The following post is inspired by my work with Shamans and plant medicines in Peru. To catch up with my journey, check out Part I, Part II and Part III. And if you have any questions, or a story of your own to share, please comment below.
December 14, 2015
Last night we participated in our second Ayahuasca Ceremony – far more intense than my first. The brew, made from Ayahuasca, Chacruna and other companion plants, had longer time to cure after it was boiled down. (We were told later that this increases its potency.) I made sure to finish the whole cup this time. As others took their turn receiving the plant medicine I sat comfortably at my station and closed my eyes.
Within 30 minutes, a heaviness blanketed me toward the earth while an invisible force gently hugged my body from all directions. It felt as if my back were fusing with the walls of the maloca. I was now putty in Mother Ayahuasca’s healing hands.
A vision of bright white, human teeth floated in dark space. They quickly morphed into the sharp teeth of some predator – a jaguar perhaps – with impressive canines. Maybe this creature was smiling, playfully welcoming me in to her world. Or maybe this was a test – to see if I was afraid. I was not. Instead I felt excitement for the lessons to come and an eagerness to begin.
I was seeing intensely colored fractals dance in the darkness of my quieted mind. The ambient calls of nocturnal mammals and insects seemed to slow to half speed. My own breath became otherworldly: slothful and deep, elongating and making distinct each peak and valley of sound waves.
Whenever the amount of imagery became overwhelming, I knew I could simply open my eyes. After the reassurance of seeing my new family of travelers around me, covered in softly illuminated geometric patterns, I felt safe enough to close my eyes again. My eyelids went from light switch to remote control, allowing me to bounce between different realms.
I was curious how things appear outside the maloca, so I decided to have a look. It took some effort, but I was able to prop myself up and away from the wall. As I turned my head I could only make out some small bars of fuzzy, white light. No where near as exciting as the kaleidoscope viewer in my head, so I closed my eyes again.
As I now focused internally I could hear and feel the living cells of my body humming and buzzing (purring?). I was in sync with the energy and vibration of life all around. Soon the sound of clicking, popping and fizzing were added to the mix. Was this the little doctors or machine elves that I had read so much about while researching psychedelics – the very same “doctorcitos” our Shamans mentioned in song?
The first Icaro seemed to go on for quite a while, maybe an hour if that’s possible. You lose sense of time when there’s so much for the senses to take in (like Vegas except the only thing dropping into your bucket is puke). Having learned from my first ceremony, I made it a point to quiet my mind in order to best prepare for what Mother Ayahuasca had in store for me.
By the second Icaro I could feel a dense mass forming in my gut, followed by the intense need to purge. After doing so I felt relief/release and thought about the guides or spirits that had been present throughout my life, watching over me when I was alone or frightened. Only this time I was able to sense them on a whole new level. Although I didn’t see their faces, my guides were seated just to my left and right. I could make out their lower limbs, knees pointing toward the sky. I thanked each and every one for being there for me even when I chose to forget.
I didn’t fear death in that moment, and I remember speaking softly to connect with my husband back home, to assure him that we don’t truly die after all. And that this place is filled with only love, peace and overpowering beauty.
Thoughts of past indiscretions popped up and I found myself repeating “I’m sorry” to those for whom I’ve caused pain – both emotionally and physically. This brought on an intense purge of tears. I thought again of my husband and tried to send him all of the love I felt for him in that very moment, and to let him know how much I appreciate his love – something I was unable to accept due to old feelings of abandonment, rejection and emotional neglect. I sobbed tears of joy as I felt my heart opening to accept love for the first time.
Along with forgiving myself and anyone else who’s hurt me in the past – whether intentional or not – I wanted to take this newly discovered love and expand it outward, to heal others and remove their suffering. But just as the thought passed through my mind it was as if Mother Ayahuasca swiped it clean, showing me that it was no longer my responsibility to do so. And so I let that go and felt lighter.
Once I forgave myself, and much of the purging had passed, a strong sensual energy surged inside of me. I somehow tapped into and connected to the Earth below, Nature all around and the Cosmos above – all on a level that cannot be explained. I realized in that moment the sexual energy I had been chasing most of my life was false pleasure, which only led to further insecurity and insatiable fulfillment of an emotional void. Mother Ayahuasca showed me that I no longer need sex to feel whole or secure in my relationship. And I got the sense that whenever I needed a reminder I can return to this place, and that anything I seek outside of myself is already within.
One of the biggest gifts from this second experience was the temporary shutdown of the ego. Because of this I was able to observe and feel without judgement or labels. What a blessing to be granted a few hours free from negative chatter (you have no idea…or maybe you do)!
I hear the flower bath ceremony has started, so I’m going to put on my bathing suit and prepare for the shock of cold. Let it help close this second Ayahuasca experience as it invigorates, refreshes and restores me. I can only imagine what Mother Ayahuasca will teach me in the third round.