Kundalini Mediumship is a synthesis of spiritual practices developed by Justin Levy, LAc of Spirit House. Join Justin in an exploration of the roots of this practice.
Getting to Know Justin Levy, LAc & Kundalini Mediumship
Justin Levy is the founder of Spirit House in Portland, Oregon. His journey has been shaped by his deep relationships with different teachers. When Justin was 6, he met a spiritual teacher who started an ongoing process of connecting him to his spirit, or Kundalini. He credits the strength of his spirit with providing him with the fuel to start his process of healing. His second teacher is a master of the martial art of capoeira, through which Justin began to learn how to work with spirit, called axé (ah-shay) in Brazil, and with the spiritual tradition of candomblé. His third primary teacher is a master healer, musician, composer and ceremonial leader. From him, Justin learned about mediumship and how to hold a ritual container. Justin synthesized his learnings into a system he calls Kundalini Mediumship, which he sees as a manifestation of his ongoing dialogue with spirit.
Justin started Spirit House as “the latest step in a lifelong quest to process and understand my own experiences and…create something that will help my growth, development, and healing, and do something for other people. Growing up in the culture that I did as a straight, white dude, I grew up with no understanding of – and no place to ask or have structure around – deeper questions about spirit.”
“I started having experiences of spirit when I was younger…and I started jumping into other worlds and structures, as an outsider. I found that there were certain ways that they were really helpful, and that there were certain ways they didn’t work for me. And I learned that there’s other folks like me who don’t fit neatly into one culture or system. So, Spirit House has been my immersion in these different cultures and concepts, learning what I could, and then trying to synthesize them in a way that feels most accurate to me. A lot of times when we’re in psychedelic spaces or any kind of spiritual space, we’re approaching it from a map that was constructed by our society, teachers, parents. And a lot of times, those maps fall apart. And when that happens, we can feel a little bit lost. So, maps can be helpful and limiting. Spirit House is one step in creating a foundation for other people to work with, and then to develop, their own map and structure.
Justin calls his practice Kundalini Mediumship. “When I was five or six years old, my dad and my aunt took me to see this guru named Swami Muktananda. He has this [spiritual technology] called Kundalini transmission, which is the bestowing of spiritual power or energy from guru to disciple. I didn’t know anything about this, I just remember being five or six and being at this place thinking this is a weird, strange place. I didn’t feel anything in particular.”
“And then about 10 years later, these strange experiences started happening, sometimes when I took psychedelics or marijuana, and I didn’t know what they were. They felt spiritual, in ways I couldn’t understand, like I would start going into a yoga poses, or I would start dancing and feel like it wasn’t me dancing, like there was something else dancing inside me. I was going to raves and feeling these energies open me up. I wrestled with this question for a while, “Is this just psychedelics? Is this a drug experience?” I said, okay, there’s something happening with these substances, but there’s something else happening, and I didn’t know what it was. I had these two conflicting maps: the materialist scientific rationalist, which said that there was some disorder that was happening to me, and the fundamentalist Christian map, which said this was the devil.”
“I had a very tumultuous time and a really chaotic home life. I left home at 18 and went to California and wound up at this ashram that Muktananda had started. And I bought the whole thing. A big part of their structure, their map, is this guru-disciple relationship. When the guru says something, the disciple listens and does whatever the guru says, because the guru is a perfect, enlightened being. As I jumped into that, I found out that there was a lot of horrible things that had happened under the surface. Whispers that Muktananda was sexually abusing women and these power games were happening. It seemed like a mess and people didn’t want to talk about it, and I didn’t want to be a part of. So, I took the only option I thought I had and threw out [all the teachings]. It took me several years to even begin sorting out what part of what they taught is true for me, and what part isn’t.”
A part of whiteness is that a real, in-depth spiritual tradition is just not yours to have, because the structure of whiteness over the centuries has been to try in many ways to eliminate that.
Throughout this time, I had a structure to my processing of this Kundalini energy as it relates to the yoga tradition, called Kashmir Shivaism or Shivaist Tantra. It was a couple years after that I met my teacher of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art. I wasn’t even interested in the spiritual teaching, which he wasn’t teaching openly, but the spirits of his spiritual tradition of candomblé’ started to come through him. There was a mediumship process happening, where I would start to embody different energies and spirits of his tradition. My teacher would not talk about his spiritual tradition, as a Black man, because there’s a long history in Brazil of the white authorities killing people who practice candomblé. Racism is strong in Brazil and very present today. It was then that I met my Ayahuasca teacher, who was also a medium and talked about what it was like to embody different energies. I thought of this as aspects of ourselves that we’re allowing to work through us for growth and for healing. Then after about 13 years, my capoeira the teacher allowed me to go to Brazil and to start working in his tradition of candomblé, and that has been really beautiful. And all of this together informs my work.
“Kundalini Mediumship draws attention to this primal energy that we can all access it. Christianity calls it the Holy Spirit, in Brazil it is called axe’. Kundalini is this primal energy, and the mediumship is the description of that energy and the different forms that can take. In Shivaist Tantra, there’s formless spirit and there’s spirit with form, and Kundalini Mediumship is an interesting exploration of the two.”
“I grew up in an ethnically mixed area and got to work with my whiteness from an early age. I haven’t done all the work on it, but I have been aware of how it impacts me and others for a long time. When I stated entering this world and experiencing some of the spirits and the energies, I felt this acute sense of “I don’t belong here.” A part of whiteness is that a real, in-depth spiritual tradition is just not yours to have, because the structure of whiteness over the centuries has been to try in many ways to eliminate that. The most fertile ground for discussions around that have been with my capoeira teacher. He is a Black man from Brazil, and it took about 13 years for my teacher to let me in. And when he did, it was because of a series of conversations about who I was, what I was doing in this world, what my goals were in this world. I really had to go through this process with him, where he understood my commitment and what I wanted out of it. And when I went to Brazil, my whiteness or foreignness to them was not really an obstacle. I think the fundamental thing is the relationship that I have with my teacher, which is an ongoing process.”
Psychedelics & Spirit
“One of the things that I like to do as a part of my spiritual practice is to explore the realm between two different poles of thinking. My heroes when I was younger were Ram Dass, and the Merry Pranksters, a group of people who started experimenting early with LSD – opening themselves up, cracking themselves open. There were the people that I looked up to, and I started listening to them and came to the same conclusion that they did: psychedelics are helpful, but you can also get stuck opening the same door over and over again. It is possible to get addicted to that process. I was a student of my ayahuasca teacher for eight years, and a part of me is so grateful for that process, because it forced me to develop my own medicine outside of using psychedelics as a part of my integration. It took me several years to realize that I had now created a structure outside of those psychedelic spaces.”
“One of the concerns I have in psychedelics is our bipolar culture, because we bounce in between these things without any real experience of the nuance in the middle, especially with psychedelics. We’re in this phase where some people are talking about them as if they’re this miracle drug that’s going to solve all our problems. To me, this an unhealthy, unstable, and ungrounded relationship with psychedelics. The inevitable result from that is that the bad experiences are going to start coming out. Then, it’s going to be “psychedelics are the worst thing. They cause psychotic breaks. They’re dangerous.” We saw that happen in the ‘60s and ‘70s – we weren’t grounded with them. Then the drug war happened and demonized them. Now, we’re back into this whole other frame – that they’re the miracle drug. My concern is especially with legalization, corporatization, monetization, and people working with these things who aren’t grounded and don’t have a depth of learning to process with them. A lot of people think they can make a lot of money. I feel like we’re adolescents right now as a culture with psychedelics. My prayer is that we as a culture can grow and learn from them without depending on them. That we can use them in a way that is healthier.”
We’re in this phase where some people are talking about them as if they’re this miracle drug that’s going to solve all our problems. To me, this an unhealthy, unstable, and ungrounded relationship with psychedelics.
Breath, Bandhas, & Kundalini Mediumship
I use a fundamental technique in the healing work that I do that I try to teach to everybody that comes through. I call it breath and bandhas. Bandhas are a yoga technique. We have these knots in our energetic anatomy, which are bound up karma and patterns that get us tight and locked down. A part of what the Kundalini does – and psychedelics do – is they start to unwind these knots. So, breath and bandhas is a physical practice, and the bandhas are our energetic locks or contractions. There’s a pulling in of the abdomen (uddiyana bandha) and a lifting up of the perineum (mula bandha). When you combine them with breath, it’s a way of accessing the Kundalini and unwinding the knots. We have a video on the website where I explain this core practice of Kundalini Mediumship further. This has been a fundamental practice to clear stuff out from these deeply held patterns in our body and nervous system. Breathwork is great, but the reason we don’t breathe deeply into our belly and get our breath down is because we have these knots in our system. We can breathe all we want, but if we don’t have a practice to unwind the knots, the breath is only going to go so far.”
Connect with Spirit House
Justin would love to connect with you! “Go to the website and know that you can always reach out to me – I love talking to people. I have a free 20-minute consultation, and I always learn so much from people – it’s helpful to me as a part of my spiritual practice.”