Fear in Ceremony: The Iron Connection

We all know fear on some level–it’s something everyone has experienced. For those working with plant medicines and psychedelics, fear is an integral part of the work, and many have had terrifying experiences that are often difficult to integrate and make sense of. I want to illuminate an aspect of fear that isn’t being discussed much in the plant medicine community: Fear and the connection with iron in the body.

Iron Carries the Frequency of Fear (Sometimes)

While it’s well-known within the mineral community that I’m a part of, it seems totally unknown to the psychedelic and plant medicine community that iron is a toxic metal when it’s not being properly managed in the body. In an energetic sense, it is said that iron holds the frequency of fear (and death), but also that of strength when it is being put to good use and managed. When iron is in its proper places in our bodies, such as within the hemoglobin of our blood, it happily and harmoniously helps carry oxygen and other gases to and from the body. However, when iron escapes from its natural places and deposits itself in other areas, such as the brain, the lungs the heart, the blood vessels, the nervous tissue, the kidneys the liver, etc. it brings the frequency of fear with it to these areas (more on why below).

Stellar Death

This attribute of iron is true throughout the Universe. Take for example stars, which are engaged in nuclear fusion reactions for eons. As they progress through the fusion of elements, they create new chemical elements through stellar nucleosynthesis, beginning with small elements like hydrogen and fusing them into heavier elements like carbon, oxygen, and silicon. However, when a star begins to fuse iron, this signals the end of its life because the fusion of iron requires more energy than it gives off. As the iron core of a star rapidly cools, the outer layers collapse inward and rebound off the iron at close to the speed of light in a massive explosion called a supernova. The supernova shines brighter than an entire galaxy for a few days.

We are much like the stars. The more iron we accumulate throughout our lives, the closer we come to death.

Of course, death is the ultimate Supernova for the Soul, so it’s not the end of the story!


Iron as the Source of Fear

Scientists now know that the presence of iron within a cell activates the danger sensor of the cell. This sensor is called the NLR3P inflammasome. When unbound iron triggers the NLR3P protein, our cells are screaming “Danger! Danger!” and the inflammatory cascade of cytokines, chemokines and other acute phase proteins (APPs) begins. See Nakamura, K., et al. (2015). “Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by cellular labile iron.” Available here.

This inflammatory cascade is one of the body’s innate fear responses. Usually, we do not experience this fear response consciously. Instead, it is happening on the cellular and bio-chemical level. The body is desperately trying to save itself from the impending death that the presence of iron has announced. However, it is possible to experience this fear response consciously in deep states of meditation or by the use of certain plant medicines and psychedelics, which have the ability to bring unconscious visceral fear responses to the conscious level.

Many people experience this fear response in the Ayahuasca context as a feeling of being attacked, which it is. The attack, however, is happening within the cells and the attacker is iron. When we understand that iron is FE-ar, we start to understand that what we are experiencing consciously was already happening unconsciously.

The Bypassing of Fear

Many modern healing modalities, including those involving psychedelics and Plant Medicines tend to focus primarily on the spiritual and emotional aspects of healing. This top down approach believes that the body is a reflection of the psyche and emotions. But, in reality, it’s a double-sided mirror. Not only does the body reflect our consciousness and emotions, but our emotions and consciousness are reflections of our bodies.

Our physical state of health directly affects our conscious experience of life, in and out of ceremony. To view it solely as a one-way street is a form of spiritual bypassing. To be a whole person, and fully integrated, we must also understand the complex interplay of the body with our consciousness. In more woo-woo terms, we must always be grounded in and from the body as the source of our experiences. When we reach that level of understanding we can finally see that there is no separation between the body and consciousness and consciousness in the body, and that they are one and the same. This helps us to address the causes on both levels simultaneously.

How To Offload Fear

While not nearly as in-vogue these days, one of the best ceremonies we can engage in is donating blood. Every time we donate blood we get rid of about 500 mg of iron. The lightness and the movement of emotions after the giving of blood is a signal that fear has been released from the body. The fear carried out of the body with the iron, allows the body to relax on a physiological level, and in turn, allows our conscious experiences (even in ceremony) to be less fearful.

Other Danger Sensors

There are other seldom-discussed causes of fear within the body, such as parasites, other heavy metals, EMF, and toxic exposure but I will save them for a different post. Suffice it to say, when our bodies are in a visceral state of fear due to a bio-chemical process underway, we can experience this consciously as well, and it’s always a good practice to look within for the source, before looking outside.

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