Kapitari is a rustic location staffed by truly kind and knowledgeable people who are dedicated to healing. I will definitely be returning, and would recommend it as a great place for anyone feeling called to experience ayahuasca. Also, because I know I was hungry to hear accounts of peoples ayahuasca experiences when I was researching it, I include below an account of my most significant ceremony:
I was completely sick of my job, suffered an entirely unexpected break up, and was for the first time in my life realizing how extremely fucked up my childhood and family were, and how much it impacted my life now. I was in an absolute shit place, and so I traveled to Peru for ayahuasca, desperate for healing.
I had 4 ceremonies in total, but the 2nd ceremony was the big one. I doubled my ayahuasca dose to 1.5, and I didn’t fuck around with my intention either. I asked ayahuasca to heal the trauma of my childhood. No bigs. I knew from the previous nights session that the peak was intense, and at double the dose I felt it come on stronger and quicker. At the same time, the amazon jungle decided to go apeshit. The noise of the insects, always present, ramped up, cycling quicker and quicker to match the intensifying rainfall. The high pitched keen of the insects, combined with the now torrential rain, thunder, and lightning, was completely overwhelming. I felt like I was suddenly privy to the alien communications of nature, like I had developed new senses that could take in this other world. It was too much, and I understood why humans were meant to be deaf to this cacophony. At the same time the ayahuasca continued to ramp up within me, and in my mind every thought I’d had, could have, and am yet to have screamed through my consciousness, a fucking typhoon of ideas and awareness, cycling faster and faster, linked to the chaos outside in a vicious feedback loop. The terror was beyond comprehension. It felt like my body was emptied out except for my heart, and around it was packed ice through which a sharp wind blew. Each and every second of this was an agonizing eternity, and I thought of how I would be peaking, like this, for hours to come. I was freaking the fuck out, on the razors edge of completely losing it. I wanted to call out to the facilitators for help, but even in the midst of my terror, the fear of embarrassment stopped me, along with the knowledge that I had come to this place of my own free will, and despite my fear, it was where I needed to be. Plus what could they do, really? The ride had started, and there was no getting off. I begged the ayahuasca to be gentle, telling her I was only human. Even in the midst of this I had faith that she understood my limits, but I needed her to know I was terrified.
I was hanging on by a thread, on the edge of my sanity, when something bumped me. I put my hand out and felt it, it was real, and I realized it was the sweet old dog that lived at the centre. She had snuck into the maloca for shelter from the storm, and was bumping her nose into me, asking if she could join me. Holy shit thank you mother ayahuasca. I pet her and let her know that fuck yes she could join me, which she did, curling up at my side. I let my right hand lay lightly on her, and thanked ayahuasca approximately 1 billion times for sending me this comfort, this protection, this touchstone to reality. Dear god I love that dog still, and will always be grateful to her.
Around the same time, the pounding, hammering rain found its way through the roof and a steady drip pinged on my knee. Something about this drip was as soothing as the dogs presence, and while I was still afraid and disoriented, these two things brought me desperately needed comfort. It was at this point that I had a realization, that all this chaos, fear, and madness of the storm outside, as well as the storm of racing thoughts and terror in my mind, WAS my childhood trauma. The ayahuasca was in my mind, working to repair the damage caused by all the anger, fear, and unhappiness.
At this same time I was continuing to peak (fucking 1.5 dose). The pinnacle of this was the pinnacle of my terror, confusion, and disorientation. I can only recount how my mind interpreted things, the images and the sense of things I had: I had a vision/sense that I was in something akin to a hangar bay, surrounded by “support personnel” (entities), and I heard words that chilled me: “You are a pilot. Your vessel was damaged.” But these words weren’t meant for “me” per se. Rather, they were directed at the “pilot” within me, who had become so integrated and immersed in the “me” we formed, it had forgotten that it existed as a distinct entity. It/me were terrified to be separated, and terrified its “vessel”, which I take to be my body, had been damaged, because that’s it’s life support system in this existence. This sounds fucking nuts, and kinda cool, as I write it, but I can only tell the experience as I experienced it. I was also given to understand that my pilot, which others might consider the soul, essence, etc, had volunteered for this “mission”, this life and existence as a human, and that all other humans were volunteer pilots as well, here to carry out some important and unknowable duty. We are all of us brave pilots. The damage to my vessel was caused by my childhood trauma, and it was in this “hangar bay” that it would be repaired.
At the heart of my trauma was all the pain and hurt I’d suffered. My father enraged, hissing “bastard, son of a bitch” at me through clenched teeth, face red, eyes bulging. My brother, taking all his frustration out on me, assaulting and terrorizing me. My mom, standing by in confusion and fear, letting it all happen. I had already recognized that they hurt me, and each other, and themselves, because THEY had all suffered trauma in their own lives. I knew this because I had hurt people I’d loved as well, because there were times I was made crazy with anger, fear, and shame myself. But the ayahuasca let me literally FEEL this pain in my family, to know it; it showed me that it was the great pain they were in that made them hurt others and themselves when they were overwhelmed by it.
As the night went on and I started coming down the other side of the peak, the ceremony ended, and I found the strength to do the wobbly “ayahuasca shuffle” back to my hut. I grabbed my fleecy blanket and pillow, and collapsed with a sigh of relief into my hammock, gently swaying back and forth while I waited for the sun to come up. I thought about what the ayahuasca had shown me about my family, and I thought about what I wanted to say to them in light of my new awareness of their pain. I said aloud “I forgive you”. Up until then I hadn’t realized that I had, and I cried with the relief and the surprise of it.