“There is probably no hangover that comes anywhere close to the hangover from an exorcism.” – National Geographic
In Brasil and into Peru lies the heart of the great Amazon rainforest.
In this 2-part series on ayahuasca, we’ll forge an intrepid path into the wild.
So, if you’re feeling adventurous…
We’re going to journey deep into the rainforest, to explore a powerful jungle medicine called ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca is made from the ayahuasca vine and the leaf of the Chacruna plant. This powerful plant combination is the key which unlocks the door into another world – the innerworld of your unconscious mind. Ayahuasca healing ceremonies, which are conducted by shamans, have been an integral part of life in the upper Amazon for centuries, dating back at least 2,500 years.
Spirituality is at the core of the Ayahuasca experience. Purification and cleansing of body, mind, and spirit in a shamanic ceremony can be the springboard to a profound personal and spiritual transformation, aka a soul retrieval.
Ayahuasca Cleansing Journey
Ayahuasca is a name derived from two Quechua words: aya means spirit or ancestor and huasca means vine or rope. Ergo, ayahuasca is known as vine of the soul or vine of the spirit. It’s also called many other names including yaje, caapi, natema, pinde, daime, mihi and dapa, depending on the tribe and its location.
The plants are collected in a sacred way (what shamans call a “walk of attention”) and it’s said that a shaman can find plentiful sources of the vine by listening for the ‘drumbeat’ that emanates from them. The mixture is prepared by cutting the vines and pounding them into a pulp and mixing them with the cleaned Chacruna leaves.
Depending on the shamanic prescription for the ceremony, up to 100 other plants may also be used in the mixture. This organic brew is a psychotropic drug which contains DMT (Dimethyltriptamine). DMT is illegal in the U.S. but is legal in the Amazon region. Without specific intent, vision, scrupulous preparation and shaman guidance, it is a drug and not a healing medicine. These shaman-guided Ayahuasca cleansing sessions are potentially an extraordinarily powerful healing experience.
An Ayahuasca Cleansing Session
(or OMG! What the Devil’s the Devil Doing Here?!)
The shaman determines your specific volume of the ayahuasca based on several factors, including how big your problems are, how long you’ve been haunted by them and the ‘aura’ you display. The shamans are veterans of dozens and often-times hundreds and even thousands of ayahuasca ceremonies. They smoke a tobacco and blow it on the brew, onto themselves, and onto the top of your head as a way to purify the experience.
When you partake of the ayahuasca brew, you lie down on a comfortable mattress and wait about 20 minutes for the sacred plants to take hold. The shamans sing specific chants, called Icaros, which coax the healing spirits to appear. The specific Icaros will be based on exactly what the shaman is attempting to accomplish both group-wise and for each individual.
The purpose of the chant at the beginning of the ceremony is to provoke your mind to allow visions to penetrate. Some Icaros call for plant spirits, for healing. Others call for animal spirits, to protect and rid patients of spells. If visions become too strong, the Icaros can be used to induce the spirits to depart to allow the person to regain their equilibrium.
The complete experience creates an environment that helps open the doors of perception. What you do when you get there is entirely your own challenge. That’s why each person’s experience is completely their own. As the shaman chants songs rich in symbolism calling for nature to heal itself, you are there for one thing.
Your mission is to break through your deepest, most all-consuming fears and to purge any demons of any form that have taken root inside you. You’re given a bucket to vomit into to expel your toxic physical and psychological issues.
The bile you blow out in an ayahuasca cleansing is toxic waste that must be released from your system. This cleansing purge is essential in your preparation for a new level of consciousness. The ayahuasca is powerful medicine for what ails you.
Many people have reported an emotional lifting of lifelong crippling depression after undergoing one ayahuasca cleansing session. These include Paul Theroux, the author, who wrote about his experience years ago. The process is one of surrendering your ego, breaking through your fears and attaining a psychic rebirth.
The ayahusca is used to break down your defenses so you can converse directly with your unconscious. This is known in some cultures as your third eye or sixth chakra. Some participants have reported extremely disturbing encounters with demons, serpents, dragons and a black void of nothingness at this juncture in their ayahuasca journey.
Next time, we’ll see that for some, an ayahuasca cleansing is nothing short of a full-blown exorcism.
You can read more about life in Brasil on John’s blog at RIO TUDO BOM
Photo by feeb on Flickr