Who’s Cart Is Who’s?

sg-280x70Although it’s been quite some time, we still get asked about whether or not ShamansGarden is indeed us.  We offer an emphatic “Yes!” in response!  We’re not trying to hide anything, nor was our intent to confuse our treasured customers.  The short version of that story is that we knew our current cart at IAmShaman was not very upgradable, and our look is a little, well…dated.

Our solution was to build a newer, bigger, faster shopping cart, easily upgradable, and with lots of features our customers wish existed on IAmShaman.  And that’s how ShamansGarden was born.  We were even going to write “301 Redirects” once the new website was complete, and we were going to move my project of over a decade; The IAmShaman Shop” to the new site and cart and server.

But, I just couldn’t get myself to let go of IAmShaman, and couldn’t pull the trigger to remove it from the internet once ShamansGarden came online.  What’s more, is that when ShamansGarden deployed, even though it was the same product line as IAmShaman, it started to rank completely differently than IAmShaman across the internet.

That created quite a dilemma for us, and after considerable thought at all the positives and negatives, we decided that having to deal with 2 carts instead of one would be worth the effort, as we could now offer our customers more options.

IAmShaman will always be log-in free.  ShamansGarden will always require a login.  Although both are equally secure, and in over a decade online, we’re very proud to be one of the few exotic botanical vendors who have never had their database compromised, despite several attempts.  So, we let both of them continue to build their own customer and fan base, letting them diverse naturally, and seeing what kind of life they took on of their own.

So far, it’s proven to be quite an interesting experiment, and since we’re known for offering as wide a variety of the same product as possible (Kratom is a good example as is our line of Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds), why not offer a choice in shopping carts as well?

If you have a preference, I’d love to know in the comments section, as well as why you have a preference.

Sarva Shanti,
Bodhi (Keith)

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The Blue Lily of the Nile

Blue Lotus BLue LilyGreetings friends! It’s been quite some time since my last posting and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to be back with you all. Over the last year I have done a great deal of traveling-both inward and outward. I have visited new places and I have had new experiences; experiences that keep pushing me forward.

Ahhh, yes…the plant medicines-we’re back! One topic of plant medicine which seems to keep circling back to me is that of this beautiful little ally, the Blue Lily. Shrouded in mystery since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, many questions and even outright confusion follow this sacred ally even today. In the paragraphs below I will attempt to peel back the veil – for just a little peak – to illuminate the rich history of the Sacred Blue Lily.

Shakespeare asks us “What’s in a name?” Well in the case of the Blue Lily – A LOT. Blue Lily (Nymphaea caerulea) is known by many names. This plant has been referred to as Sacred Blue Lily, The Sacred Lily of the Nile, Blue Lotus Flower, Blue Lily Flower, and Egyptian Lotus, just to name a few.

Erroneously referred to to as the  Blue Lotus Flower, the Blue Lily is at best a very distant relative of the Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). That being said, these distant cousins do share some similar alkaloids (including nuciferine and aporphine which give both plants mildly sedating effects). A little side note and potential segue into a future blog post, the Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) was the plant consumed by the “Lotus Eaters” in Homer’s Odyssey. Stay tuned…

Another plant that is commonly confused with our Blue Lily (Nymphaea caerulea), and even shares Blue Lily’s common name is Agapanthus africanus. Native to the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa, this drought resistant plant is commonly used in residential and commercial landscaping through out Europe and North America. The flowers of the Agapanthus africanus, although beautiful in their own right, have no historical Shamanic or ritual aspects to them.

So now that we know which plant we are talking about, let’s look a little deeper into this ancient entheogen. Since the time of the Egyptians, the Blue Lily has been prized for its beautiful form. Native to the Nile River delta and its estuaries, the plant has a dark to sky blue flower that rests atop four to five foot stems jutting above the water’s surface.

Sadly today, due to encroaching development and agricultural practices, the Sacred Lily of the Nile has almost completely disappeared from its natural range. Fortunately, the Blue Lily has long since migrated to regions of India and Thailand and is easily propagated. On one of my more recent travels I stumbled upon a pond-full of Blue Lillies in, of all places, a pond in the middle of Manhattan!

Native to the region that birthed the Egyptian civilization, The Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile was a revered ally. From the lowliest Egyptian citizen all the way up to the Godhead, the Pharaoh, Blue Lily played an important role in their day-to-day life. Ancient Egyptians wore blue lily buds and flowers as fashionable head adornments. Blue Lily was used medicinally (Voogelbreinder 2009, 247) to relieve pain, increase memory, improve circulation, and promote sexual desire. Blue Lily preparations were taken to treat the liver, relieve constipation, neutralize poison, and regulate the urinary system. The petals were applied both externally and internally (Ratsch 1998, 399).

Found scattered over Tutankhamen’s body when the Pharaoh’s tomb was opened in 1922, many historians thought Blue Lily was simply a symbolic flower for the ancient Egyptians. Today there is mounting evidence that they used the plant in rituals to a far greater extent than we first thought. Some postulate that the elite priesthood of ancient Egypt used the Blue Lily to produce some sort of state of shamanic ecstasy (Ratsch 1998, 398-399).

Blue Lily was first cited in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and is also mentioned in the tale of Horus and Seth. It may be seen in numerous carvings in the Temple of Karnack, and is the focal point of a portrait of the Egyptian god Nefertem who was also known as the “Great Lotus”. Traces of phytosterols, bioflavonoids, and phosphodiastrates, all compounds found in Nymphaea caerulea can be found in the bodies of Egyptian nobles. By now it should be quite obvious that the Blue Lily was an integral part of Egyptian society. Have I piqued your interest?

As far as effects, expect a relaxed state – this is a truly empathetic entheogen. But, rather than discussing my experiences in great detail, I’m more interested in hearing about your experiences with Blue Lily! I hope you found this Blue Lily breakdown helpful, and by all means tell me how you work with this teacher, and how it works for you!

One last thing. I mentioned at the beginning of this post how Blue Lily keeps circling back to me. Well, a few weeks back I received an email from a super talented young filmmaker named Nils Taranger. His new documentary, A Blue Flower, is about to make it’s inaugural film festival run this winter. Nils is a very talented graduate student at the University of Central Florida pursuing his masters in Film Production. A Blue Flower is a documentary about Nils personal journey of healing through the pursuit of a legendary blue flower that can heal all that ails. If you have the opportunity, go see this film and support this blossoming young filmmaker.

Love and Light,

Bodhi

References:

Ratsch, Christian., The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications. Rochester: Park Street Press, 1998.

Voogelbreinder, Snu, Garden of Eden: The Shamanic Use of Psychoactive Flora and Fauna, and the Study of Consciousness. Snu Voogelbreinder, 2009. tor/Producerhan Viagra.

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The REAL Dreaming Herbs

One aspect of human experience that I find particularly fascinating is the topic of Lucid Dreaming.  I’ve been so deeply invested learning lucid dreaming techniques from the very first lucid dream I had, where I realized that I was in a reality that was as real and as tangible as the one you’re reading this article in, while being fully asleep.  It was actually so real, that as I tromped through New York City seeking answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything, that I was determined to bring back a license plate with me.  Like any other topic I knew nothing about, I set out to find as much out about lucid dreaming as I could; I wanted this sleeping reality to be a place I could visit as often as possible!

My search initially led me to trying to replicate the experience.  I charted out what I ate the night before, what time I went to sleep, how I felt, and any other detail I could come up with.  It was truly one of the most exhilarating and exciting experiences of my life, and I wanted to get more than a cursory look into this incredible world that not only was completely mutable on thought, but one that literally was as real to me as my waking reality, if not more so.

I feverishly kept a separate Dream Journal, and charted out every dream I had.  Little did I know that the time, that this is one of the most powerful tools for inducing lucid dreaming.  Just like anything else; the more we practice something, the better we get at it.  I was practicing at recalling my dreams, which in turn, raised my awareness while shifting my waking focus to the act of dreaming.  I started to figure out details such as most of my lucid dreams happened in that morning twilight state before I really want to wake up.  I learned that I could set my alarm for 2-3 hours before I awoke, to bring me out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep state where lucid dreams seemed most-likely to occur.

I eventually found my way to the “Lucidity Institute” and then to an amazing device called the NovaDreamer.  Both were instrumental in helping me create a regimen for lucid dreaming, and the NovaDreamer actually induced lucid dreams within the first week of using it!  But, this article is not intended to speak to any of that.  If you are interested to know more about what I know about lucid dreaming, please visit my website called; DreamHerbs.com.  Yes, it’s got herbs on it we sell here at the shop, but lucid dreaming is truly one of my greatest passions in my eternal exploration of human consciousness.

One of the things I found along the way were natural herbal products that helped me lucid dream.  In my research, I discovered that several cultures placed a high value on lucid dreaming, so I looked to those cultures’ practices to discover what methods and perhaps herbs they used to help with lucid dreaming.  One culture that was of particular interest were the Xosa, the Samgoma, Karanga and South African shamans.  All have a long history of contacting ancestors through dreams.  Silene capensis is used by the Xhosa of South Africa to communicate with the ancestors. (Woolcott, 2011).  Imphepho (helichrysum odoratissimum) is used by the Samgoma to induce trance states and to communicate with ancestors. (National Digital Repository, 2011)  Synaptolepis kirkii is used by the Karanga and other shamans in South Africa to bring on visions and to treat epilepsy. (Ethnobotany Life, 2011)

Any culture that places such a high value on dreaming; it would make sense that they’ve explored every possible plant in their environment that may help induce lucid dreaming, and/or enhance dream recall to help bring those messages back. Upon research, this panned out to be true.  Using personal travel and subsequent experience with this ancient and sacred shamanic plants, this is how DreamHerbs has built it’s modest database of plants that help induce lucid reaming or help with the process of dream recall.

Two of the most powerful “Dreaming Herbs” I found for me were Silene Capensis and Entada rheedi.  Silene is easy to work with, but Entada rheedii is a different story altogether.  The seed is the most desired part of the Entada plant, and the seed is the size of a flattened golf ball.  And, the part of the seed that’s used is the “meat” of the seed.  This meat of the seed is like a giant sunflower seed, and can be difficult to blend with other herbs.  This is why I created the Dreamer’s Blend on IAmShaman and Shaman’s Garden.

I make a tea out of the Dreamer’s Blend and also roll it into a cigarette.  I make sure I’m in a state conducive to relaxation.  I have my Dream Journal next to me and review other dreams.  I take note of what I ate that day, what kind of mental state I’m in now, and write that as the first part of my entry for the evening.  Sometimes I think ritual gets in the way of achieving our desired goals, but this is a case where I think ritual has vastly increased my frequency of lucid dreams.

Anyway, find out LOTS more information on Lucid Dreaming on one of my sister sites called DreamHerbs.  It’s another labor of love, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of both A. Szostek (article research) and Jake More (website design).

REFERENCES:

Woolcott, Ina. Silene Capensis, Ubulawu, African Xhosa Dream Root Induces Lucid Dreams. Shamanic Journey, Shamans and Shamanism. Web. 27 June 2011. <>.

NDR › National Digital Repository › Indigenous Knowledge › Stories › Imphepho. NDR › National Digital Repository. Web. 27 June 2011.

Uvuma-omhlope (Synaptolepis Kirkii) Profile. Ethnobotany Life. Web. 27 June 2011.

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Real Wild Dagga’s Effects

I can’t count the number of times I wish I could sit down with each one of our customers and have a discussion about the many plants we have to offer here at the shop.  It’s so easy to be lured in by slick marketing or fancy product images, but if anyone takes just one thing away from anything I have to say, it’s this:

ALL HERBAL PRODUCTS AREN’T THE SAME.

One example that comes to mind is our Wild Dagga.  This is one of the plants we have to offer that I truly take great pride in.  Any of the Wild Dagga we have to offer, whether it’s the leaves or the flowers, are grown by me (Private Reserve), not only with lots of love, but with absolutely no harsh chemicals whatsoever.  Wild Dagga also happens to be one of those plants that’s beautiful at every stage of its growth.  When it’s concentrating its energy on growing leaves, the scent itself is intoxicating to my senses.  I even have a stack of Wild Dagga plants outside my office window which stand about 6 feet tall.  Part of the reason I have them there is because of the scent.

But, enough of that.  Partly because of my passion, and partly because I’ve been in this business for over 10 years now:  I know HOW MANY suppliers there are for entheogens, exotic botanicals, and herbal products and I know WHO they are as well.  I’ve probably dealt with all of them.  I also know the harvesting techniques of just about every supplier’s growers.  And, just as there are everything from Ford Escorts to  Porshe’s in the automotive industry, the same is true for the herbal industry.

Many growers know that all they need to do is grow as much as possible as fast as possible to fill demand.  Those are the growers who don’t care about the growing or harvesting process and the timing of both, as long as they’re getting products out the door.  The difference in quality and potency of herbal products is something that’s difficult to explain in the pages of an online shop.  I know how people often shop online because I shop online myself.  If a website looks professional, I will automatically be more likely to purchase from them.  If their prices are lower than the website next to them, I may choose to make my purchase there.  But, that’s no difference than going to a car dealer and picking the cheapest car, expecting it to place first at the Indy 500 (I know so little about car racing, but it seemed like a good idea to stick with the car analogies).

Wild Dagga is one of those plants where this is especially true.

For example, from our own testing, the leonurine content of Wild Dagga is at it’s peak when the leaves are about 4″ long.  We stagger our harvesting of leaves, and one at a time, we make sure we don’t harvest leaves when they’re too small or when they’re too large.  What’s even more interesting, though, is that in our in-house testing, leonurine content is also about the same throughout the leaves of the Wild Dagga plant when it’s flowering.  I couldn’t begin to answer why, but this allows us to harvest a large number of leaves when we’re harvesting the flowers.

Speaking of the flowers:  WIld Dagga flowers are like candy to me.  As you can see in the photo of one of our own plants (no, that’s not a stock photo), the base of the flower turns white.  Pulling the Wild Dagga flower out of the base reveals more of that white part of the flower.  Biting into this part, especially when freshly-picked, is wondrously sweet nectar.  The sweetness soon turns to bitterness, indicating the alkaloid content of the Wild Dagga flower.  The more bitter the taste at the finish, typically the more leonurine is present in the flower.

It’s this kind of care and attention that I give all of the products we have to offer here at the shop.  I am as passionate as one can be about choosing WHICH suppliers to work with.  And, we choose only those suppliers who can provide us with the quality I demand from my own garden/farm here in California.  So, what’s my point?  My point is simply this:

It’s also very easy to get inferior herbal products, and to then decide that an herbal product is a “scam” based on that one experience.  This is also why I wish I could sit down with each customer and their purchase, and share with them why I’m so passionate about any particular plant.  I wouldn’t offer any of the plants here at the shop if I didn’t personally believe in it.

Even with as much care as I take with our products, though, we’re always at the mercy of Mother Nature.  Sometimes, when I take as much care as I do with everything from Wild Dagga to any of the other potentiators we carry, sometimes there are batches that just aren’t as potent as others.  But, this is also why we offer our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!  I want you to be happy with your purchase, and will gladly give you an exchange or a refund if you’re unhappy with any of the products we have to offer.

But remember: Herbal products are not an exact science, and part of the fun of working with them is to responsibly experiment with the ones that are intended for consumption.

EFFECTS OF WILD DAGGA

Finally, I’m getting to the section I started out writing this post about; the effects of Wild Dagga.  From my extensive experience with Wild Dagga, I would have to conclude that the effects are more mild when the leaves and flowers are dried, but there is, without question, a pleasant repose that Wild Dagga offers all on it’s own.  For me, my favorite thing to do is to harvest a couple of handfuls of flowers and extract the nectar and alkaloids from them.  This turns into clear, sweet-smelling liquid that I place into a dropper bottle.  That liquid is perfect for dropping onto my other favorite herbs.  Why?  Because Wild Dagga is something called a “potentiator,” which in technical terms, is also called a “vasodilator.”

The active alkaloid in Wild Dagga (as mentioned earlier) is Leonurine.  Leonurine happens to be (among other things) an alkaloid that dilates blood vessels.  This means that whatever herb it’s blended with, it will make that herb more potent than the herb on its own.  For example, if I want to intensify the effects of my Blue Lotus flowers, if I blend them with Wild Dagga, the effects of the Blue Lotus will be more noticeable and in smaller amounts than if I had decided to work with Blue Lotus on its own.  The possibilities are endless, and again, part of the joy of all of these herbs is to work with them, to blend them, to find what works best for you.

So, if you don’t want to go through the process of extracting the alkaloids from the Wild Dagga flowers, the whole flower can simply be blended with any herb you’re working with, whether you’re smoking it or making it into a tea.  It’s the same with the leaves; although not typically as potent as the flowers, the power of Wild Dagga leaves are when they’re blended with other favorite herbs.

I’ve been working with all the exotic botanicals we have to offer for a number of years now, and I’m still not tired of playing with different blends of herbs.  My Dreamer’s Blend isn’t some random blend of exotic botanicals, it’s a blend that I finally settled on after countless personal experiments with dream recall and ludic dreaming.  Wild Dagga is something that I found helps increase the

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Calea zacatechichi for Lucid Dreaming

There are so many mixed reviews regarding one of my favorite plants in the world that I couldn’t help writing a post about it: Calea zacatechichi.  An avid lucid dreamer since my first spontaneous lucid dream when I was in my early 20′s, lucid dreaming has become one of those key aspects of my life that I can’t imagine being without.

When I’m looking for a good tool to help with dreams and dream recall, I look no further than cultures who revere dreams as a way to speak to ancestors or for divination.  Several cultures come to mind; African, Mesoamerican, and American Indian.  Each culture, especially the African culture, believes that dreams are the gateways to the realm where our ancestors speak to us.  So naturally, these cultures are going to seek out and eventually cultivate the plants that help them achieve this goal.

And this is where a foul-tasting, but highly effective plant comes in; Calea zacatechichi or Dream Herb, as most know it.  Calea has been used by one of my favorite peoples; the Chontal Indians in Oaxaca, Mexico for thousands of years to both help aid in dream recall and to help induce lucid dreaming.  Recent scientific research has backed up what the natives have known for many, many years; that Calea zacatachichi actually works.

Growing the plant is relatively easy as well.  Although, if it doesn’t get lots of sunlight from the base of the plant to the top of the plant, it will get spindly and “leggy” as it grows, rather than short and bushy.  I’ve found that all the parts of the plant are about equally as effective, and I actually prefer the stems and leaves towards the top of the plants over any other part.  Since Calea is such a hearty grower, it’s safe to take lots of clippings as it grows.  And, when I’ve got the leaves and the time in the evening (never in the mornings), I love to roll my Calea cigarette in a Shamanic Tobacco leaf, giving the overall experience an extra dimension and taste.

For me, the key thing to remember is that this is a natural herbal product.  If it doesn’t work for you on the first try; don’t automatically assume the plant is a scam or ineffective.  In this world of pill-popping and instant gratification, it’s easy to remember that it takes time to build a relationship with a plant.  Although Calea might not be as strong as other Teacher Plants such as Salvia divinorum, without a doubt, this is a Teacher Plant.  That typically means that Calea isn’t going to give up its secrets easily, and just as every one of our bodies are different, we need to find that right blend of Calea, state of mind, quantity, and form of Calea to help guide our minds towards more vivid dreams and more lucid ones as well.

For me, there are few experiences like that of a full-blown, fully-lucid, fully-conscious, lucid dream.  For me, I love to fly my plane as often as I can around Southern California, but to have the freedom of flight by just flapping my arms or holding my hands in front of me as I feel the rush of the wind glide past me and the heat of the sun on my skin…and have it feel as real as me writing this now or you reading it; it’s one of those great pleasures of being in these fleeting and fragile human frames.

Peacefulness,
Bodhi

P.S. Want to know more about herbs for dreaming?  Visit www.DreamHerbs.com or www.CaleazDreams.com for more.

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3 Lotus Paste for Meditation

Three Lotus PasteAs I’ve posted several times before; we pride ourselves on the growing number of unique Shamanic Tools from around the world, and from many traditions. One of the items we’re most proud of as well is the Three Lotus Paste from Tibet. People don’t always believe us when we tell them that this unique and powerful blend is hand-crafted only for us by a group of Tibetan monks who have used this recipe for as long as they have recorded their history.

This blend is a powerful combination of three lotuses.  In the proper setting, it is smoked in a very small amount with and often blended with a favorite herb, where it reportedly opens up mental centers and promotes not only a clarity of mind, but a deep and profound connection with the animal world.

As a customer wrote us; “Deeply affecting. Subtle but encompassing. The effects of triple lotus paste are felt entirely on the spiritual plane. Perceptive to only the sensitive and energetically pure.  Partaking alone, I feel my spirit stand on tip toe. Literally, my awareness levitates four inches higher than normal. Without hallucination, like a bird, or an out of body experience, I can see “all of this” clearly – the pieces seem to lock into place and the puzzle makes sense.

As another customer said; “My Lover and I’s already nonverbal communication skyrocketed to an undeniable ‘psychic’ state. He was overwhelmed with emotion, sobbing joy, – a pure conduit for life force, entirely in his power – the biggest I have ever seen him. I was consumed with receptivity, wide open for information or consolation or reflection – in my power – the most vast I have ever been.”

This blend is very similar to our Bali Blend Tea, but it’s highly concentrated into a smokeable resin-like paste.  Even the scent of this blend is intoxicating, and makes a welcome addition to any herbal smoking blend intended to relax and soothe.

The other use for this paste is to add to wine, just like Sacred Blue Lily and Blue Lotus petals typically are.  We’ve added 1 gram of paste to the wine, and then gently stir it in a re-corked bottle so the wine doesn’t oxidize.  The paste slowly and evenly dissolves over a few hours, making the magical Lotus wine in a few hours rather than a couple of weeks.

We’re so passionate about this natural herbal blend that I’m always interested to hear what kind of experiences others have had with this unique and potent blend.

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Shaman Rattle Root for Ritual

Shaman Rattle RootWe pride ourselves on the growing number of unique Shamanic Tools from around the world, and from many traditions.  One of the items we’re most proud of is the Shaman Rattle Root.  It’s one of those rare items that’s both an instrument for helping to induce trance when used as a rattle, as well as an herb that, when smoked, was part of the Shaman trance state as well.

The use of this root as a rattle/sound producer in rituals or Vedic Shamanism is held in as high esteem as the Sacred Lotus does.  And, the very seeds that are responsible for generating the sound the Shaman Rattle Root makes, were also ground up AFTER the ceremony and the resin-like waxy mixture is smoked with tobacco or lotus petals in a traditional mix called Hokah or Gudakhu. The pipe with the magical blend is only passed to participants who request it, and it’s never taken unless seeking guidance.

As we peer back into the historical use of this herb, we also find that, according to the Department of Botany at the Aligarh Muslim University, this exotic herb was also used as a dream catcher as well as a dream inducer.  Many have heard of the bitter herb called Calea Zacatechichi for helping to facilitate lucid dreaming states, but  the Shaman Rattle Root uses the ritual outlines below:

To prepare, first grind up or cut up several sections of root, anywhere between 4” – 6” in length.  Soak these in a half bottle of wine or no more than 375ml of a clear alcohol such as vodka.  Drink only a half of a glass of wine or 1/2 of an ounce of the clear alcohol extraction.  The Todas actually grind up the seed and pulp to make an alcohol specifically for this purpose.

Once the intent has been set and the drink consumed, shake the rattle over your head and then your feet in clockwise circles, concentrating on the energy of the root while visualizing vivid dreams.  Grind up some of the root, bark, seeds and all, and place in a sachet under the pillow.  Cheesecloth works well for this, but so do small fabric pouches.

Rattle are a key tool for Shaman trance induction, and that’s why we also offer a wide selection of genuine Shaman Rattles hand-crafted in Peru  We’ve got Medium Shaman Rattles as well as Small Shaman Rattles.  A shaman’s rattle possesses strong powers and is often kept in their own special medicine bag. Rattles, for those drawn to them, are very powerful tools and should always be handled with proper care and reverence.

For a quick history lesson:  Who are the Todas?

They’re a small pastoral community living on the 7,000 Nilgiri Hills in South India. They believe in 1600 or 1800 superior godlike beings, the two most important being On and Teikirzi. They along with the Aborginals of Australia are the only known people to use plant pods in ritualistic healing shaman rituals.

The Shaman’s Rattle Root was used by Tantric alchemists as an aphrodisiac, but it’s also ground up for use in the manufacture of the native “Gudakhu” visionary tobacco smoked in Hookahs.

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How Fresh Are Your Products?

There are actually several factors that go in my ability to confidently say that not only are our products fresh; they’re both the freshest and of higher quality as well.  Bear with me as I explain why I can make such a bold statement:

First, we fill more orders in a day than most other entheogen vendors combined.  We’ve been The IAmShaman Shop for so many years now, that our system runs like a well-oiled machine, even on the busiest of days.  Because of this, our stock is constantly rotating.  We also used to get one shipment per year but we now have some of the most popular products growing in various places in the world so harvests occur at different times throughout the year.

Second,we buy DIRECT from most of our growers, or we grow products ourselves.  We know exactly how the plant was grown, how it was harvested, and are in complete control of the process from beginning to end.  We have our own farms and can’t always sell all that they produce ourselves, so we wholesale sometimes as well.  So, if someone claims to have fresher product than us, there’s a good chance that it’s hype.

Third, we only deal manufacturers and wholesalers who can provide a product that will stand up to our own scrutiny.  We work with many of the products we offer ourselves, so it’s critically important that they maintain the high standard that IAmShaman and Shaman’s Garden prides itself on.

Many think that becuase we offer lower prices than most of our competitors, that our quality MUST be lower, but it’s simply because you’re buying direct when you buy from us; there are FAR fewer “middlemen” in the process of growing, harvesting, and getting a plant to you.

Finally, the shop is far more than a shop to all of here.  It’s been my mission to help raise consciousness, even in some small way, on entheogens, shamanism, and the altered states of consciousness that have the power to reveal our true nature.  We’ve been denied this on a grand scale, and we’ve also been denied the use of powerful plant allies because of low quality, old stock,  overprocessing, and adulteration by suppliers looking to “stretch” their stock.

That could never happen here.  We care too much about what we do, and truly, we care more about customer satisfaction than anyone else we know.  When you make a purchase from us, you’re also helping to take another step forward in fighting for the freedom to explore what lies in the depths of our own minds.

Read our “Mission Statement” for more…

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“How Do I Choose a Dreaming Herb?”

It all depends on the person, really.  The Dreamer’s Blend works great for some people, and has a variety of dreaming herbs in it, making it less concentrated, but more effective for a wider range of person. The Calea zacatechichi is just that; pure Calea and nothing else.  But, some find the taste offensive, and don’t like to make it into a tea or roll it into a smoke before going to bed.  I’ve actually received comments such as; “The Calea tastes like Donkey Piss!”, but I find it the most effective of all the dreaming herbs, and I also find the taste….well, not bad at all.  (Draw your own conclusions…)

Honestly, though, part of the joy of discovering entheogens and other teaching plants is the journey of discovering them, and discovering which ones are your “allies”.  We are all vastly different people, and just like everything else, different herbs will please some and not others. Really, they’re inexpensive enough to try more than one, so empower yourself and experiment, try both out to see which one works for you.  For me, one of the most amazing gifts we have as humans is the ability to explore our consciousness outside of these frames, and one of the most vivid pathways to this exploration is through lucid dreaming.

Being an avid lucid dreamer myself, I truly believe that this is something that can be both taught and learned by virtually every human.  We already know how to dream….lucid dreaming is simply taking that a step further to harness that power, and take control of the dream world…a world that is often just as tangible and real as the one we dream in on a daily basis.

Peacefulness,
Bodhi

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How Can Your Prices Be So Low?

We get that A LOT, and are quite used to it, actually.  But, I have the same answer since I’ve had from the 1st day I decided to open this shop:  I was tired of paying extremely high prices for exotic botanicals of questionable quality, with no actual person to speak to when I ordered them, for what I thought was a TON of money, as I was left to wait weeks for my order to arrive.  It seemed as though the companies selling these entheogens and ethnobotanicals felt as though I should be happy that they’re selling me these products at all, and that I should simply shut up, be happy, and wait patiently for my stuff!

Surely there must be a better way, I thought.

So, I thought that if there was a way I could find out where to source these products myself, I could at least offer my favorite of these; Salvia divinorum on the forum that I had started specifically to seek others who held Salvia divinorum as sacred as I do.  When I posted these thoughts on my forum (I had a forum long before I decided to open an online shop), a dear soul, who worked for a now-defunct online entheogen dealer, made himself known to me.  His name was Tim.

He offered to sell me Salvia divinorum in large enough quantities to be able to make some extracts and to sell it to others for nearly my cost on our forum.  Another dear friend on the forum named Sphere, also taught me how to extract this beautiful and sacred plant, and I was off and running.

I took what I had learned from Sphere, and started to extract Salvia divinorum, as we both refined and perfected the process along the way.  I was able to provide everyone on the forum with hand-made extracts of this amazing plant, and one of my dearest connections on the forum as well as spiritual guru; John Morley, suggested that I open a small online shop to actually sell this extract.  Since I made extract by hand, with passion, love, and incredible diligence, why not share it with as many as possible.

With much contemplation, realizing that if I sold this plant, I couldn’t start the Church of the Divine Sage that I so desperately wanted to start for me and everyone on the forum.  So, IAmShaman the forum, now had the IAmShaman Shop as an offshoot of the forum.  Yes, I never imagined that the tiny forum I started as a beacon to my experiences with Salvia divinorum would ever lead me to the places it did, especially starting a shop to sell it, and then finding myself in the incredible place I find myself now.

Long story short, I continued to make contacts and more friends who knew of places to source ex0tic botanicals and entheogens. Slowly, I added more products to the small list, and decided that if I was going to actually open a shop, that I wanted it to be EVERYTHING that I wished other online shops were but weren’t.

The IAmShaman philosophy and shop were born!  I wanted to provide the highest quality botanicals at the lowest prices, while shipping out these botanicals the SAME DAY.  I also wanted to have a phone number that people could call, to find out what was going on with their order, or to ask product questions, or whatever else they needed.

It turns out that more fellow spiritual explorers than I ever imagined had wished the same things when it came to buying entheogens and ethnobotanicals online, and the shop grew faster than I ever imagined it would or could.

Since then, my mission has remained the same, and we are still dedicated and devoted to offering the highest quality botanicals at the lowest prices.  Any extra cash goes straight back into the shop, to develop new contacts, to buy farming fields to grow our own products, and most recently; to offer the one-of-a-kind IAmShaman Grant, which we hope to expand every year, as well as the Private Reserve line of products we proudly offer.

I have never forgotten that it’s our treasured customers who made this all happen, and I want to continue to give back in every way I can think of until this body becomes too rickety to carry on.  My hope is that someone else will eventually take over the shop and continue to fight for the freedom of thought and the preservation of knowledge of these sacred plants, just like the folks at Erowid and Entheology and so many others are doing.

In fact, I will still offer you a personal response to any question you may have. no matter how many orders we ship.  We surpassed 500,000 customers total in late 2010, and our attention to remaining completely legal and licensed has a lot to do with that.  Simply e-mail me, Bodhi, at bodhi at iamshaman dot com, and I promise that I will get back to you as soon as I can. Or, simply post on this blog; I am the only person who writes in it, so anything you write here, will get a personal response from me.

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