The Convergence That Kindled the Flame
I have known Pablo Amaringo since the 1990s. We frequently met over the years, and together we studied his art and spiritual philosophy. A result of this longstanding relationship was the collaboration for our book The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo, which Pablo and I coauthored with Peter Cloudsley, and which was published by Inner Traditions in 2011. During the many years working with Pablo Amaringo on that book, we went into great detail about his life, his in-depth knowledge of the vibrant Mundo Amazonica, and particularly his eclectic spiritual wisdom. We also had many discussions over the years regarding the nature of angelic and celestial beings; during these discussions he shared his illustrations of these beings and his preliminary paintings of them. Many of these beings appear in his main body of paintings--not usually as the main subject but in the background as a supportive context and narrative texture.
After Pablo died in 2009, I maintained ongoing contact with his son, Juan Vasquez Amaringo. On one of my visits to him in Pucallpa, he showed me an archive of even more sketches and preliminary paintings of Angels and nature spirits that I hadn’t seen before. Around the same time, a friend, L.M.J., had completed transcribing over five hundred pages of Pablo’s typed and handwritten notes onto the computer. It was this convergence that kindled the flame for this project. Pablo’s estate and family fully support and endorse this project. This Angel Oracle card set is not only based upon Pablo’s art but also incorporates his spiritual wisdom, meditation, and creative practices.
Pablo’s family and I agreed to develop an Angel Oracle project in 2015, but although I had a few preliminary sketches done and had written a narrative about each Angel, the project didn’t happen. I had other plans such as organizing a major conference on visionary art and plant medicines in East Europe (Sumiruna Awakenings) in 2016, and what with my travels the Angel project sat both physically and metaphorically on the shelf. I was in Peru in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began to bite, and I knew that I had to get home quickly before the big shutdown. After three additional flights I scraped through. During the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine period, I did a shamanic journey to get some insights into the duration and severity of the pandemic. I was shown that “everyday” life would start resuming around autumn 2021. Possibly facing eighteen months of downtime, I knew that I had to do something to keep my mind and spirit active, but I didn’t know what. That very night I had a dream, and in this dream a soft voice said, “the time has come.” I woke up and saw a glowing cloud of iridescent multicolored particles that shimmered and faded away. I knew this was an angelic presence, my entire body was in an electric heightened state of bliss, and it was indeed time for the Angel Oracle. I got up and found the folder for this project where I had left it. I blew the dust off, opened it, and here we are!
For each Angel I made a visualization meditation. During this practice, I would see each Angel, their appearance, their attributes, and their message. It was the ineffable or the formless taking shape in my mind with a sense of connecting to a high order vibration. It was both a personal healing journey and a voyage of discovery; as an example, when I started to write about the Angel of Peace, what came to mind was about war, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and rivers of blood. The next morning, at my desk ready to continue writing, I said to myself, “Okay Howard, you got this off your chest, so now write about peace.” Each time I had to go into the dark to be able to write about the light, as each of us has both attributes, and our spiritual work is to bring these polarities into balance.
The Angel Oracle card and book set that you are now holding contains thirty-three compositions of Angels and celestial beings inspired by Pablo Amaringo’s visionary work. Accompanying the images are detailed narratives each with a dual reading. Many names of the Angels have been sourced from Pablo’s notes and discussions with him. Although these images are not original Amaringo drawings, they are inspired by Pablo’s art and visionary palette.
SAMPLE CARD WRITE-UP
Angel of Human Civilization
Despite a myriad of vicissitudes and iniquities, civilization is undeniably one of humanity’s most outstanding achievements. Holding this book in your hand and reading the printed words is just an example of this accomplishment. According to conventional history, civilization started around 10,000 BCE, and the rise of cities began from 6000 BCE. How did this come about? Here we see Aramu Muru, who according to local legend first appeared close to Lake Titicaca in Peru from a structure that you can see in the upper left, carved out of solid rock, known as Hayu Marca (Gate of the Gods) around 10,000 BCE. These legends say that he came from the ancient continent of Lemuria just before a great flood destroyed it. This legend has so many parallels with the mythologies from other cultures that also speak of mysterious benefactors bringing the gift of knowledge to humanity from an advanced antediluvian civilization.
Holding the Amphora of the Moirai (the Three Fates), he pours a sparkling cascade of brilliant precious gems and stones, among them are emeralds, rubies, diamonds, jade, sapphires, and pearls. These represent the great teachings, the jewels of antiquity that still inform and shape our culture, medicine, mathematics, agriculture, architecture, monumental construction, science, the arts, and writing.
However, gifts from heaven are not always what they seem to be. Perhaps the hidden purpose of Aramu Muru is nothing less than to tease our minds and souls in so many paradoxical, subtle, and bewildering ways for humanity to evolve.
In Pablo Amaringo’s painting titled Puñusca Muscuna (Revelación Profunda), he discusses how unscrupulous shamans secretly harm their victims with sorcery using the same plants that can otherwise perform wonders for our physical and spiritual health. The plant itself does not distinguish between good and evil.
It is easy to be seduced and enticed by the song of the sirens, and in this case, it is the song of civilization. We don’t need to forage or hunt for food, or find tinder and firewood to keep warm. Instead, we can go to the store, or order home delivery, and switch on the heating system. Entertainment is literally at our fingertips. That’s the glossy aspect of civilization, and the darker side is that it can become a cold, remorseless machine, whose only purpose is the continuation of its own existence. For better or worse, this is the direction we are heading. We must draw upon our humanity and address this crisis of indifference and both overt and covert indoctrination.
We possess the resources, the ability--in terms of science, technology, and engineering know-how--to feed the hungry, preserve the natural habitats, house the homeless, and to heal the sick. However, we are conditioned as a society to maintain the status quo, which is the real challenge. Aramu Muru has thrown down the gauntlet at our feet. Do we pick up the gauntlet to acknowledge and face this challenge? If we can transform our consciousness and vision, yes we could magnificently use these brilliant precious gems to the benefit all of humanity.
The Meaning of This Card
If you have drawn this card, Aramu Muru brings to the surface your awareness that the world you live in is not exactly what it seems, and at times you feel as if you are living in someone else’s dream; this, for sure, is not a comfortable thought or feeling. There is a kind of enchantment in our cultural milieu--invisible, ubiquitous threads of influence either charm or coerce us into slowly but surely surrendering our cognitive and physical freedoms. This allure at some level is mundane: the fashion, the entertainment, the travel, and the celebrity lifestyle industry paints an alluring picture to seduce us into buying their products and services, this you know, and it passes by you.
At a deeper level, this is about personal freedom and how you navigate through the anomalies and contradictions in the conundrum we call society, and how society imposes its cultural ideals and belief systems. You live in a time of a dramatic retrospective reassessment of these ideals, intending to reach a more egalitarian social structure. This reassessment has not been seen for generations in the West. According to recent studies about “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” it is the freedom of personal autonomy that makes us the happiest. You are fully aware of the value of the freedom to be yourself. You live your life with cognitive and personal independence--with your instinctive nature’s full expression, and you are helped by a quick-witted choreography through the labyrinth of life in our civilization.
If you have drawn his card reverse, Aramu Muru reminds you have reached the stage in your life where it’s the time to raise your awareness of the invisible and visible threads of influence around you. Awareness is the first step to cognitive and personal freedom, knowing that you are in a labyrinth, a veritable construct of social order and ideals. The song of the sirens does indeed enchant us with its exquisite sound. We have to listen with great discernment if this is indeed the song that speaks to our soul. It is the right moment for you to reassess your life in terms of what brings you true happiness and what doesn’t. Switch off the news, take a break from social media, and be present in your center. What is it that you seek and desire in our society? What are your personal ideals? Aramu Muru advises you to reflect on your objectives and make your decision. If you heed Joseph Campbell’s words to “follow your bliss” and be free at a cognitive and instinctual level, you too will be dancing through the labyrinth.
Thoughts for Reflection with Aramu Muru
• If we can transform our consciousness and vision, then we could use civilization to the benefit all of humanity.
• We must draw upon our humanity and address the crisis of indifference and indoctrination.
• You are fully aware of the value of the freedom to be yourself.
• Now is the time to raise your awareness of the invisible and visible threads of influence around you.
• Awareness is the first step to cognitive and personal freedom, knowing that you are in a labyrinth of social order and ideals.
• It is the right moment for you to reassess your life in terms of what brings you true happiness and what doesn’t.
• Switch off the news, take a break from social media, and be present in your center.
• Heed Joseph Campbell’s words to “follow your bliss.”