My Ayahuasca Journey Part I (The Countdown) — Day 74 of 99 Days of Wander
The expectation is killing me.. When is it going to kick in? What will I see? Eyes open or closed? Will I be running around and screaming like a mad woman or seeing it all internally?
30 days before
I signed up for the Ayahuasca tea drinking ceremony. This is going to be so great! Can’t wait for the experience…Let me find some cool psychedelic photo and post it on Facebook so I declare my decision to the world.
15 days before
Telling everyone how great it’s going to be and how excited I am. Fear and anxiety starts creeping in but I brush it off because it’s too soon to get stressed about it.
I get an email with some instructions on cleansing our bodies 48 hours before the ceremony: no sex, no meat, no alcohol or other substances. I watch a documentary about how ayahuasca is used as treatment for people with addictions. Its mystical appeal is fascinating, I want to do it.
5 days before
I’m in São Paulo so life is great. The trip keeps me distracted from the powerful psychedelic journey waiting ahead. I’m living in the now, life is great.
But I stop drinking alcohol, eating meat, having sex… and drinking coffee.
48 hours before
No coffee. No alcohol. No sex. No meat.
What the hell did I sign up for?
It appears I can’t live without coffee… It seems that a “no coffee” day is the worst day ever. I don’t write. I don’t work. I sleep. A lot.
Why am I doing this?
24 hours before
We are all ready to go on a five hour road trip into the mountains of Brazil.
Ohhhhhh shit… it’s creeping in.. I feel it rising inside… It’s here. First real wave of fear has arrived. It’s a small wave but it’s there and it’s asking me “Are you sure it will be okay? What if you’re caught up in nightmares and can’t get out of it like those people you’ve heard stories about? What if it’s terrible?
Squirrel mind switches the channel and jumps into an interesting conversation about romance with Brazilian women and I am enjoying myself and the beautiful landscapes.
Four hours later we arrive at Gaia. It’s beautiful, just like I remember it. And I remember why I decided to experience the magical ayahuasca tea here. Because I it felt like a perfect place to do it and I promised myself that I will do it at the right time at the right place.
This is the right place. Trees, mountains, flowers, animals, the air, the smells, the people…
This is a free land. This is a magical land where borders do not exist, where you can be whoever you want to be, where the world stops and you are you, who you were born to be. Where people see you, see who you are and not who you need to be, where it’s about us all together in a union: trees, mountains, flowers, animals, the air, the smells, the people… It’s a place where we are all one.
They tell us it’s going to start tomorrow at noon. We’ll have breakfast at 8 AM with coffee (wait, what? we CAN have coffee before the ceremony??!! Shit, why the hell did I put myself through this intense “no coffee” detox? I’m an idiot.)
I decide not to have coffee and continue my full detox. I feel a sense of excitement mixed with anxiety and a dash of rosemary scent in the air.
I can’t fall asleep that night. The non-caffeine days are hazy and cloudy. I hope it will be over soon. I rub my palms together. I cuddle into my blankets tighter, I cover myself from all angles possible so that the jungle insects can’t get to me. And so that fear can’t get to me either. I fall asleep a little scared and a little excited.
5 hours before
Everyone’s having a great chatty time at breakfast but I can feel it. Everyone’s anxious. We don’t talk about it but we all know it. On my way outside I see a small bottle of dark green liquid all wrapped tight and another bigger one with some brown liquid…
Ohhhh, this is it… Oh my god, why am I doing this? It’s happening, it’s really happening… This shit is real. This liquid is going to be inside of me and make me crazy for a couple of hours. Heart beating hard and fast, breathing intensifies.
1 hour before
Our shaman gives us a briefing about how this is going to work: we’re going to watch a documentary about chakras, grab what we need (blankets, something warm and comfortable) and head up the hill where the ceremony will happen…
Hello, fear, I know you’re here…
Maybe there is still time to drop out? Estring is with me as well… how will he see me? Is this a good idea to do it together? What if it will change our relationship? What if it will change him? What if it will change me…?
This will not be a religious ceremony. We’ll stand in a circle holding hands, chant three “OMs”, listen to a blessing, then line up for the tea… guys first, girls after. If we need a second dose we can have it but the first one is pretty strong so you won’t need a second one
WHAT? Second dose? Oh my goooood… not sure If I can handle it… but I still got time. It’s not happening yet, all good. Breathe…
How many of us are doing it for the first time?
10 out of 13.
WOW. Only three people have done it before. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I assume it’s bad because no one knows what the hell is going on and what to expect.
The most important advice the shaman gives us is not to control it. To let it go and see what happens.
Ayahuasca is a healing medicine, it will show us what we need to see. We should not attempt to control it or interfere with it, we should let it do the job.
Oh and if we want to vomit, we should vomit. It’s okay. (Oh my god, vomiting is the worst. Show me monsters but don’t make me vomit.)
If we feel fear we should not attempt to open our eyes and escape it, we should just go with it, go deep and see what we need to see. Relax and breathe. Breath deep. Inhale. Exhale. Ayahuasca will show you what you need to see.
Everyone is serious. Everyone is nervous. Scared of the unknown. We all want to know. But we can’t. Everyone is anxious. Even those who’ve done it before. The fear is real. No questions asked.
0 hours before
I better go to the bathroom before I drink it… Who knows what will happen… Maybe I won’t be able to get up… Maybe I’ll go crazy and running from devils and monsters. I don’t know… No one will know…
I stand in line… The shaman and two helpers are chanting some special song, one of them is holding a candle, they’re giving out little plastic cups of the special dark green liquid to everyone… I look at their faces.. They don’t seem crazy.. Okay, it doesn’t have an immediate effect… Okay, okay… Breath in, breathe out.
Oh my god, why am I doing this? What the hell?
It’s my turn. I take the cup and drink it… I taste it in my mouth and feel how it’s going down through my throat and my stomach… It’s disgusting. The second helper is pouring water into my small cup and I drink it… I exit the building and go outside… I look at everyone else. They seem fine. Someone is standing, others are sitting. All look relaxed. I look at Estring and we giggle. It’s all kinda funny. I feel like a fool. I think to myself that probably soon it won’t be funny at all.
I want water. I am thirsty. I can still taste it. I feel it coming up. Oh shit, I don’t want to vomit… I don’t want to be one of those people. So I breathe.. deep and hard.
No, I can’t have water, shaman says. And I need to not talk and focus on myself. I sit outside and look at the trees. I see ants running around and I’m thinking whether I’ll start seeing these ants turning into big monsters and trying to eat me… They stay the same and mind their own business…
The expectation is killing me… When is it going to kick in? What will I see? Eyes open or closed? Will I be running around and screaming like a mad woman or seeing it all internally?
I have an urge to go and check what everyone else is doing. To get an idea of what I should be doing… It feels like that would be the wrong thing to do. So I sit and I wait…
And wait. I look at the trees and I look at the sky. I feel strong wind…
Is that real? Ah yeah, that’s real. I feel light headed, like I want to sleep… I sit there and decide to go inside…
As I approach the hut I see that everyone is lying down.. Oh, okay, I guess I’m doing the right thing… I come in, most of them have their eyes closed and covered in blankets and just lying down like they’re asleep.. Oh okay, I guess that’s what I’m going to do as well… The helpers are seated in the centre watching us. It’s all kinda weird. So I lay down, cover myself and wait.
The girl next to me is having some sort of a bad dream breathing heavily and tossing and turning. I guess it has started for her…
When will it start for me? I feel very relaxed and I just lay there. Don’t want to look at anyone… It’s just me and me.
I close my eyes.
For a minute or two I don’t see anything.
I’m falling deeper and deeper… deeper and deeper….
And it starts…
Part II is coming out soon. Stay tuned for the incredible transformational journey.
The “Crazy” Wanderova