Friday, September 30, 2016

10.03.16 DAY 10

Last night I had to urinate but it was raining pretty hard and I didn’t feel like trudging through it to the bathrooms, so I decided to go off the porch into the sand.  It was really dark and with the rain no one would see.  I positioned myself between the handrail supports and stepped up to the edge when I felt spider webs all over my junk… I flipped right out!  I was jumping around swatting and wiping at my privates like a mad man.  I quickly went back into my cabin and grabbed a flashlight to inspect for crotch spiders.  I had a good laugh about it afterwards.  I hope the whole ordeal didn’t disturb my duplex-mate, Natalie.

I got out of bed this morning and did some tai chi and practiced the bo for a while.  We’re back on the plant medicine today, so I was planning on skipping breakfast, but I didn’t have a bowel movement yesterday so I ate 3 apples instead.  I’d like to clear things out before the ceremony tonight.  I don’t like having to get up from my mat.

I didn’t bring any shaving stuff with me so my face is getting pretty shaggy and my neck itches like crazy.  That combined with the super low calorie intake I’ve been getting, I’m going to look like an emaciated cast away when I get back to civilization.  I’m really ready for this diet to be over.  The kitchen serves two meals at each mealtime: one for us and one for the people that work here.  The workers’ meals smell soooo good.  Two nights ago I had a dream about pizza.  Last night I had a similar dream.  I’d kill for something with a little cheese or salt on it.

Having two nights free of ceremonies was great.  I’m back to having positive attitude about the process and I’m looking forward to tonight.
cabin visitor. about 2" long

I hadn’t planned on buying anything for myself, but Damien was wearing one of the medicine bracelets made by Maestro Miguel.  The patterns and colors represent the various plant medicines that we’re taking along with the ayahuasca.  The bracelets are supposed to help your integration with the medicine.  Also the patterns that they embroider in the clothing, tapestries and bracelets are the lyrics to the songs… fascinating stuff.  

Anyway, Damien had one for piñon blanco and I thought it was pretty.  With only two ceremonies left I’m getting a little antsy for results so I decided I’d get one too.  I could never seem to run into Maestro Miguel in his shop, but when I went for my plant medicine the medicine man was selling them too.  So now I’ll be sporting a slick new piñon blanco bracelet at tonight’s ceremony.  I like Damien’s better.  Grass is always greener, I guess.

The smell of mapacho smoke isn’t revolting to me anymore, though I don’t know how long that will last.  I’m bringing a pair of clean socks with me tonight to cover my mouth and nose if I start getting overwhelmed again.

I noticed that the quality of drinking water here fluctuates.  Sometimes it’s fine and sometimes it tastes like someone dropped a burnt log in it.  Today was one of the latter.  I found out the difference comes from whether the water was filtered or boiled.  I definitely prefer filtered.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

10.04.16 DAY 11

Last night’s ceremony started off on the wrong foot.  I asked for more ayahuasca on my first dose, but I think maybe Felipe couldn’t remember how much I had before so it looked like a smaller dose.  I figured he know what he was doing so I just accepted it.  I was right though.  I had an experience much like the first night, so I went for a second helping.

After that the shivering and clinching started again.  I couldn’t for the life of me connect to it though.  When I would get close it just felt like there was something in my abdomen getting in the way.  This led to frustration and I started to feel despondent about the whole thing again.  

My guts were gurgling, but that was nothing new.  I assumed it was gas like every other night, but this had more to it.  I got up and went to the bathroom, which is always candle lit for ceremony.  I then proceeded to crap my brains out.  I mean it was ridiculous.  When I was done I cleaned up and started to leave, but then I was like, “UH-OH!” and did it all again.  This happened 3-4 times.  Finally it got to the point where whenever I thought I was done, I’d do an undulating belly dance to try and work everything to the surface and try again.

At one point towards the end of the “purging” something changed.  It was like I got rid of something bad.  The room got a little bit brighter and I felt happy.  Genuinely happy.  Then I remembered the disruption I felt in my belly earlier in the evening… that must have been it.

The rest of the night I was in a great mood.  I was smiling and laughing at nothing in particular.  The icaros sounded beautiful.  It was wonderful.  All in all I’d say a good night.  Some progress was made.  I still feel a fair amount of fear and anxiety though, so  I’m not done.  Hopefully tonight.  This is it.  I’m going to insist on a larger dose.  The past few ceremonies I’ve been watching Damien (to my left) drink too much ayahuasca, have a hell of a time and need help coming down, then report having an incredible experience afterwards.  Maybe he has the right of it.  Last chance.

I spent most of the day lying in my hammock concentrating on my intentions for tonight’s ceremony.  Really drilling it in: No more fear.  No more anxiety.  No more anger.  Only love and joy.  I stopped only to eat lunch and check my email to make sure none of my flights got changed.  I also did some mental math and realized that I wouldn’t have time to do my gift shopping tomorrow before the driver picked me up, so I went to Maestro Miguel’s shop to buy some stuff.  I decided on ayahuasca necklaces for everyone and paid up.  When I handed him the money he had kind of a sour look on his face, but said ok.  I think the language barrier made it not worth his laboring over whatever was bothering him.  On my way back to my cabin I started feeling a little light headed and wondered if it had anything to do with all the ayahuasca I was carrying.
laying in my hammock my eyes kept being drawn to this tree.  It looks like a burnt up alien or demon with its arms tied and raised behind its back.  It kinda creeped me out.

I returned to my focusing for the rest of the day/evening stopping to take my final plant medicine and my first flower bath.  Now, the term “flower bath” evokes images of a tranquil, small outdoor pool full of fragrant water and flower petals.  Nope.  The flower bath is a bucket full of this liquid that looks and smells like a vegetarian puked in it.  You take this concoction and step into a stall that looks like someone puked all over it, and splash/pour this stuff all over yourself.  It’s supposed to be cleansing and help prepare you for the ceremony.  I’m pulling out all the stops tonight.

When I was back at my hammock meditating I realized why Maestro Miguel had the sour face.  Due to some bad math and stupidity I gave him half of what he asked for for his necklaces.  I felt awful, so I went over to his shop, but it was getting late and he wasn't there.  I figured I’d see him tonight at the ceremony so I could get the money to him then.  Back to meditating.  I kept repeating my goal/intention, then focusing on all the problems my issues have caused me throughout my life, then visualized a future without them.  I also visualized returning home to tell my loved ones how much better I was and sing the praises of Nihue Rao.

Finally the time to get to the maloka arrived, so I got dressed in my white jammies.  I put on one of the ayahuasca necklaces and bracelets for good measure.  In the maloka I sat on my mat and continued to focus on my intentions.  After a bit Maestro Miguel came in and I asked Joel to translate my blunder to him.  Afterwards I offered him a “lo siento” and handed him the remainder of the money I owed him.  With a big smile on his face he thanked me and shook my hand.  I felt so much better.  Maestro Miguel has sung most of my personal icaros since I’ve been here and for that reason I feel kind of a kinship with him.  I really didn’t want to screw him like that.

The ceremony began and when it was my turn I went up for my drink,  I didn’t even have to ask for more.  Joe told Filipe to give me a 3/4 dose which was 1/4 more than I’d had at that point.  I was satisfied.  At this point it has become incredibly difficult to drink the ayahuasca.  The taste is revolting, it burns the throat, and I have to fight my gag reflex to get it down.  Quite a change from when I first started, when I thought it tasted like Chinese herbal medicine, only thicker.  Even simply visualizing myself drinking it causes me to shudder.

It took a long time to get rolling, and I really felt like it wasn't going to happen for me so I started to plan on a 2nd dose.  One of the facilitators, a Dutch guy named Yan (Ian?) wanted to sing to me.  His song really brought the medicine up to speed and after that I was on my way.  I started to feel really content.  I was happy and smiling, and as the ayahuasca started to really get going the shivers started again.  The shivering became shuddering and the shuddering became clenching up.  This time, however, instead of the clenching leading to cringing or punching, it lead me to hugging myself, and it was absolutely beautiful.  I realized that I was awesome.  I truly loved myself.  Mission accomplished!  This was the primary reason I came here, and I did it!  It felt amazing.  I just laid there hugging myself with a big dumb smile on my face, loving every second of it.

I started to feel like something in my guts was trying to work its way up.  Remembering my “purging” experience from last night I figured it’d be really rewarding if I could get this out of me.  So I did my best to try and get it up, but no luck.  I kept getting to the edge of puking but it just wouldn’t happen.  I decided that another dose of ayahuasca would put me over the edge, and I went for a second.

A little after that it was time for my icaro, this time sung by Maestro Ricardo.  His song put a huge smile on my face.  It felt like being a kid and having my grandfather play with me.  When it was done I returned to my mat and laid down smiling and laughing.  Then I started crying tears of joy.   I was in absolute bliss.

Then the second dose of ayahuasca hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was engulfed by massive black tentacles and everything went dark.  I was vaguely aware that I was vomiting violently (in my bucket thankfully) and I was surrounded by these entities that looked like some kind of slender sea anemone with wispy tentacles.  Very much like something Lovecraft would describe in one of his dream quest stories.  They were caressing me, supporting me, encouraging me to purge.  Helping to draw out the bad stuff.

After that, it was pure chaos.  I was in and out of my body, I felt like i was spinning in all directions, I had visions of massive tentacles working me over, and I couldn’t stop throwing up.  I was terrified and in a really bad spot.  Finally a snake by my right foot called for help, because I was incapable.

Yan heard the cry and came over to try and get me out of it.  He told me to ask the ayahuasca to dial it back, so I did emphatically.  He also started blowing mapacho on me which was making things worse.  He started to sing, but I immediately felt like it was going to wind me up more instead of calming me down.  I realized I needed Joe to sing to me, so I stopped Yan and asked him to get Joe for me.  Yan left and I descended back into the crawling chaos.  It got so bad I felt myself go to the “nothing” place I’d sometimes go to when my step dad was really giving it to me.  Dark.  Empty.  Void of feeling or emotion, but safe.  I immediately rejected it  though, because I was here to get my ass out of the nothingness and back in touch with my feelings and emotions, and maybe even my soul.  As scary and miserable as it was, I had to face the chaos.  

I remembered that drinking water is supposed to calm the ayahuasca effects so I fumbled around in the dark for my glass and downed it.  I immediately puked it all up and continued dry heaving for a while.  The situation started feeling pretty hopeless.  I became aware of the ayahuasca talismans I was wearing, and I wasn’t certain if they were contributing to my state, but I tore them off as fast as I could.  

Eventually I realized there was someone sitting in front of me on my mat.  I said, “Joe?” and the person said, “what?”.  It was Yan’s voice.  Then he lit a mapacho and in the flicker of the lighter it looked like Joe.  I told him he looked like Joe just then and he replied, “I am Joe”, and it was.  I got a brief chuckle out of the exchange which grounded me enough to tell him I was really overwhelmed and it was way too much for me to handle.  He started with the mapacho, and I told him, “please… no more mapacho”.  It was nauseating.  

So he started singing and a sort of tug-of-war began over me between Joe and the chaos.  His singing would bring me down and comfort me, then I’d get yanked back into the ether. I started reaching out in front of me to try and touch his hand or leg but I couldn’t find either in the darkness.  He either sensed or saw me pawing around and extended a hand.  I latched on for dear life.  It did help further anchor me and I started to settle.  As I drew closer to reality the fear and panic subsided and I began to weep quietly as Joe sang and held my hands.  Finally I was back.  In my head I know he just brought me down from a bad trip, but it feels like he saved my life.  As such, I really feel a strong bond with him now.  He probably gets that a lot.  

Joe moved on to help other people and immediately got roped in by Damien to my left.  My guts really started gurgling so I asked Joe if he could get someone to help me to the bathroom.  A moment later Joel showed up to escort me.  We walked slowly out of the maloka to the bathrooms, Joel supporting me.  I felt compelled to say, “I really like you, Joel”, because I did.  He said thanks, put me in one of the bathrooms and said he’d be waiting outside the door should I need anything or for when I was ready to go back.  

While I was out there in the quiet, confined, candle lit comfort of the bathrooms it’s like I shifted realities or dimensions and found myself in a dark barren field, illuminated by beings of light.  There were several of them and they fanned out in front of me.  They began to send their light into me, filling me with it… transforming my heart into a shining beacon.  A completely marvelous experience.  It’s kind of funny to think that some of my best experiences here happen when I’m sitting on the toilet.

I really enjoyed the tranquility of the bathroom and decided to stay out there for a while.  I told Joel that he could go back to the maloka and that I’d be able to get back on my own.  After an unknown amount of time Joe came out to check on me.  I told him I was doing well and he admitted to enjoying the “bathroom sanctuary” too.  A little while after that I decided I should probably get back to the maloka.  

The distance from the bathrooms and the maloka is maybe 30’.  It took me a long time to traverse that 30’ because the stars were finally out after a week of overcast nights.  The sky was beautiful and Orion was shining bright.  I got transfixed by it several times… just the beauty of it all.

I eventually made it back to my mat and laid down.  I felt like I had what I came here to get, and there was nothing left to do but relax.

After the ceremony I chatted with Lieke about our night’s experiences.  She also had a profound ceremony, it turns out.  I told her that I like her (in the platonic sense) and she returned the sentiment.  I feel like I’ve made some good friends on this journey.  I started talking to Damien and after a while I realized I really wanted to go back to the bathrooms to see if i could visit the light entities again, and I did!  I got the impression that they were always around, you just couldn’t always see them.  And yes, I was still buzzing  a bit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

10.05.16 DAY 12

I woke today feeling tired, but happy.  I wanted to have a spring in my step but my spring wanted to go back to bed.  Unfortunately I had to pack and eat breakfast before the recap meeting at 9.  During breakfast I gave Joel my last name so he could look me up on Facebook.  I told him I was going to watch El Topo and would want to talk to him about it afterwards.  Joel is nuts about Jodorowski.  We retired to the lounge so I could check my email one last time for any changes to my flights.  Joel is friends with someone in Helmet, who just released a new song.  He played it for us.  It was good, though I’m not super into Helmet.  Joe came in and joined the conversation, which was nice.  He’s a pretty funny guy.

9 rolled around and we met up in the maloka. I would be sharing first since I had to leave in a bit.  I recounted my tale and Joe and Cvita both seemed very happy with my progress.  They said I seemed full of light and confidence, and i agreed,  I felt like I could fly.  I always thought  that was a strange expression, but now I get it.  Everyone else started sharing but I soon got called to leave for the airport.  A couple times Joe mentioned reading and manipulating people’s energy during the previous night.  There was mention of Maestra Maria doing it too.  Joe said he related to my tale of the big black tentacles enveloping me when he was rescuing me, though on his end it was like a giant black snake trying to eat me.  There really is so much more to this than "tripping out".  I genuinely hope that the west opens up more to this sort of treatment.

I hugged Lieke goodbye, gave my last name to Damien so he could look me up on Facebook, and told Jason I was pulling for him (he was having a really tough time).  Joel walked me to the motor carriage and we said our goodbyes, hugged a couple times and high-5’d.  I’ll miss him.

I did my best to “be in the now” and enjoy my ride through the jungle and through Iquitos to the airport, but I was sad to be leaving and excited to be going home.  Thankfully there were no “get out and push” incidents.  Some of those mud puddles were really smelly.

The flight to Lima was uneventful.  I remember Cvita saying you could see Nihue Rao from the plane, but I didn’t remember to look in time.  I did, however, see some structures on top of some mountains. I wondered if it was Machu Pichu.  

I decided there was no way I was going to spend my ten hour layover in the Lima airport, so I got a room at the Costa del Sol hotel, which is basically part of the airport.  I used the opportunity to take a long hot bath, both to ease my weariness and I was kind of smelly.  I was still covered in “flower bath” and I’d been puking all night, after all.  After that I sent out some messages so folks knew I was on my way home, then spent a few hours updating my journal.  I have time now for a 1 hour nap before I have to get to the terminal.

When I woke from my nap my head was in a complete fog.  I was having a difficult time concentrating and I had no idea how long my alarm had been gong off, so I started to panic.  Thankfully I was ok on time, but I still just couldn’t get my brain to work right.  I did get to my flight on time after a lot of difficulty, however.  

The short version of the rest: 
plane, smelly lady next to me. 
George Bush airport :[
I hate the TSA. 

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed being back in the world.  Not to mention exhausted and irritated from 24hrs of travel.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


So I’m home now and I feel like it was absolutely worth it.  When I compare that my 6 months of once a week therapy cost around $3600, and my Nihue Rao trip cost about the same (including travel), was only 10 days, and WAY more effective… it’s a no brainer.  

What I have gained from this experience:
  • I am more in touch with my emotions
  • I now have a genuine sense of self love and esteem
  • I no longer feel like i need to be in a relationship in order to be happy
  • I feel better about my divorce (though I need a little more work on it)
  • My fear and anxiety levels are way lower
  • I no longer have a death wish, yet I still don't fear it
  • I am in general a lot happier and more positive

Down side:
  • I seem to have misplaced about 20 lbs. (Ugh… that’s going to be difficult to get back.)

I would encourage anyone with issues related to trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, addiction or any other kind of personal demons (which is basically everyone), to partake in a traditional ayahuasca ceremony.  Nihue Rao is a fantastic place to do it.  Check out their site at  Even if you don’t do it there, do it somewhere.  Personally I’d choose a place that has a shaman, not a place where they just give you the ayahuasca and leave you on your own.  The energy manipulation and singing that the shamans do is a very important part of the process.  Not to mention access to the plant medicines.

Best of luck to you all, and know that there actually is hope.

I don't mean to give the impression that I'm all better and this is the end of that journey.  It is just the beginning for me.  While I do feel way better, I recognize I still need more work.  I already plan on doing it again when my work schedule settles down.  Some people are able to lick their problems with just a few ceremonies.  On the other hand some people go for months at a time.  It all depends on the person and what issues they're dealing with.