In a world that is becoming increasingly open and aware of the power and potential of plant medicine, there is a pressing need for empirical exploration and reflection of these extraordinary phenomena.
Looking to the frontier of such exploration we find the so-called “psychonauts”— individuals that are pushing the social and cultural boundaries of knowledge and perception surrounding psychedelics, hallucinogens and entheogens. What is the difference, you may ask? Entheogen refers specifically to the use of psychedelic or hallucinogenic plant medicines for spiritual, religious or shamanic purposes, and not for recreational use. This requires both intention and preparation. Now is the time, more than ever, that we are educated on how to use these medicines as medicine, and not as “drugs.”
An emerging expert on the use of entheogens is James W. Jesso. His first book,Decomposing The Shadow, was written with an approach of somewhat traditional scientific inquiry, acting as a guidebook to the psilocybin journey. His new book, The True Light Of Darkness, is in turn a personal account that explores his most powerful and meaningful experiences with psychedelic medicine.
In True Light Of Darkness, Jesso’s ability to encompass the psilocybin mushroom journey with artful precision makes for a fascinating account. A complex series of events with an ultimate theme or “lessons” to be learned, the accounts leave the impression that plant medicines have much to teach, and we have much to learn. The author gifts us with a thoughtful analysis of what most would find incredibly difficult to put into words, exploring a planetary intelligence that few would venture to explain.
Accounting his communications with his immunological system to heal an open wound that was possibly being invaded by foreign bacteria from a mysterious box from Cusco, Peru, Jesso demonstrates the interconnected nature of life in itself. Sharing a personal gripping and painful account of the trials of the human condition, he shows what it truly means to look at oneself from an outside perspective, exploring the concept of self love as a most fundamental teaching. Going further than just reflecting on his accounts, with every story Jesso provides us with insight on the process of integration, sharing his experience integrating the lessons he learned and using them to navigate within our normal ‘reality.’ He not only takes the reader through the journey; he also shares his powerful realizations about the world around him and what it means to be alive.
“There is something grander happening here than just us, yet by simply participating in our own transformation we are morphogenetically changing the reality we operate through into a divine realization of the interconnectedness between us — physically, psychologically, socially, energetically, emotionally. We are participating in a collective, synchronistic unfolding transformation into the now, the only moment that ever was and the moment we are coming to understand as the place where our journey begins, ends, becomes, and undoes. It’s happening. Keep watch and re-member: you’re not the only one; look out upon each other in honesty and acceptance; we are all going through this together; we can help each other along the way towards now.”
Jesso’s telling of his insightful journeys on the mushroom are both poignant and intriguing. What begins as a humorous tale of the psychedelic experience unravels into a deeply honest portrayal of an individual exploring the dark crevices of their own mind; their own shadow. It is a process of healing that so many need, yet so many do not have the courage to undertake. Hopefully Jesso’s words will spark inspiration for others, and offer lessons, insights and tools needed to use this sacred and ancient medicine to heal the wounds that are ingrained within us all.
The True Light of Darkness launches July 10th 2015. For more on Jesso and his work, watch the video below.