Citation: Fern . "Hell Healing and the Sublime: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp88593)". Erowid.org. Dec 9, 2010. erowid.org/exp/88593
This was my first time sitting in a circle drinking ayahuasca. My previous psychedelic experiences include psilocybin, LSD, Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds, DMT (through smoke inhalation), salvia and LSA. I was really hoping that my journeys into the psychedelic realms (which have been almost entirely positive) would prepare me for the experience I was about to have.
When I got to the ceremony, I remember looking at the people who would be joining me and thinking that almost all of them looked entirely too familiar. I heard that from almost everyone, and kept overhearing conversations like 'Where on Earth have we met? Do you know so and so? I know we've seen each other before.' It was wild.
Upon the beginning of the ceremony, the shamans gave us gentle instructions about how to come up and take the drink. We were told that sometimes the medicine could be overwhelming, even terrifying and that if we needed help, all we had to do was ask. We were also told very strongly to hold our own ground, no matter what the challenge, so as not to break the strength of the circle.
We went, one by one, drinking about a 2oz worth of the brew. It tasted magical: bitter, earth-like and yet with a very aromatic aftertaste that reminded me of myrrh. I held the drink in my mouth for a small time and then laid down on my sleeping pad, with a smile on my face that simply would not go away.
When the circle had all had their drink, the lights went black. Several people lit cigarettes and the room started to smell strongly of tobacco. Within about 20 minutes I felt the first effects of the plant. It felt VERY similar to the come on of DMT: a whirring sound started...my body felt very heavy, weighted down and hard to move. The visions that hit me were ELECTRIC. The whirring noise grew greater, the visions grew brighter. Crazy tunnels of red, orange, green, black and pink took over my entire consciousness. It was like I was on the inside of a wild arcade game. The girl to my right was the first to purge. The maestro, who up until that point had only been making gentle shushing noises started to chant.
Approximately at this time, the door blew open and the room became FILLED with darkness. Darkness that moved, darkness that spoke, darkness that sought out bodies to take over. I found myself embroiled in an almost unholy amount of terror as all of my faculties were swept out from under me. My visions would not cease in their intensity. I felt a very alien whirring presence within the visions and became entirely confused. I kept wondering 'Is this Aya?? Is this what I signed up for??' My body became incapacitated. I remember lurching for my puke bucket as the first waves of nausea hit, thinking that if I didn't grab it then, I would be screwed when it finally became time to purge.
My sense of reality, safety and comfort shattered. I remember the maestro getting up and walking around the room, blowing tobacco smoke into the face of every person sitting. I was so entangled in the war of energy going on within me, I could barely make him out. I remember trying to see him, to let him know I was with him, but it was like the area in front of me was being violently shaken and cracked. Light was blocked. What I could make out was that maestro (who when I first met him was a very small and friendly man) looked HUGE, in full warrior regalia, with feathers and a skirt made of plants and animals. I remember thinking he might even have had a spear with him.
The tobacco smoke made me almost violently ill...I slowly started to purge, feeling the medicine work its way through every fiber of my being, picking up garbage energy as it did so and relocating it to my stomach. I got the message that this purge would not come quickly for me...the plant had to do a very thorough sweep before I could let go.
As I felt myself become more and more taken by the whirring, manic, neon light display that I was starting to doubt was Aya Herself, I remembered the words of one of the shamans: 'Remember to hold your space.' I struggled SO hard with this...I was still unable to move. My head was pretty much balanced on the edge of my puke bucket for what felt like days. I kept tapping my bucket to remind me I was still there, and rocking back an forth to the rhythm of maestro's voice, even though I couldn't remember anything of the reality I had once existed in. I started to sweat profusely and dry heave. I wanted to purge so badly but it wasn't ready.
I remember thinking 'What in God's name was I thinking doing this? I'm not cut out for this, I need help. I need a kill switch, I need help! I want this to be over, over, over, how long have I been here? How much longer is this madness, this pain, this terror??'
I tried to muster up the energy to call out to the shamans for assistance but I lacked the capacity to speak. I reached for my water bottle several times, many times unsuccessfully. I had never felt so desperately thirsty in my life. I finally started to purge a little. I could see into my insides: my intestines glowing purple and red, fueled by the energy of the vine, moving things up and out of me. I remembered to breathe somehow, which felt foreign and forced. I remembered my bucket, and did everything I could not to lose focus of the maestro's singing. It was the only thing showing me a path out of the Hell I was in.
Finally, at the peak of my despair, one of the shamans came to me and grabbed my hands and asked me if I could move. I said 'Barely,' and tried to laugh. I think I told him I was afraid. He helped me to stand and told me to bring my bucket. I was sat in front of the maestro who started singing to me and two others who I couldn't identify. The shaman who brought me over gave me one more hand squeeze which made me instantly feel safer. I still couldn't believe I had even made it the 10 feet to sit in front of the maestro. As he sang, I felt much of my anxiety simply disappear. Every syllable he sang brought light into the darkness I had almost disappeared into. It was like the sun breaking through the clouds.
I remember someone coming to the left of me and putting their mouth on my head and sucking something out very violently. Another shaman, I knew, but which one I did not. Finally, the singing was done and I was led back to my sleeping pad. Before I sat down, I turned very quickly and purged into my bucket. It felt amazing.
I found out later that at the beginning of the ceremony, a rival brujo had learned of maestro's presence in our circle and had sent an entire hoarde of evil energies into our room. The door blew open and all light was swallowed by these guys. Being an extremely energetic person, and a novice in the spirit realm, these guys just had their way with me. I felt like I was being completely torn apart, eaten live. Their energies were lying to me, telling me that they were Aya, to surrender into them. My intuition, thank GOD, was strong enough to keep me from doing so.
The next hour was spent in raging nausea, but the darkness and violence had slowed down. I felt far more grounded and confident I could get through it, I welcomed the medicine's effects, and I started to feel the teachings of Aya.
Other people around me started to purge. Sometimes violently, sometimes gently. Every time they did, I felt a surge of energy course through my own body. I could sometimes feel it right before it happened. I realized my psychic channels were starting to open. Small noises, moans, grunts, snores, sighs would occasionally fill the room as maestro sang and chanted and shooshed negative energy out of the room. I felt another purge coming, as memories and people started to flood into my consciousness. People I loved, people I could see around me, the circle itself...I started feeling so much love, so much compassion. The purge that wanted to come was incredibly difficult to muster. I started receiving messages. One told me I could either go through the purge, which would be violent and painful, or I could let go and move the energy downwards and let it out later that way.
At this point the female shaman, in a very coy voice asked if anyone would like anymore ayahuasca. To me, this was the most ridiculously funny thing I HAD EVER HEARD. I started laughing so hard I pitched forward. I was simply unable to stop laughing...the rest of the room joined me in one of the silliest bursts of energy I have ever felt. It was brilliant.
Later, I was just about all set to go for the purge when my good friend next to me ERUPTED. She purged so hard that it took my own nausea away. I could feel the energy sinking down, I realized I had run out of energy to cleanse myself in that way, and I slipped into one of the most blissful states of consciousness I have ever felt in my life.
I felt myself connect to everyone in the room. I also started having visions of those who were closest to me, dear friends and startling revelations about my family. Aya finally came through to me, loud and clear, offering me advice and information and insight about anything I asked. That's when I realized that having a strong intention before the ritual was extremely important to having a clear and focused experience with the plant. My intention when I arrived at the circle was to explore the hidden parts of myself I often ignore...the darkness and strength I needed to overcome that were definitely a result of that intention.
Overwhelmed with the infinite amount of information She had to offer me, I heard her say 'Relax, let go, don't worry so much...there will be many more times to come back here and explore further.'
I started to see incredibly powerful and beautiful sights, people bedecked in star-like jewels, castles made of alabaster high in the cosmos...I could see how the universe is an infinite fractal and how we can choose when we die where we go next...often we'll follow our friends to untold regions of the universe because we love them so much. Animal energies came to me, especially that of frogs. It had been raining all night and the water energy was fierce and lovely in the circle.
Love. Love was everywhere in the room at this point. Everyone seemed just about done purging and there was a tangible sense of peace within everyone. Our female shaman started to sing. It was like listening to an angel, like a being of unconditional love and support. Her words were laced with pink and white shimmering lines of love, her melodies designed to calm us, hold us, make us feel grateful for the journey we had all taken together. I remember thinking 'Oh God, please don't stop, please don't ever stop, please let us come with you, you wonderful wonderful woman.'
Tears of rapture filled my eyes. At this point, I was laying facedown on the ground, still clutching onto my bucket and realized I could let go of it. I was done purging. I was in bliss. Aya continued to give me more personal advice...I felt so close and so loved by her. She definitely has a sense of humor and will simply not hesitate to throw me a challenge, but she does it knowing I can and will overcome it.
When everything was said and done, I realized I hadn't yet been outside...moving had been close to impossible save for leaning on my puke bucket up until now. I heard Aya tell me it was time to go outside, smoke a cigarette and either shit or get off the pot. With joy and a sense of humor, I wobbled to the door and embraced the night. I saw shadows dancing around and for a moment felt trepidation...I was no longer in the circle, I was open prey out here, but I felt such strength return to me. I had just been through the untold annals of Hell, I could handle this.
Others followed me out...there seemed to be an understanding with about half the group that the ceremony was over. The next several hours were spent in joy and rapture as we shared our personal journeys while eating wholesome soup, fruit, nuts and bread. I have never felt so connected to a group of people in my entire life. These were my brothers and sisters, warriors who came in love, went through the muck, got rid of their demons and found nothing but radiance in their hearts afterwards. I kept hearing 'I am so blessed, I am so blessed,' from everyone who came out of the circle.
Many talked of their visions and found out they had been almost identical to those of others. Several reported seeing vast numbers of friendly frogs hopping around. Five minutes after this information was shared someone exclaimed, 'Come look! A frog!!' A peeper had somehow snuck in the house and was just...hanging out. Another gift from Aya.
I have been forever changed...I have received a sacrament and a gift, and despite the pain and the terror, had I not gone through it, I would not be in the place of harmony I'm in now. I avidly look forward to my next sitting with this remarkable and powerful energy.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.