Citation: JL. "One Night of Heaven, One Night of Hell: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp112946)". Erowid.org. Mar 5, 2019. erowid.org/exp/112946
For a while psychedelics were a thing of my past. After a series of enjoyable, sometimes strange and wild trips during grad school, I felt that doing drugs was a young person’s game and I lost most interest in doing them again.
Recently, however, my views have changed. After learning about the new wave of research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, popularized by the likes of Michael Pollen and others, my perspective shifted. The fact that everything from addictions to life-threatening cancer patients dealing with fear of death were being treated after only one session was intriguing to say the least.
And then, the opportunity to do Ayahuasca close to me in time and space presented itself. Or as some think, it “found” me.
I was apprehensive as I found the ceremony on meetup.com of all places. But after talking to the organizer, a very chill and honest dude, I decided to just go for it.
One Night of Heaven
The first night we come to the house and the vibe is pretty relaxed. People are in a circle talking quietly. Eventually the organizer comes and I feel relieved. The Shaman, an interesting mix of biker dude and hippie, also seems genuine and caring, albeit somewhat spaced out and disorganized.
The ceremony begins. They explain the rules, what’s going to happen, and what we should expect. I use the bathroom several times in my anxiety-ridden anticipation.
Upon drinking the first cup, I returned to my bed and meditated. After about 40 minutes of not feeling much they offered a second cup. I decided to take it. Immediately upon drinking the second cup, I started to feel the effects come on.
I laid down and closed my eyes. Visuals began to emerge as Escher like paintings of different rooms with other worldly beings. I couldn’t quite look directly at them. There was also a sense that things were sideways or upside down. The feeling was odd but alluring. The music gave a tribal tone to the journey. There was a warmth to the experience.
And then the beat of the drum signaled something: It was time to purge. And I vomited. It wasn’t too bad but I didn’t purge much.
And then it became clear a healing presence had begun to investigate my life: Mother Ayahuasca. It felt like she was moving deeply through my nervous system, getting to know me. She took me back to childhood memories I had completely forgotten: Finding my childhood stuffed animal monkey James. “We found James!” In childlike awe we danced to the harmonica music played by the Shaman. The visuals were beautiful. James and my childhood room were all shining beams of light everywhere. This was pure unadulterated joy. She told me I need to smile more.
This was pure unadulterated joy. She told me I need to smile more.
Then the trip became more intense. She told me to just accept everything that happens and I’m on the right path. This is what Jordan Peterson emphasizes as the meaning of it all, what I’m always discussing, I already know how to heal: Keep following this path. This was among many moments I can only describe as supreme understanding. A conviction on the level of a religious zealot. This is what faith really is. Faith that the future will be ok. Faith in a higher power. This is how to remove anxiety: Simply have faith. I felt a deep sense of love and connection to this presence.
At some point two guys were having a conversation and saying how they enjoyed looking at each other’s face. I felt their brotherly love. I actually felt that love inside of me. Wow! You don’t even need to produce your own love!
I experienced music like never before. Each moment was pure bliss. I couldn’t handle the amount of beauty the music produced. What was I supposed to do with all this beauty? Who was I to give it to? I had to open my heart to receive it.
And what the hell is music for that matter? Music is the reason for my existence. It is my purpose. It is what keeps me going.
Who are these spirits sharing this experience with me? I felt like we were in this timeless place where all souls emerged: The source.
K, my ex-girlfriend, you are a beautiful human being. The feminine presence began showing itself to me in a very sexy and sensual form. Breasts and curves rocked me to the groovy soundscape as I began re-examining my relationship with the feminine. The chaos, the fun, the naughty, I had forgotten what I love about women.
What are computers? How are we able to control the universe in such a precise way? What would the perfect program be which solves all problems? Simple: do_ayahuasca()
I began contemplating people in my life and appreciating qualities of them I had never thought about before. Co-workers like J who lent me his sleeping bag for this trip. He didn’t have to but he genuinely wanted to help me.
“Make more lists."
I began feeling so much love and deep sadness for myself and others. I have been dealing with chronic pain for most of my adult life, and I had repressed that issue. But mother Ayahuasca clearly told me that was the source of my anxiety.
How do you deal with such pain and suffering? There’s only one answer: Sharing, sharing sharing. I kept repeating this over and over again. Sharing your pain with others. That’s how you survive.
Then she came to my mother. How my relationship with her affected all relationships with women. How I resented her for so long. I then felt overwhelming connection with my mother: She suffered from chronic depression her whole life. I felt her pain. And yet through all that she still raised me and my sister. Unbelievable. Ayahuasca told me I need to tell her how much I love her and appreciate her.
I understood the beauty of birth. Producing more love in the world.
I sobbed from the sympathy I had to all the suffering I had endured. It was beautiful.
Music was so incredible. It manifests the present moment. Thought tries to trap time into a frozen moment but music forces you to continually accept the present. There is no capturing the moment.
I had the sense that I figured it all out. My path. It was clear. There is nothing to worry about.
Then a song came on about inter-dimensional beings coming in and restructuring my consciousness. It was the most powerful feeling. I felt my mind rewiring itself. It was a machine re-assembling the parts. Then the thought came: “This experience is the fucking reset button.”
At one point I felt like I could communicate with objects. Because objects are just a manifestation of my brain, which produces communication and thought.
The Shaman began playing the jaw harp, which caused a girl to laugh wildly. That laugh sent a laughing wave across the entire group. Suddenly my very internal trip lit up with all the maniacally laughing Homo sapiens around me. It was a beautiful realization that everyone around me was going through the same experience. We were all connected. I laughed harder than I have in a long time.
Then the dog began barking. But it didn’t bother me. I saw everything at once: The spirts in the rooms, the music guiding the vision, and the dog signaling his presence. Eventually the shaman and his helper began drumming, having a type of tug of war with the dog. It was like the manifestation of man taming beast. Quite a powerful struggle indeed.
The concept of explaining this was laughable. Language was out of the question. At one point I felt the urge to find the Shaman. After standing to my feet I was able to stumble my way into the other room where I saw him. I tried speaking but could barely form a sentence. He offered to perform a ritual to ground me which felt amazing. It was like he was injecting positive spirts directly through my skull.
Closer to the end Ayahuasca threw in a couple bonuses: Showed me red flags of insecurities I thought I need to fix that needed to go. They weren’t worth bothering about.
The ending was truly beautiful. The music was very peaceful and majestic, and I could see the heavenly sky in all its gorgeous beauty. I didn’t know what to do with all this beauty but it was utterly incredible.
Once the music ended I had a hard time falling asleep. My stomach was not feeling good. I knew I should have thrown up more but I didn’t want to. Eventually I sobered up and was able to sleep. The idea of taking Ayahuasca again was terrifying. I was exhausted.
At one point I went to the bathroom and encountered a guy who was having trouble because he couldn’t handle the music. I tried to express my condolences but again…language was still not functional, and I was getting lightheaded from standing. Little did I know his sentiments would foreshadow the coming night.
One Night of Hell
After getting a couple hours of sleep I began coming back to reality. Eating some vegan soup and joking with others helped the recovery. During the day I helped the Shaman with the fire out back and hung out with his dog. I felt very zenned out. It felt like tonight was going to be even more relaxing and enjoyable.
A bunch of people left from the first night and new people came. The dynamic was very different. It was much higher energy. Something felt off. A couple sketchy ass dudes came to buy mushrooms but they wanted to stick around for the ceremony. Eventually the Shaman made them leave.
He brought out a new brew for us to drink from. This night we would take a large cup first. I had much less anxiety this time. Everyone was very relaxed and informal. After consuming the first cup, I sat back down to meditate. I noticed one of the new participants kept checking his phone. It was really starting to piss me off. I tried to brush it off. I knew once the medicine kicked in I wouldn’t even notice. But something was off. I couldn’t feel anything. And apparently many others didn’t.
The shaman brought out another brew, the “strongest” concoction he has, in his words. We took a second cup. I knew it was time. But I still felt nothing. People were becoming restless. Coming inside and outside. Having full blown conversations when we were supposed to be observing contemplative silence. The guy next to me was deep into his trip. The music kept cutting in and out, and it was the same music as last night. Suddenly it all became a sham. I couldn’t accept being sober like this. I was going to drink a third cup.
I asked D who said to talk to the Shaman, who then said to talk to D. He poured me a third cup. There was no going back now.
I returned to my bed and closed my eyes. Something better happen. And it did. But not at all what I was expecting.
I started noticing subtle and peculiar visuals, but there was no emotion attached to it. It was cold, dead. Just very bizarre shapes and sun gods floating in an alien word that’s hard to describe. Gradually, this increased in intensity. But instead of the warm, loving presence I felt the night before, this was deeply disturbing. There was something inside my body.
I had a moment of panic when I realized this spirit was inside my body, and it had no intention of healing me.
The feeling was overwhelmingly intense. I couldn’t handle the trip. I tried applying the lesson I learned the night before of accepting every moment, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t accept the intensity of what I was feeling. It was too much.
For the next 2 hours, chaos ensued. I could only describe it as demons raping my soul. It was an epic struggle of pain and suffering.
What in the actual fuck is going on?
Eventually, I had the realization that I was tripping on a drug and eventually all of this would end. That one thought gave me something to hold onto. All I could do now was survive, moment by moment.
I asked my friend next to me to hold my hand. Connecting to another human was extremely helpful. It took the edge off the intensity of the trip. This was a common theme through the night. Getting a massage, a hug from people I just met was deeply healing and helped me tremendously.
I noticed the intensity would oscillate. Sometimes I would feel somewhat sober, while others I was lost completely.
I noticed the intensity would oscillate. Sometimes I would feel somewhat sober, while others I was lost completely.
During my peak trip, the rest of the ceremony was chaos. The music was disturbing, like demonic native Americans chanting, fucking with me. This spirit was fucking with me. I felt possessed. People kept having conversations, kept leaving the room. The shaman eventually gave up on trying to control the situation. That’s when I knew we were in trouble.
After the peak finally ended, I was able to make it to the bathroom. I collapsed on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t read the time. I couldn’t conceptualize time. I just knew I was going to make it back to sobriety, one moment at a time.
I felt so fucking sick. I finally managed to puke a lot. It was absolutely disgusting. But it felt good getting it out of my system.
Someone saw I needed help and got the Shaman, who performed a supla. “Oh that’s bad..I can taste it,” he said. This helped sober me up a little. I finally felt some relief from the torture. I was able to stand and collapse onto my bed.
And there, lying on my bed, I had a sudden realization: There was a lesson in all this pain and suffering. I had truly felt suffering on the level of a Nazi concentration camp. That was the lesson. The importance of love. Only love can cure that kind of suffering. We fucking NEED love, or shit like this will happen.
This was such a powerful emotion I began weeping. It was even more powerful than the lessons I learned the first night. I felt so much beauty, sadness, pain and love all at the same time. But it wasn’t overwhelming or disturbing, it was beautiful.
That was the lesson from this trip: We need love.
I collapsed from the emotion of it all. Then something strange happened. I found my current situation…funny. I put myself through all this pain and suffering, why? To end up on a stranger’s floor surrounded by my own filth? It was a joke. So ridiculous, I thought.
Then it hit me. The point of the universe. It all made sense to me now. What the fuck this whole thing is about. That’s it. It’s all a fucking joke. I got it. Reasons. Being in awkward situations. The absurdity of it all. I received the understanding of the universe guys. We can go home now. Does anyone care? I get it now. It’s all a fucking joke.
“That’s the fucking point…no…it can’t be…it’s too stupid…that’s it? That’s what this is all for? It’s all a joke?”
I then overheard a conversation between a guy J and girl R (both totally sober). They were discussing being your authentic self, and how it’s not cool to express love. How change is not done through activism but the little moments in life. That’s what makes life enjoyable. The fact that we can do things. While this was happening I was literally seeing things that I choose to imagine. I saw stars because I could, just like they said.
“It’s not cool to love,” I heard. I resonated with the conversation so deeply I had to come over and tell them. J saw that I was shaking and told me to say “yes”. In my mind they both understood the joke of the universe. In a silly response I said “no”. He kept telling me to say yes, and in order to “prove” that we really understood the universe I had to say no. We were the universe understanding its own absurdity. To do whatever you want.
Finally J gives me a bear hug, I say “yes” and relax every bone in my body. I literally collapsed onto the floor in utter ecstasy. I remember saying “I saw God.”
J explained that I’m doing something socially awkward (lying on the floor) but I’m being authentic, and will learn to take this with me in my life to be more confident and assertive. I was somewhat confused because I was trying to understand his lesson in conjunction with the joke of the universe.
I drank a glass of water and headed back to bed. It then got even crazier as I continued to resonate with their conversation, thinking that we were telepathically checking our understanding of the universe. “Don’t do it..don’t …” I thought as he said yes again. He then began to do something socially awkward (something about brushing teeth) and she also did, thus enacting the joke of the universe. Finally an image of my co-worker appeared as the epicenter of not taking things seriously, and all of these thoughts were simultaneously occurring in all our minds. I then let out a sigh of relief and said “yes”.
I continued tripping for hours while everyone else had gone to bed.
I continued tripping for hours while everyone else had gone to bed.
I remember having very strong body convulsions the whole night and bizarre facial contortions completely outside my control. I felt possessed. I was so grateful to not be peaking anymore. I really understand that we need love.
In summary, the first night was beautiful, loving suffering is beautiful, gentle, acceptance, internal, visually pleasing, personal.
The second night was weird, disturbing, painful, suffering, funny, absurd, unity of the universe, physically exhausting, jokesters and devils = Truth.
Some lessons I got out of this experience:
* Smile more
* Expectations cause suffering (I was expecting the second night to be like the first night)
* Suffering is a great teacher
* We fucking need love
* The point of the universe is laughing at the absurdity of it all
* My relationships with women are defined by my relationship with my mom
* My anxiety comes from my colon pain
* Fuck ideologies
* Really appreciating moments that are not pure suffering
* Never wanting anyone to experience the pain I went through
* Music gives my life meaning
* Only way to deal with suffering is to share with others
* Connecting with humans help with suffering
* Not to worry about my path
I’m still recovering. It’s been almost a week and I still have trouble sleeping. My mind sometimes thinks I’m still on Ayahuasca. It’s disturbing. I’ve been doing a lot of intense yoga to cleanse my soul.
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