LESSONS FROM A DYING MAN

The Winnebago Indians of Wisconsin performed peyote rituals in the 1600’s. These indigenous Earth Keepers, like other Aboriginal peoples around the world, ingested the entheogen, peyote, for the purpose of expanding spiritual awareness. The etymology of the word “entheogen” means “god in the plant.” Young Natives ingested the plant to get closer to the god within or our universal soul. The rituals were, and are, conducted in a sacred context. My father’s (Joe) capacity to understand our cosmic reality expanded greatly during his eight month dying process. My father went into what is called “terminal lucidity.” Terminal lucidity is reaching a “state of honesty and appreciation for all life” because the person realizes they are dying. This state of reality orientation is what young Winnebago Indians were guided to in the peyote rituals. With proper awareness education, this state can be reached early in life without ingesting substances.

In the 1600’s, around Lake Winnebago, native elders conducted sacred peyote rituals. Young men were taken to a lodge where, under supervision, they ingested the peyote. The purpose, of course, is to broaden and deepen their understanding of The Great Spirit that they knew is in everyone and everything. During the time while the peyote was in effect there would be mantra drumming, chanting, lessons and conversations.

During the conversations, the hearts of the young men would open up. They would confess sorrow for wrongs that they had done toward one another e.g., “I’m sorry I was selfish toward you” etc. These rituals expanded their awareness of the overall spiritual field. This is a tribe. The goal of the tribe is to be ONE. One body that is One Universal Consciousness. Today Native’s pray “make us one.” Things were much simpler then. The realization of our energetic interpersonal connections within the overall cosmos were clear to them. The young men were introduced to a loving feeling toward their individual selves, and everybody else all within the entire cosmos, that is, The Great Spirit.

My father suffered from a rare form of cancer. He starved to death. Joe could not absorb the nutrients from the food he ate. He could eat but did not get anything out of it. He had bleeding ulcers that would not heal. He had a succession of blood transfusions until they could not give him any more and he died.

I took care of him during his eight months of suffering. There were nights when he begged me to stay up with him. Some of those nights I was so tired from taking care of him I just couldn’t and I felt bad. I received support from old family friends and neighbors and I made it through without getting a “care giver’s disease.”

Joe went into the state of “terminal lucidity.” He made confessions to me about his whole life. He knew that he was going to die soon and he came clean about everything he could think of that ever bothered him. He set his soul free before he died. I cheer leaded him into the afterlife.

Joe expanded his cosmic awareness late in life. The young Native Americans expanded their’ capacity for awareness early in life. This made me realize that through certain educational awareness programs we could teach the young without substances like peyote. Awareness of the ego needs to happen if a person wants to Wake Up. Entheogens have been ingested since the dawn of time. Many people now-a-days are ingesting the entheogen ayahausca to hurry the purging process.

My dad was sorry that it took him so long to awaken. It was really sad to see someone awaken and then know that they are in a state of grief that they are going to die. He became beautiful. He was seeing beauty everywhere but he was sad. The consciousness movement is working overtime to get US to open up early so we can have a long awakened life. Dad was a Christian. I believe Kris Kristofferson had it right when he penned the song Why Me:

…Lord help me, Jesus, I’ve wasted it so, Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand…

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