As I mentioned in the beginning of this series, I researched all that I could on plant medicines before answering the call to work with them, including whom I would trust to guide me through the process. These sacred plants not only reconnect us with the outside world and beyond, they also help us explore the vastness of our inner world, which can be extremely daunting. I urge you to do your homework, find the right guide(s), and for Gaia’s sake respect the plants!
December 16, 2015
By this third and final Ayahuasca ceremony it took very little effort for me to find stillness. And since I focused on forgiveness during my last journey I set an intention to face the fears that have held me back in life (e.g., abandonment, rejection, judgement, performance anxiety, failure and success). But as I walked toward the small altar to drink from the cup I invited Mother Ayahuasca to take the reigns and to show me what I needed to see in order to heal and move forward in my life.
As the brew took effect I could hear the typical slowed-down, ambient sounds of nocturnal jungle life, and the occasional purge from someone in group. There was also a constant loop of hacking, spitting and vomiting sounds either coming from the Ayahuascero don Rober or from my spirit guides; I figured this was the plants’ way of coaxing me to purge as the Icaros intensified. My mind was in tune with the frequency and vibrations of everything and everyone around me, and I felt a prickly sensation throughout each layer of skin.
The quantity of the Ayahuasca and Chacruna brew looked to be the same as last time, but the extremely vibrant fractals and the hundreds of luminescent beings that hovered, hummed, clicked and buzzed before me, proved to me that this serving was the most potent yet. I encountered snakes, a Jaguar, Mother Ayahuasca in full form (finally!), tall and short gray figures smiling and silently communicating their love for me and desire to help me heal. There were also winged figures, dragonflies and other insects in view, as well as my spirit guides seated to my left and right.
I felt at times as if I were in a sound-proof chamber created by the sacred Mother granting me the security to fully surrender to the experience. Where I was concerned in the past about who I might interrupt if I got too emotional or restless, this round it seemed I was given the green light to hum, sing, vibrate, shake, dance, and be as loud as I needed to be to completely let go. Because of this little trick that was played on me all I can say is demons were exorcised.
Although I couldn’t physically see anything being expelled from my body, I could definitely feel a heavy blockage that needed to be cleared. When I followed the pointed fingers from my little gray friends (beings) up toward the ceiling of the maloca I could barely make out two white figures with what possibly could have been a lion head in between them (not sure why the beings from above were coming through less clear). I felt they were encouraging me to sit more erect, head facing the sky with my mouth open wide so that I may take in and expel large volumes of air. Whenever I did that I would hear sounds of encouragement as if they were acknowledging that I was following their direction.
Sitting as upright as possible I could feel something stirring inside of me. My spine started moving involuntarily like a serpent. Soon my breathing became more like heavy panting. It was obvious I needed to purge in multiple ways including through increasingly quick and purposeful breaths. My body began to gyrate, limbs shaking. It was as if every cell within me was working in harmony to expel something, but that whatever it was (ego?) was fighting like hell to remain put.
I honestly thought for a moment that one of the Shamans would rush to my side and escort me out of the maloca so that my personal battle wouldn’t freak anyone out. When that didn’t happen I was reassured that I was safe in my jungle cocoon.
When the need to vomit felt blocked I muttered, “Get the fuck out” and “You serve no purpose here.” On a couple of occasions I tried to still myself, wondering if all this activity was keeping Ayahuasca from showing me whatever lesson I need to see, but this energy was too powerful. I concluded that my body was releasing pent up energy and I just went with it. I became so fatigued I considered laying down, but I remained strong and determined to get the most out of this final ceremony.
I couldn’t tell you how long this process took, but by the last Icaro I felt such relief – like I had crossed some imaginary finish line. I may not have succeeded in releasing all of my pain, but I still raised my arms and danced joyously on that sacred maloca floor.
May 24, 2016
Although I had no profound visual lessons that other people have described with Ayahuasca I still got the sense she was giving me permission to simply let go and stop holding back in life, no matter who is watching or listening, and no matter the consequences. Because honestly who fucking cares (besides my ego)?
Speaking of which I was happy to experience the quieting of the ego again during ceremony. If only it were that easy to achieve without plant medicines. But I now have the ability to move closer to bliss by practicing gratitude, meditating, self pleasuring, getting out in nature, and by using my time to be creative – to write instead of watching television or scrolling through social media.
Getting back to all that heavy panting and serpentine-like movement: I wondered at first if the energy running up my spine was something dark that I had to expel or that it was ego desperately fighting to regain control, but after months of online searching Kundalini seems to be the best explanation as to what was happening to me. The day after ceremony one of my jungle brothers told me privately that the breathing and sounds that were coming from me were very sensual, but I was so embarrassed I resisted his input.
When a few others hinted at the idea as well I was more open to the possibility, but still too embarrassed and quick to apologize for selfishly disrupting their ceremony. I’m so appreciative that Rome shared his perspective with me because it started me on a journey of celebrating the divine feminine within me. And thanks to Mother Ayahuasca for granting me a safe space to let my light and shadow sides come out to play.
The trip to Iquitos was the adventure of a lifetime (thankfully I know now that I’ll have other lifetimes), and working with sacred plants was the best hardest thing I’ve ever done. As each day of integration passes I am more prepared for the next journey. How many more ceremonies will it take? Well, weeks after returning home from the jungle I had a vivid dream that two female Shamans were preparing me for five Ayahuasca Ceremonies. I’m going to take that as a sign that I’ve been formally called back to the jungle to continue the process of embracing the dark and fully becoming Jasmine.
Update (May 26th): The other day I recalled a vision during my second or third ceremony that I don’t believe I’ve mentioned in the series, so I’ll add it here. After the slowing down of ambient sounds and heaviness relaxed my body up against the maloca wall, I saw a doorway halfway opened with a staircase leading up. I thought at first I needed to physically move closer to it and I remember saying something like, “I can’t move forward, how do I get closer [to climb the stairs],” when a being motioned that I didn’t have to. Unfortunately the vision didn’t last long enough for me to see much else. I was a bit disappointed, but later realized Mother Ayahuasca had decided I wasn’t ready to see more just yet.
Thinking about what the ascending stairs could have represented I remembered a friend telling me about the three worlds or realms in Shamanism. Searching online I came across this website which might offer a clue:
The upper world is what some call the “heavens.” The is the home of the star nations, our celestial or spirit guides, the angels and archetypes (12 astrological signs), and the planetary beings. Microcosmically, the upper world relates to our higher self, or superconsciousness that permeates across all time and space. The upper world is where we turn for spiritual guidance and wisdom that is of a higher vibrational quality than that of lower world wisdom. It is not better, just a different quality. The upper world reveals the depth of our true essential nature that will allow us to enter into the flowering of our purpose. It is our peak, our summit. It is here that we receive the guidance that will take us closer to being in harmony with the unity.