Wilderness is a necessity of the human spirit 1
1 Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire [edited]
PROJECT APOLLO — BEHIND THE NAME
A balmy summer evening on the French Riviera. In the streets, people cluster around b&w tiny tv sets. Pervading the air, a momentous anticipation is absorbed like a sponge by a young child’s brain. The date is 20-7-1969, 4AHAU in the Maya Tzolkin. Carrying two men, the Eagle is about to land on the moon—coming in peace for all mankind. It is my first memory.
[some 40 years later] Braving a snowstorm in the New Mexico wilderness, we walk heavy and bundled under layers of synthetic clothing—sounding to ourselves like men on oxygen tanks. In my pack, a new sleeping bag labeled ‘Apollo’. The tools are different yet we too are reaching for the moon. Our launchpad is to be a shamanic cave perched on the cliff side like an eagle nest. Sheltered by an impressive overhang, the paintings on its back wall reflect a thousand years of ritual activity. We have been there before, and i have been there before that (the site looms large in my personal history and mythology). This time, the journey will fail and go down in flame. But salvaged from the wreck is now a name and concept to function as umbrella for all previous and subsequent adventures.
APOLLO SOLO — GENESIS AND EARLY YEARS
1995 — A personal paradigm shift combines with exciting discoveries with intoxicating results: the descent of the Cat spirit into my consciousness; the switch from the harsh world of synthetic LSD to the organic realm of psilocybin mushrooms; exposure to the mind-bending words of bard Terence McKenna and the Native American spirit; new high tech outdoor gear from the local co-op; and solo backpacking in the pristine environment of the California High Sierras. There seems to be no end to the potential.
Yet right from the start, a Chironic pain is felt within. i see it only too clearly reflected in the environmental destruction raging around these pockets of untouched wilderness.
Karma is ripe: soon to be cataclystic catalyst, a friend and mentor arrives on the scene.
1997 — Ever increasing levels of inner woundedness and the hand of destiny mix to precipitate a heads-on collision with my precious friend. Then and there the Jaguar comes...the Jaguar Knight is born. I embark on a 'night-sea journey' to retrieve my soul. A journey into the depths of the unconscious that will unfold over 5 years and 3 continents: from timeless deserts to buzzing rainforests, desolate fjords to mountains in thin air; from towering redwoods to twisted junipers, sparkling colibris to black calling crows; from megalithic chambers of Neolithic Europe to Knight Templar churches of the medieval age to prehistoric caves of the American Southwest to pyramids of the Classical Mayas...Into the Heart of the jaguar.
Along the way an ancient kinship is unveiled and my life’s work, the Mandalã, begins.
2001 — In a landmark ritual in a painted cave perched on a cliffside in the New Mexico wilderness, this personal journey culminates. From the animal kingdom, i have recovered my ‘lower-half’; from the mentor in whom it had been invested/projected, i have retrieved my ‘upper-half’. Heaven and Earth thus connected, i come home to myself.
But Artemis is ever the unreachable virgin, Apollo ever the unatainable ideal. The ever-widening quest for healing never ends, the walk toward the ancestors never truly stops.
TEAM APOLLO — GENESIS
2002 — Rob & i meet. Our friendship quickly grows into a spiritual brotherhood keen on exploring the multidimensional universe. Each is a near-veteran of the psychedelic experience and has trained in triathlon. Each is to bring a strikingly different yet complementary approach to the adventure.
I am an experienced backpacker—with a thing for well-designed outdoor gear—who has honed his skills in the Sierra mountains of California. Backed by astrological knowledge, i have learned to be in special places at special times. With the catalyst of powerful guides from the animal kingdom, i receptively tune in the journey space.
Rob has an innate understanding of how to be and move inside the Dreamtime, proactively engaging it with sound and play. This includes the use of the didgeridoo—the par excellence instrument of the Dreamtime—of which Rob is a master craftsman and player. His zealous approach to the instrument and creative use of breath and voice has resulted in a powerful style of rhythmic playing—often conjuring images of distant landscapes and deep jungles. Besides Psylocybin mushrooms, he is also familiar with other psychoactive compounds, including Ayahuasca and Salvia Divinorum.
As we begin journeying together, the joint effort emerges greater than the sum of its parts. Memorable events are generated by a kind of synergistic magic. Our adventures may not spark or fizzle, but they make great pictures.