Shamans are known to go to extraordinary measures in the name of healing the self. We are known as “wounded healers” – a term used to describe the fact that our life has brought us through several challenges that most do not face. This happens so we learn how to heal ourselves from these major traumas and, subsequently, how to guide a healing process in others.
I had been called down to Peru for at least 4 years now. On many occasions during dreamtime, I would move through a specific ceremony – very similar to Ayahuasca ceremony as it turns out – to facilitate deep healing within myself. After much research about Ayahuasca, I learned it is a sacred plant, “The Mother Of All Plants”, whose Divine Intelligence brings those who ingest her into a deeply transformative, healing, and visionary process. She works her Magick in ways that honor the very specific needs of each person. I was hesitant at first to even entertain the idea of experiencing Ayahuasca, but the call was strong inside me. One of my mentors had already experienced Ayahuasca, and he confirmed that I had “an invitation to experience the jungle medicine.” There was residual trauma that I was moving through, and this timely invitation appeared to be the help I’ve been asking for. Thus began a 9-month preparation period before my trip to Peru in September 2011.
My preparations brought me through a wide array of memories – specifically old emotional traumas that had not fully healed. This was Ayahuasca’s way of helping me see what was in need of healing so I could formulate my intentions accordingly. Having so many unresolved issues sitting ripely at the surface became very challenging for me, but I knew this was being done for me and not to me. I continued with my daily practices, and 3 weeks before I was to leave, I began observing a somewhat modified Dieta – a very specific dietary plan – to honor the experience I was about to encounter and to cleanse myself for Ayahuasca’s medicine.
The day I arrived in Peru, I was awestruck by the sheer beauty and majesty of the Andean Mountains. Arriving at “Ayahuasca Wasi” was a surreal experience. I sat with my coca tea (to help with the altitude adjustment), and I could hear the songs of the faeries of the Sacred Valley. Their songs were mystical, seductive, yet somewhat cheery and gentle. That night, I prepared myself to meet the Mother (Madre) Ayahuasca for the first of three times during this trip.
The stage for the ceremony was humbling, comfortable, and beautiful. The Ayahuscero (Ayahuasca Shaman) had a few assistants – all musicians – with him to help our group (and me) if we needed. My heart pounded as I went up to the altar and made my intentions before drinking the Ayahuasca brew. Six gulps later, there was no turning back. She would take me in until it was time for me to return to “ordinary reality”.
Breathing in silent reflection and meditation, I began releasing every word I read or heard about how Ayahuasca affects others. Perhaps 30 minutes passed, and a few from my group began purging. I was seeing very clear geometric shapes animated in wild, vivid colors all around me. Then the music started. Each song was sung to aid the flow of the Medicine (Ayahuasca’s Medicine) for each person. At first, I was inside myself and I saw the most beautiful lotus flower opening brilliantly with flowing, graceful ribbons of pastel-colored energy cascading out from the top and bottom of the flower. The ribbons flowed all around and inside me. It was simply stunning. I was told that this is a reflection of the Beauty within me, and I began to weep. Feelings of unworthiness, lovelessness, loneliness, and others swept over me as I struggled to accept the Beauty that I am inside. Ayahuasca told me that the brew we ingest is her “sacrament of Love”. She loves us enough to help us heal, transform, see with new eyes, and so much more.
The visions continued and were influenced by the timely and Divinely-inspired songs. I began to feel swept away by the visions which then suddenly triggered severe panic in my body. This was fear of letting go, and this was next on the mighty list of things Madre Ayahuasca had in store for me this evening. There was palpable resistance in my body rejecting the Medicine. I didn’t want to let go. I couldn’t. It was too much to ask. I became aware that this fear tied into the fear of loss of control – not just from me, but from an entire lineage in my family past, present, and future. I was being asked to release this fear for me and for all my family in all time. I felt overwhelmed, asked Ayahuasca to please stop, and she did. But, much like labor contractions, I soon discovered her wave of intense contractions followed by gentle, brief relief. She demanded I release this, and I felt my soul agree with her. This agreement moved into a knowing that no matter how much resistance I had inside me, there was no real way of getting around that this will be released when I allow it to. My soul self began demanding my body to purge to help release the panic. My body quivered in a defiant response. I asked Ayahuasca for help in purging, and I simply let go and followed the colors of the music being played. Once my being was calm, suddenly the contraction came and I was slammed into my physical body just in time to purge – and I did so repeatedly. I felt thick, black, mucilaginous, snake-like stuff exit my mouth during one of the purges. It was the energy of the toxin being released as physically there was nothing of the sort in the bucket.
I saw the Hindu Goddess, Krishna, in one of the visions with her Divine musical band. The physical musicians morphed into Divine beings and they all sang in perfect harmony together. It was a very beautiful, joyous song that helped me remember that when you move beyond the illusion in life, all is in Divine harmony. I saw my Divine harmony in the song, and the harmony of every other person. It represented that not only do we each have a place to sing in the song, but that we each (all humanity) have a place in the world if we choose to open to our Divine purpose.
Other moments of sheer beauty were followed by intense rounds of more personal healing for me. There was more resistance, more quivering, more purging as we drew near the end of the ceremony. I felt better and yet worse at the same time when the Ayahuascero (Ayahuasca Shaman) closed the ceremony and opened a space for us to share if we wished. However, Ayahuasca was not done with me. Many of the others were done with their agendas with Ayahuasca, and as I listened to the murmur of the sacred sharing, I layed down and moaned in sheer agony. I felt very dizzy, nauseated, and confused. The level of discomfort grew, and I purged a few more times. Ayahuasca demanded I submit to her, and I knew that this was not a choice anymore. If I wanted to feel better, I had to let go and surrender to her Medicine. There was no other way. Most everyone left the temple, but I stayed and wrestled with Ayahuasca. I wanted to let go and let her in, but this other, very primal part of me didn’t want anything to do with any kind of surrendering. The war raged on inside me until I finally dozed off for about a half hour just before dawn.
When I awoke, I felt much better. The confusion was gone, and the dizziness and nausea had subsided. I drank some water and went back to sleep. My mind was still spinning with all the information I had received, but I willed myself to sleep just a little while to wait until the grip of the Ayahuasca brew released me more fully. Eventually, I was able to walk out of the temple, eat breakfast, write everything down, and then napped serenely into the afternoon. Upon waking, I was fully healed. I was peaceful inside. Ayahuasca cleaned me from the inside out and I glowed in deep Love and Appreciation for her Medicine. I vowed the next ceremony I would simply Surrender and Trust her, to let her Medicine in more fully, and let her do what she does best.
The following evening was the second Ayahuasca ceremony. I sat in prayer with my guides (and their mothers!) and asked humbly for a gentle experience. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the temple all night again suffering as I did the other night. My intentions were to Surrender and Trust the Medicine. There was far less fear when I ingested the brew. I sat back, and let Ayahuasca in. I repeated a mantra “I trust you, Ayahuasca. I Surrender to your capable care and I allow your Medicine to flow into me.” The crazy geometric patterns gently gave way the another beautiful display of lotus flower energy ribbons. This time, I was in an ethereal temple and there was a small pond of shallow, still water in the center. Ayahuasca spoke to me about a few things in this place, and I was in complete Trust and Surrender to it all. I let go and followed the visions. They brought me to insanely beautiful, gentle places and deep Peace infiltrated my being. This time, it was a gift for me to have to always tap into if I ever needed. I gently came back to my physical self and I was in sheer Bliss. I was One with the Divine. I saw the Divine order in everything around me. All I had to do was let go and once I did, it was just oh so beautiful and blissful. I didn’t understand why it was so hard to let go to get “here” in the first place! I maneuvered my legs and ventured outside to sing to the full moon rising in the evening sky. After a few moments, my soul self became aware that I had received what I asked for – a gentle experience. At the same time, I wasn’t in Peru to be blissed out. No, I came here for a reason. I didn’t consciously know the reason at that moment, but there was a deeper purpose and this bliss was simply not it. I decided to take another dose of Medicine to help move things along into a deeper place. I ingested a smaller dose of Medicine with absolutely no fear or hesitation. I knew I had to do this and there was a peace about the decision – well, at least for 10 minutes.
About 10 minutes later, the Medicine hit me like a freight truck. I completely lost my center, and was in a place of fear vs. bliss. Why? Ayahuasca and my guides were asking me to sacrifice my life on the altar of Death. I was to move through ultimate Surrender and Trust. Mega resistance and panic arose within me. My limbs shook uncontrollably for many hours. My primal self had kicked in full force. No one was dying here tonight, yet the soul self knew I could not resist the Medicine. I was told “Death is like falling asleep”, and with that, I began to feel incredibly tired. This was no ordinary tiredness – no, this was Death coming to take me. Violent shaking mirrored the war inside me once again, but more intense than ever before. Songs of Death were being sung physically – very appropriate but I didn’t want to hear it, and yet I did. I began reviewing my life, and saying goodbye to all that I know in this world – my family, my friends, my unfinished hopes and dreams, and much more. I didn’t know what would happen to my physical body when the release (Death) occurred for me this night, and that was a strange sensation to experience. I fought the sleepiness of Death for as long as I could until my eyes could not longer hold their gaze. I slipped in and out of consciousness.
Ceremony ended but I could not stay awake. Sacred sharing commenced, and there I was – again – strewn on the floor, shaking in resistance of the Medicine, and now slipping in and out of consciousness. Ayahuausca was not yet done with me. Greater dizziness, confusion, nausea, tremors, resistance, and discomfort seized me. My soul self knew this was a blessing, but oh I was not happy, and yet I was. Everyone eventually left and now I was in the temple, in the pitch black, dying alone. I felt decrepid – bony, curled in a mostly fetal position, I felt almost dusty. There was no comfort. Not a light, not a comforting touch…nothing. We are born alone and we die alone. I was not asleep, but I did loose consciousness for brief periods of time. During one of those times, I passed through the eye of Death. I was asked to choose whether I wanted to return to this life or pass over completely. The Jaguar medicine inside me, much like the Phoenix, surged within me and claimed Life. It was then I realized that I (the Jaguar) will always choose life. I can die a million times, but like the energizer bunny, I will always come back until I’m done with what I’m here to do. Suddenly, the re-membering came. I remembered where I came from. This began a process of remembering who I am as a Divine being. From here, I remembered my Divine purpose this lifetime. (This being highly personal information, I will not share the details here.)
I was reborn like a baby. My entire energy network was completely re-wired with a golden thread, and special attention was paid to my crown, 8th, and 9th chakras. Buzzing with new life and still incredibly dizzy, I was not able to move. I waited for someone to come find me in the temple to help me out. I needed help. A few hours later, help came. Everything I did felt like I was re-learning how to do it again – talking, walking, eating, going to the bathroom, moving my limbs, etc. Special attention was paid to me by many to ensure I recovered well, and by mid afternoon, I was able to ambulate on my own without assistance. After my afternoon nap, I was beginning to feel incredible – really incredible. Not only did I feel squeaky clean inside and out, but I felt securely connected to the Divine god-force within me. There was no separation, and with the remembering I was gifted with, there was a soft glow of radiant Love and Peace.
Before the final ceremony the next day, I asked the Ayahuascero to please give me far less Medicine. I wanted to integrate everything I had been through the past two ceremonies, not be horizontal on the floor wrestling with resistance all night as before. He agreed. The third ceremony I was, for the first time, able to truly enjoy the ceremony. I was able to drift off and watch the visions blossom, and gently descend to my physical body to energetically assist my brothers and sisters who were having a rougher time. Madre Ayahuasca still had a few, minor things to help move me through this ceremony, but all was accepted with ease and grace. I walked out of the temple after ceremony and slept in my own bed – and that was SO nice!
What I learned is that Madre Ayahuasca knows what she is doing. She is an iridescent snake with wings on which we fly to experience Divine Love and Truth. Her wisdom, doctoring, teachings, and Love amaze and humble me everyday since. Everyone’s experience with Ayahuasca is unique and different. To truly honor Ayahuasca, you need to go to where she lives to experience her. This is not a Medicine to be experienced anywhere else but in Peru. I recommend this ceremony to any Seeker looking for a direct experience with the Divine and a transformative experience in healing the self. I have been changed dramatically since my return. I will go back and experience Madre Ayahuasca again in Divine timing.