Citation: Jasenka. "Wrestling With Time and Space: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp111866)". Erowid.org. May 1, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111866
I decided to try ayahuasca a long time ago, but now I can say with certainty that I’m very glad I didn’t have a chance to try it in my 20s. I believe this kind of ego-shattering experience requires a lot of mental sobriety and emotional maturity in order not to be confused for a psychotic episode. Prior to ayahuasca, I’ve tried many drugs (other hallucinogens, stimulants and some opioids), but only psilocybin seemed to bring me what I was looking for. Taking DMT was, in a way, a logical step for me as I wanted to get deeper into the world that psilocybin has opened up for me.
I have to mention that I have a history of mental illness (bipolar depression and suicidal ideation) and that I used Wellbutrin and lithium in the past. In the last five years though I haven’t used any antidepressants so they haven’t affected my experience. I don’t smoke, rarely drink and I have rather healthy habits when it comes to food and physical exercise. I also practice yoga and meditation.
The ceremony I attended was guided by a reputable shaman from Colombia, in a pleasant environment. There were roughly 30 people. We drank the potion around 10pm and I felt the effects of it for the next 12 hours, even though I took just one cup. The brew was probably too strong for a first-timer like me.
I didn’t have any big issues with throwing up ( I threw up just once and it was a very small amount of liquid) and the physical part of the experience wasn’t overly unpleasant. On the other hand, mental and emotional effects of ayahuasca were so profound, so heavy and so eerie that this night (and the second night even more!) turned out to be the most traumatic experience I’ve ever faced in my life.
The visuals started after 30 minutes and they immediately separated me from reality, because I wasn’t able to open my eyes anymore. I just fell down on my mattress like I was shot by a gun and I couldn’t move at all. The shaman was playing different instruments and I tried to concentrate on his music in order not to get a panic attack.
The first thing I saw was a glittering golden ratio spiral. It was made of thousands of tiny cubes, all moving and breathing simultaneously. I curiously approached the spiral and it started to fall apart as I was getting closer and closer to its center. Then I realized those tiny cubes the spiral was made of are not just regular cubes, but congregations of human souls trapped in a cube-like wire grid.
I felt the gravity of human souls pulling me quickly into one of those wire grids. As soon as I found myself in the center of the grid, I felt an overwhelming wave of fear, sadness, resentment, as if someone has done something terrible to me. I also realized this eerie place seems so familiar to me and then I instantly recalled what was going on – I ended up in the purgatory between death and new life, the place where souls are waiting for their next life, for the next body they will sink into.
I was terrified. I wanted to scream. No. God, no. No and no and no and please don’t do this to me again. I don’t want to be reborn, I don’t want to play this game again. I don’t want any new body, I don’t want any new life, I don’t want to participate in this ridiculous carnival of souls that will repeat itself until the end of time.
My horror and oppression were so strong that I started to feel my mind trembling and crumbling down, while some demonic force was laughing and showing me ugly, overly vibrant red and orange hues that were flashing just before my eyes. I heard the sound of electric discharge as well, as if someone was trying to plug me into some machine and make me a functional part of a larger system.
I could find no solace whatsoever, nothing to ease my suffering. I even tried to apply some meditation techniques to calm my mind, but the spirit of ayahuasca was always one step ahead – it could read my mind and it easily destroyed all my miserable attempts to make myself feel better and calmer.
I felt as if this universe I landed in was the cruelest thing that has ever existed since the beginning of time and space. No love, no compassion, no gentleness, only being force to participate in this circle of life and death without knowing any answers. My soul started to wither like a tiny flower. This withering actually felt good – the pain was starting to subside as my consciousness was getting more watery, mushy and dirty, almost as if it was being covered by rotting, late autumn leaves.
I didn’t have any new visuals until early in the morning when I left the ceremony hall and went back to my tent. As soon as I entered the bed, I heard a child-like female voice calling me from inside of my stomach. The voice was rather sad and disappointed for some reason. When I opened my eyes, I saw my unborn daughter from some parallel reality sitting on the other bed in the tent and looking me straight in the eyes. I felt as if she already knew the truth about this universe and the fact that there is no escape, but only this cruel repetitiveness of life and death forever and ever.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FOR DAY 1:
A lot of people who attended this ceremony had difficult experiences. One guy went completely crazy, attacked the shaman and he had to be tied down and taken outside. He was screaming all night long. There were also two guys who got naked and started running around the hall. I wasn’t aware of all these things while they were happening, but I did feel that something insane was going on in the external world as well.
I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to attend the second ceremony because I was already traumatized. But I thought I had nothing to lose (except my sanity which I didn’t cherish much), so I decided to do it once again despite the overwhelming fear. The schedule was exactly the same like during the first ceremony – we took the potion at the same time (10pm) and I woke up in the morning around the same time. The number of participants was smaller this time (around 20), as some of them left because of the incidents that happened during the first night.
This time, drinking the potion felt more disgusting since my body and mind already knew what was about to happen. I felt nauseous instantly but managed not to throw up for more than an hour. I made a big mistake this time because I tried to control my visions and make them kind of lighter and more cheerful. I started having exactly the same visions like yesterday, but they were even louder, like a crazy circus of lost souls on steroids. I could literally feel the electricity of madness. I calmed my mind as much as could and I let this circus play whatever it wanted to play. As soon as I became indifferent, my visions started changing. A new horrifying mental challenge was coming up my way. This time, I felt the time and space shrinking so suddenly that the feeling of gravity became unbearable, I could hardly breathe. I was injected into the super-dense ball of basic concepts we use to describe the reality we live in. These concepts started tossing and turning around as if they were spinning inside a giant washing machine. They were spinning faster and faster, then they would slow down, then speed up again, then change the direction and go backwards. But there was no way out of this hell. This was the overarching dynamics of the entire universe, the final answer to all the questions about the origin and destiny of our cosmos.
I strongly disliked this cosmic washing machine. I disliked it so much that there was no way to accept it. What I was going through was the single most intense horror I have ever experienced as a human being.
What I was going through was the single most intense horror I have ever experienced as a human being.
There was no shelter from this madness, not even a theoretical possibility of a shelter!
ACUTE PSYCHOSIS AND SHAMAN’S INTERVENTION:
My mind couldn’t shut down despite the horror I was experiencing. I completely lost my sanity. Everything I ever knew was smashed down to pieces. I started to scream and I couldn’t stop screaming. I rolled off my mattress, I was trying to get up but I lost balance every time. My body was writhing in pain and I ended up crawling like a worm, still screaming and pleading for mercy. I felt the extreme submissiveness of my nature.
The shaman and his assistants came to calm me down and they tied my hands behind my back. They also started singing and chanting and they sprayed some liquid on my face. This was obviously effective since I calmed down a bit. However, now I started feeling as if I was the grand winner of some holy battle of the entire universe. I got up, my body was finally painless and everything around me was glittery like the New Year’s decorations. I also felt as if I was the tallest person in the room.
“That’s it! YEAH! That’s it, that’s it, that’s it!” – I was yelling like a lunatic, walking around the hall and raising my arms in victory. But this feeling was short-lived. Very quickly I realized this victory is fake and this glittering reality is only some kind of mock-up reality. I’m still not the winner in the real reality. This line of thought broke me into pieces again and reactivated the acute psychosis.
“This is a lie. No. I want out. I am thirsty and I am cold and I want out… PLEASE CAN YOU SHUT THIS DOWN…SHUT THIS DOWN…TAKE ME OUT….SHUT THIS DOWN….TAKE ME OUT”- I started screaming again.
I remember the shaman’s assistant did take me out but I couldn’t trust him. Even though the weather was really nice and some people were sitting in the backyard watching the sky, I felt that this sky and these stars are just a big lie, just a cruel illusion. I was trying to force my mind to wake up in some higher reality, away from these lies I thought I was experiencing. I was trying to push my mind above this reality in such a forceful way that I felt thousands of thoughts forming in my brain at the same time and another panic attack was about to start. I also felt a pulsating pressure which was somewhat similar to an orgasmic build-up, but it wasn’t a physical excitement, only some kind of mental alternative to sexual build-up.
At this point the entire hell I constructed within these two days was preparing to explode and I finally got what I was hoping and pleading for – my mind got shut down. The explosion actually felt peaceful and gentle, it didn’t hurt me at all. I was instantly transferred into a soft and liquid world made of aquatic green and blue hues mixed with some milky white undertones. I felt a wonderful peace, liberation and lack of madness and aggressive thoughts while I was gliding through this ethereal world. I also felt that eternity and infinity are not the enemies of sanity, because they cannot be experienced by human mind in any objective and direct way. The only thing that is painful and toxic and perhaps deadly is the human interpretation of these metaphysical terms.
Maybe for the first time since my early childhood, I felt that I was not worried about future. I was floating in this gentle world which felt as if it was somewhere underwater. This act of floating and moving slowly in the overarching softness of infinity was the entire new world for my traumatized soul. I didn’t try to grasp any philosophical concepts any more. The undefined and the infinite became a soft and moist tissue wrapped around my entire body and mind. I was finally free.
Today is the third day since the second ceremony and I am still not back to my regular state of mind. I usually have panic attacks during the night when I suddenly wake up, because I still feel that this reality might not be my final destination. I also feel too awake and too conscious during daytime and I am overly sensitive to other people and their moods. I think I even have developed some temporary telepathic abilities, because I feel the thoughts of some people followed by very brief hallucinations and visions. I think I will wait for like three weeks before I will seek professional help and anti-psychotics. I also noticed profound changes in my personality, I feel like a stranger to myself, which frightens me a little bit. I definitely feel that my ego has shrunk a bit and one layer of my protective shell got either broken down or damaged. I feel this world in a much more intense way and it’s really too much sometimes.
I want to warn everybody to be extremely careful when it comes to consuming ayahuasca and I suggest starting with very small doses, especially for those who have a history of mental illnesses. Be nice and gentle to your mind because there’s no way to obtain a new one in this lifetime.
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