Still no real idea of time due to the fact we had our mobile phones and watches taken from us at the start of the retreat. My broken sleep was eventually compounded by the tweeting of the birds. Not the females in the camp, but the ornithological type.
It was another beautiful day in Peru. The sun was up early in the Sacred Valley, there wasn't any main street, traffic or industry in the area so it was a pretty serene environment.
We all still had to adhere to the 'sacred silence' so there wasn't any jumping up and down and celebration from the night before, but I was curios to how Jeremy would be feeling after his dying walrus impression the night before.
We all met in the kitchen in the main hall for breakfast, again the only meal we're allowed. It consisted of porridge-Quinoa (and plenty of it) which, as we're spoilt westerners is pretty bland and hard to eat, although super healthy for you. No dairy products either so the tea was either green or coca.
So we sat and discussed our experiences with each other. James, the lad from Suffolk was there with us on this morning, he had to carry out his cleansing when we were doing our first trip as he'd missed the Sunday session due to being on the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu.
James' room was next door to the ceremony room and he explained how he (sober) could hear the full thing as it happened from start to finish. James' said how he could hear everybody strain as they started to hurl and how the noises Jeremy was making were like that of a tortured animal.
One thing he said that did stand out was the Shaman's singing, he said it was out of this world. I forget the actual description he used but it basically confirmed what I was hearing wasn't just psychedelically influenced.
We convened again a short while later to formally discuss our experiences from the night before. We go back to the ceremony room which in daylight doesn't look as intimidating with the sun light beaming through the large front windows. The Shaman from last night and Bety the coordinator sit in from of us and assess what we each relay to them. Jeremy's experience sounds absolutely wild and would fully back up the noises and emotions he went through. I think he got a lot out of his experience.
I told them both about how my conscious mind was telling me it was too strong, and to this they both said you must have the courage to trust the medicine. I think that this was a great symbol of my life in general. I find when I reflect on situations in my life, the rational side of my brain seems to win a lot of arguments, but this was a sign in itself telling me to let go more, trust more, whether it's my own ability or trust in other peoples abilities and loyalties.
Once the feedback session was done, Bety offers to take us on a small hike up the side of a small hill in the Sacred Valley. We get to walk around a pretty secluded village which I remember making me quite thankful for all I have in my life already, as most of these people only have the bare bones to live on or live with, yet everyone is so pleasant and sociable.
The weather is warm and the walk isn't a major hike, but with little food on board and at high altitude, it's still quite demanding.
The view from the top however is absolutely mesmerising. Unfortunately I didn't have my phone to take a photograph, as they'd been confiscated on day 2.
Back at the retreat, we head back to our rooms. We had time to kill, so I think about the questions that I needed to ask and what I wanted to get out of the experience... Prominent questions and probably ones that get asked by numerous people:
- Show me how to be a better person
- Show me how to be self -forgiving
I wanted to ask this question as I have always been my own biggest critic and find it hard to 'let go' or forgive myself when I fuck up. Which is quite often haha
- Show me how to love more, myself, others, parents, friends, girlfriends etc..
- Show me the universe, help me understand how I can be understanding of others and help with their struggles or if they're without direction.
We reconvene for a Yoga session later on. This is taken by a new face. A guy called Pako who turned up (as a coordinator) on start of day3. This is going to sound weird, but as soon as you met the guy, he radiated love. Bear with me... He was a slightly built lad with a big smile and a fucking truck load of positive energy which just seemed to hit you like a draft. It was really weird. I felt instantly at ease with him. He took us for a yoga session as yoga for those who don't know isn't just about the physical attributes, but also about realigning the mind and spirit as well as the physical parts.
Ceremony time comes round again. Fortunately this time there was no angering of the spirits by killing of spiders anyone... A big difference tonight was there was a bloody storm brewing outside. It was absolutely lashing down outside. The same pre ceremony rituals commence. The Earth and Water protection ceremony, followed by the Candilla, that beautifully scented perfume used to protect from evil spirits.
We were given our cup of Ayahausca and told to drink. Again, down in one, knowing what to expect made it a little more difficult this time. The taste of burnt wood made it's way down my gullet. I've got to say I felt queasy for the full 30 minutes this time. I did think that I would have hurled before the water drinking commenced but I managed to hold off. 'Not beating me' I thought haha... When Bety gave us the go ahead to drink the water, I hurled almost immediately. I remember as we sat there in the dark and silence that the onset was a lot stronger than it was the previous night. I knew I had to concentrate on my breathing (like in yoga) if I was to withstand the power of it.
There was no slight incline tonight, no introduction to the hum... It was nought to 100mph in no time... I was catapulted into orbit like a speeding bullet. It was as if it was saying, 'OK dude, you can do this so let's go' whoosh...
When I got my first real idea of what was happening, the Hum and colours were in and around me. The shapes were morphing in and out of each other like the night before. No discernible left right up or down. No control over direction. My rational mind was trying to talk to me 'it's too strong - bail out'. My breathing (so it seemed) became more controlled with deeper breaths as I tried to shut out the rational voice. One major difference was that the Shaman's voice didn't play as an integral part in my flight tonight. Not sure why that was. Maybe just my lack of recall.
So I asked my first question...
'Please show me the universe...'
Well here we go, not knowing what to expect, obviously. I was taken to what was interpreted as 'mother-ship'. Not in any extra terrestrial way like you see on films though. Just a huge canvas of colours, flashing lights. Very much like the Alex Grey painting 'Ayahausca'. I didn't feel any fear or trepidation.
As I was lying on my right side, it felt as though this mother ship was pulling me into a new dimension on an extremely slow tractor beam. My right arm was in, my right leg was in, my right ear was in... I was almost into another dimension.... Then BOOOOOM...
Rational brain kicked in... 'You're gonna be sick!!!'
I remember saying in my mind 'Fuck off... I'm nearly there...' and tried to capture concentration again. I settled down and began being pulled in again... Then again "You're not listening, you're gonna be sick!!" And inevitably, I jumped up. I must have startled the coordinators as all else was quiet in the room. I knew what to do instinctively. Up onto all fours, head over my bucket.
This was quite a violent purge. I couldn't understand why it had started again in what seemed like half way through the ceremony. It was like I was shouting... Screaming... the spew felt like it was something off the exorcist.
The ladies were straight over comforting and rubbing my back.
I remember looking at my hands when I was being sick, or in between purges. And it was that violent my hands were gripping the floor and as I was straining my hands looked like the change sequence in the American Werewolf in London. This was a vivid vision. I remember shaking my head and actually checking my hands to see that they weren't disfigured or growing hair... It wasn't a scary vision at all. It felt quite powerful. Between the shouting (spewing) and the werewolf hands I felt quite strong and fearless. I'm not sure where this came from.
As I settled back down on my sleeping bag, I knew that I had peaked. I was gutted. It seemed like I hadn't gotten half the time as the night before. But of course we have no real appreciation of time during the experience. So I was now on the decline, but I wanted the Ayahausca to show me love. In the darkness of a starless sky (in my vision) shot a shooting start (?) which hit me right in the heart. And for a millisecond, everything lit up like a spot light had hit it. An instant feeling of euphoria came and went in less than a second. I was both over the moon and disappointed that it couldn't have lasted longer.
By now I realised I was well and truly 'down' or so I thought. I heard the Shaman shuffle about as he began his personal one to one songs. I was so looking forward to mine. I could hear him singing to the person next to me.
When it was my turn I turned on my back. Again, this guys voice was just like pure silk. There's no way I could understand the verbal side of what he was singing, but the feeling was immense. I don't mind admitting that a tear was shed during this moment as I felt so at peace with things. Messages flashed through my mind, but not knowing if it was just my own internal thoughts or advice being beamed in from a higher plain.
Part of the self forgiveness comes from living in the past. How badly I may have treated people, family, friends or an ex-girlfriends.
The message came in loud and clear though: "It's OK to move on my son"
Not really sure where that came from... But it was very reassuring and I was thankful for it.
As the ceremony was drawn to a close. The lights were on and noticed that Miquel had moved to the other side of the room. Apparently he had a real tough night with traumatic visions. So much so he needed some very loving reassurance from the coordinators. Heavy stuff.
Back in the room, Jeremy and I discussed our experiences again. Excited about what we've just experienced. I remember feeling like I could have run through a brick wall. I was full of energy and good feeling.
"Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know"