The Plant ShamX: My Plant Walk with GanjaFeb 17, 2022
Here is my story. I was sown by night, and manifested by day. I came to nourish. Replenish. Please. And be pleased. I shine light from the East, to illuminate your roots in the north. I was meant to extract what wholeness lies intact within you. So you can be nothing, but truly you. I am green gold, an avatar of Oshun. I am the crossroad and the haze. I travel with you everywhere, like a shadow of Eshu. When you breathe me in, my essence echoes throughout your chambers, like a hollow wind searching an empty house. Where is your soul? I speak to an incoherent heart. I reap the shadows. I harvest the light. Death has been here many times, and yet we will reach life. I took the ashé of transition and molded it into reality. Fluidity. Creativity. Three. Three. Three. I am femme. I am masc. I am neither. Which makes me all and whole and complete. And perfectly me. What does perfect mean? Per: a prefix for through. Fect: the past tense to do- done. I am done all the way through, even when I redo, redo and redo. Herb. Dahha. Mary-Jane. Jay. Marijuana. Cannabis. Hemp. THC. That stuff. That mess. Indica. Sativa. Medicine. Drug. Poison. Cush. Haze. Green gold. Flower. Budd. Your buddy. Your savior. Your Allie. Your justice. Your judge. Your teacher. Your truth resurrecting from the shadows. Your god, both then and now. You may me Ganja. Your Plant ShamX.
Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Then breathe out. Clear your lungs. When you breathe back in, suck a little bit through your mouth slowly, slowly, slowly, then release even slower. That’s how you get a high. This was my first lesson in how to connect with Ganja. Through breath. The first time I smoked them, I didn’t feel anything. I thought I was immune to their psychological changes and had given up trying to link with them. Until a friend taught me how to open the gate and the way unraveled before my very soul. Here is my story.
Four years ago, I entered into the Peace Corps right after graduating from college. I served in the country of Lesotho and it was my first time ever being in Africa in this physical body. I went to the motherland expecting healing; what I did not expect was to confront hurt. During this time, I was alone for the first time in my life and to cope with this energy, I unknowingly began my deep, plant walk with Ganja, who comforted me as my shadow work journey was initiated on the soil of my ancestors. About a year and a half into my volunteer experience, I unknowingly was involved in a sexual scandal with a married man. The Peace Corps waited to see what would happen to me, then they suddenly took me from my site and tried to expel me from the program for “committing adultery” and violating peace corps policy. They were protecting themselves from a political scandal, putting me at risk to preserve their reputation. The PTSD from this situation retriggered earlier experiences of sexual trauma I thought I had buried in my shadows. I wondered, where was the justice in any of the harms I encountered? Ganja was one of the main sources of healing, protection, higher guidance and wellness who was with me during all of this.
I left the Peace Corps early because of the trauma and lack of support I received from the institution. My first job after this situation was in alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention, with much of my work focused on Cannabis and “harmful” effects of this plant, according to mostly white, conservative, pro-police, Reagan-era anti-druggers. During this time, I took a break from Ganja physically, but was learning so much about how they were perceived by those who had such a narrow relationship to the plant, whether they were pro or anti Ganja. Then, in fall of 2019, I got into a car accident after a series of events that led to the dissociation of my body. Shortly after this incident, a close friend told me that during times like this, it could be great to connect with my ancestors via an altar. So I lit some sage to cleanse my place, and took a deep breath in and out of Ganja, blessing the space. And this forever changed my life. About another month later, I started to see it everywhere: 4:20am before I got ready for work. 4:20pm as I was leaving work. I would sit in traffic and there was a fleet van with the number 420 on it. I did my budget for the week and my discretionary income was $420. Were my ancestors telling me to light up more? I don’t think I could get any more a-blazed than I already had been since the accident. I looked up the numbers and for the first time, I learned about angel numbers. Together, the message was that I was on my spiritual awakening path, that I was stepping into my true life’s purpose, and I was to become a teacher. But who teaches the teacher how to teach?
In February 2020, I quit my job with nothing but an intuitive hunch and leap of faith. This is truly when everything changed. During this time, I was still walking with Ganja and I began noticing patterns with my body and people I was associated with that felt unsettling: overconsumption, lack of self-worthiness, fear, anxiety, depression. All of this manifested into physical ailments: chronic stomach problems, like ulcers, UTIs, cysts, yeast infections, BV as well as other harmful events and relationships that I had to heal. When I ignored these issues, they kept popping up, until I addressed them head on.
Ganja was showing me what I kept trying to run away from: the harms of my unintegrated holistic self. When I took the leap of faith based on the promise from Spirit to live my authentic life, which was perfectly designed before I came to this earth, I said yes to the fire that would mold me into that existence. Ganja is like the Mr. Miyagi of Shadow Work when it comes to the plant world. They take you down a rabbit hole that seems to make absolutely no sense at all, just to have you recognize that the wisdom they are showing you is the rabbit hole itself, and not where that hole is taking you. Ganja is trickster energy, like Eshu and Anansi the spider. In fact, during the past two years of my walk with ganja, I started to see so much spider medicine around me that brought a sense of comfort because they reminded me of protective ancestors who teach you through observing, reflecting, then weaving a tale about life for you. With this energy, you learn that life is a game and the key to playing it is all in the power of your own perception. In my previous ATOD job, they said that cannabis causes anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments for many people, esp youth. I now believe through my walk with Ganja, that this teacher points out all that is wrong with the world order and way of operating by telling a new story of how to play the game of life. It is our own societal disconnection from Source and Spirit that is the true cause for these mental ailments, for only with the help of the divine within us can we create our own perception based on our own internal truth. Or so Ganja has shown me.
So when I entered this Sacred Vibes Apothecary course and was told to meditate upon which plant to walk with, it was no surprise that when I rose from my meditation in my garden, I looked up to literally see ganja waving at me in the breeze.
This plant is part day and part night. They taught me that in order to be whole, I need to balance my light and my dark. Growing up in the Pentecostal Black Church under the spirit of whiteness and colonialism, light work has always been a must in my family. However, this light work could not heal the dying parts of my soul ravished by childhood sexual trauma, internalized anti-blackness, and internalized anti-queerness and gender confusion. Ganja is associated with the Justice card in tarot. Through veils of mystery... blind wisdom, faith and discernment will prevail with clear execution and balance. Ganja came to save the other half of me by teaching me about ALL of me, a task that could only be done through shadow work. Ganja taught me how to be whole. How to nourish myself. How to heal and let go. Ganja taught me that my shadows can help me live my best life. Ganja taught me to embrace my sexuality and gender fluidity because Ganja taught me to love every part of myself, not just the parts deemed by society as “normal.” Ganja taught me that I can never be broken because I am the source of my wholeness. I can never be unbalanced when I am always flowing back to me to be balanced. Ganja reminded me that I am Source, I am divine, I am Godx because Ganja showed me my divinity within every projection outside of me, which is a reflection of me. Ganja taught me to root myself in nourishment.
My health protocol for my herbal class was to nourish my whole self. Ganja was with me, reminding me to drink water and flow, reminding me to put my feet and hands in the earth and re-ground. Ganja connected with me, especially through sound and thoughts. I got the thought to make a dandelion, burdock, alfalfa and gota kola apple cider vinegar tincture and take it first thing in the rising, so that’s what I did. I got the idea to make an oatstraw, red raspberry, nettle, peppermint and fennel oxymel to help heal my womb, and that’s what I did. I received a ringing in my ear to use shatavari when introduced to it by another student in our first class, so I added it to my bajan, banana, coconut sweet bread and to my oatmeal. I received silence when meditating during my womb steams with lavender, calendula and peppermint and I left some of the original infusion for a bedtime tea, asking for shadow work, protection and healing in my sleep. I danced with ganja, I sang to ganja, we went on walks on the beach together, and did naked yoga in my backyard in peace for what felt like forever.
My healing journey has not been easy. This year marks my Saturn return and everything leading up to now has been an adventure, for better and worse. And yet, by the grace of ganja, I am healing. And in the face of all these trials, I have grown more content. More joyful. More peaceful. I truly feel the most powerful I’ve ever been because ganja helped me to see my ability to shape my dream life into reality, rather than allowing my reality to shape my dreams. Each and every day, I make a greater deposit of belief into my bank of self-healing. My resilience expands beyond my current circumstances. Isn’t that what true justice looks like? There is no definition to my light without the weight of my shadows. They provide the contrast needed to see the full me in all of my divinity. I thank ganja for witnessing me in all of my transformations, especially with my spirituality, queerness and sexuality. Ganja taught me that in the midst of every transformation, is a creator creating that transaction. The old gods had to die, so the new ones can survive. In the midst of my goddess intertwining with my god and then both dying, they gave way to a Godx who now knows the true purpose of surviving is to reach thriving. This is why I call Ganja the Plant ShamX, because they guide me on a journey beyond the confinements of the matrix outside of me to the abundance of source within me. Currently, I’m now back in Africa. I came here hoping for healing, but expected only to receive hurt again. However, it seems like everywhere I turn, rather than confronting harm, I’m encountering divinity. My biggest sin was forgetting the essence of who I am. Luckily, this plant conspired to hold the memory of me and all the vastness of my possibilities. I’ve been born again. And this won’t be the last time. This is the purpose of the docuseries I co-created with this divine, The Plant ShamX, to show all the ways that Ganja has taught me through life experience, nature and expanded consciousness. Thank you!
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