Ayahuasca (usually pronounced /aɪjəˈwæskə/ or /ˈaɪjəˈwɑːskə/) is a brew of various plant infusions prepared with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine.
After almost 2 years of deliberation and research, I went and did it. I finally found myself in the right place, figuratively and emotionally speaking.
When people think of Ayahuasca, they picture the Amazon, huts, and a shaman. Yes, that does exist and I was planning on doing it that way but life doesn’t always happen the way you imagine things. I say it that way because for the people the don’t know or have never experienced this all of this sound out of realm that of course you’d go to the Amazon and “trip” out.
Yes, I didn’t go to the Amazon. I stayed close to home in NYC. I had my expectations, fears, anxieties, excitement of what I was going to experience doing it this way but again, I stayed close to home and my “nature” expectation went out the door.
The week leading up the plant ceremony, I followed a strict diet consisting of everything one should always be eating: vegetables, fruits, light meats, and good grains and excluding all that is not so good for you like processed sugar, minimal caffeine intake, and no red meat. I was hungry and a little lethargic but on the day of the ceremony, I felt with full life force.
I took the train to this “amazing” capoeria studio in Midtown that is surrounded by everything opposite of nature and we would call this place the ceremony post. I say it with quotation marks because I was questioning the “realness” of the whole situation but in the end my mind changed, it indeed became a sanctuary. It was the most perfect place for me to have my experience.
I was greeted by 2 assistants and other fellow ceremony go’ers, they gave the breakdown. Find your place, lay down your mat, and wait for our “shaman.” Our shaman comes in and my stomach starts feeling a little anxious but as soon as he started speaking, I felt relieved. “If you are looking for a psychedelic experience you might want to walk out because we are here to heal not take drugs,” he said. I totally respected that because contrary to what people say, this was a sacred ceremony that demands respect. It is not always easy to digest an experience like this one especially if you want to heal. He calls himself a “curandero” and that is exactly what he is, he helps you get over the humps and purge.
We take the first serving of the tea, not as nasty as I was expecting it. Go back to my seat, sit in meditative pose and close my eyes…nothing is happening…an hour later, all lights are off except the glimmering light coming from the wick of a candle. Our healer is singing “icaros,” beautiful mantras of his native Peru. Still…nothing happening. He is walking up and down the pathway and comes up to me and asks how I am feeling. I said, “good but not feeling anything” so he gave me more. At this point I was coming in and out but mostly out, like as if I was resisting. So another hour passes and I am not feeling what I thought I should be feeling. I go up for a final sip, he said, “the flower is in you, I see it in your vibration.” He also warned that he couldn’t give me more because then I wouldn’t be happy with him the following day, we laughed. I went back to my spot. Sat and closed my eyes. In the middle of an icaro, my hair started to feel like silk against my face. And…”I was in.”
Color bursts, animals, and grids fill the air, eyes closed or open I saw the same thing, it was beautiful. A big surge of love came upon me and I couldn’t stop smiling, I felt as if my smile was as big as the room. There are moments of sadness, happiness, confusion, and love. I got up to use the bathroom and as I was sitting on the toilet I closed my eyes and heard the sounds my insides make- it was like I was inside my insides. I purged a lot in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror and seeing what I hadn’t seen in years. I smiled and cried and purged. The walls were covered with gleams of gold light. I went back to my spot and laid down and covered myself with my blanket and talked to my guiding spirits. They helped me release pain, hurt, and doubt from past experiences. It was so beautiful, I just remember crying a lot but apparently that means I broke through emotional resistance that I’d been harboring. The shaman does is final icaro and closes the ceremony with rose water on your head. When you come out you do what you feel is right, eat with your friends, lie down, or go home. I hung out and digested what I could, again figuratively and physically. Overall, I feel lighter, brighter, and full of joy as I write this.
I can’t recommend this to everyone for many different reasons but mostly because an urge for an experience like this one has to come from within. You have to want to learn about yourself to the depths (good and bad) and you have to be open to the unknown. I learned a few things about myself that I didn’t know and as the day after progresses, I’m learning more. I do know that I had the urge and wherever this takes me I am excited because I know that I let go of a lot of baggage that had been haunting me. I also learned that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. Mother Aya told me so much more but that is between her and I…I’ve shared what I feel is the realest experience from someone that had doubt and fear about the process.
Will I do this again, yes]. Should you? Ask yourself and search within yourself. Make it your experience and may it unfold the way it shall.
Peace and love.