Ayahuasca Life

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First Ceremony with Don Alberto “The Big Fish”

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After four days of waiting in Jenaro Hererra, both Masha/”Maria” and Don Alberto were ready to start the ten ceremonies I had requested. First we had to cook up the Ayahuasca. The cooking took place out at Don Alberto’s chakra, or farm. His chakra consisted of two huts in a field, a two-hour walk through the jungle from the town center. It was quite literally a pastoral setting surrounded by jungle, small ponds, and his herd of water buffalo. The heat was slightly mitigated by the shade in the huts, but nothing stopped the sea of ants crawling on the floor of the main hut. The ants did not bite, but it was a very weird feeling to have 100’s of ants crawling on my almost bare feet. The rest of the family had no problem with them. Conversely, it took all of my mental strength not to run out of the hut screaming obscenities and freaking out. Good stuff.

It took all day to cook the Aya. There was a lot of sitting around doing nothing. I have discovered that being able to hang out for long periods of time without speaking nor doing anything is a valuable skill that most westerners do not have. In fact westerners start to get twitchy and nervous in these situations. I am learning to just “be” and enjoy these times as there is always a vibration or energy to be appreciated. This vibration can be internal or external….check it out sometime.

As the sun was setting and we were preparing to return home a short, strong rain came to cool off the jungle, perfect for the walk home. The rain gives the jungle that extra “rain forest feel” as all the plants are clean, glistening with a more intense green. It was a particularly strong effect in the twilight. On the way home I walked behind two older women who were barefoot and moving with amazing ease along the jungle trail. They were fast, and I had to work to keep up, especially on the slippery log bridges that spanned small creeks and ponds. They were in their element…I was a fish out of water, feeling a bit foolish as I stumbled along.

Towards the end of the walk home I realized that there is a lot to be learned by just living in a village like Jenaro Hererra. Drinking Ayahuasca in a setting like Blue Morpho provides a transient community that is only partially familiar with Ayahuasca. Most of the people are working with the medicine for a short time before plunging immediately back into western society. Jenaro Hererra is a community that is steeped in the medicine. This community is here to stay and it supports working with Ayahuasca as the energy in the village flows with that vibration…it feels quite lovely. It is not necessary to drink Aya to pick up this energy. It takes only a few days to feel and absorb. So, for those who want to drink Ayahuasca and are traveling with loved ones that do not want to drink, Jenaro Hererra is a perfect place. Those who don’t drink can pick up the vibe from the community and also just sit in on ceremonies without drinking. In fact it is quite common for locals to attend ceremony without drinking. They know that they still get the benefit of the energy in the ceremony.

Eight thirty was the ceremony start time. Don Alberto’s large living room transformed from the neighborhoods loud entertainment center to a sacred ceremony space in a matter of minutes. The mesa was set up and chairs put into a circle for the participants. There was also an outer ring of people who were not drinking; they were there to pick up the healing energy. There were a total of about 12 people the first night with about 7 people drinking. Maria and I were the only “gringos”. The rest were either maestros in their own right or locals who came for healing. This was a much more intimate ceremony than I had ever experienced before. The real deal….way cool.

Time to drink…..Maria had suggested that I let Don Alberto determine my dosage. I followed her advice and found myself staring down a full cup vs. my normal <1/2 cup at Blue Morpho. I was happy to find that it went down with minimal gag reflex…my water and cigarette were close by to lessen it even more. I am really fast with my cigarettes these days- a necessary skill. I have found a cigarette removes the taste of Aya very quickly.

Chakapas started to wave in a rhythm- “shhh, shhh, shhh,” and icarros flowed. I rocked in my chair with my eyes closed waiting to meet Papa Tua. I repeated my standard mantra of “straighten my energies, and teach me” in my head. I also asked Aya to help me learn Spanish…more on this in a later post. It always takes about an hour for me to meet the medicine, which usually translates into a longer tail end.

Bright colored visuals flew by and I connected with the icarros. The first realization that hit was how accepting Don Alberto’s family had been with me. They are so open, friendly and patient with me (especially my Spanish). This feeling expanded further to include the larger community in Jenaro Hererra. I had a vision of anime versions of people in town working, fishing and farming…all happy. The feeling of love and happiness rose and spread throughout my body as I felt deeply connected. Then the purging started…..

In the previous post I talked about my mischievous spirit being an issue during ceremony at Blue Morpho. I brought this up with Don Alberto and specifically asked for that spirit to be removed. His response was “No problema”. Don Alberto quickly came through with his promise. I could feel him working different parts of my body from different angles. I would feel this work, then violently purge. Don Alberto said “Su cuerpo es susio”- “Your body is dirty”. We were there to clean it up. He was pulling parts of this little guy out piece by piece. I kept seeing an image of a giant fish being hunted by Don Alberto and myself. It was if we had cordoned off a small section of a river where the fish was trapped, but still not captured. We would grab a piece and purge it, and then it would escape. I soon came to realize that the fish was part of me, and therefore me. There was a part of me that did not want to let go and I was helping to hide the bugger. The funny thing is that because it was part of me….I was actually working against myself as I know all my tricks. I had to let go.

The purging went in a cycle of purge, rest, enjoyable visions, then purging again. This continued through night till the end of the ceremony. I was exhausted. Don Alberto finished the ceremony by saying “Muy bien, Zach. Muy bien”. I fell asleep on the tile floor with a smile on my face. I had worked my ass off.


Written by ayahuascalife

December 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. your writing is improving in leaps and bounds… vernacular, descriptions, this post flows smoothly,

    Muy bien Z muy bien

    Teddy Love

    December 2, 2010 at 2:14 am

  2. Amazing my friend. I read these posts with fascination and thrill. I can only imagine the changes that are happening in your body and spirit.


    December 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

  3. Hey, Zach, I’m really enjoying the blog. Reading your experiences helps keep me connected to Peru and the medicine. I can’t believe Sanango was over a month ago. I hope that little light from Brookstone is still working for you. Enjoy your adventure, I look forward to reading more about it.


    December 3, 2010 at 2:02 am

    • The Brookstone light is still working, and I still think it is brilliant….pun intended. Thanks for the kind words and support.


      December 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm

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