Ayahuasca : This Powerful Ancient Medicine Helped Me Lose My Fear Of Death - Drinking My First Brew!
BOOM....!!! It hit me as I fell to my knees, the medicine electrifying my system! I felt incredible, as if I could see and touch the fabric of the universe around me. This was my first experience with Ayahuasca and it was to change my life!
What Is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is an ancient traditional medicine from the Amazon jungle. The brew is usually drunk with a shaman in a tradition that is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. There are different types of ayahuasca brews using different ingredients.
One of the main active ingredients in the ayahuasca brew is Dimethyltryptamine or DMT which some believe is a naturally occurring chemical produced within our brains. DMT is an extremely potent psychedelic and the first time I heard it described was as "the everest of psychedelics".
I first read about DMT in Graham Hancock's excellent 2005 book Supernatural- Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind and later with Dr Rick Strassman's book DMT : The Spirit Molecule. Both are worth reading!
What I read in these books did not inspire me to want to drink ayahuasca. Honestly the descriptions scared me and this was a medicine I thought I would never try. I could not have been more wrong in my preconception and this was to become a valuable life lesson!
The discussion of ayahuasca and DMT is extremely interesting and deserves its own post but here I just want to describe my initial experience with it!
How I Came To Drink Ayahuasca The First Time
Although I had read about ayahuasca I was not sure I wanted to try it. At this period of my life I was living in Australia and practicing Bikram Yoga daily. The hot yoga community is full of interesting people and it was while talking with them I got invited to join an ayahuasca ceremony. I agreed and later that week I found myself driving out of the city to a country town to drink my first ayahuasca brew.
My companions on that trip were two incredible women who were older and wiser than I was. In the darkness we arrived at a beautiful house built on the edge of a steep valley. The house was wonderfully decorated with candles, incense, instruments and artefacts from around the world. Everyone was dressed in white.
As I entered the room I introduced myself to the group and presented the shaman with the crystals and incense I had brought as gifts. Our guide for the ceremony was a white Australian man with blond hair who was about 40 years old. He had smiling eyes and I liked him from the moment I met him!
The shaman made us sit in a circle with men on one side of the room and women on the other. He explained that we would each shortly be given a drink of the ayahuasca he had brewed and then he would be playing the instruments to give us sound healing.
He told us frankly that we might get sick and there were buckets for us to use if we needed. There were also two toilets in the house. He informed us that 2 hours after the first drink those of us who wanted could have a second dose.
I will never forget my first taste of ayahuasca. It looked brown in the candle light and was thick and foul. The only way I can describe it is dragon's blood or perhaps the blood of the jungle. Disgusting. After my first drink the shaman began his sound healing. He was an extremely talented musician and played wonderful music with many instruments.
I did not feel very much from the first dose so when we were offered a second dose I took it. There was more music and I felt a light psychedelic effect. During a lull in the music I quietly asked the shaman if I could have a third dose. He thought for a minute and then took me to another room and gave it to me. Soon the effects were beginning to become more pronounced but I still didn't feel I had drunk enough.
Again I quietly asked for another dose - the fourth! The shaman told me that three doses was already a lot and he was not going to give me another. I thanked him saying that I agreed with whatever he thought was best. Ten minutes later he came to me and motioned to join him again in the other room. He whispered that he had thought about it and the medicine had told him that I should have another dose. I drank the dragon's blood for a fourth time and lay back down on my mat...
Very soon I knew I was going to be violently sick so I stumbled to the toilet. I fell to my knees and vomited. At the same time the ayahuasca hit me... Booooom! Wow!!
I was smiling as I vomited because I could see the fabric of the universe around me. I could touch it! I purged extensively out of both ends of my body with a massive sloppy grin on my face. When I was completely empty I went back to my mat in the main room.
I had completely emptied my body in a way I had never experienced before. This is known as the purge and I felt wonderful - light and detoxified. As I had been practicing a lot of yoga at the timeI entered into child's pose and because I was so empty I was able to curl into the smallest ball I have ever been in. It was fantastic!
Later as the shaman played the didgeridoo over me and the vibrations passed through my body I had the most incredible revelation:
The medicine told me that this was what it was like to die and there was no need to fear death ever again!
Needless to say this was incredible knowledge.
At some point I felt the outdoors calling me and went out for a walk in the clear cold night. This has been something that I have always been inclined to do in every ayahuasca experience since then. While outside I saw our shaman smoking cannabis. He told me that for some people the combination was very useful, for others not. Energised I returned to the warmth of the house and spent the rest of the night in the most blissful and peaceful psychedelic reverie.
In the morning I felt no hangover and no sense of fatigue. As a group we all discussed our experiences and shared a wonderful home cooked meal together. The entire experience was incredible and I already knew I would drink the medicine again!
Where Can You Do Ayahuasca?
The traditional home of ayahuasca is the amazon jungle and there are many places offering ayahuasca ceremonies in South America. However shamans have begun to take the knowledge of this amazing medicine out to the wider world and it can now be found in many countries. Ayahuasca's legal situation is somewhat vague so it is mostly an underground scene.
The ayahuasca community is big and growing larger. I have been reliably told that in the Australian state of Victoria there can be an ayahuasca ceremony almost every night of the year. There is a Brazilian church called Santo Daime which is legally allowed to use an ayahuasca preparation during their religious practices in Australia, the US, Brazil and other parts of the world but I have never participated.
Ayahuasca is an incredible experience that I believe everyone would benefit from. There appears to be no danger from toxicity or addiction and I have even had friends of mine who are in AA and NA participating in the ceremonies. The healing properties of ayahuasca are phenomenal, healing emotionally as well as spiritually.
Of the over 300 people I have done ceremonies with each one had a positive experience and all said that if possible they would drink the medicine again. The experience can be trying but is very valuable! I have even heard reports of ayahuasca naturally treating people with addiction issues.
If you want to try ayahuasca I would just caution that you need to be safe and it is wise to choose a shaman who has good energy and lots of experience. I have heard stories of substandard shamans not being strong enough to hold the space well.
Fundamentally I suggest that everyone should try this amazing healing brew and I would love to hear your personal experiences! =)
Further research on ayahuasca and DMT can be found here:
- Supernatural- Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
- DMT : The Spirit Molecule
- The New Age Of Ayahuasca
- Metamorphosis- Ayahuasca Documentary
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