I felt the need to wait at least a couple of weeks after I participated in an Ayahuasca sacred retreat to write a blog about it. Read on to find out how I got on trying the psychedelic plant medicine Ayahuasca……..
First off, what is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca — also known as the tea, the vine, and la purga — is a brew made from the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub along with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, though other plants and ingredients can be added as well.
This drink is used for spiritual and religious purposes by ancient Amazonian tribes.
Traditionally, a shaman— an experienced healer who leads Ayahuasca ceremonies — prepares the brew by boiling torn leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub and stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine in water, the tribe and the shaman mind the cooking for at least 3 days non stop , looking after the fire, singing , dancing, allowing the spirits to come into the concoction. It’s a very laborious process that can take a week or more, depending of the quantity. The process is very demanding in a jungle environment of high temperature and humidity. Collecting the plants, climbing to get the vine, crushing every part of the vine is all by hand before is put into a big pot to be boil. All the energy of the tribe is given to the process.
When combined, these two plants form a powerful psychedelic brew that affects the central nervous system, leading to an altered state of consciousness that can include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and euphoria, allowing the person in be in touch with the higher-self.
What is Ayahuasca used for?
Though Ayahuasca IS traditionally used for religious and spiritual purposes by Indigenous communities over in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. It has become popular worldwide among those who seek a way to open their minds, heal from past traumas, or simply experience an Ayahuasca journey.
It is strongly recommended that Ayahuasca only be taken when supervised by an experienced shaman, as those who take it need to be looked after carefully, as an Ayahuasca trip leads to an altered state of consciousness that lasts for many hours.
How did I hear about it?
I have never done any psychedelic plant medicine in my life, but I found myself starting to read up on the research, the benefits and more increasingly the mystery that surrounds it. The more I read the more my interest grew. I started talking to people within the wellness community and realised that plant medicine was more popular than I had imagined. I just needed to talk to the right people and what was even better there was an Ayahuasca Sacred Retreat being organised in 2 months’ time. So before I knew it I was booked in and tentatively waiting for the weekend to come around.
Before partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony, it’s recommended that participants abstain from cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and caffeine to purify their bodies. It’s also suggested to eat clean, for 2–4 weeks prior to the experience to free the body of toxins.
I decided to adopt a semi-clean diet (ahem) and abstain from alcohol for 4 weeks I really wanted to get the best experience, also to be honest, I was a teeny bit scared so was thinking if I put my best foot forward, I won’t have a ‘bad’ experience.
Before I knew it, the day came around quite quickly.
Why did I want to take Ayahuasca?
Prior to the retreat I was struggling with answering this question. I didn’t know why I wanted to do it, all I knew was that I felt drawn to do it. Like on a subconscious level my inner compass was guiding me to this plant medicine. The Peru government claims that the consumption of this “teacher” or “wisdom” plant “constitutes the gateway to the spiritual world and its secrets, which is why traditional Amazon medicine has been structured around the ayahuasca ritual”.
Over the past 2 years I have been on a healing journey, I would suffer a lot with anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem and was still suffering from a few childhood traumas which I found very hard to overcome when I got triggered, either by the fear of people judging me or the fear of falling out with anyone. I am also hugely spiritual and have always had an interest in the Spirit world. As I launched my Spiritual Wellness and Coaching Business, I felt the need to be healed before I could heal others so I felt this was the next step in developing both myself and for my business.
We arrived at a secluded farmhouse in the middle of the countryside a little after 7.30pm on the Saturday as we turned into the courtyard, we were met by a few people sitting outside soaking up the last of the sun rays. Immediately we were greeted with warm hugs and the chorus of everyone saying ‘Yay, new energy coming into the group!”. It was lovely to instantly get this loving feeling of connection from them all. All eager to chat to us and I had a really weird feeling of ‘Déjà vu that I had already met these people before. I could not help thinking maybe in a past life I also felt a huge feeling of reassurance that I was in the right place at the right time.
One thing that surprised me was that the people in the group were all normal, there were women who were wives and/or mothers just wanting to have a bit of ‘me’ time and heal in the process. There were fathers there who were doing the same. There were people there going through hardship and wanting to heal. There were people who go to these Sacred retreats yearly, there were people there who had never done psychedelic plant medicine or even drank alcohol before, but the main common denominator was that they all said they were drawn to Mother Ayahuasca like she was calling to them to heal.
At about 12am we were called into the Ceremony room where we sat on mats on the floor, you could sense a calm atmosphere with a little hint of nervous excitement settle into the room. Suddenly the Shaman appeared and walked into the room with an air of mystical importance.
He was a very tall man dressed all in white with long white hair and you could feel a wise ancient energy around him and he also had the biggest smile and twinkly eyes which put my mind at ease somewhat. I immediately thought ‘I betcha you could have a laugh with him!’. Alongside him was his wife Cecilia who was a beautiful woman with pixie like features, it was clear she was a very knowledgeable, spiritual woman.
The organiser of the retreat Alex was lovely and so welcoming, he had a lovely soothing energy about him. He was handing out buckets to everyone as Ayahuasca is a natural toxic substance puking or ‘purging’ as its called is a common side-effect to release it from the body before the visions come. So everyone was handed a bucket. I was nervous with the thoughts of us all getting sick into buckets all in the same room.
The shaman welcomed us all to his ceremony and began to tell us the story of Mother Ayahuasca and its origins, he also played this beautiful tribal drumming music which instantly put us at ease. Then his wife one by one beckoned us to come up and do the sacred shamanic snuff known as Hopa OSca . In the Muysca community the use of Hopa Osca is to begin the ceremony. Receiving Hopa Osca can bring about a profound experience of the Amazonian jungle. Because the medicine is sacred, the indigenous tribe take it as a prayer calling upon the forces of Nature, the blessing of the animals of the forest, and the power of medicinal plants to heal us and give us strength. Cecilia blew the snuff with a powerful blast into each nostril through a blow pipe known as a “tepi”. I instantly felt dizzy and my eyes started watering and felt stingy but as I sat down I felt an instant calmness wash over me. I felt a knowing that all will be ok. Then the Shaman brought out this drum of dark liquid he informed us this was Mother Ayahuasca and started blessing it and pouring it out into a cup and chanting what sounded like a sacred blessing. One by one we got up knelt at his altar took the cup, drank it and went back to our mats., no one spoke a word.
To my astonishment the Shaman, his wife and Alex all took a cup full of Ayahuasca too I turned to my friend and asked her what was going on? Surely, they need to be ‘normal’ to make sure we’re all ok. She whispered back no its ok they take a cup too so they raise the energy in the room and know what type of journey this Ayahuasca experience will be. I tentatively settled down and waited to see what would happen next.
Once everyone had had their cup the shaman turned off all the lights and left one candle in the centre of the room lighting. Everyone in the room along with the Shaman and his wife settled down on their mats and pulled their blankets around them. I guessed the waiting game had started….
Everyone including me dozed off a little, some got up and went to the toilet, but no one spoke to each other. This is when I knew this was an internal journey, this wasn’t a time where we all sat around laughing and talking like we would at a party heading into the early hours of the next day. Nope this was all about you going inwards, this was a lone journey and each one of us were going to be experiencing something unique and sacred. You could feel it in the air.
At approximately 3am I started noticing there was an increase of movement in the room, almost immediately I heard one person in the corner sitting up and getting sick repeatedly into her bucket. I felt a rumble in my tummy straight away, an uneasy feeling. Still feeling a bit nervous getting sick in front of people I brought my bucket outside into the courtyard. That night it was a full moon and when I looked up at the moon it got wider and wider and was so bright, I felt I could almost touch it and pick it out of the dark sky.
Suddenly warm thick brown liquid started coming out of my mouth I puked into the bucket. I reactively squeezed my eyes shut but when I did, I saw a vision of me with a green dragon like face puking into the bucket from the other end. I immediately thought ‘oh that’s me purging all the badness and trauma out of me’. Later, we were told to release what was in the bucket back into the earth as this is how we release our trauma back into the Universe.
I didn’t get sick for very long and decided to go back inside and lie down on my mat. Just as I settled back down The Shaman got up in a trans like state and started to beat his drum. As he bet his drum you could feel the energy in the room becoming electric…I closed my eyes and was teleported into what I can only describe as a cosmic world. The Shaman’s drumming got louder more powerful, and I started getting visions as if I was looking down a child’s toy kaleidoscope full of different shapes and sizes all in the Chakra colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet flashing before my mind’s eye.
I felt I was in the Amazon jungle with my ancestors I was then introduced to my spirit animal ‘the wolf’ which then morphed into my current dog ‘Leo’. I heard the message that my spirit animal had come back to me in this life to watch over me. I was then shown all the chakra colours again and a voice asked me ‘Do you remember this message from before?’ I instantly recalled a time when I was at a yoga class in 2015 were during Shavasana I saw the Seven Chakra colours flash in my mind’s eyes.
At the time I didn’t know what it was, but it always stuck with me. Later, I was told by a spiritual healer that it was a ‘Spiritual Awakening’. Mother Ayahuasca confirmed to me that that was indeed a Spiritual awakening, and it was to put me on the path of ‘energy healing’ and I was shown in my mind’s eye how ‘energy force’ works and how we are all connected, and the message was that I was born to ‘heal others’ to release any self-limiting beliefs as I was the only one holding myself back!
My cosmic experience lasted for a number of hours but I will stop now on telling you about the rest of my experience as I’m not sure a lot of people are ready to hear more but I can confirm that Mother Ayahuasca showed me a lot and I now have a deeper knowledge of the way the Universe works that I will forever cherish this experience.
What has changed since my Ayahuasca experience?
On the outside nothing has changed but on the inside everything has changed. Since coming home from my Sacred Retreat I have noticed I am more confident in myself. Confident in my own decisions on what I do, who I spend time with and where I am going in life. My husband has noticed I am much more calmer and present.
I don’t sweat the small stuff; I don’t lie awake for hours stressing about people, money or life situations anymore (which I did for many years). I don’t look for external validation from people and I am not codependent on anyone. I migrate to things and people that give off a good energy and make me feel good. I have learnt to value everything that is in my life. I have realized that life is too short and where I used to be in a constant state of negative thoughts daily, I now release them as quickly as they pop into my head.
I have also noticed I don’t see the appeal of drinking the way I used to before I took Ayahuasca now I don’t drink nearly as much as I used to as I know it is not good for my energy.
Whenever I experience a trigger where it used to rattle me for weeks, even months I now know how to just let it go something I would have struggled with previously! I’ve learnt that the people who are meant to be in your life will want to be with you and you can’t force anything that is not meant for you.
I now have the confidence that I am a right where I am supposed to be and that is empowering other’s on how to heal and find their own inner peace.
I am now 40 years old and I can honestly say my life up until this point has been a hell of a journey and it still is a journey but now it’s an enjoyable journey full of love and light