I find it befitting after my second Ayahuasca healing ceremony to finally reveal to you about my experience with the Plant Spirit. Although the sacred Ayahuasca ceremony has been held in India for a while both of us got a chance to do it recently.
The first sessions were held in an organic farm on the outskirts of Mumbai; the ceremony is supposed to be conducted in natural surroundings where trees and plants are dominant as compared to the urban jungle. Prior to the ceremony we went for a purifying floral bath, this makes you feel refreshed.
A bucketful of water filled with petals and few drops of Peruvian Agua de Florida – a cologne used in South America by shamans for cleansing, healing, ritual feeding and flowering. Components of the scent include citrus and herbal notes along with spice and floral undertones.
I was anxious before the first ceremony, I had no clue of what lies ahead. I was smoking tobacco trying to calm myself down, the strange thing is I don’t smoke it usually. Since this was my first ceremony I was asked to speak to Herbert, to present my intent and consult with him.
The First Ceremony – Manifestation of Intent
To set the tone for this transformational journey, we participated in a deep shamanic drumming session – this helped bring a sense of calmness amongst most of us. The ceremony was going to take place in a hut with a thatched roof, open on all sides and surrounded by fields.
Mattresses were lined up on either side of the Shaman’s altar, and each one was given a bucket or the ‘vomit’ bucket, a bottle of water, tissue paper for wiping our mouths after puking, a blanket in case you feel the shivers, and a pillow; this can be expected during most ceremonies.
We all took our respective places and were ready for the ceremony to begin. There were approximately 20 of us, and Herbert sat at the start of the ceremonial space. He opens a packet of Mapacho tobacco and blows the smoke inside the brew bottle and over his body. He seals the sacred space of the ceremony to prevent any dark spirits from entering.
This circle of healing or ‘Arkana,’ protects all the participants from encountering dark forces. (The Mapacho is Nicotina rustica, considered the most sacred of all the tobaccos within American Indian tribes, used for ceremonial purposes, to protect and purify. It is most commonly mixed with other tobaccos such as N. glauca or N. sylvestris to lessen the potency of it as it is by far the most powerful Nicotine.)
He walks around, blowing the sacred smoke on each one of us, and soon after this, Herbert begins pouring a cup of the brew. The Shaman says that the spirits tell them how much each of us needs to drink. The more healing a person needs, the more they get. The dosage is also dependent on your experience with the medicine.
Since it was my first ceremony I was given half a cup, this too happens in co-ordination. The first person closest to the Shaman gets the first cup, then subsequently each one walks to him and gets their dose. Once everybody is done the candle is put out and darkness fills the hut.
Within a quarter of an hour people begin to feel the effects – purging (puking), some begin to laugh, some get ecstatic, for some it is frequent trips to the toilet, while for me I was in a complete state of consciousness, wondering why is nothing happening to me.
After a long time, I passed out, and when I woke up I realized the medicine effect had well taken over me. When I looked outside the hut at the trees and the stars, everything seemed like it should be, nothing seemed out of the extraordinary, but when I shifted focus inside it was a different story altogether.
The Shaman looked surreal, there were no lights, eyes begin to play tricks in the darkness; the person next to me had transformed into an object straight out of my intent. For a long time, it was in my mind, pulsating moving, why do I think like this and when I wanted to get it out of me the visual started morphing into molecules and breaking down until it was diminished out of my head.
Post that I lied down for a while, an unexplainable cold shiver took over my body, the blanket provided seemed to do nothing. Herbert was chanting his Icaros and passed by each one of us. As he approached me I could feel the tremendous amount of energy he was emitting, nothing like I had ever experienced before in my life. I felt no urge to vomit, what most people were doing, some people were visiting the toilet but for me my purging was in the form of uncontrollable yawning.
Most of the time in my first session I was lying down, the Shaman’s Icaros were extremely beautiful, I was getting carried away with the flute, occasionally I would tune into how other people were dealing.
Later I realized that I shouldn’t have compared this experience to others trying to draw parallels and similarities. The effects of the medicine wore out in a couple of hours, although one could go and have another cup. I was a little hesitant and when I approached, the Shaman had already closed the ceremony.
The ceremony lasted for around five to six hours, one of the important aspects that I overlooked is the diet. Ten days prior to doing the ceremony one is suppose to go on a strict diet, no meat, no sugar or salt, no processed food, only simple food and a lot of water to detox and prepare your body for the medicine. Although I wasn’t really sticking to the whole detox, three days prior to the ceremony I virtually starved myself and got my system as clean as I could get.
Overall the first experience left me with a feeling of something being incomplete, though I felt my intent was addressed there were something that the Shaman told me about myself that got me thinking. The recommended way to work with the medicine is to do minimum three ceremonies.
The Second ceremony: Calmness Prevailed
Lucky for me, in a couple of months opportunity knocked on my door again and I found myself with a cup that was three quarters full in my hand. I looked up and drank it under the star lit sky, this one was different. In a few minutes I began to feel the effects. Unlike the first ceremony where I had an intent I wanted to work on, this time I decided to let the medicine do what it has to do, as they say a Mother knows best.
The world started to look different in around 30 minutes, there was something happening. My past experience with hallucinogens taught me to look up to the stars to know how potent the substance is, so I was watching a gentle motion beginning to build up in the sky.
I had decided to let the Spirit medicine work with me, I could feel it coursing through my body. I felt my impurities collecting inside my body, like we made a deal that all the toxicity present in my body would collect in the gut and that’s exactly what was happening. I could feel the build up in my stomach. I knew the dose was stronger than the first time, so I was expecting a certain amount of visual or mental chaos but Mother Spirit had a different plan.
After my massive experimentation with acid in my twenties my mind was never the same – I was dealing with a mind that was constantly thinking and even while holding conversations my mind would drift away and it was a constant battle that I had gotten used to. Instead of my mind going berserk on Ayahuasca, I found peace after years; it was like someone pressed the pause button in my head, there were no thoughts, no chaos, there was nothing just me and the star lit sky which stretched up to Infinity.
The entire night was blissful, not a single thought went by me, nothing unwanted slipped in and the peace was not affected by any of the chaos outside. I felt like I had gone back in time to what I used to be ages before my mind was altered.
The entire night went by observing, no thoughts, no judgments just watching as other peoples’ processes unfolded. When the ceremony was closed people were sharing how their experience was, I was still in a state of calm, I din’t want to speak because I was so blissed out by the fact that I was experiencing the experience I never imagined I would experience.
Although this is not something I wanted to mention, if you recollect in the start of my experience I mentioned about all the impurities collecting in my gut. I visited the commode and had the dirtiest smelliest visit which looked like dark green poison getting out of my system.
Its been over a month since I had my second experience and I still feel the same, a veil of calm has been drawn over me. I am in complete awe of the Plant Spirit medicine and how it has worked on me. Here are few lines I wrote about my Ayahuasca experience…
“Amongst the chaos I emerged calm and brave.
All my fears were left in their grave.
The churning of gears the voice in my head,
All was stopped but I wasn’t dead.
With each breath of air, life was renewed.
Transformed by the spirit vine,
Unburdened and purified.
Mother works her magic
and she knows best.
Let her flow, rekindling the fire in your soul
All the healing you need, she knows.”
Thank you all involved in my transformation, much love and appreciation to each one of you! Love you Pachamama!