Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Peyote Meeting

Many years ago, I was having serious problems and facing possible prison time, all because of alcohol. I didn’t really realize fully yet that I was an alcoholic and still hadn’t hit my bottom. I was told I should have my own peyote meeting, as an emergency healing service. I did just that. However, I want to be clear here. I do not want to offend or disrespect the Native American Church or any of its members, by relating my story of sitting up on peyote. With the advent of the internet, it is all out there anyway. I am not disclosing any secrets, only my respect for the medicine and this way of worship.
I arranged with friends Jerry and Mary to conduct the prayer service on their property.  I had attended many meetings there before and it was an easy place for participants traveling from far-off homes to find.  Mary and Chen would be helping me with all the food preparations, thank God.  They both knew how to shop economically, to help cut costs to a minimum.  My meeting ended up costing about four hundred dollars for food, gifts, gas, medicine and help.  When the destined evening finally arrived, there were over fifty people from four different states, who’d all come to pray for me. The news got out about my problem. Who were all of these people? I certainly didn’t recognize many of them. Good God, this was blowing me away already.  I did a sweat lodge with roadman or peyote Chief Lloyd, near Jerry’s pond, to prepare myself.  Then, much political church discussion ensued, as to whether to hold a house meeting too, for all of those who couldn’t fit into the tipi. Everybody was talking loudly at once. Why all this fuss over me?  This suddenly got very heavy, with superstitious undertones, but I said to go ahead with a second meeting anyway, so everyone could be included.  Another roadman friend, David ran that house meeting on Jerry’s living room floor, complete with the crescent moon sand altar and fire coals on a sheet of plywood. 
It’s very difficult to put into words what happened in this healing meeting.  Ted ran the sacred fire, while Chief Lloyd fed me more medicine than anyone had ever seen.  This was definitely way beyond the adult dose!  I ingested peyote as powder, chips, fresh buttons, special golf balls with spit and ash, gravy and tea.  I never puked, but Keith said he felt me changing dramatically, as he sat on his pillow next to me.  I’m sure the colors of my aura rivaled the Aurora Borealis.  Everybody spoke to me about the dangers of alcohol, especially old Peter.  He dumped on some very tough love, and many felt he actually hit me below the belt.  He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother, to quote the Hollies song.  That’s old Peter.  When asked how I was doing, I could barely find my voice- probably a first for me.  The songs and beautiful singing had taken me to somewhere near Pluto. Dimensions were changing inside the tipi.  Sometimes, friends seemed very far away, within eight feet of space. Other times, they somehow seemed larger than life.  I sensed I was in Lord Shiva’s living room, as the crackling fire and crescent moon altar took on a personality of their own.  Then Lloyd prepared four, very special golf-ball-sized peyote. These were to be eaten on my knees, in front of the altar.  The fire was so darned hot that I was sweating profusely.  Peyote likes it hot, I was told, as it grows in very hot terrains of Texas and Mexico.  My prayer smoke would soon be taken, after the midnight water and Lloyd’s outdoor prayers to the four directions for my recovery.  These special peyote balls were in preparation for the cosmic moment.  When I took that prayer smoke, shaking like a leaf, it felt like a window opened.  I now had a direct line to God, asking Him for help with this deadly disease.  All night, I felt as if my life was on trial.  Whether I lived or died would be decided here.  Or so it seemed, to me, on this karmic night of judgment, redemption and guidance. It was intense and very emotional too.  It was a courtroom like no other, that’s for sure. Thank God these kind of experiences happen only once in your life. Let’s hope so anyway.
When the four hundred-year-long night finally ended, I was literally unable to leave the tipi.  Lying down, I saw children’s feet under the canvas and heard the friendly sounds of laughter and loved ones’ voices.  Could I ever put the pieces of my puzzle back together again? Will I ever remember everything everybody said to me? Will I ever come down from where peyote has taken me?  Am I really healed? When I finally crawled out of the door flaps, I nearly fell asleep on the remaining woodpile and started to sunburn. It felt so good to feel the sun’s rays and finally be out of that tipi.  Ted had prayed that if I ever did drink again, God forbid, I would never get behind the wheel. That sadly would be another prayer that wouldn’t materialize, or at least for a very long time.  After they managed to spoon feed me some broth, as I still had no appetite, I helped Lloyd clean up and bury the altar sand, as it was now considered toxic waste and unsafe to be around.  Lloyd and Muriel stayed on, after everybody else drove home. They had to. The medicine was still working heavily on me. I wasn’t even close to coming down. I didn’t want them to go.  Lloyd burned more cedar and fixed special smokes for my mind.  His smokes taste so good, with lavender, sage and anise seeds mixed in with tobacco, that anybody could become addicted to smoking.  He instructed me to call him tomorrow to check in. Then diet for the next three days on the peyote tea, which he had left for me in large mason jars. I would faithfully follow my doctor’s orders. Next, Melinda called me from Tucson, at precisely the right moment, and sensed exactly where I was at spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  She’s done her time with peyote and is very intuitive.  I love Melinda so much.  Her phone call and caring voice meant more to me, at that moment, than diamonds or gold. I felt so extremely open and overly sensitive.  Finally, after being alone awhile and reflecting, the needed emotional breakdown came. As the sun was setting across the desert, I couldn’t stop crying in thankfulness to God.  I realized, once more, how special I am in His eyes, to have so many friends come from so far away to help me out. How could I deserve this?  I’m truly not worthy but to God I Am. This was probably one of the most intense nights of my entire life- another real turning point.  It took a good week to touch down on earth again.  And all of the prayers said around the fire that karmic night did come true for me in time, and each in their own unique ways.
Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is the award winning author of Still Singing, Somehow. He lives on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He just released a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics and has a CD of original songs scheduled for release May 2011. These songs of three decades are meant to accompany both books.  Rob’s books can be viewed or purchased @ He can be contacted there too. Also check out Rob’s articles @

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