Ayahuasca has a rich legacy of associated traditions, myths, therapies, rituals and aesthetics, spanning from the primordial roots of the indigenous tribes of South America, to diverse spiritual movements emerging across the planet.
After being virtually ignored by Western civilization for centuries, there has been a huge surge of interest in Ayahuasca recently. There is a growing belief that it is a kind of ‘medicine for our times’, giving hope to people with ‘incurable’ diseases like cancer and HIV, drug addictions and inspiring answers to the big ecological problems of modern civilization.
Here’s a quick rundown of what Ayahuasca actually is. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink made from the stem of the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi). The ayahuasca drink is sometimes, but rarely; made from the ayahuasca vine alone; almost invariably other plants are added. These additional ingredients are most often the leaves of any of three compañeros, companion plants — the shrub chacruna (Psychotria viridis), the closely related shrub sameruca (Psychotria carthaginensis), or a vine variously called ocoyagé, chalipanga, chagraponga, and huambisa (Diplopterys cabrerana).
The term Ayahuasca is in the Quechua language. The word huasca is the usual Quechua term for any species of vine. The word aya refers to something like a separable soul, and thus, also, to the spirit of a dead person — hence the two common English translations, “vine of the soul” and “vine of the dead.”
The ayahuasca drink has several primary actions: it is a hallucinogen, emetic, purgative, and vermifuge. In fact, there is reason to think that the ayahuascavine was first used for its emetic, purgative, and vermifuge activities. Even today, the ayahuascadrink is often called, simply, la purga, and used to induce violent vomiting, with hallucinations considered side-effects; indeed, ayahuasqueros are sometimes called purgueros. But the emetic effect of the ayahuasca drink has spiritual resonance as well; vomiting shows that the drinker is being cleansed. La purga misma te enseña, they say; vomiting itself teaches you.
Yes, you are going to puke if you take Ayahuasca.
A friend and I were looking to have an Ayahuasca experience, but could not afford to spend the time or money needed to head to South America. Instead, after a little searching, we found a Shaman in our area. She holds many spiritual ceremonies in the summer months before heading back to the Amazon in the winter. We were fortunate enough to attend one of these ceremonies.
There were three of us who attended. I met my two friends with a sleeping bag under my arm and an overnight bag on my shoulder. We were told to bring snacks for the morning and something to lie on. My friends gave me a displeased look on my arrival.Supposedly, we were all supposed to be dressed in white, this info was not passed onto me as I was wearing a black t-shirt and ripped jeans. The whole dressed in white thing felt a little cultish to me anyway.
A Guide of Sorts…
We arrived at 8PM to the address we were given and walked up to the second floor. It seemed to be a Portuguese community hall of some sort and people were still cleaning up from a party the night before. We introduced ourselves to a few people and went out on the back fire escape for a cigarette. A young man approached us and started telling us about his previous experiences with Ayahuasca. We were all very interested to hear what we might be getting ourselves into and listened intently to his every word. He told us that in his last experience he had a meeting with his deceased father. He told us he was standing by his father’s casket viewing his dead body when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned his head and was surprised to see his father standing there looking alive, healthy and well. His father began started apologizing for his actions when he was alive and was looking for a son’s forgiveness. To my surprise, our storyteller said that he would not accept his father’s apologies and proceeded to move on with his Ayahuasca experience. This seemed pretty cold, but then again, I did not know the dead man he was speaking with. He did say that it was a very emotional experience and it allowed him to remove some emotional baggage from his life. The one thing that did resonate with me from talking with this man about his Ayahuasca experiences was what he said towards the end of our conversation, “There will be obstacles to overcome. Don’t think about them, just move through them without hesitation, so you reach your destination quicker. If there is a wall, climb over it. If there is a hole, go into it. Don’t hesitate.” I did not know it at the time, but this information would prove useful in the journey I was about to undertake.
There seems to be a deliberate stunting of our evolution as a species. What and who are the factors behind it? This blog is going to try and make sense of why the power of consciousness is so limited to us and what might be the reasons for not having reached our full potential as humans. Religion, Propaganda in Media, Governments, Economic Corruption, Science, Conspiracies etc... are all factors and all will be explored on a journey to find out where we were led astray and the direction we need to take in order to get back on track. A Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness for all life. The first and most vital tool of the Spiritual Warrior is awareness. The Spiritual Warrior has the courage to question and challenge his or her own beliefs in order to become more aware. By challenging our own beliefs we can dissolve the lies that cause our suffering. To challenge our own beliefs requires courage because it means the end of our illusion of safety. The Spiritual Warrior must have the commitment to love him/her self. The Warrior then extends that love to humanity and to all life. The commitment is required because in our journey we will certainly fumble and fall many times. It is in having a strong commitment that we get back up again. I hope you join me on this journey for truth, to dissect the lies we've been told. A journey that opens our minds and hearts to new possibilities, to new ways of thinking and a more sustainable future. A journey to become a Spiritual Warrior.