Citation: SMK. "Daughter of The King: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp115718)". Erowid.org. Sep 26, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115718
My husband and I found a church that provides ayahuasca and immediately booked a 3-day retreat there a few months in advance. Two weeks prior to the retreat, we started the "dieta" to cleanse our bodies. For those two weeks, we ate fruits, vegetables, rice, nuts, and fish. After the first 4-5 days of struggling through caffeine withdrawal, I noticed a definite uptick in energy. I no longer felt sluggish after meals, and I no longer suffered from brain fog. My skin started to clear up after about a week of clean eating.
It's finally the weekend of the retreat, and we arrive at the church where we go through a brief medical screening. We have our vitals taken and go through a brief interview to answer any questions and ensure that we are not on any medications or substances that would put us at risk of a dangerous interaction with the ayahuasca. My husband and I spend the afternoon hanging around the retreat and waiting with anticipation for the night time ceremony.
There are about 60 people participating in the ceremony, but we are divided into several groups and assigned to different ceremonial areas throughout the property. My husband and I are put into different groups at completely opposite ends of the property from each other, which I try not to freak out about. It was explained that it was of the utmost importance that we not interfere with the experience of any of the other people who were taking ayahuasca. Significant others were always separated for this reason, which made sense.
As the sun went down, it was finally time for the ceremony, and my husband and I kissed each other goodbye and went to our separate ceremonial areas. My area was inside of a large, indoor, dome-shaped structure. Mattresses were laid in a circle against the wall, leaving a large open space in the middle of the room. The wall was covered with many different tapestries, evenly spaced above the mattresses and all depicting various images of a spiritual or psychedelic theme. I chose a mattress placed between two women, and shortly afterward, the woman leading the ceremony initiated the passing of a microphone. As the mike moved around the circle, we were to introduce ourselves, and briefly share what brought us to the medicine and what we hoped to heal from. When the microphone was passed to me, I stated that I had struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and general anxiety since childhood, and I was hoping to come to a resolution through ayahuasca.
After the last person had given their introduction, we waited in silence while the Shaman blessed the pitcher of medicine. We then divided into two lines, both starting at one end of the dome. As we moved to the front of the line, we received one tablespoon of ayahuasca in a ceramic cup. We then returned to our mattress and waited until everyone had received their dose. Finally everyone was seated back on their mattresses, and a prayer was read aloud. We were then instructed to consume our dose whenever we were ready.
I looked down into the small cup seated in my hands, and noted the dark contrast of the black-brown liquid against the white ceramic. I quietly reaffirmed my intention to heal my anxiety, and then tipped the liquid back into my mouth. Because it was very thick, I held the cup there as the brew slowly slid down onto my tongue. As I finally lowered the cup and swallowed my mouthful, I was relieved to find that it didn't taste as awful as I had anticipated. The consistency was gritty, with bits of twig and small leaves, but it just tasted like coffee that had been left on the burner for a few days. Not pleasant, but not vomit-inducing like I had feared. I then filled the cup with water from my water bottle, swished it around, and got the last bit of ayahuasca from the cup. As the Shaman began playing music, I sat in a cross-legged position on my mattress, closed my eyes, and focused on my breath while waiting for the medicine to take effect.
For probably about 30 minutes, I focused on my breathing and the music until I heard the first sounds of retching from someone vomiting into their bucket across the room. I got a bit excited, as I knew I should start experiencing something soon. Sure enough, a few minutes later, I noticed a blue glowing circle on the inside of my eyelids. As I kept my eyes closed and focused on the blue circle, it pulsed and grew until it felt as if I were moving through a blue, glowing tunnel. This faded within a few minutes. I then felt fully present again in my cross-legged position on the mattress, and brought my attention back to the music, wondering if the blue tunnel was just a figment of my nervous and anticipated mind. But before too long, I closed my eyes again and knew it was real.
Now, however, the inside of my eyelids were covered with dozens of electric blue snake eyes. I noted them with interest, and they just stared back at me. After a short time, they too faded away. This continued for quite awhile. I would have a fairly interesting visual effect, would note it with interest, the visual would fade, and I would return my attention to the music until the next visual appeared. After about an hour of these transient visuals, I thought to myself that while it was an interesting and enjoyable experience so far, I had been hoping for some valuable insight. "I've gotten way more insight from cannabis," I scoffed.
And then I heard a voice from within me. But it wasn't me and it wasn't really even a sound. It was a message that echoed throughout me. And I immediately knew it to be Her, Mother Ayahuasca. And as I translated it through my own language and vocabulary, I understood it as "You just wait, mother fucker."
"Oh shit," I thought to myself. I immediately realized that I had insulted Her greatly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you!" I said to Mother Aya. I received no reply, but I waited, hoping She wasn't soon to unleash some sort of horrible pain upon me. A couple of minutes of inward silence went by, and then I thought again that I really wanted to get some valuable insight from this. "Please," I thought, "I need to be a better mother to my children and I need to be a better wife for my husband." And then Mother Aya's voice returned: "You're not here for them. You're here for you."
"Well they deserve this," I replied, "and I don't." "Why don't you deserve this?" Mother Aya asked. "Because I'm worthless, and I have no value," I confessed. And then I felt bare, and naked. Ashamed, that She had found the worst part of me. The ugly broken center of me that I could never figure out how to fix, no matter how many times I sat in cannabis-facilitated meditation and reached for self love. "Yeeeaaahhh, cannabis couldn't fix THAT, could it?!" Mother Aya laughed. And then the gong sounded.
Before the ceremony had begun, we had been told that two hours into ceremony, a gong would be struck. The gong was the signal to come up for a second dose of the brew if we felt we needed or desired it. I quickly hopped off my mat and crossed the room to receive a second dose. I returned, sat down, and looked down into the cup. "Please show me how to love myself," I requested. I then downed the brew, swished with water, swallowed, and waited. It was probably 20-30 minutes later that I started to feel a heaviness descend upon me. Like I was being compressed on all sides. And then I heard my grandmother, who had died 9 years previously, say to me, "Hold on, Steph. This is really big."
Suddenly, the compression intensified. And intensified further. Until suddenly, I found myself inside my mother's birth canal. I could hear her screaming in agony, and I could feel her muscles contract as her body worked to expel me. And I marveled at my mother's strength and admired her for the fierce beauty of her body in its greatest splendor. But suddenly, I was struck with the most intense shame and guilt, knowing that I was responsible for her pain and agony.
"Hold on, now," said Mother Aya, "You've been on the other side of this now. You know from that immense pain is birthed immense love and joy." My thoughts turned to the births of my own children, and I recognized the wisdom of this and appreciated how truly insignificant that pain was next to the pure love of a mother for her children. But I barely had time to acknowledge this revelation before the compression intensified further. I felt terror creeping in, and it quickly crescendoed alongside the compression that now felt unbearable.
I then saw an image of my brain, electrified in flashing lights. Alarms were blaring, and I felt chaos, and panic, and noise, and the greatest fear I'd ever known. I briefly became aware that I was curled up in the fetal position, sobbing under a blanket, and clutching my head as tight as I could to keep from dissolving into the great noisy chaos. But this was death and there was no stopping it. And the fear and the death and the panic and the noise got louder and heavier as if I (I? What is I?) was being consumed by an indescribable power. And then, suddenly, I was brought before that power.
It was the Almighty God. I found myself on my knees, exposed to the pure and indescribable glory of God. No words could do it justice. It was great, and awful, and terrible, and powerful beyond what any language could convey. It was all the light and noise of the universe, and I couldn't handle it. It was too much for me to bear, but I couldn't get away. It was just me, humbled before the Almighty God. And then He spoke to me, and He said:
HOW DARE YOU THINK YOU ARE WORTHLESS, WHEN YOU ARE A PIECE OF ME. YOU ARE A DAUGHTER OF THE KING. YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. YOU ARE NOTHING WITHOUT ME, BUT I AM NOT EVERYTHING WITHOUT YOU.
The next couple of hours involved me fading in and out of awareness. I would feel consumed and disoriented. I would feel weak and wouldn't recognize who or where I was. I would have moments at a time of lucidity, where I could remember where I was, but then I would get zapped back into oblivion. It was horrible and terrifying, and it felt as though it would never end. At one point, I raised my hand for a volunteer. (If we needed to go outside or to the bathroom, it was not to be without an escort. We could not travel or be alone while under the effect of the medicine.) I had to stop a couple of times on the way to the bathroom. I felt like walking, standing, breathing, existing was just too much. I grabbed onto a tree. I kept saying "it's too much, it's too much. I can't handle it, I can't handle it."
The volunteer holding my arm instructed me "Just ask her to be gentle." "Please be gentle, please be gentle, please be gentle," I begged Mother Aya. I heard nothing, and I understood that I was being punished for my earlier disrespect. The volunteer suggested I sit by the fire outside. I accepted, and she led me to a mat near the fire pit. I reached out and touched the earth, and felt relief at knowing I was still here. I was alive. I could feel the grass. I opened my eyes and looked over at the grass, and it was alive. I could see every clump of grass as if it was God's hand reaching up for the sky. And each blade of grass was pulsating with the sacred life force. And I knew that I could never again think of taking my own life. I understood that every moment here is a precious gift. That there is beauty and joy to always be found. Cherish life.
I sat by the fire until the effects of the medicine wore off to the point where I felt I could go back to my room, as it was very late. I made my way back there, wanting nothing more than to see my husband. I opened the door to find the bed empty. I get really worried, but remind myself we're in a safe place. I lay down in bed and wait for him to come in. I lay there for what feels like forever. I get worried again. I had the most painful and terrifying experience of my life, and I assumed the same was now happening to him. I get up to go find him. I make it to the door before I remember the rules. We can't interfere with another's experience. I go lie back down. This happens about three more times. Up to the door, back to bed. Finally, an hour after I initially made it back to the room, I say "Fuck the rules. I'm going to find my husband."
I make my way to the other end of the property to where I know his ceremony area is. It's about 2:30 am at this point, and very quiet. I spot him under a blanket (he's a big guy), and quickly walk over. I see him breathing and I feel this incredible sense of relief as I touch his forehead and he opens his eyes. I've never felt happier to touch him. Pure joy at being alive and being with him. He clearly had been crying a lot, and after some time, he decides he wants to go back to the room. We make our way back and lie down. He falls asleep before too long, but I sleep fitfully. I just went through the most terrifying experience of my life, and there were two more ceremonies planned over the next two days. Could I do it?
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