I just sat down in the lounge at Trudeau Airport, on my way to a little road trip in Europe. Fresh from this wonderful experience, I thought the timing was perfect to tell you about my magical night.
First of all, what is ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is an ancient ritual drink used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. This ritual has gained popularity in recent years as a powerful means of exploring the spirit for inner healing. It was with a combination of excitement and trepidation that I embarked on my first experience with this sacred plant.
If you have read my previous articles, you know that I am an anxious person. After several researches, questions, meetings with the shaman and feedback from my partner who tested the ritual twice, I decided to try it.
The journey begins
I chose a night just before going on vacation to experience this great adventure. I was wonderfully guided by my experienced shaman. My inner journey began with careful preparation, both physical and mental. I prepared myself physically with a diet during the week before the ceremony. On the big day, no coffee, no sugar and no food after 1 p.m. For my mental preparation, I had a telephone meeting with the shaman to discuss my intentions, what I wanted to accomplish during the ritual.
The long-awaited night finally arrived at 9 p.m. We therefore arrived before the start of the session in order to get to know the other participants at 8 p.m. Only beautiful people and conversations. People looking for inner exploration, from all walks of life. This step, in my opinion, was essential to the smooth running of the evening/night.
After some great conversations about radical acceptance, we sat on our mattresses serenely waiting for the start. A few directions later, we drank the thick and bitter potion, prepared from two plants: the banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of psychotria viridis. Note: If you already take ashwagandha, you won't find the taste that surprising. I personally even appreciated it. Our shaman also has a technique (I will keep it a secret) which ensures that we are well prepared to receive the plant.
As the night progressed, I began to feel the first effects of ayahuasca. It’s pretty quick, 25-30 minutes.
A deep inner journey
My mind was catapulted into a mystical journey. The visions followed one another in an intoxicating way: lots of colors, sensations, textures and it was like having a multitude of choices available to me. If I had to give an example, it would be like the Mario Bros video game world map, except I could freely jump from one level to another without having to complete one. I didn't feel like I was losing control but rather observing what was happening in front of me. I felt a deep connection with life and a sense of oneness with everything around me.
The shaman sang icaros, traditional sacred songs, which peacefully guided our journey through psychedelic landscapes. I went through several regions of my inner strength. I will most likely write another article in the coming weeks to give time for everything I have experienced to settle into me. I found myself on a real enjoyable roller coaster with a cartoonish person with long black hair who invited me to climb into her pink and yellow wagon. One minute (no concept of time) later I was in the kitchen of our residence when I was 5 years old, another moment I was having conversations with people, in full awareness of my self and analyzing the impact of my words. In short, it’s a changing experience that moves at thousands of kilometers per hour.
Confrontation and healing
Ayahuasca is not just a pleasure trip; it can also be intense and destabilizing. I was confronted with my deepest fears, my buried memories, and my repressed emotions. However, as I accepted these experiences and let them flow through me, I felt a profound release and healing. It should be kept in mind here that I have been meditating for several years and that I have often found myself in my imaginary meditative place, the one that I frequently visit when I meditate. So I had the choice to sit back calmly in my own place to regain control and not go too far in certain more difficult places. I wanted to have an overview to really enjoy my first time. I left these places to explore for next time.
The participant on my right certainly did not have the same experience as me. He had intense periods of fear and discomfort. When talking with him in the morning during the group sharing, he told us that his experience was still extremely beneficial.
The lesson of ayahuasca
My journey with ayahuasca has left me with a deep understanding of myself and the world around me. I learned that nature is within us, that love and compassion are essential, and that healing begins with acceptance. Out of the conversation we had before the session on radical acceptance, I came away with a reading suggestion: Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Even though I have been applying this concept for several years, I can't wait to delve into this book when I return from Europe.
My first experience with ayahuasca was an unforgettable adventure, offering me a fascinating insight into my own mind and the universe. It was a journey of discovery, healing and transformation, and it opened the door to a continued exploration of consciousness and my spirituality.
Despite the pre-anxiety, I was able to come out of the experience with a new perspective on what I need to accomplish while forgiving my past. Giving yourself a big hug from time to time feels really good.
Important note: this personal experience does not represent medical, health or any other advice of any kind and is not an encouragement to try this practice. The aim of the article is simply to make the existence of this practice known with the aim of democratizing it.