Being open to new experiences is a big part of everyone’s personal development – but I’m sure if we were to scientifically poll the population, most people would draw their line long before they undertook a firewalk, a sweatlodge ceremony or a mind-altering trip into themselves.
Thankfully, I’m not most people.
I’d wanted to journey deeper into myself for a long time when the opportunity to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony arose; I was ready. It was my time to meet me.
The last time I felt so excited about this kind of thing was when I became a Kriya initiate, in about 2006. I’d made a special trip to London consciously aware that I was preparing for a date with myself.
Then just as now, I was ready – I was going another level deeper, well below the surface. I was aware of more than a little trepidation as I knew I’d have no clue what was going to come up for me. I was willingly stepping into my own unknown.
In the week preceding the ritual I became very mindful; I went into ‘service’ as I prepared myself for what was about to take place. I observed the rules as best I could, regarding my food intake and fasting. I was counting sleeps as the day drew near.
A day or so before the ceremony I became aware of my thoughts, feelings and fears about food, or rather the impending lack of it. I was paying attention, noticing but not getting hung up on what was making itself known to me, although I was quite emotional on the day. I began to realise I’d really set myself a helluva task this time!
But I was determined.
I stuck to the rules and entered the sacred space feeling at peace, prepared to allow a large chunk of me die in the process I was about to engage in; and I gave myself to it freely, knowing that I was surrendering to myself.
I’d taken a pad and pencil to write my thoughts or realisations but I didn’t know if that was something I’d be capable of doing when I got fully into the medicine. – or if the reverse happened! I had little experience of spirit plants.
It’s said that Madrecita is kind on your first journey with her; she’ll gently guide you to rid the body and mind of toxins or pollutants so I trusted that whatever was presented had a purpose in itself; further trusting myself that I would purge and destroy what was no longer necessary to hold on to, allowing my inner Shiva to do her work.
Now – I cannot accurately describe what happens after the Ayahuasca is ingested but what I can say is that the body doesn’t like it!
On my first attempt with the bitter liquid my stomach rejected it almost immediately – as I made an attempt to lie down my gut responded but it hadn’t been down long enough to have an effect so I had to re-dose within minutes. This time I stayed upright for as long as possible, before relaxing into a dream-like state – aware of everything around me, sometimes with exceptional clarity…
My senses were honed; I could hear far-off sounds as if they were so close – crystal clear raindrops and words being softly spoken across the room. As the singing bowl chimed the notes took shape and became visible. I realised I could see the taste in my mouth!
I lay down, relaxed my body and wrote in my journal the words ‘I walk in trust’.
What happened next removes all traces of this being some kind of ‘hippy trip’ – I felt movement in my belly, like a very large snake winding its way thru my intestines; I knew the Mother had arrived – and she was going to find an exit, very shortly!
I felt my mouth water, knowing I was going to be sick so made my way to the toilet, carrying my bucket like a handbag, not yet ready to share my discomfort with the others in the room. The sickness which came racked my body as I noted what was being expelled; my own toxins, the worries, fears and anxieties I’d held in my body for up to forty years! I was sick until there was nothing left.
I returned to my comfort area feeling strangely refreshed and elated; my being seemed to have just gotten lighter, like I’d been weighed down by something previously but I didn’t know what that was. It didn’t matter any more – it was gone now. I lay down again, drifting in and out of a very light sleep. (So light it only sounds like sl. )
I became aware of other people purging their bodies, some with deep, heart-felt cries, others fully retching and one or two verbalising realisations.
It truly was an entertainment for me as I allowed myself to observe my thoughts; each one of us was there on a personal journey, totally different in experiences yet gathered in one area to sit with each other’s pain and/ or enlightenment.
We were sifting through our own ‘stuff’, knowing deep down that we shared common bonds, including grief and despair.
All of us were in an altered state of reality – did we share hear/ see/ feel any of the same things? After a split second I realised it was of no consequence – each of has to learn from our own experiences and I resumed my dreamy slumber…
Sitting bolt upright I heard the call to resume the ceremony – and drink the liquid again. This time I knew what was ahead of me [physically] but also knew that I had to push my boundaries and go the next level … I sought guidance from one of the Masters of Ceremony who was totally in tune with my question – we agreed that I should delve deeper still.
I made my way to the centre and embraced the opportunity and remember a little joke shared when I thanked my host for the ‘loving cup’; we laughed as he said ‘we’ll see if you still thank me in about an hours time’
Thirty or forty minutes later I was sharing all I had left with full sound effects, loving my bucket more than I ever could imagine! Wondering if I was losing spinal fluid as I had no idea where it was all coming from (I think I said this to my close friend who was attending with me and we shared a laugh – but maybe I didn’t).
I became more aware of an extremely tight muscle in my neck – it had been jammed up for over a week, my stress was trapped there; firmly lodged and refusing to budge.
It seems I required a visit from the other Master of Ceremony; a little pressure and a few gentle nudges towards releasing the tension and I was once again floating inwardly – releasing entrenched fears as I realised my weaknesses as well as my strengths.
The thought struck me that at one level I was completely aware of everything that was going on around me – yet at other times I wasn’t even on the same planet!
As I write this I’m reminded that this is not a journey for those who want a pleasure trip, no siree!
For some an Ayahuasca ritual may not only be a strange quest but a pretty scary and stupid thing to do; but in my opinion, it was the most natural step in becoming fully me. I want to know myself inside (and) out – the dark as well as the light.
The following day as we awakened from our slumber we were invited to break fast; teas, an assortment of goodies and fruit were ready and waiting for us – never have grapes ever tasted so good!
The group gathered to share experiences and to end the formalities, each of us, I’m sure, still processing the information made available to us over the previous 12 hours.
I arrived home with my friend and altho’ we had eaten little, both expressed the lack of need for food. This in itself surprised me after my issues of the day before – and my expectation of extreme hunger as I’d eaten lightly for days.
We were pretty exhausted; the purging had taken its toll and our minds had gone through a total workout. Mild observance of events led to afternoon naps and assimilating sur-reality with the ordinary. I expected to awaken and be back where I left things off…
How wrong was I?
I had no idea what was still to come… but for that we’ll have to wait for Aya 2 – Madrecita at Work …
Further information on Ayahuasca;