Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Plant medicine, the world of psychotropic drugs and psychedelics. Many people are curious about this realm of healing and therapy, what is it like? Is it intense? Does it work? I can tell you from experience that yes, it is intense and yes it does work. But only if you work with it. Many people in my life are aware of my connection to mushrooms and psychedelic medicines. You have probably picked up on that as well being here on my website. I speak a lot about how mushrooms are incredible healers and teachers, but they are not going to do the work for you. Psychedelic medicine is here to show you what work needs to be done, and how to do it. But they do not do it all for you.
Ayahuasca is much like this too. She is a spirit that interacts with you, rather than a substance that changes or alters your experience. Now I do not claim to be a master with this plant medicine, nor a shaman. But I hold this medicine in the highest honour and this blog is to tell you about my personal experience. What is it like to interact with a spirit rather than a mind altering substance? Well, many things and a lot of the same as well. She is her own entity, she makes her presence very clear within you. She is loving, receptive, communicative and also relentless. This experience is different for every single person, and different each ceremony. My words are only what occurred in my personal experience. Do not have expectations of what your experience will be like if you choose to sit with Ayahuasca. And also do not compare yours with what occurred in mine, or anyone else’s.
This ceremony was my first time sitting with her. I had read many books and seen many documentaries but as I stepped into the space for this ceremony, all of that faded out of my mind. I was left with my anxieties and the unknown of what would happen. I felt a little unsettled, and nervous for what would come because I had no idea what my experience would be. As humans, we commonly fear the unknown or have feelings of nervousness surrounding it. I was greeted by beautiful people, whom I immediately felt safe around. My accommodations were cozy and comfortable, and the land felt powerful and safe. I knew in my heart that I was where I was meant to be, and that all would be well no matter what came up for me.
One of the unexpected things for me was the eating schedule for the ceremony. We were given light food only, and no food after 3pm. We ate salad and had lemongrass tea for late lunch and then no more food was given after that. Once we were called into the ceremony space we were moved to specific spots. Couples split up, family split and energies balanced throughout the room. We were asked to bring comfortable items (pillows, blankets, altar items etc) to ensure our ceremony space was comfortable. I began to feel nervous again, it was really happening. Purging buckets were handed out to each of us. Then our Shaman went over the process of the evening. We were all given Rapé - tobacco snuff. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, it is finely ground tobacco, wood, and ashes. It is then blown up your nostrils using a hollow tool made out of bamboo, bone etc. The purpose of this medicine is to clear your energetic and emotional fields and to calm and open the mind. This is why it is most commonly used in ceremony space. This medicine is followed with smudge, burning of sacred plants to cleanse energy. Once the cleansing of our energies and the space was complete, the lights were turned off and candles were lit. We all sat in a big circle at our mats waiting for our dose of the sacred brew. One by one we went up to the shamans altar, we bowed our heads to the floor in honour. When you get your dose of the brew, which is only a small medicine cup full, you hold it to your heart and put your intention into the brew. You take your dose at the front and then return to your place. I was near the end of the circle, so I waited patiently and watched as people went up. Few people started to purge very soon after they took the dose.
Finally it was my turn. I felt a sudden burst of confidence and strength in me. Years I had prepared myself to sit with this sacred plant medicine, and finally I was in a ceremony. It felt perfect, and right. All the seeds I had planted about this ceremony were blossoming. I took my dose, to me it tasted like super dark coffee, a touch of cough syrup and cacao. It was thick, almost like tar and it coated my entire mouth. I sat back down on my mat, and waited. They instruct you to sit upright and with your eyes closed, but I had some difficulty at first closing my eyes. People around me were vomiting and I wondered when my time would come. I got the intuitive feeling to close my eyes and centre into my experience. Slight geometric visions came to me, they were very faint but I could make them out. They were light blue and green and moving rapidly with the candlelight. The music began. They said that there are three realms of ayahuasca. The first being the swamp realm, the subconscious and the deeper parts of ourselves. This realm is ruled by the Anaconda, or the Serpent. The music at this point matched the swamp realm perfectly. Slow moving, thick almost and heavy. The second realm of ayahuasca is the earth realm. This realm is ruled by the Jaguar, it is the realm where the medicine goes deeper and works within all parts of you. Finally the third realm is the realm of the Condor or Eagle. This is the realm of the higher self, reaching the other side and the lightness within.
They said we would be instructed to come take a second dose after four of the songs were played. I sat patiently, calling in the spirit of Grandmother Ayahuasca. It felt like only minutes had passed when the announcement came for the second dose. I opened my eyes and realized I had not connected with her. A strong yes came from within to take the second dose, I got up and waited for my turn to take another dose. I sat and they asked, “Did you connect with grandmother Ayahuasca?” To which I replied “...I don’t think so?” The shaman smiled through the candlelight and poured me another full cup and I took it. This time it was much harder to swallow it, I had to force it back. I took my place at my mat again and sat upright and sturdy. I did not know what this dose would bring for me, but I felt ready and prepared without having any knowledge. People were purging again around me, I called it in, welcoming the purge but it did not come. I heard many people purging, some harder than others. And I kept calling it in, having no fight of this experience. I welcomed the removal of heavy darkness within me, I welcomed the space for light and love in my body, mind and soul. But the purge still did not come.
At this point I was not sure how much time had passed. Time lost its purpose for me, and I began to sink deeper and deeper into my journey. The music was playing and guiding us through whatever each of us was going through. I felt myself losing connection to my physical body even though I was conscious and alert. My fingers and hands became distant from me, my legs lost their feeling. I heard a whirring in my ears, and the music began to change and it felt like it was going deeper into my soul. I did my best to stay present and conscious of my breath, feeling my lungs expand and contract. My body began to feel like wet paint and I slid down the wall I was leaning against until I was lying on the floor. My eyes could not open from this point. I asked the medicine if I was falling asleep or if I was subconsciously fighting against it. She returned with the response, “My child, this is the journey. Let us go deeper.” And with that, I completely surrendered to the medicine and it was like being in the middle of a mudslide. Visions took over, geometric patterns and shapes, to animal beings and reliving memories. Ayahuasca dissolved my physical body down to its cellular form, stretching me out through time space. The entire space around me disappeared into a vortex of colours, and shapes. The music was the only thing keeping me anchored in the ceremony space. Grandmother ayahuasca was leading me through the depths of me and the universe. I opened my eyes a few times to make sure I was actually still on Earth, but this was only disorienting to me.
My visions were flashing by my eyes so quickly I could not recall all of what I saw. This is why it can take months to fully integrate all your experience. I faced things within me that were heavy and weighing me down, as I faced them I could feel the medicine physically pulling them out of me. I let them go willingly. Pain from the past would come up and I felt myself resist. But she would nudge me to keep moving through it. I still did not purge through this. The night felt like it was going to last forever, it felt already like I was on this journey for months. At this point, grandmother asked me if I was ready to feel everything I have ever felt. I said yes with my entire soul What felt like a vortex spiraled out of the centre of my chest, pulling all emotion out of me. It was everything from terror to orgasmic bliss, joy to the darkest depression. It was so intense, I was amazed at how much I could feel all at once. My identity crumbled and dissolved and she confronted me with all that I carried, piece by piece.
Everything, all shapes, beings, objects, everything in the physical realm became one. Breathing, moving and existing together, swirling together as one. I was a single wave in the entire ocean of time and space. I experienced the underworld, death, and life in the form of cell division and creation. The music continuously brought me deeper into surrender and into my journey with every passing song. There was a point when I begged for morning to come, I felt exhausted. But at that point I felt like it was only the middle, morning was still far away from where we were. The moments that there was silence, when the music stopped, I felt most on edge. Nothing was there to guide me through this interdimensional experience in silence. But I learned that the Earth and the universe has music, and that music can be accessed at any point. I remembered my inner strength. I told myself that I can do anything alone, because all that I need is within me already.
When morning finally came, I could hear everyone stirring and sitting up to close the ceremony. Voices were all around me, but I felt like I was in a swimming pool, laying on the bottom of the deep end looking up as everyone else looked in at me. I couldn’t surface, I had not made it to the other side yet. A voice spoke and asked, “can everyone please sit up so we may finish and close the ceremony?” I realized at this point I was star fished out on my mat, and I asked grandmother, “Please let me come back to my body so I may sit up and close the ceremony.” A small amount of energy came to me and I was guided inside my body to pull myself up slightly to lean against the wall. I could hear some people speaking of their experience but it felt far away. The next thing I heard was, “is there anyone still under the medicine?” The same energy that pulled me up the wall guided me to lift my arm as best as I could to let them know I was still in it. And with that, I faded back down into my journey.
It was around 4pm when I finally opened my eyes and could muster the energy to sit up and slowly walk back to my room. The ceremony started at about 11pm and ended at 7am, so my journey was longer than anyone else in this circle. I was still under the medicine but coming to the other side when I made it to my room, I hadn’t slept yet and I was exhausted. But after all this deep work I had done, I felt revitalized and new. My mind and my soul felt lighter, cleaner. I fell asleep with a smile and a peaceful feeling in my heart. Gratitude and love overwhelmed me for all the people I sat in this journey with. Gratitude for the shaman, the medicine people, the musicians, and all the people who helped guide us. My heart felt grateful and love for my family, for my friends and for my partner who sat in this journey with me too. My perspective of life has forever changed. I am well equipped to navigate through all that comes my way. I see the value of approaching all beings and all of life with love, openness and understanding.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope it was an enlightening and exciting read for you. I have since sat with Ayahuasca two more times and will be sharing another blog about that retreat weekend too. My fullest heart goes to all who have supported me, loved me and celebrated me along my journey. And also to those that hurt me and did not support me. That gave me strength to find it within myself and to seek more depth in my heart. Thank you, I love you.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be liberated.