Justin Maxim
7 min readApr 19, 2022


On March 15th, A week before my first meeting with the group, I had my one on one with Ben. Each person in the course did this at some point prior to the first meeting as well. Ben and I went over the assessment I had filled out. I was still thinking that we were going to be working with psychedelics in this course. When I found out I wasn’t it was kind of a mind fuck but I still felt like I was in the right place. That is why it was hard for me to even answer the first few questions on the assessment. The first question was this.

What plant/flower are you being called to diet?

I literally wasn’t being called to anything. I joined the course because a friend of mine sent it to me thinking I would be interested. I saw plant medicine and was like fuck yeah I’m in. I wasn’t 100% sure what it was and what it all involved. It just felt like a sign for me at the time and like many of the decisions I make, I said “fuck it” and signed up.

During the one on one Ben went through every question with me. Even though I wasn’t necessarily called to a plant/flower I was able to decide on one. I was already doing some digging on my dads side of the family. It is pretty easy to track because they are from Slovakia. The family tree is simple compared to my mom’s side of the family. Ben told me to research the types of flowers and plants used in Slovakia for various things. After seeing a bunch of different plant/flowers with weird Slovak names I saw that their country’s flower is a rose. A rose in most cultures represents love. I will be honest, I am a little fuckin weird with the the L-word. I don’t like to throw it around like most people. Between rose being the flower of Slovakia and also meaning something that I suppose I have an issue with makes it the perfect one to choose.

Leading up to the first meeting with the group we had a little homework assignment. We had to make an altar. I have never made an altar or sat at one in my entire life. A lot of churches have massive ones. The only time my ass is in a church is if I am attending a wedding. When I was 10 I started questioning everything I learned in Sunday school because it never made sense to me. Now days as an adult I am able to separate religion from spirituality all together. I do not feel like they are the same thing. This allowed me to build my own altar with no push back. Had you asked me to build one 10 years ago I would want no part of it.

My tapestry above my alter.

I wasn’t sure what to put on my altar at first. Ben gave me a few ideas of what I could put on it. I mentioned I had been digging on My dad’s side of the family. He had sent me a copy of a family tree going back to the 1700’s I think. It also had a few pages of writings talking in detail about who came to America and when. There is even a conspiracy about my great great grandpa who was killed in a coal mine accident in southern Ohio. The family thinks it was a set up since he was trying to form a union. I put these papers on my altar along with a rose and petals . I also put my crystal necklaces on there as well. Oh and last but not least I have microdoses of some mushrooms on there too. I can’t take them during this course. Since I look at them as medicine I figured they would be a nice addition to the altar. I didn’t build this altar over night. I was putting too much thought into it at first but doesn’t have to be perfect. There are not really any rules when doing this stuff. (I added more things in week 2) You can get creative as you want and make it your own. You have all the freedom to choose just like in life!

My current altar.

The group meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm Arizona time. We meet via zoom. Week one started off with introductions. Each person introduced themselves, and shared what plant/flower they would be working with and why they were called to it. After introductions Ben gives a short presentation on what the focus is for the week ahead. Week one and two are similar. It is all about prepping the container. I talked about this in last weeks post. This is the time we want to start getting our diets in check so we can consume our plant/flower. Ben goes through a short list of what we can and can’t have. He also talks about why we are doing what we are doing. Certain foods will effect your ability to connect with your plant so it is important to be as strict as possible with everything we do in this course.

After the presentation, Ben then takes us through a shamanic journey meditation. This is a major part of how we connect to our plant/flower. In the meeting it is a 10 minute shamanic drumming. We start out visualizing ourselves in a place in nature. after settling into this vision for a few minutes we then visualize a door in a tree. We can’t open the door yet though. Once the drumming starts, then we can open the door and walk in to explore what it is we will see.

I always picture a place in nature when I meditate. My place is in the middle of a wooded area. The only opening is filled with a small body of water as well as a waterfall. It is the clearest body of water you have seen. You can see right down to the bottom. There are massive trees all around this body of water. They are tall trees and the base of them are thick. Similar to the Redwoods in California. I visualize my door in one of these. Right before the drumming hits my door starts to light up. I hear “Boom-Bah-Bah-Boom-Bah-Bah-boom.” I grab the door knob, open the door and walk into the tree.

Somewhat of the place I vision in meditation.

I saw a few things during this first meditation. One was a woman in a white dress with little flower designs on it. I could never see her face. I could only see from her shoulders down. She had long dark hair. I then would travel through what I can only really describe as a wormhole. This happens to me a lot during meditation. In this one I saw a mix of pink and red colors. The following vision was short but it was just me shadow boxing. The drumming stopped and Ben started to guide us back from meditation. Who ever wanted to share was welcome to. after that the zoom call was over and it was time for week one to really begin.

I wasn’t sure what to take away from my first shamanic journey. The one thing that came to mind is that maybe I was fighting against some feminine energy. Maybe it was the feminine energy of rose. I had no idea but I figured I would find out soon though. Some other things we are supposed to work on in week one is an end the day routine. This is where you actually consciously end your day. All tech is put away. You prepare yourself for sleep. Dreams are a big part of this course. They will happen every night and this process helps have them. I had already been writing in two journals. One is called the story of my life and the other is a journey with in. One is an activity journal to help you know yourself better and the other focuses on your life. Instead of writing in these in the morning I decided to move it for ending my days. I also added a regular journal to recap my days and journal about daily experiences.

Week 1 for me was pretty smooth for the most part. I already eat a plant-based diet. I haven’t ate meat in over 8 years so I only had to clean my diet up a little bit. I started cleaning it up a week or so before the course. My biggest change was making sure I made a smoothie every day. Then I would make a bulk meal such as a lentil soup to last most of the week. There were only two days in the first week where I either ate something I shouldn’t have or ate too late at night. (You do not want to eat before bed because it can interfere with your sleep and dreams.) All in all I think week one was a success. Week two is where my bigger challenge is going to be. Deleting all my social media and getting off my phone!

To be continued…!



Justin Maxim

I am a creative who not long ago decided to try writing. Usually I am behind a camera but writing is another way I can express myself in a creative way.