August 28th was our final ceremony. I was hesitant to partake and even more at odds as to what I should ask for. I decided midway through the day that I would ask to see my family lineage.. to see where I came from.
During the floral bath I asked the shaman how much ayahuasca I should drink, she told em half cup.. and so I did.
Immediately, at ceremony, after drinking the half cup, I could feel it working through my body. I sat next the shaman and the energy I felt was more intense. I did not have visuals.. instead I immediately felt very connected, connected to some big energy. The night prior, I felt this intense connection to all those in the room and then to nature. This night, I felt an immense connection to nature and then to my higher self. I could hear the birds, the crickets, the frogs, the moths.. as if they all came out to say hello. The moon was so bright, it illuminated the moloka.. in the darkness of the night, one could see all inside the moloka. The light emanating from the moon was so radiant. The light looked as if there was a cross coming out of the moon, a very intense white light. At a few points in the night, I felt a calling from the moon, my legs began to vibrate, almost uncontrollably.. I asked the moon to not call for me, feeling that I may not return.
My legs continued to vibrate, so intensely I thought I may levitate off the ground. I was very scared at the time.
The first shaman sat in front of me, singing his icaros. I was very present, I felt a tough fathers love in front of me. I called on the energy of the moon to shine of the shaman and then on me.
The energy was immense when the other Shaman sat in front of me. I my entire body was vibrating, so much so that I was actually bouncing off my mat. I was dancing during this time. i was moving my hands like a snake and my body and neck followed.
As the singing continued, so did my dance. I felt the vibration in their voice.. when they finished, I danced to the sounds of nature. I could their vibration deep within.
During the night, my mind drifted to my intention, I saw Shiva. He was very large, very powerful… and I began vibrating again. He was sitting in front of me. I looked up and could not see where the top of his head was. He was massive and all encompassing. I realized my family lineage came from Shiva and I came from vibrations.
I was busy moving all night and feeling the energy. When ceremony ended, I got up to use the bathroom- I was very dizzy. My body was still vibrating.
I was so grateful for the experience. I felt so intone with my self. I did not want and still do not want this connection to fade.
That night, I laid in my bed, wanting and concentrating on the vibration I felt within and outward with the sounds of nature and the awe of the stars in the sky.
I’m not exactly sure what day it is today but WOW. Last night was our 4th ayahuasca ceremony and it was absolutely amazing. So many things led up to how last night happened and the things I experienced. From the conversations that other people had in front of me and with me, the experiences they had in past sessions.. to all what I’ve been through in my life.
Prior to ceremony, I wanted to speak to the shamans about feeling as if my body was rejecting the ayahuasca and what advice they had for me. I went for a little nature walk with one of the girls and apparently missed my chance to speak to them.
After the flower bath.. and after my meditation in the rain, I asked one of the facilitators for advice. After asking me what I felt my issues were, she told me to remember why I came here and said something about acknowledging how I get distracted. I felt a protective energy from the other facilitator all afternoon.
For ceremony, I wore my long sleeve cotton white shirt, leggings, socks, nothing under- I felt free.
I was nervous about an hour leading to ceremony. I was trying to form a specific intention that encompassed exactly why I came. I had been distracted in past ceremonies, asking for things I was told ayahuasca had the ability to show us. This time, I remembered why I came, I was overflowing with emotions. I decided I would ask Mata Ayahuasca to help me find my soul and to realize all the love I would ever need is inside me already.
We did a group meditation. I think the best yet. Deep breathing, release from up and down, pulling in and out, focusing on every are of the body. I was so relaxed, I almost dozed off.
This time, I drank half a cup. I stated my intention as I drank, in my mind.. I remember the female shaman saying something right after I drank but what she said I cannot remember.
As I got up to head back to my mat, I immediately felt a very high energy, something I had never felt before. I started to shake. I tried to come back to my breath.. I heard my barf sister throw up, I knew it was almost my turn. I managed to keep the medicine in until the moment of the candle light being turned off.
This heaviness came upon me and a few visuals began. I remembered sitting down with other people.. there were quite a few of them, tall men dressed in a light color, sitting in the inner circle of the moloka. These huge round circular discs full of information, in some type of code, rotating in front of me, toward me. I felt I had seen this image before, where, I am not too sure. I remember bright pink, blue, and a reddish color against the black. It was so beautiful. I think there were animals and water around also. I was sitting in the moloka, yes, but I had entered some other dimension. I felt a bit frightened, unsure of what was to come. In my fright, I chanted love and all became bright.
I could feel my body vibrating.. and then my grandma and my dad in the room. I could not see them, but I felt their presence, their spirit energy. They were close to me, in the upper part of the right corner in the moloka. I wept. I remember talking with my grandma.. laughing, telling her I understood. And now it made sense why I was so drawn to her. I was overcome with love.
I turned to the shamans and thanked them. They looked older and felt older, I called them ‘mis abuelos’.
Grandma was telling me about our family and that we are healing people. She showed me.. or in a sense had me remember, things from when I was young. Her funeral replayed in my thoughts, she showed me my behavior, how I was engaging with all.. she showed me as I watched her in the coffin, as my dad picked me so I could apply perfume to her. At the dead work, a religious function that takes place once a hindu passes away, I was the only child in the room. She showed me my presence there many years ago, my attention to the work, I was fully engaged with what was going on.. watching my dad perform the rituals for her. I picked up my hair and showed her its length. I sent her love and hugs.
Then my dad came. How I’ve missed him so much.. so very much. I put my hands to him and sent and received so much love. I wept.. and wept. I told him how much I missed him. I asked him why he has to leave me, Manda, and Jeremy (my younger siblings). He let me feel his pain, a deep sorrowful pain, he said he wanted/was ready? to be a bird again. He wanted to be free. I wept so much. I remembered when I was a child, my father used to tell me when he died he wanted to be free as a bird. He told me something good had came to him the night he passed away, a good spirit, to help him let go. I scolded him a little for leaving his kids. And I scolded him for his behavior toward mom when he was alive.. I remember air smacking him a couples times.. 3 actually. And throughout, love.
I looked around the room.. I sent so much love to everyone. I thanked the shamans again. I sent love and respect to them as well as the facilitators. I breathed in and blew love to everyone. I remember picking up my hair and showing it the two of the women in the moloka, it was dark of course, but I was showing their presence. I was showing my hair, saying ‘I knew’. The vibrations were so strong.. my entire self was pulsating.
I visited each person in that room. I felt as if I could feel what they were going on, in their journey. I could feel pain in some. I sent healing energy. I would later find out the next day, from each, that most of what I sensed was in fact what they were going through.
All during the night, I could feel this immense energy coming from the sky.. the animals, the insects.. were all giving all love and energy and I was channeling it into the room. The vibration was so intense, my hands went above and to the side of me, I began moving my fingers as if they were wings, bringing it all in.
Then I positioned myself and got ready.. first I visited my sister. I told her I was sorry and didn’t meant o abandon her when we were younger, that I was going through my own things and didn’t know how to do that and be there for her in those moments. I prayed for her and sent so much love.I also told her I saw Grandma and Dad.
I took a sip of water, as I was completely perched from visiting my sister.. and then went to visit my brother. I prayed for him and told him I saw Dad and why he had to go. I held him in my arms and rocked him like when he was a baby and sang him ‘silent night’. I told him I loved him and I would always, always be there for him.
I took another sip and visited mom. I cried, a very deep cry. I told her I loved her and forgave her for all that happened. I put my hands over her body and tried to heal her of her internal issues. I cried a lot. I felt so drained. I leaned back, stretched, and took another sip of water.
Next, I went back to Dad and told him how sorry I was for the pain he experienced. I told him I would go back and try towel his pain. Somehow I felt as I was able to go back in time to when dad still had his body. I put my hands over him and prayed for his sorrow to be healed. I told him how sorry I was for not spending time with him in the end of his physical presence and how much I loved him. When I was done, I needed another sip of water.
I visited Mr. Sicily. I cried a bit also. I saw he was sleeping. I put my hands over him ‘I’m sorry for your pain, I know you don’t know/remember love in that way.. I forgive you for how mean you’ve been, if you hadn’t been I wouldn’t be here right now.. and its ok if we aren't to be- its ok, I understand now why you cam into my life- still a soul mate but maybe not in that way, but I will always be here for you, you will always have a friend in me, I will always love you.’ I smiled and cried.
I visited my first love, Mr. Superhero. I told him I forgave him and that I did love him but we were not meant for each other in that way in this life. I told him he would be ok.
The vibration of love that I was feeling was so real. I was moving my hands to sounds of the jungle. I felt the space between my throat and my ear open up- and felt a rush of air pass through that space and into the room.
The animals outside were getting louder it seemed, it felt as if they were communicating with me or all of us in the moloka. I raised my arms to the sky and my arms buena to wave. I was especially drawn to the crickets, the frogs, and the birds. My self could feel the vibration of the moth, or so it felt. I was able to bring love from outside the moloka, in. I literally felt like I was pulling an immense amount of love inside. I spread it to all inside sharing the space. There was magic in the air, quite literally.
I thought I was done, but the healing sessions began again.
I went to visit my cousin, the one who had suggested I come to Peru. I told him thank you for sending me to the Amazon and told him Grandma came to visit me. I told him the messages Grandma gave me about our family. I told him about Dad coming to visit me and his messages about his departure. I told him we should bring another of our cousins.. another sip of water.
All the while my eyes were open and closed. I was fully feeling the medicine but also very conscious of what was going on and also occurring in the room.
I visited Sabrina, my childhood and still best friend. I laughed with her and danced for her (while sitting) and told her I was coming into myself. Water.
I visited Vanessa, my college and still best friend. I put my hands over her body and cried a little as I could feel the worry of her sickness. Amidst my healing session with her, I heard kambo. I laughed and told her to come to jungle and do kambo.
I said hello to Victor.
I visited one of the guys in the room, a few times during the night.. He was having a really hard night with the purging. I told him I totally understood his actions from the night before. (The night before he had been a bit louder than most, standing up and chanting, saying he was god) I giggled and said Shiva Shakti. I made a face in Kali pose.
I visited another friend and told her not to sad and prayed over her also. I could sense a deep sadness inside.
Sasha visited me. I cried. Sasha had passed away not long before, she was raped and killed by someone she should have been able to trust. A young girl, my sisters age, a childhood friend, and a reason I was there in the Amazon in that moment. She was smiling, I could feel her smile. She said it had to be her. She said she was very strong and I laughed with her as I showed her my muscles and she responded yes. She had to be the one to fight it (him? demon? bad spirit?) I told her I would go see her parents and tell them he said hello.
At one point in the night, I turned around and was feeling the vibration form the jungle, from the life that lived in this magical place. It was truly a beautiful thing. I send my respect and love.
I looked at a super bright star to my right and gave prayers and thanks. It felt as if this star was sending energy directly to me.
My dad’s dad came to visit me. He sat in front of me. I saw him very clearly. “Finally beta, you are here.. its been a long time”
I needed water. I felt so thirsty this night.
When the shamans started singing, the vibration in me got at its most intense state. I was moving along to the music. I remember saying to my grandma, ‘ should I just go ahead and dance?.. no, not quite yet.’
When the first shaman sat in front of me I moved to the beat of his icaros. He put both his feet on my mat. I gently placed the tips of my fingers on his feet for blessings. When placed his hands in front of me to do his work, I placed the tips of my fingers on his. His face seemed to change as he was sitting in front of me, he looked like my grandpa. It was not steady but seemed to flush in and out. When he moved to the next person, I took another sip of water.
The other shaman sat in front of me and I could not hold back my urge to dance any longer. My eyes were closed and I moved to the sound of her voice. When I opened my eyes, my movements seemed to have been complementing hers. At the time I felt a presence of a strong mother figure, I identified so much with her icaros.
When she moved, I began to really embrace the sound and dance. It was intense. I felt I had been to dancing to these sounds for lifetimes. It felt so ingrained in me.
When ceremony was ending, the shamans flashed a light at the facilitator. He had dozed off. I remember they had flashed a couple of times without response. After he got up, he dizzy walked over to the shamans. He seemed a bit confused orin a daze. He went to the candle to put it back on. The lighter was not working. I kept thinking, perhaps the spirits did not want the ceremony to end.
I stayed in the molokai after ceremony. I was feeling the energy so much.
I needed to pee. I walked to the bathroom, I must have peed for 3 minutes. So much water inside me.
Back in the moloka, one of the guys came over and we talked. I asked him if he felt that I visited him in the night. He said he did, all during the night.
I stayed up talking with a few other people that night, before heading to my bed, to try and get some rest.
When I did get to my room, around 3:30am, the vibration was still so strong. My eyes opened at 5:30am, I sat up in my bed, said my prayers to the rising sun.
I went for a walk around the lodge. I saw the shamans. I hugged them and the others who were awake at that time. One of the shamans embraced me calling me her daughter, ‘mi hija, mi hija’. So much love.
During group share I was super emotional and very grateful to have all these people around me. Some of what happened to me was confirmed by others. One of the facilitators said he had silent night replaying in his head over and over. Three of the guys confirmed what I thought they were journeying through was in fact true.
In the day, I was nervous, thinking whether or not to drink for the 5th ceremony. I had such an amazing, positive experience, I did not know what may happen on our final night.
We arrived at the ayahuasca retreat yesterday. After an hour bus ride and a 3 hour boat ride , we arrived at a secluded lodge in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The boat ride was amazing. The clouds looked like something out of this world, the water so calm. As we traveled, I put my right hand into the water. The coolness relieved the heat I was feeling. I put the cool on the back of my neck and forearms, a heat rash had come back.
I gazed into the sky and many colored butterflies crossed the path ahead.
It had only been an hour and felt I had made a few friends.
Getting to the center seemed long and was a bit uncomfortable.. and completely worth it. The views were something of a foreign and beautiful land.
Once we arrived, I felt I was in a little village. There were huts all around the property. I was asked by a group of 3 girls to bunk with them, 4 to a room. Each room had a separation piece and curtain, a double size bed with pillow and sheets, a towel, table, and two cabinets to put our things. I was in the only all girl hut and there was a scent of noticeable feminine energy. In the room, there was one girl from New York, from the area I was now currently living.. another from the area I grew up around, in Canada.. and another living in the area I was had thought of having a home, in Woodstock, New York.
Once I settled in, we had a group meeting in the center where we would be partaking in Ayahuasca ceremony, the moloka. Our facilitators introduced themselves and gave an overview of what to expect. There we had introductions to the rest of the group. Two of my bunk mates had attended the retreat just a week before, the other third mate joined them for the last leg of the journey. On of the other two girls on the retreat is a holistic doctor from the states and the other is very sweet and works for government in her province. There are two friends here from Iceland, chess player and soul journeyer. There are two brothers from California, a true gem from Australia and the youngest on the trip voyaged out from Alaska.
After our group meeting, we had lunch.. what seemed like the strictest of strict regarding Ayahuasca diet. Green pea mash, quinoa, boiled potatoes, beets, carrots, with a side of broccoli.. and banana for dessert. No salt, no sugar, no pepper.
In a few hours we got ready for a flower bath to be done by one of the shamans. We each sat down and let her bathe us down with buckets of floral war water. We were told to let the water dry on our skin and to get ready for ceremony.
Once dried, we entered the moloka. Our facilitators engaged us in some simple yogic exercises. Then we sat in silence, with two candles lit in the center and waited for the shamans to arrive.
After they entered, they prepared their things.. and one by one, we each sat in front of them and were given a cup of this sacred brew, ayahuasca. We were asked prior to have intention when partaking in this ceremony and having that intention in our mind when drinking. It tasted like camu camu, looked like dark cocoa. I took deep sips, in she went. I sat down on my bed, waiting for the medicine to activate within. After 10 minutes or so, one of the girls, whom I will later call- my barf sister, purged. With hesitation to leave the moloka, I got up to use the bathroom. On my way back, I noticed the sky, the magnificent display of stars. I had never seen anything so amazing. There were so many. The whole sky was illuminated. Some twinkling rapidly, some more steady with a radiant brightness. Even the stardust was visible. .. I could feel the medicine inside me, I ran to my bucket. I purged for a few minutes, I felt dizzy in the room, my head felt heavy, I had to keep moving so I could feel ok. I began to pray, asking the mother divine to heal those things deep inside me. At one point, I looked outside and felt the sky was within my reach. I threw up again, this time more painful. I asked Ma to mend my broken heart and the things that have tormented me in my life.
As I finished purging, I gave thanks to Mama Ayahuasca for releasing.
I sat back and felt a heaviness. I did some deep breathing. I breathed so deeply, a noise came from me as the air entered my stomach. I exhaled, unlike ever before. What seemed like every last ounce of air exited my body, so much so I was sitting straight with my head toward the sky and noises exiting as the air left also. I felt I was breathing out negative vibes and sadness, I gave Ma thanks for helping to heal me.
The shamans began their icaros. It sounded like a mix of ancient bhajan chanting and native american spirit songs. The melody was somber and full of a healing energy. I began to hum along as if I knew the song. My feet began to move and hands started to tap along. I wanted to dance. Then there was silence. I felt very mellow and observant. I had an itch to stretch my body but stopped myself. The sounds of others in the room seemed to tell each was having a somewhat intense experience. A bit of envy entered me but also I had some comfort, feeling my intentions of the night had been met.
After a while longer, the shamans began personal icaros and sat in front, one by one, of each of us. Later, the first first of the two shamans, I will call him, mi padre de peru, sat in front of me. I felt a surge of energy coming through him. He sang and had a certain kind of breathing which he did over me. He put a liquid in his mouth, aguaflorida, it had a strong citrusy menthol scent. He breathed the cool air on me and touched my head.
When he moved to the next person, his wife sat in front of me, mi madre de peru. As she sang, a great sadness came over me. I cried a lot. The tears seemed to be falling out of my eyes like huge water pellets. I felt each tear bounce off my arm as it fell. She seemed to be singing for a long time in front of me. The uneasiness at the end of her notes made me feel that she knew the hurt inside me. I was so thankful to be apart of this. The ceremony continued for another while. When it was announced the ceremony was closed, I headed to my bed. I put on my phone to take a picture of myself, as I wanted to see into my eyes. It was 3:30am.
The next morning I woke to the heat of the sun and the birds chirping… jungle sounds divine. I could hear the birds having conversations with each other, the crickets, flies buzzing, other noises I was hearing for the first time.
“Desayuno” said the little boy who was the son of a employee at lodge. A four year old little boy, friendliest child I may have ever met.
Breakfast was a bowl of watermelon, cantaloupe, apple, orange and banana. Porridge on the side.
I took a nap and was awaken by the same little boy for lunch. Lunch was a plate of raw cabbage, beets, pumpkin, broccoli, salad and an apple for dessert. I ate as much as I could stomach and then I sat down here to write.
We just had our first one on one meeting with shamans and facilitator to assist in translating. I told them my cousin sent me here… that I came for healing.. I felt a void of unconditional love throughout my life. I had a lot of pain from my fathers departure, my mother, perhaps her reaction to his departure.. amongst other things. I mentioned I had performed healing with my hands before and was told there are gifts that had been passed down in my family.. I was hoping this experience would help me to embrace these things more. The shamans told me to medicine would help me and when they come to me in ceremony I need to be present. I cried from beginning of meeting until end.
Tonight is the second ceremony.. we will be given option of second cup.
Last August was my first trip to Peru.. to the Amazonian capital of Peru, Iquitos. I made this journey on my own, without friends or family, it was my first time traveling solo. This was a trip I needed to do in that moment and better to do alone; ayahuasca was calling me.
So, what led me to Peru? to try these native plant medicines in the Amazon?
Depression. I was living in what many have dubbed 'the best place in the world', New York City. I had been living there for 3 years. As a child, New York was a place I would visit to see many relatives from my mother’s side of the family. It was nice to visit, but never did I think I would live there- I was a Florida girl... in the ocean, laying in the sun.. on the grass, gazing at the clouds.. on the patio, smelling in the flowers.. Florida girl.
Fast forward many years, post law school, I reunited with my high-school sweetheart and picked up my things and moved in a moments notice near to the big city, in Queens. The flame too love turned into a flame of hurt.. and once I left him, I decided to stay in New York… this time for money, not love. I had a well paying job at a prestigious company in the big city doing my favorite thing, research. Despite the work environment, as it was very toxic, egos flying high, a lot of disrespect in the air, the money spoke louder than all else. I was working hard to pay off a loan from law school, which I was very close to doing and with this job it would be easy for me to save a little chunk of money; I decided this was a good reason to stay.
Soon after, with my heart on my sleeve, I met a man whom I would end up being in a ‘relationship’ with for almost 3 years (relationship in quotes because he never did ask me to be his girlfriend.. and made it a point not to do so). There were good times and sad times, more sad than good, but the loneliness, the unhappiness that I held inside kept me with him. My unhappiness pushed me to accept and accept and accept.
After a few years of studying for the bar exam, I finally passed. I was a lawyer. I was happy to achieve this goal I had set for myself. It was no easy task. I interviewed for my first job as an attorney and was pleased to have gotten the position. It was hard work, running around from borough to borough every day, meeting clients with little background knowledge, winging it most of the time.. but I was doing well. The position was in real estate law, most of the work was landlord tenant based, getting people to move out of their rentals. I was doing well, yet not proud of the work I was doing.
I had a lot of family on my mothers side living in New York but I rarely spoke or saw any of them and the occasional times I ran into someone, I was met with some layer of hostility. When I became a lawyer, none called to congratulate me or call my mother; it hurt my feelings a little, knowing they were all nearby and how important education was valued in the family as a whole... I was the first to generation raised in USA, and the first to receive a degree so high... but their choice to not recognize hurt my mother more as she was closer with them. When I was on my own in New York, only person ever called to see how I was doing, I felt quite alone there. (Somewhat related I had been dubbed the black sheep of the family.. those stories are for another time.
A dear friend, more like a little sister, my sisters childhood best friend and also shared same age, was recently murdered. She was 2 years younger than me and full of light and happiness. She was so young. She was raped and murdered by someone she should have been able to trust. It was weighing on me that her life had been taken from her at such a young age and in such a horrible way. She was educated and working hard to save her money and one day travel the world. That day would not come, at least not in this lifetime.
The sadness was getting to me. The heartache from the boy I was seeing, the disconnect from family, the death of a friend who was younger than I, the unfulfilling feeling I had from my job, being in New York (I grew up in Florida and was accustomed to the beaches and the fresh air), the terrible apartment I had rented... all had caused a lot of ache in my chest. It was becoming unbearable. I would go to work, at the courthouse, and would need to hurry to the restroom to wipe tears that refused to stay inside. I would go home in the evenings and be sad, feeling I was living without real purpose, living in unhappiness.
Depression ran in my family, my father suffered from this, part of why he is no longer living on this earth. I had to do something about it. I did not want the depression to take over me. I quit my job. I needed to get away from the toxicity of New York for a bit. I remembered a conversation I had with one of my cousins, 5 years prior. He had told me about ayahuasca. He had a sadness he was also working on and went to Peru, to the Amazon, to try this amazing medicine. I was intrigued years ago, and my curiosity began to intensify again.
Then the universe started showing me the signs, ayahuasca was popping up in advertisements online, I was seeing Peruvian restaurants, Peruvian vacations all over. I knew I needed to go.
So I did. I researched different retreats online and chose one that I felt was calling me. I booked my ticket and prepared for my departure.
The lease for my New York apartment had run its course, instincts told me to put my things in storage and sell all what I didn't need; my mother told me to get another apartment to ensure I had something to go back to. I had a feeling I wouldn't be coming back, but instead of following my gut feeling and to calm my mothers worry, I rented another apartment and moved my things in before I left for Peru.
… to be continued.
Sharing this journey with hopes of deeper understanding and to help aid you in your own inner travels.