wisdom keepers, to laboratory research done in the freedom of the ’50s and ’60s, before that was so forcefully shut down, through to today, when a new awareness is discussed and acknowledged. My personal belief is that, no matter the perceived depth of our understanding, these incredible plants, like so much in the intricate web of the natural world that sustains us, cannot be contained, or explained. They touch a part of our beings that is intricately linked to them, they heal and create and hold for us for all a space where we belong, where we truly exist. The ‘I’ of ‘I am’.

“In that space and in that context, we have no choice but to be immensely thankful and to LET THE INEXPLICABLE SIT SACRED.”  Sarah

Sarah Unsworth

With a keen interest in ‘green’ building practices and a passion for both the wellness of people and the planet, Sarah Unsworth qualified as an Accredited Professional from the Green Building Council South Africa(GBCSA) in 2017 and has completed the GBCSA “EDGE” Expert Online Course. Sarah grew up in Johannesburg and, after travelling to England, Europe, Australia and Cape Town, settled on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast. In 2002 she started Southern Natal Construction which she still runs today in a joint venture partnership with John Nicholas from Jesjo. To view Sarah and John’s projects or to contact them: www.kznconstruction.co.za