Citation: Soma91. "A Rational Journey Into Human Knowledge: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp113160)". Erowid.org. May 11, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113160
I will try my best to describe my last Ayahuasca experience with as many details as I can.
A few years ago, some people in my group of friends became acquainted with a woman who performed Ayahuasca ceremonies in the suburbs. Since then, many of us have attended regularly. Personally, I had had my first ceremony 8 months ago, and this was going to be my third time.
I had had my first ceremony 8 months ago, and this was going to be my third time.
My boyfriend D also came for his fifth experience. This woman organizes 2 or 3 ceremonies per month, for about 13-14 people each. If interested, we sign up via email. A week before the event, the participants are sent instructions in order to prepare properly for the experience. These instructions include avoiding meat and dairy products three days before and after the ceremony, and trying to maintain a clear mindset overall, avoiding judgement, social media, news, etc.
The day of the ceremony, we are asked to arrive by 9 pm. We brought sleeping bags, insulating mats, some small pillows, water, paper handkerchiefs, cozy clothes and a little notebook to write on. D had brought a couple of marihuana joints. I also brought a little bottle of Agua de Florida, a nice smelling cologne that I had bought in Cusco. Once we got there, we greeted our guide, who indicated us to accommodate ourselves in the living room. The spots are clearly divided on the room’s floor, each parcel being marked by the presence of a plastic container in which we will probably vomit. We left our shoes outside the room, opened up our sleeping bags and set up our spots next to each other, bringing everything useful with us.
Shortly afterwards, the shaman came in and asked for the contribution (about 50 dollars each) in exchange for the ceremony. Once we were all set up, she lowered the lights and started giving an introductory speech. She did this every time, mainly because of the people who had never taken Ayahuasca before. She spoke briefly about the nature of the drink, which she brought as Santo Daime from Brazil. She told us about what could be expected from the plant, from the physical to the emotional and visual effects. She also told us about the galactic day, which was only beginning now, which would hopefully allow humanity to really awaken through the use of these tools. Although everything sounds interesting, I don’t really care for the astrological background, since I remain skeptical.
She then explained how the night would proceed: first, we would engage in a relaxation routine for about 10 minutes in order to be as prepared as possible; then, she would put some music and give out the first round of the brew. The music would continue to play for a few more minutes, and once the effects began to appear, she and her apprentice would start to play music with several instruments and sing for the entire night. We had never seen her perform with a helper, so this was going to be interesting. The brew would be offered two or three more times in general, and could also be requested anytime as long as it didn’t interrupt the chanting. At about-4/5 am, the two of them would stop playing and put a relaxing playlist on, so that we could sleep.
Before the meditation and relaxation exercises began, we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other, merely saying our names or commenting on anything we thought appropriate. We were all about to be part of the same circle, so it was important to know each other. Then, our shaman guided us through some controlled respiration exercises, followed by relaxation. Afterwards, she stood up and offered the first serving. She was the first to drink, and we formed a line.
The doses were given out in little shot glasses, ¾ full with a purple-colored thick brew. Once someone drank, the glass was refilled and the following person continued. The brew was still warm, and it tasted strongly like plums and coffee mixed together. It isn’t particularly pleasant, but it doesn’t seem something totally repulsive at first. As we were waiting in line, our guide’s helper kept blowing tobacco smoke all over our bodies, with a pipe. She was served last.
Once served, I went to my spot, sat down and covered myself with the sleeping bag. I rinsed my mouth with some water to fight off the strong taste of the brew. I drank a few sips of water and remained still. Soon my body began to feel heavy and I started feeling cold, so I laid down and covered myself as much as I could. My mind was rushing with nonsense and I wasn’t able to make it stop and focus on something in particular. I began to yawn uncontrollably. Everything felt very much like a pre-dreamlike state, although I wasn’t feeling tired but actually pretty uneasy. My body felt heavy but I couldn’t stay still, so I stretched and moved my feet in weird manners to “release” the tension. I was feeling physically upset, knowing that the feeling wouldn’t pass until I vomited.
By now, our guide and her apprentice are already playing instruments and chanting Sanskrit songs. They sounded perfect, although a little menacing since I cannot know what the songs are about. They started banging on some drums which made my belly also react to the sound, as if it was beating to the banging sound. I immediately became very nauseous, so I suddenly sat up, took my plastic container and vomited in it. I was at my peak intoxication; I was feeling very dizzy. I vomited as much as I could, which also seemed a lot more that I could have ingested, but it also carried a feeling of purification exceeding the gastrointestinal aspect.
I was purging. My eyes also naturally cried as this happened. I felt suddenly very hot, and had to take off my sweatshirt. I was the first in the group to vomit. Once it was over, I rinsed my mouth, cleaned my face with some tissues and had some more water. I put some Agua de Florida near my nose so I could clean the air. Then, I felt heavenly. I had to struggle to keep my eyes open, but the thoughts in my mind seemed to accelerate infinitely when I kept them closed, and it was too much to handle. It strongly resembled the moment right before falling asleep, when one lies down and a stream of thoughts goes down until one eventually loses track of them and gives in to sleep.
It strongly resembled the moment right before falling asleep, when one lies down and a stream of thoughts goes down until one eventually loses track of them and gives in to sleep.
But no sleepy feeling was present this time and the thoughts were even less connected, they almost felt like random data constantly appearing in my brain. I remember thinking that it was logical that I was experimenting such a thing since after all, consuming DMT floods my brain with certain neurotransmitters affecting synapses, so it made sense that my train of thought was messed up. However, I was equally amazed at my ability to develop this thought without any sort of trouble, like my mind was cut in half. These trains of thought would ‘reset’ themselves every time I opened my eyes. I couldn’t keep them open long, however, I did not have any open-eye visuals. On the other hand, sat up with my back to the wall and keeping my eyes closed, I could see beautiful kaleidoscopic images. They were perfectly geometric and intricate, all in white against a black background. The iridescent white lines became alternatively rainbow-colored, and never stopped spiraling from infinity to behind my own eyes. Some were fractal, some resembled flowers or mandalas. The images were in effect very beautiful, but they came by extremely fast. This became overwhelming at times, because my mind couldn’t keep track of all the extravagant patterns.
Gradually, I begin to come down: I was no longer at my peak. This allowed me to enjoy the incredible music that the two shamanic women were performing. The language had switched to Portuguese by now, which sounded much more friendly to me. The rhythms were nice and their voices sounded angelic to us. They used any kind of instruments: many kinds of drums, harps, guitar, jew’s harp, ukulele, an organ, wind rattles, various rainsticks, even a didgeridoo. They all sounded amazing and caused a different reaction in our bodies
many kinds of drums, harps, guitar, jew’s harp, ukulele, an organ, wind rattles, various rainsticks, even a didgeridoo. They all sounded amazing and caused a different reaction in our bodies
, which seemed to be similar for all participants. The apprentice periodically blew tobacco smoke above us, which totally took over the air. I didn’t like the feeling of breathing it.
The sound was all in all, beautiful, synesthesia overcomes me. I imagined the scenes narrated in the Portuguese chants, and felt part of it. The music is very enjoyable and the lyrics make you think and reflect on different aspects of life: family (mum, dad, brothers, sisters and grandparents), relationship with nature, relationship with the Universe itself. The chants also speak of gratitude, and how we should be thankful for all the love we are capable of giving and receiving. At this point, in my two earlier Ayahuasca experiences, I started to cry as I thought of my loved ones, and my heart felt completely filled with gratitude. This time, I did not get as emotional. However, I felt equally grateful, but I was analyzing the situation in a more rational way. I noticed that no one in the entire circle was crying or being extremely emotional. I was enjoying the experience, reassuring certain aspects of my life that I usually question. But I was not getting much insight in my work aspect, which was my principal concern at the moment, both from a vocational and an economic point of view. Images of work stuff or reminders of urgent responsibilities arose randomly in my mind and bothered me; luckily, I was able to fight them off without much trouble. In retrospect I can see that this probably meant that in a way I was not allowing the substance to work on the subject, like a self-sabotage behavior.
I was in the mood for a totally rational/philosophical journey. I thought a lot about humanity and human knowledge, especially scientific knowledge. I was, as always, amazed at nature; but this time I was also equally amazed by humanity’s ability to develop such amount of specific knowledge, to the point where we know the exact chemical structures of certain neurotransmitters and enzymes, and how they work. How genetic information flows. The concept of DNA and genes gathering all life’s information in a universal code, usually comes to mind during psychedelic trips. On one hand, I often experience close-eye visuals resembling DNA double helix structure. On the other hand, genetics fascinate me and its understanding gives me a feeling of community with surrounding nature that I also experience with mind-opening psychedelic trips with substances like Ayahuasca.
I was now clearly coming down. My mind was already relaxed and I could focus on the beautiful percussion that the shaman and her apprentice were performing. I could feel the rhythm in me, moving my legs and fingers, and I felt full of bliss. Around this point, the shaman offered a second serving of Ayahuasca. I was still in the middle of my glowing moment, so I decided that I would wait for the next service and just relax. I find the physical part of the journey very exhausting, so I wanted to take a break before enduring it again. I went to the bathroom, admiring the shadows that the only candle that lit the place projected on the mirror. I came back, laid down and let myself float gently with the music, imagining outer space scenery in my mind. At some point, I think I even slept for a couple of minutes. The apprentice began blowing tobacco again, as the second dispatch was over, and the strong smell asphyxiated me. I decided to go out for fresh air. The house had a nice backyard, with a medium garden full of plants. I went only as far as the patio, and looked around. I realized I felt 100% sober at this point, but with an extra awareness feeling. I felt happy and relaxed. I came back inside, and sat down to enjoy the incredible show these two women were giving us. Some of the songs were now in Spanish too, sounding even more familiar to us. This went on for what felt like a lot of time, although I can’t say for sure.
I was waiting for the third round and it felt like it took forever. I felt like there was little time between the first and the second round, and a lot between the second and third one. But I am aware that time might have been distorted for me. I asked the shaman to give me a little less than the first time, and drank. This time, she came to my spot to give me the glass. It tasted much worse than the first time. Again, I rinsed, put Agua de Florida in my hands and face, and drank water. Then I waited for the symptoms to arrive. Soon I started to feel uneasy, and I laid down hugging myself and covering myself with the blankets. The apprentice was blowing tobacco again and it smelled terrible. My body was heavy again, I knew I had to wait for the nausea. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, but if I kept them closed for long, I’d start seeing popping images in my mind like notifications on a smartphone, and it was overwhelming, so I had to open them regularly. I took this as some kind of message on slowing down on social media and digital distractions. I was still waiting for the nausea so that the trip would get to the nice part, but the moment never arrived. Not even when the shaman played the didgeridoo, which usually makes everyone, including D and me, almost instantly sick because of its weird low vibrations. Actually, D vomited at this point this time as well.
I realized then, that although the physical signs were gradually fading, no further psychedelic effect, particularly visual, took place. At some point, the apprentice chanted and sprayed Agua de Florida on to us: she took it with her mouth and spat it like a spray. I was observing very closely, since the previous week I had watched a documentary involving a San Pedro ceremony where the shamans blew tobacco and spat Agua de Florida on the people (the following day, our shaman told us that the apprentice also worked with other curation “tools” besides Ayahuasca, so she might as well also use San Pedro). I had no psychedelic effects at this point, not even the floating sensation of coming down. I decided to enjoy the rest of the show as much as I could, and let my mind float.
At about 4:30 am, the shamans stopped playing, and put a playlist on. Everyone was silent, mostly asleep. D and I looked at each other and went out to the yard to smoke a joint before going to bed. We enjoyed the dark, outdoors surrounding as we smoked. The shaman came out and lit a small fire with some wood, along with alcohol and a lighter. We sat down, and began to have a weird conversation about what the trip had been for us and the things we thought about. D told me that he had been really high most of the night, but I think it’d be best if he wrote his own personal experience. I told him about my thoughts, and we ended up having a fantastic – and high- conversation about how our whole living body is, after all, supported by microscopic molecules and machines that make sure that everything works perfectly, in so many ways that we don’t even know about. I still find it fascinating to think about those millions of cells working together like a watchmaker to keep us alive. The fact that we also have a conscience that does not fully understand those mechanisms, and intends to work them out logically, also seemed (and still seems) amazing to me. We also talked about the weird effects of the songs sung by the shaman and her apprentice. Some of them seemed infinite, transporting us away from here. Some of them told a story. Time felt alternatively slow and fast. We discussed and wondered for about 10 or 15 minutes, and we went back in. When I got out, I thought that I had not felt strong effects, at least not as strong as the previous times. However, once our late-night conversation was ongoing, I realized that my mind had been thinking and processing a lot of the information we were discussing, clearly aided by the DMT: I had definitely been under the influence, maybe in a subtle way. We shared a banana (I was feeling hungry for a while now) and then laid down spooning. The pot comfortably eased me out and I fell asleep for a couple of hours.
I awoke with sunlight, the playlist still ongoing. It was about 10 am. People were getting up and packing their stuff; also, we all got together at the patio to share a nice breakfast and share our experiences. I usually listen to people’s tales, but never share my own with everyone. I do comment on it with the shaman, since I trust her and value her advice. I realized I was not the only one who had not, this time, seen “truth revealed”. The whole ceremony was pretty silent, unlike the previous occasions when people would sigh loudly, vomit copiously, laugh and cry out loud. This time was serene. People from different backgrounds were there, even from distant parts of the world.
At about 12, we returned to the city by car. The afterglow was there: driving was very pleasant, the music sounded heavenly and it was also a beautiful sunny day. We went to a town’s outdoor market and got a vegan lunch to continue with the healthy diet for a couple of days. I spent my afternoon smoking pot, cleaning my house, hugging my cats and writing about psychedelic experiences. Everything shone nicely in the future, and I felt optimist.
The following days didn’t feel like routine. I felt refreshed, not even tired after being out from 6 am to 9 pm on Monday, I felt full on energy. The feeling remained for a couple of days, and slowly began to decay.
The feeling remained for a couple of days, and slowly began to decay.
This glowing feeling seems to be very common after Ayahuasca experiences, at least this was the case for me each time, also for D and our friends. In my opinion, this sensation alone makes it all worth it. I truly see the world with new eyes.
I am already looking forward to my next experience in a couple of months.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.