Why I Chose Ayahuasca

I came to South America early in 2009, in search of a cure.  I was acting on a gut feeling, that the legendary visionary plant, ayahuasca, would help me.  I had a brain tumor, caused by a chronic degenerative condition, called "acromegaly" which had dogged me for 20 years.  I had spent many years searching and trying a plethora of complementary and alternative approaches to restoring my health, continually postponing major brain surgery and radiation therapy, despite the progressive degeneration and deformation of my body.  I wanted to avoid the conventional treatments, because in my case, they would have meant severe physical trauma, the destruction of a vital organ, and ultimately destined a life monitored by a hospital and dependent on heavy medications.  I was so determined that I could never lead this life that I was, quite literally, prepared to die instead of give in to it.  And this conviction was never so stark as when my doctors landed the final bombshell late in 2008; I was definitively out of time.  My tumor was dangerously close to my brain stem, which, if it impinged on it, could have meant some vital bodily function just ceasing.  It was also millimeters from my optic nerves.  So, if not death, then I could expect certain blindness, followed some time thereafter by death.

I had been working periodically with ayahuasca in Europe, with various guides, for a couple of years. The plant had impressed me.  It was the only thing, amongst the many alternatives I had tried, that had offered me a real hope of a resolution, whether that resolution be cure or death. At that point, it was ayahuasca that was helping me come to terms with the fact that I could not avoid death, and that it was something I had to prepare for. That said, I wanted to live.  I wanted to be healed.  I wanted to experience life in a healthy body.  And I wanted to prove that my family, my friends, and my doctors were wrong — that it was possible to heal a terminal condition that has no known cure. Because my very core ideals were encapsulated in this illness and in the choices I made with regard to it,  it challenged me to confront my truth in the very bluntest way possible, and it was forcing me to pursue, and embody, my ideals — that we are indeed the creators of our own lives, living in an earthly paradise, where absolutely everything we want for can be resourced through nature. If I managed to heal, managed to overcome a life threatening brain tumor and achieve full health, then it would prove that there is always hope, and that truly anything is possible, if only we believe, if only we pursue what is in our hearts.

And so, I came to South America with urgency, acutely aware the decision to reject the western approach in the 11th hour might mean imminent death.  But if my illness were to seal this fate, then I knew ayahuasca would give me peace.

Ayahuasca, also known as "vine of the soul" or "vine of the dead,"  is a visionary plant and master curative.  The active agent, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), is also the chemical that is released from the pineal gland during birth and death.  In other words, DMT produces the consciousness that we experience at our major transition points between the material world and the spirit world.  Ayahuasca is, therefore, literally a gateway to the spirit and as such, a very sacred medicine. 

This potent liquid brew is comprised of two plants: ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi), a vine, and chakruna (psychotria viridis), a leaf. Sometimes other plants with different healing qualities are added.  Chemically speaking, chakruna contains DMT, which is normally suppressed from activity in the body, by the MAO (monoamineoxidase) enzyme, but the vine ayahuasca contains natural MAO inhibitors, in the form of harmalines, which literally contain light. They allow the disintegration of the DMT to be by-passed, resulting in a psychoactive state. But it is naive to reduce the magical properties of this symbiotic combination of plants to mere chemistry.

Ayahuasca and other plants that produce trance states are grossly misrepresented in the West, often understood to be simply "hallucinogenic."  This is a derogatory term for a medicine that is actually a master healer and teacher.  The correct conceptual term for this class of plant medicine is "entheogen," meaning "revealing the divine within" And indeed this is what ayahuasca does; it clears toxicity on every level, removes the dross, the stuck patterns and programs, the negative thoughts and behaviors, and indeed, anything that prevents us from being who we truly are, by revealing the full potential of humans as divine creators. The spirit of ayahuasca is perceived as a female, a mother, or a grandmother (Abuela).  This is because it is a very loving spirit, and compassionate, though the lessons and the cleaning process are not always easy. However, the depth of the process reflects the depth of the transformation.  The results are always astonishing.


The Journey to the Right Place

Coming to South America, I had no specific destination in mind. I prayed that somehow I would find the right people and places, following the advice of an experienced friend who told me, "let the plant guide you."  I arrived in Iquitos, a jungle city, accessible only by boat or plane, in Northern Peru, that is also renowned as a hub for ayahuasca. From here, I intended to go over the border into Amazonian Brazil to meet that friend, who was going to bring me to a powerful ayahuascero that she knew. However, our paths were never to cross as a couple of twists of fate thwarted my plans and instead led me to the Temple of the Way of Light. 

I met the Temple's founder, Matthew Watherston, in Iquitos and he accompanied me to the premises, where its very first group retreat, in its present form, was underway.  On the journey, he told me a little about the background of the Temple and its unique ethos. Matthew believes medicine and healing should be accessible to people of all walks of life, all races, and all financial circumstances, and so his vision was to create a place where money was not a barrier for anyone desiring true healing. And so, the Temple is not-for-profit, and is certainly the best value in Iquitos. This contrasted sharply with the rest of the ayahuasca based centers in the area, which are expensive and run as businesses.  My cure was absolutely priceless; I would have paid anything for it, regardless of the financial repercussions. I just wanted to be sure I was spending my money wisely. 

It pleased me that the Temple matched my own ideals concerning money and access to health services. And the greater vision for it also impressed me. Matthew plans to build a hospital to treat all sorts of dis-ease and illness, including those of chronic degenerative type,  and to build a self sustaining community that would produce jungle superfoods and provide everything needed to create a truly healing environment.  It also has a fundraising arm in the West, with a view to setting up projects in the indigenous communities such as water purification, dengue eradication projects, permaculture, cottage industries, etc., and to build a network of schools to restimulate the youth's interest in their traditional medical culture, focusing on plants, botanical gardens, and their cosmological vision of the world.  But there was another aspect of the Temple's works which set it apart.

Ceremonies are led by at least four female indigenous healers and one male.  This is an unusual and special situation as normally there is one central figure leading ayahuasca ceremonies.  The ratio of healer to participant is thus very high, and as such the quality of the healing is deeper.  The fact that it is mainly women led was also very unusual.  Shamanic traditions, like every other facet of life in the modern world, have a tendency to be male dominated.  On the other hand, women, Matt says, "have a gentler and more caring approach, working primarily from the heart with loving compassion, and therefore, offering a safe and comfortable environment in which to deal with personal issues."  Being a woman, I was excited to work with female adepts, but, I was also doubtful as I had heard many grand proclamations of healing ability before, which had never lived up to the hype. 

Matthew expounded on the history of the Temple, which began life in Feb 2007, when he bought a place near to Iquitos.  He started to run workshops with the original male curandero[i] connected to the property, but as time went on he became more and more concerned about the integrity of this individual, as he witnessed incidents that "showed his machismo, ego, control, and a begging bowl."  It was totally at odds with the sacred process guided by ayahuasca, which involves opening to the higher self.  After a couple of sinister occurrences involving alcohol and sexual inappropriateness, Matthew replaced him with a female curandera.  It turned out she was not a true healer. However, the energetic content of the ceremony was completely different, and he realized that women brought a purer quality to the ceremonies as well as a significant lack of ego.  Shortly after this, a series of synchronicities led him to a group of female indigenous healers, and drinking with them, he says, he "had my head blown off my shoulders by several Mother Theresas of the jungle, who were clearly the real deal, and who typically had not worked with Westerners.  Some of them spoke only their indigenous language, not even able to speak Spanish."  He recounted that he was "blessed with an incredible vision and healing that was connected to divine feminine energy."  He was clearly shown that the world's suffering was due to domination of the negative aspects of the masculine, and that it was his mission to promote the work with female healers, thus connecting with Mother Earth and Mother Ayahuasca as a way to redress this global imbalance and bring in the divine feminine, in line with the transformation that is happening across the planet.  These were the women he brought to work at the Temple, to the workshop I landed into.

We conversed over the hour-long journey by boat from Iquitos, which navigates a sprawling river that spills into the surrounding jungle.  Another half hour walk through jungle brought us to a gently undulating glade where an impressively large "moloka" — a circular building made of timber and giant fronds — was the first sign of civilization to greet us.  The moloka holds the ceremonies and it overlooks a natural swimming pool that has been created by damning the central stream.  Dotted around the lush jungle setting of wooden bridges and diverse flora are smaller wooden and mosquito netted "tambos," simple individual accommodations where guests are housed. 

I was only going to stay for one ceremony, because at that point I still intended to move on.  But ayahuasca had other plans for me.  That night was the most powerful sacred medicine experience that I had had to date.  This was due to a potent combination of the medicine and the Maestra's[ii] work with me.  Mostly, I felt, and even distinctly smelt, volumes of rancid decay pouring out of my body.  From a Chinese perspective, my condition is conceived as a stagnant one, and this is exactly what I felt was being cleaned out of me; old, stale and putrefied energy.  Sweating profusely, I expelled a lot of phlegm, water streamed out of my eyes, and, I vomited heavily.  Somewhere deep in the midst of this strong physiological flushing, I understood that this is where I would be cured.  This knowing came from my bones, and not from any intellectual place.  But, the message was loud and clear; I had to stay.  Somehow, my body knew that I had found real healers, not merely facilitators, but people who could actually cure.


Shipibo Healers

This was my first encounter with healers from an ethnic group I had never heard of before; The Shipibo, a jungle dwelling indigenous people numbering about 45,000 individuals.  They live in Amazonian Peru, in tiny villages dotted along the upper and lower Rio Ucayali, a large river that becomes the Amazon just before it enters Brazil.  The Shipibo are an egalitarian culture, with a traditionally strong connection to the plant spirits of the jungle and the mysteries of plant medicine.  Not many Shipibos are "Onanyas" (healers), as it is a highly specialized ability that is mostly inherited and learned through family lineages.  Their vocation is developed by going through "dieta" with ayahuasca, which entails following certain food and lifestyle restrictions to foster a deep understanding and connection with the spirit of ayahuasca.  Dietas may be followed with other plants too, each of which has a unique spirit and a unique healing gift to bestow on the seeker.  The healers diet, mostly, in solitude, for a number of years, and, whilst under the guidance of a more experienced Onanyo(a), they actually learn all of their knowledge and capability directly from the plants that they diet.  And so, they possess esoteric knowledge, healing abilities, and techniques inaccessible to the populace at large, due to their deep relationship with the spirit of ayahuasca and the other plant spirits of the jungle.  As such they are called Maestros.*

Shipibo ceremonies are simple and unembellished.  At the temple, mattresses for the participants are arranged in a large circle, with the Maestros stationed in the middle.  After dark, small shot glasses of ayahuasca are distributed.  The medicine takes about an hour to take effect, and as it does, the Maestros being to sing their beautiful "icaros."  These are sacred songs and musical weavings that fill the ceremonies with otherworldly ambiance.  Icaros are in fact powerful healing tools, given directly by the plants to the healers, that can be understood as prayers or instructions that direct ayahuasca's work in each individual.  The Maestros describe themselves as channels for the spirit of ayahuasca, and they work by attending to each person and applying their magic through the icaros and complementary healing techniques such as blowing tobacco smoke, applying floral colognes, and massage. 


How Ayahuasca Works

The way the medicine works is absolutely unique with each individual.  For me, it was very physical, yet also somehow intertwined with my spirit bodies.  This physio-spiritual process became progressively more profound as my work with the medicine continued.  The evening after my introductory ceremony, a Maestra sang to me and touched my head; as she did, I felt it opening, and for the first time in my life I actually felt energy and a lightness moving through it.  It was an astounding experiential realization that the tumor was a very real physical and energetic obstruction lodged in my head.  More doubts peeled away as here was tangible evidence that the illness was curable, via the spirit realms and with the help of the Maestras.

The remainder of that workshop had me sleeping for most of the waking hours.  Any time I was awake I was heavy, headachy and irritable.  Doubts, judgments, and negativity arose and fell, fluctuating as part of the heave and flow of my healing process.  By night, in ceremony, I was purging, yet alive, happy and intensely feeling the energy of my illness leaving my body in different ways.  Every morning there would be a mountain of used tissues beside my bed, as I continually expelled phlegm.  I have had chronic phlegm for most of life, and at last here it was coming out in volumes that astonished me.

Ayahuasca can be viewed as a cleanser; infiltrating and clearing at every possible level of being, chelating wherever darkness hides in the body and energy field, and expelling it.  This means the purgative quality of this work is a crucial part of the process.  Whether the cleaning is emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual, the offending item must be expelled from the body / energy field.  Purging can take many forms; vomiting and diarrhea being the most obvious, but also profuse sweating, watering eyes, burping, sneezing, yawning, crying, farting, experiencing coldness, even going through negative emotions; all are forms of purging.  I purged in a multitude of ways and was often awestruck by the way things came out and the depth of the places where they came from, sometimes coming from places and planes of existence I didn't even know existed. 

One night, it felt like liquid metal was pouring out my skin, and that my hair was drenched in mercury. Another night the tears from my eyes were so viscose and thick with toxins, they came to a standstill half way down my face.  In the process, I could feel the medicine targeting different systems or organs in my body on different nights.  As it worked deeper and deeper into my being, I could feel the purges become more energetic in content.  I had nights of vomiting pure energy as it went to work on my subtle energetic bodies, ridding my field of rigid bodily patterns.  I could feel meridian lines being washed and channels being polished. 

One night later in the process, my whole body was morphing and contorting, I could feel energetic imprints lifting and my DNA restructuring; it was like my body was a circuit board that was recalibrating my whole energetic matrix and physical makeup too.  It was about this time when the last of my doubts fell away.  My physical transformation was so experientially profound and so starkly visible in my outward appearance as my deformed jaw started to rectify, my eyes stopped being puffy, and I kind of glowed more, that there was simply no more room for uncertainty.  I sometimes went through difficult days or nights, but I accepted this as part of the cleaning and so was able to detach from it and allow it to take it course. 

The women would immediately tune into me if I was going through something difficult and come to sing to me, or in some way help me ease through it.  In any case, there were tangible improvements every day; in fact, I started to make leaps and bounds.  I don't regard the purging or the vomiting as unpleasant, because there was so much learning contained in each one of those experiences.  Each purge had its own particular energetic quality and I became very sensitive to what kind of negativity each represented.  Each showed me something new about the nature of energy, and how it interacts, and is even intrinsic to our life experiences.  I was gaining this spirit knowledge on a physical level.  Moreover, I was shedding so much unwanted stuff, and I was only happy to see it go.

I never received visions.  The Maestras explained that this was because I had to clear my physical body first.  It wasn't important to me anyway.  Ayahuasca was doing the infinitely more important job of clearing a terminal illness.  Many westerners, when first starting to use ayahuasca, do not get visions, as the more pertinent work of the plant is to clear the ailments derived from living in industrialized, urban, and disconnected environments.  In the Western frame, oftentimes the visions are one-dimensionally emphasized over the other aspects of ayahuasca's work.  This is to misunderstand, because even with the presence of visions, in most cases, messages, teachings and healings from the medicine are communicated in others ways.  These ways are hard to understand from the limited perspective of ordinary reality.  But in the "mareacion" [iii] (journey) of ayahuasca, the experiences can be more real than anything experienced in waking life.  Journeys come in many shapes and forms.  They can be wonderfully ecstatic or painfully challenging.  They can be emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, or any combination.  Visions may indeed appear, some might be incoherent, others gloriously intricate.  What is so special about this medicine is that it works to the particulars of each and every individual, giving them exactly what they need at that given moment in time, but also in line with their desired transformation. 

Intention is a vital component to approaching the sacred medicine.  This is not a straightforward tonic that has prescribed and set effects.  Rather, as a sacred spirit medicine, it works in partnership with the higher self, thus producing unique experiences and results.  With the privilege of free will, we may direct the work of the medicine in the way we desire most for our lives.  A clearly focused intention will yield far superior results than one where intention is fuzzy.  This is because the medicine is able to respond more efficiently to clearly defined directions.  It must also be understood that, even with a strong intent in place, the medicine will sometimes go to where it is needed most, which is, frequently, a subconscious issue.  This is usually something that must be dealt with in order to make way for the intention to be eventually fully realized. 

The medicine also very often gives more than is asked or expected, bestowing gifts.  In my own case, apart from the physical transformation I have been going through, as per my intention, the plant is giving me a profound knowledge of my body's inner workings.  I can actually feel it from the inside now; the ducts and channels, the tendons and the lymph, the blocks and the free areas, the bits that need extra attention.  I was amazed at how blocked I was with regard to my body before, how I distained it, and disregarded its needs, mostly unconsciously and at the behest of a willful mind denying the seriousness of my condition.  For me, my body is now a universe that I want to explore, to take care of, and to love.  I could never have conceived this was possible before.  The beauty with which various aspects of my physical self are being revealed to me makes me revere and respect the medicine more and more with each passing day.  And even more magical is the fact that what I considered ugly in my physical form before, I can now see it is a perfect, divine, and even beautiful creation.

Whilst the medicine works in magical ways, delivering profound insight and transformation, it is also very important to understand and respect that there is an integration period after the work.  This means sticking with some dietary and sexual restrictions for a period after the work and also being conscious of taking care of oneself in appropriate ways, in the interest of retaining the changes.  Ayahuasca will continue to work in the body and energetic field for a long time after an intensive workshop.  Revelations, liberation from stuck patterns, and changes in behavior may be experienced months later.  The work is suitable for people who recognize that personal development is a lifelong commitment.  Ayahuasca is not a magic wand to make all the bad stuff disappear.  It takes a while to get to the final layer of the onion, which is why continued personal development is necessary; some time is needed for the benefits to integrate into the rest of your life.

In my case, I have to rest for a number of months, without taking ayahuasca, to allow my body to integrate the massive changes.  I have to be conscious of my diet and vigilant to the needs of my body.  It would be highly destructive for me to be drinking alcohol, undertaking strenuous physical activity, or even getting back into a stressful job situation immediately.  All this would obstruct a thorough healing, and in fact, may even reverse all the good work.  I recognize that I need a lot of physical therapy, such as massage, to help my body get used to its new configuration.  Moreover, in ceremony, I have been shown the areas that need a bit of extra care.  And so my focus is now to take care of my physical needs first and foremost. 

For most people, one workshop at the Temple is enough to significantly transform a life.  With the gravity of my particular case it was clear I had more work than most to do, after all I had a very serious and deeply embedded illness that has been eating at me for all of my adult life.  I attended three workshops in a row, all the while observing and marveling at how these women worked and how their intervention was reflected in the amazing progress of my healing.  By night they helped me through the physical processes the medicine induced, and by day they dropped lime juice into my eyes.  They noted that part of the illness resided in my eyes — I have always had puffy eyes and in fact the tumor was directly behind my right eye.  Although it stung, my tears would wash away the acidic juice along with plenty of grungy material.  They would also give us massage every day and bathe us in a floral concoction that was designed to protect and bring love, luck, and harmony.

The care I received at the Temple was exemplary, and inspiring, to work with such powerful, yet humble women.  My process was utterly supported through the highs and the lows.  I was tended to and nurtured with gentle compassion.  And I experienced a miracle, nothing short of a cure.  My process is not finished yet.  After a convalescing period, I will return to the temple to finish my physical cleansing and continue my personal growth.


Other People at the Temple

I met people of all walks, types and ages at the Temple.  All had different reasons for coming and of course unique experiences. 

Toby, 62, a writer from Denmark, came "because my life was at standstill after a broken relationship and a deep depression. I became self destructive, my mind had turned black."  After his retreat, Toby wrote to me, "I had dramatic and profound experiences and visions.  The ayahuasca cleaned my body and reset my mind.  To explain is impossible, it is so personal and individual, but it has changed my life.  Happiness and energy is flowing freely through my veins and I was not surprised when my closest relatives confirmed the changes when they met me shortly after the trip to Peru.  Years of therapy and psychoanalysis would not have been able to do this healing.  My life is back on track and I am grateful."

Virginie, 27, a student and traveler from France, came to the temple because she felt she needed a ritual to mark her passing from youth into adulthood.  She was returning to Europe after extensive travels in South America and she wanted to clear any debris and not fall back into old patterns on her return.  She felt she got rid of a lot of her childhood fears and insecurities, through purging, by crying and vomiting.  Furthermore, she stopped smoking, after experiencing that she had received a new set of lungs during the workshop.  She said she understood that the cigarette smoke was her mental confusion, a foggy blanket which, one evening in ceremony, she started to blow and blow, blowing all the smoke out of her system, she could feel charred heavy energy coming out with her breaths.  She summed it up at the end by commenting, "I feel super good and centered."

Judy, 35, a mental heath worker from Ireland, described her reasons for coming to the temple as, "needing help with my addictions, needing healing, direction, and focus.  And I wanted to detox."  The experience for her was very difficult, but also wonderful.  "I faced all my demons; I went through every kind of emotion possible.  It was like I already died and went to my own purgatory, this felt really familiar and very claustrophobic.  It sounds strange but I was trying to make sure I was still part of my soul.  The Maestras massaged my tummy and blew on my head.  One of them sang to me while I lay in the fetal position and sucked my thumb.  Maybe I was being born again."  She concluded that the whole experience was amazingly powerful and intense.

Marcel, 35, a professional sportsman from Switzerland, came to the temple because he wanted to change his life, to deal with his frustration, to improve his energy levels and because he very much wanted to find answers.  And he got his answers about "illusion and reality, fear and trust, and about love."  He said every night in ceremony was special in a different way, with each passing night, he felt his process was moving forward, always learning.  "It was really tough, I had to fight fear I have had all my life.  Ayahuasca cut through the fear and opened new doors.  For me ayahuasca is pure love."  On his way out of the temple he commented, "I am not 100% sure I can handle all this, but whatever happens it's all learning, I keep on working on removing the fear to have a beautiful life."

A Dutch woman, Vanya, 43, a massage therapist, said that in one ceremony, she faced her family.  She explained that they tend to take advantage of her, and do not take her seriously by disregarding her.  She doesn't fight her corner, saying nothing, but it hurts her.  She realized that when she returned home she would have to have a serious talk with them, and ayahuasca had given her the impetus and courage to do it.  

Tracie, 44, from Australia, had an auditory journey one night that started with a hum, she could feel it in her whole body.  "With every in breath it raised me higher so that I was hovering in the air and with every out breath I came down like a leaf to the ground — such a lightness!'

Temu, 27, from Finland, came for a depression.  He prepared mentally for a long time to come to the retreat, as he had a lot of fear about it.  His process involved a lot of internal dialogue and facing his fears and anxieties, "ultimately getting the awareness that everything is actually alright, I don't have to worry, I am taken care of, even though I don't always realize it.  In the process I also had a rebirth of my connection with nature, remembering that I am a part of this wholeness, this nature."  He finds it hard to verbalize his final ceremony, summing it up by saying he had a lifetime of insights and lessons. 

Cielo, 52, Australian and the administrator for the Temple, told me that one night she had a pain in her stomach, and Horacio, one of the Meastros, sang to her and sucked out the bad energy using "Kananga" (a kind of floral infused water), she lay down and had a vision of a huge white centipede undulating, as it rose up it started to transform into something else.  She noticed that the women were doing something fiddling with something on the ground; she went to look and saw that they were killing a centipede.  They confirmed that the bad feeling in her stomach was in the energetic form of a centipede and that following the healing it had manifested into physical reality. 

Indigo, a 40 year old farmer from USA, "I had one experience where I was too tired to come to ceremony, so I was sleeping in my tambo.   Sometime later, I could hear the Maestras singing, but my tambo is far away, the singing was so loud and clear, I thought she was with me.  I could feel the energy pulling me, moving things inside my body.  I went into a vision of beautiful fairies who wanted to take me somewhere, but my mind got scared, because I had not drunk ayahuasca that night.  This was not a dream.  I decided to go to the ceremony two hours after it had started; it was not too late.  A Maestra came to sing to me, I didn't need to drink, I was getting the same healing.  I asked Rosa (one of the Maestra's) about it the next day, and she said she had done a distant healing.  That was pretty profound for me."   She adds, "I feel I learned a lot not just from the Maestras but also from the people here.  It's a place where people gather and share and help each other.  As the week went on people's stuff was coming out.  I got into a thing with someone, it was very significant, I wasn't even thinking of it, but that argument was my core issue being expressed.  That night, in ceremony, was difficult, I could feel the anger coming out and going under me, and since then I have been going even deeper.  The medicine is always working, even when sleeping and dreaming.  It is important to pay attention to everything that happens here."

Daniela, 43, from Holland, learned a lot from other people in the group also.  She thought that the plant puts the group together, so you can meet certain people and experience certain situations, so that you can learn from each other.  "Ayahuasca calls everybody to work with her," and "if everyone in the world did ayahuasca, the world would be an amazing place." Then she added, with a laugh, "all politicians should be locked into the jungle for at least a month!"

Isabel, 36 an actress from the USA, says, "I think spirit guided me here, to where I needed to be, even without knowing it.  I feel really blessed to have found it, such an amazing community space.  I have seen more healing here than any other ayahuasa space, it is shocking, and it will continue when people go home, which is amazing."  During her process, Isabel says, "I received information that my stomach was carrying negative energy, which I did not realize before.  I received such a powerful healing one night in ceremony, it was so obvious I was being healed through the icaros and the physical movements they did, it calmed it, and made me purge so to get rid of it."  About the group experience, she remarks, "the difference in people from when they arrived to when they left — the lightness in people's faces, the way they carry themselves, the love that these women emanated.  They were the channels from this amazing plant to us."  Another night she had a vision, "that we were all roots, the curanderas were at the bottom and our limbs were attaching to become a part of the root system to spread all over the world."


The Future is Bright

Many people had this vision about the potential of ayahuasca,  me included.  Matthew concurs that those who come to the Temple, "become fertilized with the seeds of light and positive energy — and return to the west newly fertilized, to raise awareness and touch others with their light, and demonstrate the benefits of working with sacred plants.  If enough people do this, then real planetary change can be affected."  We are now at a great juncture of planetary transformation; we do nothing and let the planet die, or we change.  I hope to play a part in this great mission and that when I return home and my friends and acquaintances see the miraculous change in me, that they too will be inspired to change their lives and become what they truly want to be.  I feel great hope for the planets future.  And I honestly believe the Temple of the Way of Light is birthing a whole new world.  

Aprile Blake

Peru, June 2009.


Image by daviza, courtesy of Creative Commons license.

[i] Curandero(a)`means healer in South America.

[ii] Shipibos refer to those whom are Ayahuasca adepts as ´Masters´.  The Spanish term for this is Maestro (masculine) and Maestra (feminine).  I refer to the healers at the Temple in this local customary form, mostly utilizing the feminine form, in this article, because I connected and worked with the women more. 

[iii] ´Mareacion´ is a term, for which there is no direct translation into English.  It refers to the feeling-trance state into which one enters with Ayahuasca.