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The Art of Letting Go
by Johnny
Citation:   Johnny. "The Art of Letting Go: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp99600)". Jul 12, 2013.

  oral Valerian (pill / tablet)
  500 mg oral Vitamin C (pill / tablet)
  45 ml oral Ayahuasca (liquid)


My personal experience with psychedelics was moderate before this trip. I had taken LSD about a dozen times and mushrooms once, usually without preparation or fore-thought. I had never taken them as a way to discover more about myself or reach deep insight; more often than not it was a spur of the moment decision. It had been a couple weeks since my last trip. I smoke multiple times a week and drink daily. A friend of mine contacted me and said that he had made a batch of ayahuasca, and asked if I would like to take it with him. I agreed, however I was busy for the next couple of days and so we planned it about a week in advance.

He decided to test it out that day though, and the day afterwards, and the day after that. On the third day, I got a text from him asking me to come to his house because he was having a bad trip. I did, and the next 4-5 hours hours were spent watching him writhe in visible physical and mental anguish. I had never sat for a bad trip before, nor have I ever had one myself. I was supposed to take it a couple of days later and the very apparent negative experience of my friend left an impression on me. But it did not deter me. My philosophy on this type of drug is that whatever happens, happens; even a bad trip, as gut-wrenchingly awful as it is at the time, is valuable.

I decided to prepare for this trip as much as I could. I lived with my parents, but they worked late into the night so I tripped in the morning. I fasted for 12 hours before, aside from two peanut butter cups an hour before to keep my blood sugar up. My brother had moved out of the house recently and his room was unused and barren. He had lived in the attic (which was always a source of inexplicable fear for me as a child, but I felt that added to the appeal for an introspective journey). It was an oddly shaped room: it ran the length of the house, in the shape of an hour-glass if looking at it from above, and it resembled a subway car (the ceiling dipped down to connect to the walls instead of meeting at a 90 degree angle) from inside. There was a window at either end of the room. I organized the room as best I could. I placed a comfortable chair directly facing one of the windows, moved everything else out so I would have a clear line of sight outside. I bought incense, Valerian root and a pack of gum that supposedly relaxed you (mostly for placebo in the event of anxiety), and a barrel to vomit into. I brought a sleeping bag, a blanket (which I had a strong positive connection to), two jade figurines, an e-cigarette, my laptop for music, a notebook to write into if I wanted, and pillows. I created a music playlist so I wouldn't have to figure that out during. The same friend was going to sit for me.

I intended to investigate some personal issues I had during this time, to practice meditation techniques (especially imagining I was a bird and picturing the landscape passing by below me), but mostly just to let the drug take me where it intended and see where I end up.

The night before, I had restless light sleep, often waking not sure if I was still dreaming or not. This wasn't unusual for me but I thought it may affect the experience. I also was very excited for it, I had wanted to try ayahuasca for a long time, and I hyped it up the week I waited for it. Neither of these things seemed to influence my trip though.

I swallowed a Valerian root capsule and 500mg of Vitamin C when I woke up. My friend came over around 10:30am and I dropped at 11:ooam.

This is my report from immediately after I came down. I apologize if it seems disjointed.

+ 0:00: The dose was held in a plastic water bottle. It was filled about half-way with the ayahuasca brew. I drank it quickly in one swig, with my nose held shut, and then downed a glass of OJ as a chaser. I didn't taste it too strongly because of this. I sat in the chair looking out of the window. Incense was burning, and a mix,Carl Sagan telling stories with a backdrop of calming music, was playing (Sagan has always been my favorite sitter). I had the blanket draped over my head, the sleeping bag covering me, and was puffing on the e-cigarette.

+ 0:30: I wasn't feeling much besides a general feeling of onset. My friend asked me periodically, about ever 10 minutes, if I was feeling anything. This made me think I may not have taken enough.

+ 0:45: I'm not sure if it came on so fast that I don't remember the kick, or I just lost track of my perception once it did, but it seemed as though I blinked and went from sober to tripping. I was watching the tree line blowing in the wind out the window when their edges began to recede to form one single mass, and the action of the wind blowing them made them a wave of dark brown. The sky was pure blue, the clearest I had ever seen it. The mosquito screen on the window dissolved into patterns resembling a dancing elephant. The smoke from the incense seemed more pronounced, and as the wind blew through it appeared to do so with intention; turning the listless rising into clouds and other shapes. My two jade sculptures (Siddhartha in lotus position and an elephant [which probably explains the mosquito screen patterns]) seated on the window sill were glowing. But the light didn't seem to come from the sun, but rather it radiated out from within themselves. My hands seemed the same when I looked at them. I felt electrical signals climbing up my legs. The part of me covered by the sleeping bag was very warm and heavy, but the part exposed was very cold (it was February and our heat got shut off). I had the sensation of rising. It was a very powerful rush and I needed to remind myself to let the drug do as it will. The Sagan mix was very pleasant even though I had trouble following what he was saying.

I felt extremely nauseous and my thoughts were consumed by the need to vomit, which I couldn't do. I began to feel slightly anxious and overwhelmed because of this.

+ 1:00: The physical discomfort became too much to bear, and it influenced everything else. The neighborhood out of the window became foreign even though I had lived there my entire life. The trees acted in furious motion with no end. When I stared out the window, the wall in the periphery of my vision became dark navy blue (normally sky blue) and it appeared electronically charged, like it would shock me if I touched it. Wispy, smoke-like skeletal faces began growing on it, with wicked broken-jawed smiles. There was a pervading sense of closing-in. I seemed to be standing on the edge of a terrible cliff and needed to calm down. I felt a subconscious desire for the trip to end, but that was a poisonous thought as it was just beginning.

Then the sound from my laptop abruptly stopped. This reeled me in. I was extremely sensitive to my surroundings and was disturbed whenever my sitter moved around. He got up to see what was wrong with it. He asked me what I wanted him to do. The idea of getting up and figuring out the problem seemed impossibly oppressive to me; so much so that I promptly vomited when I turned to look at the laptop. Immediately after I did though I felt much, much better. I felt a rush of euphoria. My friend figured it out and put the mix back on. He then asked me if I had any closed eye visuals. I hadn't thought about it, so I closed my eyes.

+ 1:30: With my eyes closed I began to see growing, spiraling-upward leaf shaped patterns of colors I had never seen before, punctuated by a feeling of euphoria and open mouthed awe. I opened my eyes in amazement, then shut them once more. This time I let the patterns grow. Eventually they stopped swirling and dissipated. On the other side was a tapestry of stark black, onto which were painted figures of unspecified number, human in shape, made of vibrant electric lights of the same swirling pattern that made up the previous visual. I did not understand what they were doing, but I felt a strong connection to them. An infant of the same kind as the figures was being held, raised up in someone's arms, then given to one of the figures who looked down at it with unadulterated love: the love of creation. I felt, very strongly, that the child was me. I felt that I had just witnessed my own birth. The figures were my mother and father, and the lights I saw were our individual being, visualized. It was a powerful and moving experience, and I can not even come close to articulating the emotions I felt then.

Unfortunately, stunned by the spontaneity of the vision, I opened my eyes. I felt (and still feel) that would have been carried to further, even more powerful revelations if I had pursued it. I think I exclaimed something nonsensical like 'I just saw my own birth!' The open-eye visuals continued in the same way as before, but now being acutely influenced by Carl Sagan and the beautiful music.

+ 2:00: The experience became slightly less intense after that. I got up to go to the bathroom. My body felt heavy but I could walk fine. I was extremely happy to see my dog downstairs and got distracted by his energy, which always seems to mirror whatever mood we (his family) are in. He followed me around the house. For some reason, I successfully refilled the water heater in the basement (a complicated process, it was a bad idea) which I only have vague memory of. I felt comfortable in the house, my legs guided me through it instinctively without my eyes really processing what I was seeing, but strangely that comfort didn't make me happy. It seemed too welcoming, too safe, too well known.

I vomited again, then went back upstairs without urinating as I intended.

+ 2:15: My friend and I went outside for a cigarette. I felt a strong disconnect between what I was thinking/feeling and what I was saying, but it didn't trouble me much. Playing with my dog and the conversation kept me grounded and a sense of lighthearted happiness was present. I felt a compulsion to keep moving, mostly pacing. Maybe because I thought if I stopped I would feel the nausea or that the trip would become intense again (with the potential to go sour), and I regret not pushing myself. We went for a walk to a local park.

+2:45: Sitting on the swings. I felt at peace with myself, not depressed at all (which is something I hadn't felt in a while, and had wondered if there was a strong difference between the two). I was very comfortable in who I was and what I was doing. I still had trouble communicating and would often lose the trail of conversation. I was introspective, thinking about things I take for granted, but not all that in depth. We continued walking. I had minor visions of a snow covered lake in a grass field and became engrossed in the motion of a river, but nothing too spectacular. I found everything funny, even serious things my friend said, which confused me.

We walked past a clearing in the woods; dead branches cultivated naturally into a thousand bird nests, the birds flew in loose formation around and past the trees, complete silence except for their chirping. The sun's rays hit me powerfully. I could feel its life giving energy being absorbed by my body, and saw the same happening in the glow of all the life around me. A building could be seen on the other side of the clearing. I thought about nature's survival in the face of civilization growth, pockets of peace hidden around the world, and the idea of divine inspiration. I could've watched it for hours, but I sensed my friend wanted to continue walking.

+3:15: We decided to turn back. My neighbor was outside of his house as we approached mine. I waved to him and he said something about work, pastries and jelly beans that I found inappropriately hilarious. My friend wondered if the mix was powerful enough, and apologized that it didn't work well. I told him how strongly it affected me, and he was surprised I was tripping at all. Apparently it was a very internalized experience. By that time the effects had begun to diminish.

After that he left, and I got a hamburger and sat down to record my experience. The body high was still there, a jello feeling in the legs. I still felt 'spacey' 5 hours later. The ayahuasca trip was very different than LSD or 'shrooms for me; the hallucinations were much more pronounced, the emotions easier to identify, the introspection clearer, and I retained (for the most part) a larger hold on rationality. The come down is very pleasant. I would definitely take it again, even more the next time. I think the preparation was worth it but not altogether necessary.

Exp Year: 2013ExpID: 99600
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 18 
Published: Jul 12, 2013Views: 12,571
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Ayahuasca (8) : General (1), First Times (2), Nature / Outdoors (23), Guides / Sitters (39), Small Group (2-9) (17)

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