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Excerpt from "Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness"

“Homo Luminous: The New Human by Alberto Villoldo”

by Daniel Pinchbeck & Ken Jordan, Editors

One day, I was walking with a medicine woman and her husband deep in the Amazon. “Alberto, go across the clearing,” they said. “Go back into the rainforest and see what happens.” So I turned and went back into the forest. From all around me, the forest was full of song. The sounds of the macaws and the monkeys and the parrots from all about were as an orchestra. First step, second step, third step, and then, everything stopped. The shamans came up to me and said, “See? They know that you’ve been kicked out of the garden. They know that you don’t belong here.”

Certain that all of nature could smell my underarm deodorant, my hairspray, my toothpaste, my athlete’s foot powder, I looked around for a way to cover up my scent. By the edge of the river, I came upon a couple of Indians cooking a boa on a spit. I asked them for the fat they had been collecting from the boa. Stripping down to my shorts, I smeared myself with the boa fat, thinking this would conceal my smell. I walked back into the rainforest. First step, the forest was full of song. Second step, the forest was full of song. Third step, and again, everything stopped. Except for the flies, hundreds and hundreds of flies swarmed about me.

It took ten years of study with the indigenous people before I was able to walk through the rainforest and have it continue singing. No longer did the forest recognize me as someone who did not belong. I belonged in the garden again.

This reveals a great deal about our mythology. Mythology creates our beliefs and those beliefs inform our reality. In the west, we have the only mythology on the planet in which we are kicked out of the garden. Nobody else was cast out of the garden. The aborigines were not kicked out, the sub-Saharan Africans were not kicked out, the indigenous Americans were not kicked out. These peoples were given the garden. They were the stewards and caretakers of the garden. We, on the other hand, were not only cast out, but as we were being cast out, a voice said, “And cursed is the earth because of you,” pointing to the woman. And to the man, condemning him to a life of hard work, “With the sweat of your brow you will take your fruit from the earth and the earth shall produce thorns and thistles for you.”

This is the original damnation. The Bible doesn’t say, “And the earth shall grow strawberries and mangoes and papayas for you.” It says thorns and thistles. This is our mythology. From the beginning, we have a hostile relationship with the feminine, with the earth itself. And if we look still deeper, even before we were cast out of the garden, we learned on the seventh day of creation that all of the food on the planet belongs to us. The animals and the trees and the flowers were created for our pleasure and for our feeding as humans. Instead of putting us in a position of stewardship with all life on the planet, it puts us in the position of the consumer. The assumption is that all of the food on the earth belongs to humans. It doesn’t. The food on the earth belongs to all living beings on the earth.


The paradigms of the west are the paradigms of the masculine. This is at the core of the problem. We have to break free of this mythology that sees the earth as ours to consume and sees the feminine as damned. These mythologies express themselves in our economic, political, social, and educational systems. Even our medical practices are, by their very nature, hostile and aggressive. These paradigms hold that all the food and resources on the planet belong to us. Not to the other animals, not to the plants; it all belongs to us. We can rape, loot and pillage, we can spoil the earth and postpone the price of clean-up to future generations. We have been in the grip of a mythology that has exhausted itself. Our economy, our political system, education, and even our relationship paradigms – all show signs of collapse. The old mythology has taken us as far as it can.

Daniel Pinchbeck is the co-founder and creative director of Evolver, which publishes RealitySandwich.com. Ken Jordan is the publisher and executive producer of Reality Sandwich and Evolver.net.

From Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness edited by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan, published by Evolver Editions, an imprint of North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2012 by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan. Reprinted by permission of publisher. US $18.95 / $22.50 CAN. ISBN: 978-1-58394-488-2.

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