This is the third in a series of articles inspired by my work with Shamans and plant medicines in Peru. Check out Part I and Part II so you’re up to speed, and feel free to comment below with any questions or to share your own journey.
December 13, 2015
Yesterday after lunch many of us gathered around the dining area to listen to don Howard speak and to ask him questions. I mentioned my experience with sleep paralysis – that my most recent one was the morning of our first ceremony and that I had them often as a child. He responded by saying that they were linked to childhood trauma, that these types of dreams are fear-based, and that I needed to forgive those who may have hurt me in the past in order to heal. His answer helped mold my intention for next ceremony: forgiveness of myself and of my family.
Feeling satisfied with the response I got up and headed back to my jungle room when I stopped to say hello to Anya. She admitted to being interested in my question also. She also informed me that Alex had brought up a nightmare she had the morning of ceremony just like I did (what are the odds?!). I knew I would have to find Alex at some point so we could compare details.
Icaros keep repeating in my head, which is a much-welcomed change. The soundtrack of living trees, birds and insects hum harmoniously in the background. Walking the Sanctuary, stretching, squatting, breathing deeply, meditating, using all of my senses as I follow ant paths or search for monkeys in faraway trees….it all comes so naturally here. You can’t be anything other than fully present in the jungle.
I bumped into Alex last night while she was searching the grounds for what I call the Hammock Tower (here’s a wobbly video tour from my and Misty’s jungle room). When Alex and I reached the top floor we pulled up a couple of chairs and discussed our scary dreams, as well as what may have led us to experience them all these years. I’m hopeful that Mother Ayahuasca will lead us to a peace we both desperately need and deserve.
This afternoon the whole group met up for a Circle Ceremony, where we took turns sharing what led us to the Sanctuary, what called us to plant medicines, what experiences we may have had in the past with plant medicines, and what our first Ayahuasca Ceremony at the Sanctuary was like. I was second to last to speak so you could imagine how much anxiety had built up before my turn. But on the contrary, after hearing so many painful stories – some of which caused tears to stream down my face – I found myself spewing out some ugly truths…ones I had never planned on sharing publicly. I knew deep down that in order to truly heal I had to find the courage to be vulnerable in front of others. I was surrounded by so much love and support that it became easy to share my truth.
After today’s lunch we took a five minute boat ride to a local indigenous tribe of Yahua Indians. We were greeted warmly with handshakes and hugs and one of the tribal women marked our faces with paint. After a welcome speech within the Yahua’s ceremonial hut they performed a song and dance. Within minutes we were being pulled out of our seats so that we can partake in the fun. Afterward we took turns using an authentic blowgun to fire darts at a small wooden statue of a bird. (By dipping the darts in toxic resin, the Yahua use the blowgun to hunt and kill monkeys high up in the trees.) It took me a few tries to hit the target since the competitor in me was hoping for a head-shot.
I’m looking forward to our second Ayahuasca Ceremony this evening. I plan on drinking the whole cup this time! Plus we’re told the brew will be more cured, which means a more intense experience.