A friend asked me: “Why did you go so far in your work in the Amazon forest, with indigenous and their powerful plants?”
This Albert Einstein quote came to mind:
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
This is precisely what I felt.
It felt like I had met the mysterious for the first time as the intensity of my first ceremony, the mindblowing visions of aliens, or the magic of Indigenous songs enchanted me (see all my recent stories here).
I had to pause my entire life and explore the mysterious.
I was fortunate to do it with the freedom I had as my children became independent adults, and I could rely on some material reserves.
Enchantment - “a state of being under the spell or influence of something magical, captivating, or charming”
Here is a word I never used before. As I did in my post about ancient and new technologies to talk to dead people, I enjoy comparing the world of technology with the ancient mysterious practices and the modern world with the world I discovered with Indigenous people.
What is “enchantment” in the modern world?
As a child, I was enchanted many times by simple things. Like many children, I have been enchanted by the “magic” of Disneyland and its cartoons and movies. I have read comics and fairy tales involving spells or magical charms. Being enchanted is easy and happens often for children.
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I love watching my baby son being enchanted by a Romanesco cauliflower. The patterns created by nature itself are mesmerizing. They are fractal-like and spiraled geometric structures with a beautiful lime-green color. It is so artistic I want to frame it. It is beautiful but also practical; the branching pattern of the florets ensures that each part of the plant has access to essential resources, such as sunlight, for photosynthesis. The attractiveness of plants and fractal patterns in nature can also attract pollinators.
Fractals are never-ending patterns made by the same shape repeated. They are a testament to the mathematical beauty that exists in nature. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones (1, 3, 5, 8, 13…) and “drive” the fractals. They are not found just on flowers such as the sunflower and vegetables but also in shells or the spirals of a pinecone.
The Fibonacci number is related to the “Golden Ratio” or φ (phi), a mathematical constant approximately equal to 1.61803398875... It can be seen in architecture and art, often said to be related to The Parthenon. Still, I know nothing about architecture and found serious analysis against this theory.
It is also believed to be omnipresent in Egyptian architecture.
I have seen many of these fractals in psychedelic visions, and the explanations I have found for this phenomenon did not convince me much. There is some analysis that psychedelics disrupt the brain's normal functioning, overwhelmed with information. I feel on the contrary instead of being overwhelmed the brain sees nature’s harmony by removing what was blocking seeing it.
Music also follows this harmony: Mozart arranged his piano sonatas, applying the golden ratio. Some pieces of music “seem to make sense” as a “natural order to the universe” even called the “divine proportion.”
It all seems mysterious to me, but it’s evident that this type of natural harmony is what my brain loves the most.
Enchantment also exists in business
Guy Kawasaki wrote a business book titled “Enchantment,” he talks about building genuine relationships, being trustworthy, and showing empathy in business can help win people’s hearts.
There are about 1.5 billion iPhone owners in the world. There were often a few block lines around Apple Stores when a new model was released, and people kept buying the new releases even when the changes between the old and the new were not so revolutionary anymore. They’re mostly a bit faster and have a better camera; there isn’t a true breakthrough. When the iPhone was released, it was such a revolution by replacing the keyboard with a touch screen the size of the phone that everyone wanted one. I definitely got enchanted, and now the “spell” seems to fade away as I am not rushing to get the latest one anymore. We can see the same enchantment for other products, such as Tesla cars.
I was also enchanted many times by the incredible people I met.
The definition of an Enchanter or an Enchantress is “a man or woman who practices magic.”
I definitely got enchanted by the very few women I fell in love with. I was enchanted by the extraordinary entrepreneurs I met. I sometimes got enchanted just by someone’s voice. Some speakers or actors have incredible voices and presence.
Genius business people such as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk practice magic, consciously or unconsciously. They have “superpowers” and huge numbers of people following them. If you commented on any tweet (ixes?) by Elon Musk as I did in the past and had the guts to question anything he wrote in any way, you probably discovered as I did a horde of supporters going after you. Elon doesn’t have to do anything; he has an army of guardians who will do the job. They do it so well that I gave up posting any reply to Elon’s ixes. Is this the right way to say “tweets” now?
Etymology of “enchantment”
We use " enchantment " nowadays as captivating, delightful, beautiful, attractive, or blissful, but the word's origins are much more mystical.
c. 1300, enchauntement, "act of magic or witchcraft; use of magic; magic power," from Old French encantement "magical spell; song, concert, chorus," from enchanter "bewitch, charm," from Latin incantare "enchant, cast a (magic) spell upon," from in- "upon, into" (from PIE root *en "in") + cantare "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing").
So, looking at enchantment also requires looking into the etymology of magic.
late 14c., magike, "art of influencing or predicting events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces," also "supernatural art," especially the art of controlling the actions of spiritual or superhuman beings; from Old French magique "magic; magical,"
I already wrote about how the indigenous songs enchanted me and how a magical snake came to teach me to sing. Some of them they call “prayers” definitely feel like spells. They are generally said in an old language I did not understand, which made them even more cryptic.
I have encountered many different non-indigenous and indigenous shamans using either “medicines” (psychedelic or powerful substances), objects, fasting, heat (temezcal or sweat lodge), or just their voices. I practiced Kundalini Yoga for a year in San Francisco, and every class started and ended with a song. Some practices include repeating the mantra “Sat Nam,” which means “Truth is my identity.”
They all include songs, and so do religions.
Until my first ceremony, I did not pay much attention; to be more precise, I feel now I wasn’t seeing much at the time. Medicines are powerful tools that make everything more visible and more powerful. What I learned using them is acquired for life when I don’t use them anymore. It helped me develop a different view of harmony and also extra sensitivity. It helped me see magic everywhere.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it - Roald Dahl
I have been through many conscious or unconscious enchantments through my “spiritual path,” and good things happened.
Positive changes I received through my enchantment and quest for the mysterious
I felt really happy. In most ceremonies I sat in, I felt incredible happiness and calm, even when difficult. Any stress disappeared. It was a sense of bliss I never experienced before, with the help of the plants and the “facilitators.”
It helped me push away negative thoughts and let the positive ones animate me and guide my life.
I got insights into many problems I had encountered or was going through.
I discovered things I had no idea my brain could do, like full-on telepathic experiences with the shamans, other participants, or the entire group I was sitting with.
After 45 years of living in the mind and practicing business and startups, I discovered the other half of my brain. I found an artistic side I had never used. I suddenly wanted to sing, play instruments, and draw, and I started writing in my journal like never before.
I worked on diminishing and, if possible, removing negative habits or addictions. I am still working on it.
The most important is to only work on creating harmonious, meaningful projects. I fail sometimes; I am not perfect and still fail often, but looking at the harmony in nature makes building anything incompatible with this harmony useless, noisy, and a waste of time. I want to live in harmony and create beautiful, helpful, and meaningful things.
Discovering the mysterious led me to the most important search: the meaning of my own life.
"The meaning of life is to give life meaning." - Viktor E. Frankl
How can I reconcile my past as an ambitious entrepreneur who achieved some success with my new quest for the mysterious?
How can I apply the enchantment I lived in the Amazon forest to my daily life?
If you have been reading me for a while, you know there is a mysterious tool I adopted and use often, the tarot de Marseille of Alejandro Jodorowsky. It became a fascinating and limitless guide for me, like a new alphabet composed of 78 cards with its user guide, The Way of Tarot.
I like to pull a card and see what it tells me now. As I finished writing this, I got “L’Etoile.”
“The Star represents a stage in which an individual finds his or her rightful place to act in the world in a way that will embellish and nourish it from the spot the individual has made his or her own. It prompts us not to decide between apparently irreconcilable options but to conciliate them.”
This feels exactly where I am.
“In the infinite diversity of beings and things, I have found my place - in the world and myself, for it is the same thing. I no longer need to keep looking; I no longer hold any image of myself; I am in my rightful place.
This is the end of my seeking phase and time to build again, reconciling the business entrepreneur and the mystical sides of me, accepting them without having to choose, and using both skills to create in a new way.
I went back to creating something very simple and minimalistic, this newsletter. I want to turn it into a book one day. I also created the PAUA community and conference with Magdalena Sartori, and I will keep growing it at the intersection of business and ancient wisdom but at the right pace.
I share more of my adventures and reflections in the paid version of this newsletter. This was a free post; you can read all my most intimate and meaningful stories as a paid subscriber.
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