Iquitos and Urubamba in Peru
The following retreat took place January 5th-11th.
My stay at Arkana Spiritual retreat got off to a rocky start. I got sick during the Kambo ceremony and chose not to participate in the retreats first Ayahuasca ceremony of the new year. Arkana was not at fault with me getting sick. I made an error on how I wanted the venom administered into my system. Normally, the Kambo administer would inject two small doses of venom in a particular area of a body. It could be the left or right shoulder, knee, ankle and etc. Or one could have an injection different areas of the body. In my case, I had him inject the first dose of venom in my right shoulder and the second injection on my left knee. I realized hours later this was a mistake because I had not purged enough of the venom out of my system. I thought I did, but this wasn’t the case. So instead of feeling refreshed and energized due to the venom’s ability to remove toxins out of my body, instead it made me feel fatigued, dizzy and bloated due to the venom remaining in my system. The Shamans and facilitators were able to fix me, but it was not a fun experience and I learned my lesson. The next time I partake in a Kambo ceremony, stick to one area of the body! At least in my opinion. I also regret not taking part in the Ayahuasca ceremony regardless of my illness from residual residue of the Kambo. I shouldn’t have been afraid because Ayahuasca is a healing agent, not a curse. I think the lesson here is regardless of your level of sickness, the plant medicine is there to help you, not hurt you.
So my second Ayahuasca ceremony was my first ceremony and again I made some mistakes that made my experience somewhat uncomfortably intense.
I think during the second ceremony I tried to hard to make up for that first ceremony. I tried to hard to make it work. I tried to force the process and did not let the plant medicine properly work it’s magic. I learned through research that purging is a method used by the plant medicine to cleanse the body of negative emotions, stress and physical toxins. Due to my eagerness to make up for the first ceremony, I tried to force myself to purge. Sometimes I would stick my hand down my throat or drink a lot of water in an attempt to expedite the process. This is NOT what you are suppose to do during the ceremony. You do NOT stick your hand down your throat, and you never drink water during the ceremony. Water enhances the effects of the medicine on your mind and body. When the ceremony was over my stomach was in a lot of pain due to my actions. Thankfully(and once again) the Shamans and facilitators made me better.
Now don’t get me wrong, the ceremony wasn’t a complete disaster. As a matter of fact it was rather insightful. I just wish I’d been more patient and not try to force the magic, but let the magic come when it is ready to come. Remember, Ayahuasca is the teacher, you are the student. Be the student! Don’t interrupt the teacher or she will “interrupt” you!
My third ceremony at Arkana went much better than the second. Instead of being anxious and on red alert, I simply lied down to freely allow the medicine to do it’s work. I don’t remember exactly everything that happened, but what I do know is the medicine worked more on healing my body on a physical level than on a spiritual or emotional level. When the ceremony was over I was extremely tired and was still “tripping” from the medicine, while most of the other people in the group were chatting about their experience in a gleeful manner. Anyway, I eventually made it to my room and the next morning I felt pretty good.
The last and final ceremony was by far the most profound and enlightening experience of my entire week at the Arkana retreat. Since it was the last ceremony of the retreat I took a larger dose of Ayauhasca. Add that along with the presence of a full moon probably amplified the experience of the ceremony 10 fold. I was able to go deeper with the medicine and saw things that blew my mind. I saw a type of code designed in somewhat of an alien like manner. I saw the galaxy slowly expand before my very eyes, but I didn’t just see the galaxy, I was a PART of the galaxy. It was beautiful thing to witness, yet frightening and very overwhelming. It was a power I was not sure I was capable of handling nor was I sure if I wanted to wield such power.
I’m not sure what else happened after that, but I do remember the deeper I went the more I felt I was losing my sense of humanity. I felt like I was turning into something akin to an animal or a lizard. I am not sure how I cam to this realization, but I decided I needed to regain my sense of humanity so I started taking deep breaths. I would breathe deeply and slowly until I got my body under control. Once my body was under control I was able to sit up in a somewhat ugly lotus position and in that ugly position I continued to breathe deeply and slowly doing my best to send healing energy to others who needed help. The songs the Shamans would sing during the ceremony were a HUGE help. Their kind and lovely melody really kept me grounded. It kept me sane. This ceremony felt longer than usual and I don’t know if it WAS longer than usual, all I know is I felt exhausted yet incredibly satisfied because through the ups and downs of my madness I found the answer to my intention. I wanted to know how I could better treat other people as if they loved me. Now the answer I got might be obvious to many, but to me it was somewhat of a revelation. The medicine told me to help other and put their needs first. Not all the time, but just enough to show them you appreciate them and that you see them for who they are. You see them, you know them and you love them and if they ever need anything you will be there for them to help them if the need it, love them if you can.
I took a half a cup of Ayahuasca during my first and second ceremony. My third and final ceremony of the week I took a 3/4th cup. I admit taking part in this retreat was somewhat nerve racking because I was not sure what the medicine was going to show me. I wasn’t sure if it was going to show me a horror movie or a movie full of love, hope and happiness. I guess you can say it gave me a bit of both, but looking back, I realized I could have gone MUCH deeper with the medicine. Weight and size(I weigh 120lbs) does not matter with Mother Ayahuasca because all she cares about is your intention and motivation. If you are honest with her, she will be honest with you in a firm but loving manner. She will not hurt nor harm you, but will shock you if she feels you need a wake up call.
I hope to someday come back to Arkana and when I do I intend to go deeper with the medicine. If I stay for a week I will attempt to increase my dosage of Ayahuasca each ceremony by one cup. If I go this route, I will attempt to drink 4 cups of the medicine on the fourth and final ceremony(if the Shamans allow me to do so). Taking four cups might be a little extreme, but it has been done before and will be done again in the years to come. If I stay for two weeks(Arkana one week/Sacred Valley the next) I will increase my dosage by half a cup. And again, if I go this route, by the seventh and final ceremony I will attempt to take 4 cups of Ayahuasca(again, with the Shamans blessings).
I’m not doing this to brag or pound my chest. I’m just tired of being afraid to attempt to be the person I know I can be. I’m afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I’m afraid to be free. I think the only way to overcome that fear is to face it head on. I need to let the medicine take me to the deep end of the water and force me to swim my way out. I want to be challenged. I want to be pushed to my maximum limit to the extent that if I survive this ordeal I will come to better understand and fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of freedom. I will understand it. I will love it and I will not be afraid to embrace it in my everyday life and not worry what others may think, say or do when I act this way because I’ve been on dark side of the moon for too damn long and I want to see the sunny side of Venus if only for a minute to tell her that I love her and hope she can love me despite all my flaws, fears and imperfections.
I hope this review has been helpful to you and I hope you will learn from my mistakes, my victories, my struggles and my joys during my stay at Arkana. Mother Ayahuasca is a beautiful medicine and I wish I had the power and ability to give it to those who need it more than I do because the world if filled with those who need it more than the dark side of the moon needs them.
Admin note: This review was edited for over-capitalization, but the original content has been left in-tact.