Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca in Quechua means "vine of the soul", "vine of the dead". It is used in the traditional spiritual rituals of the South American shamans. The brew made from several vines native to the Amazons is considered the sacred medicine of the soul, the remedy that heals the spirit and thus the body.

Day 1. 
After waiting for longer than anticipated, the ritual by the shamans or taitas Umberto and Sandro Pinghuaje, Alex and Oscar began. Interestingly, the shamans were Catholic, but they had integrated the traditional spirituality with Catholicism, therefore the ritual began with the Catholic prayer, while I said the manta "Om ma ni pad me hum". I didn't really know what to expect from the effects of the medicine, but I was looking forward to the experience. First men, then women drank the brew. When I was receiving the brew from the shaman, I asked yage to show me what it needs to show me, to allow me to connect with my ancestral spirits, and to allow me to see the path my life is to take. 5-10 minutes after, I began to have strange feelings around the top of my skull, as if there was pressure building from within. Interestingly, the very top of the skull is considered the place where soul exits at the time of death, or at the time of intense spiritual journey. Tobacco addict, I went outside, smoked a cigarette and came back inside the tent as the chanting and invoking of the jungle spirit, of the yage energy began. The ritual of invoking the spirit of the jungle was beautiful, with chants, with use of tree leaves that sounded as if birds were flying around, or as if the wind was playing with the trees of the jungle. Nothing was happening, except that pressure in my skull, so I closed my eyes. Suddenly I began to see two serpent-like, geometrically correct forms, translucent dark green that were constantly morphing, flowing into one another in all green background, but the beginning shape those two made up was still a circle. I thought that my mind's eye must be playing tricks and so opened my eyes, but those two encircling serpent-like morphs continued even when I had my eyes open. Then I began to see lights here and there, and the apprentices who were carrying around the burning incences all had shapes that were enveloping them, not exactly their shadows. The medicine was making me feel a little off, which is normal as it has purgative qualities and people either puke or go to toilet with the remedy. Although I was feeling a little off, it was not an urge, so I continued to lie down, enjoying the geometric green serpents and their morphing. Then I began to see images of reptiles and amphibians, especially of snakes, and even dragons, imagine. They were just kinda flashing. Then the last image I saw was a group of children, kinda lined up one behind another, but a little diagonally so I could see that there were more than just one child. They were indigenous children, and the first one had his/her tongue out, somehow blue. The morphing of the serpent-like shapes continued, but I had to run to the toilet. When I tried to get up, I found that I couldn't very well control my body, and I nearly fell, but managed to get to the toilet where I had the longest diarrhea. My interpretation of my vision: the jungle sees us, human beings, no matter our age, our gender, as her children, but that we come after all the animals, that we're of secondary importance to the jungle universe. I thought I wouldn't drink the second cup of the medicine as it had a violent way of working through the body. In the morning, after waiting for everyone to have their cleansing (aura cleansing done by the shamans), I was finally cleansed by all four shamans who must've been very shocked by my chest scars. As well as people around who could see me in then broad daylight. One or two people were extremely shocked to the extent that they had hurried to bid their goodbyes in the most hurried way. Oh well, I have nothing to hide, this is me, my karma, my life, and if that makes you uncomfortable, there is little I can do.

Day 2. Since I didn't experience the spiritual part of the medicine, with the medicine only showing me its own nature, I decided to go for the second day. I drank the brew and knew immediately that I will vomit because I hadn't eaten much during the day, and given yesterday's shit runs, the way my stomach lining would've been tender, it began immediately working through my system. I persevered for a while, lying there gulping my saliva, then I must've dozed off because when something woke me, my neighbour was having a very bad experience, and the medicine had begun to work its way as I again saw those geometrically correct morphing serpents, and I was really beginning to feel sick, overrun by the desire to both vomit and to run to the toilet. I went out, straggering, went and stood outside the toilet, but knew that I would vomit, so went back again to the garden where we're allowed to vomit, and vomited mostly with bileous-tasting liquid. As the last bout of vomit came, I saw that that vomit was vivid ruby-red in colour, shiny, as if it was a ruby coloured light of some sorts. When I was thiking why would it be shiny red, I thought that perhaps it was my anger that I had vomited out. I went then to the toilet and had my shits, and sat outside the tent, smoking. One thought I had, whether it was the medicine or me, was "Don't force it", 'it' being life, 'it' being existence. Don't force life. I hang onto that thought and went back in. Somehow that act of going to the toilet had ended my experience. I stayed awake, lying and listening to my own breathing, which was very difficult as my neighbour began to rave about "all these things", and he was moaning in fear and anguish. I covered my head with the blanket and tried to concentrate on myself, which was again, quite impossible. The shit-run and my neighbour's anguished reaction to the medicine pretty much ended my experience. Then the chants and singing began with the break of dawn and I fell asleep till they woke me up at around 8am to do the cleansing of my aura. Again, I sat without a shirt in front of a tent-ful of people, and again, their reactions.... But the shamans, shamans said "You always have a place among us, welcome". I will repeat the experience in a month. The fact that I hadn't had any spiritual revelation may be because I had done my work with my own self, with my own issues. In case I need to dig deep further, in case I am not seeing things clearly, I will go back at least once more to reconnect with the remedy.

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