Ayahuasca Diaries: Puking Rainbows.

Navigating the space of an ayahuasca ceremony is often beyond your control.

Actually... It's pretty much always beyond your control. The medicine is in control. And you have to surrender to whatever it does to you.

You are it's "betch."

As I was going into the second night's ceremony, I realized it was my twelfth night taking it. Each retreat has five ceremonies. But even after 11 ceremonies, I was still a novice. And tonight's ceremony would show me just how much of a novice I was.

"I'm not sure yet how much I'll take this evening," I wrote in my journal earlier in the day. It is a brown leather book with lined pages edged in gold. It is a special journal. I only record my plant medicine journeys in it.  "My instinct is to take an eighth. Though I feel like I should try another quarter."

I had never seen anything that scared me while on ayahuasca. Most of my dark thoughts enter in while I am in the conscious and everyday world. They bind me in quiet moments of oxygen-sucking fear and sadness, and strike without warning. They don't happen often. And they've never happened while in ceremony.

"Why is that?" I asked in my head.

No answer popped into my head. So I let the question go.

I went with taking a quarter again. And just as it happened the night before, I was served first by Maestro. The little plastic cup made me nervous. We had brewed the batch we would be drinking that night earlier in the day. It had just finished cooking an hour earlier.

It was still very warm. An unsuspecting person could have mistaken it for a shot of hot chocolate.

The heat made me worry. I was getting anxious as I sat for nearly a half an hour with it in my hand, with my fingertips gently holding it. That was the downside to being served first. You got to sit with the medicine for a while before you drank it, trying to avoid smelling it.

I shuddered.

Just the thought of trying to choke down what was only about an ounce and a half sent fear throughout my body.

"The worst part is just getting it down," I reminded myself. "The journey in the Medicine space is a gift."

When it came time to drink it, I was only able to choke half of the serving down. I threw the other half into the bucket when the assistant came buy to collect the cups.

"Gah!" was the collective response from everyone as they swallowed their doses too.

"Well damn," I said to myself. "This is probably going to be a light night."

But I accepted that whatever the little amount of the elixir I took would provide some benefit to me.

It took about 45 minutes of gentle icaros and chakapa "heartbeating" before the visual patterns began to dance behind my closed eyes.

"See," the voice inside said, "It doesn't matter how much you take. It's the effort you make to concentrate on the icaros that provides the benefit."

"Yes. Yes. Absolutely right," I responded.

The patterns kept referencing thoughts of love in me. ..

Love for myself.

Love for the energy around me (people and things).

There was no fear in me. Doubt was there. But it was self-made and unimportant. It was an energy that didn't belong. There wasn't much of it in me. And I cast out a large yawn as I simultaneously thought about how it needed to leave.

My mind marinated in this wonderful space of empowerment. But the icaros started to get stronger. Malcolm had picked up a drum and was singing some very strong icaros to it's rhythm. My body began to get chilly again. And I started to shift in my rocking chair. 

Comfort was escaping me. 

"Get up and go to the bathroom," the voice said to me.

"But I don't need to pee. I don't need to use it."

"Get up and go to the bathroom," it insisted.

A wave of discomfort pulsed through my solar plexus and up my neck.

I got up, figuring it would be good to pee.

I switched the red light of my headlamp - which I was wearing around my neck - on, and walked to the "Bathroom Hallway" in the ceremony house.

Just as I pulled back the curtain to enter the hallway, I felt the puke rising from my stomach.

I knew I was going vomit.

But there was a problem.

EVERY toilet stall I cam across was occupied! Others were purging too!

When I happened on the sink where we wash our hands, I felt my stomach reflex and vomit almost come up into my mouth. I calmed it back down.

"What if I just vomit in the sink?" quickly entered into my mind as a legitimate idea.  But just beyond the sink I saw an open toilet stall. 

I dashed in.

And before I could even get the curtain closed, I unleashed the puke into the toilet.

I reached back and shut the curtain between reflexes. I used the brief moment to inhale.

That just sent it back up.

Only this time, when I puked, I kept my eyes open. 

I could see that each time my body shuddered and released, there was a white light coming out of me and into the toilet.

"Holy shit," I said to myself. "I'm puking up white light!"

While gagging, I pulled my headlamp up from my neck and shined it into the bowl. The red of the lamp reflected on the water and sides. Then it turned yellow. Then green. Then back to red. Then yellow. Then green.

I couldn't see any vomit in the toilet.

"I'm such a selfish person," I said to myself. "What if someone is having a lower body purge and needs this toilet stall? I have a bucket at my chair. I can puke in that. I don't need to be occupying this stall."

As I stood up from my kneeling position, I felt the urge to purge again. There was a clean bucket in the corner of the stall (in case people had simultaneous lo upper and lower body purges). I pulled it form the corner, quickly knelt down, placed both of my hands flat on the ground on either side of the shallow bucket... And puked.

And puked.

And puked.

Each time, I saw white light coming out of me.  And the reflecting light from my headlamp showed it changing color once it was in the bucket space.

Red. Yellow. Green.  Red. Yellow. Green.

I brought my fingers up to my mouth. Only strings of saliva could be felt. There appeared to be no vomit in the bucket.

I put my hand into the changing light inside the bucket to feel for the vomit. 

I only felt a dry bowl bottom.

There was no liquid in the bucket.

I sat for a moment on the floor. I was discombobulated. Confused. Warm.  I looked into the toilet again, this time being able to relax and see more clearly now that the puking was done.  

There appeared to be no vomit in the toilet.

"But I felt it," I said. "I felt something come out."

I didn't feel the need to rinse the clean bucket out for the next person. I decided to pee after all, and leave the stall. 

I grabbed my headlamp around my neck to use it to guide me back to my chair in the dark. It had some spit on it from the corner of my mouth. I wiped it off as I stood up. 


I was dizzy. 

I inhaled deeply for a few seconds. I opened the curtain. I washed my hands at the sink and went back to my seat.

I passed a free mat on the floor near the Bathroom Hallway curtain. 

"I could really use a lie down right now," I said. But I stopped myself. I knew I could finish the ceremony in the rocking chair. Someone else would need the mat more than me.

I wrapped myself up in my blanket when I sat down. I kept both feet on the ground. I didn't rock. I just sat, warmly and feeling cozy.


"What?" I asked.

"That's what came out of you," said the voice.

The icaros were still strong. The drumming was a force.  But I just felt relaxed and open.

"You hold yourself back. You are dismissive of yourself."

I laughed. I listened. I responded to the voice in my head.

"I work hard to share a positive energy all the time with others," I said.

"Yes. That is beautiful. That has been your comfort zone. But this is a creative energy of love. And it is pushing its way out of you.

I sighed into my chair, relaxing every cell.

And I spent the rest of the ceremony wondering why it took 12 ayahuasca sessions for my body to purge something incredibly sweet, and why I had to pass through a few layers of anxiety to get it to come up.

The voice was right. I was dismissive of the Self's creative ability. I spend time in the conscious world focused on keeping the energy around me with others as calm and peaceful as possible, and I also purge my dark feelings.

But ideas and creativity? Those I struggle with feeling they are worth recognizing and pushing out.

I was possibly more dysfunctional than most. I do things backwards.