Citation: pdw13. "The Warm Embrace of Mother Yage: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp92437)". Erowid.org. May 11, 2018. erowid.org/exp/92437
This trip report describes my first experience with the medicine. I am relatively familiar with psychoactive substances, having done mushrooms and salvia a number of times. I have been drawn towards psychoactive substances for a number of reasons. One of them being that I am on a quest to explore the inner me, my psyche, my soul however you want to put it. Having read and heard a lot about Ayahuasca, I was looking forward to trying it when I had the chance. But I did not want to look for it, rather, I wanted it to find me.
So last Friday, I received a call from my friend A, saying he had been invited to a ceremony in Alberquerque, NM. Now A was excited and a little paranoid about attending the ceremony so he called me to take my opinion. I encouraged him to do it, since I knew he had been wanting to experience it for a while as well. I convinced him to do it and hung up the phone. The next day, he called me again and asked if I was up to it as well. He was keen on me being there as well as that would make him feel more comfortable. Wow! I was very excited and after some deliberation, agreed to go with him. I live in SoCal, and A lives in Arizona, so we agreed that I would drive up to his home and then we would both drive up to Alberquerque. The journey to the ceremony took over 12 hours, and I felt as if I was preparing myself by making that journey. We arrived in Alber and met with our host T. T was glad we made it and told us that the ceremony was up in the mountains. We all drove there together, there were about 20 of us in all attending the ceremony. T had set up a teepee on the estate and the ceremony would be conducted inside. The ceremony was to begin at 10pm and we arrived at about 4pm. 6 hours to calm myself and ready myself for the experience of my life I thought. In the meantime I met all the other participants and socialised a little bit.
When the time came, I was introduced to our shaman, F. F is Peruvian and conducts Ayahuasca ceremonies for a living. I was comfortable with F, as he seemed friendly and helpful. Finally, the time arrived and we all huddled up inside the teepee. The ceremony began with a prayer to Mother Ayahuasca, requesting her to bless us, our ancestors and to guide us. There was an altar inside the teepee which was consecrated with cedar and coal embers. Our shaman briefly described to us that the medicine would come in waves.
Our shaman briefly described to us that the medicine would come in waves.
The first wave would be the hardest, as it would bring our fears to the surface. This would be like an endurance test. The second wave would connect us to each other on a physical level, our telepathy would increase greatly, we would be able to communicate without speaking. The third wave would take us into the spiritual realm where our questions would be answered and we would be given teachings by the plant. Alright, I thought, this is it. There is no going back now. F laid down some rules. The ceremony would go on the whole night into daybreak. No one was to break the circle formed inside unless purging was required. If one was to purge, one would quietly go outside the teepee where a pit had been dug and relieve oneself. The purging I was told, was to relieve us of all toxins in the body as well as built up negative emotions/energies. By this time, I was getting quite nervous but also excited at the same time.
The ceremony began. F poured out a cup for each one of us and asked us to say our own personal prayers before drinking it up. When the cup came to me, I quietly said 'Om Shri Ganesh' and lifted it to my mouth. The taste of the medicine is bitter. It was a liquid, and it tasted like a combination of the Indian herb 'neem' and beer that'd been left open overnight. Not so bad, I gulped it down. Now we wait. In the meantime, F started to sing songs and invited us to join if we so pleased. I joined in the singing and realised that the chanting and singing was actually calming my nerves a lot. In about 20 minutes, I could feel the medicine come on. It started very gradually, I could see the coal embers breathing, it felt like they were alive. The feeling was like being drunk and at the same time being very clear minded. I was enjoying this, singing with the other folks and generally feeling elated and euphoric. For the next 20 minutes, I was very happy. The full effect had not come on at this time, as I realised in retrospect. Then came the time for the second dose. I drank my cup again, saying a little prayer before doing so. After about 5 minutes, the effects really started to come on. I was surprised by the intensity of the medicine, but having done salvia, was not scared by the speed with which it was coming on.
The next twenty minutes were the hardest for me in the entire ceremony. It is very difficult to describe how it felt. I will try my best. At this time, my whole body started to sweat and I could see intense visual patterns when I closed my eyes. Swirling patterns of what seemed like a fractal in the colors of dark brown, light brown and black - the colors of a rattlesnake or an anaconda. This kept on for a while and I was starting to get very uneasy. The thing is, this wasnt like a good trip or a bad trip, it just was. I had no good thoughts or bad thoughts, just the intense awareness of my body being taken over by something very alien to me, something I had never experienced. I found it hard to keep my eyes open, and as soon as I would close them, I would see the swirling patterns again. The patterns were breathing, they would grow and retract, rise and swell and then ebb away repeatedly. I did not see any forms, just the patterns. I remember thinking at the time (I was fully conscious and able to have an internal dialogue) that what was making me uneasy was that I was alone and I didnt know what I should do next.
Let me explain this a bit more. In my and for that matter anyones daily waking life, we are flooded with an ocean of thoughts, and there is always some thought running through your mind. One never has to consciously make a thought - the thoughts are always there. So the mind is always busy analysing these thoughts, making sense of them or whatever. The key here is that the mind is always busy. It is never idle. There is never a time when one realises that one has to make an effort to create a thought to ponder upon. In the state I was in then, this was completely reversed. I found that my mind was empty of thoughts, there was no processing going on and this feeling was so alien to me that it started to make me nervous and paranoid. The other feeling I got in this intense state was that time had stopped completely. I was plunged into solitude, with no thoughts whatsoever in my mind and the realisation that time had stopped. Perhaps this was what was making me so uneasy. There was nothing to distract my mind. All that my mind contained at that point were the visuals. There was no one in my mind to analyse those visions, no voice in my head that went 'fuckin a, that is a trippy pattern'. Yet at the same time I was aware of being me, and seeing those visions.
Suddenly I felt an intense urge to vomit and I reached for my paper bag. T, the co-conductor waved his hand to me saying that I should go out and purge. Struggling to even stand up, I crawled on all fours and made my way out of the teepee. Outside there was a guy who was keeping a fire going. He was being called the fireman by everyone else. As soon as I came out of the tent, I had a vivid insight. I realised that the tent stood for the portal that allowed humans to travel between this world and the spirit world. And outside the tent was the fireman with his fire, symbolically representing the gateway between the worlds, lit by the fire to guide any travellers. I found this insight very satisfying and this calmed my nerves a little bit. However, I was still feeling an intense urge to vomit, so I made my way to the pit. Waiting to vomit, I looked around me. The teepee was set up in a place which was surrounded by trees and the whole scene looked very unnatural to me. The trees were glowing with this strange blue-white color. The rocks on the ground were glowing too, but with a greyish black tinge. I looked at the moon and had this intense urge to howl at it. I was on all fours, and I felt like a wild animal. I felt like making for the forest, escaping civilization. But my sensible self came over me and I realised that I was not going to vomit, I just had to deal with the nausea. Slowly, but surely, I made my way back to the teepee.
Once inside, F started to play the flute. This was such an incredible feeling for me. I had this vision of a ship sailing on a river, with F standing by the deck, playing his flute and guiding me to cross the river with him. I suddenly felt very warm inside. Although my eyes were closed, I felt like F was standing right beside me, soothing my racing mind. I opened my eyes and found that F was lying almost about 8 feet from me, he had his eyes closed and was not even looking at me. I found this incredible, since it was almost as if he had entered my trip, and was telling me that it was alright, it was ok to let go and surrender to the Mother. I did so. The intensity died down a little and I began to experience the Ayahuasca in waves. One wave would be intense, bringing with it myriad shapes and structures, all squirming and swirling like infinite flights of stairs going round and around each other, twisting and turning. The next wave would be very gentle, and I was allowed to introspect in this wave. Then the intense wave would come on again and this pattern repeated itself several times. I found that I had become stable and my feelings of paranoia were subsiding, I was no longer afraid but just very curious. I became like a child, delighted by every new vision that would come my way. I found this state to be very enjoyable. I felt warm inside, at peace with myself. I rememvber thinking to myself, I made it! I've passed the first wave, and I'm still here and not freaking out.
The girl next to me had begun to sob at this point. I turned my head towards her and gently began to hum the song that F was singing, almost trying to direct some of my peaceful energy toward her. I later realised that I should not have done this, since the journey is very personal and has to be undertaken by one alone without any external interference. Nonetheless, I felt very good directing my energy toward her. I felt as if I was giving back some of what I was receiving from Mother Ayahuasca. By this time we were almost about 2 hours into the journey and I figured that I would be experiencing the second wave of the medicine soon. Heres when things changed. For some odd reason, in the next 20-25 minutes, the medicine wore off completely and I was down to square one. I was equally annoyed and grateful that the medicine had worn off so quickly.
I was equally annoyed and grateful that the medicine had worn off so quickly.
Annoyed since I was hoping to get some sort of an insight from the medicine and grateful because I was still a little apprehensive about whether I would be able to make it through another round of this powerful substance. But thats how it was, I was completely down, my visuals had stopped and my mind was racing with thoughts again. To not be disrespectful to F and those around me, I stayed quiet with my head down and took this opportunity to introspect on what I had experienced.
Before the ceremony everyone had asked me to have a general intention for the healing, to have a question or have something in mind that I wanted to address. I could not think of anything that I wanted explained to me. I just was curious about the experience and wanted to go along for the ride and see what it showed me. As a result of this perhaps, I did not see much, and was down very quickly. In fact the remainder of the night was very boring, since I was completely down, my back was hurting from sitting up all the time and I was exhausted. I was still a little shook up from the intense experience I'd had with the first wave, so when F asked me if I wanted more medicine, I politely declined. The hours wore on and soon it was daybreak. The ceremony was concluded with a traditional offering of prayers, and offering of thanks to the spirits and the Mother. Then as is custom, food was brought in and we broke our fasts. After the ceremony we all came out of the teepee, stretched ourselves and washed up. I was a little concerned that I had not purged, since I had read somewhere that people who do not purge are usually the ones who internalise all their emotions and feelings. Nonetheless, my stomach felt fine and I ignored this. After offering my thanks to the shaman and all those who participated, A and I decided to head back to Arizona.
We drove back to his place and I rested for a while, after which I started driving alone back to SoCal. This is when my purge happened. I was listening to this band called Indian Ocean, and their one song called 'Kaun' (translated as 'who'). I found myself resonating with the song, and out of the blue I felt something rising in me. I burst out crying, the tears just kept coming. I was not sad or anything, I was perfectly normal, the Ayahuasca had worn off a long time ago (~6-7 hours). I was really surprised at my outburst, but I let it all come out. I then realised that this had been my own personal purge. I had not vomited but instead purged myself by crying it out. While the tears were running down my face, I felt overwhelmed, like how one would feel while listening to one's favourite song or looking at a favourite work of art. I felt incredibly grateful for being alive and having human experiences. Even while crying, I felt this tremendous peace coming over me. I pulled over since I was on the freeway and cried for a good 10-15 minutes. I think the song had been the catalyst for my purge.
Now, a day later as I write this report, I feel very humbled by the medicine. I feel very energetic, and I seem to be seeing the fine details in everything that I observe. I noticed things on my way to work that I didnt know were there. I can only suppose this was like an afterglow to the effect. Although immediately after the Ayahuasca experience I had felt annoyed and let down by the Mother, now I realised what it was trying to tell me. I would not like to expand on that since that is very personal, but I felt complete as if I had come full circle albeit with more knowledge about myself. I am yet to integrate the whole experience but one thing I can say for sure is that in general I knew very little about myself. I thought I had myself figured out, but how wrong I was!
I dont know whether I will partake in another ceremony again but this one experience was completely satisfying and very humbling. It is trying to teach us not to be fearful as we humans innately are. I believe only when we face our fears and overcome them, can we evolve into higher humans/spirits and thats what the plants purpose is.
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