I am writing this on the morning after my Ayahuasca experience so understand that my views on my experience may change however I will revisit what I have written to update when I have had space to be more reflexive. At the present time I feel an utter sense of doom and disappointment.
My wife and I are spending a year travelling around South America and one of the pivotal points we have been waiting for on our trip is to undertake an Ayahuasca ceremony. This motivation has directed our trip in its route and its motivation. We had originally planned on doing a week long retreat however due to time constraints that were enhanced by the week long journey to Iquitos from Panatoja we decided that we would attend a day ceremony but still catch our transport out of Iquitos a week later so if we wanted to extend our experience we had the option to.
When we arrived at DAS Percy and Joel met us at the gate. They said that our bungalow was being prepared so we could wash in the river and they would come and explain what the process would be once the cottage was ready. Percy came to get us and showed us to the cottage. He showed us the room and asked for cash up front, which we paid. He the left us saying there would be a flower bath at 4pm. We spoke to the other two guests for a while then went over at 4pm for the flower bath. One of the other guests who was about to undertake his third experience at the site said that it would be at this point someone would talk to us and tell us what would be happening, although he gave us an account himself.
The flower bath was a pleasant experience but still there was no explanation or discuss of our motivation for coming, as we were told there would be. We met in the ceremony room at 5pm and Joel said that Percy would enter and call us up for the drink, once we had drank the drink we should not talk, only meditate. He also explained things such as where the toilets were and how we should use the flash lights etc.
We all drank our first drink and as I was coconscious of needing the toilet, thought I would go one last time. Upon returning to my mat I felt extremely sick and vomited probably only 15 minutes after drinking. I lay for a while and listened to the process taking effect on the others in the room, including my wife. One of the participants was extremely sick and required help from Joel to go to the toilet as she was extremely unwell. As her sickness died down she was laughing and appeared to be having a good experience. My wife was sick very late on. After she was sick I remember her saying ?I don?t understand what is going on? repeatedly over and over again. Her body in strange positions similar to positions she uses in yoga.
I had felt a low level sensation after the being sick however this had passed and I was now just sat listening to the experiences of others and the chanting of Percy. Joel came and asked me if I thought I needed a bit more. I replied that yes I thought so as it wasn?t really having any affect. Another drink was prepared for me and the other male participant. My wife and the second female had said that they did not require a second cup. I drank the second cup and waited. Because I had been sick so quickly the first time I had expected it to come on reasonably fast but this time it didn?t. I waited and waited and begun to think that maybe it just wasn?t going to work for me. As I sat up almost giving up I felt extremely sick, extremely quickly and vomited. This was probably just over 30 minutes after I had taken the second cup. Now I knew this was going to take affect so laid back waiting for what was about to come. At this point Percy was playing some chimes/bells and was walking around the room stopping behind each of us. I began to feel the effects coming on. Percy stopped playing the bells and Joel announced the Percy had said that the ceremony was now over we could remain in our positions or return to our room. I could not believe it! It was as if they had led me to a very intense experience and left me to deal with it by myself. My trip became increasingly strong and increasingly dark.
I have had multiple experiences using DMT in the past. The early stages of these experiences had been overwhelming positive and I had learnt a lot however the latter had taken me to an extremely dark place that I was very afraid to go back to. I had hoped that through the guidance of a shaman I would understand these experiences and value the negative as well as the positive. Since being in Peru my wife and I also visited another Shaman and drank San Pedro. This was an incredible Shaman that we were set up with through The Shaman Shop in Cuzco. Our San Pedro experience was extraordinary and the guidance of our shaman showed us what an extremely wise and gifted individual he was, a true spiritual leader however at the same time setting himself out as an equal to us as opposed to someone who should be worshiped. So we arrived as DAS with high expectations of an equally good spiritual leader however I was left feeling quite the opposite.
My trip after the second cup returned me to the place of my bad experiences using DMT. It is a sense of nothingness, that the world does not exist, nor do my loved one, nor do I. I am just a looping thought process that is left for infinity with no vessel or way of ending it. I called out for my wife but felt that this was arbitrary as my wife did not exist and nor did I so the comfort of her arms was not possible. At this point I lost complete control of all my bodily functions. I felt myself having extreme diarrhoea but this was just a feeling of the brain and not possible in reality as I did not have a body to perform this function. I continued to call out that I loved my wife however as the words came out of my mouth each time it was as if they were meaningless as my wife did not exist all that did was the feeling of love that she represented.
Soon the spinning repetition that was going on started to include a vision of my wife being brought to me by Joel. She was clearly still under the influence herself but was voicing that she would comfort me but there was an extremely bad smell that I needed to wash off. Her saying this began to plant me back in to reality as I realised that I had messed myself and she was real. We walked together directed by Joel to the river where we washed. At this point I was now experiencing reality again. Once washed we headed back to our cabin. Joel and Percy were stood in our path and we talked to them as we passed.
In the morning I have woken feeling utterly let down. I feel that when my experience was at its most intense and I was at my most vulnerable Percy ended the ceremony. To me his involvement had been valueless. He had chanted and played instruments while I was sober and once under the influence left me. During our last shaman experience we discussed/explored the concept of a ?C.D Shaman?, the concept of playing chanting on a c.d while under the influence of these kind of plants and how this could not compare to the guidance of a real Shaman. Although Shaman Percy did not play a c.d, he did not consider the stage of those in the room or anything about their experience. He was more concerned with his own experience. He did his time of playing instruments and chanting then ended suddenly to spend the rest of the evening being sick himself. The other participant who was on his third experience at the centre stated that on his second ceremony of Ayahuasca he took it alone. Shaman Percy felt that he was ready to be given the drink while he was alone in his bedroom so was given the drink then left alone without the guidance of any Shaman. From my understanding of the role of the Shaman this seems utterly neglectful. This was a young, vulnerable guy being left to deal with a very powerful substance without any guidance.
In the morning we walked back to the river to wash my clothes and hopefully speak to Percy/Joel. Percy approached us and asked how was the experience I said that it had been not so good but was aware of the language barrier between us so went no further. Joel then came to speak to me about my experience. He repeatedly said that to have a valued experience you need to have undertaken the diet and not just be coming to the experience for the ride. After him repeatedly telling me that it was my bad experience was my issue because of various reasons I explained that we had been following the diet. He then put it down to us coming for a one night experience and not being truly in need, giving an example of one of the other participants who had had a positive experience. I did not feel the need to explain that we had the option of staying for the three ceremonies nor my motivations for coming or what I had hoped to get out of it, primarily because he was not interested. Joel?s role was supposed to be acting as a translator and care taker however he was now giving justifications for Shaman Percy. We did not have one conversation with Shaman Percy during our whole stay.
Upon returning to our cabin one of the other participants showed me the comments book that previous guests had been asked to complete. The book was clearly held together with Seloptape, being a mish mash of one than one book. All accounts were overwhelmingly positive about DAS and about Percy. It seemed strange that no one had anything negative to say about the place.
I have reread this account a few days after my experience and although have edited and added slightly feel that it is a true representation of what happened to us. Ultimately Ayahuasca does what Ayahuasca does, I am not questioning the power or effects of the substance itself however I feel that I wanted to have the guidance of a Shaman for my experience and Shaman Percy did not perform this function. He acts and performs the ceremony as if he is some kind of guru, this is not how a shaman should be. A shaman should be as an equal but understand your needs and wants and guide you through the process. From what we saw Shaman Percy is not capable of this.