In the Western world, there has been an explosion of interest in the tribal Amazonian art of utilizing sacred plant medicines for their health applications.
And justifiably so. The scientific and anecdotal reflections of its physical, behavioral, psychological, emotional and energetic healing powers has been well documented, particularly over recent decades. I hope to add to the accumulating records of its profound benefits.
Before traveling to Peru in May 2014, we’d planned ahead by researching its effects and reading on others’ experiences. Universally, consuming this medicine is strongly associated with spiritual development.
Part of the negative expectations was to potentially have challenging emotional processing, as well as uncontrollable vomiting. This is understood in tribal philosophy to not just be a physical cleansing, but primarily an energetic one.
We were also aware of its healing capacity—some users claim it has cured their cancer whilst others have dealt with their life-debilitating addictions of heroin and alcohol etc. Furthermore, others claim it had helped them reassess their morality and forgive themselves and others’ for past indiscretions.
Nevertheless, even though there may be temporary discomfort, for us the potential long-term benefits were well beyond any rationale of avoiding a ceremony.
DMT is the major ingredient in the brew which generates the altered state of mind. DMT is believed to be naturally produced in the pineal gland and is the physiological reflection of dreams and other natural mind adventures, including advanced meditation. It’s considered to be found in the majority of Earth’s plants and animals. It’s also been dubbed as the spirit molecule.
Usually it is not ingestible, but many centuries ago ancient Amazonian tribes found that if they mixed it with another plant, it inhibited the enzyme in the stomach from breaking it down before it entered the bloodstream. Their legend has it that the plants told them, or more accurately, the plant spirits told them.
This doesn’t seem too far-fetched once you calculate the chance that they randomly stumbled across the formula among the thousands of plants that are found in the Amazon. Plus, once you take Ayahuasca, or smoke DMT, you might just have a different perspective on the validity of non-physical realms of existence.
We somewhat knew what we were getting into as we’re not shy to psychotropic mind expansion. As consciousness warriors, we’ve always welcomed the shakeup of our societal and other environmental conditioning, but compared to the standard hallucinogens, this stuff is on another level.
When I smoked DMT previously, I felt like I was transported to another dimension. I met two entities, one full blown and the other a hybrid. The complete ‘other’ telepathically spoke to me: “It’s nice to meet you.” “Yeah, you too,” I replied. “Don’t wait so long to visit again,” it asserted.
Then I compressed my 12 layers of multiple-perspective ‘selves,’ exited through the wormhole upon which I had entered, and returned safely back to my third dimensional home.
Yet when I took Ayahuasca, I didn’t meet those same entities. I thought I might. In contrast, I felt that instead of going somewhere else, I had brought that somewhere else to me.
We had a shaman of my age, 33. He spoke little English so it was translated by our guide that he had been practicing since around 17. He was a modern day shaman, with a mobile phone and as I was later to find out, a Facebook account too. He also rode a trail bike. This guy was cool as hell.
This photo is of the shaman reading a standard newspaper on the way to the lodge. I love the yin yang in this shot; a spiritually empowered being with human sexuality exploited by the advertisement on the back.
We initiated the ceremony with a tobacco cleansing and then drank the brew. It wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. The shaman engaged in tribal chants and song and shook dry leaves; he had a phenomenally beautiful voice and a controlled energy which he aligned to our vibration relevant to each moment.
The altered state began quickly. It started with my own personal rainbow force field followed by visualizations of the animal energies which I have resonated strongly with in my life. It was not too different from when I meditate, so nothing really out of the ordinary was happening at this point. After half an hour I was starting to consider whether I should ask for another shot.
Then after nearly an hour—boom! Holy fucking fuck I was tripping balls. Never had I experienced something like this before.
Layers of reality came from every direction. Inter-dimensional hyperspace appeared right before and through my conscious eyes. I could open them as well as close them and it was largely the same experience.
I looked at the shaman and he had an angel wing extending from his right side, yet nothing appeared on his left. In that moment I knew that he still had to grow the other wing, something that he no doubt would achieve through a decade or two more of shamanistic development.
Towering over his wing was a big foot like spirit. It felt benevolent but didn’t want anything to do with me except to let me now that it was the shaman’s guardian. It didn’t even flinch when I conceptually held out my hand to engage it in handshake. Remaining there for basically the entire experience, it marked its impression on me.
Moving along, a cat energy or spirit made of light sat a foot to my front left side. It felt like it was a representation of all small and big cat energy, both wild and domesticated. It was timid but curious, yet hesitant to engage me. I literally held out my hand, as my eyes were open at this point, and it smelled me.
We became one in that moment.
I had visions of a few spirits—energy that felt independent of my psyche. Some felt negative or hostile so I remember just consciously wrapping them in my rainbow force field and sending them on their way. Mostly though, the trip wasn’t about other-worldly entities. It was about me grounding my energy and reinforcing my power.
Later I was looking at my hands morphing into themselves. If the room was lighter I believe I would have been able to see right through them. Watching my hands go through an energetic dance I felt that they were being gifted with a capacity to heal. “I can’t wait to try them out for real,” I thought.
It reminded me of the DMT experience aforementioned. Before I had lay down and experienced the wormhole and entities, I was standing up and looking straight through my legs and several meters into the earth.
Then I was floating through the universe. It didn’t matter if my eyes were open or shut, galaxies and star clusters whizzed past and through me. I was outside of myself and inside at the same time.
The final vision containing a spirit or energy was of Mother Ayahuasca herself. For the majority of the experience my corpus callosum and third eye was lit up as it does when I meditate—it’s literally a strong physical sensation. But during this time I could also sense the feeling outside of me and it felt like a vertical force, a silhouetted staff, projecting from the infinite distance. I hadn’t even paid too much attention to it, then as the trip was softening this force spontaneously presented itself in front of me as Mother Ayahuasca. I could see her. Without any words, we emanated each other our hearts, and absorbed each other’s in mutual love and respect.
I felt very present. Very centered. Not needing to vomit I just enjoyed the experience. I must have yawned a hundred times, each more deeper and re-calibrating then the last.
Nearing the end of the session, I could feel that there was some stuff to expel from my stomach. I eventually made myself spew as I knew it would be the best thing for me. It didn’t feel like it was a lot of bad energy, more like the negative residue leftover from the general human experience. It was reinforced within that moment that I had being doing the right things health-wise for many years.
We thanked the shaman with some big hugs and left to lie down in our private bungalow. We digitally recorded our conversation—an attempt to verbalize the experience—but words will never come close to truly reflecting the depth of what happened.
Afterwards I felt so cleaned, so empty. I was the healthiest I had ever felt. It was best feeling I had ever felt.
The entire experience was a reinforcement of my spiritual understanding and an innate power that we all share. It wasn’t revolutionary by any means, although I could easily imagine a strict materialist having revelations that would change their mindset forever.
Accordingly, my first session contained no significant healing, no past life visions, no future prophecies—the best way to sum it up is purely a tribute to my consciousness of consciousness.
Then we did it again three nights later. It was nowhere near as intense or visual. As I understand it, you can’t build a tolerance to DMT, so I’m assuming that either the brew wasn’t as strong or our mindset was too strong to let it properly take hold. Or both. Nevertheless, it was still worthwhile.
In the latter half of the session the shaman performed an energetic cleansing and what felt like an initiation on us. It was done individually and lasted about half an hour each. He asked me to take off my shirt and then coated me in a plant based mixture, basically from head to toe. I’m not too sure what it was, but it was used in both ceremonies as basically a protector from negative spirits or energy.
He also made the most beautiful sounds whilst blowing tobacco smoke and energy into my third eye and other major energy centers like my heart.
We ended the session early and retired to our bungalow porch where we listened to the sounds of the jungle for hours afterward. Now that was pure bliss.
I’ve traveled fairly extensively over my years and the more I experience the more myself I become. In this respect, our Peru adventure was my best holiday yet, especially because I was able to become a more genuine me then ever before.
Did our Ayahuasca adventure change us? Yes and no. Of course subtle changes are happening energetically whether you’re abroad or at home, but more so in new contexts. We all naturally change our vibration within each new moment and Ayahuasca seems to have a strong capacity to amplify that.
We feel that the Ayahuasca ceremonies fundamentally changed us—potentially on subconscious, atomic, molecular and cellular levels.
Yet there were no major epiphanies or mindfulness revolutions for either of us. Ultimately, we simply reinforced that we’re interconnected energy within a multidimensional and life-abundant reality.
It’s always the final decision of anybody who decides to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony, but I’d certainly recommend it to anyone whose mind and heart yearns for such a point of view.
For the entire Peru adventure, see Peru, Ayahuasca and 2 Mindful Aussies.
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Editor: Travis May
Photos: Provided by author