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Can This Entheogenic Practice Save the World?

Shamanic Cabaret: Can This Entheogenic Practice Save the World?

Disclaimer: Here I will be discussing unorthodox psychonautical exploration where emotional stress is added intentionally to achieve specific aims. If one has any doubt about their ability to cope with such stress in an altered state, I absolutely do not recommend considering taking part in something like what I am about to share with you. But I trust you to know and make the best decision for yourself, and I “thank you for taking care of yourself”, to borrow a well-meaning but somewhat patronizing statement from consent workshops.

So, last Saturday night was the second time I took part in a rite from The First Church of David Bowie, Phonomancer Shamanic Cabaret. The Cabaret has been developed by my very creative and talented friend, Pa Dammit.

The Cabaret employs a magical technique called phonomancy. The aim of phonomancy is to achieve visionary states of consciousness by listening to and/or singing along with (and deeply feeling) different songs while under the influence of high doses of “substantia”. In my case, it was 1.50 grams of psilocybin, which I will gradually increase each week I take part in the rite.

Pa Dammit states that this process

…can unleash a torrent of psychic and somatic energy. By concentrating this energy on the memories and associations that arise in response to the song’s target emotion, one can push one’s locus of mental activity from personal into the transpersonal realms of the psyche. This can result in a rush of extremely powerful emotions, archetypal imagery, and facilitated communication with spiritual entities and aspects of the Godhead. This energy can be directed toward the achievement of magickal goals. Pa Dammit

Okay, yeah, so I am going to break that down a little bit and tell you why this whole thing has spoken to me so much. In addition to the rite encompassing pretty much all of my favorite things—magick, ritual, psychedelics, music, deep emoshunz, pushing my boundaries, challenging deeply held conceptions, speaking with deities, there are specific benefits the rite offers that I find most appealing:

In Dammit’s 550 page book, Spotify the Gnostics: Here’s the First Church of David Bowie, he tells the story of how he uncovered this process and all that can be gained through the work. The first very appealing benefit of the rite for me is learning the ability to Skillfully Wield Emotion as a Weapon of Transformation.

As I have shared with many people, my psychedelic experiences—especially with psilocybin— have been consistently (and in my opinion) needlessly “challenging.” So when Dammit introduced this to me, I thought, could I use the dark places the mushrooms take me to as not merely a side-effect but in fact, an integral feature of the experience?

Rather than using my (many times overwhelming) emotions for perpetuating my usual mindless suffering, could I instead channel that energy towards achieving a specific aim?

Because the rite requires you to systematically and deliberately move through a range of specific emotions it can’t help but improve one’s control over said emotions.

In addition, the rite also promises to improve self-discipline and motivation:

As a creative person who is also the recipient of a crippling case of Attention Deficit Disorder— with accompanying crushing shame and regret over having lived for several years without any creative output to my name—this promise is especially appealing.

Dammit states that since performing the rite he has enjoyed, in his words

…an incredible uptick in my creative output, and I credit it entirely to the energies I absorb while doing this phonomantic work. Pa Dammit

I think a large part of my issue with attention comes from feeling besieged by too much stimulation and too much choice. Options, they say, can be a prison.

But with the set framework the rite offers, I find purpose and focus instead of my usual floundering in the visionary space.

And it also encourages me to be an active participant instead of a passive observer, which has proven to be a great confidence builder for me.

No, I actually don’t need to merely fall prey to the [what feels like] sometimes downright sinister whims of the mushroom, as I have so often before.

And yes, there is definitely a time for passive observing, and surrendering to the experience can be immensely enlightening and healing. But with the rite you’re asked to take more agency and become a co-creator of your reality. And as a result, you become acquainted with your unique strengths, or your superpowers.

The concept is that each participant is actively conjuring, engaging with, and embodying different archetypes and by doing so, acknowledges their personal — and our collective — shadows.

And the shadow work has an immediate impact. That is actually my biggest motivator for taking part in the rite. As Dammit sees it, all of the collective crimes of humanity have finally come to a head and we are starting to pay a price for it now, and I agree. At least, it very much feels that way.

In the visionary space the crimes and horrors committed by mankind are represented by an enormous black wall. This wall, Dammit calls the Altar to Resistance (which is loosely borrowed from author Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art). If left unaddressed, this enormous wall will continue to stand between us and our efforts towards manifesting the bright future we know we’re capable of creating.

But each time we effectively perform the rite and acknowledge our sins, we destroy one big block of that wall. Can you imagine the good damage we could do if thousands were taking part in the rite?

I also appreciate this work because it’s wildly creative and it breaks down our conceptions of what modern spirituality can look like. I think we need this. Joseph Campbell said we need new myths relevant to the times in which we find ourselves. The Cabaret offers myths of two modern hero’s journeys and more.

This sounds crazy, right?

So why not join me!?

Honestly, there is a ton of benefit in this for me and I figure I’m not alone. It seems like a lot of us could use a structured psycho-spiritual exercise like this for a time like this. If you’re interested in taking part, reach out to me. I’d love to compare notes with you.

Come, help me knock down that wall?

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