Three Visits to the Mosquito Spirit King
A friend recently sent me a quote from page one of a book called “Understanding Gregory Bateson; Mind, Beauty and the Sacred Earth” (New York, State University of NY Press, Albany, 2008) by Noel G. Charlton. The passage is so good I’m going to reproduce it all here.
Bateson “believes it possible that we can recover “the grace” of realizing our interrelated membership of the community of living organisms on this planet. The route to this realization is via personal engagement with the more-than-rational processes of the natural world and of human art. Poetry, painting, dance, music, humor, metaphor, “the best of religion,” and “natural history” all offer to us the possibility of renewed access to the wisdom that we, as a species, have gained during millions of years of evolution—now overlaid and rendered unavailable to us by our “self-conscious purposiveness.”
This is one of Bateson’s key phrases, often repeated. By it he means that we have learned, through the centuries, to identify single goals for our purposes. We have come to think of causality as a series of straight-line, “knock-on” effects that can be managed by a single human “self,” in its own personal interests — without allowing for all the interpenetrating influences and effects flowing between each of us and the wider living world.
A key aspect of Bateson’s thought is his insistence that we must actively engage with the processes of the living world and with all the forms of human art. Engagement, he claims, yields understanding that can lead to wise action. By recognizing beauty in the world we can identify sane and health-giving possibilities for action.”
This passage, densely packed with important ideas, suggests to me an almost overwhelming number of connections with past posts and possible future directions to pursue.
For the moment, however, I want to focus on the first line of the quote, which talks of recovering “the grace of realizing our interrelated membership of the community of living organisms on this planet.” Such ‘grace’ is one of the many offerings of Madre Ayahuasca – she is sometimes called a ‘master plant’ (even though there is universal agreement that she is female) that facilitates ‘inter-species communication’.
Curiously, I discovered, whilst researching this blog, that the musician Peter Gabriel has a project to develop the internet to promote human-animal communication.
Dr. Richard Leakey, the world’s most famous paleonthropologist, estimates that every year, between 17,000 and 100,000 species are lost. He says: “For the sake of argument let’s assume the number is 50,000 a year. Whatever way you look at it, we’re destroying the Earth at a comparable rate with the impact of a giant asteroid slamming into the planet, or even a shower of vast heavenly bodies.”
Many people, both with and without drinking ayahuasca, experience a profound connection to the more-than-human world. The author, Jay Griffiths, in her exhilarating book “Wild: An Elemental Journey” offers a particularly vivid description of being transformed into a jaguar by Madre Ayahuasca.
My experience with this began some two years ago. Madre Ayahuasca was leading me through a labyrinthine complex of buildings. I realized she was taking me to see someone. Suddenly I was face-to-face with the mosquito spirit king. I had been thinking of mosquitoes at that time as two people I knew had contacted malaria in Iquitos, where I was, and I had been told that there were many more mosquitoes in Pucallpa, which I was due to visit for the first time.
The mosquito spirit king had a fierce, commanding presence. He was seriously pissed-off. He told me that he was angry with humans for trying to exterminate his race. He said, furthermore, that we would never achieve this as mosquitoes were more intelligent than us. If we kept trying to do this, he warned me, they would evolve to become much more dangerous for human beings.
I asked him if it were possible that his subjects not give me a serious illness. I said they could bite me but preferably not make me ill. He just looked sharply at me in response and I knew that in asking him this I had to stop swatting mosquitoes, which I did. Since then, the number of mosquito bites I have had has been minimal. But I have to be wary of hubris – he gave me no guarantee.
After this experience, I did some research on mosquitoes on the internet. There are 3500 named species of mosquitoes in the world. I discovered an interesting article in the prestigious scientific journal “Nature” that asks a number of scientists to consider a world without mosquitoes and largely, but not exclusively, comes down on the side that they could be eliminated without serious ecological consequences. One of the scientists even went as far as saying, which tellingly reveals the underlying dominant scientific philosophy : “If there was a benefit to having them around, we would have found a way to exploit them.”
The second visit occurred a few months ago. For the first part of a ceremony with Madre Ayahuasca, I had felt irritated by the numbers of mosquitoes buzzing around me and the flying cockroaches that were colliding with my face. At one point, seemingly out of the blue, it occurred to me that they were trying to communicate with me. “OK”, I said, “You have my attention”. The response was a sigh, as if to say: “What took you so long?”
They indicated I was to follow them and I was taken to my second encounter with the mosquito spirit king. This time he seemed less formidable and was outside of his palace where I had met him before. He was flooded in white light and I saw that each of his subjects embodied a tiny white light which enabled a rapid, sophisticated communication between them. I thought that the point of this encounter was to show me that they were also ‘light-workers’.
The third encounter happened shortly after this. This time the mosquito king was back to his earlier furious presence. He told me that they had had enough ¡Ya basta! They were now mobilizing for the coming war with humans. Madre Ayahuasca had already shown me shortly after my first encounter with the mosquito spirit king that Gaia was getting ready to use his subjects as her first line of attack – her shock troops – along with some form of infection that would drastically reduce the human population.
For the mosquitoes, it would be a holy war, their jihad. They were honored to be chosen by Gaia, to be in her complete service, and were awaiting her orders.
I was telling the friend who sent me the quote that began this post about my first experience with the mosquito spirit king. She commented that the bees must also be fed up with us. I replied that it is hard to think of any animal species that might feel well disposed to us.