“The Biological Missing Link—Illumination and Illusion”
Text by Gussie Fauntleroy
Reference to June/July 2000 Focus/Santa Fe article on pg. 44

Home Next

totembiological

Click to see details of main panels

Click to see details of side panels

Illumination and Illusion

When shamans are asked how they discover the medicinal and spiritual uses of plants, they always respond. The plants tell us. Knowledge is imparted directly, they say. The link between humans and plants, between humans and the earth, is elemental, primordial, and pure. On a very deep level we are shaped by what we ingest. At the same time, what we consume is a reflection of our fundamental relationship with the earth.

We have two options, individually and as the human race: We can take, ingest, consume, and use just exactly enough to feed ourselves in the sustaining cycle of biological and spiritual growth. With this choice we accept our place as one of innumerable species of animals and plants. We can choose to live open-eyed and awake, aware of death as one stage in an endless and evolutionary cycle of life.

Or, we can gorge ourselves. Believing we are above and distinct from all other forms of life, we clutch the illusion that this life is our only chance to have it all. We can devourˇ plants, animals, minerals, water, and other people ˇ to stave off fear and live in a comfortably drugged and disconnected state, anaesthetized from the illuminating reality of death.

Herein lies the seductive power of the poppy; and the insatiable hunger of empires.

With humble upward steps we can choose ascending consciousness, ever aware that the ladder continues beyond the farthest point we can reach in physical form. We can honor the sacred datura for the transforming power inherent in the processes and elements of the earth. Or, we can wear a crown that proclaims: “I am here! I have arrived!” And then slumber in a self-delusional state, side by side with the specter of death.

The poppy and datura gloriously bloom. They make no judgement about what we do with them. Yet everything we choose to ingest, and every way we interact with the earth has inescapable effects.

Gussie Fauntleroy
May 2000