I was thinking tonight about the ways in which people hurt themselves. “The Days of Wine and Roses” is one of my favorite movies, not because it is upbeat, but because it has a solid message of downfall and redemption. This is a movie about a couple that struggles with the evils of denial and alcoholism.
That same pattern on denial and alcoholism I have seen over and over again in people who have an obvious talent for physical mediumship, but who succumb to the evils of alcoholism in the process of developing mediumship. Granted, seeing someone destroy their life in the process of seeking to develop mediumship is extreme, but sadly it is not really rare.
I think I am becoming a skeptic when it comes to spiritual development. I do not question the need to develop spiritual talents, what I am openly questioning and challenging are the methods that some folks use to bring about physical mediumship and the potentially detrimental results these often times have in those so-called mediums.
One of those methods to help potential physical mediums achieve possession is to bring down conscious barriers and let the brain be free on inhibitions and the body available to manifest energies from other plains of existence. Some people advocate for having alcohol—mainly rum or high proof spirits—available at a Spiritual Masses. The other substance that is helps to bring about possession is tobacco, due to its hallucinogenic effect. Tobacco contains the harmala alkaloids harman and norharman, and the closely related harmine and harmaline are known hallucinogens. But it is not my intention to get technical here. It is enough to say that both alcohol and tobacco are external influencers that provide shortcuts to bring down barriers.
Is there really a need to rush a process with the introduction of psychoactive substances? Is there really a need to hurry or even to force a person to quickly bring about physical mediumship? Is there at all a need to relinquish control of the body to allow an external influence to control it and manifest through it? Are those really external influences taking control of the body or simply a certain part of the self manifesting under a carefully created persona?
While some Tobacco Shamans would argue that spirits hunger for tobacco just like the human body hungers for food, I say that there is no need to endanger the body of a medium with the use of external substances in order to bring about trance possession.
Likewise, I do not advocate for the use of alcohol in Spiritual Masses as it creates lazy mediums that do not spend enough time doing the hard work of meditation and learning to place their brain on Alpha waves for the average medium, Theta waves as optimum state of relaxation, and Delta waves, for those who are truly virtuoso.
When mediums learn to shortcut relaxation techniques by simply bending the elbow and boozing themselves up, they tend to feed their ego. They get ‘mounted,’ do a spectacular show and sometimes receive praises for their advice while allowing their bodies to become puppets of external forces.
Some other times, these trance possessions degenerate to ridiculous behavior where the medium does and says things that are ridiculous and even dangerous, such as dispensing ill advice.
In any case, the need of alcohol could eventually erode self-control. Its consumption or the need to drink could creep into the day-to-day life of the medium and this can result in allowing the ‘visit’ of spiritual entities outside of the realms of a Spiritual Mass, and disrupt the life of the medium.
What is the proper use of alcohol in the setting of mediumship development? What is the proper use of tobacco under the same circumstances? I see no need for either. However, this as well as the need to force people into developing physical mediumship, is a subject for debate. Be my guest; take your best shot at elaborating your points of view below.
Omimellli, Oní Yemayá Achagbá
Originally published on Feb. 25, 2014