Ayahuasca crossed my life a few years ago. I was having dinner with a friend as she said her friend invited her to Ayahuasca. And I couldn’t forget about it. As I came home I googled it and needless to say I didn’t sleep that night. Started reading endless stories, changes people experienced while taking it and afterwards. And I knew it. Ayahuasca is the next thing on my journey.

The day after I applied for a 3 day retreat. I was nervous. Scared. The stories you read are really scary. Makes you question why would anyone of a sound mind do it. But i knew I needed it.

The day of the retreat I went somewhere high in the hills and deep in the forest. The nature was great. And so was the energy. I could just stay there for eternity. And then I met him. The shaman that performs the ceremony. Wow. I remembered that friend telling me that I’d fall in love with him. It was true. Not as person but his energy. He’s a magnetic person. Clean energy. He hugged every single person as he came to the ‘venue’.

There were several people that do the ceremonies regularly and a few newbies. The more the time was approaching the more anticipation and respect i felt. And to be honest I was a bit scared too. Before the ceremony we all changed into white clothes. Then we all gathered in a large room where everything was ready for the ceremony. There were chairs for the ones that would go through it sitting and mats on the floor for laying down.

At the beginning the shaman explained what is Ayahuasca, how it is prepared, where do they get the vines and leaves that are brewed into the potion we are about to drink. When, where and in what conditions are they picked in order to get a good tea.  Then he explained that the authorities in Brasil take samples of Ayahuasca and test them in order to find it containing DMT. But the doses in liquid form need to be so high in order to have the effect that is practically impossible to classify it as a drug. We were also explained the rules in order to get as much possible out of experience – if you need to vomit try going to the bathroom. Since this is rarely possible there was a bucket for every person that needs to go clean it afterwards.

There were a lot of assistants around to help in case someone needed it. And it immediately felt safe. And there was one bucket for every person in case of need. We all formed a circle and the shaman went around with palo santo (holly wood) and then we’d approach him one by one. We were given a small glass of a dark liquid that tasted somehow bitter sweet and I immediately felt it in my stomach. We were offered a piece of sweet fruit to have a better taste. After taking ayahuasca you mustn’t drink any liquid for half an hour.

When every person drank first round of Ayahuasca, we took our seat or mat. I closed my eyes and relaxed. Let go. The shaman started to sing. His voice was like coming from heaven. Amazing.

It didn’t take long when I felt the tingling in my body. I tried to move thinking it was due to the position I was sitting in. It didn’t stop. I opened my eyes and I saw my hands like being taken apart from thousands of golden ants. I saw the rest of my body the same. I was made of tiny golden pieces floating in the shape of my body. I realized that all my senses were much more sensible, i heard things much louder than normal, in some moments even the breathing of the person next to me bothered me. I heard other people vomiting and leaving the room. I was leaving it often but to get more water. I felt the need to drink a lot. I realized at the end that I drank approximately 6 liters of water during every ceremony. In the first ceremony I didn’t feel sick. But when the shaman was doing the healing and using the maracas I started feeling strange. Like something was pulling my skin apart. Not a painful feeling, but rather unpleasant. I didn’t like that part with the maracas as it turned out to be the most unpleasant one in all of the following ceremonies.

When the healing and maracas ended I started dancing. I was sitting on the floor and as the shaman was singing, my body started moving. When I opened my eyes I was amazed. My hands were moving like the tree branches. Those were the movements I can’t repeat. Don’t know how. But I liked it. I never knew my body was capable of that. It’s an amazing feeling.

And I continued dancing till the end. The first ceremony ended without me throwing up.

The next day it was a lot different. I am a person who never threw up. Of course as a baby but after that, never again. I thought I’d suffocate if I’d stick my finger in my throat so I never did. Even if I felt sick as hell. And I guess that was the thing I was working on that night. The beginning was pretty much the same. But I started to feel sick pretty soon. My stomach was bad. I felt bad. Sweating. I drank so much water. I was constantly in and out of the room and in the toilet. But I couldn’t throw up. And I looked myself in the mirror. I was the same white colors as were the tiles in the bathroom. And my hair was totally wet. I sat on the floor and pressed my forehead to the wall to cool down. I was looking in the mirror and talking to myself – why did you have to do this? it’s Saturday night and instead of being home or out with friends, you’re in this God’s forgotten place feeling the worst in your life. Why?!?!

Then she came. The assistant. She looked at me, shook her head and put her hands to my waist.

Breathe, she said gently. In a way that you’ll move my hands.

And I did. I took two long breaths and just turned to the loo. There was a sudden force pushing from my stomach and I immediately threw up. It was the best moment of my life. I felt clean. I felt like flying. I felt light. I felt great. My energy boosted so much. No feelings of sickness. I returned to the room and started dancing. Again. A lot. And in this ceremony I threw up twice more. But I didn’t feel sick, just felt there’s something that needs to leave my body.

The third night was the best. I learned how to throw up or let’s say I removed the blockage or the conviction that I can’t do it, so I did it a few times. I liked it. No need to stick my finger in my mouth just drink as much water as possible, lean forward and BUUUM. I danced a lot. And I saw the most amazing colors. It showed me I need to start painting again. Do more art.  Enjoy life. Live life. Not to pursue the career. What’s the point of earning money if what you do makes you miserable. I got a lot of introspection. I saw love. Finally got to understand it. To feel it. The pure, UNCONDITIONAL love. Amazing. I felt so grateful. I felt great.

But it was intense. I have a picture to prove it. We made a group photo at the end of the third day and we all look exhausted.

When I came home after my first 3 days retreat I realized I stopped drinking coffee. I’ve been a coffee addict since I was 7 years old. I could not eat, even forget to eat for a few days but I wouldn’t go a day without at least 3 cups of coffee. And i stopped. Just like that. And I couldn’t eat chocolate any more. Or anything containing white sugar. It made me puke once I ate chocolate. And I started consuming honey that I couldn’t bring myself to taste it before that.  I also realized I started to feel my body better. Getting awareness of what it was telling me. Listening to what is not good for it. And started avoiding things that didn’t make me feel good.

When I decided to take Ayahuasca I made the intention that whatever happens was to be good for me and not a frightening experience. And so it was.

And the most amazing thing – the shaman speaks Portuguese but I understand everything he says during ceremony.

How Ayahuasca works

The thing I now know about #Ayahuasca and would advise every person to take in consideration:

  • Ayahuasca is strong and if you are a fearful person, I wouldn’t advise it to you,
  • Ayahuasca strengthens your senses and feelings, it’s said that it gives you what you need and to such an extent you can take it,
  • Always have a clear intention when going to a ceremony,
  • Have the ceremony performed by a qualified and trustworthy shaman, it’s important you feel safe,
  • Always keep in mind that everything that is happening during the ceremony is you and only you, everything is coming from you,
  • In case you start feeling like falling, loosing it, just focus on your breathing and remember once again – IT’S ALL YOU,
  • Every single person has a unique experience and every single ceremony is different from the other.


The cover image credits: Visionary art by Anthony Debonardi