don Jose Ruiz is a force. A wild wind. A bolt of lightning. A positive charge. A living gospel. A truth teller. I don’t know if I’ve ever left an interview feeling so invigorated and sure of my own existence. don Jose’s books have been an important part of my spiritual education and homecoming. I wanted to interview him about two of his books The Wisdom of the Shamans and The Medicine Bag. Both of these books rely on the themes of rewilding, creating rituals, and self-love. The core moving parts of the spiritual seeker’s experience.
We are all born wild and free, but most of us succumb to domestication. We forget our own sacred wildness or we try to stifle it and conform. Part of the spiritual experience is undoing this domestication and it can take many forms and be called many things: undoing, unbecoming, rewilding, homecoming, liberation, sovereignty. don Jose tells us that domestication is the introduction of the dream of the planet, meaning what we have agreed to as a species, culture and a society. We arrive on this Earth as a blank slate but we quickly get allocated into regions, religions, genders, and races and that’s where our programming starts. Domestication gives way to fear and we begin to conform but one day something occur that reawakens us and helps step out of our domestication and into remembering. Suffering usually mediates our reawakening and we can start to peel the dream off of our eyes and enter the world as ourselves don Jose says.
After we break our domestication, we begin to curate our own rituals that help us heal and expand our awakening. don Jose talks about how he’s created a mosaic of rituals from a variety of practices, as any Toltec artist would do. He reminds the audience members who have left their religion of origins and are struggling to create their own new rituals and connections to source that you can never walk away from God, even if you walk away from a religion. That the first step in connecting is recognizing the connection was never lost. Rituals can be anything and applied to every part of our life, if we put our intention and heart into what we do. Rituals can be intermixed and hybridity can occur when building rituals that support the uniqueness of your spiritual experience. You can do yoga and sing Christian hymns. You can be atheist enjoy kirtan chants. You can celebrate Christmas and practice Hinduism. It’s all valid if it helps you, the aspirant stay in alignment with yourself.
don Jose brings the interview to a close with two important points. The first being, Divine Feminine has been suppressed on Earth and we are paying a high price for this. He beautifully conveys that Divine Feminine is the portal of the infinite, birthing everything and everyone into to existence. In order to heal our planet we must honor and elevate Divine Feminine spirit in all sentient beings.
Secondly, he calls on us to identify that we are the love of our lives. Our biggest responsibility is to love ourselves. This means not using the word against our selves by poisoning our mind with unkind words, harsh criticisms, judgements or insults. He likens this to keeping your child in a school where you know they are constantly harassed and bullied–no parent would ever do that. So we shouldn’t either. Loving oneself means inviting in gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and grace into every interaction we have with our self so that when we greet the world, we meet everyone from the an internal position of love.