Shiva, when You include me with You to gather dhatura flowers
to consecrate a new natural Shivling by the waterfall, You
bring back rich memories of my shamanic learning time in nature.
two-thousand-seven is my year of growing the shamanic power
plants dhatura inoxia & metel, plus brugmansia. these
are especially liked for their trumpet flowers, & is why i am
interested in growing them. i am aware of the dangers of
consuming these powerful plants, which is why i hope to get to know
them through meditating on the flowers. it seems like a discreet way
to encounter & greet a masterful mind-altering holy plant.
dhatura stramonium grows wild in the fields out here so i don't
cultivate it. i do find that the south american dhatura
plants are hard for me to grow! i find that salvia divinorum,
which is known to be challenging to grow, seems to be friendly to me
for it thrives, with strong large leaves. the dhatura plants &
brugmansia, however, persist in being sickly & stunted
in spite of my best educated efforts. the plants do come from a
trustworthy grower so their refusal to thrive is mysterious.
they basically & stubbornly just don't want to grow, seeming to sulk.
summer & fall begin to blur together, yet no flowers have bloomed
in my small dhatura garden. the ragged plants are sadly bug-chewed
& fungus ridden, obviously in terminal decline. i have
quite given up on them too. nothing that i do seems to help those plants.
it is evening now, darkness is near & i am returning home
after meditating in the woods by the field. as i saunter down
the pathway that goes through a rugged overgrown wild patch by the fence,
i smell a strong rank peculiar odor, akin to rotting leaves.
it seems to swirl around me like a noxious invisible mist.
i hurry through it, for it feels aggressive, invasive, unfriendly.
i am eagerly headed home now, right at the end of this pathway.
i enter the screened-in front deck where our two indoor cats are lounging,
enjoying the evening. it is almost dark now &, suddenly,
the rank green smell descends upon us, surrounding us on the deck, &
the cats absolutely freak out! one is climbing the screen & i pluck
him off & toss him inside. the other cat dashes quickly inside
too. it is definitely time to remain inside with the doors shut!
i have a very strong feeling that the south american plants have
now informed me of their final decision that they will not be my
allies. i quite agree with them. not every flower will be a friend.
but the dhatura stramonium, whose blooms Shiva & i gathered
lately, is friendly. that's why Shiva chose its flowers for the Shivling.
the shamanic path, in fact, brings me to the sanatana dharma,
as the unity of all existence becomes clear & life-changing
within me. Shiva, Your divine presence steadily supports, although
Your identity & name take longer to find in my heart. i had to
be available for purification first, stripped down to essence,
& bereft of all i thought i knew, before i could meet & see
You truly, & the real heartfelt dharmic journey could at last begin.
"why are we here?" i ask Shiva as we stand in the long shadows of
the early evening. He has brought us to the field by the old house
in the far north carolina mountain countryside where we lived years
ago. i miss that rustic lifestyle now, living in a nursing home.
Shiva hands me a woven basket. "let's go gather some dhatura
flowers for the Shivling," He says. there's a healthy stand of dhatura
bushes growing near the end of the field where the mountain begins to
rise up to the sun. they are large sturdy plants, some about as tall as
my shoulders. the rough, jagged, dark green leaves surround the medium-sized
pale lavender trumpet-shaped flowers. there are many lush & glowing
flowers standing out palely in the dusky dim light of twilight. the
blossoms will bloom throughout the night, & then wilt by morning, repeating
the same process each night all through fall, even into the frost. they are
hardy survivors, these wild dhatura stramonium bushes. yet the
flowers delicately allure, & Shiva loves them to be nearby,
these curious ghostly wildflowers, mystical & oddly scented.
we carefully remove the trumpet blossoms from the bushes' branches.
the plant is strongly green-smelling, definitely a wild scent: nothing
is cultivated here! as darkness falls, Shiva & i carry our
dhatura flower baskets up to the woods close to the waterfall.
we each fill a flask from the waterfall to pour on the chosen stone,
which is a tall husky one, & it loves being cleansed & sanctified.
we place the dhatura flowers on Shiva's favored stone, which is thrilled,
happy indeed, for Shiva Himself is here, placing His own hands on
this new Shivling. the stone becomes so filled with healing that miracles
of everyday blessing move closer. mist from the waterfall adds a
dreamy touch to our worship. it sets a hallowed & blessed mystic mood.
we softly begin singing bhajans & mantras, & the raccoons come
now to join us because they love our singing. next, a fox & a young
bear amble over, & the flying squirrels sail overhead, soon joined
by the pair of small warbling owls who grace the cool night with their strange song.
Shiva & i sit by the sacred Shiva lingam, which is richly
decorated with many dhatura blossoms. moonlight now shines down
upon us all, highlighting the beauty of the natural Shiva
lingam & its blossoms. the animals are all gathered around us
as we sing the ancient praise songs of the holy guardian beings,
affirming their on-going magical presence, encouraging them.
Shiva gazes over at me & winks. i wink back. "I brought you here,"
says Shiva finally, "to show you that you have been following me
for your whole life without realizing it. you have cherished my things:
the wild places, the animals, the mystery of consciousness,
the open sky, the mountain you stand upon, the dhatura flowers."
Shiva regards me warmly. "you are mine, made of my own true essence.
our destinies are entwined." we fall silent & bemused, opening
to the timely new awareness now spreading its roots down deep within.
the dhatura blossoms keep on releasing their subtle consciousness
altering pheromones. Shiva & we, His charges, share communion.
the night is young & blessed by Shiva to heal all who yearn for wholeness.