My final lesson with the plant medicines in Guadalajara has come to a close. Don Luis and his wife Norma, along with their friends and family, have built a community of love and healing that is truly inspirational. I feel truly blessed to have found them in my time in Mexico and I am still carrying a part of their love with me as I travel to Colombia.
In the final ceremony I would be reunited with an old friend, Madre Ayahuasca. This came as a surprise to me, I certainly wasn’t planning on participating in another ceremony so soon, having taken part in one only 4 months ago in Colombia. Nonetheless it felt right, the people, the setting and an opportunity to work with two shamans who had flown from Colombia with a combined total of almost 100 years working with the medicine.
I was also able to invite someone very close to my heart to her first ceremony as well as another close friend in Mexico. Everything was perfect and I was mentally and physically ready for what was to come next.
We arrived at the property outside of Guadalajara as the sun was beginning to set. We were already exhausted from the diet which we had been following for two weeks, on top of fasting completely the day of.
We set up our beds in the tipi in the centre of the grounds as others opted for spots under the stars and trees for their hammocks. All that was left was to sit around the fire, listen the others play music, and meditate on what we wanted from the experience.
I felt that I had forgotten some of the lessons I had learnt from my very first Ayahuasca experience in February of last year. Staying in Guadalajara for so long after two months of non-stop travel through the United States I felt as though I was losing my sense of awe and wonder in the world.
Eventually it was time for us to gather around the shamans hut, it was now pitch black, save for the moon light and the candles illuminating the shamans face as he chanted over the Medicine. One of the shaman’s sons beckoned all those who had experience with the medicine to make a line. I wished my friend’s good luck, whispering good bye as silence fell.
I knelt in front of the shaman and received my cup. I stared into the familiar thick brown liquid, I asked to remember what I had forgotten and for Ayahuasca to show me what it meant to be a warrior, then drank.
Immediately my world started spinning as I passed the others and made my way to the fire. I sat watching the fire as my hands and feet would periodically disappear along with objects around me.
The visions were getting more frequent, vivid and strange so I decided to walk into the forest surrounding the ceremony. The trees appeared as if in a painting and the world around me was changing into three distinct levels of colour. This was the most powerful psychedelic experience of my life.
Random maddening thoughts were swirling through my head, huge buildings with mouths. Then a vision of being, and looking through the eyes of a new born baby. Animals and people swirling in and out of madness, all the time Ayahausca telling me to be brave, keep my head focussed and continue my walk.
I saw random memories clear as day from all moments of my life coming in and out as I walked towards the lake. I lay down in front of it, watching the moon reflect of the still water. I vomited behind the tree my empty stomach crying out in pain. It was then I had one of the clearest visions of the night, a horse its leg stuck on barbed wire fence. The flesh was worn down to the bone so that there was almost nothing left but blood, and a few pieces of meat clinging to white.
The horse was so petrified of tearing its leg and not having the stability of the fence that it remained there for days. Feebly trying to escape but never having the courage to fully free itself until the leg was beyond saving, mutilated from the constant movement of the worried horse.
Its fear of destroying its leg by trying to free itself was the very thing that caused its destruction. It was pleading with me to have the courage to do what you want in life before the damage of standing still becomes irreparable. To not suffer its fate.
I made my way back to the tipi and checked on my friends. One of them was lying down deep in concentration with ayahuasca, I thought not to not disturb her and went for my second cup. I was in another world. I could barely walk straight, the world was spinning like never before. I would momentarily drift into blackness for what seemed like hours and awaken to a swirl of thoughts and visions. I did this for what seemed like days.
I lay down next to my friend and reached out for her as my hand touched her back I could feel a surge of love flowing through me. I was blinded momentarily but I could feel she grabbed my hand with such care I almost cried.
I lay violently convulsing as my consciousness faded in and out all while battling, continuing on the warriors path, facing every new challenge as it came. She stroked my hand and gave me strength, I came back to full consciousness for a second completely in the moment.
I realised that I was living in the future. The reason why I lost the awe and wonder of the world is because I wasn’t living in it. I was living in another world that had yet to come. I was so excited for my trip to Colombia and Ecuador I was barely thinking about what was right in front of me.
This revelation passed and I was flung back down to the ground, my eyes closed again exhausted. I was still fighting but I could feel that I was nearing the end.
I felt something tapping on my foot, relentless drip, drip, drip but I paid it no attention as I lay in a painful yet paradoxically soothing silence. The tapping gets stronger and I can sense chaos around me. I become aware of a great panic around me. I open my eyes and my other senses follow. The heavens have opened up and the rain is pounding the tipi, as everyone left outside is madly trying to find cover.
There must be thirty or even forty of us crammed into the tipi, some start a fire in the middle as the echoes of thunder signal menacingly around us. I look to my feet, that tapping, the rain is too much for the tipi and water is pouring onto my feet my sleeping bag is soaked. All around me others are coming to the same realisation we are all drenched and the rain is never ending.
We all move towards the centre closer to the fire and away from the leaks, we are wet, cold, and uncomfortable but together like one big family. A sense of relief comes over me. I made it, my journey is over, I can breathe, I am clear. I got it back, my wonder, my lust for every single moment of being alive. The truth that I have always known, experiencing this universe is the real gift of life, in sadness and in ecstasy the human experience is truly beautiful.
The rain continues to pour and the three of us are huddled together under one of the only blankets not affected by the weatrher. I look into the fire, as the other play guitars and sing songs in Spanish, I just sit there in silent happiness, those I love in my arms, and a smile on my face as I wait until the first light of morning.
I would like to say that though I believe in the emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of these medicines, it is important to do your research and find someone who you trust. At the end of the day, though people talk of spirits and healing you are altering your consciousness and you are putting foreign substances into your body. Inexperienced people can take advantage of your naivety for financial gain. Problems happen when people mix substances, take way to much or take them in the wrong settings, this can be dangerous both mentally and physically so please do your research.
If you have any questions I am more than willing to answer as best I can in the comments below, or alternatively send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“…Achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” – Miyamoto Musashi
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