Conscious Cannabis Retreat - An Experience of Opening

by Caroline Stewart

There are many experiences in life that crack you wide open.  Shining a light in all the dark places and illuminating every cell, every memory and every wee bit of karmic debris.  Spending the weekend in deep connection with Cannabis was one such experience.

Stephen Gray led a very intimate and incredibly sacred Conscious Cannabis Ceremony at our lovely River Sanctuary this past weekend.  The first of many, I am sure :).

This sacred plant - Cannabis, weed, marijuana, ganja, Santa Maria, is so much for than a vehicle to get you ‘high’.  Cannabis touches places inside of you that I can only describe as direct representations of the divine.

I’d like to share a small part of my story leading up to this weekend and offer a small peak into my experience of opening…

We are cyclical beings.  Mirroring the natural world in so many ways, and yet often getting stuck in loop.  Playing on repeat patterns that create harm, or do not serve us.  And still, like in the natural world, anything that does not flow with the natural order is bound to be taken care of, to be brought back into alignment.  Often with direct and severe consequences.

I have been feeling for some time now a contraction of energy.  A holding on so tightly to control and personal desires as a means of justifying choices.  Forgetting the true meaning and purpose of my life as an expression of love, a weaving of the golden thread.

Some choices in life are so clear - the Universe offered up her support in full force last Fall as we were led so directly to choose the land that we now live on.

And other choices are foggy, clouded by judgment, fear and limiting belief - the choice to enter into a rental relationship for my home in St. Albert with someone who I clearly was not in alignment with, due to fear of financial insecurity.

I can’t even begin to touch the truth of upheaval, stress and resulting health issues that resulted from this disconnect from truth and entertaining of fear.  I ended up having to go to court, deal with ongoing and deepening financial stress, be in constant communication with an individual who was highly unstable and very abusive, all culminating with a very messy and painful ‘last straw’ where I could finally call upon the courts to have her removed from our home.

All of this stress, made exponentially greater by the huge life transition we were already moving through, resulted in acute physical illness.  2 weeks ago I ended up in the hospital with severe abdominal pain that ended up being an ulcer.  Wow.  If that isn’t proof positive that caustic external experiences are mirrored internally, I don’t know what is.

Leading into this Conscious Cannabis weekend, I was still very much in pain.  Experiencing sharp, stabbing cramps that came in waves, leaving me breathless and exhausted.  But I knew that myself and others needed this medicine and there was no way I was cancelling the retreat.

Friday night we opened the ceremony by offering up our intentions and highest wishes for the medicine work.  Stephen touched on the many offerings he would be sharing over the weekend and effectively created a safe and sacred space for our healing to begin.

Saturday morning I woke up with a nervous energy.  An anticipation and fear of the unknown nagged at me, pulling me back into the energy of pain.

And then the ceremony began.

We started with Meditation.  Softening into the space of ceremony, welcoming in the energies of healing, connection, love.  I immediately relaxed into the experience.  There was such ease in the space.  We were held.

It wasn’t until about an hour in that we took the Cannabis medicine.  I appreciated this so much!  There was no rushing, no feeling of overwhelm.  It all flowed so naturally and smoothly.

We continued with practices.  Moving through different Meditation positions - seated, walking, laying down.  Shifting into movement including Yoga, Qi Gong, and dancing.  All the while deepening into the experience, working intimately with the energies of healing and ultimately, wholeness.

Stephen incorporated sound healing by way of singing bowls, song and chanting.  He also brought in many sacred ceremonial tools including a shipibo, feather fan, aromatherapy sprays, shakers and chimes, and most importantly his voice, which helped maintain the thread of ‘reality’.

We all rode the waves of our own experience.  Working most intimately with the breath.  Emptying into the space of presence and allowing all else to fall away.  Seeing so clearly the many ways that we distract and create drama as a means of avoiding what is right here, right now.

It was such a beautiful journey of opening.  The whole weekend was infused with a love that I have trouble expressing through words.  It’s a remembering.  A realization of all the ways that we keep ourselves separate from truth, from the ultimate reality of love.  And then compassion for our suffering, a gentleness that holds as we heal.

Even now, a few days later, I can easily slip back into that feeling of wholeness through pause...

And now, the integration.  Allowing time and space for the energy medicine to continue to work through me.  I have already felt a HUGE shift in my health.  I am no longer experiencing the sharp painful episodes associated with the ulcer.  And I feel a trust in what is to come that I haven’t had in such a long time!

Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect from this medicine work.  Cannabis has been through the societal ringer in terms of its cycling acceptance and demonization.  Personally, I feel that I still held some of that residual trauma when entering the retreat.

But now, I can say with total clarity that this sacred plant is so much more than a tool, more than a medicine, more than our thinking mind can ever conceive.  This plant is a spirit.  A loving, kind and generous emanation of divine love that knows only wholeness, and works with any and all who wish to uncover her secrets.

Blessings great spirit

Santa Maria

Mother of wholeness, emanation of the Divine

Om Mani Padme Hum