Story #3 - The year of secret healings in California
Hi everyone, all my news stories are under this tab you can find at the top of loiclemeur.com and I will keep updating it as I am starting a long series and now aiming at two stories per week, free and paid. I listed all the stories that came to mind and wrote more than 200 stories titles I want to write about! It keeps coming as a constant flow of information when I am awake and even more in my dreams. Thanks for reading and sharing the ride. I am so excited.
October 2016 to May 2017.
After my two deep first experiences with the master plant, I flew back to San Francisco, my home. I returned to normal life, enjoying time with family and friends, traveling the world, and running my startup business called Leade.rs. I wanted to help speakers find paid gigs and also ran two Leade.rs conferences in Paris which were both successful and profitable.
The two nights I went through in Peru were so intense that I had no desire to repeat them soon. Additionally, I felt that I had been in a very special configuration: in the Amazon forest, where these plants come from, and with local “experts”. The idea of doing it with non-native people was not appealing, and I was not looking for such an experience. Every source I read about plant medicine always explained how it is not addictive, and that was the case for me. I was happy to have had the experience, but I was not obsessed with having another. I kind of forgot about it for a few months.
The indigenous say, “once you take the plants, they are always in you, always working from within.” Some even say, “it calls you when the time is right.”
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Looking back at my first two ceremonies in Peru, it definitely called me, but it was not calling anymore. I was feeling great and just going on with the same life as always. I was not thinking about tarantulas and aliens. I was still drinking alcohol at that time and was never lucid in my dreams. I also forgot my dreams instantly as I woke up. I will write a specific note about my work with dreams and how I fixed it, but here is a first tip: I got vivid dreams and could remember them when I stopped drinking.
Eight months after my first plant ceremonies, on May 28, 2017, I went to a retreat in Tulum organized by Zach Bell. He called it “Return, the religion of no religion,” which intrigued me. Return to what? Zach has been very involved in the modern consciousness movement, organizing many events with the “new hippies.”
He has also been involved with the legendary Esalen in California. Esalen was created in 1962 and quickly became one of the main think tanks and centers of the hippie and psychedelic movement in the sixties, which started in the Bay Area and soon spread around the world. Esalen played a key role in the creativity and inspiration of many famous Silicon Valley founders and still does. Steve Jobs visited the Esalen Institute during the 1980s as he was interested in spiritual development and seeking personal transformation.
“This is where, in the sixties, Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary facilitated sessions of “drug-induced mysticism”; where the psychotherapist Fritz Perls led “Gestalt workshops,” often involving crying and primal screams; where Joni Mitchell sang “Get Together” and Ravi Shankar gave George Harrison a sitar lesson. Esalen’s co-founders, Dick Price and Michael Murphy, were Stanford grads turned spiritual seekers.” - The New Yorker
I visited Esalen a few times and was always very impressed by the alchemy going on there, not to mention the breathtaking baths and massages on the cliff where you will be ridiculous if you wear a swimsuit; everyone is naked. I miss California.
So I arrived in Tulum for Zach’s event, a six-hour direct flight from San Francisco. It was the first time I was exposed to the “new hippie spiritual stuff”. I did ceremonies in the jungle and now I was thrown in white people ceremonies in Tulum. To say the least, I was not comfortable at all as my life had been mostly focused on creating technology startups and conferences. I passed on the naked sound bath circle with that long weird and interesting instrument and a local woman doing a weird massage with plants on everyone.
Who are these people? How do they think? Why do they do that? Should I do that? Should I keep my swimsuit? Should I get naked too? What is this lady doing with her plants? Okay let’s stay away and just take a photo it feels safer.
Tulum was the destination of choice for these new, often wealthy, “new hippies” before it fell out of fashion with too many people going there just to party. The party people tend to follow the new hippies, then they go somewhere else because it’s not cool anymore. The new hippies don’t drink much and don’t listen to heavy nightclub music, so whenever the St Tropez or South of Ibiza Pacha crowd arrived, they left. When the St Tropez “Bagatelle” opened in Tulum a few years ago, most of the early “conscious crowd,” as it likes to call itself, left.
Coined by Carl Jung, a synchronicity is a “temporally coincident occurrence of acausal events. When coincidences pile up in this way, one cannot help being impressed by them,” he wrote.
I met Magdalena that day who was going to become the mother of my fourth son, Falco, who is eight months old now. We met there as friends and went on different paths for three years. Little did I know a beautiful love story would start at the end of 2019, all the way through COVID and Magdalena would become the mother of my fourth Son, Falco.
I also met another wonderful woman in the group, and she contributed to completely changing my life with just one conversation.
We talked about plant medicine casually, and I told her I had done it twice. Without me particularly asking, she said, “Oh! You should go to this ceremony in L.A. next week; very good indigenous people are visiting. They are called the Yawanawà. I won’t be there both nights, but you should go.” I could not help asking for the details, and one email arrived in my mailbox with the very minimalist invitation.
I had no idea what to expect, but as soon as I returned from Tulum, I booked a flight and went to L.A. for a ceremony without telling anyone. I was not in a relationship anymore, so it’s not like there were many people I could tell anyway. I drove to Malibu, where the ceremony was located. I drove for an hour or two from LAX to the hills by the ocean above Malibu and arrived at the home.
I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect. The plants are so powerful; I was anxious to see what they would show me this time. I had no idea who were the shamans of that tribe and their practices or how they would differ from the Peruvian shamans I sat with eight months before.
I entered the living room a bit late; they were about to start. The room was dark, lit with a few candles, and the two shamans were seated, feathers on. About twenty-five people were in that room, mostly wearing white clothes. The atmosphere felt strange and mystical. I was not at ease and was concerned. The thought of leaving came to my mind but my internal guts compass told me to stay.
I had never seen anyone with feathers on their head apart from some people with no taste at Burning Man. Their feathers were real parrot feathers, while the burners generally wear synthetic ones. They were also wearing colorful outfits with snakes on them and collars full of colorful geometries. The Peruvian guys were only wearing blue jeans and t-shirts and no accessories; that was a visible difference.
The ceremony started. I drank a full cup without hesitation surrendering to what the universe and the synchronicities were offering to me. The plants and the jungle called me this time at home and I had to take the call. I was nervous. Fortunately, the same woman who introduced me sat with them a day earlier and left a few pillows I could use so I was comfortable. It felt like flying business class compared to the wood floor of the Maloca in Peru which was completely empty of furniture.
The Yawanawà shamans introduced themselves.
They said they were coming from deep in the Amazon forest of Brazil. I could feel the jungle in the tone of their voice and that felt familiar and reassuring. Then, after a short meditation, they started singing with no instruments. The songs were beautiful and immediately started to transport me to geometries and extraordinary imaginary landscapes. I felt like I was home again. I had visions all night and was enjoying everything I was seeing, eyes closed most of the night.
My first ceremonies were not so much about “receiving messages,” but the most beautiful show I ever saw. Cirque du Soleil I had seen once in Las Vegas was wonderful but this felt divine. It was incomparably more beautiful, precise and let’s say it, magical. Their voices were profound and were obviously inducing the visions as they stopped when they took a break between two songs. It seemed like each song had its own visions. I was fascinated.
I also spent the night vomiting, maybe two or three times. It was not pleasant, but I felt I needed it. I felt sick inside but could not associate it with anything mental or physical; it was the beginning of a deep and long cleanse that would last for years, and I spent the whole night either lying down or going to purge. The vomiting was largely compensated by the incredible visions I was seeing. I felt like a kid, the medicine was my spiritual mother and alternating giving me a hard time and a reward with the visions. She has been an incredible second mother to me ever since. I was in a womb again, protected and learning to come back to life.
One of the Yawanawà shamans kept coming back to L.A., so I kept coming back to do ceremonies with him every two weeks for about a year. I was peeling the onion of all my traumas. "The medicine” was healing me. I could not feel at the beginning exactly what it was healing, but I knew it was healing me. It was tough, but I needed to keep going until I stopped purging. The shaman was laughing at me in a friendly and caring way “cura cura medicina”. I was so grateful for him. He was a brother I never had, taking care of me with the most powerful tools I had ever felt in my life. He was hard and loving at the same time. I felt safe. I felt better after each ceremony as soon as I woke up the next day. Plant medicine does not have any bad effects the next day; quite the contrary, I felt really light and better.
Most people did not have plant medicine ever as they either do not know what it is or are scared of it. The conditioning of the modern world told them it was dangerous and even made it forbidden in most countries. My guts were telling me the opposite. “This is the best gift you have ever received”. I learned to trust my guts no matter what Western society, friends or Google were “saying” about it.
The courageous people that try it once or twice often decide it is too hard and stop. Other people think they can be healed in one or two sessions or expect that miracle to happen. Seven years of “working” with the medicine taught me the opposite. It is a hard and long path, full of the most beautiful discoveries and teachings and also hard challenges. Healing does not come easy, I had to earn it and keep going no matter how hard it would become.
Hundreds of ceremonies later as I write this today I have no regrets. This was and still is the most profound healing and transformational tool I have ever encountered and I cannot be more grateful to the universe for showing me the way. “Love yourself” I could read in some psychology books. I loved myself for having the strength to go through all the hardships.
I participated in about ten or twelve ceremonies that year.
I was not addicted, neither to the visions nor to the vomiting. I was committed to healing myself and trusted my guts. There was so little research available about the effects of these plants. Medical research was forbidden and entirely stopped in the seventies, so there still isn’t much available today. I could only trust my guts. Science does not know much about this.
In addition to healing myself deeply that year, I learned new skills.
I started to see things I had never seen before and to do things I had never done before. The medicine showed me skills during ceremonies I later discovered I could always use without it in my “normal” life. One of them was synesthesia or seeing colors when someone sings or even talks. I also used other incredibly strong and scary medicines such as Kambo, a frog poison, or rapé, the tobacco powder indigenous use.
I am going to write these teachings one by one at the pace of two per week here at https://www.loiclemeur.com. The flow of knowledge I received and feel like sharing with you feels limitless. I am laser-focused on my writing and invite you on one of the most incredible journeys there is on this planet, at least for me, plant medicine and ancient spiritual wisdom.
All the stories from this series about my spiritual path are here. Previous stories:
My first plant ceremony in Peru - October 10, 2016
"Just" a dream of aliens changing my brain - October 11, 2016
Thank you for being here with me, I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I enjoy writing it. As always leave any comment here I love reading them.