Editor's note: This is a narrative on personal inner healing experienced by the author. The views and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the Publisher and Editor.
I’ve always been the curious type. I call myself impulsively passionate. I’ve tried countless amount of drugs searching for something that I wasn't certain I would find. I’ve been sober for quite some time now, but still in search of that something. So I decided to go on an Ayahuasca retreat for a week. Why not discover and heal myself by drinking the drink commonly known as ‘the grandmother’ ? Then I thought, “seems ... trippy enough”.
This is my story...
When I first told my boyfriend that I wanted to run off to the mountains in Costa Rica for a week to partake in three Ayahuasca ceremonies I was expecting him to be everything other than supportive of the idea. After an hour of researching on the subject he came back totally in favor of the mission, “It’s a good idea. I think it would be really good for you babe”.
I was surprised and slightly annoyed as I had my own internal conflicts about it, hoping that he would disapprove of the idea and talk me out of doing it would make the decision easy. But here I had a man who was supportive. Alright then. So off I went to Costa Rica.
The use of Ayahuasca has its origins in the jungles of the Amazon and has been used by the indigenous Peruvian people for thousands of years. Consuming Ayahuasca is typically described as an extremely spiritual experience that can produce elaborate and vivid visions, usually relating to the essence of life and nature. Many users of this plant report receiving powerful and spiritual revelations.
The day I arrived.
On a Sunday night, I arrived in the mountains of Cartago, and was greeted by the Shaman Canu and his sister, Carolina, who served me and the rest of the soul seekers dinner. In total there were seven of us. Some staying for the whole week and others for just a ceremony or two. People come and go during the week, I learned later on and aren't required to stay for the duration.
After dinner we gathered in front of a fire outside of the temple to get to know each other and talk about the medicine and our reasons for coming to the retreat. It was all more or less the same – looking for truth and reason within ourselves, some semblance of meaning. In the evening the shaman called us into the temple to take some Rapé, which I learned is a sacred shamanic medicine that has been used by healers of the Amazon for thousands of years. It consists of a complex blend of pulverized plants; Nicotiana Rustica, Camphor, Cinnamon and Tonka Bean to name a few. Every tribe - and shaman - has it’s own secret recipe.
The blend is blown high up into the nostrils with a pipe made from bamboo or bone. The intense blow immediately focuses the mind, halts all chattering and opens the entire crown chakra. Furthermore, rapé helps release emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses and eases negativity and confusion, enabling a thorough grounding of your mind. I have to admit I was quite skeptical when I learned that it’s a powder being inhaled. It sounds all too close to a once dear past habit of mine... but I decided to try it regardless. I was there to explore and grow, right?
Now the sensation was very strong as it was blown up my nose. My tear canals and nose instantly overflowed. This is apparently normal and part of the cleaning process. Honestly, it felt liberating. I can’t remember the last time I cried before this. I went to bed with a clear, still mind that night. I felt completely serene and calm with an excitement about the days to come. The whole day leading up to the ceremony was filled with anticipation and talks about life in general and expectations for the night.
My very first Ayahuasca experience.
When the clock hit 8am, we were called down to the temple by the sound of Carolina blowing into a big seashell. The first ceremony had begun. We went into the temple, chose a mattress and sat down. We talked a bit about the plant and what was about to happen. Our shaman sang a couple of songs, burned some Palo Santo and called us up to drink our cup one by one. I was the first one to drink. The taste was not as awful as I assumed it would be, it just tasted bitter. A bit like raw cacao and something else, something earthy that I never tasted before.
We spent the first hour in silence. When Carolina and Canu finally started to sing it felt like heaven was just around the corner. It was so beautiful. I did not feel the effect of the medicine very strongly, but maybe it was because I asked her to be gentle with me as I drank her. However, when after two hours the question was asked if I wanted another cup, I accepted the offer. Shortly thereafter I felt her grab a hold of me, taking control. I was no longer the captain of my ship. This scared me and I immediately swore off all drugs forever and regretted my decision to go on this trip of madness. But then I recalled the Shamans words at the beginning of the ceremony: Surrender. Breath. Love.
I started to think of my mother and all of a sudden I was surrounded by a vibrant light and felt only love. We are all one she said. I smiled big and gave thanks to all my family, my friends and life itself. During the rest of the night I went everywhere. I realized that I can only be me. I am a creation and my mission is to be present in the now. To be conscious. And by doing that, making my light shine stronger and help others do the same. Sometimes she was strong, sometimes soft. The love was overwhelming and my heart chakra was perfectly open, beating for everyone and everything.The energy in the room could be described as the energy of Shakti. Not a single one of us purged until the hours just before dawn, which is very unusual. When I purged, it felt like liberation. Like I was cleaning out my closet. After the purging I felt totally at peace. I was stretching my body on the mattress I was laying on, feeling the medicine healing my body. Feeling my muscles letting go into deep relaxation. Years of tension left with a couple of deep breaths. My shoulders dropped a couple of centimetres, my jaw relaxed, my calves contracted and released, and my whole body started to tremble softly for a moment or two. I was awake. I am. So hungry...
The sun was rising and I stepped outside, watching it do so, totally mesmerized by the event. The birds chirping was the sweetest sound, the trees and other greens were so vibrantly alive. I never noticed that there are so many different shades of green. I am whole. I am connected. I am divine. I am forever. I went up to my room, ate some granola with almond milk and fell asleep. I woke up feeling dazed and amazed a couple of hours later. I could not really speak, nor did I feel the need to. All I needed was to be, just as I am. I am loved.
We went to some hot springs by a cold river during the day and relaxed in the water. I covered myself with mud I was feeling like a goddess of earth. We are all creatures of the earth. Cold water. Warm water. Cold water. Warm. Cold. Clean. My soul, body and mind are feeling lighter. There is so many questions although I already know the answer: I am. NOW.
How the Ayahuasca journey unfolded for me.
If the first journey was physical and all about the universal love, the second journey was a meditative travel of dimensions. Mother Ayahuasca showed me how dysfunctional the mind is when you let it run the show. It creates so much negativity, distractions, separations and thrives on fear. Me, I just need to be. It is perfectly in order to just be. To surrender completely to every moment. This is where the peace of mind and being exists. Just being present in the now. Everything is ok in this very moment. And this will from now on be the state in which I choose to dwell. It will set me free. Free of the burden of mind and constant unnecessary thinking. She told me that I need to go inside and feel my body. That I need to acknowledge my emotions and experience them fully. Recognize them for what they are and let them go. No more sweeping it under the rug, no more denying my body the right to speak to and through me. Everything we need exists inside of us as human-BEINGS. I could feel her inside of me, healing my body and mind with vibrations and light. She said: We get what we expect. Expect pain and there will be pain. So expect nothing at all and there will be space for everything to come to you. Smile. It will change any situation.
The third time on Ayahuasca was the hardest for me. I decided that I wanted to go deep to deal with some past traumas of mine. And I did, but not in the way that I was expecting. I did not re-live any of my past life situations. I was shown certain moments as a movie, all while she explained everything around it: why it happened, what happened inside of me when it did, what I need to do now to move on. I realized that I have been living a big part of my life separated from my body, only living in my mind. Seeing my body as an object, punishing it for not performing the way my mind wanted. Mistreating it for not being good enough. I saw the truth, that my body is amazing and not a separated entity. We are one. We are a team. My body always loved me.
Even when I was filling it with drugs, even when I stopped eating, when I was physically violent towards her. Even through all the mean things I’ve said and thought about her, she kept loving me. My heart kept beating, my lungs kept breathing and my pulse kept pumping. Now I will return this love.
I’m hereby reclaiming my body. We are one and I love you! I will always take care of you...
My afterthoughts of the entire Ayahuasca experience.
Drinking it three times in six days is really intense. But I really think it’s the best way to discover whatever it is that you are seeking. There is so much less room to escape or to make excuses and this way you don't get the opportunity to distract yourself.
I also feel like there is so much to know and experience, one time would leave me hungry for more. I believe that everyone is to benefit from this experience. But let me tell you, it is not a fast fix of yourself or your life. It’s not going to be your Almighty Savior. Or maybe it will, I cannot speak for someone else’s journey. It is scary. Amazing. Overwhelming. But you need to process what she gives you and practice it in your everyday life.
It will be challenging when you go back to society and your everyday life. But no one ever said it would be easy. I saw the being in everything. I felt the space of nothing that let everything else exist. I realized the importance of living in the present and dying to the past. What I did is that I created an empty space in my mind where I can allow myself to dwell in the wonder of my being.
Love is the answer. Love, meditation and yoga will bring peace.
To continue following Kajsa's journey to eating well, going green and living life to its fullest, make sure to head to her website: Life of Maju.
Now over to you: Have you tried Ayahuasca, or are you considering it? What was your experience like? Feel free to leave a comment below.