Ayahuasca: My Spirit Journey
Yearning For Exploration
I’m an explorer at heart. Space, I yearn to discover. Inner and Outer.
I want to find out who I am. What I’m doing here on this planet. What I can do to make myself and the world around me better.
That’s why I’ve long been drawn to Ayahuasca, the ancient Amazonian Earth medicine.
It has a long history and tradition of Shamanic properties and practices. People of the Amazon have been using it for centuries to understand the spirit world better, and to heal all kinds of human ills and problems.
Ayahuasca is a brew most commonly made out of a combination of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine and the Psychotria Viridis shrub. The plants are cut, crushed, then brewed together into a drinkable liquid. This process is repeated until the concentration and strength of the medicine is just right. It is then administered by a Shaman, or a Curandero, who has often spent many many years learning how to properly and effectively run an Ayahuasca Ceremony.
The science part of this says that the psychoactive substance in Ayahuasca is DMT, which is present in the Psychotria shrub. The other required ingredients are MAOIs, which are found in the B. Caapi vine. These are alkaloids that allow the DMT to be orally active.
The spirit part of this says that Ayahuasca is a way to connect with the deepest parts of our humanity. For thousands of years it has been used for these spiritual practices. More recently it has been studied and found to have a profound effect on the healing of many modern day mental health issues, such as severe depression, anxieties, physical ailments, and trauma.
My draw to it was primarily spiritual evolution.
I have heard and known about Ayahuasca and its spiritual properties for many years. My curiosity about the world, ourselves, and these ancient practices have drawn me here to this experience.
My Ayahuasca journey took place in Brazil, and was one of the most incredible and enlightening experiences of my life. It left my heart full of love and my spirit full of gratefulness. I also had visions and experiences that will be with me for the rest of my life. It was a completely ethereal journey, but I will do try here to recap, to the best of my ability, my experience.
Stage 1 – Preparation
After signing up for the ceremony, I received a message from the Shaman about how to prepare. Most of the suggestions are dietary, such as no alcohol, cannabis, or meat for the week prior. This helps the body detox and makes “the work” easier to facilitate. Caffeine is also suggested to eliminate or drastically reduce, to allow the central nervous system to relax. Wearing light colored clothing, such as all white or light browns is suggested. No black!
I did some of my own preparation by simply being. Meditating, relaxing, playing some music, all allowed me to start entering into a different space. I was feeling excited, since I had been curious about Ayahuasca for many years. I also felt a little nervous, since I really had no idea what to expect.
Stage 2 – Arrival
Most often, these ceremonies take place in the forest. Being surrounded by nature is a very important part of the experience, as it helps you get in touch with the your own nature and your connection with the environment. However, because of the restrictions in the world right now due to Covid, this ceremony took place at a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We arrived at the house and were led to the back garden area, which was full of medicinal plants, and had a small fire pit in the center. To the side was the room where the ceremony would take place.
In the room, mats were laid out for each participant. An altar was at the front of the room that contained the Ayahuasca, water, and all sorts of spiritual ornaments and artifacts, each one serving a particular purpose for the ceremony. There was a maraca at each mat, for participation in the music and chanting. Each mat also had a plastic bag to throw up in, should that need arise.
We were each given a small glass to administer the medicine, led inside to our mats, took our seats, and given a short explanation of what events were to take place. The Shaman then arrived in his traditional garb, welcomed everyone, and we all then gathered in a prayer, (everything was in Portuguese, so I didn’t understand most of the content, only the feeling of what was presented). Then, it was time to drink the medicine.
Stage 3 – Consumption
One by one, each person went to the front of the altar with their glass. It was filled with the purplish liquid, which you then drank. Then the glass was filled with blessed water, which washed it down.
I had heard the taste was really bad, but I did not find it too distasteful. I actually thought it to be a very interesting, almost sweet taste. After drinking, we all sat at our mats, and begin to meditate, relax, and wait for the medicine to visit.
Stage 4 – The Journey
The medicine comes on slowly. At this point, time begins to start evaporating, but it feels like maybe 20 minutes or so before things start to feel pretty strange. The Shaman began making some interesting breathing sounds that were leaning into musical realms. I think he was calling in the spirits. At this point my body was feeling very light, and I could tell I was entering into a different state of consciousness.
Then the music started. The shaman began playing a very loud and intense shaker in a way that I had never heard before. It reverberated off the ceiling and walls of the room and sounded like it was coming from 100 directions. Right out of this, he and his assistant began singing some very cool traditional Ayahuasca songs. They were a mix of chants and melodies, all with a shaker rhythm backing. The music was so moving and so connected that it became one of the most pleasurable and memorable parts of the experience. I had never heard such music in such a beautiful way before.
After the music everyone sort of drifts off into their own experiences. For many, this is where the purging begins. A lot of people start getting sick and throwing up. At least 3 of the seven people began throwing up.
For me, this didn’t happen. I never once felt sick or uncomfortable. I began to settle into my experience and go along for the journey. Visions, Understandings, and sensations started visiting me. I went on expeditions into space, into the future, and into the past. I had some very deep realizations about myself, my relationships, the state of the world, the future, and technology. I also had some deep insights into how I could better serve humanity and those I work with. I felt very connected to the spirit of God, the Universe, the human condition. And there were many things that just made me laugh. The Universe is very funny.
I had one incident that was pretty humorous. I was lying there, traveling through time, when I felt something touch my arm. Nobody was close, so I sat up and tried to figure out what it was. That’s when I noticed a really long waving creature on the blanket next to me. It looked like a normal centipede, but didn’t really act like one, as it just moved like a snake moves across the desert, in a wave motion. So I couldn’t really tell at first, if it was real, or just a design on the blanket that was moving. So after staring at it for a bit, I realized it was real. The assistant noticed something was off with me so she came over with a bucket, thinking I was ready to throw up. Then I just pointed at the centipede, and she smiled and took the blanket outside to get rid of it. I just had to chuckle.
As the journey began to subside, we did some chanting together, played some more music, and began to land. The feelings of peace and connection were overwhelming. It felt as though we had been on a months long voyage. That’s when he reminded us that all ceremonies involve two doses of the medicine. The first is for the opening, the second is for the deepening. I was ready. But if felt like I was the only one. I trusted the Shaman and the process, so I was open to whatever the experience called for. It was then that he reminded us that strength would be necessary for this experience. This is where the work was done, and we must be strong in the face of resistance to do it.
We once again drank the Ayahuasca, and repeated the process. We sat down, and waited for the medicine to visit. It began again with breathing and chanting from the Shaman, followed by incredible vocal and percussive music. We then sunk deeper into the journey.
Every so often, throughout the journey, the Shaman would come through the room, one by one, and do cleansing work with us. He would smoke special tobacco, then blow it on different parts of our body. He would do breathing work on us. He would pat our backs and guide the energy around and out of us. He would bring oils to put on our hands as we covered our faces and hair with it. We also did a forgiveness ritual, where he poured some sacred moss into our hand, which we then put all of the things we are to forgive into it, then placed it in the fire outside. You could really tell that this Shaman was very experienced, very loving, very serious, and took great care to handle each of us with the utmost knowledge, wisdom, and sacredness. I felt very comfortable in his care throughout the entire experience.
I had some incredible visions of the future in this episode. Technology is advancing so fast, and I had the feeling that it is going to crush so much in its wake, much like a tsunami. I also had the feeling that the conspiracy to control humanity is much greater and bigger than any of us have even imagined. And that the work we were doing, the traditions of the Amazonian shamans and the plant medicines, were so essential to us understanding what we are here to do. These were powerful visions and journeys, and will be with me forever. I also realized that the Shaman is a Jedi. Haha! Maybe this is where the Jedi come from..the Shamanic traditions of the Amazon?
Stage 5 – Integration
After coming down from the second journey, the Shaman opened the room for everyone to speak from their heart about their experience. This began the process of integration. It’s not enough to experience the Ayahuasca journey. The real work begins as you take your lessons and learnings and integrate them into your daily life.
As everyone spoke what was on their heart, you could feel the room coming closer together, being connected by this experience. There was a reason we were brought here, to this specific experience, all together. You could really feel the magic of circumstance shedding light on this particular group. As we each spoke, the Shaman shared our understandings, and if needed, offered insights and advice on how to integrate our learnings. The Shaman is a true master of his craft, I felt very blessed that I had the opportunity to have him as my guide for my first Ayahuasca journey.
After the ceremony, we settled in with some root soup that he had made, which was warm, delicious, and helped ground us back to the earth. I drank some water, ate a plum, and sat by the fire, trying to understand and appreciate everything that had happened. I was exhausted and ready for sleep. It had been about a 7 hour ceremony. In ways it had felt like days, in other ways it had felt like minutes. Time was lost.
For many nights afterward I had dreams that were very connected to the experience each night since. I feel like my mind and spirit were doing their own work, outside of my consciousness, to incorporate everything I learned. I feel a sense of peace and connection to the sacredness of spirit that I haven’t felt in a while. I feel creative in so many different ways. And I feel excited about the future of continuing my work as a hypnotist, musician, and explorer. I know that I can serve and inspire people through my work, through my vibrations, and through my intention.
After going through this experience, I want to share here a couple of insights and suggestions that I think would help others who are thinking about taking their own Ayahuasca journey.
- The Shaman is very important to your experience. Because Ayahuasca has become very popular, there are now many places and ways people can experience it. This is great in some ways, and not great in others. The Shaman who conducted my ceremony apprenticed and trained for 15 years before he started running his own ceremonies. He has since been a leader for 15 more years. You could truly tell he loved the work, he loved the people who were there to experience, and he handles his craft with great care, seriousness, and dedication. This made me feel very comfortable, very trusting, and allowed me to really enjoy my experience. I think it’s very important for people to find out who will be their Shaman and what experience people have had with that particular one.
- Ayahuasca is not for everyone. This is very challenging work. You will see and learn things about yourself that will not be easy. It’s also a very grueling and exhausting process. Not everyone will reap the amazing benefits from it. I think you just have to listen to your heart. If it calls you, then let it happen.
- Surrender to the medicine. Resistance is futile. The faster you can learn to let go, and allow the medicine to do its work, the better off you will be. I have extensive experience in psychedelic spirit journeys, so I was able to surrender pretty naturally. But I saw others have to fight, and it made for a challenging journey. Some people fear losing control, and this is exactly one of the main teachings of the plant. Surrendering control, and allowing the process to take place is an essential skill that Ayahuasca will teach you whether you would like it to or not.
We are all unique creatures. We all have our own issues, challenges, and problems. No one is perfect. We all have room for improvement. Ayahuasca has the distinctive ability to help us with these things. It brings things that we have suppressed into our subconscious up to our conscious minds, and allows us to deal with them directly. This is an extremely powerful and helpful tool toward the evolution of humanity.
It is also an infinitely spiritual engine. We are all humans. Creatures inhabiting this planet we call Earth. Ayahuasca allows us the opportunity to peer behind the curtain of our existence. To see into that place where we all originate from and return to. The place where we are all connected by pure energy, love, light. We are here on this journey, traveling through life and trying to do the best we can with what we have. Fortunately we have been blessed with sacred plants that allow us to make this journey with more understanding, empathy, and direction. And thankfully, we have thousands of years of tradition, ritual, and experience from the Shamans of the Earth to help guide us and shine a light on this long and winding path.
Thank you Ayahuasca, Goddess of the Amazon, for your love and guidance. May we all go forth with strength, peace, and understanding, making the most of this amazing opportunity we call life.
Enjoy the ride!
Andy Eversole, C.H.