Years ago I first heard about Ayahuasca. I was instantly intrigued and for a while I learned everything I could about it, but due to availability I put the idea on the back burner and left it there, knowing someday I would experience it, when the time was right, but knowing there was nothing I could do to expedite the process.
Then a few weeks ago I saw a post on facebook that I knew was alluding to a ceremony, and I inquired about it. Sure enough, my time had come. Somehow I had already been preparing myself emotionally for the ceremony, not knowing that it was what I was preparing for. I had been on a journey of self exploration for a few weeks already, reducing interactions with others, lessening my needs, desires, wants, learning to be satisfied with what I am, where I am.
Once I learned of the upcoming ceremony, I doubled down on my efforts. Reducing masturbation and sex, I stopped using soap in the shower (in the 2 weeks before ceremony I used soap twice, both times out of habit, realizing too late but being ok with it once I realized what I was doing), I was eating better, less meat and processed food, eating more natural food instead. I was cognizant of my emotional state and let things happen without trying to change them, or make them go in my way, just being ok with whatever would happen.
In the three days before I completely cut out everything I was suppose to, caffeine, meat (ok, I ate fish once, but I think fish was ok? and it was a small portion). I tried to keep away from sexual release but holy crap, it was difficult. I had already been reducing, and so after a day and a half of even less than the less I had already had I was ready to die, so I took care of things once, and I was so much calmer afterwards (and back to a pretty heightened state just before the ceremony, which I guess is where I’m suppose to be?)
Essentially, everything was done in a moderation that was right for me. I feel like it was the perfect amount of respect for the process, combined with what I was capable of.
On the day of the ceremony, I had no solid food. I drank a little bit of apple juice, and a little bit of vegetable juice and I drank a lot of water. About 5 hours before I started drinking only water with just a bit of maple syrup in it (otherwise I got so shaky it’s not safe for me).
I arrived an hour before the scheduled time, partly because I’m particular about my physical place in a room, call it an OCD, and I wanted to be in a place that I was comfortable with. I laid out my yoga mat, put down my blanket, changed in a pair of Thai Fisherman pants I had bought a year before for Yoga along with a t-shirt and I sat in my spot and started to mentally prepare for the journey I was going to embark on. As I got comfortable with my space, I started to talk to my journey neighbor a bit, getting to know just the briefest about her.
The time eventually came for the ceremony, a shell was passed and when we held it we were to state out loud to the group our intentions for the ceremony. Mine were to find healing, in relationships and physically, and to learn more about my heritage, my gifts and my purpose, and to become more creative. A lot for one ceremony. But it turned out, it wasn’t too much for Ayahuasca.
Around 11 pm we started, going two by two to drink the black licorice flavored medicine. As I went up, I knelt down, first with my feet under my butt, but quickly realizing that was uncomfortable, so I changed to sitting on my butt with my legs crossed in front of me. I watched her as our guide poured my dose into a larger than a shot glass looking shot glass. After she poured we made eye contact and it was almost as if her eyes twinkled as if she was telling me she gave me a bit extra because I’m a bigger guy, so it will be plenty to be effective for me (something that I for some reason was concerned with, the twinkle put me at ease that it was just the amount I needed.) She handed it to her partner, who then handed it to me. I smelled it, thanked it for what it was going to do with me, and then drank it, swishing the liquid in my mouth just briefly before swallowing it.
After drinking it I handed the glass back and took a small piece of chocolate we had been offered, and told to take only one. I was a step or two away before I realized I had two pieces of chocolate and I felt a twinge of guilt and at first thought I should go back and put one back, like I had stolen from alter of mother Aya. I let the feeling pass, since it was accidental that I had taken two (they were really small, like a quarter of the size of a Hershey’s kiss, so picking up two wasn’t hard). I took instead as a gift that was suppose to be and ate the chocolate, a welcome bit of nourishment to my starving stomach.
I returned to mat and laid down. I covered my eyes with my hat, and covered up. I put in my headphones and played a meditation sounds song I had been listening too for days in preparation. We were asked to stay in the space, and to not wear headphones or ear plugs. I broke this request, but felt the meditation song was what I needed to calm the slight bit of fear/anxiety I was feeling. Like I had just been strapped into a roller coaster, and there was no way to go back now. The song I had was 9 minutes long. The first 9 minutes came and went without anything happening. I played it again, and again, thirty minutes passed, I played it again.
Still nothing. I started to think maybe nothing was going to happen. Then at one point my music stopped and I was back into the sounds of ceremony. I was slightly paralyzed, too apathetic, or satisfied, to hit play again. I was still fully aware of myself, but I was feeling a bit queasy, a slight headache I had been fighting the whole day was easing back. I started to feel flush, my temperature changing. I reached up to the button on my headphones and double tapped to play the music again, it didn’t play. I pressed again. Double press. Still nothing, I almost panicked, I hit the button one more time and the music started to play. And then I went fully into the grasps of Ayahuasca.