Manual Ritualistic Ecstasy

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Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. Support the spread of objective information regarding psychoactive chemicals by donating to Erowid! Other subs to check out: The Afterglow-What are your traditions? The incredible afterglow that comes after a strong, transformational experience with MDMA has the potential to be just as beneficial as the acute effects of the chemical itself if you approach it correctly.

For myself, the afterglow lends itself well to introspection and integration of the experience I have had. What are your traditions for approaching this period of a day or two where you feel truly invigorated and open to embracing whatever life throws at you? Smoke a little bit of bud, and lay around with close friends watching shows or listening to music. Never got an afterglow really, more of a comedown.

But I like the that period because usually I'm surrounded by good people, good music and plenty of weed. These are the ingredients for a perfect comedown for me. My wife and I seem to get afterglow the entire next day. We handle to recovery with dabs, and when the afterglow hits, we just spend it in bed being intimate with each other and living in the afterglow of love. It doesn't work that way for everyone My personal "afterglow ritual" is 2mg of xanax, a shot of whiskey, a shower, and a nap.

Entire therapeutic processes or shamanic journeys can be undertaken during certain musical selections. Generally, the therapists and individuals working with MDMA and other empathogens have found the serene, peaceful, meditative music sometimes referred to as "inner space" music most valuable in these experiences. Fast rhythmic or highly complex music seems too difficult to follow for most people. Simple gongs, bells, chimes, and drums are also pleasing and centering during such experiences, whether one plays them or merely listens to them.

The attitude and behavior of the guide or sitter during the session is, of course, extremely influential. This role should be played with integrity and sensitivity. If the guide is the person's therapist, then he should have a therapeutic agreement to explore any areas of concern. If the sitter is a friend or even partner, it is best to have agreement and understanding before the session as to what the role of the guide should be.

Most people prefer, and are perfectly able, to do their own best therapy in these states. They want the sitter merely to be there, meditating quietly perhaps changing tapes, listening to and recording the remarks of the voyager, and providing encouragement and reassurance if needed. Intense exploration of certain issues - for example, relationships, sexuality, or birth trauma - should only be undertaken by prior agreement or at the request of the voyager. In the state of emotional openness of these experiences, it is extremely easy for the voyager to become caught up in an analytical, verbal mode in discussion with the guide that would take him or her away from the experience of the heart-center awareness.

Even if the interpersonal interaction between the two is warm, affectionate, and trustful, it can still be a distraction from the deeper intrapsychic awareness that is possible when attention is focused inward. These shifts in attention are subtle and elusive. The wise guide will watch for signs that the voyager is losing his or her connection to the deep source within and will refocus attention toward that source. The remainder of this section will merely give a few suggestions, primarily for the individual undergoing the experience.

There are two general principles long accepted in psychedelic research that could be proposed as ethical guidelines for this kind of work: The questions, purposes, or agenda brought to the session, as discussed above, basically set the tone of the experience. Whatever unfolds during the experience seems to be, in a sense, an answer to those questions - even though this may not become apparent until much later.

Most therapists suggest to the voyager to go first as far and deeply within as he can, to the core or ground of being, to his High Self - or similar directions. From this place of total centeredness, compassion and insight, one can then review and analyze the usual problems and questions of one's life. It is not uncommon for people to feel and report to the therapist that all their questions and problems have been dissolved in the all-embracing love and compassion that they are feeling.

Even with such an initial state of total unity and transcendence, it is often helpful later to ask the questions, and perhaps record one's answers or comments, on tape for postsession review. Because the MDMA experience usually involves an almost total attenuation of the usual fear or anxiety reactions, it is ideal, in one sense, for exploring traumatic memories or phobic reactions.

On the other hand, the fear reaction itself sometimes cannot be explored in the usual manner. Subjects typically report, "I can't get in touch with the fear. Two or three weeks later in regular psychotherapy when the patient again brought up the conflict, he suggested that she reevoke the memory of the Adam state. The patient was then able to merge the fear complex with the ecstatic empathy feeling, which led to the dissolving of that entire reaction pattern.

Just as affirmations or statements of intention are used to bridge from one's ordinary state of consciousness to these heightened states, so can intentional affirmations be made during the Adam state that would apply to the subsequently reestablished ordinary state. Individuals have made statements of intention in regard to questions of emotional attitude, of communication in relationships, and of creative expression. Even changes in diet, exercise, or lifestyle have been decided and later applied.

The empathy characteristic of these states is such that one can think clearly about the various options one has available without the usual distortions caused by emotional attractions or aversions. One can think and feel the emotional implications of different courses of actions. One can assess the probable emotional impact of things one might choose to say to a partner or friend and modify one's expression so as to minimize the activation of defensive or hostile reactions.

One can hear things without getting hurt or angry, and one can say things without getting fearful or timid. The Adam state might be described as one of release from emotional identification patterns or disidentification. If the statements above sound "too good to be true," we can only respond that they are based on repeated experiences and observations of many hundreds of intelligent, articulate individuals.

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The profound simplicity of the Adam state is striking. People often express this in the form of apparently banal statements - such as that one only needs love and all else falls into place, or that coming from the heart center or from source, all other choices are easy and right. What these observations and experiences imply is that here we have a substance with perhaps its greatest value and potential in the training of psychotherapists.

The ability to experience and articulate empathy toward the patient is often regarded as the most important criterion of effective psychotherapy. Psychotherapists who have worked with MDMA affirm that besides their own personal learning that takes place, they frequently also have insights into their clients' problems. Various practices of meditation, of yoga, of guided imagery, of psychosynthesis, of shamanic journeywork, and of rebirthing breathing can all be performed while in this state.

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Most people who have attempted them have found it most effective to practice such methods either with low dosages of MDMA mg or toward the latter half of the session after two or three hours. It is reported by many that such methods - which are essentially self-initiated and self-guided explorations of consciousness - are enormously facilitated and amplified in these states.

However, most forms of meditation require a motionless sitting posture, and such immobility may be hard to maintain for very long in the ultrarelaxed Adamic state, especially for a beginner. On the plus side, the kind of detached, yet compassionate, attitude called for in most meditation systems can be attained and maintained effortlessly with the empathogenics - this attitude then serving as a kind of foundation for deeper and deeper states of meditative absorption.

Most therapists and guides familiar with these substances would probably recommend that an individual remain generally quiet and receptive during the session to obtain the maximum potential benefit from the experience. These are the people who are ordinarily excessively shy, timid, or introverted and who do not readily express their feelings. The MDMA may be the first time in their lives that they have accepted and openly affirmed that they loved someone, or several people, perhaps including themselves.

Usually, such people only need to be free to express their feelings in one session. After that, they can and do monitor their expression, perhaps because some changes in expressive behavior have already been incorporated into their everyday life. Various forms of bodywork - such as Trager or massage - can also be amplified greatly in their range and depth if the recipient's awareness has been sensitized by empathogens again, in lower dosages.

The usual report from such experiences is that the recipient of bodywork who has taken MDMA is in an ultrarelaxed state in which every bodily movement or response is carried out with a much greater range and less resistance. The effects of finger pressure on the shoulder, for example, might be felt in the flow of connectedness all the way to the feet.

Body therapists who have taken a small amount of MDMA and then practiced their art report that their reactivity, their ability to "tune in" to the client's bodily and emotional state is much heightened. The interactions might include sensual activities such as touching, caressing, or massaging, and there is usually a greatly heightened feeling of affection and an ability among the participants and toward others. We call such usage of the medicine "recreational," and though it seems generally harmless and probably benign, it does not appear to facilitate the kinds of deep emotionally transformative experiences that are possible with guided individual or structured group sessions.

There appear to have evolved two basic approaches to group work. In one kind of group, the participants have no interaction with one another during the session - although before and after there is significant sharing of intentions and experiences. Each individual explores his or her own "trip," listening to music with earphones and communicating if necessary only with the guides or sitters. In the other kind of group, there is communication during the session, but in a scrupulously ritual fashion. Some groups have experimented with nighttime sessions, following the example of Central and South American shamanic cultures that use mushrooms or ayahuasca.

However, because the onset of normal fatigue can appreciably shorten a session begun in the evening, many have resorted to daytime sessions. Typically, a group might assemble on a Friday evening, talk and share their intentions with one another, and sleep that night in the same building.

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Starting the session in the morning, they continue until evening, sleep another night, and then do the final sharing and celebration on the following Sunday morning The particular substances used also vary from group to group. It appears from our research that although the use of different drugs by participants in the first kind of group structure - the noninteractive - is fairly common and not problematical, in the second ritualistic kind of group, it is best if participants are on the same wavelength by sharing the same or very similar medicine.

Most therapists and group leaders seem to agree that it is not advisable for someone to participate in a group experience who has not had previous individual experience with the particular substance involved. The first time with any substance, including MDMA, occasionally may involve an individual in intense and loud processing of previously repressed feeling states, either orally or through physical movements. This kind of behavior, which can be extremely distracting to the others, can usually not be stopped on one's first trip, and the group ceremony requires participants to be able to modulate and control the expression of feelings.

In the kinds of group ritual in which talking is permitted, the ritual that is used is the talking-staff or talking-stick. This is adapted from the practices of several native American tribes, who follow a similar format in peyote sessions of the Native American Church, as well as in some nondrug-healing circles and in some political decision-making councils. The group sits in a circle that is not interrupted.

Participants may lie down during some phases of the experience, in which case they lie with their heads to the center, making a star pattern. One talks, or sings the song one has learned, only when one has the staff.

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One speaks or sings then from the heart, and the other group members attend respectfully. The combination of channeling powerful inner experiences and the contemplative attention of the group is a powerful, almost magnetic attracting force that can draw someone's expression through in an often-surprising manner. Sometimes, group members choose when they have the staff not to talk or sing, but simply to share a silent meditation. So in these kinds of groups a typical session might consist of 40 minutes of individual inner exploration while listening to music, followed by a round of songs and statements with the talking-staff.

A kind of rhythm develops in which internalized experience alternates with externalized expression. An agreement of strict confidentiality in these groups is made: This not only protects the individuals from unwanted gossip or possible legal consequences but also serves to build a kind of trust. As a result, some truly extraordinary revelations sometimes occur in these groups. Similar agreements are used in other Native American groups, such as the sweat lodge ceremony - so that individuals participating can feel completely confident that what they share will not be divulged.

It is the group leader's responsibility to ensure that that level of trust exists in the group. In such a group there is then no other talking or chatting among two or more members of the group. The integrity of the circle is maintained by participants either lying silently in a circle with their heads to the center or by sitting on the same spot while the staff is going around. The energy that builds up in such a group is highly charged and its power can be "used," as it were, by each individual to amplify his own intrapsychic process and by the group to focus energy on planetary networks of light and consciousness as is done in many peace circles.

Besides the agreement on the confidentiality of communication, agreements on touch and sexual behavior in the group is obviously best discouraged. Even in the case of couples who are together, to engage in intimacy behavior would be seen by the rest of the group as exclusive and as dissipating the energy. It should be understood, though, that sometimes the simple touch of a hand from one's neighbor can be the most profoundly reassuring and comforting gesture.

Again, one needs to find a balance. Inexperienced participants sometimes make the mistake of assuming that someone who is crying, sobbing, moaning, or groaning is somehow in need of help or comfort. Whereas the comforter seeks to make a painful experience go away - to placate - the individual concerned is much more likely to want, need, and cherish the opportunity to experience deeply buried feelings for the first time.

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Just a simple touch, indicating presence and support if needed, is probably the most effective therapeutic aid in such situations. Some therapists have used guided imagery sequences or verbalized meditations also in groups. The state of fluid empathy and emotional resonance characteristic of the MDMA experience seems to facilitate and deepen the response to such ritualized inner journeys. Among the sequences we have observed are 1 a retracing of the path from before conception to just after birth, which connects one to spiritual and intrauterine levels of memory; 2 an evolutionary sequence from single-cell organism through invertebrates, vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and hominids, which celebrates our evolutionary ancestry; and 3 an awareness "tuning" into the four alchemical elements, which are basic principles of nature and consciousness, archetypal symbols that function in an integrative manner within the psyche.

There is not space within this essay to describe these rituals or their results in any more detail.

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Other kinds of rituals that have been adapted by some groups from shamanic tribal cultures include finding an outdoor "power spot" and meditating there in silence before and after the session; having a blanket with ritual power objects that people have brought into the center of the circle and letting these objects be "charged" during the session; and offering prayers to the four directions, the nature spirits, the ancestors, and allies.

Group rebirthing breathing work or movement patterns such as tai chi have also sometimes been incorporated into a group ritual. As stated above, these kinds of ritual activities usually work best in low-dose sessions; at the higher doses, participants tend to have difficulty following even simple verbal instruction.

Is it possible to transfer the learning, the new attitudes, and feelings into one's everyday reality? Or, to put this question another way, what kind of behavior or personality changes occur in people after the deeply charged states of consciousness of the kind described in the book Through the Gateway of the Heart? From reviewing the work of therapists and guides who have witnessed sessions with MDMA and other empathogens, one is led to the conclusion that there are two main kinds of outcomes.

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For one group of people, there is no discernible outward change in behavior. The significant changes occurred in attitude, in emotional response to situations. They discovered, perhaps, that what they were doing was in line with their true spiritual purpose. They feel confirmed, perhaps, in their commitment; they have more compassion and true understanding. The second group is those who in the Adam experience do see things in their life that they want to and can change. They proceed in a more or less systematic manner to bring about those changes. Patterns that people have changed have ranged from physical symptoms, dietary habits, work habits, and attitudes to basic changes in worldview, religious or spiritual practice, or fundamental career changes.

Some individuals have only one experience with Adam and have made major life changes as a result of such experience. Others find they "need" perhaps three, four, or five sessions to clear out some basic problems usually interpersonal or relationship "knots". After that, they may find that the experience doesn't "take" any more. There is almost a kind of psychic tolerance or a feeling that the "space" of the MDMA experience can be entered at will, without substance, and is not the major reorganizing that it was the first time. The intention or set of the individual in taking the substance is crucial here also in the aftereffects.

The intention before the session affects experiences during it, and the intentions acknowledged and affirmed during the experience affect the long-term outcomes. Intention seems to function as a kind of bridge between states of consciousness. It is also the impression of many therapists and observers that the empathogens, more than other psychedelics or hallucinogens, leave one with the ability to consciously recall the state of consciousness - to do a kind of voluntary, purposive "flashback.

Some have used physical "anchoring" techniques, such as listening to the music they heard during their session, to trigger them back into a momentary reliving of their experience. It's almost as if the doorway of the heart-center, once opened, stays open or can be opened very easily again by choice. There is a feeling of being empowered to make conscious choices about the direction of one's life and one's relationships, or work or creativity, and that one can empathically sense what the emotional consequences of one's choices will be.

One can choose where one directs one's attention and focus of awareness. One woman reported feeling that there were paths that went out from the heart-center and that she could choose which one was most appropriate for her - and not just take the one always taken, the traditional, expected path. Many possibilities lie open for those who have found themselves in this great gateway to the inner realms.

This sense of the heart-center as a kind of crossroads from which major directions are chosen is expressed in the following poem, which came out of experiences with MDMA and with which we will close these remarks on the sacramental uses of empathogenic substances: Six-fold are the paths at the crossroads of the heart Forward and backward, left and right, upward and downward.