Monday, November 7, 2011

My Ayahuasca Experience, in Europe



i experienced ayahuasca in the fall of 2011. Three Peruvian shamans of the Shipibo tribe (Maestro Jorge, Maestra Celestina and Maestra Luzmila) had been brought to Austria to perform ayahuasca ceremonies on tour for Europeans. There was also then a shaman apprentice who is half American and half Austrian (Virginia) who acted as their assistant and the organizer of the event. My experience with ayahuasca was powerful, positive and helpful and has already catalyzed healthy change in my life and i think in my body as well.

Ayahuasca is a blanket term for psychoactive infusions brewed, as i understand it, from the root of an Amazonian vine mixed with plant leaves. It is made and administered by South American shamans as a religious sacrament, and shared with (and sought out by) foreigners for its spiritually and physically beneficial effects.

What will follow here is the journaling of my experiences over those 4 nights. (The first entry is MUCH longer than the other 3, it is perhaps the most exciting and fun. If you do read this though, or part of it, i do ask that you also at least scroll down to look at the entries on the 3rd and 4th nights as they are to me the most striking and provide important context for what i experienced on the first night.)


When we all arrived we introduced ourselves to the group and to the shamans, and we were also to introduce our intention for the ceremonies, to vocalize and share why we were there. i shared three motivations: 

1. i have become very interested in spirituality and the divine for the purpose of self-development over the last 3years. i have made it a hobby to study the roots of many of the world's religions to see how and why they developed and gain at least a basic understanding of how they manifest in cultures and effect people. i have practiced yoga with a focus on the non-physical aspects. i have repeatedly traveled to India to increase my understanding of yoga and to study Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture and to learn directly from Hindu priests and yogis. All of these pursuits and friends and influences i found along the way (specifically through a friend that has done many ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru and the book Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby, as well as the experiences of Sting, Alan Ginsberg and other celebrities) have long pointed me also towards ayahuasca as therapy towards understanding our true nature and the divine itself.

2. Ayahuasca has helped some of my friends take a more balanced, less needy perspective on alcohol and other recreational drugs, and i was interested also in this effect. 

3. Everything good in my life had recently come unhinged, it seemed. i had lost my job, my girlfriend, and much of the motivation to live where i was living. My friends and others experienced with ayahuasca have claimed that ayahuasca could bring clarity and a sense of direction - this also was a powerful motivator for me to leave my home in Rome on an overnight train to Austria to take ayahuasca.

Ceremony 1

The ceremonies took place in a wonderful, domed building with no furniture but several crystal formations, gongs, singing bowls, and other new age paraphanelia on display. Each participant received a thin, inflatable mattress to lie on and most of us brought additional pillows, sheets, and blankets. There were 16 of us from 7 different countries paricipating in the full 4day event, and the group grew to 25 for the last two nights. (English and German were the common languages of the participants, though some spoke only one or the other, and the shamans spoke only Spanish and Shipibo, so everything said had to be translated twice for everyone in the room to get it!)
The domed building where the ceremonies took place.

When it was time for the ceremony to begin, the shaman apprentice (Virginia) went around the room spitting perfume on each of us and then went outside and prepared the outside of the building in the same way. The two female Shipibo shamans (Maestra Celestina and Maestra Luzmila) came around to prepare each of us by blowing tobacco smoke into the chakra at the top of our head, then into our folded hands and basically, i think, blessing us. Then Maestro Jorge whispered a long song into the jug of ayahuasca, preparing it for us, and then the three lady teachers called us up one at a time to drink a shot-glass size drink of the thick syrupy tea that is ayahuasca.

It was disgusting. i mean really vile, as tastes go. It tasted woody and gamey somehow. It was strongly suggested that we not drink any water during the ceremony as it could dilute the effects of the ayahuasca, but we could swish water around in our mouth and spit it out to help get rid of the taste. We all had buckets near us for this spitting out and for the vomiting that some people do experience at some point while taking ayahuasca. That first night though i did not put any water in my mouth to get rid of the taste. i was determined to not even risk losing any of the potency of this medicine. i had prepared, at their suggestion, with 7days of very restricted diet and habits. For a whole week i had no red meat, no dairy, no fizzy drinks, no alcohol or any other drugs or medicines of any type at all (coming off my habit of an Italian espresso or two every day was especially trying), no spinach, no processed foods, i engaged in no sexual activity of any kind, and i did my best to avoid all salt, oil, sugar and spices (all per the shamans' orders). On the last day before traveling north i was really determined to be perfect about the diet (whereas on other days i would eat a meal even if i suspected there was a bit of oil or salt or something in it) so i ended up eating very lightly, just picking at meals. i took an overnight train north, arriving very early in the morning, i had four dried apricots for breakfast and then fasted the rest of the day leading up to the first ceremony.

And wow was it worth it!

My experience that first night was powerful. And fun! 

After we each went up to have our drink of the brew, we were to go back to our mats and lie down and meditate or relax and basically wait for the effects of the ayahuasca to arrive. A little while later (i think a 30-45minutes) Maestro Jorge would begin singing his first icaro for us, which is a special shamanic song, and by that time we should be feeling some sort of effect.

Well, i fell asleep. Woke up suddenly as Virginia was coming back around spitting the perfume on us again and this startled me awake. A moment later Maestro Jorge began. And a moment after that my face and hands and the top of my head began to feel fantastic. Euphoria was crawling around over my upper body. i began to smile and i started to see colorful patterns, like neon lights when i closed my eyes. These effects began to increase in strength until then i began having the sensation as if i were sitting on a roller coaster and it was zipping uphill. i could feel the g-force of moving forward amazingly quickly, and since i was lying on my back, forward was up. i was zooming upwards suddenly, sometimes for an instant, sometimes a full second or two, exactly as if i was on an amazing roller coaster. i was also hearing roaring sounds all around accompanying this feeling of motion. It was like jet engines engaging as you get ready to take off for a transatlantic flight. But as quickly as these motion and sound sensations would begin, they would fade away, and i would feel like i was arriving at the top of the hump of a hill onto level track on the roller coaster until the next woosh of sound and motion. This happened many times, maybe one dozen times..maybe more, and it felt amazing and fun and incredible and it made me laugh and giggle a lot at the beginning, chuckling out loud and even kind of squealing with delight. Soon these surges of motion-feelings stopped but i felt like this was because i was now cruising at that higher speed, surfing a wave of energy that was frothing over my body, making my entire skin tingle and radiate good sensations. i can remember rubbing my hands together, amazed at how good it felt to feel them touch each other, running my hands over my face and neck and my chest. Mostly i didn't really want to move. i felt pinned down by the g-force of an incredible forward motion. i was euphoric and laughing and crying happy tears. When i would open my eyes i could see around the dark room but with my eyes closed i was seeing an amazing show of neon lights and shapes squiggling and dancing around behind my eye lids. i saw circles and triangles and a lot of zigzagging and squiggly lines, mostly neon on a black background. 

i found that i was able to have an internal dialogue separate from the visions and sensations i was experiences. i was able to talk to myself about what was happening, to sort of step outside of the trip and look back on myself and see what fun i was having and think about it. i became very aware that my consciouness was seperate from my body. Sometimes i could still perceive the neon visions vaguely even with my eyes open. And the sounds became staggeringly amazing. After the first icaro, the shamans split up and began moving apparently randomly around the room, sitting right in front of each of us to sing us their icaro individually (it had been suggested we sit up when they came to us).

And i became aware that i was able to hear Maestro Jorge's ancestors. Both and he and Celestina came from lines of many generations of shamans. The ancestors were telling me that they were there. i could hear a whole array of male voices all singing his song together. Several old voices, some distinctly younger ones, some quite beautiful, some deep ones and sometimes higher pitched ones all together, harmonizing and weaving themselves around the room. At first i began trying to analyze the idea that i could be hearing the ancestors, thinking that maybe there were speakers around the room bringing more music to us than the  four shamans could be making but i became convinced in my soul that not only were the ancestors present and singing to us but that they wanted me to be aware of them, they were announcing themselves to me and i was very very comforted by this. And the songs that continued were beyond amazing, beyond the many amazing rock'n'roll concerts i've been to, Maestra Celestina was absolutely wailing out her icaro in a nasally, powerful voice that also seemed accompanied, like Maestro Jorge's. Jorge's song was rythmic and catchy, coming in the range of voices with his ancestors. To hear Maestra Luzmila she would have to be near you, otherwise drowned out by the other two as they all sang their different songs at the same time. At this point, hearing the incredible music of the icaros, my mind wandered for some reason to the fact that i had paid 600euros for this 4night experience and that this means each of the shots of ayahuasca had cost me 150euros. i began to laugh and cry as i realized in my conscious mind that this was already SO worth it! (i didn't realize yet how much more was coming!!:-)

(Maestra Celestina's icaro is on youtube, and though it is beautiful it is only a weak taste of what you hear during the ceremonies:-)

i began to feel my stomach rumbling. And i have a chronic problem of pain in one side of my lower back when i lay on my back for more than a little while. i began asking the ayahuasca to clean me and to take my pain away. But i did remember to be precise in what i ask for, i asked that i might be cleaned in a way that was acceptable in time and space, that would not be embarassing for myself or distasteful to others in the room (basically i didn't want to make a mess in my pants.) But the good sensations in the body also created a rigidity, i'd become very tense, stuck in the position i lay in, on my back with my hands on my chest, like the carnival ride that spins around in a giant cannister so quickly that eventually the floor drops away and your are left stuck to the wall. i was beginning to feel like i was going to urgently need the toilet but also that i couldn't move. Briefly i worried but then i consciously put my trust in the ayahuasca, that the plant would take care of me. Sure enough shortly afterwords, while lying in a whirlpool of neon visions, amazing sounds and incredible good sensations i suddenly felt myself bound up onto my feet, walk stiffly across the room, out the door, down a set of stairs and into a bathroom where i got quickly to a toilet and found that my anus had become a faucet and stream of hot, pungently terribly smelling waste was running out of me. i could feel the boiling hot, mostly liquid waste running through my intenstines and running freely out of me into the toilet. It went on and on. It was amazing to me how much came out me considering i had not eaten in 25 hours and had had very little the day before that! i felt that some old, stagnant stuff from my gut was exiting me. And it felt great. 

i did feel very much like i was tripping. My balance was weird and unsteady but i never stumbled or struggled, it just felt like gravity was acting differently than normal. In the brightly lit little bathroom i was having visions of shadows moving around in my vision, somtimes it looked like plants and foliage were in my perepheral vision but then always moving if i tried to look at them only to be noticed again around the sides of my vision. Thus far, from back when i first started getting the giggles until now i had become almost completely unaware of any other people around me. But as the amount of time i had spent on the toilet became long, and remembering that there were in fact several other people that would need to be using just these two toilets, i began to worry this could be a problem. Suddenly i heard someone open the door at the top of the stairs to come down towards the toilets. At that same moment i realized that i was done, put myself back together, washed up, and exited the toilet just as that other person was arriving to immediately go in and use it without my having been in their way. From what i saw this was the case throughout the night, despite the many of us needing to often use those two toilets, we never had to wait. As one person arrived, someone else exited. Even in the moment i felt very much as though this was being orchestrated.

Back up the stairs, the door to the melocha (the domed room) opened as i arrived, i walked in and was swallowed by the thick, tobacco filled air, the roar of the singing shamans and then by the darkness, with me in the middle of the room, unable to find my mat. It ocurred to me for a moment to worry about this but exactly then someone struck a lighter to get their tobacco pipe going, the light guided me to my mat and i lay down again (the shamans and many of the participants continuously smoked hand rolled cigarettes and pipes of heavy, chemical free tobacco). Lying down again i felt great and began to enjoy things the visions and sensations again.
The inside of the dome of the melocha.
i began to have several specific realizations. i became aware that there were presences in the room beyond the people i'd expect to find there. i felt that they were souls, and even OUR souls. i became aware that we do in fact have higher selves, like souls or spirits, and that other souls or spirits were there watching over us and, it even seemed, interacting with us. i realized that they knew that i was going to be there for four days working with the ayahuasca and i felt that they were glad for this, even excited. Sometimes i felt i could kind of see these other presences in the form of vague, blue, body shapes, but it was hard to be sure as the neon zigzags and swirling light show behind my eyelids was still going. Sometimes i could see jungle- aspects more clearly now, both with my eyes closed and even with my eyes open, though to a lesser extent. The plants were sometimes green but sometimes blue and glowing. In my conscious, clear mind i began to think that maybe it was true that makers of Avatar had used ayahuasca. And even beyond seeing these jungle plants around me, i very much FELT as if i was in the jungle, i just sensed it so.

i later found this image by Holon Music (holonmusic.com) and it looks a lot like what i was seeing and feeling during this ceremony.

At one point, while trying to figure out what i was going to do with my life, i said to myself, "But, you can remember what happened before and after these ceremonies." THEN it hit me what i had just said. i let this thought sit for a while in my conscious mind while the trip-aspects continued washing over me. i began to feel that not only could i remember what happened both before and after that present moment but i felt like i could actually make decisions about what was going to happen later (turns out i'm going to write a top selling book and become rich!;-) The optimism and confidence this all brought me made me cry again with joy. i was just thrilled and felt so sure that i was receiving good insights and promises of good outcomes to all three of the objectives i had stated i wanted from ayahuasca. i felt very connected to everyone in the room and to all of my friends who had already done ayahuasca. i felt like i could communicate with all of these people right then, or at least with their souls, even the ones on other continents.

This went on for what turned out to be about 6hours and included several other trips to the toilet, all with similarly fantastical and impressive results as the one described above.

At one point i asked Maestro Jorge (with my mind) if a person had to actually drink ayahuasca in order for it to help them. He said they did not. Then i asked him if it was actually necessary for someone to vomit or go to the toilet or otherwise physically purge in order to get the toxins, poisons, pain and negative feelings and emotions out of them. He said they did not. He said that these things only happen in order to help us make these good outcomes happen. These events conceptualize for us realities that otherwise we might not be able to imagine but that in fact the realities were there and within our reach whether we knew it or not.

In one of my visions i saw an anonymous human body, but not anatomically, it was represented by lines and squiggles of neon colorful and white light. i was able to move my consciousness and even my view of this body as if i were a fly buzzing around a person. Going into and through this body was effortless and seemed to have no effect either on me or on it. i marveled at it as i cruised around and through it, it seemed huge and foreboding and it was the only thing i was aware of in an otherwise completely black space. There were two snakes, also neon and colorful, twisting symmetrically to each other in, through, and around the body.
This image that i later found from Mihael Simic, does resemble what i was seeing and feeling during this particular vision.
i also gained an appreciation for the shamans and the apprentice during these visions. When they came near me to sing i felt like i saw them in amazingly advanced age, that i was aware of them as souls in addition to their bodies. The Schipibo, when we all first met, were particularly not impressive. Listless, lazing around, not often very attentive to what was going on around them. And the apprentice seemed self-interested and self-promoting to the point of distraction. But then during my visions i could see the Schipibo specifically as just shells of their actual selves, of their souls and that a) they sometimes seemed distinterested because they were in fact in touch with a longer now, with an understanding of time and space that made any apparent problem actual not a problem at all to their wisdom and that b) the reason they looked listless and even haggard and puny was that this work of theirs was exhausting. i could feel very clearly that the were working from the heart and that they were physically working hard and that these visions do take a heavy toll on the physical body. (This was then confirmed when i felt completely exhausted and a bit like i'd been in a blender for a while when i woke up the next morning. i felt good, but beat.) And it became very clear to me not only that the apprentice was in fact working in our best interests and for that of the shamans and of the Schipibo in general, but that her higher self made her lower self act and seem the way it did in direct support of these efforts. It might not have been obvious to my conscious mind how this was working or what the thinking was but i could feel absolutely that it was working and that the thinking was wise and that she was doing things exactly how things would be done to help us most.

Eventually i must have fallen asleep and woke up at about 8.30am. i felt a little groggy and stuffy at first but with the walk back to the building where i had a private room. i felt physically good and emotionally in awe and confident.

Ceremony 2

So i did ayahuasca for the 2nd time last night. It didn't have nearly so strong an effect. Early in the ceremony, after i drank the little cup of brown syrup, i began feeling some of the physical effects, the sensations on my skin and on my body. What happened then though is that i got a little scared. There is another participant who describes his visions as very unpleasant and scary. He tells about beasts and snakes harassing him. And he was acting out these visions, making snake sound with his mouth, hissing in and out, breathing funny. 

And i got scared. And i began thinking that maybe i shouldn't do ayahuasca anymore, that i had good visions the last time, i'd gained some clarity. And so i ended up not having much more effect or very much visions at all, i was just kind of nauseus and uncomfortable through most of the night. i didn't vomit, i didn't succeed in going to the bathroom. 

The one interesting thing was i got to look around the room and see it through relatively sober eyes. i was certainly effected, i was a little bit drunk on this non alcoholic plant, but i was able to sit up and see everything. And i heard the shamans from the voice of the person that was in the room, nothing more, no ancestors like i heard last night. i saw the patterns that they moved in, they're simply going around the room, two go in one direction, the other two in the other direction. i got to see how other people were acting, both this guy that was kinda scary, but also other people. Many were just sitting or lying down, but some were standing up, moving around, gesturing, flailing a little bit. One guy was hunched over his bucket, crying and spitting into it, over and over. A couple were vomiting and making big, cavernous sounds as they wretched.  On the previous night i wasn't aware of what anyone else was doing, but now i saw that these otherwise disgusting or scary sights and sounds was actually everyone going through their own thing in exactly the way they needed right then.

Now this morning, i told Virginia (the apprentice shaman) that i hadn't had very much effect the night before and she said that she wasn't surprised, that there had been a lot of bad energy in the room and that sometimes when there's a lot of bad energy the ayahuasca will stop the visions so as to not scare the person or put them through too much. She said that there were demons in the room and that some of the demons were self aware and knew how to draw the demons out of other people in the room. i asked her what this meant for the rest of us and she said that it could be good. She said that when this demon draws out our negative energies, it makes the process go faster. She said that if the demon was not attacking us, it would take longer for us to work through our own bad energy (making me think of the fear i had gone through but overcome). There's more potential of moving quickly this way. This talk of demons scared me a little at first, but when i thought about it a little more i decied that i like the Buddhist idea about people, that everyone is the same, that we are all trying to avoid suffering and gain affection. Even really terrible people, even people that fight, that torture other people, that kill people, they're confused but they are trying to gain affection for themselves and end suffering for themselves. And i decided that even if there are demons, if there are bad spirits, i believe it would be the same thing for them. i don't think they'd be intrinsically bad, just confused and scared because they are trying to get what they need, in their way.

So i became a lot more comfortable and lot more optimistic. i am definitely going to continue. i felt yesterday that the ayahuasca was aware that i had four days and kind of made a plan for that. Virginia pointed out yesterday that no matter what happens in your visions, no matter how bad or scary or emotional they get, the good news is that by the morning at the latest you will be back to normal.

Ceremony 3

i've returned from my third ceremony and it was the most amazing yet. It made me realize that tomorrow i will not drink ayahuasca.

When it was my turn, i went up and had my drink of this powerful brew and declared to myself that i was putting myself in the hands of the mother plant, that she would guide me and clean me. i put myself in a half-lying, half-sitting position leaning against the wall and waited for the effects to come. Soon they did. i had intense but mostly good (or at least ok) sensations all over my body, moving in shifts and waves, making my muscles tense, almost like an electric current was going through me at tolerable but powerful strength! Behind my eyelids i saw dazzling colors and shapes, sometimes jungle-like settings. This night (though very briefly), like the first night (when it was much longer), i imagined myself on Avatar's Pandora or in the Peruvian jungle. 

Later i began to cry. i felt a crushing sadness and tears rolled down my face. The more i cried the more upset i was that it was happening. i was mourning the girl i loved leaving me, one of my best friends leaving my home town, a recent traumatic experience and the loss of most of my work at my job, all of my recent problems were crashing over me and ravaging me physically and emotionally. i felt tiny and scared. Then i asked the ayahuasca to take away my sadness. And it dawned on me that i had not asked for anything like this before. So then i quickly asked that my jealousy and anger be taken away with my sadness. And i repeated these requests over and over for a few minutes. Soon i was swept to my feet, and swiftly shuffled out to the bathroom thinking that the sudden boiling in my stomach meant i needed to sit on the toilet, like had happened in the first night. But what came instead was hot, black vomit. i had visions of this inky black vomit slithering through the parts of my body, all parts, all caverns and tubes and veins and muscles, through all of this it came slithering and then leaking out of my mouth. It felt like it was crawling out, rather than being heaved or expelled and that i was looking inside my body to watch it. When i opened my eyes the inky black dots were still squirming in the light brown liquid that had chaperoned them out of me into the toilet bowl. And every drop of liquid echoed in my head with on-cue Hollywood effect. Lots of this stuff came out of me. Though i was heaving some, it really felt like the bulk of this dark mess was coming out of me of its own accord, under its own power. This continued till i felt pretty well emptied out.

i made this image shortly after returning home from the ceremonies.
Back up in the main room i sat cross legged with my palms facing up on my knees and tried to meditate on the icaros, the songs of the shamans. i felt so relieved. My stomach had cooled and calmed and i held my pose as Maestro Jorge did his icaro for 4 or 5 people, one at a time, to the left of me. His song, i think, is about 15minutes long so i think i held it for that pose with pretty good mental focus for about an hour (except for that one experience with Vipassana, i've only ever meditated a few times with uninspiring results so i was really happy with this!) When he and Virginia got to me i showed them "namaste" and then bopped and danced, sitting there cross legged, while they sang to me. i had a big smile and a light heart. At the end Jorge laughed and hugged me and i thanked him.

Then i had to straighten out my legs and stretch for a bit until Maestra Celestina and Maestra Luzmila arrived each to sing their song to me and bless me with perfume and smoke. i held the same meditation pose through their icaros breaking it only to welcome them and thank them. After they were done i had a vision of Shiva, sitting in his lotus pose like the statues at Parmarth and he pointed out to me how his back and arms were straight and strong, not limp and curved like mine were. i copied him and found it was much more comfortable and easier to hold the pose this way! And then he faded away. i continued like that for well more than another hour before lying down. i think i was in that pose for 3hours that night, much more than i'd ever generally been able to sit in mediation before.

At some point during that time, the amazing part happened: 

i realized i didn't need to drink the ayahuasca anymore during this seminar. That's why, i realized, i didn't get any effect or visions last night and that they weren't as intense tonight. The plant was giving me what i needed: the knowledge that i can accomplish my 3objectives without the drug-side of ayahuasca, or any other substance. i can find and feel and see and understand the divine, i can figure out what to do next in my life, and i can control and limit my desire for alcohol and other distractions all on my own. Meditation, focus, love and light will be my tools. i am going to be a successful, rich author who is loved, healthy and happy and ayahuasca has shown me that i will be the one to show me the way. The ancestors and pretty colors and fun visions and higher beings will all still be there helping me whether or not i can see them - and i eventually i will, without the help of any substances. Hari om:-)

Fourth Ceremony

Shiva statue at Parmarth Niketan ashram, Rishikesh, India

Also my fourth ayahuasca ceremony was quite impressive. Following the advice or inspiration i received from the plant the night before, i did not even drink the ayahuasca. This made the first part a bit boring and i felt restless. But once the maestros started singing i sat up in the pose that Shiva had shown me the night before and i tried to meditate. i was able to get quite focused on the sounds of the icaros and the meditation was surprisingly deep. i sat through the first song that they all sing together and then two more of Maestro Jorge's renditions of is own song. i could definitely still feel Mama Ayahuasca inside of me. i still had some visions of colorful patterns, my body became a bit rigid in the pose like it had when i had actually imbibed the root and i had some repeat of the feelings of focus, peace, optimism, clarity and love that i'd had in previous evenings. Then i laid down and accidentally fell asleep. i woke up again when Jorge was 2 or 3 people away from me. i sat up again until he got to me, with Virginia, and listened and watched alertly and smiling while they sang to me. Then Maestra Celestina and Maestra Luzmila sang to me and this was all nice. i sat in meditation for just a little while more and then laid down and tried to focus still but fell asleep. i woke up briefly for their final song that all four of them sing together and then fell asleep again until about 5am when i got up and went to my own room. The sleep was deep and intense and surprisingly refreshing considering i could not have slept more than a total of 5 or so hours, probably less. i'm really glad i had this one ceremony without actually drinking the ayahuasca and that it was still powerful and positive.

Our three teachers: Maestro Jorge, Maestra Luzmila and Maestra Celestina, in  the melocha.


Me and Maestro Jorge.

26 comments:

  1. ryan! amazing. i've read through your first ceremony and will continue to read the rest of your journey. beautiful, inspiring, thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. Awesome:-)
    The 3rd and 4th ceremonies are definitely the most important though, otherwise it is just all fun.

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  3. I admire your honesty, and your courage to own your beliefs, knowing that some people might make fun of you for them. Now that you are back in the states (with a bit of free time?) I'll be expecting more posts from you!

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  4. So, some people might make fun of me for them?? You are right though, i would be okay with that (plus, maybe i could use the material!;-) though i haven't encountered it so far. Thanks Tiffany:-)

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  5. A good article on new studies on helpful and healthy uses for hallucinogens by doctors and scientists:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2011/12/06/bloomberg_articlesLVSMP30D9L36.DTL

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  6. An interesting film i just found the promo for: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ayadox/the-ayahuasca-project-the-jungle-prescription

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  7. RYAN! Thank yo for this - I just wrote an extensive comment but then it got deleted somehow. I've been thinking about trying this for awhile and it's hard to find honest first time reactions. Tons of questions for you - looking forward to crossing paths soon to bug you with them :)

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  8. i look forward to it too, let's connect on skype. Also, connect with "Traditional Plant Medicines" on Facebook:-)

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  9. I had the pleasure of working both with Jorge and Luzmila in Pucallpa, Peru at the Tierra Vida healing center in August of 2011. Their icaros took me to such profound places of healing and purification. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Every time I see Jorge's face randomly pop up during an ayahuasca image search on google I can't help but smile. Much love!!! ~ Arturo Edan Munoz

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  10. Here are my thoughts on the ceremonies 7months later: http://paxryan.blogspot.it/2012/05/7months-after-ayahuasca-my-me-is-better.html

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  11. Hey Ryan, great write-up, looking to make the same journey myself. Which organisation in Austria did you journey with? Peace, Jim

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  12. I wanted to experience the psychedelic effects that I had heard it could induce. It was surely nothing like my Ayahuasca Retreat experience but it was defiantly therapeutic. I felt untethered from the chaos of everyday life and normality.

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  13. Thanks Ryan! I've got myself into focused trance state of mind by reading your story. Great article. Looking forward to read your book ;) Peace from Poland

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  14. hi, we also host retreats in Europe. Check www.onanyajonishipibo.com

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  15. I love the look of that place can you tell me where you did the retreat i want to go there

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  16. Fantastic posting. I enjoyed the writing style and the images.

    Best ayahuasca retreats

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