In transit to my way to the Ayahuasca retreat, I leave Nativa Apartments in central Iquitos, thinking of all the steps I had taken to get me to Peru. The night, nearly a year ago, when I had watched DMT The Spirit Molecule and became amazed at what this sacred plant could do, seemed so far away now. Everything in between was anything but a smooth ride. One thing I can say is that, when I felt the pull of Ayahuasca, there was nothing that would stop me from going; my mind was made up. This is my Ayahuasca experience from start to finish.
After a 90 minute tuc tuc ride, which included some off roading, (if that possible in a tuc tuc) myself and my sister Maria arrived at Nihue Rao. We were welcomed by Pedro who took our details then showed us to our room. We had got there just in time for lunch, so once we dropped our packs at the room we made our way to the dining room. We were welcomed again by a mixed group of people, some who were there for long and short visits. Even though we had never met anyone the feeling was good straight away.
I had been told that once at the retreat, we would need to go through a cleansing process. This was a way to get you prepared for your first Ayahuasca ceremony. We was told by Pedro to meet at the medicine room at 2pm. Once there we were given a bowl full of what looked like watered down milk, but tasted nothing like it. The man who mixed the concoction told us to drink it all. We had been informed that it would take around 20 minutes to an hour for it to take affect and last a couple of hours. After that you would be fine to eat and feel great.
After around 20 minutes my stomach began gurgling, and within 5 minutes of that, I began to vomit. Due to the amount I had taken their was a lot coming up. I spent the next hour trying to get rid of what I had drank. Little did I know that this was only the start. It turned out that the man who made the brew was not the regular maker. There was an older guy, but it was his day off. We were told that this brew might take a little longer for us to feel the effects. With me it lasted all day. My stomach was constantly turning and with the heat of the Amazon, it made it difficult to rest or get any sleep. I spent most of the day in bed, where I eventually went to sleep until the next morning.
Upon wakening I felt a lot better and in need of some breakfast. After a light breakfast and herbal tea, I was feeling more energised. We was instructed to meet at the ceremony hut called the Maloka, to speak with Joe Tafur (part owner of Nihue Rao) and the shamans. This meeting was to share my intentions of what I wanted to achieve from my visit. The shamans only spoke Spanish, so Joe interpreted my words and vice versa. Once giving my intentions I found the emotions attached to them came to the surface. Joe knew this and told me that they would help me, which made me feel better. I had written four main intentions, which would coincide with the four ceremonies. But I later found out that I could have had more. I was still happy with what I had asked for though.
There was a buzz in the camp in the day and evening leading up to the first ceremony. Everyone was sharing stories trying to get a feel of what was to come. For me I knew from researching that the first experience was most likely to be a clearing out of negative emotions. Upon which, purging and diarrhoea was the normal outcome. This did not bother me though. I was not under estimating my first ceremony, but rather, just ready for healing. Our last bite to eat was at 4pm, which consisted of an apple. This was the normal procedure for ceremony days. Eating close to the time of taking Ayahuasca, would most likely make you sick very soon after drinking the brew. Which would result in the effects (if any) not being as powerful.
It came to 7:30pm, our time to arrive at the Maloka, to settle and get ready to drink. It was a large round room, with about 30 beds laid out along the edges, each with an assigned sick bucket. I sat in my designated bed and began going over two of my intentions I had asked to be helped with. I narrowed them down to six words, and then repeated that as a mantra. Joe had mentioned as the Ayahuasca takes effect, to ascend with your intentions present in your mind.
Soon it was my turn to drink. The anticipation had been building as the number people who had drank became smaller. Joe called my name; I went up and sat in front of the shaman. He poured a thick, red coloured liquid into a small cup and handed it to me. I thanked him, then drank. Most were given a small amount, due it being our first ceremony. It was sour and powerful, like nothing I had ever tasted. I made my way back to my bed and rinsed my mouth out with water. We were advised not to drink the water as this could induce vomiting. As a result the taste lingered in my throat as my stomach churned. It wasn’t a feeling of needing to be sick, but a feeling of something working deep in your guts.
Once everyone (not including the shamans) had drunk the main lights were turned off. The only light left was from two candles, which was used to help administer Ayahuasca to the remaining shamans, of which there was three. Once they had drunk, the candle light was extinguished, leaving the room in total darkness. About 40 minutes had passed since I drank, and I could feel a heaviness in my head. I could hear people already starting purge. My stomach had settled slightly, but had been replaced with the need to go the toilet. I collected my flash light and made my way outside.
The toilets where situated about 20 metres, directly in front of the Maloka. Once in there the diarrhoea began. Now finished I was making my way back to Maloka and noticed the heaviness in my head getting stronger. Back at my bed the feeling got more intense, until I felt it all over my body. My temperature had risen a lot and I started to feel extreme nausea. So as to not disturb anyone next to me it took my sick bucket and moved to the end of my bed.
It was not long before the vomiting started. It seemed to go on for ever, with little rests in between. The diarrhoea continued also leaving me feeling weak and exhausted. I had gone into this first ceremony with two intentions, one being to heal myself from some of illnesses I had dealt with for a long time, but after a few hours in knew, I had to let go of my second intention and focus on healing. Their came a time when it felt like the effects were wearing off so I asked for a second dose of Ayahuasca. I had settled a bit, but knew there was still more to come up.
Returning to my bed I was unaware that the night was about to get a whole lot darker. The stomach churning feeling I had earlier came back. This stayed with me till I purged again. From that point on every ill feeling I had at the start was magnified. I tossed, turned and curled up, trying to find some relief, but the grip of the brew was more powerful than before. I was taken to a very dark place. My mind couldn’t focus on one thing; dark thoughts passed in and out. This was reflected in my body with the feeling of something trying to get out. I experienced fear, sadness, sickness and frustration. After many hours, I lay on my back and tears of sadness came flooding out. This was not a few tears, this was uncontrollable sobbing which I’d never had before.
While in this state my Dad who had passed away on my 17th birthday was present in my mind. I had kept a lot of anger towards my Dad, which I had buried deep inside me. This was down to him leaving home when I was young, due to illnesses from a drinking problem. He was an epileptic and had to choose taking his medication or alcohol, if he wanted to stay with me and my Mum. He chose the latter. (Even though now I understand he had an addiction, at the time I was teenager and couldn’t get my head round why he wanted to leave). So when he appeared as faint picture which faded away, the anger grew stronger, the tears continued and the demons inside me stirred.
Before I knew it the ceremony was coming to an end. I found myself in a panic because this feeling still had a hold over me. I could see Joe on the other side of the room talking to the shamans and desperately wanted to ask for help, but I didn’t and I’m still not sure why. Eventually most people had left and I was left feeling so alone. My body now even more exhausted, the tears continuing, I turned and called out to Pedro. I could not make out faces so just shouted in the direction he was sitting and hoped he would hear me. Pedro was not there. But the person who did here me was someone who I now see as an amazing person. Her name was Lauren. She came over and asked me where I was at. I told her I was not sure what to do next. We were facing each other, kneeling down. I was so tired; I could not stay that way. I rested my head on her leg and she put her arms around me. The loneliness I had been experiencing started to fade away and I began to get some positive feeling back.
After around 10 minutes I told Lauren I would be ok now, even though I was not. She had helped me a lot, which I was extremely grateful for, but I knew their was more to come. There was something inside me which needed to come out. I spend the next hour with the same negative feelings running through my body. Eventually I gained the strength to make my way back to my room. By this time the Maloka was empty and the sun was rising. The time would have been around 5:30am. I had spent over eight hours, battling with dark energies and now felt physically and emotionally drained. I climbed into bed, curled up and fell asleep.
I woke at around 7:30am feeling weak and tired. It was like I had been in a battle, which maybe was not over. Now with ceremony 2 approaching, I felt the slow awakening of the anxiety which had been present before last night’s drinking. I was here for a reason, so was not going to let it bother me. I was drinking again tonight, because if the battle was not over, I needed to continue.
We met at 9:00am in the Maloka to discuss everyone’s experiences from the night past. Still feeling the effects of the Ayahuasca, my emotions were everywhere. I sat waiting for my turn to speak. I began to get knots in my stomach, thinking about sharing my story.
It eventually came to my turn. I started off fine, but once I began to talk about my Dad, the tears returned. Even now after over 13 years, his death still affected me. Joe listened, then interpreted to the shaman. I mentioned how it had taken a while for the Ayahuasca to take effect. He suggested I try a larger does to start off with. This I agreed with. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and try to recuperate some energy, ready for the nights drinking ahead.
Heading to the Maloka at 7:30pm, I thought I would get there a little early, to centre myself. I think in a way I was trying to prepare, in case I had a similar night to the previous one. Slowly the Maloka filled up and with it the tension. It was like bottled anticipation. Again my turn came around, the butterflies inside trying to escape, but I pushed it down. When I sat down in front of the shaman, Joe asked me how much, to which I said, “More than last night.” The glass was double from the previous night and it was just as thick and foul tasting. I drank and made my way back to my bed. Charlie who I became friends with at the retreat gave me some mopatcho, which is a form of tobacco. This helps with the lingering taste after drinking. As I smoked, I could feel the brew making its way through my stomach. It gave me slight pains, sort of like trapped wind.
The shamans were the last ones to drink, and then the lights went out. It took around 20 minutes for me to start to feel some effects. It began with the heaviness in my head, and then I felt the diarrhoea coming back. Wanting to give it time work I held on for a little longer before making my way to the toilet.
Once back, I lay down on my bed. This was when it started to hit me fast. My heart pounded and my body temperature started to rise. Not sure where this was going, I collected my sick bucket and made my way to the opposite end of the bed. Now on my knees, leaning on my elbows with my head slightly down, the vision hit me like a ton of bricks. I had flashes of multi coloured geometric patterns. These were constantly changing and as hard I tried, I could not make much sense of it. This lasted for about 15 minutes before I was sick.
I eventually moved so I was at the right end of my bed. My head rested on my pillow, eyes closed, more visions started. They were curved interlocking patterns all moving in synchronisation. As these connected patterns moved, I felt as if I was expelling something. What came out I call mouth noises. It was like some sort of energy which I needed to release. It would start from Heart chakra and move up to be expelled. I can only describe it as a combination of a yawn and a shiver.
The feeling of connectedness was strong. I thought of the people around me and family at home. I thanked Lauren in my mind for being such a kind person and for helping me the night before. Little did I know but the morning to come, Lauren would tell me that, she too was thinking of me also.
Then my attention turned to my sister Maria. I noticed she was having a bad time. She had ended up on another bed and was calling to Joe. This made me sit up to find out what was going on. Joe hadn’t heard her calls, so I went over. I could sense she was in need of help so I hugged her and offered some reassurance. These are her words of what happened before and after I saw her.
I was needing to use the bathroom, but I couldn’t walk well so I was about to ask Joe for help. Then a voice said to me, ”you don’t need help just go, you’ll be fine”. About to go, I could hear what sounded like children from a distance shouting “no don’t go outside”. Okay I need to ask Joe for help. “Why are you asking for help, use your own intuition, you don’t need help” came another single voice. Right I’m going, just about to stand and the children shouted again no don’t go. What a predicament, I needed the bathroom, needed help but was told, no help use your intuition. I was totally confused, and annoyed. What intuition, I was asking. After what seemed forever, I thought right, it’s pathetic, just stand up and go. I gently stood up, very wobbly and tried to focus, but I couldn’t see the door way. Immediately the doorway lit up for me, only I could see it though. I focused on the door way, and walked a type of weird walk to the entrance.
When I got out side I had the urge to get on the ground, and touch the branches of the bushes. I breathed in the night air so deeply to clear my mind and get me to focus. I still felt the urge to sit or lay on the ground, anywhere. I had to feel the earth next to my body, to connect. How I knew this, I don’t know, intuition maybe as they said. I got myself together, or so I thought, then went into what I can only describe as another person’s mode. I accepted what was happening quite happily.
I sat in front of the Maloka entrance, exact center of the door way, I folded my legs and sat up straight in a meditation pose; very precise. Although I have never done this in my life. I knew this was correct. Then, I felt I had some type of divine power. I watch over the Maloka, and kept it safe, each person that came out, I breathed in his/her pain, and blew it up to night sky. I was in total control. I scanned the area, to check for predators and returned my gaze back to the Maloka. I then directed this power to circle the Maloka to keep out anything of harm.
Next, the shamans was singing the beautiful iceros but I had to send them information which I held. I was higher to the divine than them (but not me really, not in reality, I didn’t have a clue, I just accepted the role), I was still in what I know now to be the lotus position, still very strong. That feeling was so real, I was in power, but it was good power. I was afraid of no one or nothing. It was as if they looked to me with the highest respect; they being, the ones on another level of consciousness. The shaman sang but I knew they was waiting for this information, I looked down toward my body, scanned it by breathing in each part, then blew the information gently toward them. I told them remember who I am, this is the last, and repeated the breath and blow. It was quite normal, I accepted it, it felt like my body was being used by another soul of higher privilege.
At this point, I got a bit of reality back, and said, ”Wow what am I doing”. I was taken aback at what had just happened, surely it’s not real. Then I was told, ”This is where you belong, you know that, you have come home”. I was shown a sort of vision, where an alter or throne, was being prepared for me. They was waiting, I belonged to them and they wanted me.
I then felt a panic come over me, “No I’m not all yours”, I said but not aloud; it was on a different frequency to speech. I said, ”The soul may be yours, but the body is mine and I belong here on earth with my children”. They were persistent, and I did feel I could have easily stayed because it was what I already knew from some past life and it felt safe. Then my children would come to my thoughts and sort of shake me to think. It was like a fight to stay on earth, they wanted me so much, to them I was there goddess. I was a mum now and I wasn’t going anywhere. I could see them preparing for me. I went to go inside to get help, but the door wouldn’t open. I walked around the Maloka (to the other door) and sat at the entrance, about to go in. I realised, this is not the entrance, it’s a trick and I will go straight into the procession awaiting me. My heart raced with fear, for I knew, once I stepped into that procession I wasn’t coming back to this life.
I ran back to the other entrance and asked the security man to open the door for me. While walking to my mat I could see it had changed. It was a type of throne, lit up awaiting me. I stood in the middle of the Maloka, and would not look for fear of being pulled in. I told poor Joe, “I can’t go back to this mat, they are going to be so angry they have waited so long. Me just a normal person dared to refuse the position of goddess or something huge. I asked Joe could I have another mat. If I went back to that mat, I knew Joe or the shamans couldn’t help me. I know I would have left this body for good. Joe hadn’t seen anyone experience the things I did, which made me even more scared. My children needed me, I was their mum, and the others couldn’t have me.
Looking back it seems so far fetched, I agree, but it couldn’t have been more real, I can still feel every emotion. It wasn’t a vision, it was happening. A vision is usually like short video, but this went on the whole night. It was that life or this life. Mother Ayahuasca, came to me and said, ”What do you want, you asked and I have shown. You may not like it, so you shouldn’t ask”. She will always show you the truth whether it be good or bad. I realised I have everything here in my life. If I feel unhappy it’s up to me to change it. She can only offer me this or another life, so I choose this one with my children.
I had the urge to get rid of the diarrhoea for a while but didn’t have the energy to get up. Finally on the toilet things got a little dark. I found myself in loop of being sick to needing the toilet. This got faster and faster till it became uncontrollable. Sitting on the toilet I began sweating profusely and I started to have mini blackouts. I knew then I needed to get out of the toilet and get back to the Maloka. I stepped out the toilet, took a few steps and collapsed.
The next feeling I had was the cold sand on my face. Not able to open my eyes, my mind felt like it was drifting away. I could hear Charlie reassuring me, everything was going to be ok. I lost all sense of my body and my thoughts fell silent. I began to contemplate not returning to my body, but I was ok with it. I said to myself, “If this is my time then so be it.” I gained some senses back and opened one eye. Joe was sitting crossed legged blowing mopatcho smoke on me and singing iceros.
I drifted back away again to the void. Only to return with the feeling of Agua de Florida water being sprayed from Joe’s mouth onto my face. This helped me to start gaining some of my senses back. I had lost all sense of time, so I could have been there for 10 minutes to an hour. As soon as the thought of standing came into my mind, it was like Joe knew, and he asked me did I want to go back inside, to which I said yes. Cold and weak, Joe helped me to my feet. We walk into the Maloka and back to my bed.
Once in the bed, with the blanket over me, I instantly felt better. My mind drifted again but not as deep as before. Joe came back to my bed, then continued to help me with more singing and the blowing of mopatcho onto me. This was a great comfort. Through the rest of ceremony, I continued to have a positive night. I was so thankful for my extraordinary visions and the love which ran through me all night.
Morning eventually came. I awoke in the Maloka feeling extreme exhaustion, mixed with deep euphoria. I summoned the strength to get up, then went to my room to collect my phone. I found a quiet part of the retreat which was getting prepared for more rooms to be built. There was a huge log where I sat and recorded my first voice memo. Sitting there was a great feeling. With my euphoric high, being surrounded by nature, it gave me a deep feeling of happiness. I would have that feeling everyday if I could.
Part 2 coming very soon