The text below is one example of working with plant spirits, or in this case a mycelium/hyphae. I have a few and will flesh this out sometime.
When I heard the first vaguely reliable statistics on severe cases of coronavirus, I imagined myself as one of those people. I work at an indigenous plant nursery where most of the other staff are over sixty years old. I have often needed more rests and breaks than many of them. For a few years I've been stricken with a mystery illness. The last time I saw my G.P., she said that my medical problems were on the edge of scientific knowledge, and that we could only treat the symptoms. I asked her if I had aliens, and she said in a sombre, almost furious tone that she just didn't know.
I never usually get flus at all. Its possibly partly because I always have a temperature. My G.P. diagnosed me with 'spinal and cranial fibromyalgia'. Fibromyalgia means pain, I think. I found a peer-reviewed study paper about how chronic pain looks to be caused by cortisol dysfunction, but she said it was too controversial to bother reading. I have treated myself for a disregulated cortisol response due to a lifetime of stress set up from childhood trauma. Two years ago, the inflammation used to travel around my body, sometimes settling in my lungs. I would have trouble absorbing oxygen. One night I had to stand up, leaning against the wall exhausted because it was worse when I lay down. It hasn't been bad like that for awhile, but it does make me worry that my lungs would go into crisis if I developed Covid19.
Now that my mystery illness is hiding out in my central nervous system only, I have been suspecting it is an infection. I previously researched natural antibiotics, bar experimenting with pharmaceutical antibiotics on the black market. But I never got around to trying any medicinal mushroom. No, these mushrooms don't contain psilocyben. Wonder drugs and the psychic surgery of entheogens have the Promethean ability to break us out of sometimes crushing confines. But they lack the love and patience required to make all the inner and outer connections, of healing and living harmoniously.
Lacking any real role models or guidance growing up, illness has always been my teacher. The only rival I have had access to in Australia so far is plant spirits. In her book 'Journey Into Dreamtime', Auntie Munya Andrews writes of 'sickness dreaming'. Illness makes us slow down and really be present with what our bodies are saying, and can lead to lateral paths of great discovery. If a G.P. had been able to tell me what was wrong, and fix it with a pill, I would not have had to get to know myself at all, or the nature of the world I exist in. This knowledge is real joy.
I joked recently though that the Turkeytail Mushroom is a psychedelic, because when I go to sleep at night, the dreams are always larger than life. But seriously, all plants, all medicine is psychedelic, because these beings communicate a large part of the medicine via the psyche. So far, in my experience, I've been called to work psychedelically with parsley, stinging nettle and wild grape vine, for example. All super foods and introduced pests. I do know that most scientists hardly know anything about mycelium here, because there is hardly any funding for it. Much more citizen science is needed to collect data to get funding. But Turkeytail does grow widely in Australia and is a highly adaptable, competitive species.
The first thing I heard about Turkeytail Mushroom was from a Youtube video by Paul Stamets called 'Mushrooms as Medicine with Paul Stamets at Exponential Medicine. His TEDtalk is well-known already, but this is new, insider information on studies in immunity in humans, bees, and their shared ecosystems. He does exaggerate a bit in selling his ideas, but there are plenty of peer-reviewed studies on the efficacy of Turkeytail. This particular kind of mushroom seemed to be the frontline mushroom for dealing with serious ailments. I decided to use this first and then transition to other immunity-boosting mushrooms like Lionsmane and Reishi afterwards. So I bought one dual-extract powder packet of each. This ended up being the perfect choice. It is both the least wasteful, and easiest way to imbibe the mushrooms. I started taking a hero dose of two teaspoons a day of Turkeytail.
I wasn't expecting anything weird to happen. I spend a lot of time doing different body meditations, and I noticed a lot of action, especially blissful warmth in my feet, and a tickling feeling in the front of my brain, which I have also experienced at the onset of DMT. But it was subtle, and swim went to sleep as usual with no trouble. I had been experiencing some pretty bad disease symptoms up until then, which is why I was so worried about my future. So that night I had a fever, and very fitful dreams. Reflecting on them the next day though, they seemed to be made of the stuff that the 'big' dreams are made of, to borrow another term from Auntie Munya Andrews. They felt as real as this reality too. In the dreams, I was being threatened and endangered by people in my life in ways that were the same in waking life, but far more explicit and raw and in my face in the dream, and I was fighting back. Asserting my rights and defending myself, but it was vicious and full of intense resentments.
The angst from the dreams seemed to linger all through the next day, and I felt guilty and confused that I could not meditate away the feelings like I usually would. It was distressing to note that I had been in the right in all the situations, and that deep down, they were real ongoing issues people had been putting in my path for years. But the angst wasn't just a hangover, it was just starting to heat up.
Despite my vulnerabilities, I had arranged to make a 3-hour round-trip public-transport journey to invigilate a gallery at a restaurant. I had done my own research like usual, but was aware I was going into a zone where people were taking a more denialistic, pro-economic approach, ie whatever suited the decor, which is fair enough, and everyone can decide for themselves what is best for them. For example, some young people in other countries around the same time volunteered to be coronavirus guinea pigs to find a cure for more vulnerable people. But on the other hand, if we overreact, the economic problems will be far more destructive than the virus itself for most people.
I decided to wear gloves mainly just to remind myself not to constantly put my fingers in my mouth. I wore safety glasses on the train, and constantly sipped water, and a honey and tulsi thermos. I lubricated my nostrils with oil. I also disinfected the furniture I was going to sit at. I had also asked ahead of time what arrangements there were, and if I could be 'humoured' in my concerns. They were polite, but when I was invigilating in the back of the restaurant, I could hear the staff laughing and talking and being told 'that's enough!', and I wondered if it was to do with me and thought nothing of it. When I went to order food, the female staff member made a huge big deal out of trying not laugh, as if she was trying to get the attention of the other staff member by pulling a struggling face that only he would get. She deliberately made eye-contact with me, searching my eyes for further morsels. Then later, of course she brought me my food with the countenance of a nurse delivering baby food in a dementia ward. I was also in a hyper-observant state, because it was my first time out not drinking, and I had experienced social trauma within that very general community beforehand. I realise now that I was using alcohol to micromanage my anger by nullifying it into resentment. Resentment is the more passive, powerless state that people who feel toxic shame around anger put themselves in. I was simultaneously using alcohol to push myself back up out of and dissociate from into an objectified behaviour.
Again, I started to experience emotions which I would usually label as totally unreasonable, and again, I am totally confused about my growing inability to sink beneath them with breathwork. I feel sick and sorry for myself and like I want to kill people, but that somehow its all valid, I just can't exactly find the point because my mind is in chaos, and my head is starting to pound with a migraine. It was like 13 moons of PMT. I don't suffer from bad periods at all, and the rare times I get tension, I find that whatever frustrations come up are things I've been too compromising about in the past month. It's just how I react to it that can be unconscious and unreasonable. This felt the same but so out of control and so heavy for the situation. I was mainly angry that because it was such a left-wing place, the aggression was suppressed to a point where I couldn't defend myself, and these people had totally disconnected from me. Even though I rationally knew all the extenuating circumstances, and that it barely mattered, I felt isolated. All my physical symptoms were orchestrated in extreme. I tried stomping the ground to give the pain to the earth. I managed to complete the day without being rude to anyone, thankfully.
Here's what I wrote in my diary about my dreams that night:
All the next day, I felt a constant flow of active anger and warm feet. Given that the effect of the mushrooms on my psyche was now as powerful as any enthogenic healing week, I decided to follow those protocols and take a day off from having any Turkeytail. I rested and journalled and did some research on anger. I discovered that there is a difference between resentment and anger. Having moved from a state of resentment to a state of anger, I felt no need to project it onto anyone, just to experience it. I felt powerful in being able to do this and set limits for other people's demands on me. I tried this exercise where one uses the body as an alchemical vessel to purify with anger, with success. It's a process I was already familiar with from san pedro healings. I'm not sure whether everyone has the same success working with different plants. It may depend whether you are in contact with your guides or ancestors, and what previous work you've done on your embodiment and emotional processing. But plants are intelligent, and once you establish a friendly rapport, they will try to help you in whatever way you ask, via their own idiosyncratic abilities, just like any friend, and I don't think you can go far wrong with this one.
I found this after in Melissa Pernell's video on growing and using Turkeytail, she says: