My Ayahuasca Experience in the Amazon

My Ayahuasca Experience in the Amazon

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I went into the Amazon jungle outside of a Peruvian city; Iquitos (population close to half a million people) to discover what was behind the Ayahuasca experience that I have heard and read so much about over the past year. The Ayahuasca and chacruna mix is an ancient Amazonian healing medicine that cleanses your body, mind, spirit and soul. I had researched it enough to discover that there was a lot of purging (vomiting and diarrhea but that is seen as a positive thing) that goes along with intense hallucinations, along with profound personal, physical and spiritual insights. I don’t consider myself a drug user; I rarely drink alcohol, I don’t smoke tobacco or marijuana and I’ve never used LSD. There were so many people that spoke so intensely about the incredible effects of Ayahuasca. I spent so much time watching videos and read Rick Strassman’s book DMT the active ingredient in the drink. I would suggest reading this at least from the ‘Sessions’ chapters onward. One Sunday afternoon Christie came into where I was watching NFL & suggested I leave on Tuesday, and that is exactly what I did.

I left Tuesday morning & flew from Edmonton, to Houston then on to Lima, Peru where I spent the night at a small hotel near the airport. The following morning I took a flight from Lima, briefly stopping in one other Amazonian town before landing at our final destination in Iquitos, Peru.

I had nothing but a carry on duffle bag and when I walked out of the Iquitos terminal; Luis, the shaman Don Luis’s 23-year-old son, met me. He secured me on a tuk-tuk & I went about a half hour through the streets of Iquitos to Nanay boat launch on the river (an Amazon tributary a few hundred meters away from the Amazon river itself). From there we got on board Selva Madre’s boat that took me about 20 minutes upriver from the launch point. We landed in a small settlement called Padre Cocha on the opposite side of the river bank and the boat was tied along with the other hand carved, thatched roof, long river boats that move up & down the Amazon. From there we took another tuk-tuk from Padre Cocha a handful of ramshackled windowless cement buildings about 10-15 more minutes on a rather bumpy goat trail of a road, into the jungle to Selva Madre.

Selva Madre is a 22-hectare piece of jungle that is about as close to the vision of what paradise would look like as you could imagine. Set in the lush jungle forest, a clear stream running through the property, fresh fruit trees grow everywhere and there was group of hand wooden structures with thatched roofs built by Don Luis, his family & the other workers. There is limited electricity, they occasionally start up the generator but that quickly runs out of fuel and there is a solar charger however that is also very sporadic. The cabins were Spartan yet tidy and pleasant with screened windows about half way up the wall and over the ceiling. There is no running water so morning showering is done with the rain barrel that is always fully filled and requires dumping bowls full of water over oneself. It has been the primary way of bathing in many places I have been, in Africa, and Haiti for instance. I actually really enjoy that form of bathing, & find shaving without a mirror kind of a fun challenge.

Meals are wholesome nutritious and all prepared by the shamans family, his wife Monica, or his two adult daughters Juanita or Lucy. The food is quite often grown on the property and the chicken getting killed in the morning may be what you’re having for lunch.
Breakfast and lunch are prepared on ceremony days and due to many people purging during ceremony it’s probably a good idea that there is no eating after noon and in fact I would stop drinking water (that is always available) about 6:00 pm. The day after ceremony I got three healthy meals with no salt or sugar. It is also imperative that one does not take any drugs while going through an Ayahuasca cleanse, absolutely no marijuana, no anti-depressants, sleep aids or the like. There is also no sex allowed until after the fourth day following your final ceremony and no pork or bacon 6 months after ceremony and he focuses on the health aspect. He doesn’t try & blast you out of the water like other centers; the Ayahuasca is powerful enough without adding other things.

I have heard that there are other retreats that are much stricter about these guidelines. I enjoyed it as the food was nutritious wholesome delicious food and it felt healthy.

All four Ayahuasca ceremonies were slightly different yet they all followed the basic premise. Each one of the ceremonies was for the four elements water, earth, air, and fire.

The following day off is also important, as the lessons would still be coming together. In fact as I complete this weeks later the lessons are still coming to me

We would usually all walk to the temple about 8:00 pm in the darkness lit by lamps or flashlights that they provided. Luis is a stout good-natured very humble and happy mestizo second-generation shaman well groomed with 2 gold front teeth. I found out that for Luis to become a shaman it is a very complicated process that also requires living in the jungle alone for three months

We walked through the dark path lit by the headlamps a short distance on a path leading away from the compound & crossed a couple small hand made wooden walking bridges. We reached the temple and crossed one more set of planks across a small ditch to what is in essence a large thatched roof octagon wooden structure. The walls go about half way up with wood and what would otherwise be open air is covered in the same thin green screen as the houses. There were about 8 mattresses leaning against the inside walls of the wooden structure with a small lined plastic buckets next to each mattress for purging that many in fact most people do, its completely dark, since there were only three of us to start with a married couple she was a Columbia University grad & he used to work for the United Nations before they started up their own online businesses. We basically could pick wherever we wanted to sit. Don Luis checks behind all of the mattresses for snakes and when he was finished I strategically picked the mattress right next to the hand made wooden door with a metal handle in case I had to use the outhouse to purge (if you do go out take your bucket as many people purge out of both ends). There is a ramp leading down from the temple to the earth below so the temple is slightly raised off of the ground to avoid stumbling on steps I assumed.

I sat in darkness in yogi position on my chosen mattress in the darkness and waited for the ceremony to begin. With a small light at a wooden table directly across from me the shaman Don Luis was mixing his potions with his small light, to begin the ceremony with his chanting he walked to the middle of the darkened room silhouetted against the small light behind him & said his blessings and faced the four directions blowing a massive whisp of smoke in that direction. He then came around to all three of us, took our pulse and placed his hand on our foreheads. He then said ‘beddy gooood”

He then went back to his table poured his concoction into a bowl and took the substance to the person directly to the right of his altar (a small wooden table) he went back to his place refilled and repeated the same actions to the next person sitting around the outside. He eventually came to me, he handed me a wooden bowl with two hands and blessed it with a huge blast of tobacco smoke and I took it with two hands and drank what he told me before the ceremony was a medium dose of Sky Ayahuasca. There are many kinds of Ayahuasca including the very potent black Ayahuasca that also grows on the property, some types of Ayahuasca are actually poisonous. It was a warm runny mixture that had the overwhelming smell and taste of tobacco, not like cigarette tobacco more like pipe tobacco. It was bitter but not as putrid as I was anticipating and nowhere near as awful as the Oregano oil I occasionally take to boost my immunity back home. Or tequila for that matter! Everything is a piece of cake compared to that stuff, Every time regardless of the dosage size I got almost an instantaneous gurgling in my stomach

I sat in the blackened hexagon serenaded by the multitude of jungle sounds all around us in yoga position for 30-35 minutes or so, and shifted my seating position a few times to remain comfortable. I was beginning to think that I was going to be the 1% of people that this had no effect on then suddenly shortly after that thought my face and arms became somewhat numb, and I began to feel a little bit dizzy. ‘Here it comes’ I thought.

I saw Emma the little Mamma white dog I rescued from Afghanistan running over to me her entire body wiggling as she ran up to me

Then very shortly after that I saw these 4 or so dark entities in what I can only describe as a stereotypical ghost figure like black masses of cloud coming at me & I totally protected myself, realizing that this entire time I was still Spencer, I was still in my body and I was still me and these were just hallucinations,

I recognized immediately that my ego was protecting me yet if I wanted to go any deeper I would have to let go. Out of self-preservation my original reaction was ‘screw that’! I had read enough on both Ayahuasca and DMT experiences and I realized the ego is really nothing more than our protection mechanism to make us feel better and keep us from feeling bad and on that level it seems as though the ego and its function is positive and necessary. However as the evening unfolded I saw how the ego also is the root of all the pain and suffering in our existence. As these dark spirits approached me I realized that it was simply testing my ego and my ability to let it go and I could not. At one point in the four ceremonies it was almost as if I gave up, & said my ego is just too strong but that’s OK, that doesn’t make me a bad person it just means I won’t evolve.

I lay down on my mattress closed my eyes and it was as though I could see electricity and neurons firing behind the blackness of my eyelids and I knew that the Ayahuasca had begin to take effect. And then incessant non-stop flow of hallucinations flowed past me while the entire time my stomach was churning. I was dizzy and more than a little nauseous and this was the case every single ceremony. It is encouraged to purge although I did not vomit I certainly purged from the back end at the end of the night. I was conscious to keep my bearings having read about a young man who choked on his own vomit & died at a ceremony a few years ago with some other the unscrupulous shaman in the rgion who tried to hide the fact & buried the man.

The hallucinations kept coming the most spectacular colours in fact colours that don’t exist and shapes that resembled a lot of what I had heard & seen regarding psychedelics over the years, from Salvador Dali type imagery, Alex Grey type paintings to the stereotypical 60’s visions, checkerboards, Alice in Wonderland type imagery an awful lot of Aztec and South West American Native or Islamic type shapes and colours, in fact whenever I see a complex pattern now on curtains, a bed spread, wall paper whatever I think ‘that’s Ayahuasca’! There was also a lot of black background with bright geometric lines of green, a lot of purple kind of like the old Pink Floyd laser light shows at the old planetarium in the 80’s. There was also insects, and Aztec eagle imagery. In fact after awhile I found the hallucinations distracting, annoying and although the colours were more vivid and bright than any sunset I have ever seen. It seemed as if the hallucinations were a layer that I had to break through to get to another level, and I began going up a tunnel but it wasn’t a bright white light as I was expecting it was geometric lines of green and purple rushing past me. I saw massive beings, dark shadows surrounding me & I was like ‘OK those are entities watching me, no biggie’

Throughout the hallucinations though there were certainly times I had no sense of self and I was completely enveloped in the visions for the most part I was lucid and aware who and where I was. Throughout the night from time to time I would touch my face & say ‘you are still Spencer’ ‘I’m still me I am here in control of this experience’.
Certain visions memories or life scenarios would come up and often things, either incidents or people I hadn’t even thought about for years sometimes from early childhood.

It was really amazing how these seemingly sporadic visions, thoughts or memories that would usually culminate near the end of the ceremony in a profound life-changing lesson. If I opened my eyes I became too dizzy so I would close my eyes and the visions would flood over me again, Amid the visions I would then remember or see a place I knew I most definitely had been before and I would tell myself ‘hey I remember that place, I’ve been here before’ but then I would realize I’d never been there before. It was another world, another dimension, or perhaps was it another lifetime? I’m not sure but the feeling was so real and vivid it was as real as anything in waking life. One was just for an instant what appeared to be a blue or pink cartoon like world with a castle, another one I saw a forest and again just for an instant I became the forest, I became its energy and then the immense blast of joy in my core brought me back to the hallucinations.

I initially went down to the Amazon with two primary questions and almost immediately into the first ceremony they were answered. It wasn’t an external voice or anything like that it came from deep inside of me & very matter of factly and inherently.

My first question was ‘What is the meaning of life?’ and my second ‘what is my purpose here?’

The meaning of life is love. Love is really all that there is. Beautiful really in its simplicity and I guess we all inherently know this. But to feel it to the core of my being was a remarkable experience. My purpose? Same thing, love. To love my wife, and to love my baby, love my family and friends. Whatever means the most to you? Love that! Some people it’s their work, with me it’s my wife and, I realized that the baby is coming to simply add more love to our life.

Then it was like ‘OK now that’s out of the way let’s get down to the real work’

Then I was feeling great and for a short time my stomach actually felt alright and almost as soon as I thought that my stomach became very upset again, I could see the medicine forcing the toxins out & it was a dark, ugly, oily substance with large bubbles in it & it was as if I was looking at it get pushed out like watching through a microscope slide. I felt it at ‘both ends’ and it is not pleasant yet intuitively I knew it was good for me and cleansing me. The sick feeling became rather consuming so I decided to go outside to the outhouse located a few steps away from the outside ramp and I brought my bucket, to the outhouse and couldn’t purge at either end.

I still sat there awhile in the dark in the jungle thinking honestly, this really sucks; I’m homesick, listening to the jungle sounds I missed the sounds of Central Alberta, the coyotes crying or the owl hooting outside our acreage, I missed my wife and I missed my dog. At that point I wanted nothing more than to go home,

After sitting on the outhouse for what I guessed was 30 minutes or so I went back into the temple and lay down. The entire time the shaman is singing his Icarus and shaking leaves. Don Luis has a beautiful voice, and he will often whistle the Ikaros and he whistled so beautifully it was absolutely mesmerizing. An unusual trait about the Icarus is maybe because of the acoustics of the hexagon room the shaking of the rattle sounds like its everywhere, and his singing is all around you as well. Many find it incredibly soothing, and yet others an anchor. I lied down and that is when the usefulness of this experience for me began. I saw a lot of human relationships, family dynamics and I saw how other people viewed me and why they see me the way that they do,

I would have isolated visions or events throughout the experience seemingly totally unrelated until the very end when they all culminated together to give me the most powerful life lesson that I have ever felt. I marvelled to myself “so this is what I came to learn”. On an intellectual level I guess knew these things but the biggest difference is the intensity to which I felt these lessons. The lessons from the first ceremony were twofold really and intertwined. They were mainly about the ego. In fact that was the main focus and theme of this experience was getting to know the ego and developing humbleness

Those were the main lessons of the first ceremony yet I also had many isolated insights

I went down or up tunnels a few times, I went into hell for instance. I was going down this tunnel & I could see the outline of demon faces, I knew that nothing could hurt me so I just went with it. I was shot down this tunnel and when I came out the other side I was looking at this vast universe with beautifully coloured solar systems I thought ‘see that wasn’t so bad.’

I thought these hallucinogens are for artists…but then it came to me aren’t we all artists?

At one point I was lying on my side & I’d say that it’s the only physical sensation that I had it was pink & I felt a throbbing or pressing on the side of my head, and my ear (I was lying on my side at this point) I knew it was a baby I could almost see the outline of its head up close then I thought, is this my child? Or maybe I am the baby in this scene, feeling the whooshing past my ears & pressure, maybe how the baby feels in the womb.

I saw the many hairless and mangy dogs of Iquitos. And thought what could I do for them? Poor things must be so uncomfortable. To take them back to Canada would be hard; it may even kill them with winter coming. I think to cure mange it is a shampoo that isn’t feasible here or is it even available? If it was just a pill or immunization I could do that. I realize now that is why so many people ignore stray dogs, because there is just so much to pay attention to if you focused on animal suffering its too painful. When I returned home I donated money to a local Iquitos dog rescue since I couldn’t help them myself.

I already recognize the insanity of our society, wrecking the planet to get resources, hurting creatures only to throw food away. These animals have given their existence so we can survive only to have people dump their food into the trash

I kind of wanted a post death experience but then at that moment I thought if I don’t see ‘the light’ that’s OK if its just a hallucination who cares & if there is a light at the end of the tunnel when you die I’m sure I’ll find it soon enough. Later on in other ceremonies the ‘light’ did come for me a few times though I was never able to transcend it.

When the first ceremony was finished after about three hours the shaman who sang his incantations and whistled pretty much throughout the entire ceremony came in front of me and did his blessings with the black he had on against his white shirt it appeared as if an eagle was in front of me as he spread his arms it was as if the eagle spread its wings and the white on his shirt became a luminous glow and the tobacco he was smoking was a small lit fire it was pretty mesmerizing and I saw the essence of his soul.

If I gained no other insight other than getting my first two questions answered I’d say finding the meaning of life is pretty good insight and worth the price of admission. Although we all know that on an intellectual level but when I felt it so deeply more profoundly than anything I have ever experienced it really was incredibly moving.

I never felt good the entire ceremony, and for the most part I didn’t enjoy the hallucinations that accompanied this experience. Though some were incredible and beautiful, and I knew it was important to be grateful for all the aspects of the experience as it was all telling or teaching me something. On the rare occasion when the visions would turn ugly or grotesque I’d just let them morph into a more pleasant or neutral vision. Equally as rare were these incredible visions that were so complex and infinitely beautiful I could not believe what I was seeing.

When the true euphoria would hit was when I could relax and go into the vision become part of the hallucination. I became the Ikaros I became a forest and when I was resonating at that energy level I felt the most incredible fire hose blast of energy it was like ‘whoa! ‘And it was so powerful it blasted me back into my body.

When the ceremony was then over and lit by lamps we wobbled out way back to our perspective cabins Don Luis giggling all the way as we were wandering back. I arrived back to my hut about 11:00 pm.

Following day I felt terrific there is no sugar or salt allowed the next day, I felt pretty good

2nd ceremony

I was really nervous to go into the second Ayahuasca ceremony. I am somewhat frightened of what I may uncover tonight. I do have butterflies. Tonight I was to receive a larger dose of Sky Ayahuasca. & he said I might vomit. Although I did not purge out my mouth I certainly didn’t feel terrific.

Don Lucia went through a slightly different yet equally as mesmerizing series of Ikaros songs, incantations, blowing smoke, and chanting

I felt sick and terrible the entire time of the second ceremony shortly after I drank the bitter and watery substance. The illness and the hallucinations are the work I knew I had to do to get the lesson.

I was thinking back to what the first memories that I could remember and they were my family & how happy I am that they will get to enjoy our child.

Another one of the most profound lessons that occurred to me last night was, and this came so loudly it shouted at me treat people well

There were the vivid hallucinations and also the personal lessons that I was given. But to be honest at least at that point because how absolutely terrible I felt I wondered if it was worth it. I did occur to me that I am unable to fully experience this because of my powerful ego not being able to let go. Perhaps it gave up on me? But I was feeling so terrible it was pretty hard to sense anything else. Besides being incredibly dizzy and nauseous, my neck was so weak I struggled to keep my head up, my mouth watered a few times yet I don’t think that I needed to vomit, nearer to the end of the ceremony I knew that I had to get rid of some stuff out the back end but pragmatically I wanted to wait to go home to my hut to lay down and go in the privacy of my room.

Then I began to become enveloped with this warm golden light and the incredible feeling of joy became too overwhelming it stopped. Probably it was the closest I was going to come to going into the light I was in a shell kind of like one of those Ukrainian egg dolls that fit in each other and this golden light began to bathe me from above in a bright light trying to pull me up but at that point I felt so physically ill and just I had this weak neck that I couldn’t hold my head up I was so dizzy I just felt so terrible I was unable physically to go into the light. I knew that in order to transcend into the light it required me to let go that may have also included me soiling my pants so I kept in control & was blasted back into my body

I saw the different levels to our development and our existence.
The Physical; It is OK to be concerned with the health of the physical body & that is a good thing
Mental; constantly read, learn and educate oneself with the main purpose of becoming more intellectually refined inherently I saw this as positive
Emotional (interpersonal) be humble, treat people kindly,
Spiritual it tried to take me there a few times but I was unable to fully go there. A couple times in the hallucinations one point with the Icarus I actually saw the music and then only for an instant I became the music and there was a boundless incredible energy expanding in my core but it became to overwhelming it stopped or maybe I pulled away because it was so intense. However the first 4 ceremonies the intent is to develop your earthly planes. The following four ceremonies (five through 8) reach to higher levels.

I may not communicate and contact other entities (other than seeing dark silhouetted figures) that I was hoping or extended stays in the blissful light or having near death experiences but I have received personal lessons and really at the end of it that may be more useful than my other desired outcomes. If nothing else if this experience leaves me a kinder gentler person with more self awareness and personal insight that I can incorporate into my daily existence then I can get something useful out of this experience.

There have certainly been some personal lessons that I have acquired from this perspective that will be useful but the price is the extreme discomfort that I feel.

At the end of last night’s ceremony we all met in the middle of the 15 meter by 15-meter hut under the 1and1/2-story canopy and raised our hands after some incantations in Spanish and dropped them. The same as the last ceremony I although I was incredibly messed up I am always ready for the ceremony to be over long before it is.

I was pretty dehydrated and ran to the toilet a few times to purge out my back end. Walking home last night was like being really drunk, from being nauseous dizzy and incredibly uncoordinated,

Following the 2nd ceremony and unlike the first night where the next morning I felt really good and refreshed after the second ceremony I felt incredibly hung over. I do realize that the medicine was still cleansing me even the following day and the lessons continued to come the next day too. I didn’t sleep overly well as I was nauseous all night and I got a what they call chigger bites, a small red spider that lives in the vegetation that I got from doing exercises in the grass yesterday.

The Third ceremony
In the third ceremony that again consisted of various incantations, and Don Luis’s whistling and Ikaros. Tonight I received just a small drink of Ayahuasca for this ceremony and consequently the visions were much gentler. Although many of the hallucinations were quite grotesque they seemed softer somehow. I certainly did not get the incredibly intense emotional messages that I did in the first two sessions. I had a few memories that kept popping up, the oddest things, various long dormant memories popped up from elementary school, minor hockey trips, university partying days while returning home to Dawson Creek for the summer

I did feel, I have always committed fully to the endeavors I undertook this fascination with Ayahuasca has been no different like; sports, travel, philanthropy, my animals I realize now its time to devote myself completely to our baby.

The couple from Los Angeles left & two more people came a girl from the UK & another fellow a Dutch man who resided in Spain who has had many previous Ayahuasca experiences.

When the ceremony was completed about 11:00 pm I went back in my room, the stars outside were so incredible tonight in the jungle. And I am always amazed looking at fireflies dance around the darkness

Final Ceremony

At about 7:00 a few of us were sitting in the dining hut visiting and Don Luis (pronounced Lucia) came in & said “Okay we go now”. We had the ceremonies at 8:00 the previous times. So this caught us a bit off guard.

We followed the others since they had lights to the temple, this ceremony Don Luis had his apprentice shaman, Anderson, his son in law, married to Juanita, and who is also a worker around the compound, with him. After we all found our places around the temple, a huge thatched roof hand made wooden behind each mattress again as he did every time for snakes we laid our mattresses down on the sheet of plastic underneath. I sat in yogi position as I did at the beginning of every ceremony and then the apprentice shaman came in the darkened room with two Peruvian women that sat on either side of me. That kind of provided a strange vibe in the room as we had never seen these two women before, they didn’t drink Ayahuasca either. The shaman comes around to each person that evening & takes their pulse, places his hands on their head & will tell them what he’s going to do with them this evening. Earlier he had told me I will have a medium dose like that of the first night and that suited me fine, the second night was too much, the 3rd I had barely any effects at all. However after taking my pulse he said ‘little one tonight or you get too dizzy.’ As he pantomimed me being dizzy with outstretched arms.

Don Lucia did a series of incantations, lighting his very large (3/4 of an inch in diameter) hand rolled tobacco sticks blowing heavy plumes of smoke, to begin the ceremony. He then poured the bitter tobacco tasting Ayahuasca drink into the wooden bowls & started with Ron to my left and had him drink went back to his table at the front of the room with all sorts of potions, shells, his cigars rolled up, his bottles of Ayahuasca in a large empty plastic coke bottle with the label removed and he poured another bowl full. He came to me & I was surprised as he actually gave me quite a large dose from what I could remember not as much as the second ceremony but larger than the first. Then we sat in the darkness waiting. I immediately feel kind of warm all over and almost instantly I feel my stomach begin to swirl and gurgle. After a short time I guessed 20 minutes but it may be closer to a half hour, others said 45 minutes but I think that’s a bit too long, the dizziness and nausea increases in intensity and at that point I usually lay down on my mattress and the visions came intensely and do not cease.

Almost as soon as the visions begin I want them to be over, however I was also conscious that I should embrace these and get the most I can out of the experience. Many of these visions were sharp and jagged and some dark, but again I just waited and they morphed into another more pleasant vision.

With the hallucinations, one was pretty incredible it was like looking at an eagles eye up close looking on the verge of the watery substance of its eye the rest are simply distractions and even though they are so colourful I never really liked them.

Last night I remembered and I mourned all of the animals I have killed throughout my life, hunting or just foolishness as a child.the Coyotes I shot that really are probably at least as smart as domestic dogs & I am convinced must also have personalities. I got the lesson again, be humble and arrogance & cockiness is never the way to go.

Early on during last nights session. My eye burned & burned my first thought was it was a bug bite? I then saw little ants crawling all over my body & I thought Ayahuasca is so wise its telling me it must be a little ant bite, but then I realized it was the Ayahuasca cleansing a little skin bump I have on my left eyelid.

The entire night my thoughts almost all of the time were coming back to Chloe, and I regretted that I was away from her. The oddest thing before that last night I had a dream Chloe came to me & she wasn’t well, I tried to comfort her & then the following day Christie had texted me to tell me that Chloe wasn’t doing very well & couldn’t stand up. She experienced vertigo & was falling over.

I remembered all of my mistakes with Chloe being too hard on her as a puppy, when I was rollerblading with her on her run on that sunny day and she passed out/plopped down in the shade of a tree, all the times I was just being way to strict with her early on. The life lesson I received from that was transferred to the baby, not an intensely as the other messages but one I received none the less. Don’t be so hard on your child.

I felt this warm golden light surrounding me & with the innate knowledge that everything is energy, so just be whatever vibration you want to calibrate with. Be the forest be the music. So I felt the golden aura of love around me and I projected it to surround Chloe with love. I had the vision of lying next to her & how I should be be the last thing she sees in this world, as I really am the one who loves her more than anyone, the source of all of her happiness. I pictured her when she dies holding her head in my hands & kissing her warm dry nose telling her, ‘I love you more than anything in the world’ It will be hard to reconcile life without her after 14 years of her so entwined in my existence.

Then I received this inspiring jolt of hope; this is just another one of Chloe’s dips and she will recover…I know what ever will be will be but when I thought of all of our times together, wading in the North Saskatchewan river in the summer or autumn sun. Earlier that day I thought of Chloe As I was going down the Amazon looking at the eroded sandy banks of the world’s largest river and I thought of Chloe and all the times by the riverside by Gold Bar or Terwilliger Park. The main lesson I received from this trip was all we have is love, the love we give, the love we receive, and true enough the experiences he have but in this case this experience has taken me away from what the most important things to me are, my wife, my unborn child and my dog.

I fell asleep in my hut after I called Christie to see if Chloe was still alive & see how she was doing. She was and still is doing fine.

During my hallucinations when I was locked into the throws of them I wanted out so badly & I almost felt a sense of panic because all I wanted is for the experience to be over & to be with what I thought at that time was my dying dog Chloe. I knew just to roll with the visions and I did however the entire evening Chloe consumed most of my thoughts.

I didn’t get the intense profound life lesson that I did the first 2 ceremonies. That is not to say that the ceremony wasn’t useful and I didn’t get a lot out of the three experiences (the 3rd ceremony was pretty benign with just a small drink of the cup, but in retrospect its probably what I needed that night, I was really dreading going in) I’m good with the Ayahuasca experience, & I will speak of this with great reverence because it has been an incredibly valuable experience. I believe at this point in time in fact it has been the most valuable experience I have had to date in my life. However first of all, I generally feel so physically ill its difficult for me to totally enjoy & immerse myself and any experience was difficult because I felt so sick during it.

Secondly, I realize that I received profound life lessons yet there is an infinite amount of life lessons and an infinite amount of things that we can do to improve ourselves. The lessons I received I felt more intensely than any other experience that I have ever had yet for me, the sickness, along with being away from the ones I love would preclude me from exploring this substance any further. It seems to me the more shit someone has buried within themselves the more of an impact this experience will have.

A Canadian from Edmonton no less joined us on my last day Afterwards he couldn’t walk going back to our huts afterwards. He was falling down, & I’ve never seen anyone so physically incapacitated before even with alcohol, but still he happily announced, ‘that was the best night of my entire life.’ Once again this ceremony like the past three I was relieved when it was finally over, even though I was still very dizzy nauseous and uncoordinated afterwards.

This evenings ceremony was different, in fact all of them varied slightly. We were all brought to sit at the altar and Don Luis and his apprentice sang the Ikaros around each of us shaking their leaves blowing smoke over us. Some people purged here, I did not but I realized that my eyes were weeping in every session, I was not crying they were just watering I thought some type of purge as well. At the end as they sang around me Don Luis traced a cross on my forehead that became incredibly cold to the air then a blast of white light then came and shot towards the sky upwards to a white semi-circular dome (my skull?) At that point Don Luis blew smoke on me and I felt the smoke permeate through my entire body and leave out the other side. The ceremony was completed shortly after this. I hugged Don Luis & thanked him for everything. He said ‘you soo open, beddy good’

Some really odd things have happened, for instance everyone was sweating & was so hot that night. Later we found out it was because it was a fire ceremony. A ceremony before before we were all very cold & it was air (I think). I also found out why it was a little more difficult to access the higher universal realms the first four of the cycle was of the elements, & the next four were to access those earthly dimensions. The truths that I discovered were profound and deeply meaningful, yet I don’t know if I will do an Ayahuasca journey again, being away from home is always hard on me, being in the jungle with little or no electricity made it hard for me to journal on my laptop but mainly it was being away from home. The food was good and because of the strict dietary restrictions, they cook the most amazing good wholesome nutritious food, yet there are only two meals on ceremony days, so you don’t eat past noon & ceremony is usually at 8:00.

The most incredible part of this eperience is Don Luis & his family; I can’t say enough positive things about them. They are kind, gracious & hospitable. I’m not sure how the other centers work, but the second-generation shaman took me to the airport. In essence you stay with the family in the compound, Don Luis, his wife Monica & his two adult daughters, Juanita & Lucy cook & their husbands Anderson (the apprentice shaman) & Miguel and grandchildren along with the kindest, hardest working and friendly helper Julio all take care of the duties around the center. You are able to sit & converse with Don Luis, who has passable English though we had a Spanish speaking person in our very small group (there were four of us) and he translated & got a lot more unbelievable insight from Don Luis.

Some of the other centers mix other substances in their brew & Don Luis’s is pure Ayahuasca vine and chacruna leaves.

Most of all Don Luis’s humility, good nature and openness and accessibility adds to a feeling of trust with him at the center. The place itself is literally situated in what could easily be the Garden of Eden. I do not have anything else to compare this two but one of the other guests had been to one of the other centers and was put off by its commercialism, Selva Madre was less than half the price of other centers & they will take bookings anytime. The ceremonies are on Monday Wednesday & Friday, & you need four ceremonies to complete a cycle so you can plan your stay around those days.

They organized trips to see the Boras tribe & some sloths, monkeys and anacondas that were included in the price. Selva Madre was a relaxed atmosphere, the small groups we were in was also really nice. I really bonded with the other guests.

It is hard work and the ceremonies are split up as the lessons keep coming the following day and often for days afterwards & Don Luis’s theory is you need some time to process everything. Don Lucia said that I had a lot of light & positive energy; this that made me feel as though I am on the right path in many ways and though Ayahuasca has given me the lessons it is up to me to put these lessons into practice.

There was certainly a lot of personal information I received that was useful but I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience per se because it’s a lot of hard work that often entails not feeling very well. It’s not for everyone but for me it was the most useful personal journey I have ever undertaken. I would recommend it to uncover any issues as I think it would be equivalent to years of talk therapy, & many people come to cure addictions and other illnesses. My journey was more out of curiosity and after leaving Selva Madre the lessons keep coming and I realize that life is the real ceremony