Processing and expressing my ayahuasca ceremonial experience has been quite the challenge to combine in such a confined space. What I’ve learned about this medicine is that the effects continue to unravel in your life, whether it’s being taken back to a place or sensation that triggers memory of the medicine and the reprocessing emotion that takes place under such guarded and healing care, or subtly recognizing that you have formed whole new life perspectives on things that may have not been as apparent under such short processing. It seems that the real *medicine* comes from a slow combustion of intuitive downloads that seem to reveal themselves over an integrated period of time, as well as further igniting your intuition. Just as trauma can be shocking to the brain and not fully processed until years later, this level of medicinal healing reprocessing is similar to what happens with the breakdown of any powerfully compacted and dense experience. Strangely, I discovered that my body seemed to rapidly metabolize the medicine compared to many others in ceremony. I found myself feeling unaffected by the medicine after each first drink, as I was surrounded by others who were physically purging, emotionally purging, and etc. It wasn’t until I went back for a second sip that I began to feel any effects of the medicine, and I also believe that I didn’t *blast off* or go as intuitively deep as others.
With that being said, experiencing the medicine kick in is quite fascinating, and it does feel like you begin to experience the world from a different dimension, both in the way that your vision looks, and also in your state of being, for I felt the prominent dissolution of everyone’s ego. I distinctly remember feeling a state of unity, a state of communion, and what felt like a magical space that only knew love, grace, and acceptance. Watching the healers perform energy healing and sound healing, while providing intuitive support, was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
It is recommended in ceremony that you close your eyes, for many people go into vision-like states and connect with the universe through past-life visions and seeing known psychedelic geometrics. For myself, I don’t feel like I went into strong visualizations, and It was more like a mild to moderate visual meditation in my mind’s eye. I did however feel the presence of a spiritual guide guiding me through my physical body, showing me where I had physical and energetic congestion. I also saw visions of myself in my full personal power as a beautiful golden and orange light, whom has healed deeply on the inside, yet still gets stuck as she’s trying to express herself to the world. It directed me to a block in my throat chakra that has been completely congested by grief and emotional pain, due to never having an outlet to fully express itself. It was as if I had been holding my breath for years, and the pain and energy began to release out of me in the form of silent tears through the whole first ceremony.
The second night however, ended up being way more intense than I anticipated. I had the same problem of not receiving any effect from the medicine through almost half of the ceremony. Once it did kick in, I was crying intensely, yet trying incredibly hard to not make any noise (I think because my ego was still intact from not going as deep as everyone else). I remember crying through such a joyful and beautiful song that everyone was singing and dancing to, as if I had missed out on this amazing, beautiful, and sincere type of love, due to numbing from my pains and self for so long. I was graciously offered a hand to get up and start dancing as Hannah’s boyfriend pulled me into the celebration. I immediately lost it and began crying perfusively. I knew in that moment that *that* hand of assistance was meant to help me authentically release and no longer sit there holding my breath. Ceremony finally came to an end, however after the medicine man and woman had discovered my high tolerance to the medicine, I was given larger doses that continued its effects after ceremony.
Many of us gathered around the fire and shared snacks, while I think it was apparent that I was still in the effects of the medicine. I was sitting with my head in my knees most of the night still feeling the lingering effects of nausea, as if my body was contemplating how it wanted to purge the un-needed accumulation of energy.
I eventually tried to go to bed and sleep the medicine off, but it wasn’t long after tossing and turning in my sleep that I finally woke up with an involuntary urge to purge. I stumbled out of my bed and tent as best as I could, and barely made it outside the tent before I puked everywhere. I remember sitting in the desert alone, physically purging, and feeling like I was losing my mind. Honestly, the feeling was so intense that I even thought about how not being alive might be an easier experience. I could see from my place of darkness in the desert that people were still awake at the communal house where other people were staying. At this point in my mind, my only options were to try to go back to bed and sit in what felt like unbearable discomfort or to stumble up to the house and ask for help. Before this all happened, a young woman, who sat with me in ceremony, told me that if I needed anything for the rest of the night to let her know. While I was thankful of her support, I’ve trained myself to hold on to everything on my own for so long that I never thought I would actually need this young woman’s support so much in my entire life. I finally made my way to the house where I stumbled into the kitchen and finally found her. I looked at her and immediately told her I needed help, as I then found myself crying in the fetal position in the kitchen floor.
This might all sound crazy and make you never want to do this medicine, but I don’t think it’s common for people to have such extended experiences post-ceremony. It just so happened that this was the experience I needed, especially to surrender to my own inner needs of needing to ask for help, and to cry and release in front of people that knew exactly how to hold healing space for me.
I will never forget this girl’s voice as she was singing to me “I hold space for you, follow your heart, and let it go.” I felt my heart chakra burst open, and immediate relief was offered to my body, mind, and spirit. I was incredibly grateful for this song she kept singing to me, because I could feel that she was healing such a wounded part of my soul. I truly feel that her ability to hold space for me was meant to reprogram and reprocess my past traumas, so that I could be free to express pain and share in love again. Just the thought of her love kept triggering my tears to flow, and at this point I couldn’t stop crying from overwhelming gratitude. As I calmed down, the woman let me be by myself, and I was left with a great sense of personal power. She didn’t seek to take me out of my pain, she simply gave me the support that I needed to release the pain on my own.
As I laid there by myself in what felt like an incredible sense of bliss, yet continued moments of freeing tears, one of the male guardians eventually helped me to a seated position and covered me with a blanket. I literally could not stop crying at how gracious these people were that it would send me into crying spells all over again. I am not sure if they understood why I kept crying, but I just knew how much reprocessing they were offering my soul with their kindness, and I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I was finally guided to a place on the couch to go to sleep and my journey for the night came to a beautiful end.
While this all might sound incredibly crazy, the medicine seems to take each person inside their deepest wounds in a way that it can no longer be held inside or stuffed down inside of you, so that it can be released and freed from your body. Each person’s story may be different and may have different themes of purging, but what I found I needed most was an emotional purge with no filter or ego holding me back from letting it out—and most importantly the perfect people to hold space for me through the process. I will probably never forget this experience, nor will I forget this young woman’s understanding of true love and how to hold genuine space for people. The level of acceptance I felt, through what would have been totally unaccepted in society, is absolutely irreplaceable and will probably be remembered as one of the most loving experiences of my life. Overall, it was incredibly hard to combine this much processing into one writing, nor could I ever really fully describe the complete depth of my experience. I left this experience saying I would probably never do this medicine again, but it's hard to say whether that may be true or where the journey of this unraveling experience may take me. In the words of many post-ayahuasca sitters, “happy integrating,” Kelsey