So, you have been to a magic mushroom ceremony. And it was intense, beautiful, confusing, eye-opening, soul-shaking and heart-warming – or any combination of the above. The day after you arrive back home again. And then what? What are you going to do with this experience? How can you give it a place in your ordinary life? How are you going to integrate a magic mushroom ceremony?
When it comes to plant medicine work, we as Western people often tend to focus on the ‘peak’ experience itself. Therefore we sometimes forget that every consciousness expanding journey already starts when we set an intention. And likewise, that it’s not over when we close the ceremony. To the contrary: to integrate a mushroom ceremony can be a lifelong path. And it’s not always easy.
So how can we take this experience, and all the revelations that come with it, into our daily lives? There is no single answer. As every mushroom experience is unique, so is the integration process. In the integration workshop during the retreat we use the ‘Holistic Model ’ of therapist Françoise Bourzat as a map that helps us to navigate our individual journeys. In this model human existence is divided into five main dimensions:
The holistic model as a map
Looking from this angle, we may realise that the intention for our journey lies primarily in on of these domains. We may feel stuck emotionally, for example, and we would like to get in motion again. Or we are searching for our place in the grander scheme of things. We may also notice that during our mushroom experience one or more of the domains play out more significantly. We might have a very bodily experience. Or we are very much preoccupied with certain family relations. Realising how our experience relates to the five domains may help us to get a clearer understanding of what this experience is telling us.
Entrances for implementation
The five domains furthermore provide entrances on where to start implementing the newly found insights into our lives. If during the ceremony you realised the importance of certain relationships, you probably want to act upon that by spending more time with the people concerned. If you found yourself crying for the pain of the earth, you might want to explore ways to contribute to a more sustainable way of living.
Obviously these five domains are not separated, but interrelated. Working on the body likely affects our emotional state and vice versa. The interactions and possibilities are endless. Sometimes the steps we want to take are very clear and concrete. Other times it takes a while for our experience to sink in. Then rest and more time to process are needed. Oftentimes integration is about learning new behavioural patterns, which usually don’t stick at once. It’s a very human thing to fall back into old patterns once in a while. The art of integration is to not get disappointed by this, but to celebrate gradual shifts in our lives.
Becoming who you are
A common trap is to think that integration is about striving to become a different or better person. Whereas actually it’s about living more in harmony with who you truly are. It’s not so much about getting rid of all our bad habits, but more about embracing all of our human experience, including the shadow sides. You could say this is a spiritual path. Although others may prefer to describe it as a process of self-development.
Wherever you are in your integration process, it’s often helpful to share about it with likeminded others. Therefore we also provide separate integration circles at Earth Awareness, where we discuss more in depth how to integrate a mushroom ceremony.