So we recently got back from our trip to Peru, (which was amazing!) and for part of that trip we did a two day ayahuasca retreat. Ayahuasca is a brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine which contains MAO inhibitors and the leaves of Psychotriaviridis from the Amazon which contains DMT. They call it medicine and it is used for healing. It heals physically, emotionally and spiritually. They say it is the “grandmother” of all plants and it helps you find the origin of negative karma and shows you how to turn it into a positive. Many people say it is like a rebirth. The effect of ayahuasca is very strong and it is important to take it with a shaman who can guide and ensure ones safety throughout the experience.
The day before the retreat we had to meet up with the coordinator in Cusco to drink volcanic water. The volcanic water cleans out any medicine, drugs, and toxins that may interfere with the ayahuasca. It’s basically a detox. It tasted kind of salty, like if you put baking soda in water. You have to drink ten to fifteen glasses, like, we’re talking big glasses here. There is a nurse that checks your blood pressure and heart rate before and after. So basically you drink a crap tonne of this water and then piss out your ass for a few hours… fun!
The next day which is the first day of the retreat, they picked us up in Cusco and drove us about 45 mins to the center. That day, you have to fast for the entire day which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I love food! You have a check up with the nurse and an interview with a psychologist. They just want to make sure you are okay to handle the ayahuasca and to know about any trauma that you may have because it may come up during the ceremony.
The ayahuasca ceremony started at 8 pm. They do it in a circular building, and you walk in to find sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and a bucket set up in a semi circle around the room. You have to bring a roll of toilet paper and a water bottle, which does come in handy later on. You pick a place to sit (strategy is key as you will later find out) and the shaman comes in with the coordinator and nurse. The nurse checks everyone’s blood pressure and heart rate. Then the ceremony starts. The shaman blows tobacco smoke on you and then they give you perfume/essential oils to rub all over yourself so you are all nice and smelly. Then they hand out the glasses of ayahuasca, which is like a dark brown syrupy liquid that sometimes has chunks of stuff if you’re lucky! You drink the ayahuasca, very quickly, and then meditate for thirty minutes until it kicks in. They turn out the lights so it is fairly hard to see. You set your intention of what it is you would like to experience or heal. My intention was to remove any blocks or fears that are stopping me from moving forwards.
After the thirty minutes they ask if you can feel any effects, such as weakness or dizziness, and then they tell you that you can start to purge. Which isn’t that difficult to start doing especially when you have been nauseous and trying to keep it down for the past half hour. So now you get to vomit in the bucket that is beside you as is everyone else! The purge is to get any negativity out of your body. I’m pretty sure there is none left due to the amount that I purged. At one point during it I was hallucinating that there were two buckets and I couldn’t tell which was the real one, luckily I figured it out! The coordinator and the nurse come around and rub your back and throw essential oils on you as you are purging and help you through it. Sometimes it comes out the other end, to which they take you out to the bathroom, which is really hard to do when you’re hallucinating and the world is spinning like a tornado. After you are done purging, which feels like a lifetime, you lie down in your sleeping bag and can begin to have visions. The shaman chants during the majority of it and he drinks a little bit of the ayahuasca.
Everyone has different experiences with ayahuasa and it is a very personal journey. It lasts for about 4-5 hours and it can be hard to sleep after. What they don’t tell you on the blog posts or info about ayahuasca is how hard it is on the body. It can be a really tough experience.
And then we did it all over again the next night!
The people that run it were probably the nicest, most loving people I have ever met. If they weren’t so amazing it would have made it a much different experience. The shaman we had spoke no English and seemed to genuinely really love ayahuasca.
The ayahuasca stays in your system for about seven days afterwards and there are dietary restrictions. You can’t eat, coffee, chocolate, pork, spicy foods and no drugs or alcohol. They we’re saying that the shamans can’t eat pork at all because they get such bad stomach aches that they have to go to the hospital.
At the time it was probably one of the worst experiences of my life, I was planning all the ways I could get out of the second ceremony! The second ceremony was a completely different experience for me, but was just as tough. I have never done so much spewing in my life! After it was all over, I’m glad I did it and I feel that I got a lot out of it. I feel much clearer and happier. I feel like I removed what I needed to to move forwards. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for healing, it is not for fun or recreational. It is something to be taken seriously and respected. Although, there is no way I would ever do this again, I’m happy it is something I got to experience!
If you are interested this is where we did it: www.etnikas.com I trust them completely and it is a clean and safe environment.
Elora Taylor: http://www.torontomedium.com
Tammy Taylor: http://www.oakvillemedium.com
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