Night Two: Deeper. More Cleansing.

We woke up Day Two of the retreat to the usual order of business... Rising early to make a fresh batch of ayahuasca for the week.

The night before I crawled into bed in a peaceful manner, tucking myself straight into bed without bothering to change out of my ceremony uniform of capri yoga pants and a tee shirt. I woke up exactly seven hours later, prior to the loud shamanic alarm that was used to get everyone else.

I found myself happily scrubbing cute ayahuasca vines well before 7am.  Sitting on a tree stump stool, digging my elbows into a tub of water to fish the thick wood chunks out... Then scrubbing them with a stiff brush, pushing thick grit off of them.

I moved on to breaking the chunks apart with the hammers, turning them into fibrous pieces which would release the magical parts of the psychedelic plant and turn it into the mystical elixir we would drink later.

The foul-tasting earthy elixir.

The worse part of ayahuasca, for me, has always been choking down the brew. Once it is down, I am able to deal with what happens in ceremony.

I spent the rest of the day sleeping and connecting with my surroundings.  The people. The sounds. The energy in general.

Later that evening, we were drinking the fresh batch that had brewed all day. As I sat in front of Malcolm (the Shaman) to receive my dose, he asked me how much I wanted.

"I'll let you decide my pour for me," I told him.

He looked at me momentarily, then poured the thick dark syrup into my cup. It equaled half of what he had poured me the night prior.

It doesn't take much, I noted.

He whistled the same slow icaro into my cup, then handed it over to me.  There was a bit of the brew sticking to the outside of the cup. My hand brushed against it, feeling it's sticky texture.

My body convulsed.

This shit was not going to taste good.

Twenty minutes later, everyone had their dose.  Maestro Don Alberto poured his own dose and whistled the icaro into it.

"Salut!" we all said. And drank.

The reaction was immediate.  Gagging. Couching. Groaning. All in one second.

"This is so bad," my seat-mate noted.

"That is the worst it has ever tasted for me," I said.  He agreed.

My body continued to shake from the taste for minutes afterward. We sat in darkness for a number of minutes. The taste wasn't going away.

"This shit is going to come back up," I told myself.  "It's going to be cleansing."

The icaros started up. First with the shaking of the chakapa leaf rattle as a quiet heartbeat. Then the worded icaros. It crescendoed with all of the shamans singing quickly.

My vision space - my mind/imagination - saw energy pulsing in pockets. As if it were working it's way to burst open.  About 45 minutes after taking the aya dose, my body shook and I lurched forward in my rocking chair to pick up my shallow bucket from the floor.

I vomited into the bucket for a few minutes. The assistant sitting next to me handed me a new bucket. I kept it tucked under my chin for about 10 minutes. Eventually I let it fall again into my lap. For the rest of ceremony I rocked back and forth with the bucket gently resting in my lap.

My vision placed me in a strong space. I was still and strong.

"This is all that matters," it said. "Everything else falls away. All that remains is what is driving me. it becomes effortless to deal with and navigate through negative energy."

"You don't need to keep coming to the ayahuasca medicine. You know how to purge. You need to start taking action. No more hiding behind exploration."

The medicine was telling me to stop being lazy.