Citation: humboyhum. "My Blue Morpho Retreat: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp43240)". Erowid.org. Sep 19, 2005. erowid.org/exp/43240
I recently traveled to the Peruvian Amazon with my best friend to participate in a week long Ayhausca workshop. I had spent a good deal of the last year experimenting with psychedelics of both the synthetic and organic variety, and I had experiences both wonderful and horrifying, both educating and stifling, personally, spiritually and physically. I'd spent a good deal of time reading Terence Mckenna, Daniel Pinchbeck, Rudolph Steiner, Carols Castaneda, and countless other spiritual thinkers who dealt with shamanism, among other subjects.
I've grown up a protestant, with a Methodist minister for a father. I guess I'd always been curious about anything and everything supernatural, and I was never satisfied with the answers that were given to me by church leaders and the institution in general. I was even a youth pastor in a United Methodist church in Chicago for some time before realizing that my calling, or my gifts, or my vocation, or whatever you want to call it lay outside of the church. This is the mind set that I came into the ayahusaca education with. I was seeking answers and I was seeking spiritual renewal or healing. I graduated with a bachelors degree in philosophy and theology, and am in graduate school for fiction writing now, but still, all of this academic knowledge was not enough preparation for me going into the ayahuasca space. I say all of this with passion because if one thing is certain it is this: I cannot recommend ayahuasca; I can only say that if a person seeks it on their own that they WILL learn something, and probably something profound, but it may not be what they think it will be, at all.
I traveled from Detroit to New York and then from New York to Lima and from Lima to Iquitos and from Iquitos we traveled two days down river and into the Amazonian jungle with the owner and shamanic guide of a retreat center. The hospitality was next to none. The guide is a bright young 27 year old American who followed a calling to an apprenticeship down in the jungle, where he now lives and brings people on ayahuasca tours. I can say that as far as my recommendation goes in terms of his service, performance and integrity as a healer, that it was second to none. I've never been so thankful for the people and the time I spent at this retreat center.
We drank three times during the week and followed a strict dietary regiment while in Peru, this was all arranged by company and all meals were included in the price of the tour, and the cooking was superb! I found that it really helped to have a western native shaman on board for the trip. He spoke english and knew the framework that I was coming from in the west, and THAT was very very helpful.
The first time that we drank I was given about 3/4 of a cup of the acrid, foul tasting ayahuasca brew. There were six of us drinking throughout the week and we helped in the actual gathering of the plants (10 in all went into the mixture), and in the cooking that took the course of an entire day. I was placed first in line during the first ceremony and I tipped back the bitter tasting liquid. Within 15 minutes, after everyone had drank, the guide asked me how I was feeling. I was feeling slightly disoriented and a little anxious, but all that I stammered was, 'Yea I think I'm good.'
He chuckled warmly and said, 'Well lets begin.'
The kerosene lanterns were turned off and he began singing the Icaros, which are magical utterances and sounds that guide the visionary experience and help with the purging. As soon as the lights went on and the Mareocion (the drukenness) hit, I felt like I was being shot out of a cannon. I found myself swimming in a rich tapestry of colors and patterns, but they were flying so fast past my eyes that it was hard to make out what any of them meant or what they were.
It began to rain outside, it began to downpour. Within what must have been a half of an hour, one of the girls in our group began vomiting violently and calling out for it to stop. 'Please please stop, I want to sleep,' she screamed. I had the distinct feeling that it was going to be a long, long, journey.
The first visions were completely out of body for me. I saw myself lift out of my body and I flew down a river and above the canopy of the jungle. I was in a metropolis of spirits, angels and demons, animals and sounds. The song that our shamans were singing were guiding me out of my own ego! I saw millions of thoughts, colors, sounds, revelations, and it was all happening all at once. It was incredibly overwhelming, but to resist it or to try and fight it would have been entirely futile. The very idea of resistance made me want to be very very sick. But, just as soon as I thought of it, I couldn't let it go and I began to try and fight my way out of it. I began to cry out for help and this is where my purge began. I spent the rest of the night, until dawn, screaming, vomiting, and writhing in my own waste. This was the longest of anyone's experiences in our group and it laste approximately 8 hours until I had finished my purge and the dmt of the ayahuasca wore off.
The only way I could describe what happened in words would be to say that I went down into the pits of my own self judgement, the hell of my own making, and had to fight all night, like rock climbing the everest of my own soul, to retrieve the parts of myself that I had judged and self-damned throughout the course of my 24 years on this earth. It was words it was sound, it was color, it was vision, it was memory and it was future and it was the now, it was unity and it was all at once. Everything I learned took this form, a lot at once. The dark places that I went are inutterable, but the beauty that awaited me when I finished my purge blew the darkness away.
The guide and the other shaman sat next to me all night (I was the only one of the group hit incredibly hard that night) and held my hand for the whole thing. I distinctly remember, over and over, the shamans casting white light over my entire body and hearing them say, 'You are strong, this is your moment, this is your life, accept it, you've gotta let all that stuff go buddy, just let it go, you are strong and you are white light.' I puked and puked and puked. At one point I was able to get into the shower to reduce some of the effects, but it only worked very temporarily. I finally was able to climb my way out of my own hell and the sickness and the purging passed. I said out loud at one point, 'I AM strong, I AM.' All of the participants got excited by this. They were excited to finally hear hope and determination in my voice. They had been listening and praying for me while I was on the floor all night. 'GOOD WORK! SEE YOU ARE STRONG, YOU ARE!' The encouragement and the support of my other friends down there (some I'd just met the day before) was incredible.
I fell sound asleep in a hammock after it was over. I awoke and dove into the Amazon river with the sunrise. When I got out I felt as if I had been reborn. I forgave myself for having judged myself. I let go of my fear of death. In short, I healed a great deal of hurt quite quickly. Everyone else in the group purged like this at some point during the week. For me, the next two ceremonies were like rolling with angels. I walked with Christ on water and had conversations with world prophets, deceased loved ones, and the hearts of the people who happened to be thinking of me during the ceremonies back home. I explored the depths of my relationships, my professional calling, my faith in God, etc. It was highly highly personal, and it was the most difficult thing I've ever done, but it was well worth it.
I spoke with Jesus during the last ceremony and he told me that I needed to let go of the ego's drive to be a famous writer. I really let it go, and within 24 hours of returning home I was offered a teaching position in the fall at my university. A position that had been filled already, but another position opened up because of extra funding that became available. A small miracle and nothing for me to scoff at. I am a changed person and so very thankful for the Ayahuasca and the guide and this retreat center.
If any of you reading is interested in the experience then my advice is as follows.
1. The experience was highly personal and I couldn't possibly begin, and I don't think anyone else could, to tell someone how to approach it. Perhaps with a good deal of reverence and humbleness.
2. The presence of a shaman is necessary, I think. Right after I say that I couldn't tell anyone how to approach it, I'll still stick with this idea. I don't think that doing it on one's own is a good idea, it could be very very damaging if one doesn't have someone there to help one out of some dark places. The shaman should be researched.
I used to think that psychedelics were like going to the movies on a Friday night. It was something that I'd rather do than go and participate in popular culture. I know now that I was being judgemental and that I had to really purge and heal some of the mental damage that I had done to myself because of my hedonistic 'tripping.' This is not to suggest that tripping is of this nature, necessarily, but I did approach it that way, and far too often. But, to put it in perspective, Ayahuasca, with a Shaman, helped me kick alcohol, smoking, casual sex, and a list of other self destructive behaviors (personal self destructive behaviors).
Like I said, I can't recommend Ayahuasca because I think it is something that the individual seeks, but that being said, I hope that this brief report of my time in Peru helps in any way to anyone who is seeking it. I would passionately give my life for anyone to find what I found down there and I can only say that because I learned that death isn't final, or that I'm not scared of it, whichever. I'd give my life for someone to learn this concept, and it's a beautiful thing that ayahuasca may be one way to learn of this for some people. I can't help but think that it would be neat if the US or the WEST would embrace shamanic healing centers in some sanctioned form here at home, but oh well, we're free to go do it if we want in Peru! haha.
Aside from having a wonderful spiritual experience, I found that Peru is a gorgeous country and that the Jungle alone is a gorgeous place to visit, even if I had never drank the strange and oh so mysterious jungle juice known as 'the yage.' :-)
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