There are times of the year, times of life, and times like this moment in the history of the biosphere when the when the veil between life and death grows thin. Transitions between life and death get slippery. Ghosts and ancestors come out to guide us. Scary monsters suddenly emerge, and interspecies transformations can delight us. This season – and Halloween, Samhain, the Day of the Dead – remind me to take time to deepen into my personal commitment to practice death preparation.
As they say, what we resist, persists. We live in a culture that fiercely resists dying, as it busily manifests more and more of it. Around the world there is so much suffering and death. Climate chaos and social chaos threaten all our lives, and the whole biosphere. What we accept, transforms. Perhaps a practice of integrating conscious dying into our living can empower us.
Two years ago, I was feeling very fragile, and struggling for breath. I was diagnosed as having a chronic, terminal lung disease, which meant I had just a short time to live. The diagnosis was later reversed and I am fine now. But during the time when my own death felt very imminent, I felt called to meet with a psychedelic medicine called 5meO-DMT. 5meO-DMT is a powerful medicine that has been described as “the God-dess molecule,” and said to offer short experiences of dying.
A day spent in the guide’s studio began with a gentle introduction to the medicine, called a “Handshake,” followed by a deeper dive called a “Hug.” In a final round, called a “Rebirth” dose, I felt myself die into a transpersonal realm where there was no more me, and no more us. For 30 minutes of timeless time, there was only Chaos, non-being and nothingness.
Chaos can be explained by quantum physics, and Chaos theory, but my language is erotic embodiment, and so I will just say Chaos felt like post-orgasmic bliss. Before the beginning of time, out beyond ideas, Chaos is peace seeded with mystery; there are strange attractors and glowing points of light. Chaos is a deep well of ongoing emergence, from which the never-before can suddenly come into being. In the silence of non-being and nothingness, we don’t know how or whether we’ll begin again. What if we rest and savour, as we let our stories fall silent? We might even meet each other in this field beyond ideas, and encourage the emergence of the otherwise impossible!
This past weekend I was thrilled by attending Toad School, where “the Dharmacist” Trina Nguyen and her partner Lucy offer generous teachings and guidance for those who want to explore with 5meO-DMT. They have a counternormative, anticapitalist framework, and a world-transforming vision. I am feeling resourced and excited about integrating the medicine into my death-preparation practices, along with lots of experiences of “la petite mort” aka post-orgasmic bliss.