way back to wonderland

~ welcome gnome ~
episode 03

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
–  Carl Jung
Resting under a bed of pine needles, you grew up overnight, red cap in the distance, soon signaled my sight. Unusual that from this land you chose to birth, rising from the soil, forcing aside Earth. Those hurts that have been buried, now going berserk, supernatural strength, for fearless spiritual work.

Through your snow white spots I See a gnome behind the veil, your delicate gills, spores in the Air sail. King of the gnomes, hiding golden treasures underground, deciding whose worthy of great gifts to be found. Tree huggers, supporting forest growth, reciprocal relationship, in service to both.

Journey into the darkness, no candle light burning, sitting with shadows, their scary stories now learning. Yes, to make it this far much work has been done, nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. Healer of healers, put out your feelers, capable of uncovering all concealers.

No restless legs or quaking in your boots, facing your fears, there's no substitutes. Mycelium network, legs grounded so strong, the heart of Earth rooting you along.

Blue hole diving, Manta ray swimming, those same white gills I mentioned in the beginning. From mouthfuls of water the Manta filters their small food, flushing from gills and feeling renewed.

Sexual energy starts to rise, bringing with it those covered cries. From this life alone one might not explain, karmic baggage, centuries old to reclaim. And to bring it all together, before letting it all go, integrating life lessons, better the devil you know.

Spiral staircase, mineshaft descent, belly of Earth, hell Fire present. Blood sacrifice, rotten core, circling around, mongering for more. Putrid puss, retching and purging, balrog demon, dark fire surging. Many receiving instructions from the devil's lair, selling of souls, buyer aware. But some of us See it, field's feel the frequency, oh what has become of common decency.

A wizard crystal cut free from a colden glass cage, warmly welcomes a more magical age. But who or what had trapped him in there, dark forces of sorcery that poisons the Air. Exit wounds needing time to heal, old traumas surface to see and to feel.

Dwarfs gathered, feasting and merrily drinking, long banquet table, golden trinkets clinking. But greedily hoarding, consuming material things, a weighted lifestory, no breakthrough it brings. Like the Christmas tale, with presents under the tree, hours of adverts, order from your settee. A magical time, that's sold out to santa, physical and spiritual not woven by tantra.

Your red nose, said to light the way, but its blood vessels reflect the heart's state of play. Desperate to fly on all cylinders, a real crowd pleaser, but allow this moment for a quick stripteaser. Revealing addictive tendencies and signs of abuse, absence of love, there's no excuse. Yin deficient, lacking qualities of the feminine, cooling and nurturing, such magical medicine.

Astral travel, in time and place, but you need to feel safe to move to next base. Receiving transmissions, psychic perception, pure filtered water, immaculate conception.

In this play of light and dark there's an awful lot of confusion, but an Elven blade soon slices through the illusion. Ethereal elves, sparkling white hearted, appearing in vision, spiritual gifts imparted.

So to fly agaric, emerge from the Earth, warts and all, no past trauma too big or small, release them now by loosening the grip, willing to experience, whatever the trip.

These are my own insights, but a great beauty of life is that of perspective, so how might others respond to the spirit of Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria), unbeknownst to this being the spirit they're receiving. How might they perceive it through their six senses. And it's the fertile Earth that feeds the crown of creation that towers above and supports its foundation.


My initial intention for working with Andy was to try and rid myself of weekly migraines that had been plaguing me since shortly after I returned from Afghanistan in 2008. I found myself fighting in Afghanistan because I had this urgent need to prove myself worthy of respect and love, even adoration. I wanted and needed to be recognised after a childhood where I felt I wasn’t. I grew up with an older brother who is severely disabled and required a lot of attention. Attention I clearly felt should have been given to me instead. The earliest knowledge I have of myself is that I knew I was three things; a warrior, a priest (a spiritual person) and a dancer. I grew up in southeast London and spirituality and dancing, for men at least, was a non starter, so I kept those parts of me deep within. But I could certainly allow myself to become a warrior, and so I joined the Parachute Regiment after 9/11 and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our experiences in Afghanistan were particularly intense and I knew immediately that it would require a lot of work to resolve some of the things I’d seen. The fighting was so intense the Taliban named our camp and the surrounding area ‘The Mouth of Hell’ because of the death and destruction experienced there. As Paratroopers, we had signed up for combat but even we were shocked by the unrelenting chaos of those summer months.

It took years of anxiety and depression and shame before I eventually came to the world of plant medicine and Ayahausca in particular. My first two ceremonies in the jungle near Chazuta, Peru were so transformative and healing, I left the jungle understanding that this medicine couldn’t only be for me. I knew dozens and dozens of friends from The Paras who could benefit from such healing and I resolved to dedicate my life to that cause: helping veterans access plant medicines. And so I started Heroic Hearts Project UK with that very aim in mind. Soldiers work best in groups, specifically groups of other soldiers, and I’ve found our experiences can be intimidating to hear when shared with non veterans in group healing spaces. That’s why HHPUK is doubly important. We feel more comfortable knowing that our experiences won’t be misunderstood or judged and that our sharing won’t intimidate a civilian into thinking their own trauma is somehow less important or significant.

During the same week I had agreed to work with Andy, I had already taken a large dose of mushrooms for the very same reason - to rid myself of migraines. The feedback I received from mushrooms was to go back to what I know, ie Taiji and Qigong, but to remember to live it and not just practice it. Within a day of my mushroom experience it also occurred to me to remove gluten from my diet, which I did. It felt very much like spirit was talking to me and I didn’t have a migraine that week, so felt very excited by the future. Then I had my first session with Andy and felt vibrant and healthy and full of power.

In the week prior to our second session I’d had two nightmares that had really rattled me despite my sense of health. One dream involved a zombie apocalypse. I regularly have zombie apocalypse dreams but this one was far more real than any others. In that life I was living our existence became so hard that I lost my dog and my new born daughter to starvation. I woke up crying in the night. In the second dream I was captured by some unknown force and tortured. I was then castrated and had my scrotum pinned to my arm. It was pretty distressing! I recall another dream where I was with two dear friends who’d both betrayed me in very similar ways but I woke feeling a sense of resolution, so while I can’t remember details, I felt positive about it nonetheless. It was interesting to hear others in the group had experienced similarly distressing dreams.

By the time our session with Fly Agaric came around I felt like a Superman, free of migraines after so many years of weekly ones.

About two hours before we started I was putting my ten month old daughter to bed and I felt a wave move through my body right to left. As I focused on it, it felt more like something swimming through me. A constant tide of energy but also something conscious. It felt pleasant and gently energising but also a little unnerving but I embraced it as the work having started. The session itself (not knowing it was Fly Agaric) felt lightly psychedelic. I saw an older man who appeared to be a teacher, a professor or lecturer. I was above him as he stood in his auditorium beside a chalkboard and he was smiling, looking up at me. My perception of him was ever so slightly distorted, like I was viewing him from a different dimension. He kept smiling at me and then he changed into a younger man sat on a rock. Again he was looking up at me smiling and again my perception was distorted. While the young man’s body remained the same his face swapped to that of another and then another and another. All of them looking at me and smiling calmly and joyfully. It occurred to me that these people were my past lives and that we remained connected and that they loved me and I loved them. I caught glimpses of mushrooms throughout but too quick to label or even care too much about labelling. The message was clear: that I continue and am loved. It was a very moving experience. I still haven’t had a migraine and I still feel vibrant and powerful despite the reality of being a new (ish) father and the challenges that brings.

I’m excited for the next session. Hopefully I can continue to heal where needed but also develop my sensitivity to Spirit’s workings and messages.