Citation: mindexplorer. "Life Changing Encounter with The Other: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp91566)". Erowid.org. Mar 16, 2012. erowid.org/exp/91566
I decided to fast for 30 hours before participating in the ceremony. I knew that vomiting was inevitable, and I had been told that fasting would give me a stronger experience. I had pretty bad altitude sickness because I had just arrived in Cusco (elevation 3326 m), so it wasn’t hard to fast. At sunset, we took an old-school volkswagon beetle up to the top of one of the hills surrounding Cusco. We entered a fairly spacious hut; three bed-mats with plenty of blankets were lined up in front of an altar. I remember having a conversation with the Curanderismo while he was preparing for the long night ahead. I distinctly remember him saying: “Ayahuasca no es una droga. Ayahuasca es La Medecina.” That resounded in me.
He began the ceremony by lighting a candle inside of a large frame with holes running along the sides. This gave the room an eerie glow, as the candle flickered and projected shadows along the walls. He then proceded to fill his mouth with coca leaves, tucking them under his lip as he chanted a ritual song. Tobacco and coca are sacred to the Curaderismos, for they allow contact with the spirits. He then pulled out an empty, plastic water bottle filled with some dark fluid, the Ayahuasca. He blessed the Ayahausca with a prayer, then blew over the top of the bottle before pouring the liquid into small, ceramic glasses. He handed each of us the drink, then gave us individual blessings by blowing tobacco smoke all over us. He told me to drink it all at once. It tasted like some strong, exotic, bitter wine, but it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as I had expected. I was pleased by this.
The purge happened after about 20 minutes. It didn’t last long. After I was certain that all of the Ayahuasca had left me, I got comfortable and laid down. There were some windows on the thatched roof, which allowed me to see the night sky. When I closed my eyes, I began to see geometrical patterns, fractals actually, all across my visual field. Then I felt a presence, as if I was surrounded by dozens of people. They were there to comfort me, to calm me down, and I began to feel wonderful. I heard, or possibly felt, a woman assure me that everything was going to be ok, and she beckoned me to come with her into the spirit world. She felt very motherly, which evokes images of “mother earth” or “panchamama”, as they say in Quechua. Then a red light appeared which jolted me up. The Curanderismo was staring straight at me, and then he asked me, “You O.K., (x)?” He would ask me that question throughout the entire night. It’s actually a joke I still have with one of my friends who was there with me. Even when I was uncontrollably hallucinating, I would still respond “si”. It almost amused me, because I would always have to think for few seconds, “Am I ok?” I always was, and I’m very glad he would ask. There were some difficult situations that he helped me through later in the night. Ayahuasca should never be used without a shaman.
The Ayahuascero played sacred songs, ancient songs, beautiful in their own right, but not comparable to anything I had ever heard before, except for maybe the chanting of Chasidic rabbis. He used drums and flutes and vocal intonations to guide our experiences. The shaman uses these auditory signals purposefully to evoke visual imagery within the participants. The songs, or Icarus, convey information, stories, about their ancestors. My visions would consist of jungles and jaguars and hunts and feasts and people, and it reminded me of the Torah, just their jungle version of it. For hours he was consistently able to provoke this imagery. I believe this may represent a novel form of communication that has yet to be studied by modern science. It’s worthy of investigation.
During the first 3-4 hours, I came into direct contact with multiple hyperdimensional entities, also known as spirits or angels. However, there were many different types of entities I encountered, and the differences must be addressed in order to understand the phenomenon. Some spirits had human qualities, which ranged from ordinary to powerful shamans. I remember one entity had a very strong presence; the Ayahuascero became silent, and the candle began flickering furiously when the spirit entered the room. Many of the spirits would enter my body, and I could feel them; I felt like most of them were healing me, although some would speak to me in exotic languages that I couldn’t understand. Some spirits were not human at all, and if I were to guess, I would say they were plant spirits. I could just tell. Some spirits seemed like they were responsible for our existence, as if they played a role in the unfolding of the present moment. At first, my reaction to these spirits was that this was ridiculous, that they must just be hallucinations. But after about an hour of observing them, and scrutinizing them, I came to the rational, semi-empirical conclusion that they were real. They passed all of my cognitive tests for what spirits would actually look like if they were real, by that I mean they were far stranger than anything I could have ever imagined to be real. However, I must stress that there are no words adequate in describing them, and most of them were felt, not necessarily seen, in the traditional sense at least. It’s just one of those things that may sound ludicrous to somebody reading this, but makes perfect sense if you actually experience it.
At some point I realized that my experience was over. It went by too quickly. I hadn’t seen my spirit animal, I hadn’t had an out of body experience, I hadn’t felt the presence God, I had just interacted with these spirits that showed me random shit. That was it. But what insights had I gained? It was a cool experience and all, but not the most profound experience of my life. I was a little disappointed. However, the Curanderismo noticed this. He laughed and said I could always just drink more; he said I would fully enter the spirit world if I drank more. I was a little nervous about that prospect, and went into the bathroom to fully think it over. In the end, I realized that I might not have the opportunity to do this again.
I drank the second glass of ayahuasca. I had no idea what was about to happen. While I was waiting for the ayahuasca to take effect, I could hear what sounded like a few dozen dogs right outside of our hut. In Cusco, dogs travel in packs; they aren’t confined to the backyards of their owners. They began to growl, and soon a huge fight broke out between two of the dogs. The intensity of this situation, with over a dozen dogs barking and growling at one another, made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Then the purge happened, and I was immediately catapulted into the psychedelic realm. I kept on thinking to myself: “Why did I drink it again?” “This is too powerful.” “What is happening to me?” “Where did the spirits go?” “Why is the shaman silent?”
I heard this loud noise, like somebody was turning a nob inside of my head that controlled all of the possible frequencies of sound. I also began to enter these extraordinary visual realms, and then immediately forget what happened. Visions were flowing so fast that I couldn’t comprehend anything. However, the experience came in waves, and when I was aware enough to think about my situation, I realized that I was experiencing my subconscious. I began to analyze myself, and I felt like I was at the cusp of realizing what a thought was. Then I realized it was a paradox, how can a thought be used to understand what thoughts are? I also had many personal realizations about life, my family, and myself. I understood that our time on Earth was finite.
At some point the dogs stopped fighting, and I became calm again. I laid down, and looked through the roof at one of the stars. At this point, I could understand the dogs. Communication with animals is definitely possible. That sounds really weird, but I could literally understand and empathize, on a deep emotional level, the information that the dogs were conveying in their howls. This sparked profound realizations. I realized that on a fundamental level, all conscious entities were the same. The only differences between our consciousness, and the consciousness of dogs, were merely different wavelengths within a greater medium.
Upon this realization, my vision became engulfed with a white light. The light was so bright and beautiful that I began to uncontrollably cry. I knew that I was experiencing the same white light people describe upon death. It was the source of all consciousness. It was omnipresent, eternal, and about as close to a description of God as you can get. This must be God. I understood how all life, and the universe, was connected by fractals in this hyperdimensional membrane. I felt like my soul had connected to an ocean made of light, and tears flowed down my cheeks as I saw the entire universe , galaxies and all.
I could feel the ayahuasca coursing throughout my veins. I noticed that I couldn’t feel my hands; my body slowly became numb. I accepted God, in all of his glory, and prayed that I would be safe. There were no entities to guide me this time.
Very soon I had no body. I just was. Complete and utter transcendence. But I could still see, which puzzled me, because I had no eyes. I actually began to float out of my body, and into the room. I could see my life-less body, laying down, with my hands across my chest. I could see the shaman, and my two friends, (Y) was crouched in the fetal position. But there was also this violet light, and it seemed to be coming out of my body; the room was filled with this light. I wasn’t scared because I knew that out-of-body experiences are common on ayahausca, but I never thought it would feel this real. The realization that I had become some sort of hyperdimensional entity freaked me out. What if I never returned to my body? Was I dead? Immediately, I returned back to my body after thinking those thoughts. I was both filled with relief, that I was alive, and regret, that I hadn’t gone further into the spirit realm. However, my body was still fairly numb, and raising my hands gave me the sensation of flying through some ethereal realm.
Ayahuasca is gentle. The effects just slowly taper off, and there’s a calm afterglow. I had no desire to return to that realm. I got what I had come for. It’s amazing how quickly you forget what the experience was like. Within a few hours, I didn’t even have the ability to imagine what I had just felt. My strong convictions about the existence of God and Spirits declined, but at the same time, I knew that while I was experiencing it, my core self, was there. I trust myself, and I trust my judgement, even on Ayahuasca. I realized that there is legitimacy in spirituality. Even if God doesn’t exist, I know that God is a perception that people have the potential to have. At least the stories aren’t completely based in bullshit. I feel like ayahuasca prepares you for death as well. I am no longer afraid of death. We will all eventually die. It takes away the mystery; allows you to at least imagine what the afterlife might be like. What’s the point of believing nothing happens after death anyway? It’s fucking depressing.
Reflecting upon my experience, I am no longer the same person. First of all, the Ayahuasca literally did heal me of certain gastrointestinal discomforts that I had had since first grade. I feel much more in touch with my body as well. I no longer drink alcohol; I have absolutely no desire to use drugs for temporary pleasure. I exercise on a daily basis. I feel as if my life actually has a purpose, and I can’t waste any time. I need to live in the moment, and just have as many experiences as I can. I’ve never felt more happy, and content with my existence. I’m excited about what’s to come; about where my life’s journey will take me next. There is still so much we have left to learn. We can never forget that.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid.
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.