Posted on August 30, 2011 by Nik

Somewhere in the Amazon rain forest

Banisteropsis caapii

Banisteropsis caapii

After swallowing a shot glass full of the somewhat wretched medicinal brew, with ceremonial reverence and a personal intention of what to work on for this ceremony, we sit upright in meditative postures, on mattress pads, in the darkness of the Maloka – a large circular palm thatched structure, open to the surrounding jungle sounds. 20 plus Pasajeros in the broad circle, and 6 Maestros at the center, we wait in the stillness of the night, mid the haunting and lyrical sounds of vibrant tropical forest.

Holding down the nausea, the medicinally purgative Banisteropsis vine and synergistic DMT laden Psychotria leaves start working their mojo after about an hour, as the maestros pipe up, chanting their ikaros. I came to think of these as song-lines navigating other dimensional space-time. Traditional Shipibo shamanic healing and blessing chants that, when the maestros are all singing together, can be divinely beautiful, and when dissonant as they individuate, breaking off in turn to sit in front of each one us, shuffling about in the dark, off their kites, puffing away on mappacho – hardcore sacred black tobacco considered the male propitiate to mother Ayahuasca – they can sound like a gang of wailing cats on heat stuck in an air duct.

And so it begins…

1st Ceremony:

mild introductory dose, non eventful.

2nd Ceremony:

Surrender: Old tension in my body – insecurities, fear based judgement and other social / psychological survival strategies and thought patterns haunting existence since self reflection began during teens – become amplified, echoing in my head as I resist, squirming in my uptight physical body. But at some point I am overwhelmed, a grace I will not be blessed with so easily in subsequent ceremonies, as a voice tells me to let go, and this is some how easy as the 1st layer of holding is released, and then the next, as I surrender deeper and deeper into a state of being in the immediate present, feeling by turns safer (emotionally, physically, spiritually) and safer – held, nurtured and enchanted by the voices which are now those of ancient angelic guides, the feeling of being held by The mother, the earthmind, the living, intelligent source and sustenance of the physical body, the ever present, ever loving spirits that we are inclined not to see in daily living. I have a vision of three of the maestras, connected through ¨de vine¨ to the earth and the essential loving, nurturing mother consciousness, and these in turn are extended to my lover Leah (back in Big Sur, California) who is then as present, un-separate in her mothering nature, and this unified field is holding me, loving me, re-birthing me, and there is no pain, but an ecstatic divine rapture flows in me as I let go, breathing deeply, surrendering all control of the analytical mind, fear-based self aggrandizing ego, physical manhood, letting it all go.

I have sensate visions of the Archangel Gabriel, luminescent wings extending from my heart centre. He is in me. I am he.

I see my mother in fast rewind back through her birth (towards previous births) and forgive her instantaneously as the blamelessness of her existence and innocence of her incapacity to nurture me in her turn is apparent. I visit others in my mind offering forgiveness and love to each before moving on to the next.

These, on reflection, are essentially simple thought forms amplified by the effects of the ayahuasca in the sensate-mental-visual field. But this is a place of power and empowerment, the processes and insights are coursing through my body-mind whilst I am enraptured, drifting in the Elysian Fields of no time – pure light-love consciousness. I feel the divine rapture claimed by so many divided religions but common to all of humanity and life. I’m liking it.

I see my soul as having once been manifest as a sultan – cultured, worthy, in sumptuous earth velvet tones, pleats, ottomans and sashes, elegant and noble court. I luxuriate, rolling over on my cushions and velvety blankets and pillows. My old friend Giles, on the pad to my left, coughs in a fashion that sounds threateningly sober to my ear and there is an image of an old soul mate from my Ottoman past – he a respected adversary from the British empire. I consider this may be fantasy, or not, either way, the use of fantasy may be permitted and constructive so long as I don’t lose site of the present reality.

The silent voices tell me to continue letting go, [we have] everything under control. You do not need to try to manage, control, manipulate, analyse, categorise, semanticise reality – just let go – Be. Surrender into the hands of God, Mother, accept guidance, unadulterated knowing.


In response to a particular angst over global affairs, I feel informed that it does not fall to me to be concerned with rapacious corporate led consumptive behaviour – that’s all under control / for others.

Adversaries: finding my energy centre – visualised as potent luminescent gemstone at heart centre from which powerful dynamic warrior`s wings emanate – revisit / re-member this place at will – embrace demons – they are my friends – embrace them and forgive them (forgive self)

Alchemy in transmuting fear of demons into love, their energy being absorbed into the great body of which i am a part – earthmind – love – the galactic centre.

I see my body as a temple of Aztec like geometric energy form, vibrating with potential energy.

Potentiality: choose your reality at energy level. Chose power/wealth if that’s what you want, but be aware that these are dangerous and can easily corrupt the pure intention behind the cause of love and enlightenment on earth and in mankind.

I exist as a seed of the divine source, invested in me, divested of memory, endowed of free will, to navigate this life on earth, and bring forth its potential in me.


3rd Ceremony:

The beast…

A quick smooth and euphoric rise while maestros Jorge and Antonio sing their ikaros in front of me in turn, opening and then closing my energy centres it seems, with a mist and seal of agua florida before moving on. I see them as experienced, sage, patient and giving healers, but soon as they pass, i am relieved and head out for major rear end purge whilst working hard to control and contain nausea. After clearing 1st act midst intensifying strong incoming visuals, took my shirt off and got positioned for the wretched finale. Stuck my fingers way down my throat which i gathered after the 2nd and only other time I threw up during the 7 ceremonies, is not a good idea – trust process and it will come up if and when in it’s own time. Became aware of naturally occurring processes as cycles and waves in bodily functions. But here it came after being coaxed and it was violent. Felt intense muscular peristaltic contractions from abdominal core, up and out, becoming externally aware of raw strength of this beast thing, letting loose, roaring from the gut – I think it was expressing itself rather vociferously amidst the jungle sounds of the night.

Intense high quickly dissipated and left me feeling agitated again, restless, tension in neck. Saw spirit riding this ape body / monkey mind, trying to tame the beast. Wild, angry, scared, hurt – not willing to be easily tamed.

Found myself longing for (Leah’s) loving, caring embrace – offered in myself to surrender into her, having resisted her love for so long. Made meaningful vows. Desire to begin again on return in relationship with her boys – to practice appropriate parenting.

Thunderfoot came walking behind me, heading for the door, out to purge city, distracting me from my reverie, floor boards bouncing, and I remembered Phil, thundering down the hall to come and beat us – forgave thunderfoot, and puffed up a bunch of mapacho smoke to dissipate and appease that particular thundering demon.


4th Ceremony:


Came clear that it’s not about seeing (anything)
It’s about feeling,
not about thinking,
about feeling (the language of dreams and higher intelligence)
Feeling, moving through discomfort, unwinding and letting go stored stagnant shit

Ikaros as carrier wave of feeling – an intoned language beyond words.

Occurred to me to thank my mother and father for this life! I am grateful for my life, these opportunities, this journey. I am grateful to them.

Importance of being gentle with self – be kind to self (and Leah’s boys)

The maestras have reached me – they appear as benevolent deities. I’m on all fours and drop my head in surrender, to invite the interest and play of a higher power if they are willing. I’m doing a sinuous dance on hands and knees, engaging with these earnest impassioned and enchanted sounds coming at me from these channeling maestras. It feels like a higher power is moving through them…

I feel an un-earthly higher intelligence present and enter through the opened portal in to me. Benevolent “alien” beings – they are processing me, clearing, cleansing, re structuring my energy body. There is some exchange via the feeling language which is infinitely superior to words. I want to know through this feeling exchange, what it’s like in their world, and I am in-formed that it would blow my mind/nervous system – too otherworld/dimensional to be comprehended or contained in this body-mind. I see them as large luminous faintly preying mantis like creatures of immense speed, capable of multitasking in multiple dimensions – they have seeded us – in varied diverse life forms on this planet/plane. I see them reflected benignly in likeness of reptiles in the forest around us – holographic likenesses – resonant parts of an un-individuated whole.

I feel the rapture of the forest creatures around us in the night, responding to impulse instantaneously, nervous system, body movements attuned, vibrating in unison with the environment and the ikaros in tune with the rhythmic music of the jungle.

I feel myself scratching my belly, the belly of the beast, and i too feel like i am alien, from another world/dimension, playing in this body.

I begin to make friends with the various voices and factions of self – the critic and judge, the 3rd person dialoguer and map-maker. I am making friends with “the man” – authority, patriarchy, men, myself!

I am cycling through waves of being present / consciousness,
and intense processing, rendering me semi unconscious – eyes rolling back in my head, drooling,
through to wakeful presence again, crystal clear.

Awake! I am awake, sitting hear in the stillness and silence at the end of tonights ceremony

I am at peace.

Reflections the next morning on meeting representatives of power/authority as one human being to another – engaging them with eye contact and presence – not retreating energetically, but standing still inside and present, heart centred. Not afraid.

And it’s ok to just be. No need to perform for anyone. No need to speak out / impress anyone – just express from still center if i consciously chose.


5th Ceremony:

Blueberry bush comes to me as medicine – i need to plant some when i get home. (They should thrive in acid soil of forest there!) Relationship with plant.

Feel like I am shedding chrysalis of old self – intensely uncomfortable.
Tentatively feeling new strength
Self knowing from still centre –
not retreating / backing down from gaze.
I chose my destiny.


Anal Probe: OK – finally went to maestra Anita with haemorrhoids exacerbated by having the ayahuasca shits all week… she got her kit together, took me to the maestros house and kicked them out, closed the door, had me naked on all fours, donned her latex gloves, mask and headlight! she patiently probed and said there were two wounds to which she applied sangre-de-grado after swabbing with alcohol, and then put a syringe full of some herbal paste to my arse and plunged the stuff in with what felt like a bunch of air and i had to bite hard not to burst into laughter at the whole sensation and scene, and wished someone could have been there to take a picture of her probing my anus, headlamp affixed like a miner going in. Anyway…


6th Ceremony

Purpose, Passion, Prosperity
Please don’t hurt me anymore

This is an affirmation and choice I now wish to embody for myself – in bodywork, in diet, in work – be mindful.

Smooth onset – v little nausea for the 1st time (same 1 small cup full)
Not very connected to ikaros / maestro/as this session.
After Jorge and Antonia were done sweetly, I lay down and it came on strong…
My mind (begins) questioning / dialoguing with “alien” beings-consciousness – words are limited, communication by language of feeling – too abstract and other dimensional to integrate – curious, abstract, diaphanous, quantum, multi-dimensional, high speed… well, instantaneous – no time.

There is no time. Time does not exist – is the illusion.

Higher self responds instantaneously to most of my questions, often with other questions that go deeper to root of question. i.e. Prosperity? – Do I deserve wealth? i.e. I have to feel worthy to hold/attract wealth if that is what I want/chose. Did not find a feeling inside me in the moment to affirm that self worth. Something to continue to develop.

Am encouraged (by higher self/knowing) to listen deeply and from there – the still centre – find answers/knowing to all questions of body / health / bodywork / career / life.

This is all an exploration and meditation whilst in an altered state. It is exasperating – clutching at straws of thought, ideas, questions, realizations – each moment slipping away from my grasp. I try continually to let go into void / relaxation of body-mind, but there is so much agitation, hyper activity (mental), body tension (neck, shoulders)
There is also pointedly, so much asynchronous auditory input, relentless, have to let go of discord – but is this what’s stimulating agitated / restless mind?



I feel disillusioned and depressed and weak (this morning after)

Feel like all of this – everybody’s experiences as recounted in the group, are simply fabrications or manifested thought forms generated by our rampant, delusional, hungry minds, but not existing outside of that lens of mind. Ego patterning, constructs, associations and flights of fantasy – echoes of ideas and thought bouncing around in side our own heads – delusions!

And this questioning, challenging, analysing, grappling to understand and learn and escape or move forward – Who is that? Who is “I”? (What is “I”) Really. What is “reality” for each person / observer?

And those elusive “still” moments of relief during meditations – are they simply escape, or a true state of unity?
I want all this questioning to end – i just want to BE – in peace – in my heart / mind / body.

And that period of ecstasy – 2nd ceremony – is that just that, a moment, now gone, like any pleasure, or has anything really changed in my knowing and resolve?
Of 6 ceremonies, 1 was beautiful and the rest full of anguish and bodily discomfort. Yes indeed, I have had many insights, but right now, I don’t know or believe any fucking thing.

I do feel a resolution to find a way to take care of my people (Leah, kids, dad, family and potentially all kindred spirits)
I do feel renewed appreciation, longing, desire and love for Leah.
I do not feel abdominal discomfort for the 1st in a long time, though still have the shits and feel depleted – lost weight – good dieta.

OK – patience. Process. Take time in the Andes. Integrate. Write. Be kind to self. Be careful with doubt and critical mind.

Self empowerment – work with the herbs – physician, heal thyself.


7th Ceremony

(the last at “the temple of the way of light”)

pre ceremony woke up after 2 separate naps during the day with thump to forehead.
1st one before lunch was violent and had me wake with a start exclaiming “damn!” after a fire extinguisher suspended horizontally in front of me all of a sudden, blew its top explosively into my face impacting mid forehead.
2nd was more a sort of large padded mallet which thumped me in the same place and woke me up again later in the early evening!

Kindness, compassion, healing

Quiet jungle tonight – just gentle cricket sounds!
Put myself in heart with intention and found calmness in my mind. The medicine came on strong and I hung limp in front of Jorge and Antonio in turn, weak and helpless, nauseated and surrendered, accepting their sealing Arkanas for protection and closure.
Felt a curious, rapid passage through my intestines, but no purge for the 1st time since we began ceremonies.
Chose to leave the din of the ikaros and sat out by the lake. Mateo came out to make sure i was OK.
(I note the different response/attitude after my intention tonight as compared with our little run in/conflict during 1st ceremony when I chose to leave the maloka)
I felt safe in the environment, tried opening myself up to listening deeply to plants and reptile kingdom, and also focussing on chakras and body listening, but attention span is too short in this saturated headspace – the medicine working through me. Worked to sit still, sitting upright, meditating on body sensations / discomfort in back and bowels – accepting, being present to reality / condition – biding my time to stay out of maloka during intense cacophony of ikaros for others in group. Hard work, intense, unpleasant, but staying with it is only option i understand – being present. Though eventually begging for release. Lay down on bench and found some unexpected comfort and ease and quieting of mind.
Returned to maloka reasonably well timed as maestras reached my quarter in the darkness. Fairly empty mind and was able to lie quite still and relaxed, unphased by dissonant ikaros and drifted into sleep…

During the night, thoughts again returned to bodywork / healing.
Setting up practice

Listening work

Woke this morning feeling like relaxed dough after its been mixed, beaten, kneaded, punched down and risen – ready for the world.
No more diarrhoea!



I experienced the potion here as a wretched brew, difficult to take and hold as it passes through the system. This is strong medicine. The altered state of consciousness that ensues is extreme and diverse ranging from;

Intense physical agitation, working through muscular tension resulting from mental anguish that is present (not created by ayahuasca itself, but the business of mind and ego) along with nausea and abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhoea (sound like fun?) to;

Visiting the Elysian Fields and experiencing nothing short of ecstatic divine rapture as I did in my 2nd ceremony.

In other words – it is hard work offering potentially profound rewards and insight.

Stay present, stay open, listen deeply – to body – treat kindly


An 8th ceremony

in Pisac, Cusco (the sacred valley) and Sappo – Doing frog … !

note to self: