Weaving Worlds: Indigenous Traditions & Western Psychotherapy

featuring Eugenia Casimiro, Mazatec healer; Françoise Bourzat, guide & author; in conversation w/ Ismail AliMAPS

Transcript:

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(Ismail) Hi everyone. I’m so happy to welcome
everyone who decides to join this conversation

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with myself and my two incredible guests here today.

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My name is Ismail Lourido Ali.
I work as policy and advocacy counsel

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for the Multidisciplinary Association
for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS,

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where I primarily work in the intersection of
legal, healthcare, culture, access,

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essentially trying to figure out ways
that psychedelic substances,

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entheogenic practices and medicine can be
integrated into society in a way that’s

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responsible, that’s mindful, that’s respectful,
that’s in alignment and in reciprocity and

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in integrity with both the ancient traditions
that many of these practices have emerged from,

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as well as the new momentum of
what's been happening in the last few years.

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So I feel very honored to be joined here by
Eugenia Casimiro and also Francoise Bourzat,

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who are going to be speaking with me today,
mostly in Spanish, about a number of different

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topics that kind of fall at the intersection
of hybridizing and weaving worlds, weaving

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different traditions, both ancient and new,
and creating new dynamics out of those.

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So we're really happy to have you,
and we're going to jump right in.

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To start, I gave a bit of an introduction,
why we are here, what we are doing.

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I think to start it would be great
if you could both introduce yourselves,

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share your stories, your origins,
whatever you want to share, so that we can

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understand what kind of
conversation we will have here.

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If you want to start, Eugenia, you can share your name,
where you're from, and those kinds of details.

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(Eugenia) Well, good day everyone.

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I am Eugenia Pineda Casimiro, and I come from
Huautla de Jiménez in the Mexican state of Oaxaca

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I am an indigenous Mazatec woman with the
responsibility for the tradition of the

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niños santos (sacred mushrooms),
which is our sacred medicine.

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We are going to speak about — or rather,
I’d like to share about respect, and

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a bit on the origins of how we manage things
in regards to sacred plants.

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That’s a little bit on what I will speak
to today.

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(Ismail) Thank you.

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(Francoise) I am Francoise Bourzat.

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I am a French-born somatic therapist.

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I have been involved in expanding consciousness
through various technologies, especially the

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use of sacred medicine, especially the sacred
mushrooms, for the last 30 years.

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I’ve been teaching my way, my approach,
through classes and lectures and through my

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recently published book “Consciousness Medicine,”
and I’m interested in training facilitators

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and guides in this method, weaving a Western
approach of psychotherapy with

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indigenous practices and the roots of this work.

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(Ismail) And how do you know each other?
How did you two meet?

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[laughter]

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(Francoise) I was lucky enough to travel to
Mexico in 1998, I think, and I was introduced

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to Eugenia’s mother at the time, Julieta
Casimiro Estrada, who was a wonderful master,

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a healer, in the art of the
sacred mushroom ceremonies.

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And I worked with her for over 20 years and
she passed away a year and a half ago, and

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through the last, I would say, over 10 years,
I have been collaborating with Eugenia and

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her mother, and now with Eugenia, continuing
my relationship, friendship, and sort of

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family relationship with her family in Huautla.

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(Ismail) I would like to start with a topic
you mentioned earlier: tradition and responsibility.

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I think this is a very important topic because
we have a culture here where you can buy

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whatever you want.
If you have the money, you can find it.

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But we know that one of the aspects of this
tradition is that it’s something that gets

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passed down from generation to generation, in a more
organic fashion, related to one's family and culture.

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So I’d like to know if you could speak a
bit about how you think about this process

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of passing down these traditions, how you
manage it, and how you understand your tradition,

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and most importantly, what it means to you.

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(Eugenia) Well, for me to be here in this place
sharing with you, responsibly and with

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the necessary gravity, touching on the topic of
sacred plants is...complex, because

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societies don’t understand how they are.
The intention has become very distorted.

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And we have...separated from the elements, from
Mother Nature, the things that give us life.

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We have put it to the side because we have
become materialists....and well, that’s another topic.

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Anyway, I had the fortune — it wasn’t a
coincidence — of being a descendent of Mazatecs.

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I am grateful to my mother, the healer
Julieta Casimiro, a person who is

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no longer physically here, but spiritually
she is with us because I believe in it.

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(Ismail) Of course.

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(Eugenia) It was a long journey for me to be able to
relate to people outside of my tradition,

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with visitors, tourists, people who were looking
for something they needed — whether it was

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a need for physical health, emotional health,
spiritual health, and those kinds of things.

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I was lucky to be able to share with Francoise
and groups that were taking this very seriously,

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with a lot of responsibility, as I was saying.

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My mother would invite me.
“Come with me to participate."

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"You already have a lineage, because of your blood,
everything you have from both your father

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and your mother, you have a line, you know?"

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"You just have to wake it up.”
After all, perhaps it’s not for everyone.

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For those of us who are at this point, we
have the joy of being able to say that it’s a gift.

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Some of us are born with a gift,
and others have to find their gifts.

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In this case, in my case, I had to
work and study to be able to

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sit and talk about my medicine
with the necessary respect.

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Going back a bit, my mother would invite me
to do the ceremonies, and at the beginning

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I realized suddenly that I had to be accompanying
her, I have to do things, I have to move,

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I have to do a lot of activities.

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And later on, something woke up in me,
that it was necessary for me to heal myself.

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Heal my family,
heal those who came after me.

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This intention began like a spark.

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I decided to gradually take ownership of it,
and I liked it, and that light stayed in me,

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giving me the ability to begin to share with
others, who also had needs like myself.

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In that time, I didn’t know if I would
one day really deserve to be in this space.

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The years pass, and everything is a process.

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And this was my process: my mother left us,
and in the time beforehand, it was all a preparation,

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but without much intention, because I hadn’t
thought that there was such a clear separation

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between life and death.

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(Ismail) Wow.

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(Eugenia) So when she was saying goodbye,
she said “The best gift that I could give you

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is this work. Sharing this work with you."

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In that moment, I didn’t understand it because
my thoughts, which were human of me, were

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saying that my mother was always going to
live and always going to be there, and I didn’t

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think about it, because in this work I was
living for others because my work was saying

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to me “you have to give, you have to give.”

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And in that process when she said goodbye,
she said to me that her best gift was this legacy,

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this work, what I had to learn from her,
to learn to respect and to learn to share.

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When we say the word “share,” it’s a
powerful and complex word, because

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not everyone has the same thinking and understanding.

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We all continue to fight each other in this
space with questions like “Who are we?"

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"What are we?” and “Why did we come here?”

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In that time, when you recognize who you are
as a human being, and what your work is,

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you realize...there is no such thing as coincidence.

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(Ismail) Ah yes, finally, I know this!

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(Eugenia) It’s causation.
Everything has a reason for being in this place.

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So, I’m here, I’m sharing with you, thank you.

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(Ismail) Of course.

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(Eugenia) We have to show people who don’t
understand causation how to get to know what

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their part to play is in this life.
On this earth.

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Because we don’t know ourselves anymore.

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What else is there out there beyond this body,
this container we have?

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We have to learn to see the depths of our
hearts and learn to feel.

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(Ismail) Question: You said that in this process
of expansion and going deeper to more complex levels,

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that you had to heal yourself,
that you had a unique process inside yourself

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and that from there, things emerged.

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I’d like to understand for each of you
how that process was.

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Some people feel a calling, and others have
to study, and later in that process

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they start their process of self-healing.

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So I’d like to hear your thoughts about
this self-healing process, and for you, individually

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or in general, how do you translate your own
healing of your body and your spirit to

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being able to share it with others?

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(Francoise) I resonate a lot with what Eugenia
just shared, in a different way because

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I was not inheriting this tradition from my
mother specifically, but the calling of wanting

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to heal oneself, wanting to look inside, and
really face pain or challenges or sometimes

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a genuine curiosity towards a larger spiritual
space also, led me certainly towards an exploration

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that was turning out to be so meaningful and
so holistic and so multi-dimensional and

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so profound that it felt
important for me to share it.

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Like you said, once you receive so much, it’s
not about hoarding and owning and having.

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It’s about transmuting and being a vehicle
for that healing and that knowledge to be

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shared with other people and to be offered
and to help other people.

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It’s really, for me it was, and I am sure
it was for her too, this longing or instinctual

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human aspect of a sense of solidarity with
the human family and sharing the healing and

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the beauty of the healing path that I was
able to receive and being able to have

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other people benefit from it and find their own
healing, which I cannot say how it will go,

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but knowing the potency and the depth of the
healing and the resourcing into a

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spiritual dimension, that was really creating a holistic
context in which my human self could flourish

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and could express, in this case, my potential
or my creation of my life, so I felt like

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this is really something profound and ancient,
you know, that belongs to — certainly in this case,

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a thread to a specific tradition — but
the longing for clarity, and then the longing

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to share it with other fellow human beings,
I think was what was really important for me.

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(Ismail) So things started with a curiosity about
something greater and more complex and

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complicated than a focus on medicine
and your individual experience.

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And you searched for something more expansive.

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And when you found it, you decided that since
you already had these resources, you said,

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(Ismail) “I have to share these things.”
(Francoise) Yes.

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(Ismail) It was like a calling, a process
where you heard something.

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But for you, Eugenia, like you said, you
didn’t know when you started to learn.

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(Eugenia) No, truly not.

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(Ismail) You didn’t start to learn and say

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“I’m going to be a healer, I’m going to do
all these things!” — right?

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(Eugenia) No.
[laughter]

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(Eugenia) To be sincere, for me,
when I was younger, I was afraid.

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(Ismail) Of course.

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Afraid… and conscious that there was this
great responsibility.

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(Ismail) Mm.

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(Eugenia) To have a real maturity to know
that this was not only a way of earning money.

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It sounds really terrible, but for a lot of
people this is an economic option,

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a way to make a living.

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No, I was scared of what could happen,
what I would learn beyond

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the things that I was familiar with.

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What did I have to let go of,
what did I have to leave behind,

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what sacrifice was I going to
have to make to be able to —

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With the passing of time, through the process,
I was able to understand this.

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When I was already a mother with a family,
and my needs were beyond living as a

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common family, taking the kids to and from school,
it was beyond that, you know?

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There was something that told me,
“You have to be in this.”

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And I fought it.
“Yes I am, no I’m not...”

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When I discovered I was able to say
"I can serve" like a causation,

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I had time to think and define whether it was
a yes or a no.

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But in that time, I was a bit lost,
but I didn’t see it as lost time, because

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if I had decided yes or no, life would bring me
and it made me part of a causation,

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like the water drops in the river that take you
along until you arrive at the shore and you say, aha!

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After some time, I understood that my role
in this story, or at least this time of my life,

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is meant for this.

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And I started to really study myself to see
what I could do to serve.

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And well, my preparation began.

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But I didn’t think I had to prepare in the
style of university studies — no,

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my life took me here and everything is causal.

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That’s why I say that everything is causation.

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And well, they told me: “You can serve.
You are here now for this."

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"Share what you have.”

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(Francoise) This is interesting because — I’m
going to speak in English — it’s interesting

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because there are a lot of people here — maybe
that bridges a bit to a different topic but —

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a lot of people here really want to help,
so they become psychologists and they study,

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and they are curious about the different lines
of, you know, the theories and the techniques

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and different approaches
of helping other people.

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And then they find the medicine.

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And then they find the medicine and they realize
within themselves the magnitude of the impact

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of the medicine, and then they wonder:

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“How can I bring this transformation
of myself into service?”

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So for her, it was very much because she was
in the matrix of the Mazatec tradition.

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It was kind of the air she breathed
and the land she walked on.

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And for other people, for me for example,
well I kind of actually got into the medicine

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before I went to study, so it was
a little similar in a way.

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But a lot of people approached this healing
path from studying and then going to a more

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mysterious and mythical dimension.

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(Ismail) Would it be fair to say that people
kind of start sometimes in the head,

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kind of in the mind, and then drop into a more
spiritual-somatic —?

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(Francoise) That’s right, that’s right.
It’s a different entry point.

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It’s a different entry point that is not
more appropriate necessarily,

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but it’s more common here.

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In the Western industrialized world, you have
science and books and universities and

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people enter there, and then they get into
something more complex.

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(Ismail) She was saying that here in the West, many
people who are looking to help, support, or relate

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to other people start by studying the techniques,
the different modalities,

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and the different styles of healing.

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And I would say that it seems that
here it is more normal to start by understanding

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and diagnosing mental issues and we stay up
here [gestures around head],

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in these much more intellectual
spaces and techniques.

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And the medicine starts a process where we
move out of the mind, out of the head to enter the

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heart and other parts.

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Perhaps this is a good time to talk
a bit about the medicine and the process of healing.

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I think here many people consider
this medicine to be spiritual,

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beyond a purely physical and chemical process.

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So I’d like to know for you, what do you
see happening here when the medicine is working?

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What is happening here when someone starts
to relate to sacred mushrooms in a ceremony?

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Do you have thoughts on what you believe is happening,
or do you even believe that it is something

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that one can understand?
Or that one can even describe it?

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(Eugenia) I think it depends on the intention.

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For me, if you arrive at a place to heal yourself,
it depends on how much credibility you have,

0:20:37.540,0:20:41.940
or your disposition or predisposition that
you may have to go to a person

0:20:41.940,0:20:46.340
and for that person to provide you
with what you truly want.

0:20:46.840,0:20:53.200
For instance, we often go to places,
like a doctor's office or a store, right?

0:20:53.320,0:20:58.760
And we like this doctor but not the other,
we like one store but not the other —

0:20:58.760,0:21:07.780
with spirituality it’s similar, but it’s not
the same because you have to be connected.

0:21:07.780,0:21:12.220
It’s not like something you are going to
touch, see, or smell.

0:21:12.220,0:21:17.620
It’s goes way beyond that, and that’s
when your emotions start to flow.

0:21:17.620,0:21:21.520
Your sensitivity comes into play.

0:21:21.520,0:21:26.000
Also, how you show up with the plant medicine,
how the plant medicine accepts you,

0:21:26.000,0:21:28.180
what intention you carry with you.

0:21:28.180,0:21:32.720
You can describe it but sometimes
there aren’t words that really express it,

0:21:32.720,0:21:39.120
what you're feeling, and how the plant is going
to heal something that you have to heal.

0:21:39.280,0:21:44.640
You had said something quite important, or
something that I’m seeing as

0:21:44.700,0:21:48.180
very important to say: practical experiences.

0:21:48.180,0:21:49.360
(Ismail) Mmhm.

0:21:49.620,0:21:53.720
(Eugenia) Let’s go back to the earthly part
or the physical part, which stays with you

0:21:53.720,0:21:59.440
only when you examine how you can help someone
work through their intense thoughts.

0:21:59.440,0:22:10.260
Or like Francoise said, for pathological conditions,
how you help or how you stay there in the moment

0:22:10.380,0:22:16.880
— like a sedative, like a pill that just — voila!
— your headache is gone — no.

0:22:16.900,0:22:19.280
With plant medicine it goes far beyond that.

0:22:19.280,0:22:23.080
You have to go deep, you have to feel,
you have to connect.

0:22:23.080,0:22:25.980
But I’m just me, and I can tell it to you, but

0:22:25.980,0:22:28.680
you are the one that’s going to verify this for yourself.
[laughter]

0:22:28.680,0:22:31.280
Because you’re the one that’s going to
have to go and check things out.

0:22:31.280,0:22:37.600
I can tell you a lot of things, I can paint
you a world that I know, or a world that I

0:22:37.600,0:22:41.700
can tell you exists or doesn’t exist, but
the person who has to do the checking is you,

0:22:41.700,0:22:46.000
for you to know if it’s real, if there’s
something there for you to follow,

0:22:46.000,0:22:49.960
whether it’s truly something that you’re living
in that moment,

0:22:49.960,0:22:53.940
or what connection you have with these plants.

0:22:55.460,0:22:59.820
(Ismail) And for you, what do you think is
happening with this plant connection?

0:22:59.820,0:23:03.000
(Francoise) Well, I very much agree with her
in terms of, what’s happening?

0:23:03.000,0:23:05.440
Wow, what’s happening here?
[laughter]

0:23:05.440,0:23:09.640
It’s very — it’s an infinite list.
[laughter]

0:23:09.640,0:23:11.600
It depends on many things.

0:23:11.600,0:23:16.380
I agree that it depends very much on the intention
and the come from of the person.

0:23:16.380,0:23:21.749
What is the presenting disturbance,
what is the presenting intention.

0:23:21.749,0:23:29.440
What is going on in my life that I may want
to explore, investigate, get clarity about,

0:23:29.440,0:23:33.919
get healing, release, transform.

0:23:33.919,0:23:40.230
So the intention is really important and that
goes into the self observation and self reflection

0:23:40.230,0:23:43.399
that happens before a journey, before an experience.

0:23:43.399,0:23:47.950
What is the state of consciousness and the
state of personal honesty that one has with

0:23:47.950,0:23:53.820
their process that presents — formulates
the intention that is placed on the altar

0:23:53.820,0:23:55.720
of the ceremony.

0:23:55.720,0:24:01.540
And then of course then what happens in a
ceremony is — you know, the list doesn’t end.

0:24:01.700,0:24:08.020
It can be a physical release, it can be a
pain that is being felt, it can be a great

0:24:08.029,0:24:15.899
sense of vitality, it can be some emotional
turmoil that is being evoked and faced.

0:24:15.899,0:24:19.250
It can be a great sense of grace and ease.

0:24:19.250,0:24:21.610
It can be a spiritual opening.

0:24:21.610,0:24:28.300
It can be belonging into one's community
and family, forgiving, remembering.

0:24:28.300,0:24:31.979
I mean all these different layers of the journey.

0:24:31.980,0:24:37.980
It can be very personal, and it can also be very
impersonal and transpersonal, it can be just

0:24:37.980,0:24:47.560
becoming energy and being one with the cosmic flow
of things, and it can be going back into the...

0:24:47.560,0:24:53.379
I don’t know, matrix of the mushroom knowledge
and intelligence and message and the planet.

0:24:53.380,0:24:59.740
It can be very, very different experiences,
but whatever the experience is

0:24:59.740,0:25:01.920
is always an answer to the intention.

0:25:01.929,0:25:06.710
It always fits the intention, directly or
indirectly, and I think that's an important

0:25:06.710,0:25:14.289
part of what a guide or a master can really
offer to the people undertaking these journeys.

0:25:14.289,0:25:16.940
(Ismail) That’s a great segue to our next question.

0:25:16.940,0:25:19.289
Let’s talk a bit about intentions.

0:25:19.289,0:25:25.620
So what happens when a person arrives at a
ceremony or a healer or a doctor, or whoever?

0:25:25.620,0:25:31.160
Obviously there is a process that the person
has to start before seeking their healing,

0:25:31.160,0:25:33.840
in order to start this process.

0:25:33.840,0:25:42.060
But there’s a guide, and if it’s so important
that each person has their individual process,

0:25:42.260,0:25:45.460
why have a guide?
What does a guide do?

0:25:45.460,0:25:50.660
Where does the guide come in during the ceremony?

0:25:50.720,0:25:58.660
And on top of that, what kind of qualities
do you think a guide should have?

0:25:58.820,0:26:06.240
What kinds of things do you think are important
— because as you said, it involves sacrifice,

0:26:06.240,0:26:10.420
time investment, studies, all those things
that — many people don’t want to do all of that.

0:26:10.420,0:26:13.980
[laughter]
But for you, how do you see it?

0:26:13.980,0:26:17.940
How do you see this process of preparing
people to do this personal work?

0:26:17.940,0:26:27.360
(Eugenia) Well, culturally we have
an agreement with our society,

0:26:27.360,0:26:32.840
or with our own culture,
those of us who have a set of traditions.

0:26:32.840,0:26:40.220
We have commandments, rules, and sometimes
speaking about our sacred plants is complicated,

0:26:40.220,0:26:44.360
because...because you have a voice saying
to you “you can speak” and “you can’t speak,"

0:26:44.360,0:26:47.180
“you have permission” and
“you don’t have permission.”

0:26:47.860,0:26:53.160
For you to take drugs, someone has to write
you a prescription, even if you know it’s

0:26:53.160,0:26:57.040
specifically for a headache, and
you can get the drugs at a pharmacy,

0:26:57.040,0:27:00.080
you don't know what reaction you’re going to have to it.

0:27:00.080,0:27:02.500
It’s a crude example.

0:27:02.860,0:27:06.540
But in the case of sacred plant medicines,
it’s a lot more than that.

0:27:06.540,0:27:10.600
When I talk about the responsibility of sacrifice, it’s

0:27:10.600,0:27:14.580
“What reaction is this person going to have?”

0:27:14.580,0:27:18.280
They don’t know everything that could happen.

0:27:18.320,0:27:23.300
They can read books about it or listen to people talk
about it, and they could believe what others report.

0:27:23.380,0:27:25.840
“What happened? What took place?”

0:27:25.840,0:27:30.220
But like I said, you have to have
your own experience to know, and

0:27:30.240,0:27:34.200
the guide is there to talk to you.

0:27:36.000,0:27:40.340
Or at some point you need to know something,
or if there’s something confusing,

0:27:40.340,0:27:48.540
someone must be there to lift you, to push you,
to give what is needed in that moment of transition.

0:27:48.640,0:27:55.760
Guides, like myself, are very important, because
from that moment you start to understand

0:27:55.760,0:27:59.860
the respect that you have for
yourself and for society.

0:27:59.860,0:28:03.320
For me, a guide is like a father.

0:28:03.640,0:28:08.760
You always have to adapt to something else
that is in front of you.

0:28:09.560,0:28:16.180
A guide has many facets, many surnames, many
occupations, and a guide is not just a guide.

0:28:16.180,0:28:19.080
(Ismail) Of course.
(Eugenia) They are not just — no.

0:28:19.220,0:28:22.560
(Eugenia) For me, a guide plays a very crucial role.

0:28:25.460,0:28:28.200
(Ismail) Do you have thoughts on the role of the guide or

0:28:28.200,0:28:31.120
what you think we should be considering?

0:28:31.120,0:28:35.180
(Francoise) Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts about it.
[laughter]

0:28:35.180,0:28:38.060
(Francoise) That’s been my passion, my —
(Ismail) You wrote a whole book about it in fact!

0:28:38.060,0:28:40.120
(Francoise) A whole book about it!
[laughter]

0:28:40.120,0:28:46.860
(Francoise) It’s been my whole job — training or
trying to train, trying to inspire or support the

0:28:46.860,0:28:49.620
people who are inspired to share this.

0:28:50.000,0:29:01.000
The role of a guide is to create safety, a
physical safety, emotional understanding,

0:29:01.000,0:29:04.039
listening to the intention, creating the context.

0:29:04.039,0:29:09.359
It's like creating a nest in which the transformation
— it’s like creating a cocoon in which

0:29:09.359,0:29:11.419
the transformation happens.

0:29:11.419,0:29:16.679
I cannot be the transformation but I can create
the environment in which it takes place and

0:29:16.679,0:29:24.139
support it and hopefully facilitate it
in times of confusion or fear.

0:29:24.139,0:29:28.580
I can support, I can accompany someone, I
can say, "I'm here with you."

0:29:28.580,0:29:32.420
It doesn't mean I'm doing the work for you,
it doesn’t mean I'm going to bypass your pain,

0:29:32.420,0:29:38.859
but I'm going to be by your side as a human being,
making people feel accompanied.

0:29:38.859,0:29:44.399
That’s the word I like in this work.

0:29:44.399,0:29:51.460
I feel the guide has to be experienced in
this in this modality, whatever they offer,

0:29:51.460,0:29:55.039
just like in psychotherapy, people to have
had to have psychotherapy for years to be

0:29:55.039,0:30:00.389
able to understand what it’s like to be
in that seat, to be in that place of exploration

0:30:00.389,0:30:08.440
and investigation, so a guide in this work
has to have a very thorough experience,

0:30:08.440,0:30:13.660
to be guided, to feel what it's like to be supported
and to have that intelligence next to them,

0:30:13.660,0:30:19.860
and that experience, that wall to lean on
in case of distress.

0:30:20.480,0:30:28.520
And the guide ought to be honest, of service,

0:30:28.520,0:30:37.160
humble, not overdoing the work of the person journeying

0:30:37.160,0:30:44.279
not so much like hands off necessarily,
but really delicate and intuitive in the way

0:30:44.279,0:30:46.960
the guide is going to help or not help.

0:30:46.960,0:30:53.070
I mean I've been so many times in journeys
in Huautla (de Jiménez) where I was at times

0:30:53.070,0:30:59.100
very distressed, and I got a lot of physical
support and actually talk and presence

0:30:59.100,0:31:03.429
that was really helpful, and at other times
I was there by myself having to figure it out

0:31:03.429,0:31:08.919
and nobody would come to me because
Julieta felt I had to figure it out.

0:31:08.920,0:31:12.900
So it's the intuition of the guide and the
read of the energy of the space.

0:31:12.900,0:31:15.500
It’s very ethereal.

0:31:15.500,0:31:21.000
I mean, sometimes we see something and sometimes
we don't, so it’s a lot of intuitive feeling

0:31:21.000,0:31:24.000
and knowing the space intricately.

0:31:25.300,0:31:34.700
(Ismail) Right. There’s a point in which you begin to
understand that as part of your own process, there is

0:31:34.700,0:31:42.000
a way in which this process articulates itself,
like you said, in the material world,

0:31:42.000,0:31:48.220
so to go back to the topic of material things,

0:31:48.220,0:31:53.660
I wanted to ask you both about this topic of consumerism,

0:31:53.660,0:31:58.580
and specifically how in the tradition

0:31:58.580,0:32:07.180
— well, in looking at the search for tradition
in the United States especially —

0:32:07.180,0:32:15.100
there is this focus on consuming and
having things. Ownership.

0:32:15.260,0:32:18.740
(Francoise) Possession?
(Ismail) Possession.

0:32:18.860,0:32:25.640
And it’s interesting because sometimes you
meet people who for the first time start their

0:32:25.640,0:32:33.200
journey with medicine work, and they have
a lot of emotions and a great deal of enthusiasm,

0:32:33.200,0:32:42.920
but sometimes it’s difficult to understand
what one carries from their cultural programming,

0:32:42.920,0:32:48.640
like I’m understanding what parts are societal
and what comes from something else,

0:32:48.640,0:32:51.960
like something from outside oneself,
something spiritual, or something more authentic.

0:32:51.980,0:32:55.140
I think it’s hard sometimes.

0:32:55.140,0:33:00.140
I was born here in California in the United
States, and I have ancestors from

0:33:00.140,0:33:03.480
different parts of the world, but I was born here.

0:33:03.620,0:33:12.380
I constantly feel...pressure from all sides,

0:33:12.700,0:33:19.420
and there’s always this recurring theme

0:33:19.520,0:33:24.220
of having to consume more and have more, and
this idea that if I don’t have something, it's not real.

0:33:24.220,0:33:28.340
It’s kind of challenging to apply these
ideas of ownership to medicine healing and

0:33:28.340,0:33:37.720
these traditions, and I wanted to hear your thoughts about this concept of ownership.

0:33:37.720,0:33:43.480
How can we learn about a tradition and

0:33:43.480,0:33:48.820
share it with others openly and responsibly?

0:33:48.820,0:33:51.800
I think it’s something that many people
don’t understand how to do, and they have

0:33:51.800,0:33:55.780
a lot of fear because it’s easy to just appropriate.

0:33:55.780,0:34:04.620
And we have this issue of colonialism
— and of taking things.

0:34:04.620,0:34:11.340
As a society, we’re starting to change

0:34:11.340,0:34:15.040
these narratives, but we don’t always know how.

0:34:15.040,0:34:20.700
And I don’t expect you to have a comprehensive
answer, but what do you think of all this?

0:34:20.700,0:34:24.740
(Francoise) I think — I’m going to say something because

0:34:25.020,0:34:27.440
I’m here in the US and I’m also a bit over there —

0:34:27.440,0:34:32.420
I think that here in the West, people have
a lot of hunger for the spiritual world,

0:34:32.520,0:34:36.140
and now that these medicines have
more presence here, people want it.

0:34:36.140,0:34:41.580
They want to understand, they want to commune
with the plant medicines, they want to

0:34:41.580,0:34:47.880
more deeply understand themselves with one plant
or another, so they are looking.

0:34:47.880,0:34:50.920
They are really looking.

0:34:51.480,0:34:58.160
But they act as if they don’t have the time
to understand what happened after an experience,

0:34:58.160,0:35:04.680
so after one experience, they are looking for the next,
looking for the next, and the next and so on.

0:35:04.680,0:35:10.160
And they don’t give themselves the time to listen
to what it was that happened in an experience.

0:35:10.160,0:35:13.780
On the other hand, I saw that
with the Mazatecs in Mexico,

0:35:13.780,0:35:17.920
the people there don’t eat sacred mushrooms
every week, or every two weeks.

0:35:17.920,0:35:20.680
(Ismail) [laughter]
(Eugenia) No!

0:35:20.680,0:35:27.240
(Francoise) No! There, they eat mushrooms,
they calm down, they listen, they pray,

0:35:27.240,0:35:33.040
they listen to their own process, they give thanks
to the land, they make offerings.

0:35:33.040,0:35:41.700
They are doing all the things that
allow the process to move forward.

0:35:41.700,0:35:44.560
Here, people don’t have the time!

0:35:44.560,0:35:48.400
Here you have people who eat mushrooms, and
two weeks afterwards they do ayahuasca,

0:35:48.400,0:35:50.880
and two weeks later they do something else.

0:35:50.880,0:35:55.740
(Ismail) They work and they work.
(Francoise) It’s madness. Such a hurry, such a rush.

0:35:55.740,0:35:59.260
That’s what I’ve observed here.

0:36:00.280,0:36:05.900
You, the Mazatecs, operate in a much
more tranquil, sacred way.

0:36:05.900,0:36:13.460
One does a ceremony, which is very sacred, and one
searches for calm and listens deeply, and that’s it.

0:36:14.660,0:36:16.880
Here — [makes a noise of commotion]
[laughter]

0:36:16.880,0:36:17.780
Isn’t that right?

0:36:17.780,0:36:21.220
(Eugenia) Yes, it’s very true what Francoise
is saying here. We as Mazatecs,

0:36:21.220,0:36:24.920
well, there are a lot of us who
take the medicine very seriously.

0:36:24.920,0:36:28.260
And there are others who want more
and more knowledge, and in that

0:36:28.260,0:36:31.740
process of seeking knowledge, they lose themselves.

0:36:31.740,0:36:36.540
I think this is much more of a thing in American
culture because there isn’t something that

0:36:36.540,0:36:38.840
dictates — that you have to follow,
like rules and regulations.

0:36:38.940,0:36:44.180
In our lineage, we have very powerful commandments,

0:36:44.180,0:36:48.200
rules that you have to obey and follow,

0:36:48.200,0:36:54.480
so as part of those rules, you are asked to study
yourself, go inside, and accept the process

0:36:54.480,0:36:57.140
with a lot of patience, as
we have been saying here.

0:36:57.140,0:37:00.860
Ismail, you had said something just now
about how you were born here and that

0:37:00.860,0:37:03.240
you have this culture and the other.

0:37:03.240,0:37:06.820
How do you define yourself? What defines you?
When it defines you,

0:37:06.820,0:37:10.640
you say, “I’m going to look further into my past."

0:37:12.400,0:37:19.340
"What are my roots? Where do I come from?” So you’re
in your moment and you say, “when, how, and why?”

0:37:19.340,0:37:23.100
These are your questions. Now is your time.

0:37:23.260,0:37:27.640
You studied, you went to university,
perhaps you’re thinking

0:37:27.640,0:37:32.400
that you’re living in a consumerist society
and although you’re part of that process,

0:37:32.400,0:37:34.960
you want to change that now.

0:37:34.960,0:37:35.880
(Ismail) Mmhm.

0:37:35.880,0:37:40.700
(Eugenia) And that’s where the secret is. For you,
this moment arrived where you had a need for

0:37:40.760,0:37:44.620
this understanding, because you
felt an inner call towards it.

0:37:44.660,0:37:48.660
You’re going to speak of something real
with that small seed that appeared,

0:37:48.660,0:37:52.940
like when that light showed up for me and said “study.”

0:37:52.940,0:37:55.420
And without even wanting it, you arrive at
this point and by some causality

0:37:55.420,0:37:58.180
you’re going to continue down
this path that you find yourself on.

0:37:58.320,0:38:02.800
And I think that this is your question, people want
understanding but they don’t know about what exactly.

0:38:02.800,0:38:08.480
(Ismail) Mmhm. Well that did happen to me.
I started to search for answers when I was 16 or 17.

0:38:09.620,0:38:18.600
It was interesting because I was programmed to
be looking for those kinds of experiences,

0:38:18.700,0:38:26.720
and after about five or six years, I went to
the desert to take some time outside

0:38:26.880,0:38:32.440
— not at a festival, or a party, but with my family

0:38:32.440,0:38:36.560
— in fact, I went with my cousin to the desert to enter
into that process of searching, and I discovered that

0:38:36.560,0:38:40.100
what I was looking for was inside of me all along.
[laughter]

0:38:40.100,0:38:44.480
And that the process of looking is
just to open, to open this —

0:38:44.600,0:38:46.140
(Eugenia) To begin.
(Ismail) To begin.

0:38:46.140,0:38:48.680
(Eugenia) To begin your learning.
(Ismail) So to begin.

0:38:48.680,0:38:51.960
To begin what? Because you go to the ceremony,
you have your experience and you get to know

0:38:51.960,0:38:57.840
all these things, and you listen and you are in
that process, but afterwards you leave.

0:38:57.980,0:39:05.340
And you had spoken a bit about this, the act of —
beforehand we have to prepare for a ceremony

0:39:05.340,0:39:08.360
with an intention, and we know that
during the ceremony we have some resources

0:39:08.360,0:39:14.340
like the guide and the medicine and the altar
and so on, but then you get to the point where

0:39:14.420,0:39:19.100
you want to understand what happens afterwards,

0:39:19.100,0:39:24.500
and not specifically for a ceremony,

0:39:24.500,0:39:32.860
but we’re speaking today about weaving the different
aspects of Western traditions and indigenous traditions.

0:39:33.400,0:39:39.080
We could start by saying that we have these similarities
and these differences — but we know that

0:39:39.080,0:39:46.780
this process of creating a hybrid is more
complex, and there are more levels

0:39:46.780,0:39:50.200
to this cultural conversation.
It’s a whole process.

0:39:50.200,0:39:55.000
You two met years and years ago. Francoise, you met
Julieta and worked with her for years and years.

0:39:55.020,0:40:01.200
Are you finished with your work?
No? We are not finished.

0:40:01.220,0:40:03.860
(Francoise) Never. Never!
[laughter]

0:40:03.860,0:40:06.420
(Ismail) Exactly! Some people think that there’s —
(Eugenia) The work is infinite, right?

0:40:06.420,0:40:10.140
(Ismail) — a point at which you’ve arrived, and finally you
have the capacity to heal everybody. But that’s not true.

0:40:10.140,0:40:17.020
(Francoise) Well, I could feel worse about some things
from my youth, or things that happened to me,

0:40:17.160,0:40:23.780
traumatic events, yes, but my process —
which is human — always changes.

0:40:23.800,0:40:28.940
With age, with life, with children, with friends,
with the situation of the planet.

0:40:28.940,0:40:31.800
Basically, everything changes. It’s an evolution, no?

0:40:31.800,0:40:33.540
(Eugenia) Exactly.

0:40:34.100,0:40:37.080
(Ismail) So, what have you learned?

0:40:37.080,0:40:41.080
If you could share something that
you’ve learned in this process —

0:40:41.080,0:40:44.540
because you have done so many different things.

0:40:44.600,0:40:49.380
As you said, guides are not only guides.

0:40:49.380,0:40:55.940
They live their lives, with their family, with everything
else. So I wanted to know if you could share

0:40:55.940,0:41:01.600
something that you’ve learned.
It could be something personal.

0:41:01.600,0:41:11.620
We know that these days there are a lot of people
with a lot of enthusiastic interest in this work.

0:41:13.980,0:41:21.840
What is something that you didn’t know when you started?

0:41:21.840,0:41:33.980
What do you feel comfortable sharing from your lives?

0:41:33.980,0:41:37.200
(Eugenia) What have I learned…

0:41:38.440,0:41:45.040
In this job the first thing is — well, it’s work,
not a job, for me it’s my work...

0:41:46.260,0:41:48.740
I have learned to manage my emotions.
(Ismail) Mm.

0:41:48.740,0:41:55.740
(Eugenia) And through my emotional work,
I can help others who approach me,

0:41:55.740,0:41:58.180
because I have done it for myself.

0:41:58.280,0:42:06.100
And we’ve said here how important it is to manage your
emotions, and access forgiveness and humility,

0:42:06.480,0:42:10.120
and that you have to know how
to heal through love.

0:42:10.120,0:42:15.160
But that begs the question, what love?
Not just love through physical touch.

0:42:15.560,0:42:20.700
It’s a love that’s so unconditional that
the word itself is extremely powerful.

0:42:20.840,0:42:24.140
How do you learn to understand another’s process?

0:42:24.140,0:42:29.020
How do you listen to them? How do you
become more sensitive and aware?

0:42:29.020,0:42:30.800
And when you live through that process,

0:42:30.800,0:42:37.820
for me, the most important thing for all this work is to
heal through love — the feeling of love.

0:42:37.820,0:42:41.060
But not that form of love that we have come to know
that comes with strings attached.

0:42:41.060,0:42:42.800
(Ismail) Yes, yes, yes.

0:42:42.800,0:42:48.000
(Eugenia) It’s a love with complete surrender,
that you see someone without prejudice,

0:42:48.000,0:42:52.360
without labeling them, without destructive criticism.

0:42:52.820,0:42:59.660
You have to learn to listen, to hear,
through the heart

0:42:59.660,0:43:03.760
to be able to feel it and to be able to become sensitive
to someone else who has a need to heal,

0:43:03.760,0:43:06.680
because through their need,
you also experience healing.

0:43:06.680,0:43:10.420
This is what I have learned in this work.
For me, love is the most important thing.

0:43:10.420,0:43:13.860
(Ismail) Yes, yes. Mm.

0:43:13.860,0:43:18.200
(Francoise) Well what did I learn with this?
Or what did I access, I guess?

0:43:18.700,0:43:28.260
I feel like I accessed or I learned the human
courage and the human resilience to overcome

0:43:28.280,0:43:39.800
great ordeals, suffering, personal suffering,
cultural suffering, transgenerational suffering.

0:43:41.160,0:43:50.340
So I really got in touch with human courage,
the capacity to reclaim vitality,

0:43:50.340,0:43:59.040
to soothe my pain through
understanding my passion for life.

0:43:59.560,0:44:06.779
And I agree a lot with what Eugenia says,
which is what her mother used to say, that

0:44:06.779,0:44:12.660
the power of love as a force, as a creative
force of the universe, is really the basis

0:44:12.660,0:44:15.789
and the container for my evolution.

0:44:15.789,0:44:21.160
And whatever comes in my life might be great
— it can be very challenging — is held

0:44:21.160,0:44:33.309
within a larger context of what I consider
my eternal soul, so my human ordeals are tests

0:44:33.309,0:44:36.960
or challenges that I have to overcome,
that I work through,

0:44:36.960,0:44:39.220
that make me very humbled, very human.

0:44:39.230,0:44:42.869
I'm not below or above emotions, you know?

0:44:42.869,0:44:47.839
I'm really going through the emotional process
knowing that I'm held in a larger picture.

0:44:47.839,0:44:54.510
That this form is just a passage and that
I have a connection with something much larger

0:44:54.510,0:44:58.500
that holds me and that what is larger
is the force of love.

0:44:58.500,0:45:06.020
That is the power of creation, the transcendence,
the divine, the eternal being, and I feel very —

0:45:06.880,0:45:13.420
for me, this is my context of evolution,
so that really appeared for me through this work

0:45:13.420,0:45:21.840
and through my realization of both
my humanity and my spiritual self.

0:45:22.060,0:45:24.440
(Ismail) So we return to love.

0:45:24.440,0:45:25.180
[laughter]
(Francoise) Always.

0:45:25.260,0:45:28.080
(Ismail) Like always, no? Hm.

0:45:28.540,0:45:36.580
Well, both of you have talked about emotions,
feelings, and the emotional process.

0:45:36.580,0:45:38.900
I want to hear some more about that.
[laughter]

0:45:38.920,0:45:46.640
because earlier we touched on this duality,
and you spoke a bit about emotions,

0:45:46.640,0:45:59.640
but before we had been speaking of...
the technicalities and elements of the environment.

0:45:59.640,0:46:09.220
I wanted to know what you thought about
how to manage the duality

0:46:09.220,0:46:13.140
between the emotional world and...

0:46:13.140,0:46:15.840
the matrix, or our physical world,

0:46:15.840,0:46:19.740
and what you think we should do with this duality.

0:46:19.740,0:46:24.120
In my personal experience,

0:46:24.280,0:46:27.400
I also experienced my mother's death
several years ago,

0:46:27.440,0:46:31.080
and I loved her very much,

0:46:31.080,0:46:36.160
but our relationship was a little difficult
because there was a lot of conflict.

0:46:36.160,0:46:42.160
Our...personalities were very similar, but with —
[laughter]

0:46:42.160,0:46:45.840
— obviously different life experiences.

0:46:45.920,0:46:52.740
Much of my own self healing process in
these recent years since she passed,

0:46:52.740,0:46:55.680
along with understanding my family and all that,

0:46:55.680,0:47:01.220
was a process of recognizing my emotions and...

0:47:01.220,0:47:06.580
giving them space, but not just putting
my emotions away in a box to the side.

0:47:06.580,0:47:11.498
I don’t want to separate my mind from my
emotions, because I see it as a process of

0:47:11.500,0:47:15.880
bringing things together. Like we’ve been
saying here, making a hybrid of something,

0:47:15.880,0:47:20.000
something that incorporates many parts,

0:47:20.000,0:47:25.600
when we talk about this process of self healing and
sacred mushrooms and these related traditions,

0:47:25.720,0:47:30.818
we aren’t talking about just healing the body, or just
healing the mind. It’s a little bit of everything and

0:47:30.820,0:47:32.640
it depends on what you need.

0:47:32.640,0:47:38.100
So what do you think of this idea of duality?
How do we engage with this?

0:47:38.160,0:47:47.300
I ask for those of us who feel that we’re really
different but also know that there’s some

0:47:47.300,0:47:50.940
middle way amid all of this.

0:47:51.540,0:47:57.420
(Francoise) I think that — in my understanding
from my work with sacred mushrooms — that

0:47:57.420,0:47:59.800
there is no duality.

0:47:59.800,0:48:04.860
That your feelings are not just in your mind.
They are in your body and your spirit.

0:48:04.860,0:48:10.700
It’s your life, and everything is connected.
It’s not that — well,

0:48:10.700,0:48:19.500
there is a spiritual world that is greater than
your emotions that supports you,

0:48:19.500,0:48:27.360
but your emotions also — you can’t just put an emotion
in a box in a corner of your mind.

0:48:27.360,0:48:35.680
It’s a process that when you face your emotions,
sometimes it’s a process that

0:48:35.680,0:48:43.460
debilitates you, that brings you to your knees,
with humility, with suffering.

0:48:44.380,0:48:54.440
It can be a heart-centered process, one of suffering,
and I don’t know how to say this exactly, but

0:48:54.440,0:48:58.040
...

0:48:58.100,0:49:01.940
It’s a sort of paradox, which is typical of
working with these sacred mushrooms —

0:49:02.000,0:49:05.240
(Ismail) My next question is about paradoxes,
so that’s perfect. [laughter]

0:49:05.240,0:49:07.720
(Francoise) It’s all connected and separated
at the same time, no?

0:49:07.720,0:49:10.680
(Ismail) Yes, of course, exactly.
(Francoise) It’s spiritual, being human.

0:49:10.680,0:49:18.960
(Francoise) It's a process of duality, but it’s also
all connected inside of your being.

0:49:20.600,0:49:22.620
(Eugenia) I believe that —
(Francoise) What do you believe?

0:49:22.620,0:49:25.400
(Eugenia) There is a duality that exists. Why?

0:49:25.400,0:49:33.340
Because the energy from your mother
and the energy from your father

0:49:33.340,0:49:41.120
have two different root origins; however, they
came together so that you could be here.

0:49:41.120,0:49:45.840
How you strive for things, how you work,
how you can understand things

0:49:45.840,0:49:53.680
until you’re able to forgive something that may be there,
some feeling is what I can assure you exists.

0:49:53.680,0:49:58.500
That you have to work with the part that you’ve lived
with your mother and the part that you’ve lived —

0:49:58.500,0:50:08.640
that is, when you get to questioning and examining
yourself internally, you accept those two energies.

0:50:08.640,0:50:12.220
When you accept the duality, it becomes one thing,
and that one thing is you.

0:50:12.220,0:50:17.380
And when you work through your emotions,
you work with forgiveness, you liberate yourself,

0:50:17.400,0:50:23.960
and you understand the process to arrive at
this precise point, to build your credibility,

0:50:23.960,0:50:27.940
and who you are, and the authenticity of who you are.

0:50:29.400,0:50:39.080
(Ismail) Earlier we were speaking about duality,
the idea of masculine and feminine, and

0:50:39.080,0:50:45.520
that different traditions approach
these concepts differently.

0:50:45.980,0:50:51.700
Here in the United States, for instance, things are getting
a bit more complex because we are asking questions

0:50:51.700,0:51:00.640
like, what is masculine? What is patriarchal?
What is machismo? What is —

0:51:00.640,0:51:08.760
We are learning how to be in integrity
with these different aspects

0:51:08.760,0:51:14.540
and it’s quite difficult because we have — well, you see it
in Mexico, and you see machismo in my family

0:51:14.540,0:51:18.080
in Colombia, which are extremes of the duality.

0:51:18.080,0:51:23.300
I understand that they have their own unique
histories, but it’s still difficult to manage.

0:51:23.300,0:51:32.540
So what have you each found in — ?
I mean, I also understand that

0:51:32.540,0:51:40.180
here in this system, in this society,

0:51:40.180,0:51:43.400
the doctors are almost all men.

0:51:43.400,0:51:48.100
The idea of healing is that you have a man
that’s a doctor that gives you a pill

0:51:48.100,0:51:53.680
and that’s how it is, but I am perceiving
that you two are not men —

0:51:53.680,0:51:57.060
[laughter]
— and many of the traditional healers

0:51:57.060,0:52:03.380
and the people who are starting to rediscover this
medicine are seeking this more feminine energy.

0:52:03.380,0:52:10.660
So how do you see this relationship? What is your view
on this process of expansion and change

0:52:10.660,0:52:16.900
while we continue this process of
unfolding and opening and discovery?

0:52:16.900,0:52:25.180
(Francoise) I think that the feminine process that is
coming out and showing up more here

0:52:25.180,0:52:32.240
is a process of getting to know the Earth and
recognizing the Earth as the ultimate being

0:52:32.240,0:52:39.400
that cares for us, that supports us, that provides us with
sacred food, that it’s the ultimate mother, no?

0:52:39.420,0:52:48.660
The substance of motherly support is these sacred
plants that the mother grows for us, and it’s

0:52:48.660,0:52:59.740
a powerful theme right now for these current times of
American society, which is opening its eyes

0:52:59.740,0:53:03.660
to the feminine presence.
(Ismail) And remembering, right?

0:53:03.660,0:53:06.180
(Ismail) Remembering for the first time. [laughter]
(Francoise) Exactly.

0:53:06.180,0:53:12.380
And I would say that each of us
comes from a place. An indigenous place.

0:53:12.380,0:53:16.500
Each of us comes from a land, a village, no?

0:53:16.500,0:53:20.680
The older folks, those grandfathers and grandmothers,
come from a place that wasn’t

0:53:20.680,0:53:25.160
materialistic like places are now, and so we can
remember where we come from.

0:53:25.160,0:53:33.020
And this feminine presence that is appearing
nowadays — I think it’s about remembering,

0:53:33.040,0:53:35.800
to not forget that we are of the Earth.

0:53:35.800,0:53:42.580
Everyone. Whether they live in New York
or Huautla, it is the same Earth.

0:53:42.580,0:53:46.300
That it has been forgotten is one thing, but
these places are of the same Earth.

0:53:46.320,0:53:53.100
It is important that people don’t forget this
and that they reconnect.

0:53:53.100,0:53:59.287
The appearance of feminine presence is this,
I think, the presence of Mother Earth.

0:53:59.287,0:54:02.140
What do you think, Eugenia?

0:54:02.320,0:54:04.940
(Eugenia) That's it.
[laughter]

0:54:04.940,0:54:09.420
I believe that the feminine presence is
exactly that. That in this time it is

0:54:09.420,0:54:18.180
emerging precisely to — in a practical sense
— open up consciousness.

0:54:18.180,0:54:25.260
To go back and return to see who one is and
what one’s work is in this space.

0:54:25.260,0:54:30.560
And even today we continue to discover things.
I believe that the woman’s presence is important,

0:54:30.560,0:54:37.640
and it’s related to everything. The plants,
Mother Rain, Mother Earth, Mother Water.

0:54:37.640,0:54:42.820
So we are here in this moment exactly for this
purpose. To try to open up consciousness and to

0:54:42.820,0:54:46.860
know what’s important and what isn’t important.
To see what we have given all our time to,

0:54:46.860,0:54:51.900
what we have made important, and what is truly
important, what we will have to go back and start over.

0:54:51.900,0:54:56.540
These times are like new phases
for opening up consciousness.

0:54:56.540,0:55:03.760
(Ismail) Why is it so important now? I think that because
I see — well, as I said before, my mom left Colombia

0:55:04.540,0:55:15.680
in 1986 due to the violence there,
and there were drugs and plants,

0:55:15.680,0:55:23.700
and when these items encounter the industrial
complex, it’s easy for them to enter as a

0:55:23.700,0:55:30.080
category of consumption, and this is difficult.
It’s resulted in a ton of violence

0:55:30.080,0:55:39.840
and so much conflict in many parts of the world, but
especially in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and many others,

0:55:39.840,0:55:50.960
and I think that for me as a Muslim, and like I said, I’m
from Fresno (California), and after the events of 9/11,

0:55:50.960,0:56:03.220
people were viewing Muslims somewhat suspiciously,
and as a child I perceived this dynamic.

0:56:03.220,0:56:12.720
How is there so much distance between this
peace and tranquility — what I understand of

0:56:12.720,0:56:17.600
my tradition and also what I have found with plant medicine —

0:56:17.600,0:56:22.900
How is there so much distance between this
and what we see outside of it?

0:56:23.000,0:56:27.360
Years and years of experience,
years and years of oppression.

0:56:28.000,0:56:32.240
I know that there are many people here
who discover plant medicine, and along with it

0:56:32.240,0:56:35.300
they discover this tranquility inside
themselves and they say,

0:56:35.300,0:56:43.520
“Ah! We have a solution. We know what we can do.
If everyone takes the medicine, we will end violence.”

0:56:43.520,0:56:52.860
It’s quite a heavy topic, but I think reality is a bit more
complicated than that. I understand that the process of

0:56:52.860,0:57:00.640
working with medicine — the process of healing — does
have an impact, and that the impact can be beyond just

0:57:01.260,0:57:07.460
the individual who takes it and their family.
I’m not saying that the medicine can end all wars.

0:57:07.460,0:57:10.760
I mean, in a way I believe it can,
but it won’t be so easy.

0:57:10.760,0:57:20.040
We were also talking about the role of medicine in
working with trauma, addiction, and things that cause

0:57:20.040,0:57:25.560
violence, difficulty, and complex
situations between people.

0:57:26.200,0:57:34.540
What is the role of medicine in healing and
strengthening communities, then?

0:57:34.540,0:57:45.760
What can we examine in addition to conflict? It’s a huge
topic and I don’t think we can cover everything now, but

0:57:45.760,0:57:52.580
it’s something I think about a lot, because I see my
friends, people, and doctors all wanting to start to heal

0:57:52.580,0:57:57.300
because they see that something real
happens with people that take medicine.

0:57:57.640,0:58:04.480
(Eugenia) I can answer you with something
that’s quite short that is also a question.

0:58:04.560,0:58:09.100
How much do you believe in the power of words?

0:58:09.300,0:58:21.920
(Ismail) Well, my family name is Ali. Ali was the cousin
of the prophet Muhammad. He was a warrior

0:58:21.920,0:58:28.060
who had a sword with two…points.

0:58:28.060,0:58:30.860
(Eugenia) Points.
(Ismail) With two points.

0:58:30.860,0:58:34.060
Everyone knew him as a fighter.

0:58:34.060,0:58:42.700
Surely you’ve heard the saying that
the pen is mightier than the sword.

0:58:43.060,0:58:50.800
I decided to become a lawyer and to work with
words because I do believe that they have power.

0:58:51.360,0:58:54.660
I believe that words are a bit magical.

0:58:54.660,0:58:57.100
(Eugenia) Words are magic.
(Ismail) Words are magic.

0:58:57.100,0:59:04.900
I like that phrase, it’s easier and more
direct. So for that reason I always remind myself

0:59:04.900,0:59:10.820
that I have to be careful with what I’m saying,
because yes, I believe that there is power

0:59:10.820,0:59:12.860
in words and how we speak, yes.

0:59:12.860,0:59:14.860
(Eugenia) So I ask you that small question
and want to provide some context,

0:59:14.860,0:59:22.380
because you were asking some questions with an
intention, like how do we heal traumas?

0:59:23.060,0:59:26.920
How does one know how to go inside oneself? I am not
personally living through the pain another person has,

0:59:26.920,0:59:28.720
but I want to understand it.

0:59:28.720,0:59:33.180
If I show up with a hug and say
“I love you and I forgive you,”

0:59:33.180,0:59:40.720
an intention comes from my heart and goes outwards,
and I am helping. And if with a hug I can share

0:59:40.720,0:59:45.780
so that the other person can take that energy,
everything is circular and it’s a — I call it a spiderweb.

0:59:45.780,0:59:48.700
(Ismail) Ah, yes, exactly.
(Eugenia) I learned this during a

0:59:48.700,0:59:54.440
profound experience in a ritual that I did with my mother
and some others. I learned that we are like a

0:59:54.440,1:00:00.580
small spiderweb — sorry, I mean like a small
spider — and we do the work of weaving,

1:00:01.540,1:00:06.320
and with each knot that is done,
the web gets larger and larger,

1:00:06.320,1:00:16.360
and we take the energy of that first spider,
and you are weaving with your intention, and

1:00:16.360,1:00:22.200
when you go — I’m getting back to what I was saying
before — when you choose to forgive emotionally

1:00:22.200,1:00:28.900
and you love another person and you pardon them, you
free yourself, but you also help to free the other person,

1:00:28.900,1:00:34.080
and it’s not exactly that we have — we would like
everyone to get to know these plants,

1:00:34.080,1:00:38.120
that everyone experiences this kind of healing, right?

1:00:38.120,1:00:41.314
But not everyone has the opportunity, nor
does everyone have the awareness and

1:00:41.320,1:00:44.400
consciousness to be able to arrive at this point.

1:00:44.400,1:00:51.500
But for those of us that are here, we can start, sowing
the seed like a small grain of sand with our intentions.

1:00:51.500,1:00:55.160
So that’s why I’ve been saying to you,
the power of words is immense,

1:00:55.160,1:01:01.420
whether you use that power for good or for the opposite,
but I think that for those of us who are joined together

1:01:01.420,1:01:05.200
in this circle, or in this phase — I’m
not sure what to call it right now —

1:01:05.200,1:01:09.480
(Ismail) Yes.
(Eugenia) In order to make change,

1:01:09.480,1:01:14.300
I believe that is what we should do to
help others, and that is the intention.

1:01:14.340,1:01:21.400
To open consciousnesses for good, to create calm, to
say that we are going to live in peace, enough with war,

1:01:21.400,1:01:23.460
and to do that work with oneself.
(Ismail) That we deserve peace.

1:01:23.460,1:01:28.060
(Eugenia) Exactly, and everyone, everyone in the world,
because we all have our own wars, some more,

1:01:28.060,1:01:32.260
some less, and I think that is today’s intention.

1:01:32.260,1:01:36.380
(Eugenia) To open up consciousness.
(Ismail) Wow, I’m about to cry here. Mmhm, truly.

1:01:36.380,1:01:41.180
(Eugenia) First we have to find peace inside ourselves.
What creates war within us, and what

1:01:41.180,1:01:49.860
causes our emotions to get contaminated. When we
heal ourselves, we have to enter a process of

1:01:49.860,1:01:55.480
self-interrogation and questioning, and
when you feel ready, you say “I will share.”

1:01:55.480,1:02:00.840
Share by saying “I love you,” acknowledging that love,
and one has to go out to serve others and make a path

1:02:00.840,1:02:08.120
and journey, because that intention
that you have must have a lot of power.

1:02:08.640,1:02:14.620
And it’s your power to change, and may your evolution
be positive, and let’s erase all of those things from

1:02:14.620,1:02:20.100
the past, and let’s look for that intention, which is
the bottom line, and how are we going to heal,

1:02:20.100,1:02:25.280
through our intentions and emotions,
through love and forgiveness.

1:02:25.280,1:02:29.840
(Ismail) Mmhm.

1:02:30.060,1:02:37.960
(Francoise) I feel like there's a great level
of suffering in the human family. I mean,

1:02:37.960,1:02:45.360
we are survivors of many many wars, you know, and
many conflicts, and much cruelty and slaughter, and

1:02:47.040,1:02:54.940
I don't know if it's part of the spiritual conflicts among
the different religions, or not understanding what the

1:02:54.940,1:03:02.340
Divine is, or wanting to preach and oppress
one another for the sake of who has the

1:03:02.340,1:03:06.040
upper hand on what God is or the Divine is.

1:03:06.040,1:03:13.960
There’s been a lot of misunderstanding I think and a lot
of wrong paths taken by people. A lot of men, right?

1:03:13.960,1:03:18.640
I mean, this was led by men.
I always say that men had their chance

1:03:18.640,1:03:21.920
and it was not a good test.
(Ismail) [laughter] Nice.

1:03:21.920,1:03:27.240
(Francoise) They failed the test so let’s take it over,
women! Time for the next phase.

1:03:27.240,1:03:31.100
(Ismail) She’s saying that men have already
had their opportunity and now it’s time for women

1:03:31.100,1:03:33.480
and let’s see what happens.
[laughter]

1:03:33.480,1:03:35.440
[indistinct]
[laughter]

1:03:35.440,1:03:44.360
(Francoise) "— I'll kill you for that!" So it’s time to change
this mentality, and I think that people —

1:03:44.360,1:03:51.940
I think the people on this planet have had a lot of fear,
and have had a lot of pain and fear and trauma

1:03:51.940,1:04:01.440
and the accumulation of many generations of horrible
stories, really, and to find peace inside is really what

1:04:01.440,1:04:07.260
people are seeking, and it is true that with sacred plants
— I mean we’re talking about mushrooms, but it's true

1:04:07.260,1:04:15.160
for a lot of sacred plants — ultimately when we go down
at the eye of the storm, there is a place of stillness.

1:04:15.160,1:04:22.440
There's a place that is really calm and really
still and really potentially divine, but

1:04:22.440,1:04:26.820
we have to go through all these layers, and that's
the work we're doing when we take medicine.

1:04:26.820,1:04:33.960
We kind of go through the many layers of our self,
and then our parents, and then our culture, and then

1:04:33.960,1:04:41.440
generations before, and then an entire country or
entire human family, and then eventually, hopefully,

1:04:41.440,1:04:44.760
when that happens, and we get
fortunate enough to touch the center,

1:04:44.760,1:04:51.040
that’s the peace, that’s the love I’m talking about,
that’s the well being, like a flower, you know.

1:04:51.040,1:04:58.140
We are made to grow and be beautiful and be
living together. So the medicine touches that place,

1:04:58.140,1:05:03.240
helps us access that place that is so hard to touch,
considering the layers that we have to go through,

1:05:03.240,1:05:09.560
and I feel that this is the hopefulness for humanity.

1:05:09.560,1:05:14.039
I mean, I’m not saying everybody should take medicine,
but in a way, everybody should take medicine?

1:05:14.039,1:05:16.300
I mean, in a good way.
(Ismail) Yeah, I understand.

1:05:16.300,1:05:20.760
(Francoise) Of course, not in a disrespectful way,
but I think that — yes.

1:05:20.760,1:05:24.080
Yes, I think that everybody could have access.

1:05:24.080,1:05:28.160
And you know, it’s interesting because I was
talking to Eugenia yesterday in the car,

1:05:28.160,1:05:36.480
and she was telling me how this person who was
schizophrenic and was self-inflicting pain and cutting

1:05:36.480,1:05:40.820
just came to Huautla and did some
work with her, and it went well!

1:05:40.820,1:05:46.480
And here, you know with a schizophrenic, self-mutilating
— ooh, psychiatrist and meds and everything —

1:05:46.480,1:05:51.640
nobody would even touch the person,
nobody would even think of doing anything.

1:05:51.640,1:05:56.020
And there, you come for your peace.
"We’ll help you." It’s very interesting.

1:05:56.020,1:06:00.240
(Ismail) Come for your peace, hm.
(Francoise) This faith in that capacity of every

1:06:00.240,1:06:05.420
human being to touch that, and here, we are so —
having the screening and this and that. I mean,

1:06:05.420,1:06:10.080
the methodology is so very interestingly different.

1:06:10.080,1:06:15.855
(Ismail) Well that’s a good place to get to our last
question. So one more question and afterwards

1:06:15.860,1:06:20.300
we can get on with our day.
[laughter]

1:06:20.300,1:06:25.000
The theme of this conversation was
“weaving worlds” — weaving, as you said —

1:06:25.000,1:06:27.440
(Francoise) Weaving worlds.
(Ismail) Weaving worlds.

1:06:27.440,1:06:35.500
And when I think of weaving worlds — or a spiderweb,
I like this imagery as well — I think about the fact that...

1:06:35.520,1:06:41.140
I think that when something falls, you
need something to — to catch it —

1:06:41.140,1:06:43.760
(Francoise) To — receive it.
(Ismail) To receive it.

1:06:43.760,1:06:55.060
So we’re talking about this process of changing
and expanding these Mazatec traditions

1:06:55.060,1:07:01.700
and the traditions of Western psychotherapy and
weaving something together that can receive

1:07:01.700,1:07:07.180
trauma, addiction, and suffering,
everything each person carries.

1:07:09.340,1:07:25.180
To close: In this time of weaving,
of creating new traditions, and sharing, expanding,

1:07:25.180,1:07:28.118
if there is something....

1:07:28.120,1:07:31.060
if there is something that...

1:07:31.960,1:07:42.640
if there is something that we can bring to our
families, to the people we’re closest to,

1:07:43.220,1:07:52.180
what do you think we need to, what do you
think to say, or what do you think...

1:07:54.080,1:08:00.360
I’m thinking about my family and
my grandmother, and my aunts,

1:08:00.360,1:08:11.400
and I can have my experiences and my peace, whatever
it is, but it’s difficult to communicate it to others

1:08:11.400,1:08:16.800
even if we’re very close, given our different
interpretations of the world.

1:08:16.800,1:08:25.340
So, what do you see us doing here?
If you’re looking five or ten years into the future,

1:08:25.340,1:08:29.620
what would you like to see? What do you want to
see in this process of weaving worlds?

1:08:29.620,1:08:33.680
What do you believe is possible?

1:08:33.680,1:08:43.120
I think that understanding a bit of that will help
the people who are watching this, or others

1:08:43.120,1:08:50.620
who are listening, to understand how to look inside
themselves for what they have to do.

1:08:50.620,1:08:57.280
We can’t give personalized advice to each
person individually about where to go or what to do.

1:08:58.180,1:09:03.340
So do you have something you’d like to share
to close our conversation today?

1:09:03.340,1:09:10.420
(Eugenia) Well, yes. I think the first thing is respect, no?

1:09:10.420,1:09:16.940
You had spoken about family. From the familial bosom
— we say here something vulgar, that we “suck”

1:09:16.940,1:09:23.520
our education from the familial bosom. While
the term is intense, "to suck," it’s actually true,

1:09:23.520,1:09:28.660
because I see it as the motherly nature of giving us life,
nourishing us — what you take from your familial bosom

1:09:28.660,1:09:33.160
is what you’re going to show out there in the world, and
what you’re going to want to give to the world.

1:09:33.160,1:09:37.860
You decide and that’s where
you manage your balance of things.

1:09:38.380,1:09:42.460
How are you going to use your free will?
For good or for bad?

1:09:42.460,1:09:49.940
Because you can’t be on the line in the middle.
Positive or negative? What is it that fills you up?

1:09:49.940,1:09:58.700
What do you want to transform? In my case and in my
time, my mother said to me before leaving this world,

1:09:58.700,1:10:05.800
“You have to improve what you already know, because
you are bringing new generations with you,

1:10:05.800,1:10:11.720
and what do you want for yourself? What do you want
the new generations to offer to the world?

1:10:11.720,1:10:17.660
Good or bad things?
And we arrive again at the emotional part of things.

1:10:17.660,1:10:22.960
And our familial lineages — for instance, your
grandmother, your great-grandmother, everyone that

1:10:22.960,1:10:26.860
comes before you. What do you bring with you
and what are you going to change about your lineage?

1:10:26.860,1:10:31.480
Above all, when we carry on a lineage,
which in your case is a double lineage.

1:10:31.480,1:10:34.000
You are fighting with two pieces
to be able to define it all.

1:10:34.000,1:10:36.700
(Ismail) Trying to fight it less, yes.
[laughter]

1:10:36.700,1:10:39.500
(Francoise) Don’t fight, dance! Dance!
[laughter]

1:10:39.500,1:10:42.600
(Ismail) Dance! Yes, better to dance with it.

1:10:42.600,1:10:48.160
(Eugenia) In my case I don’t have that problem,
you know? My paternal grandmother was the one who

1:10:48.160,1:10:53.800
trained my mother and left her with this work, so
the two energies combined, and as a result

1:10:53.800,1:10:59.600
I can’t personally speak of suffering because I
received so much love from both of my parents.

1:10:59.600,1:11:05.280
The truth is I can’t speak on behalf of other people who
carry intense traumas, which I feel sorry about.

1:11:05.280,1:11:08.740
I was really the most beloved daughter, or I —
[laughter]

1:11:08.740,1:11:16.160
No, seriously. I felt that way with my parents,
as much with my father as with my mother, always

1:11:16.160,1:11:20.280
praising and supporting me about many things.
I didn’t notice myself doing the wrong things,

1:11:20.280,1:11:24.800
and I don’t know if it was because I was obedient
or if I had a lot of respect for things.

1:11:24.800,1:11:29.380
My father always spoke to me with love, and my mother
— yes, she was quite firm, but always with love.

1:11:29.380,1:11:31.200
[laughter]
[indistinct]

1:11:31.200,1:11:37.740
(Eugenia) So I don’t have that inner battle with myself.
And when I see that sort of thing, I consider,

1:11:37.740,1:11:43.100
what can we put forth here? But also,
what can we forgive of past generations?

1:11:43.100,1:11:48.940
By letting go and being free to absolve others and shed
ourselves of those things, we can walk and show

1:11:48.940,1:11:53.480
a new path to the new generations that are joining us.

1:11:53.480,1:11:56.420
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to study for yourself?

1:11:56.420,1:11:58.960
When you have your identity, you’re going to say,

1:11:58.960,1:12:05.700
“This is what I want to leave here.
Respect. Love. Peace.”

1:12:05.700,1:12:08.920
All of those things.
(Ismail) Good to go! [laughter]

1:12:08.920,1:12:10.900
(Eugenia) I don’t have much to say beyond that.

1:12:10.900,1:12:15.320
(Ismail) They are the most important things
to share, so thank you for that.

1:12:15.320,1:12:16.620
(Eugenia) Thank you.

1:12:16.620,1:12:23.660
(Francoise) Well, my last words. I feel like this today,
this dialogue here, is a really wonderful way to

1:12:23.660,1:12:34.100
weave those worlds and bring extremely profound and
pertinent words from her tradition and her experience —

1:12:34.100,1:12:42.220
personal experience and personal message — with what
I'm understanding from a more Western, Occident,

1:12:42.220,1:12:49.840
old Europe way, and that ultimately,
we are saying the same thing.

1:12:49.840,1:12:54.840
I mean, we're saying different things, of course,
very different diverse things that are very specific

1:12:54.840,1:13:03.140
due to our backgrounds and our evolution and the way
we came to this work, this path, but ultimately,

1:13:03.140,1:13:10.120
you know, we are talking about love and we are
talking about forgiveness and we are talking about

1:13:10.120,1:13:18.820
growth and patience and courage and respect and
Mother Earth, and we have a lot of common language,

1:13:18.820,1:13:24.900
really, that we can be the carpet
that we are weaving together.

1:13:24.900,1:13:33.420
There's a lot of commonality and distinctive
threads which I don't think are conflicting necessarily.

1:13:33.420,1:13:40.080
I think that the conflict comes when there is greed,
when there is possessiveness, when there is

1:13:40.080,1:13:42.820
speed, you know, like a lot of fast pace

1:13:42.820,1:13:45.520
(Ismail) Urgency is like the —
(Francoise) Urgency and consumerism.

1:13:45.520,1:13:53.840
When that comes into the picture, then that becomes
really a very different voice and a very different world,

1:13:53.840,1:13:55.780
and the world kind of diverges like this
[hand motions outwards]

1:13:55.780,1:13:57.840
but as long as we are listening to one another,

1:13:57.840,1:14:02.600
and I think today is a good experience of that, when we
can listen to one another and complement one another,

1:14:02.600,1:14:08.160
we realize that there's a lot in common
that we are speaking of, really.

1:14:08.160,1:14:16.480
So I believe in my humble participation in
this field that the ancient traditions and

1:14:16.480,1:14:23.580
what I understand of my own connection with
Earth and with the plants, and with my world of

1:14:23.580,1:14:29.440
psychology and various theories and various
approaches, that this really comes together

1:14:29.440,1:14:32.440
in a really complementing way.

1:14:32.440,1:14:39.320
I’m saying that since I’m a psychologist and
also do work with sacred mushrooms,

1:14:39.320,1:14:46.880
I saw that it’s possible to weave the two worlds,
that psychology and therapy can support

1:14:46.880,1:14:49.220
the work that comes out of sacred mushrooms.

1:14:49.220,1:14:55.100
People are healing, and I think it’s great that they can
speak with me about their healing, and that I can help

1:14:55.100,1:14:59.040
with therapy, so this work goes together.
There is no conflict.

1:14:59.040,1:15:01.040
(Eugenia) No.
(Francoise) There isn’t any conflict from

1:15:01.040,1:15:05.180
one side or the other; that is to say,
they can provide mutual support to each other.

1:15:05.180,1:15:10.900
(Ismail) And sometimes for visitors to the
pueblo, they need some extra support.

1:15:10.900,1:15:11.720
(Francoise) Yes.

1:15:11.720,1:15:14.446
(Ismail) So that space serves also to make it possible

1:15:14.446,1:15:16.980
so that people don’t show up, leave, and
miss the understanding of what's happening

1:15:16.980,1:15:18.320
because it’s kind of —
(Francoise) Yes.

1:15:18.320,1:15:21.300
(Eugenia) There is no conflict, I believe,
between this and science.

1:15:21.300,1:15:22.280
(Ismail) No.
(Francoise) No, no.

1:15:22.320,1:15:23.980
(Eugenia) The two go together.
(Francoise) Yes, yes.

1:15:23.980,1:15:28.440
(Eugenia) We respect others with their ideology
and diversity of thought, but it is always the case

1:15:28.440,1:15:32.480
that we need each other —
the two sides need each other.

1:15:32.480,1:15:37.720
(Francoise) But in healing we connect with peace
and love, and that’s the union that we have here.

1:15:37.720,1:15:38.720
(Eugenia) Exactly.

1:15:38.720,1:15:44.060
(Francoise) That’s the foundation of this work with
humans, no? Connecting with the peace and love that

1:15:44.060,1:15:46.740
we have in our hearts.
(Eugenia) Respect for and empathy for others.

1:15:46.740,1:15:48.740
(Ismail) Respect, exactly, yes.

1:15:48.740,1:15:51.640
(Francoise) Yes, yes, yes.
(Eugenia) Of course.

1:15:51.640,1:15:54.540
(Ismail) Well, there’s so much
more that we could say here.

1:15:54.540,1:15:58.440
I want to express gratitude to you,
and to you, for participating in this.

1:15:58.440,1:16:01.420
We started a conversation that surely
will continue with much more [indistinct].

1:16:01.420,1:16:04.700
[laughter]
(Ismail) Thank you so much.

1:16:04.700,1:16:11.840
It’s been an honor to be part of this dialogue. I learned
a lot and I hope more opportunities like this arise.

1:16:11.840,1:16:13.680
(Francoise) Thank you.
(Eugenia) Thank you.

1:16:13.680,1:16:18.000
(Ismail) Thanks for joining y'all. This was such good
timing, such a great conversation. I really appreciate it.

1:16:18.000,1:16:26.060
May the webs that we weave capture the suffering
and transform that into peace.

1:16:26.060,1:16:27.620
(Francoise) Thank you.
(Ismail) Amen.

1:16:27.620,1:16:29.160
(Francoise) Amen.
(Eugenia) Amen.

1:16:29.160,1:16:30.500
(Ismail) Amen.

1:16:30.540,1:16:31.780
(Eugenia) Thank you.

 

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