Anonymous, Florida, USA
I am a 40 year old woman, and I drank ayahuasca for the first time in North America with a visiting Bolivian shaman and his sister. Originally when I got the idea to do it I just wanted insight into myself and to be happier in life and discover secrets of the universe. I set my intention: “Teach me how to love and have compassion for myself and others and experience more joy in my life”.
In hindsight I regret doing what I did, meeting mother Aya in the condition I was in - and let me tell you she wasn’t too happy about it either. I now know that it is very important for people to detox from everything diligently, rather than going into this in a poor state of mind like I did. Setting I believe played a huge factor for me in my experience as well. I had never done anything like it before, with strangers I never met, and I had to trust 100% I was in safe hands.
I received minimal interaction from the shaman’s sister ahead of the ceremony when I was asking questions based on my extreme anxieties. She would give simple responses like “The medicine is blessed, don’t worry.” I was seeking some sort of reassurance and but I wasn’t really getting much.
The ceremony was held in a small house in Hollywood Florida with close to 20 people. There was zero personal space. More people came pouring in, which made me freak out even more since people were on the kitchen floor, lying down, blocking entrances to the bathroom, etc. I felt like they should have put a cap on it. It was so crammed that I might as well have been in a small bed with three people in it. I was one of three to four people that only spoke English and although they had a translator, he honestly wasn’t doing that great a job.
Before the ceremony began, the shaman spoke in detail about the states that can happen. There were rules like no drinking water under any circumstance, no going outside. He told us that he wouldn’t be coming around to comfort anyone and that if it was difficult we should focus on the music and singing. We were told not to move, dance or touch anyone else - the journey should be inward. The bathroom was to be used only if we had to. Lastly, there were no other helpers present and everyone who was there had to drink ayahuasca.
I was already starting to freak out
I did not feel too secure there and was quietly freaking out. I just wanted them to know that I was terrified and it was my first time, so to please not give me a lot, but no one talked to me really or asked any questions. When it was my turn to go up and drink I could see he was dosing everyone the same (a full cup) and inherently I knew I was fucked. My hands were shaking so badly when I held the cup that the shaman told me to take my time. I wanted to say, “It’s not that, shaman, but I am so scared and I think this might be a huge dose for me.” But I didn’t; instead I drank it shaking and with racing thoughts. I then went back to my space and tried to relax and think about my intention.
We all went around the room and had to say a prayer to father tobacco and mother ayahuasca with our intention. My thoughts kept racing that mine was probably self centered and stupid. I also brought things with me that I thought would help me stay grounded, like crystals for protection and blessed spray protection from my healer. She had told me to spray some in my hands right after I drink the tea; I did it, but I was still scared.
The ceremony was underway and the music was unnerving me
The shaman sang and beat on a drum for most of the ceremony, as did his sister. Initially the shaman’s singing felt mystical and soothing, but as the ceremony went on I found it terrifying - too intense, irate and chaotic. I remember thinking, “Oh my God, what did you get yourself into? You are taking the most powerful psychedelic on the planet in the dark in a very crowded room with intense music beating over you!”
I came to think that they were trying to induce a psychologically terrifying experience, what with the locked doors and crowded space, no air and intense music. I kept thinking that I would go crazy and die, and that I was an idiot.
It was so frightening being in the dark after taking the medicine and just hearing silence. Other people starting to purge and moan. When it happened to me and I started purging, everything around me started to disappear. At one point I couldn’t see or hear anyone around me and I was completely disoriented and confused. I heard a lot of crying, moaning and heavy breathing. At one point when I became lucid and it seemed like the whole room was chaos; everyone crying, screaming, moaning and purging. I remember thinking, “Oh my God, this is pure insanity.”
I went to the bathroom and said out loud, “Please, why are you doing this to them? They are only human beings”. I felt everyone’s sorrow and suffering and pleaded silently to mother ayahuasca and the shamans to help these poor suffering people.
I felt lost in a world of possible psychic attacks
After a mini purge, I thought, “Oh OK, thank God this will be it as far as pain goes.” How wrong I was… when she, hit she hit. I felt her going through my body like a scanner. Then the mental torture started. I heard a voice internally say, “You think you are better than others? Who do you think you are? Better than addicts? You are an addict! You just package and present yourself differently. You point the finger at your ex when you should be pointing it at yourself.”
“Oh white girl in her BMW trying to connect with natives. You know nothing of their suffering and plight!” All throughout this barrage of mental, egoic beatdown all I kept saying was, “OK, OK, OK!” like a child to its authoritative parent. She told me, “you have an ego up there with Steve Jobs’” which was strange as he’s someone I never think about, know much about or particularly idolize. She said, “I met him and if I did not submit to him I will not submit to you... Now let go!” At this point I was so terrified. It was just me and mother, and potential death... no barrier, no protection. No more barriers, no more soothing - this was it.
When I was really struggling, the shaman and his sister were singing over me for some time. The mental torture was indescribable and I think of everyone there I was probably having the most difficult time. The singing and drum beating was helpful at times, but sometimes made my anguish worse. At one point I just sat there feeling like a helpless little girl; I cried and begged the shaman’s sister for water, but she grabbed my hand and said, no, and that I could get through this. I was on my own again lost in a world of possible psychic attacks.
About an hour in, I felt that I was being choked. I vaguely remember using my own hand to choke myself, trying over and over again. A voice kept saying, “fucking die already!”. My body was shaking immensely and I felt like I was going to have a full blown seizure - I was sure I was dying. It felt like every withdrawal that addicts have ever felt, and I was sure I was going to die like many of them do. I briefly saw myself laying on the floor with my ponytail and white shirt, shivering in pain... I begged for mercy, saying, “I don’t want to die!”
Something huge wanted to come out of me
I’m not sure in which order things happened, as I lost sense of time and coordination. But at one point I felt my face melting, like a stroke or something. After the earlier small purge, I felt like something huge wanted to come out of me. It was like I was giving birth out of my mouth! I kept looking for my purge bucket but couldn’t find it. I felt that whatever was going to come out was so terrifying and so bad that it didn’t just want to hurt me, but the shaman and everyone else. I kept it in and didn’t want to let it out... I was afraid it would hurt the shaman, who was at that point standing over me singing and beating on his drum over and over.
So there was the choking, but I was also making weird gestures towards my stomach, as if signalling that ‘it’ wants to come out. I was so incredibly hot and quietly begging for air, wanting to go outside, and even to the hospital. With eyes open I saw this huge web, covered with tiny lights and I knew instantly this was the veil between this world and the other world. It was also the web that connected everything and everyone. I kept gesturing with shaking hands to the shaman, but he kept singing and singing. I really felt like at this point he was basically doing an exorcism.
The shaman and his sister blew tobacco over me and did a blessing, after which I felt more at peace and relaxed. I don’t think I had purged whatever this thing was, which worried me as I had felt how much it wanted to hurt the shaman - and something exuding that much negativity may still have been residing in my energy field. Or maybe it had been exorcised during the blessing… it is hard to remember much more around this point time.
The closing of the ceremony
Some time later, the shaman announced the closing of the ceremony and I felt a huge sense of relief. I prayed and said thank you thank over and over. He went around the room blessing people with tobacco and prayers. He blew tobacco over various parts of me and I instantly felt a sense of peace, beauty, and unity. I kept thanking him, and somehow I felt transcended. Messages were coming easily now from the mother and there was no more struggle.
I asked her some questions regarding a recent painful break up I had. She told me I was no better than anyone and should not judge him for being an addict, when I struggled with addiction myself; that he is an easy target to judge but I should be looking at myself. I had to ask if he cheated on me but she explicitly said I did not need to know everything and to stop seeking to control.
More messages came flowing in for myself and others
We were in direct communication and she was telling me to write messages down for others. I was no longer struggling nor felt like I was dying; I felt lucid, at peace. She told me since I had not been able to let go and surrender in order to see everything, she would still have mercy on me and I would not leave without receiving important messages for myself, but also for others who had supported me in meeting her. She wanted me to see that my sacrifice in coming to her was not a waste.
She told me that my close and supportive therapist’s soul journey was almost over and soon she would finally go home - no more reincarnation, her duty was done. For my friend and spiritual kindred spirit, I was to let her know that she is a truly beautiful person inside and out and that she must believe that. For my co worker and emotional grounder through the pre-purge, she had a stern message: she had to know that she is a good person and deserves everything she has. She told me to be open about my life, not to hide that fact that I use to have problems with addiction.
For my best friend it wasn’t as ‘lovey dovey”; she told me that the things I needed to work on were also applicable to her, but also that she must stop gossiping. For my mom, she was to realise that she doesn’t know everything and that there is so more out there. I found myself laughing at mother ayahuasca’s sense of humour. She asked me if this is what I consider fun on a Friday night, and told me to go out and live life.
This form of enlightenment is not for everyone
Finally, I was told to bear the messages as gifts, but also to write an article about my experience. It was to be entitled: “There are Less Punishing Ways to Meet God”. I was to explain why this form of enlightenment is not for everyone, and that there are other paths to source. She also said I didn’t need to sacrifice and suffer so much just to meet her, and that if she wanted she could take my life in a second. Therefore she does not require self-punishment, nor meeting her in the kind of mental state I did. She also told me that I don’t deserve to suffer.
According to her instruction, this article is aimed at highlighting how those with mental health issues who plan to meet her for the first time really need plenty of time and preparation before diving into it. That means coming fully off meds (in good time), allotting time to stabilise, and choosing the right setting for them. She also told me that she is not for everyone, and that she doesn’t validate - she teaches. If someone is not ready for the truth, she is not for them.
I told her that the night had been pure insanity, and she agreed. She also told me some hard truths: that my ex, even though a raging IV drug addict, still had more guts to live his life than I ever did. She told me that I could do whatever I wanted, have fun, enjoy my life and not be afraid. She told me that I could take my meds - it’s ok, but don’t not to be real about it and recognize my addiction issues rather than avoiding them or being hypocritical about it.
The shaman reappeared for an integration
A couple of hours later the shaman reappeared with food and fruit, but everything felt silent and weird. Everyone was in slow motion, not speaking. Everyone had to talk about their experience in turn, but there were lots of people and some went into extreme detail, talking for what felt like forever. It seemed selfish. I said briefly that I needed time to process but that it had been terrifying. However the important messages came straight to me afterwards.
I was desperate to leave and others seemed to be feeling the same; some had also had horrifying experiences. One woman said she felt the life being sucked out of her, and I identified. After it was over my friend came to pick me up. I ran to her and put my head in her lap for comfort. I was in such a hurry to leave that I left my purge bucket and even my shoes and just jetted out of there. In the car mirror I looked like I had been to war. My face had broken out, my hair was a mess but I was just so grateful to be back in ‘3D reality’. I gave my friend her message and she cried while she was driving.
The lessons and after effects
I have started to eat better, which I never really did before. I’m taking better care of myself. I learned that I must have mercy on others (not judgment), as mother ayahuasca did on me. That we all suffer - I am not the only one, but I do not need to. I am blessed. I know that I must go out and live my life, and stop being so afraid. I find myself to be more compassionate and gentler with people, and I don’t fly off the handle as much as I used to when I feel that I am being victimized. I try to see it from a different angle and not let it affect me so much.
I don’t want to touch alcohol in case it clouds my connection with ayahuasca or other plant medicines. Interestingly, I now feel like I can see right through people’s actions and words. Even my hearing seems to have been increased. I am less freaked out by shadow figures like the ones I saw in ceremony.
I have lost a good amount of weight and my friends tell me I seem lighter and happier. I stopped smoking about 2-3 weeks after ceremony and totally stopped watching porn. I started doing morning walks in nature, stopped eating meat as the thought of eating another sentient beings flesh freaks me out. I eat three healthier meals a day, go to bed early, and disengage from toxic people. I don’t feel comfortable badly of others. I’m making much more effort in close personal relationships, like with my mom.
I reconnected with my ex, forgave him, accepted the situation and no longer let his behaviour affect me negatively. My relationship with my best friend changed as I realized we were friends for the wrong reasons and she was trying to control our friendship. Now, when necessary, I gently set boundaries, let people know my stance without entertaining any delusional victimization, and do not feed the flames. However, I am also afraid that I will pretty much lose all my friends and be alone.
On another positive note, my best friend decided to listen to some of the messages that Mother had for her and through my experience changed her behaviors and perceptions, and now our friendship has evolved to a much healthier connection for the both of us, which is another miracle. My therapist/healer (who made the blessing spray that saved me that night) continues to help me work on my shadows and grow now that we walk this path together. The Mother had made it clear that her powers are real and she is a great protector.
Synchroncity-wise, I’m seeing signs and messages everywhere, feeling very in tune with the universe. My moods are calmer and I think things through more carefully. I finally realized my core issues have been fear of loneliness and abandonment, feelings of inadequacy and resulting depression… so that is currently what I am trying to work on - this time without the use of substances or people to cover up those existential fears. There are still some areas in which I feel I need more guidance, but I have a lot more clarity now.
Even though before I had an inkling about demons, spirits and drug addiction, I am now truly convinced that demons do exist, along with negative entities. They can be invoked through hard core substances like heroin, meth, etc. I am fully convinced that people can become possessed by taking them. That something else sees this as an opening and jumps right in. I also believe in light and goodness but that humanity is truly suffering with these demonic entities.
I believe that what people call ‘minorities’ are the true owners of this planet, hence their connection with Mother Earth, and that by design their potential powers are oppressed. We are very lucky that plant medicines and those ‘minorities’ even want to share the beauty with the us, as we might as well be doomed without it.
I now really believe that there are many paths to enlightenment and that using psychedelics or ayahuasca is a shortcut that you may pay a price for - that price is horrifying ego destruction, but you do level up consciously more quickly. The more time passes, I realize just how blessed and guided I am. I am proud to say this single experience has changed my life for the better even though it was terrifying and I thought I was dying. Mother ayahuasca has given me a new life. I felt a very strong connection with her prior to ceremony, during and even right now.