I remember the first time I experienced the Amazonian entheogenic plant medicine called ayahuasca. I had been invited to an “ayahuasca ceremony” in a cave, behind a waterfall, in the jungles on a mountain in Costa Rica with an “ayahuscara” from Peru. I really did not know what to expect. I had many experiences many years prior with psychedelics, such as psilocybin and LSD, yet this was something far different and I could sense that. Within about thirty minutes of drinking the potent flavored brew, I was surprised to see tiny alien-looking beings descending from the sky and entering the top of my head. These creatures squealed with glee and sang out “We have come to clean you”. I sat in curious silence as the tiny invaders worked their way through my brain and my body. This bewildering experience quickly shape-shifted and transformed into a long series of continually changing, equally if not even more, strange and unexpected experiences that spanned the next several hours.
The leader of the ceremony sang icaros (sacred medicine songs) for hours, as the ayahuasca worked through my body – honing in on places with stuck energy, pain, or dis-ease. As my body felt like it was being prodded, torn open, and operated on, my mind was traveling on a wild ride through expanded consciousness and multidimensional realities. I time traveled to moments in my past to gain clarity and understanding … I was shown behind the scenes of many experiences I had had – to gain a more insightful look at energies and influences I may have never seen before … I received insights, revelations, direction, and corrections. What I experienced and received in that one night could be compared to what I may receive from a multitude of therapy sessions. It was life changing … and there were two more ceremonies to follow in the next two days. I left that cave a very different person from the one who had entered just days before.
My initiation into the ancient practice of drinking ayahuasca began over 10 years ago. I had no idea what a transformative and profound effect that this ancient medicine would have on my life. I never expected to find myself again and again returning to ceremony to drink this medicine, or to later become involved assisting and supporting the work with ayahuasca in a variety of ways. Part of my connection to the medicine is with the healer in me. I have had a strong draw to ancestral medicines and indigenous healing for quite some time. I started my professional training in the healing arts with the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Later I dove into Mayan medicine, indigenous diets, ancient herbal therapies, and so on. I have worked in clinics, retreat centers, and have had my own practice – assisting others overcome dis-ease and achieve optimum health. As I learned more and more about ayahuasca, I was blown away by the reports of people healing all kinds of health issues with this jungle brew. Working with ayahuasca expanded my understanding of healing. I could clearly see that through true holistic healing, the greatest transformation and achievement of health becomes possible. By true holistic healing I mean incorporating all parts of the self – body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Not only is ayahuasca helping to heal the body, but it also helps to heal our thoughts, perceptions, and emotions, as well as cleaning our energetic body and assisting us in the expansion of our consciousness. It was through this holistic approach that I saw people healing at a pace far faster than in the clinics I had worked in the past.
Another part of my draw to ayahuasca was very personal. I had struggled with various health issues for a long time. Allergies, digestive disorders, chronic pain, candida, ovarian cysts, impaired liver function, and more had been active in my physical reality. I had had a very extreme health crisis in my early 20’s that had led me deeper into the realm of natural healing and sparked my passion for learning about how to heal. That led me to pursue my professional training in TCM, and other healing modalities. Although I was able to restore my health to generally functional, and even build a professional practice, I still had many health issues that kept me from feeling strong and at ideal health. Ayahuasca was a medicine like no other I had experienced. It had a level of consciousness that seemed almost impossible for my modern mind to comprehend. When I drank ayahuasca I was aware that she was scanning my body, searching for where needed healing, and I could feel energy pour into those places, and transformations occur. Ayahuasca helped me see that I needed a lot more healing than I had been aware of. She blasted through my body time after time, tearing apart illusions, eradicating the strongholds of traumas, mending my broken heart, and healing every part of my broken body. As I later was given a diagnoses of advanced stage blood and skin cancers, ayahuasca was a guide and a doctor to assist me through the process of successfully healing this often-feared and often-fatal disease.
A few years ago in ceremony the spirit of ayahuasca spoke to me. She told me that not only is this medicine one of the greatest gifts to humanity – for it can help us heal so many of our modern troubles, but ayahuasca is also one of the forests’ greatest defense mechanisms. She showed me visions of the majestic Amazon rainforest being ripped apart and crushed by the forces of greed and ignorance. She showed me the creatures that have been destroyed and displaced, the tribes of humans native to those lands being displaced and their ways of life being threatened. She helped me to see our dependence on these forests and the oxygen they produce. And she showed me that by healing the hearts and minds of humans, and by helping them to awaken to their true nature and their place in the greater interdependent nature, that they will cease the force of destruction they have been causing. It is through this healing and awakening that the course of action can be shifted to travel forwards in harmony, peace, spiritual union, and sustainability for all life. Ayahuasca has a mission to help us return to sacred balance in the great web of life.
It did not happen overnight, and it did not happen by drinking ayahuasca alone, yet I do contribute my use of ayahuasca to the healing of my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul. It has been a journey, and I am still learning to navigate my way on this mystery tour. I have had the honor to witness many others bring greater healing and positive transformations into their lives through their use of the visionary medicine we call ayahuasca. I have seen people set free from addictions, depression, and infirmities of all kinds. I have seen many souls awaken their creative selves with ayahuasca. I have watched people “discover” their gifts as a musician, a painter, a writer, a healer, and so on. I have seen relationships healed and families strengthened. Since childhood I heard a voice telling me that the cures for all of humanities ailments could be found in the rainforest. I am now understanding why I was given that message. The more I explore and experience the ancestral medicines native to the Amazon, I am convinced that we should shift our search for cures out of the sterile laboratories and classrooms and into the ancient forests of South America.
One last word of advice for those seeking to experience the curative and transformative effects of this sacred Amazonian medicine, please look for those who have a high standing reputation and training in the ancient art of serving this medicine and guiding others in ceremony. Seek those that understand the traditions and offer their work from a heart of love and true service. Listen to your intuition and tune in to what feels right.
If you are interested in experiencing ayahuasca or other ancestral Meso-American and Amazonian medicines, please contact me for more information about ceremonies, retreats, and healing intensives.
With a heart of gratitude I conclude this story with the Mayan saying In Lak’esh which means “I am another you”.
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