I believe that, unless you are a Walk-in, a Hybrid, or a cosmic visitor to earth, we, as humans, all have an innate yearning to find out the deeper meaning of our existence. I have always had a natural and deeper connection and like they say, the more you know, the more you want to know!
About 10 years ago I became interested in learning more about Iboga, a natural plant root used very successfully in treating severe addictions like cocaine and alcohol for example while in a sacred setting. The fact that there was such a healing centre on my doorstep opened the doors of possibilities into exploring my deep love and affinity with Earth, tribes, cultures and sacred ceremonies honouring the All that Is. I am fascinated with the magic of Gaia and her natural healing abilities, more so because it also heals the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies, not just the physical one.
To date I have not taken part in an Iboga ceremony although it is still on my “bucket list” as a spiritual explorer. The interest in Iboga though sparked the exploration of plant medicines as a whole and the next thing I know I was introduced to a wonderful teacher and healer, Mother Ayahuasca. This introduction opened the doors to the knowledge I hungered for and expanded my consciousness to levels I could never imagine. I have never looked back since and to this day I hold the utmost respect for this Plant Spirit, her gentle but firm teachings and the fruits her insights bore into my life ever since. She deserves a proper introduction and I am privileged to share my first encounter with her with you now.
Ayahuasca (Nice to meet you!) May 2016
It is early evening as we arrive at the farm out in the country as Newbies! We are nervous and very hungry after following a strict diet all week as this is an important prerequisite for a sacred ceremony with plants. We unpack our luggage in a little hobbit house made from recycled material and clay. We are nearing winter and it is slightly chilly, hence we are grateful for the miniature built-in fireplace.
We rush off to the wooden, hexagon shaped temple with a mattress, bedding, tissues and a bowl. We meet our Shaman for the weekend, N, as well as the guides assisting him, A, T and K. A welcome, introductions, rules and guidelines are given and the nerves (and hunger!) is now worse. I am extremely drained and tired from a hectic corporate job, daily pressures involving this crazy job, household duties and working up to the last minute before rushing off to the farm, an hour’s drive away from home. I am excited too as I am finally following my path seeking spiritual answers, enlightenment and a deeper connection with Source.
We are seated in a circle and the ceremony starts with the altar being opened where the Shaman is seated. One by one we go up to drink in the first serving. The taste is new, slightly unpleasant, unknown and definitely a mixture to get used to. A slice of apple is also served, apparently to aid digestion and help with the taste. In a twisted way you are just so relieved to finally eat and drink something. It takes approximately 45 minutes for the effects to be felt. Everybody waits for this in their own way. Either by lying down, meditating or just staring off into space, thinking. The guides start leading us with gentle song, music and drums. Music is so critical and an essential part in a ceremony. Vibrations are literally tangible as the icaros increase. At least this was the case for me and my healing abilities in terms of energy would only become clear to me at a later stage.
When the medicine kicks in, the feeling is like that of taking a shooter of pure alcohol. When it hits your system your heart rate goes up, the pit of your stomach feels awkward and not unlike being very drunk and feeling nauseous. Your stomach turns and you are grateful for a bucket or a toilet nearby. Not everybody throws up though. Some people will throw up because the body is relieving itself of excess liquid or toxins still in the body. Others actually purge an “issue” which will become the focus of the upcoming journey and this is the crucial difference. Purging can be from the top or the bottom of your body. Regardless of how the purge happens, if at all, this is when Mother Ayahuasca (affectionately referred to as Aya in the community) is starting to work on issues within you. Intentions are therefore key when going into sacred ceremony. Obviously you want to “deal with earthly issues” or “unblock some hidden past trauma” or “overcome an obstacle no longer serving you” and that is why you are surrendering to plant medicine like Mother Ayahuasca. Take note, she gives you what you NEED and not what you WANT.
In my case I remember lying down, feeling extreme fatigue coming over me, making me feel even more drained and tired than when I arrived. I surrendered this tiredness and felt myself hitting rock bottom with self-pity at how tired I was physically and mentally. So badly that I started crying from this constant tiredness in my life. I was “told” it’s ok to be tired and to feel sorry for yourself. You never do this, and self-love and care are so important. To release pent-up feelings, pain and emotions is absolutely ok! And then the flood gates opened. No matter whether I tried or even wanted to, I could not stop crying and all the tears that I have held back for 30 years were released in that moment. I cried for the loss of my mother when I was 12. For the loss of my brother the following year at age 13 as well as the loss of my only grandfather later that same year.
I cried for the extreme heartbreak I felt at age 14 when my first crush dumped me and how I swore that no man will ever dump me ever again. I drank in the pity and sadness for my father being diagnosed with Alzheimers in his early 50’s. For my first true love and husband being in a motorbike accident resulting in what felt like the ruining of our 10-year relationship when he lost all memory of me, for him being left blind, for forgetting me….. I caught up with grief for my father passing away at age 60, for me never being able to conceive a baby, for never being a birth mother but always the godmother. For my 2nd husband cheating on me after a tumultuous 10 year marriage, for my sister’s Depressive Bipolar diagnosis, for having to raise her teenage daughter from age 15, for losing my mom’s mom at the age of 90, for going into a new relationship with my now 3rd husband, completely against our community’s expectations. The list was too long and the evening probably too short but Mother Aya allowed me the most wonderful healing in the simplest form. CRYING.
This is exactly what I needed.
Yes, I did purge first, probably because of the earlier mentioned reasons but this pent-up sadness needed to go. It was a trauma that had to leave this body and mind. I have never allowed myself to fully immerse myself in my emotions of loss and grief or the feelings of rejection and sometimes the simplest thing can be the most healing. My relief was instantaneous and I will be forever grateful to have met and danced with Mother Aya. She is loving, kind and knew what I needed as a first timer. I was respectfully begging her to be gentle with me in the beginning of the ceremony which surely helped too. Closing of ceremony was peaceful and we all looked forward to having some hearty vegan soup and sharing our most intimate experiences with the others there. Indeed, great friendships have started and we feel united through love and medicine, ready to conquer more demons while supporting our soul family. Sleep came late as excitement and stories ran wild long into the night but eventually the best, deepest sleep came over us. The following day would be awesome for sure.
The next morning we awoke to the sound of silence, the silence only found in nature. Beautiful, peaceful, a sense of heaven on earth indeed. We are tired, excited and very hungry! True to this healing journey only fresh fruit, rooibos tea and honey is being served for breakfast. At 10am the Shaman holds a small Changa session for those who would like to experience DMT vividly for about 15 minutes and at 12 midday the sweat lodge ceremony is done. Changa is not my scene but the sweat lodge was for sure. Especially after moving outside last night during the ceremony to do star gazing. It was while sitting outside that I felt this extreme closeness to the earth, like a memory that surfaced. Reminding me of what it was like “back in the day”. To be outside, vast open air, sound of silence and crickets intertwined. Doing the sweat lodge brings forth a wonderful memory in its own. I have never felt more connected to my ancestors or a previous life than I did that day in the sweat lodge. With sweat pouring down me, the signing and chanting like a healing tribe inside this oven, filled with Grandmothers (white hot river rocks) and the perfume of thyme, sage and other sacred herbs filling the womb. Exhilarating to say the least.
After a couple hours down-time we had to join our newfound tribe in the temple before the evening’s sacred fire ceremony. The guides have changed the order of this since then but on this specific day we drank in the first cup before forming a seated circle outside and around the sacred fire. (insert info from website) The aim of this ceremony is to get rid of, achieve, overcome, face or release anything causing you pain, trauma or blocks. You could either write a letter or note to discard into the fire or just take a handful of leaves, letting each leaf be a symbolic release of an issue for example. I did not write a letter, but I collected 2 or 3 pieces of twigs and each one represented a person and the “issue” I had with them and no longer wished to entertain. Other people had letters which they could read out loud if they so wished, some had pine cones, herbs and another even tore up 10 x R100 notes and silently fed it to the fire! Perhaps his intention was to show himself and the Universe that money will not control him. How brave and strong this was I thought to myself.
So we continued all around the circle. By the time the circle was done and the Shaman was closing the fire ceremony, the people were already shifting around restlessly and the 2 boys on either side of me were huffing and puffing audibly. The moment he said we could get up the 2 boys took about two steps away and instantly purged. Loudly! The guides had to do a quick jump to get to them with their sage, feathers and calming tones. Today in hindsight we all have a good laugh when the Shaman relays this tale and explains why we do the fire ceremony first and THEN we go inside to drink in the first cup. See, even a Shaman continues with lessons.
That night, again, I had no visuals. This is one of the most notable characteristics of Mother Aya, her magical visuals. Through the years I accepted the fact that I don’t physically see magical and luminous visuals of things around me while in sacred ceremony, but that my visuals are of a psychic and mental nature. I am a seer, a medium, a shaman and according to other Shamans, not all of them have visuals in the physical way. I am therefore not “broken” but more spiritually in tune with my guides and my 3rd eye. For others that cannot “see” the magical things I see, there is Aya or Changa.
Despite having no physical visions, a lot of internal processing took place but overall I was wide awake and taking in every moment around me. Observing others. Perhaps I blocked the experience in a way as this is quite normal for “first timers” due to anxiety, fear of letting go fully, fear of facing the worst you have imagined etc. I have never walked away from a ceremony without being deeply educated. Where others have had the privilege of seeing weird and wonderful geometric shapes, their fingers growing longer or trees bending over to talk to them, I experience everything on a psychic level and by way of energy. I have tried doing ceremonies with my eyes open and closed but still no physical visions appear. I have therefor come to trust my method of “going in” and feel comfortable doing it this way. I go into a meditative state, know my vibration is being lifted and go through the waves as the accelerated heartbeat and nervous tummy sets in. Ride the wave…. Ride the wave…. Soul Surfer…. Ride the Snake…. My way!
On this particular night I felt more in control and I also felt the need to move away from the extreme energy inside the temple. It was severely uncomfortable for me. And in hindsight I should probably have stayed to experience it in all its glory but alas, as a young healer at this point in time, I was still scared of the unknown and frankly not yet that brave. Off I went with my duvet and made myself comfortable about 5 meters away from the entrance. On the lawn. I was star gazing yet still very much aware of the building energy inside the temple and the demons being purged, loudly. As an empath I go through all this anxiety with that person, I sense the build-up and also sense the exit of this entity. After that a calmness dawns on the tribe. The energy changes and each person is left to his own thoughts. Some are still deeply immersed in their journey and while some feel the need to gather by the fire and start chatting, some are still experiencing personal trauma in the temple. I had the most beautiful evening under the stars recollecting previous lives as a Native American where I firmly recalled that this is how life used to be. This is how it is supposed to be. The family would have circled around a campfire, nature literally alive all around them. The grandfather would be drumming and chanting a bedtime story until everyone falls asleep. While listening to the native drumming and humming you would look up at the stars, study them, see the constellations and understand how so many stories came to be. I was at peace. I was grateful for this huge opportunity to do soul searching and reconnect with a wonderful memory. The best thing was that I have actually found my tribe again! Another lifetime and perhaps another dimension but how awesome to meet up with your soul family.
On the Sunday morning we had toast, fruit, tea etc. before joining the Shaman and his assistants in the temple for the closing circle. Our tribe gathered around and a talking stone was passed around while each person was given a chance to relay their experience if they wanted to. It was very insightful to hear everybody’s experiences, fears and conclusions. Especially when they resonate with your own. We exchanged contact details with some members and after being granted the opportunity to give the Shaman a private message (that he should embrace the unconditional love from one of the members being offered) we were ready to leave. Strange how I often receive these messages but I trust my gut and, although nervous, I feel I should still relay them, should the person wish to hear it. For example, during the closing ceremony on the Saturday night, the Higher Guides or Plant Spirit wanted us to give thanks to the actual guides in the ceremony for the work they do, seeing as they are very often overlooked in this magical journey. I felt like an idiot when the thought appeared but after actually relaying the message I relaxed when I received the Shaman and his assistant’s acknowledgement and sincere gratitude for this profound message.
Homeward bound and being the newbies that we were, the highlight of this Sunday was to stop for a deliciously fresh-out-of-the-oven pie, a fizzy drink and a long-awaited hot shower with one’s own familiar bed. Pure bliss.
At home the integration process starts. Back to “normal life” whilst your soul still yearns for the real and magical connection we are supposed to have 24/7. A week thereafter you still dream and process your journeys, either by way of daily thought or while in the sleeping dream state. Often, this is very hard to achieve and the support of your community and tribe is invaluable.
With thanks and gratitude to our Shaman N and his guides/assistants for their loving guidance and holding space for every one of us that weekend. Haux Haux! (pronounced hush-hush)