In the Tungus language, a shaman is a person who beats a drum, enters into a trance, and cures people.
What we expected from our shaman is still uncertain. Beating drum would have been something. But singing and whistling was quite enough for our journey. Maybe slightly off beat, and not in my visual rhythm but a night to remember.
“So, Iza are you going to try ayahuasca?” I asked Iza, after we paid 100 soles each, and were on the the way to deep jungle away from chaos, to cure our self with psychedelic plants.
What exactly are we curing our self from? I have no idea. What to expect? I have no idea. We were on the bus going far away from Iquitos, with a small little old man who was our shaman. 1hr on the bus, 45 minutes walk through the La Selva jungle, where we came upon a falling shack house on a platform, with scary bulls living underneath.
The shaman informed us that a single old man lives here. Very chilled and calm. It was 5pm, the sun was going down, no one around. He made space for us to sit on a wooden bench and that’s where we sat for 5 hrs till it was dark and late enough to begin our ceremony. Somewhere around 2 hrs of waiting the owner showed up drunk. Smiled at us and gave us a huge juicy kiss each.
“aqui es muy tranquilo” he continued to repeat himself. Basically he was happy to have us there and this was our house.
“So are you ready?” I asked Iza again.
“I don’t know, I really don’t want to puke, I don’t want to feel sick” she spoke with wide opened eyes and a concern look.
Our shaman didn’t say a word until it was time to drink the ayahuasca. He called us into the only room in the shack, showed us where to sit and began speaking a fargin language about the ceremony.
“The name ‘ayahuasca’ specifically refers to a botanical decoctions that contains Banisteriopsis caapi. A synthetic version, known as pharmahuasca is a combination of an appropriate MAOI and typically DMT. In this usage, the DMT is generally considered the main psychoactive active ingredient, while the MAOI merely preserves the psycho activity of orally ingested DMT, which would otherwise be destroyed in the gut before it could be absorbed in the body. Thus, ayahuasqueros and most others working with the brew maintain that the B. caapi vine is the defining ingredient, and that this beverage is not ayahuasca unless B. caapi is in the brew. The vine is considered to be the “spirit” of ayahuasca, the gatekeeper and guide to the otherworldly realms.”
So basically the two plants on combination act as medicine to cure our spirits, educate, and allow us to enter the unknown and neglected reality. Shamans believe that with this plant and proper diet one will discover the unknown, and will be cured.
The diet is no pork, no spices and oil. Just very simple food, no food the day of ceremony and no food for few hrs after the ceremony.
The candle is on, three bottles are in front, and our Shaman is still talking. “What is he saying?? He needs to stop talking” Iza was annoyed and a bit scared.
He basically said that this is medicine, he will be here but won’t interfere with our experience. We will drink, and after half an hour we will began our visuals, there will be some singing and leaf shacking, with tobacco smoke. He gave us buckets for puking and the ceremony started.
I drank it first, it tasted very bitter, a bit like a grapefruit, quite nasty. I followed with another weird flavored liquid and another perfume like taste on my lips. Iza repeated, we sat against a wall and waited. My body was shacking, I was cold, and anxious. I didn’t know what to expect. He blow out the candle, it was dark and said you must concentrate.
I am still shacking, and cold, when he started to quietly whistle, and slowly shake the dry leafs, while blowing tobacco smoke on us. From whistling he began to sing… Ayahuasca medicina, medicina ayahuasca, ayahuasca medicina, medicina ayahuasca…
It must have been an 1hr that passed. I was concentrating really hard, I didn’t feel anything. It was actually quite funny what he was doing. But I did get into his rhythm of music. He asked if we felt dizzy. Iza’s head, hands and legs felt heavy. I didn’t feel shit.
After drinking a bit more we again sat back, closed our eyes and waited for something. I didn’t feel like puking, my head started to feel heavy, I kept opening my eyes, I couldn’t see anything. Once again he began to whistle and sing, leaf shaking and tobacco smoke in my face. I didn’t feel much except slightly dizziness, Iza felt drunk, everything was spinning for her.
2 hrs passed and I felt just a little dizzy, no visuals and not what I expected. He gave me a bit more to drink. Iza didn’t want anymore, she was feeling it. Whatever that was. I drank it for the third time.
Baaarrrfff… Instantly after drinking it I puked. The third time drinking it, it was disgusting, so fucking nasty. After puking, is when the shaman made some comment to the other drunk man and they both agreed. I guess it was the negative spirits escaping my soul. Cus from there on I was a fucking jello without any coordination.
I closed my eyes, I saw black and white lines, that turned into squares. Everything was black and white, all lines and perfect squares, it was like this trippy poster I had when I was in high school, some psychedelic shit.
I think I was starting to feel it. The ayahuasca was present and I wanted to go deep.
I have no idea how long I was sitting there in the dark against the wall. Thinking, talking and laughing to myself. I wanted to hear the mesmerizing singing of our shaman. All I heard was the drunk guy talking. I guess the ceremony was over, he said 3 hrs and it all should be over.
I opened my eyes and the candle was back on. I look Iza and she was looking at me. She needed to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t get up. The shaman helped her, she had no coordination. He had to physically drag her to what we thought was a kitchen and moved a board where she was to pee. With a surprise, she squat down to pee in the hole while he held her tight so she won’t fall.
Next it was my turn to get up and pee. It took me about an hour, of trying to get up. I felt like I had no balance at all. Totally drunk somewhat conscious, I say somewhat conscious because I think back and I don’t really remember everything.
We managed to get my ass up I got up and I fell right back down, I tried to hold on to a pole that was a meter farther away then I thought. I had no good judgement of distance, I tried to grab things that I thought where there and fell because they were not.
After the my success of peeing, I think, as I said I barely remember, we made it into our tent, a tent with a small bed sheet on a hard floor. It was about 1 or 2am. We talked about people that I thought were with us but were not. My senses were off, way off. I think we end up going to sleep around 3am.
Next day, I opened the tent and the light was bright! It was so freaking bright that I closed it right back.
“What the fuck was that?!?!” I looked at Iza. “Wow, I still feel weird, my through hurts from puking, where in the world did we end up right now?!?!”
The sun was bright, it was 10am. We were supposed to be back at the bus stop at 6am. I couldn’t see anything, I looked at my watch and I couldn’t see what time it was. I looked at Iza and she looked weird. Her face looked different.
Was I still seeing things? My balance, and coordination was kind of back to normal. The shaman smiled at me and gave me a kiss on my chick. What was that about? Was I cured? Did ayahuasca worked? and do I know something I didn’t know before? and why in the world is so fucking bright??
I felt like my eye doc dropped some droops into my eyes and everything got bright. My pupils were wide! Iza’s pupils were even wider. We couldn’t focus, even with my dark Ray Bans it felt bright.
We made it back to our hostel, our naked, crazy loud, American lady landlord, felt worried about us as we didn’t comeback earlier.
“ohhh you didn’t really have visuals?!? I always have visuals, the first time I also had visuals.” She said, as we shared our experience with her.
It turned out that what we experience was quite different from what people usually experience.
Some people have visuals, some people don’t, it’s not until the second or third time is when you understand, and allow yourself to go deeper. Maybe our mixture didn’t have the B. caapi vine?
We don’t know our self what really happened, it was definitely experience and a ceremony we won’t forget. However, I think one should try everything three times to really understand and judge.
In this case maybe be cured, and enter the world of the other realm. Which I think we live in it anyway…