Welcome to our Minister Spotlight where we interview our Ministers so you may get to understand what brought them to this sacred work and get to know them better. This month we interviewed Mark Habertroh who currently lives in the Bay Area, but will be moving to Alabama soon if you know anyone there who might want to sit with the sacrament. Mark is a treasure…Enjoy!
1) What inspired you to get into this work?
This journey started with my own need to heal as I checked myself into rehab for alcoholism in 2014. I had drunk myself into a very dark and deep depression. I distinctly remember one day looking at other people smiling and forgetting what that even felt like anymore. I knew at that moment that I needed help.
Rehab was the thing that got me to stop drinking, but it is not what gave me a spiritual awakening. In the program, they kept talking about following the twelve steps, but I was not subscribing to the patriarchal God in the sky or the Christian tilt to which the program was leaning.
I remember hearing that the Founder of AA, Bill W., had actually experimented in his own recovery using LSD and I was curious what others knew about this. When I asked people in the program they gave me a very straight-laced answer, not singing its praises and also not condoning it either. Understandably, when dealing with life-or-death struggles when it comes to addiction it can be scary to introduce “drugs” back into the mix.
Several months after I got out of rehab, I decided to see for myself and I went to a retreat in Jamaica that offered the sacrament. It was during this experience that I felt the most radically transformed in my body and knew that my life would never be the same after that.
I began taking friends on hikes using the sacrament to help them commune with nature and with themselves. Everyone was amazed at how transformative these journeys were and I knew that I needed to orient my life to bringing this work to more people.
I remember I was walking with a friend in the forest one day and I said “I wish I could devote my entire life to this work” and my friend stopped me and said “Why don’t you?” That moment is when my entire life changed and I never looked back. It has become my biggest privilege to carry these healing sacraments and no amount of money would ever come close to the amount of fulfillment I feel doing this work each and every day.
2) What’s one of the most profound lessons you have received from the sacrament?
It’s so hard to distill only one lesson, for each journey has so many profound teachings! However, if I had to distill it down to one lesson it has taught me to trust myself more. I have often been told to do things, but have gone against the grain and have walked my own path. The sacrament has given me the confidence to do this and has taught me to follow my own intuition, vision, and voice.
3) How has this work deepened your relationship with Self/Source?
In my first retreat in Jamaica, I tried a very high dose and was immediately confronted with my own death. Instead of facing it, I really struggled throughout my journey and tried to run away from it.
Several years later I ventured to Guatemala to sit with the sacrament again and mentally brought myself back into that state. The music, which was deep and dark mid-journey, brought me back to that scary place except this time I relaxed into it and I fell right through the Earth and returned back to Source. At that moment, I realized that where we come from, we also return to. That is our real home. I felt so protected, blissful, and happy there. I also came to realize that when we return there we lose our individuality which is a sad thing, but that it’s ok because we become a much larger part of the whole.
4) What is one of your favorite ways to help people prep for or integrate their ceremonial experiences?
In terms of preparation, I think taking the time to build a strong foundational relationship between the Member and the Minister is extremely important. It should be a two-way interview where we both suss out if we can relate to one another and feel into one another.
It’s important to really slow down and to sit with your intention. I love to have the people I work with come up with three intentions, then bring them down to just one, and then finally boil it down to just one word. Having people focus on one word is easier for them to grasp during a ceremony.
During integration, it’s important to tie the conversation back to the intention and to discern what material was the most applicable to them in their daily lives. Also, it’s important to remind them that what was forgotten will come back up when it is needed. Everything will unfold perfectly in its own due time. Trust in the process.
5) What’s your favorite medicine journey track?
Sabina by dirtwire
If you would like to book a free 30 minute consult with Mark to learn more about his ceremonial offerings please sign up here!