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The Gift of Gratitude
Ayahuasca
by MyCupRunnethOver
Citation:   MyCupRunnethOver. "The Gift of Gratitude: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp114215)". Erowid.org. Apr 4, 2020. erowid.org/exp/114215

 
DOSE:
.5 cups oral Ayahuasca (liquid)

BODY WEIGHT: 200 lb


In the final months of 2019, I went through the double whammy of breaking up with my fiancee and having my father pass away very suddenly, within a month of each other. I started seeing a therapist to talk over my anxiety, depression, anger, and grief. This was helping and I felt that my inner life was taking an upturn, so I wanted to make sure I didn't lose that progress. I had heard about DMT and ayahuasca when I was in college, and I was always curious but could never find it to try it out. In 2016, I signed up for an ayahuasca experience when I was in Peru, but bailed on it due to the setting feeling pretty sketchy. So my journey to finding ayahuasca lasted over a decade, until this year when I had the time, money, and mental state required to tackle it.

I did some research about retreats in South America where I could do it without any kind of legal concerns. Settled on a 7-day retreat in Peru where I would experience three Ayahuasca ceremonies, a bufo alvarius ceremony, a tobacco/rapé ceremony, and a San Pedro ceremony. This is the story of the first ceremony.

I signed up about four weeks before the retreat was scheduled to start. I had my medical intake call with the doctor three weeks ahead of travel, and I stuck to the diet relatively strictly. A brief summary:
- no red meat
- no caffeine. I spent a week tapering off.
- no alcohol
- low salt
- low sugar
- no dairy. This started one week before.
- very little food with tyramines, which I had never heard of before now, but is a monoamine compound that can interfere with the medicine apparently.
- no prescription medication at all. I took a pain killer once in the week before the retreat.

Spent the day of the ceremony in various parts of the Sacred Valley: Calca, Pisac, Urabamba, hearing about the Dialogue of Opposites and how the Incas and the Peruvians think about the land. Had my last meal at around 2:30pm, which was a small portion of chips and guacamole and some lemon/ginger/honey tea. Last drink of water at 5pm. Arrived at the temple at 7:15 to prepare myself for a 7:30 start. Ten other guests of the retreat were joining me for the experience (six Americans, three Aussies, and one Kiwi); gender makup of the group was seven men and four women. There were two shamans and two facilitators.

One by one, the guests were brought before the facilitators and offered their dose. We were told to have an intention ready to offer to the medicine, silently. Mine was to feel unafraid: of people, of asking for help, of showing who I really am to others, of connection, and of losing control.

I took 1/2 cup of the medicine; I can't say what the size of the cup was but it looked like an extra wide double-shot glass. I was later offered a second dose, which I turned down. The syrupy liquid (which had a consistency like a watered-down honey) tasted very woody and bitter, but the taste only lingered for a short time. I rinsed my mouth out after about five minutes once I was sure that I swallowed all the remnants.

Within about 15 minutes of downing the medicine, I began to feel feverish. It started in my forehead and spread over the side of my face before traveling down my body. It was a little bit chilly in the temple, so this was my sign that things were about to kick off.

With my back upright on my mattress and my eyes open, the world started to open up in front of me, with repeating patterns of purple and green overlaid on the near-pitch dark room around me.
With my back upright on my mattress and my eyes open, the world started to open up in front of me, with repeating patterns of purple and green overlaid on the near-pitch dark room around me.
I thought that if things were this strong with my eyes open, that I should definitely close them. The visuals became a lot more vivid with my eyes closed, then they morphed into a white, black and blue-steel pattern that formed a bird-like figure in front of me, with an endless wing in a spiral shape curving downward. The light was interesting to me because during my normal meditation, I often have trouble imagining the purifying beam of light that some people use to focus their breath. I was drawn into the figure and transported to a view a line or semi-circle of entities. They didn't really show their form to me. I was brought before one of them, and felt or perceived the words "This is a gift".

The songs kicked in hard, and the shamans' voices and notes influenced the visuals heavily. I have audio-visual synesthesia already, but this was so beyond anything that I had experienced before. After 10 or 15 minutes, I had my first purge. My mind kept being brought back to my body with a minor gagging sensation and I gladly let it happen. It was foamy; maybe due to the guac from lunch. Not sure. I had three or four more purges after this, at times of great beauty in the icaros sung by the shamans. I spent probably an hour just staring open-mouthed in awe at the ceiling which wasn't really there, being shown all my memories and relationships.
I spent probably an hour just staring open-mouthed in awe at the ceiling which wasn't really there, being shown all my memories and relationships.
These became tangible objects for me to examine and manipulate objectively. So many memories that had strong emotions associated with them didn't make me feel the sting at that moment. I was getting a steady stream of instructions and insight from the medicine, of which I could only remember about 20% afterwards. The other guests were also purging pretty heavily.

I began to think of all the people who have influenced me and molded me. I felt such joy and gratitude that I couldn't stop crying. I thought of my family, my college friends, my coworkers, and felt an overwhelming desire to tell them how happy they've made me. I wanted to share the experience with everybody. Happiest I've ever felt in my life by a longshot. I came back to my body once with the sudden fear that I was about to pee my pants, but the feeling passed. I had memories appear that I hadn't thought of in years or, in some cases, decades. I was hearing words and names in the icaros that triggered the memories very suddenly and without warning. There was no real logic to my lines of thought, meaning that there was seemingly no connection between one memory and a subsequent memory. It was stressed to us before the ceremony that you must surrender to the medicine because you have no hope of winning against it and you'll only hurt yourself and break your process. With that in mind, I just kept letting the medicine show me what it needed to show me. The times when I actually started to resist seemed to coincide with the times when the shamans would half during their icaros, and it seemed to be bad for them, so I did my best to just go with the experience.

I felt immense gratitude the entire time, for the same people as listed above, but also for the shamans and facilitators, who spend so much of their time and energy trying to heal groups of poor souls like me. Gratitude was definitely the theme of the night, and that's a great theme to have during such a challenging experience.

I rode the positive waves down until I was sober. The shamans and facilitators took turns singing songs and playing instruments, which were incredibly beautiful. In the darkness, one of the facilitators light a mapacho cigarette and offered its smoke to everyone's heads and hands in turn. We were brought two-by-two in front of the shamans to receive our personal icaros. My legs were really wobbly and I needed help getting to my feet. By this time, I was mostly out of the woods and only really felt tingling in my arms and face. Finished up and went back to my mattress. Spent the rest of the time enjoying the music.

I was feeling some gastric distress. My guts were bubbling towards the end of the night. We closed out the ceremony and I spent another half hour eating fruit, drinking some herbal tea, and chatting with the other guests. Then I went back to my room to try to sleep. My mind was still racing and I was up for another two hours.

The entire ceremony lasted from 7:30pm to 1:15am. There was very little perception of time though. I could tell that it was a long time, but there were some periods of drastic time skips. Absolutely one of the most profoundly emotional experiences I've ever had. I've never cried so much in my entire life. But it was in a good way. They told us that no matter what, you will purge what needs to be purged, in whatever form is most appropriate. The constant flow of tears felt good because I wasn't an overly emotional person for most of my life. So maybe the energy blockage that was removed was in my tear ducts. First experience was completely positive for me. I thought about my family and how we would adjust to my father's death, and what I could do to make their lives easier, and how I could help them deal with the loss. Since my intention was to feel unafraid of connection, maybe the medicine was trying to me how much I had to feel grateful for, and if so many people had helped me create such treasured memories, then maybe I shouldn't fear more people entering my life.

It was truly awe-inspiring, and among the most significant experiences of my life, out-done only by the bufo ceremony (5-MeO-DMT) later in the week, which is another story entirely.

Exp Year: 2020ExpID: 114215
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 32 
Published: Apr 4, 2020Views: 1,210
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Ayahuasca (8) : General (1), First Times (2), Mystical Experiences (9), Music Discussion (22), Entities / Beings (37), Guides / Sitters (39), Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), Group Ceremony (21)

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