Interview by Sofia Raisanen for Keyframe-Entertainment / Evolver EDM
Steve Young, aka Hedflux, is a psychedelic-tech-funk producer, a healer, and a writer. He’s a guiding vision from the UK making overseas leaps. In this interview, he expresses a shamanic journey into the now, a transformative experience felt through Ayahuasca transmissions and the aftermath of elevating energies, synchronicities, and manifestations. An intuitive exploration into the Source, this illuminating channel of emotive and awakening explorations from within will leave you feeling mesmerized and surrendering to the flow of the Universe.
A memory flashes back to Envision Festival in Uvita, Costa Rica this past February/March where Pura Vida is the way of life, an everlasting truth of pure mind, body, and soul. A found escape into the enduring deep-blue waves of the Pacific Ocean triggered inspiration, an evolving phase where it meets the exoticness and decorative taste of the jungle and aligns with Mother Nature. A cleansing effect of psychedelic triggers created nourishing epiphanies upon the dancers, the painters, the dreamers, and believers during both of Hedflux’s sets. It was a transformative transmission.
Although Steve has engaged in some Ayahuasca ceremonies, mainly in Central America, this particular entheogen journey (which took place in Honduras, before Envision Festival in Costa Rica) was a next level experience, and had him rising even further. This cleansing left him in the most transformative flow ever. I connected through to Steve after the jungle experience, and since returning back to the UK, he’s revealed new visions and speaks of healing intentions, Ayahuasca roles and its association with music, aligning keys, linguistic connotations, conscious shifts, and intuitive decisions. He’s in the process of selling his house in the UK, and thus is packing his bags along with family – his wife and children – and moving to Central America this coming September, where he will live and heal through visions channeled through music production and writing – a Shamanic healer.
Tell us about the role that Ayahuasca has played in your life.
Ayahuasca has been a powerfully transformative influence in my life. I was initially drawn to it out of curiosity, as I have always intuitively felt that there existed some invisible reality behind our normal sensory world. My studies into Quantum Physics confirmed this. It was fascinating to study and research Quantum Mechanics. My actual experience of this hidden reality at that time consisted mainly of mind-numbingly complicated equations, graphs, diagrams, models, etc. And even despite the paradigm-shattering implications of this (relatively) new physics, most academics at the time talked about it as if it’s nothing more than a tool for predicting the outcome experiments. During my University years, I would lie awake at night thinking deeply about how I could actually sense or experience this bizarre world that science has uncovered, rather than just theorising or speculating about it.
My first experience with Ayahuasca propelled me into a whole new dimension even more bizarre than the quantum world I had imagined. I found myself immersed in a living, breathing, self-transforming space of majestic beauty, rich in meaning, symbolism, fractal geometry, never-before-seen colours and hyper-strange alien-like beings in ultra-HD realer-than-real clarity. Was this the quantum world? Was I seeing electrons and molecules whizzing around inside my brain at microscopic scales? Or was it just my imagination going wild? Neither explanation made any sense. It was as if I was witnessing the creative source of the Universe; a kind of template-level reality, beyond the quantum, where ideal forms, patterns and archetypes seem to float around, interpenetrating and morphing into new structures which are then accessible to higher-level beings as thoughts, ideas, or processes in nature. Although I was never religiously conditioned or inclined, I felt I had witnessed the Mind of God.
In subsequent ceremonies, I began working with intention, to ask specific questions, to break through the limits imposed by my education and social conditioning, to discover who and what I truly am and why I exist. Ayahuasca has an amazing way of being able to answer all your deepest questions, and solve your most intractable paradoxes without actually “telling” you anything! I didn’t hear any voices, or see the answers to my questions written in front of my mind’s eye or anything like that. By simply witnessing this “Mind of God” (or whatever it is) while holding a question in mind, the answer becomes immediately obvious – so obvious that you feel a bit daft for even having the question in the first place.
With each new ceremony it became increasingly clear that my purpose was to pursue music with all the love, energy, and skill I could muster. So I eventually got the message, quit my job and became a professional DJ/producer – and life became totally fucking awesome and magical! Not without challenges and difficulties of course, but imbued with an enchanted quality, a sense of being guided and protected by forces unseen, meeting and forming relationships with epic human beings all over the world, and being shown ever more mysterious and wonderful realms of reality, inner and outer. Many of my more atheistic/skeptical friends think I’ve lost the plot, which used to bother me, but now I’m having too much fun to care.
How and why has this particular Ayahuasca ceremony in Honduras been different than your prior ceremonies?
It had been 3-4 years since my last experience with Ayahuasca, and I traveled to Honduras in February 2015 as part of a Central American tour. There I met a Shaman who I connected with deeply, like a brother. We had two ceremonies together and it made my previous experiences seem like a walk in the park. In the first ceremony, after an initial period of quite disorienting, rapidly changing visions, I seemed to break through the outer boundaries of the visionary space that I was familiar with from previous trips, and I saw my whole environment in crystal clarity. Like a kind of x-ray vision, I could see the trees and mountains around me, the constellations above and the deep deep Earth curving underneath me. Full 360 degree inner-vision. Everything had a glistening wire-frame style appearance, scintillating like star light, so completely present, alive and inter-connected. When I opened my eyes, I could see the room I was in as normal, but when I closed them I could see through the walls and out into the mountains and outer space, a vast perception of depth and scale – as vast as could be – extending to infinity in all directions. More than just a fleeting vision, this was stable, grounded, real. I felt embedded in a cosmic web of life, completely and unconditionally loved and supported by it. This awareness lasted for a long time, maybe 2-3 hours. It was stunning.
I knew I had to go to Honduras for a longer stay, learn more about this fascinating medicine, how to integrate it into my life and work. When I got back to the UK and the Ayahuasca had long since worn off, I began to get fearful and doubtful about my decision to move. On the face of it, Honduras is not a place one would typically think of relocating their family to. It’s often branded as the “murder capital of the world” for its high crime rate, due mainly to the “war on drugs” and its effect of empowering gangs (and of course the endemic corruption within government and police forces, etc.). So on the one hand, my heart was screaming at me to sell my house and go to Honduras out of LOVE, but my ego was telling me to remain in the mundane comfort of suburban middle England out of FEAR. I was being torn apart inside by two polar opposite forces, and even though I knew from experience that I must always act from love, this felt like such a monumental decision it was driving me mad.
One day in March, after a long conversation with my wife over lunch, weighing up the pros and cons of moving, I said a prayer. Now, I have never prayed in my life! I wasn’t raised religious, I never went to church (except for weddings and funerals) or read the Bible or anything like that. But knowing now that there exists this intelligent creative force all around me, I thought “why the fuck not?” So I stood up, put my hands together and gracefully asked the Universe for a sign, to help me in this decision, then sat back down and finished my lunch. Two hours later I received a phone call. It was a real estate agent. He told me that he had a number of buyers looking for houses in my area which match the description of my house, and asked if we would be interested in selling. We were both totally blown away by this! We ended up selling the house for a great price within a couple of weeks without even having to go to market. We have never had a call like that from an estate agent, and had actually tried to sell our house for a long time before without any success. The synchronicity was profound.
Since then, everything has been cruising. We feel totally supported in this decision, and the universe seems to be conspiring to help us on our way. It’s been such an amazing ride. We’re very excited.
What is the relationship between Shamanic healing and music? How do these practices deepen awareness and reduce the fear caused by the illusion of separation? Share with us your next step in the healing phase.
I am keen to learn and integrate as much as I can about shamanic healing and its relationship with music. In addition to that experience, there have been many signs and synchronicities that have pointed me in this direction. I’ve come to understand that there is a deep link between Shamanism and artistry. I think many of today’s artists and musicians are in fact natural shamans. A shaman is a natural role within all human tribal and ancient cultures, but modern Western society does not recognize it as something valid to be. You can’t really study it at University level, and there are no shaman jobs on “monster.com.” It doesn’t really fit within the capitalist “human-farming” paradigm that we were born into, or the rational atheistic “everything is what it seems” worldview that dominates mainstream thought.
Someone in this position of needing to be a shaman, but not knowing it, may experience intense depression and anxiety, a sense of having the “weight of the world on your shoulders.” They instinctively know that people and animals and the Earth are suffering and they can’t just forget about it. It is said that a shaman feels the pain of the Earth. We can’t be truly happy until everybody is happy. They are naturally drawn to music, art, medicine, and altered states of consciousness, because these are the tools of healing. I bet most, if not all musicians, have at one time fantasized about healing the world with their music, or bringing everyone together in unity. There are deep-seated, compassionate reasons for this – it’s not just ego-mania! This is your purpose!
In essence, a shamanic healing ceremony involves the creation of a safe, inspiring space, the administration of entheogenic medicine to the participants, and then the playing of music and rhythms to activate the medicine, and facilitate healing, self-awareness and enlightenment. Festivals, raves, club nights, etc., are essentially well-intentioned (though often misguided) attempts to create this kind of an environment, using the best resources we have (empty buildings, forests, etc.). The DJ, or performing artist temporarily takes on the role of shaman, beating their drums of ecstasy over and over to induce a unique flavor of trance in the open-minded participants, help them let go of their emotional baggage and feel a deep familial connection to other people, and perhaps even give them a glimpse of their highest selves.
However, because of the laws of the land and such, we don’t really have a situation where the DJ/shaman is able (or knowledgeable enough) to provide people with the most appropriate medicine for the music. During almost all of the events around the world, there is only one medicine “officially” available: alcohol. And it pretty much stops being medicine and starts becoming poison after a few drinks. It severely reduces our ability to communicate and act on the highest good, and we can no longer hear or feel the fine details of the music. I notice when playing to a drunk crowd that most of the music is going over their heads, whereas when people have had the right medicine, you can see them feel and appreciate every moment. That’s when the music is working – it’s magic.
A dwelling that humanity is facing now is caused by a corrupt system, which calls for the need for healing. Have you had previous self-healing experiences? If so, how have you healed yourself, and how/when did you step through into the other side?
My understanding of what healing means has been changing a lot recently. Let’s look at it this way: for any living being there exists a “healed self,” deep inside of us, in potentia, like the sculpture inside the rock. And there exists some process, called “healing,” which enables us to grow from our current condition toward our healed self. I like to think of our healed self as a kind of platonic ideal, like the Vitruvian man – your perfect geometrical archetypal form. It is not only physically optimised, but is also in complete alignment with your unique and sacred purpose here on Earth. Healing is not just about ridding yourself of pain, past trauma and physical ailments, though those would be the first steps. Beyond that, it’s about connecting to our inner source of truth and wisdom, and acting from it every day.
So, we have healers and medicines. I’ve come to suspect that neither of these are actually doing the healing, but rather they help create the conditions for healing to occur naturally, as a kind of self-expression. Consider the Earth, of which we are extensions. If we create a big toxic hole in the forest, as our mining companies do all the time, then just leave it (don’t keep adding to it), it will heal – slowly but surely, plants will grow around it and will process the waste, swallow it up and return it to pristine forest. This is healing, and it just happens naturally, as long as we give it the space and conditions to do so, and don’t keep contributing to the problem.
Human healing works much the same way. It’s about having the space for your truest highest healed self to grow through you and manifest into your experience. It’s tragic, but many people never get to experience this healing space. Instead, they cling to, and even defend, the things that make them sick, while taking medicine that does little more than help them cope. Giving yourself space for healing and self-expression is crucial to your development.
Knowing that humanity is currently experiencing an in-depth conscious shift, one like we’ve never felt before, do you think that we’ll experience World Peace in this lifetime? Now that we’ve entered the Second Psychedelic Revolution, how do we make the veil more transparent?
I think we can create world peace, quite rapidly actually. Again, it’s about self-healing and compassion. If people would focus more on healing themselves, rather than pointing the finger at and attempting to blame others for the problems of the world, then we could heal as a planet so very quickly. Your happiness is the most important thing. Change comes first from inside you. If you don’t like what the politicians, media, etc. are doing, you have to change yourself so that they no longer have any effect on you. Logically then, they will have less effect in the world as a whole.
We must each become a beacon of light, positivity, compassion, encouragement; a nucleus of peace and happiness. This will then spread out and infect those closest to us, and so on like a chain reaction. Stop pointing the finger at people for being stupid, evil, or whatever – stop judging others. A human being is as vast and complex as a galaxy, with trillions of moving parts and a unique set of life challenges and conditions to deal with. There is a great quote doing the rounds that says something like, “Be kind. Everybody is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.” Any opinion we hold which rests on the assumption that other people are lesser human beings than us, is flawed. It’s just one of many incorrect perspectives, not a complete picture. We are all family, we are all one.
To make the veil more transparent, it helps to disconnect yourself from any signals that promote fear and separation: TV, newspapers, advertising, politicians, unethical corporations, etc. Don’t give away your power. The people who peddle this stuff require your fear to control you. Fear of debt, death, punishment, imprisonment, and others. That’s how they get you. They say animals can “smell fear”- it’s the ones who are most afraid that get eaten first. But as a human being in this system, you are more valuable as a worker and consumer than you are as a tasty snack.
It is through our fear that we are enslaved into being just another unit of human livestock in the tax farm – another battery in the matrix – forever feeling like there must be more to life. Our ancestors have lived this way for generations, it’s time to break the cycle. We have the knowledge, we have the technology, we have the power. It’s time to be free.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” – Jim Morrison. What was your deepest fear?
There was one occasion in New Zealand, deep in the mountains, in a highly altered state of consciousness, where I became very freaked out and afraid as I realized that I was disconnected from everything familiar, everything I have come to identify with. I was lost in the woods in barefeet, in the middle of the night, and literally didn’t even know which direction to turn. At times I was just spinning in delirious confusion, darkness all around and terrifying visions in my mind’s eye. I got through it in the end by putting my trust in relative strangers (now good friends) and ultimately recognised that I was staring into the abyss of my own shadow, that part of me that is left when everything I associate with is gone. Since then my biggest fear is feeling THAT afraid again, but thankfully it hasn’t happened! Not even close!
The media and our own governments have constructed connotations on terminology. How do you think we can we break away from these structures that are hidden in our own Language, our own communication?
It’s clear to me now that the Earth is, on the surface level, a medicine producing “machine.” It literally grows out of the ground constantly, in the myriad forms of plant life, and its purpose is to sustain and heal the beings that live here. Food and water are the most essential medicines; we must take them every day or we will get weak, sick and ultimately die. Everything that grows from the Earth has some medicinal property, but we are still learning how to use them effectively.
Hippocrates said, “The only difference between medicine and poison is dosage.” Alcohol is a good example of this; if you take just the right amount, it’s soothing and healing, if you take too much, you become sick. Some medicines have very specific applications and can be inert or even dangerous if misused. Others provide more general health and well-being and can be safely consumed in abundance by most people, such as cannabis.
Terence McKenna said, “The word ‘drug’ has polluted the well of language.” In terms of its etymology, it really just means “dried” – as in dried produce; herbs, spices, plant extracts, powdery stuff. But if you look up the definition of “drug,” it will first be defined as medicine. And when your doctor says “drug,” that’s usually what they mean. But in general, the word has been charged with negativity by the governments and media institutions of the world since Nixon first declared them “public enemy number 1” and started a war, which rages on still today in almost every country in the world, punishing and imprisoning people for taking medicine.
Saying “drug” instead of “medicine” is like saying “fuck” instead of “make love.” A huge amount of information is lost in the transposition. You’re taking a word or phrase which is positive, sacred, compassionate, rich in meaning and functionality, and reducing it to a primitive sounding grunt which can mean just about anything.
If you go meet a tribal culture, and refer to their medicines as “drugs” that would be considered quite offensive. So let’s abolish the word “drug” from our vocabulary and call it what it is: medicine. Yes they can be dangerous, they can be toxic, they can be abused, they can be processed into highly concentrated and addictive forms and sold for ridiculous profits and the money used to fund crime and terror, etc. But these problems are all symptoms of human sickness: insane laws, societal pressures, poverty, desperation for money, etc.
Medicines are tools, and tools are morally neutral. They can’t be labeled “good” or “bad,” but they can be pure or impure, effective or ineffective, they can be used appropriately or not. Our experience can be good or bad, our actions can be good or bad, but these plants and substances cannot be given such attributes. They exist to serve us in whatever capacity we choose to use them. Only man has the “the knowledge of good and evil.” It’s similar to how we talk of toxins, or pollutants. These are not evil chemicals; they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and in quantities that are too high to be effectively processed by the host system. Let’s stop projecting our fears and weaknesses onto the fascinating plants and molecules that exist to serve us, as medicine and material resources.
Replacing “drug” with “medicine” is more than a semantic shift however, as we know from the placebo effect that when we believe we are taking medicine, we can heal ourselves! It’s a funny thing – the placebo effect – in that it seems to require the participation of a trusted other who is intentionally deceiving you by giving you fake medicine. We can’t fool ourselves into believing that an empty gelcap is medicine, but if a doctor tells us that it is, then our brain then does exactly what is required to heal the body.
So maybe we can bypass the need for a deceptive doctor and a fake pill, and simply believe that we are healing all the time. And if you are expressing yourself truly, then you are healing by definition. If the placebo effect teaches us anything, it’s that believing that you are healing helps you to heal. It also helps to make us more aware of those times when we are acting unconsciously against the healing process.
You mentioned that living through the heart is our only way towards complete freedom, and I completely agree with that. Why is something so simple so difficult to manifest for a great majority of our worldwide population?
First of all, most people are taught that the heart is just a pump, and that any other notions of it being the source of love, truth, divine connection, etc., are simply romantic human ideals and hippy woo. Many will just accept this, and never question it. So that’s the first hurdle, learning to listen to and engage with the signals coming from your heart. Accepting that there is a part of You that is greater than what you normally think of as “you” (your ego). It’s then about nurturing that connection on a daily basis, staying conscious, focused and proactive. I found the words of Eckhart Tolle and Bashar to be very useful in developing this awareness.
You and your family have packed your bags and, as a result of your experience in Honduras, you’re relocating to Honduras this Fall. Tell us about your approaching focus – will it be more music production, writing, or a combination of both?
Yes, all of the above. I plan to give myself lots of space for healing, writing music, writing prose, working with medicine, and exploring the fascinating and abundant natural environment of Central and South America. I’ll be attending the Tribal Gathering in Panama again, and also working to set up shows in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, and hopefully Envision festival in Costa Rica again. We plan to stay there through to Spring 2016, then move up to the US and beginning to actively tour in the Summer, armed with a whole load of new (healing) music.