Photos, Artwork, & Musings on Life, Spirit, Entheogens, Time, & Travel

Archive for April, 2012

Waterfalls

 

 

Of all the

Jewels in

Nature’s chest,

I do love

Waterfalls

The best.

– David Crews

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Summer Storm-Big Bend NP, Texas

Storm through the Window __ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

“I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.”
-Eden Ahbez

A summer storm vies for attention with the setting sun in the Window in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, Texas. I’ve been visiting and photographing this amazing place on the planet for over 50 years.

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Petroglyphs at Capitol Reef NP, Utah

 

Petroglyph-Capitol Reef NP, Utah __ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

“Could the prehistoric artists have been hallucinating and painting their visions? And was it possible that such practices could lie at the foundation of art and religion, the most exalted achievements of mankind?”
Graham Hancock, Supernatural – Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Canada: Doubleday Canada, 2005) p. 158

Petroglyph-Capitol Reef NP, Utah __ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

Petroglyph-Capitol Reef NP, Utah __ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

Petroglyph-Capitol Reef NP, Utah __ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

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Author with Graham Hancock in Southern Utah, 2010.

 

 


Dr. Luis Luna on Amerindian Shamanism

Amazon Green ____ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews

Towards an exploration of the mind of a conquered continent.
Sacred plants and Amerindian epistemology

By Luis Eduardo Luna, Ph.D., Dr. H.C., F.L.S.

[article here]

This excellent essay by Dr. Luna about shamanism and the use of sacred plants in the Americas, was recently posted on my friend, Graham Hancock’s, website. In it, Luna gives a useful overview of shamanism and its role in the pre-Columbian Americas and how it was repressed by the European influx (and is still repressed today).

In one of the most interesting aspects of this essay, Luna talks about how the Amazon is not the primeval wilderness we all think of, but is largely the result of massive human cultivation and manipulation over long periods of time. He says:

“The people of the Amazon live in one of the areas of the largest biodiversity on the planet. It is becoming increasingly evident that the biodiversity of the Amazon is to a great extent the result of the natural resource management of the pre-Columbian people. . . . To a certain extent the Amazon is an anthropogenic forest, a gigantic garden partially created by human beings through millennia of interaction with the natural environment.”

He also includes an interesting section on Shipibo shamanism and their wonderful geometric artwork. It’s one of the best explanations of the origin and function of the fractal-like designs I’ve read.

He also talks about the powerful cognitive transformations that can occur with plant teachers like ayahuasca. He relates an ayahuasca shape-changing vision that occurred to a French anthropologist, Dr. Françoise Barbira-Freedman, who took on the form of a jaguar (a common theme and experience in ayahuasca visioning). She said:

“Nothing I ever read about shamanic animal metamorphoses could have prepared me for the total involvement of my senses, body, mind in this process. . . . This vision engaged my whole self experientially in a phenomenological approach, which was blatantly at odds with the empiricist standpoint I intellectually favoured.”

He also relates Dr. Dennis McKenna’s transformation into a sentient water droplet who then directly experiences photosynthesis within a plant. Luna states that these kinds of experiences, “point to a new alter-ego, to an alternative epistemology: the gaining of knowledge through a radical self-transformation, by taking an alternative – non human – point of view, by cognitively merging with the focus of one’s attention.”

He concludes by stating that even though our science has explored the depths of space and the tiniest realms of quantum matter, “the exploration of consciousness is still a forbidden realm, vastly explored by shamanic societies yet neglected in contemporary science due to a great extent to religious preconceptions carried throughout centuries.”

I recommend this and other articles by Dr. Luna and also highly recommend Graham Hancock’s excellent book on shamanism entitled “Supernatural”.

The Amazon River ___ ©2012 David P. Crews

 

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Texas Wildflowers

Texas Bluebonnet _____ Photo ©2012 David P. Crews. All rights reserved.

Texas wildflower_____Photo ©2012 David P. Crews. All rights reserved.

“If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (from “Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection”)
Seamus Perry, Oxford Univ. Press, 2002, p. 127
Derived from Jean Paul, Geist (1801) 

 

 

 

 

The Texas Hill Country is one of the world’s most beautiful wildflower shows, featuring the state flower, the bluebonnet. The last few years, the flowers have been more sparse due to the record draught, but better rains and a mild winter have made this year’s show much better. I took a day to tour the Hill Country from Austin, to Fredricksburg, to Llano and the Highland Lakes for this photo tour. See the entire show at my Flickr site. Click here or on the title below.

Click image to see the entire flower tour.

Texas wildflower___Photo ©2012 David P. Crews. All rights reserved.

“The Amen of nature is always a flower.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table”, p. 184
Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1906

Bluebonnets near Fredricksburg, Texas___Photo ©2012 David P. Crews. All rights reserved.

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Vermilion Cliffs

Vermilion Cliffs – Northern Arizona ____ Photo by David P. Crews

The great escarpment of the Vermilion Cliffs lies just north of the Grand Canyon.

Time has a different pace in realms like this. To the ancient shamanic Taoists, vermilion was the color of eternity.

I’ve been making landscape photos mostly non-commercially for some 50 years now. This is some of my initial work in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.

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