Me and Ayahuasca

I’m curious about Ayahuasca. I’ve been researching the plant/experience for a while now and I’m wondering if anyone out there would like to share their experiences.

Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea prepared principally from Banisteriopsis Caapi, a jungle vine, found in the tropical regions of South America. Banisteriopsis Caapi is often combined with other plants, most commonly Chacruna/Rainha (Queen); Psychotria Viridis.

Ayahuasca has a rich legacy of associated traditions, myths, therapies, rituals and aesthetics, spanning from the primordial roots of the indigenous tribes of South America, to diverse syncretic spiritual movements emerging across the planet. – http://www.ayahuasca.com

In the last couple years, Ayahuasca has come up in many a conversation. The first time I heard the name, I was taking a Crani0sacral workshop with Hugh Milne. The space we created was really powerful and one of the women said that she could feel the spirit of Ayahuasca in the room with us. They described this spirit as feminine and like a grandmother. I found out that it was a hallucinogenic drug that can be very purifiying to the body and the spirit. Ayahuasca is taken in groups with a shaman present. There is a specific ritual associated with Ayahuasca. And that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge of this sacred plant.

My experience with psychedelics has only been with psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms”.  And everyone of those experiences whether good or bad were always important and interesting. And I always came out of it feeling better and more present. In some way, it felt like the mushrooms were a teacher of sorts and I was its ready pupil. The last time I had such an experience, I recall the distinct impression that our “lessons” were over. That I could find this feeling/experience/lesson in others ways. ( i.e. spiritual practice ) And that’s what I did. I started learning about the ways we can create such experiences without anything external. The only obstacle is the need for discipline. And that is not my forte. But I have realized that after 10 days of meditation, I feel similarly “realized” as I do after a mushroom trip. The biggest difference is the effect on my body.

According to the Yoga Sutras (by Patanjali) there are four ways to reach enlightenment. One of these ways is through the use of certain plant medicines. These “drugs” aren’t listed at this point, so most yogis generally stay away. I believe that the culture of Ayahuasca was developed by the shamans/people of south america in an effort to reach oneness with the Universe, the Divine. I don’t believe they use the word enlightenment, but I think there is this idea of union that comes along with these Ayahuasca experiences.

What’s in Ayahuasca that creates this feeling of union? The main ingredient is DMT or Di-methyl Triptamine. This is an amazing chemical that we already produce! Here’s info I found about it.

Chem name: Di-Methyl Triptamine

A drug that it synthesized with certain plants and natural substances found throughout the world.

The drug is most commonly produced inside the human brain stem in the first 28 days of life as a baby. After that point, It is stored in the brain and is only released upon brain/body communication stating that the body is dead. The DMT is released throughout your brain and system, numbing pain, freeing the mind and drifting your subconscious off into the land of death.

This is why some people make claims to “Having seen the light at the end of the tunnel” or having an out of body experience.

When smoked, The trip usually lasts about 15-20 seconds (much like the lesser-extreme psychedelic, Salvia) but it seems like much more. The drug separates the wall between your subconscious and conscious mind, essentially causing you to dream while wide awake.

Upon “waking”, you feel like a million bucks, better than any cocaine or MDMA you could ever find. Essentially, you are re-born.  – http://www.urbandictionary.com

I’ve also heard that we produce DMT during sexual orgasm.

Our bodies already produce the substance, so we already have a tendency to go towards these experiences.

Since I’ve had so much time to think and repose in the last four months, I like to make goals for the future. One of these goals, is to learn about Ayahuasca in her natural setting. I did some online research and found this place outside Iquito, Peru where a resident shaman/healer runs an Ayahuasca healing center. This place speaks to me. I don’t know why…

This is the information they share on their website.

When we say Ayahuasca, we refer to the brew of two plants which are prepared together. One of them is Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi); and the other is Yaje or Chacruna (Psychotria viridis). There are other plants that can be used in place of Yaje to similar effect.

In the Amazonian cosmology, all plants and all other elements of nature have their own spirits. With Ayahuasca, it is possible to see and speak with these spirits. For example, one can speak with plant spirits to learn their medicinal properties and how to collect and prepare them for use in healing. Ayahuasca also allows travel to other dimensions, in which one can see and learn from the Infinite; there, the past, present and future are all equally accessible, both one’s own life path and those of others. Diseases can be analyzed to determine their nature and origin. One can communicate with the whole spirit world – and more..

Diseases may have organic origins, spiritual origins, both, or even more aspects. Ayahuasca heals on all levels, as it is connected to all of them. Healing happens through cleansing and restoring imbalances between the body, mind, and spirit. Ayahuasca is a strong purgative (allows profound cleansing through vomiting and diarrhea), an antibiotic (kills microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses), an analgesic (painkiller), disinfectant, and cicatrizant (speeds healing of wounds).

To use Ayahuasca, one needs to know how to prepare it, how much to drink, where to drink it, with whom to drink, and much more. An Ayahuasca master (maestro) knows how to keep a ceremony balanced between the material and spiritual and can guide the drinker through a combination of Ayahuasca’s wisdom and his own wealth of experience. – http://www.yacupuma.com

There is also a specific diet that has to be followed before, during and after these rituals. The body has to be properly prepared…

And there we have it. My mini-report on Ayahuasca. My goal is to learn Spanish comfortably enough to travel to Peru next fall and spend a month in one of these healing centers. I can start with, “Donde esta el lavatorio?” That’s pretty much all of my Spanish at the moment. I have a LONG way to go!

And the information continues to roll in… Here’s an interesting article I found about ayahuasca…

http://www.articlealley.com/article_851043_51.html


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9 responses to this post.

  1. If you are interested, there is a lot of information about ayahuasca on my website, http://www.singingtotheplants.com/, and on its accompanying blog, http://www.singingtotheplants.com/blog/. I hope that you find it interesting and useful.

    Warm regards.

    — Steve

    Reply

  2. Posted by Terence on December 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hello Healey,

    I’ve travelled often in South America, spent time in the jungle and drunk ayahuasca, the great Mother, twenty times. Ayahuasca is not a ‘drug’, it is a sacred plant medicine, and important to honour and respect the way in which you approach her and receive her. In this regard, finding someone who is experienced with the medicine, with the icaros (the sacred songs that are sung during the ceremonies), and who has integrity, are all important.

    Not everyone is called into relationship with ayahuasca – as I say, it’s not a recreational drug – it’s an opportunity to go deep within yourself, to be healed and to receive profound insight into life, what we call ‘nature’, what is called “Pachamama” in the Andes.

    Your intentions as you step into the Mystery are very important.

    The experience can be life-changing, in a very positive way, if you go willingly in to the unknown. My first journeys were taken seven years ago, and during this cycle – it feels as though a cycle has been completed now – I travelled deep within, and to many different places without – Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and India.

    Everyone’s journey is different, I wish you all the best and many blessings on your adventure, should you choose to travel this road. And may you discover the great difference between healing and curing – to be healed is to come into ‘right relation’ – what the native/indigenous people call right relationship with oneself, one’s brothers and sisters, and with life itself.

    Terence
    Crystal Mountain
    Nelson, British Columbia

    Reply

    • Ayahuasca is a preparation of Amazonian plants used by ancient healers. For several hours induces powerful change in consciousness that allows the patient, as in a dream but awake, view picture (vision) and feel emotionally what is in the depths of his mind, his memory, his being.

      Certainly the ayahuasca plays a central role in the treatment but does not act alone. It requires a set of coordinated interventions to have a real impact, durable and is embedded in everyday life to change. The taking of ayahuasca alone without monitoring or psychological context of integration and containment (close accompaniment and control of effects) greatly reduces its effectiveness. The taking of ayahuasca and potent medicinal plants requires precise rules of diet, abstinence from
      rules of behavior, withdrawal from certain drugs and drug products, skin care “energetic” and so on., you can not improvise. In some instances, it can be dangerous, addictive repeating the search solution “magic” through the ingestion of a substance. You can also enable older or have psychological problems emerge unconscious emotional disturbance (psychopathology underlying) without external control dangerous. All these rules are very difficult to follow by simple self-control in an outpatient setting (outside the school), more so in an addicted person who just lacks discipline.

      It is necessary for an effective take ayahuasca have a quality-controlled product, a physical and psychological preparation, an appropriate ritual context, an experienced guide and further follow-up (especially for the interpretation and integration of lived experience at the meeting).

      Generally Amazonian healers, even when they have a high level of expertise, can not offer guarantees of a psychotherapeutic accompaniment adapted to the Western mind, and a containment context and infrastructure and integration of experiences. Takiwasi born of this recognition of the need for a close and appropriate accompaniment for taking ayahuasca.

      It is also necessary to note that the neo-shamanic fashion today, there are many dubious deals making ayahuasca, Healers improvised, prepared with association of toxic plants (eg Datura), abusers economic or sexual purposes: all this requires great caution .(Takiwasi Center) My first contact with the Holly plants, was for 40 years ago.(I am from Chile) http://www.youtube.com/foxterry#p/u/1/EftvfteSWtM

      Reply

  3. Posted by JaBas on December 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    My professor first told me about this last year. She has been on the voyage. I am interested, but uncertain about a few things. Thanks for your input Terence, this will aid in my searching.

    -JaBas
    New York City

    Reply

  4. Posted by benaliat hicham on April 10, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    hi , i like what you wrote and your experiences using halucinogens , i hope you can answer my question , the question is : how did you practice meditation during 10 days? (i mean the way you did it , did you just stood still without eating or moving or even sleeping?) . thank you

    Reply

    • Posted by feelandheal on April 25, 2010 at 5:38 am

      hi.
      it took me a while.
      sorry.
      the meditation I practiced is called vipassana or insight meditation. There are retreats that take place all over the world to allow people to meditate for 10 days. its all sitting meditation. you should look it up.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Andy M on July 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Hi there,

    I’ve been working with ayahuasca for about 7 years (but not regularly) and then last year I moved to Peru and ended up living in Iquitos where I lived for about 8 months. I’m back visiting the UK now but hope to return to Iquitos in August sometime.

    Did you ever arranage a trip to Iquitos? I see this blog post was written last December and fall is coming up soon. If you need any advice about travelling to Iquitos then I’m happy to help. I’ve never heard of Yacu Puma to be honest, but it looks interesting. From my own personal experience the place I can most recommend is The Temple of the Way of Light who work with female ayahuasca healers (Curanderas) http://www.templeofthewayoflight.org

    Reply

  6. Nice post, thanx..

    Reply

  7. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the favor”.
    I am trying to find things to enhance my website!
    I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    Reply

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