unfollow the blind leader

~ malicious elfshot ~

“if the path be beautiful let us not ask where it leads”
– Anatole France
Nesting in the Pine, the doves now long gone, poisonous caterpillar, pine needles to feast on. Those hair harpoons, fired from the pine processionary, irritated itch, stinging eye visionary. But I cut the branch down and then I burned it in the flames, breathing pine and tree tobacco smoke brought the whispering of names.

From the twin eggs to the Trojan war, pretty lady, human heartbreak can't ignore. Helen of Troy, the shining one, your tears fell down and out came the sun. Elecampane, what a wonderful name, blow darts from witches, yeah I know the pain. Poison arrows that's not elfkind, false propheteering, never you mind. Temptations of the Devil, follow our lead, Saint Elmo's fire, divine judgement indeed. Violet and blue glow, energised feeling, corona discharge, all very revealing.

Elecampane, by many names you're known, anchored by thick roots, eight feet to the sun grown. Standing tall, sunny disposition, deeply grounded, no nervous opposition. But you do it so well, even in current conditions, those breaking of natural laws, through unnatural additions. To be stable in the moment, not stabbed nor stumbled by its pain, genetic sequencing, life might never be the same. Even the spiritually strong can be forced to their knees, as the darkness now rallies, from all sides to squeeze. Cry me a river and then tell me again, Yes, your spirit too powerful for those machine men. Father Sky, what would you have me here do, keep walking the red road, it will see you through.

Solar return, oh Helios' light, coronal mass ejections, plasma burning so bright. Red rash on the surface, expelling all that heat, but climatise inside, for it's through Fire Spirit meet. But if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, for alchemical transformation requires all of you to pitch in.

The Wolf howls at the cold January full moon, protecting territory, return home soon. Intuitive response, a true leader of the pack, guided by gut instinct, its always got your back.

Arrows and spears fly through the Air, justified anger, in division they stare. Underground retreat, warfare outside, waiting for the battles to finally subside. Building of bunkers to escape this fate, but better develop nervous system, before it's too late.

What you see is what you get, but tricks from shapeshifters you might come to regret. A pure white feather by the Water's side, angelic Swan, across the surface you glide. But too impulsive, look for toxic delusion, piercing the veil beyond crafty illusion. Like the Moon she reflects the Water and governs the tide, feel deeper into body for your cells to decide.

Maybe it's not you that's ill, it's the sickness outside, by trying to make sense, might you invite it inside. Know when to draw down into Earth's inner beauty and when to radiate out to fulfill divine duty.

So to the spirit of Elecampane, inner-guide when to take action and when to refrain. When energy bursts through there is so much you can do, but you only advance when to your path you remain true.

These are my own insights, but a great beauty of life is that of perspective, so how might others respond to the spirit of Elecampane, unbeknownst to this being the spirit they are receiving. How might they perceive it through their six senses. And the good folk and their gestures can appear nice and kind, but never forget to Look and Feel behind.
* some participant names might have been changed for pen names.


My name is Dr. Simon Ruffell and I'm a psychiatrist by background, so I'm a medical doctor and I trained in psychiatry, but I also have a PhD in Amazonian Ayahuasca and mental health outcomes, which is it's part of the psychology at the University of London. And then I started my own shamanic journey training in Shipibo shamanism, taking it more seriously from about five years ago.

I've been drinking Ayahuasca since 2015, as well as running a research not for profit called Onaya Science and it really tries to work in partnership with indigenous healers, translating some of the knowledge that they have into Western medical science and trying to find that intersection between worlds and try and demonstrate how this work could be healing and even harmful towards some people.

I got into ayahuasca by a stroke of luck would be one way of phrasing it. By ending up in the Amazon rainforest with a man who later became my teacher drinking ayahuasca and deciding that I wanted to start researching ayahuasca from a medical perspective as I was getting quite disillusioned with some of the medical drug treatments that we were using in psychiatry.

After returning to the Amazon, on and off for years and doing research, my way of understanding the world started change and the framework I was using to understand the worlds began to fray and split until they eventually burst when I experienced brujeria or witchcraft and for the first time and began questioning my perception of reality. and started training in Shipibo curanderismo, which is one of the communities in the Amazon that I've been working with and so following that, I did a PhD looking at Amazonian ayahuasca, and mental health outcomes. And continued my own personal Shipibo training as well and setup a not for profit research group called Onaya Science, which does its best to work in collaboration with indigenous curanderos and also people from the West who are training in curanderismo as well, trying to bridge that gap between Western knowledge and indigenous wisdom and really finding the the magic of that intersection.

And the beauty in when those two worlds combine, when you're not placing one framework of understanding above the other, when you're not using biomedicine to validate indigenous wisdom, but when you're looking at how the two can intersect in order to hopefully help the most amount of people be of greatest benefit to humanity.

Yeah. So I started getting messages from this man, Andy on LinkedIn, saying that we had similar interests and perhaps we should consider talking at some point. So I thought, okay, great, maybe. In life in general if the universe seems to be suggesting that you connect with someone or you go down a particular path. I normally follow that and thought yeah let's, let's see what happens. And then I started getting messages from two of my friends saying, you should really connect with this guy Andy, and this is the same Andy that messaged me. Yeah, I wonder what his work is about. So I started replying more and found myself receiving some quite covert messages. A lot of poetry, a lot of a lot of stories, which reminded me a lot of the indigenous ways of knowing and a lot of the information that I've received from the Shipibo has been in this form of a story and the the Western scientist in me at the beginning with the Shipibo found myself just thinking, just tell me what happens, You know, stop telling me about these stories. That may or may not, and quote unquote, quote unquote, be real.

I kept getting these these messages from Andy and the scientist within me was like what is he actually saying, What actually is this offering? What is he talking about?

And so I reached out to a very good friend of mine that had worked with Andy to treat migraines and said, quite bluntly, what's your take on this guy. Is he legit, what do you think. And my friend says, yes, he's legit. You should consider talking to him. If it resonates with you, then you should consider talking to him. And so so I started speaking to Andy and trying to figure out, so what is it that Andy was offering. And in the end, I had some back and forth between my Shipibo teacher and Andy thinking, could this potentially have any negative impact on the training path I'm currently in the middle of in my Shipibo training or would it be worth diving into? And my gut feeling actually was just screaming, yes, do it, for whatever reason, just do it.

And then when we discussed a little bit more about the plant that Andy was going to be working with, it seemed to be a plant that was known to my teacher. And I was very keen to to experience what he was offering. But interestingly, the work that Andy was offering didn't actually involve consuming the plants. And it was done at a distance. So again, the skeptic in me was racing. But the open side of me thought, well, you know, the only thing that I'm certain about at the moment in terms of my understanding of the universe is that I have no idea what's going on and neither do the vast majority of other people. So why not, let's give it a go and see what happens.

I'll try and be as objective as possible in terms of my experience. When I went into the experience, I thought, worst case scenario, I'll have half an hour listening to a chilled relaxing playlist, sitting in Lotus position and kind of doing some meditation. And when the session started, interestingly, I noticed that my thoughts started racing more than they usually do, which is something that happens to me, or at least used to happen to me a lot when I first started drinking ayahuasca. And so I had to really focus on relaxing my thoughts and and kind of drifting down into a relaxed position. And you can look at this and you can explain it from many different angles. Maybe I was expecting something to happen. Maybe I was sitting in the same position and getting myself into the same mindset that I do when I listen ceremony or maybe something else is happening. I'm open to any of those. And maybe it's a combination of those explanations. But then I also felt very happy. I felt this lightness and this happiness, this light energy. I think many people might describe that as as an interaction with some kind of spirit or an entity, or perhaps it was the effects of the playlists and just being in a good place within myself.

And then following the session, I felt great. And the next day I felt really good. I felt really bright. So bright that I actually contacted Andy again and said when is your next session? Please do keep me posted on when the next session is. And so the experience actually kind of took me by surprise. And again, I'm open to the possibility that it was as a result of having a caring, virtual, fairly anonymous community around me. But we were sharing our thoughts and our dreams before the ceremony and afterwards. And maybe it is taking the time out from all our busy western days to really set into focus and to be still and to be present. Or maybe it was something else. Maybe it was the spirit of this plant that was working within us. Who knows? And in many ways, I don't necessarily think that trying to find the the truth or kind of the reality of the situation is always that important. I feel that my experience from the session was a really positive one. And then it's open to each and every one of us to fully explore what the reason was behind the ways that we felt.

Interestingly, in that dream, I was on a long boat. And so there's a big boating community on the canals in London where I live. And I was on one of these canal boats, and there are some other people on the boat and somebody ran up to me and tried to stab me in the shoulder and if I remember correctly the knife was blunt, it hit my shoulder and managed to push it away. And then I ran down the boat to let everyone know that this person just tried to stab me. So yeah, I'm always fascinated by those dream interpretations and definitely the symbology with the with the boats was was interesting because dietas were massively on my mind coming into this work as the Shipibo curanderos as a blanket rule, they pretty much say you shouldn't be practicing or you shouldn't be training with anybody else apart from us. And I understand why they say that, because it's probably safer because there are so many charlatans out there, loads and loads. And some people do stuff in a different way as well. And so from my understanding of curandismos and energy works in general, those energies clash and the different ways of doing stuff can clash. And so reflecting on it now, I felt amazing after the session and in my perception of the effect on my dietas from my own subjective feeling, I felt like I was cleaned, like it cleaned my dietas, it felt like it flushed them through. That's what it felt like. And so I wonder if there is some symbology there as in don't worry, you dietas are safe or something along those rates.

The group sharings. I remember people having a lot of headaches, headaches and sore throats. My experience of it, as I said before, I feel like it cleaned me energetically in terms of my dietas. The way that the Shipibo heal disease and the way that it's been described to me and the way that I've been taught is quite often by is by drawing it all out to the surface and the kind of the opposite of a lot of the symptom management we do in the West, where you appear to get much worse at the beginning, things flare up and then the disease or the condition or whatever it is, the infection is is gone, is removed in that way. And so I wonder if there could be parallels there or a degree of that, where people were getting headaches because they were for a better sense of the word, purging, emotional things, purging infections, viruses, the spiritual and spiritual elements.

I'd be very interested to hear what the Shipibo said and thought about this kind of work. So I definitely don't come here to speak on behalf of the Shipibo. But I think they would be really interested. From my brief experience of kind of dipping my toes in, in the previous session, it reminds me of the old school way of dieting, which was done remotely, where Shipibo curanderos could actually do the dieta and then they pass it, they give it you energetically, they send it to you on the astral plane I guess for or a better sense of a word and it feels a little bit like that with this kind of healing where you're relying on a on a maestro, on a on a teacher, somebody with a connection to spirits, who then passes that energetic connection to you from a distance, energetically, as we say, which is an interesting one and it's particularly interesting because that way of dieting, perhaps unsurprisingly had a bit of a revival during Covid. And so it was a time where people couldn't do plant dietas and many of the Shipibo maestros either online or messages through WhatsApp I started getting saying that they were now offering these remote dietas and that they that they used to do. The people I know who've done those remote diets, I have a close friend who did one and they actually got remote diets given to the whole of his family and said it was incredibly profound and they all noticed these huge changes.

But then when I spoken to my own maestro about it, he says for sure that that would be a thing. But at the same time it would differ, it wouldn't be such a strong connection compared to if you dieted the plant itself because it's like meeting somebody by yourself rather than being introduced to it by friends. But that being said he didn't say that it wouldn't necessarily be a less strong connection. It would just be a different form of connection. So yeah, I wonder if there's a role for this kind of work, especially as we still have restricted legislation that prohibits the use of psychedelic and psychoactive plant medicines throughout much of the world. The future of medicine, I think, is in the intersection between these two worlds and in my experience of training in Western medicine, there are massive blind spots and I don't need to say that and it's obvious, especially you just take psychiatry. We're in a mental health crisis. You know, mental health conditions are at an all time high, the field just isn't progressing at the rate that should be, and we desperately need new treatments. But again, I think that there's a risk, especially for Westerners to glorify indigenous ways of knowing, assuming that they have all the answers. No, that's totally not true. They have things that they're better at and they have things that they are worse at, that same as Western medicine. And so I feel that the answers, the future of medicine and the real beauty and the magic of healing is in that intersection between worlds where we fully collaborate and where we fully respect in these different ways of knowing. And we work together rather than trying to place one on top of the other or our way of thinking.

I mean, I guess it's always just to have that openness, just to come back to that humbleness of really questioning, do we know what's going on in the universe here? And if we're not sure, having that openness to listen to different schools of thought and obviously to have that to have that sharp skepticism, to question everything, but really to listen to other people's ways of knowing and whether that's the Tibetan monks or whether that's the Shipibo curanderos, or whether that's the Western psychiatrists, everybody has something to offer. And I really think that our hope for the future of medicine is in this intersection between worlds based on mutual trust and respect.


Seeing myself as a little girl barefoot in an open field together with the horse I grew up with. Boundless. Free. Many images flooding by in a fast speed whirling up into a vortex. Short feeling of nauseousness. Mind trying to understand what is going on. Letting go. This can only be experienced. Entering into a space of no words. Out of body.  My cat who is laying on top of me brings me back into body. Moving in jaw and throat.feeling very cold. Drifting out again. Losing form. Free of space and time. Coming back to body as cat moves again, bit of restlessness. Then finding peace. Calm.


Owl very present as was one of my cats. I felt very nauseous to start. Stinging watery eyes (they have been very watery in last days). Sunrise me and many others in child pose . Vast space. My neck making extraordinary sounds- never heard before! Me assisting others in childbirth. Front teeth throbbing and then total clearing… Strong sweet desire first time in weeks even thought about sweet taste. Head pulsing throbbing. Itchy face. Loads in neck- recalibrating. Very tall trees, sun glinting through. A woodpecker busy but stops looks straight at me and says why are you so sad? My cat at this point burying into me, I look into her eyes and they are someone else! A clearing in my sinus/ whole head buzzing. Brilliant light. A softening. Numb but quickly my body is light. Flying. Joy . Love. I am left bit itchy and nauseous! And Owl is quiet and cat fast asleep


In my heart centre, a native American Indian Shaman drumming and chanting and "dancing" feet stomping to the earth. Calling in what is in my heart ~ stayed here awhile, I asked if I could join him, the reply, you are him. Then in the water, floating and could feel the gentle up and down motion within my body as the energy of the ocean moved through me. Then a Humpback whale lifted me on his back and out of the water and back down again. Then on his back, swiftly moving through the water as if I was being cleansed of all that is not serving me. The Playfully playing with me and asking me to join in. Teaching me to be playful with my emotions and have fun. Then into the depths of the ocean he took me. It was pitch black, could see only black. Then I could hear in the physical (as I did this outside today) a cicada loudly speaking and full speed with his song. it was reminiscent of a frightened heart. I immediately began to calm my own, and as soon as I did this, the cicada stopped. The Whale still beside me, and protecting me in the dark, till I figured out how to do it myself. I could feel the light of my heart beginning to appear and then light ~ this is how I am safe in the dark. I do not need eyes to see, I need to be in the light of my heart, and then there is nothing to fear. Now I am on a star, and looking down at the earth. Perspective, again about safety. the expansiveness of this perspective, the connection to the heavens, stars, planets and beyond. Someone joins me here... the house speaks at this moment, so I send this love of the universe to it and then expand it out. I am in a forest, walking beside me on my left is Stag, walking beside me on my right is Elephant. I can feel a huge energetic something moving towards me at a very accelerated pace. I am a little scared and then I am ok, and moving back and forwards between them. When the energetic entity arrives and stops in front of me, I understand what I am to do. Move into my heart centre and extend this love to the energy... which is firey and smokey with lightening strikes appearing. When I open my heart, so too do the hearts of the Stag and Elephant. We are all now emanating unconditional love, and mine is directed straight into the energy. At some point I have held enough light, that this energy instantly transforms into a man. He then moves in beside me and takes my right hand, and we begin to continue on the path forward. Ladybird appeared in my heart centre.


Pulsing, vibrational waves. Floating in water, gentle movements. Winged creatures above. Then spinning in a wheel. Dizzy, hot hands and pulsing feet. Journey of spirit for sure, Feel like I've walked a long distance.


In the first phase of music I saw golden light and then the golden moon in her different phases, strong feminine and warmth, calm. Next, energy in hands and fingertips. Lot of colour, fine abstract shapes, then female silhouette dancing, cobalt blue then purple. Attention and energy to ears then mouth, more change in mouth. Feeling multi senses. Drawn upwards, creature flying, warmth in back. All senses alert, elements felt. Last stage of music change of scenery - snowscape, white and still, cold, felt cold in back this time, awareness still in hands, lots of contrasts yet a coming together. Ended with a wooden arched door inviting me in.