After the the third ceremony, we took a day off from drinking. This was to allow our bodies to have a small rest, as well as to give the Shamans a night to recover.
Leading us through energy work and healing - just like teaching yoga - is very draining. And when they have to deal with extractions, it takes even more of their energy. Additionally, the Shamans drink the ayuhuasca with us. I never paid attention to how much they drink, but I suspect it is about the same as the rest of us.
My impression was that when they drink, it’s to facilitate the guiding of us through the process of self-healing and self-realization. It’s not necessarily to facilitate their own healing.
But with Mother Aya, you never know what to expect.
Shamans work incredibly hard to shield participants, in addition to themselves. When a Shaman goes to do an extraction or other work on a person, they are inviting the person into their personal space… And taking on the issues the person has going on in their self. According to Malcolm, Shamans don’t go around entering other people’s spaces. They invite people into theirs. And clearly, that sucks up energy. (I mean, think about when you have people over for a simple dinner party… By the end of the night, you are drained and ready for everyone to leave.)
After a night’s break, we got to our fourth ceremony. It began the same way as always. Only this time I went down to 1/16 of the cup. I had toyed with not drinking at all, and instead focusing on the icaros to guide me through my meditation. But I rationalized that I originally went out there to do the aya, and I was going to do it. Even if it was just a few drops.
It doesn’t matter how much ayahuasca you drink… It’s always going to make you gag a little.
Once everyone, including the Shamans and Shamanic guides, had been served their cup, the Apprentice Shaman went to go and turn the kerosene lamps off to bring us into darkness. But something happened.
He broke the lamp.
Specifically, he was moving the lamp to it’s “safe place” during the ceremony after he had blown it out. And in the process, the glass protector fell and broke. Glass shards everywhere by his chair. Flashlights came on, and one of the Angels came running up with a dustpan and mini broom. A wet towel was thrown over the area to scrape up the potential microscopic pieces that may be remaining.
“This is a bad omen,” I thought to myself. And then I corrected myself. “It’s not a bad omen. But the energy in the room is already off. This might be a tough night for people.”
I closed my eyes. Left foot up, right foot down. I rocked and felt just a mild warmth come over me. I didn’t need the aya this evening. I was beginning my dialogue of the mind quite well without it. But I was incredibly present with what was happening in the room.
One of the Shamanic guides began vomiting into her bucket. People were getting up one by one, filtering into the toilets. Including the Apprentice Shaman.
“Watah, please!” called the Australian Bloke.
“Agua, por favor!”
“Bano! Por favor!” someone else called out, indicating they needed help to get there.
Demonic vomiting came next. It was from a woman on a mat. It happened over and over again. It didn’t seem that much was coming out of her, but the sounds indicated something was working it’s way out of her.
I yawned. And yawned. I was very guarded this evening. I didn’t try to push energy out this time. I observed the room, but kept myself lit with a bubble of light around me in my mind.
A few extractions were taking place. More than I had noticed any other night. The Shamanic Guide and the Apprentice Shaman were up and in the bathroom a few times. One of the other Apprentice Shamans - the quieter one - took over singing some of the icaros.
I opened my eyes to be more present in the room. I couldn’t close my eyes and go back. I wanted to see how things were unfolding.
The ceremony lasted only about two and a half hours. And it was a struggle. Lots of purging for many, which is excellent. But it was certainly rough on everyone.
The kerosene lamps were re lit. The Apprentice Shaman stood up and quietly joked...
“I feel like a 50-pound bag of diarrhea.”
(You have to have a sense of humor about these things. We all appreciated that.)
Everyone looked so depleted. I got up and walked back to my bungalow, where I read for about two hours before falling asleep.
The next day I learned that the reason the Apprentice Shaman was having such a tough time was because one of the local “witch doctors” had put a curse on him. How he new this, I don’t know. But I think the Maestro Shaman saw it. Someone had mentioned, “They shot an arrow into his stomach!”
Local witch doctors and negative shamans (yes, they exist) do not always play nicely with others in the area. But it’s part of the training to become a Maestro Shaman to learn to shield yourself - or heal yourself - when these negative energy curses are cast at you by them.
“Can they curse us?” I asked.
I was told no. That the camp was very well shielded. And since we hadn’t been the ones to do the shielding, they couldn’t “see” us. It’s the Shamans that do the shielding and set the protections of the camp. So they are visible.
I already held a great respect for Shamans, even before arriving at the camp. But after that night, the respect grew 100 times.