The preparations for the Ayahausca Ceremony started 2 weeks before I flew out to Peru. It was a pre-requisite that you followed a certain diet in order to prepare your body internally for the ceremony itself.
Whatever happened, I couldn't have prepared my mind in anyway for what was about to happen.
The pre-requisites were a simple enough detox variation, no coffee, no chocolate (both killers) cut out sugars, lower my red meat intake, no alcohol. To be honest, apart from the coffee, it was pretty manageable.
Of course, the intention of my Ayahausca ceremony was to help me become a better person. I had read books on Ayahausca and listened to podcasts and clips on You-tube. But wasn't sure what exactly to expect...
I first heard about Ayahausca on the Joe Rogan Podcast when he interviewed the Fingerprints of the Gods author Graham Hancock. He spoke about the details of his experience whilst under the influence of Ayahausca and the reasons behind taking it. It was a fascinating story. I was determined to try it for myself.
Ayahausca is a psychedelic potion (please note - I deliberately avoid the word 'drug') that is used and has been used for millennia by indigenous peoples of South America. Most notably in Amazonian Peru. This is the deep bit... It is used to purify the soul and gain guidance from the spirit world (bear with me)... It can be used to cure addictions, mental issues, dysfunctions etc... There are plenty of online commendations.
Much like the scene from Young Guns II where Chavez enters the spirit world via a Peyote Ceremony to ask for guidance out of a sticky situation...
So sitting on a bench in the Cuzco main square waiting to be picked up by the Etnikas crew, to take me for the detox volcanic water part of the retreat.
I'd picked up my previously lost back pack from Cuzco airport earlier in the morning. KLM had managed to lose it on the Amsterdam to Lima leg of the journey. I had to wear my kegs for almost 3 days!
I was sat there chilling, although a little apprehensive about the activities that that were about to follow.
A western looking guy parked himself down next to me on the bench and introduced himself as Jeremy. He was from California. We chewed the fat over our expectations from the next 3 days as we waited for the Etnikas crew to pick us up.
A couple of minutes, close to nine thirty, two Peruvian ladies turned up at the meeting place. They introduced themselves as nurses who were going to take us through the process.
We did the formalities and then jumped into a taxi to take us to the downtown office. I say taxi, but what they really are is beat up, barely road legal go-carts.
We travelled about 15 minutes through the chaotic road traffic to the Etnikas office downtown.
We sat down and all introduced ourselves, we were joined by a girl named Sandrine at this point.
We went through fairly standard medical questionnaire and did the Blood Pressure, Oxygen Saturation, Pulse and Temperature tests.
Then the fun started. To fully cleanse our systems, we were forbidden to eat any breakfast - at all, then we had to down at least 10 500ml glasses of Quisachata Volcanic Water (from a real if redundant, volcano!)
We were instructed to knock back the first four in one go...
The first one was served up. Down it went in a one'r... Jesus it was foul. I remember thinking it was like sea water. Because of it's high mineral content it tasted really salty and bloated your stomach. We were encourage to do some exercising to help move the water through our system. Which was odd. 3 random strangers, drinking a strange concoction, all doing some form of burpees in a odd, scruffy little office in downtown Cuzco in Peru. How odd...
So about 5 drinks in - things started to happen. This wasn't the psychoactive medicine, this was just the preparation. Before I knew it, I was on and off the toilet like a madman. Essentially I was pissing out of my arse... Cleansing my system...
What made it interesting is that like some poor European countries, Peru's plumbing can't handle toilet paper... You get the picture... 10 full glasses later, my ordeal was complete.
We were allowed to eat that night which was great, but we still had to follow the diet as much as we could. We were to spend the night in our hostels and told to get a good nights rest. Etnikas were due to pick us up from the same rendezvous point the next day to travel to the Retreat.
Day 2 to follow...