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Monday, 22 March 2010

Surviving a Traditional Ayahuasca Ceremony - Page 4

Written by Katie O'Hara
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Staring at the dark outline of the thatched roof against the night sky, my eyes begin to glaze over.  Lightning flashes—illuminating the faces of the three men on the floor next to me.  The chanting of the shaman begins to blend with the sounds of the insects and nocturnal beasts prowling outside the shack, deep in the Amazon jungle.  My body feels cool and tingly.  I melt into the wall.  My eyelids feel like they are shutting from the bottom up.  Another dramatic bolt of lightning rips across the starlit sky, sending me back to my present circumstances.


Surviving a Traditional Ayahuasca Ceremony,  Ayahuasca, travel peru, Iquitos, Peruvian shaman, South American shaman, travel South America, Katie O'HaraA small incline has me doubled over in sickness, and I would have vomited again if Jhonny was not holding onto me, helping me walk.  I tell myself I will not throw up here as we are walking past the shaman’s house, where his children are sleeping.  Once past this point, I know I can make it home.  I concentrate on lifting one boot in front of the other.  The contorted roots are playing games with my noncompliant feet.  Gnarled branches, dripping with scorpions and spiders, grasp at my hair, pulling it from its smooth braid.  I’m sure my eyes are as wild as the nocturnal creatures’—hiding in the thick foliage, watching us with amusement as we parade by, sloshing through mud puddles. I am too delirious to make my way around them, unless I am physically led by the arm.  I don’t care that I am spraying mud all over myself.  Nothing matters but getting back to a place where I can be still.  The darkened jungle is playing tricks on the man in front of us too, because he seems to have taken a couple wrong turns where we have to backtrack.

Finally, we come to a clearing and there is one more hill before I arrive at my room.  Jhonny unlocks it, and as soon as the door contacts the frame, I am vomiting again in the toilet.  After emptying my system of the awful stuff, I believe I have poisoned myself with; I rinse in a cold shower and hobble to the bed.

I remained in bed until 4:00 the next day, suffering from what felt like the worst hangover I had ever had.  I skipped an invitation to breakfast, but eat lunch, hoping it would give me some energy.  Other than that, I spent the entire day between the bathroom and my bed where I laid and listened to the impressive rain outside.  In between showers, the birds and insects sang their songs.

Surviving a Traditional Ayahuasca Ceremony,  Ayahuasca, travel peru, Iquitos, Peruvian shaman, South American shaman, travel South America, Katie O'Hara

The one sound I will never forget was the deafening roar of an insect that sounded like the rain stick I have in my house—a gift from one of my parents’ friends.  It is a wooden rod, full of seed that produces the sound of rain when flipped over.  Both the bug and the stick start out slow and soft like a drizzle, increase to roar, and then mellow again to a hum before pausing, as if taking a breath before the next trumpeting.  All day long—buzzzzzzZZZZZZ, ROOOAAAARRR,  BBBUUUZZZZzzzzzzzzz, hummmmm, silence..… buzzzzzzZZZZZZ, ROOOAAAARRR,  BBBUUUZZZZzzzzzzzzz, hummmmm, silence…

Two weeks later, looking back—I wonder if the traditional ayahuasca ceremony changed my life or perspective.

Over a year later, I realize there has been one habit that has changed as a result of the ceremony.  I keep a small glass bowl of water on my windowsill.  A rose quartz rests in the water and every morning I dip my fingers in and spread a little on my forehead and my temples.  Then I call my fiancé, whom I’m madly in love with.

© Katie O'Hara


(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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