It took forever to get to sleep.
My legs and lowered back were buzzing more than they had until that point. And I felt guilty asking the medicine to stop whatever it was doing.
I could taste them both.
I had walked back to my bungalow as soon as we were allowed to after our first aya ceremony. I made myself some anise tea, and walked along the brick path.
I crawled into my mosquito net without changing from my ceremony uniform of yoga pants and a t-shirt. A few hours went by. I'd finished one book and started another. But couldn't find sleep.
Every which way I turned on my sleeping mat avoided comfort. My journal had pages written about the ceremony, processing all of my thoughts and documenting the tiniest bits I could remember.
But my mind kept going back to the buzzing in my body. Along my legs, bum, lower back, up the spine, into my neck and shoulders.
To my head. Or rather, the based of the back of my head.
Occasionally, it felt as though it would come up and "zap" my third eye from inside my head.
My alarm woke me up for my final full day at the camp. I was sleep-deprived, but I noted that it was a good thing.
"I'll be able to fall right to sleep when I get on the plane," I noted.
My thoughts seemed to have slowed down. They were at a regular pace, not zooming. Time was passing at a good clip.
Too fast, I thought.
I wanted to time think think about whether or not I wanted to drink in the final ceremony for the week.
"You don't need to," said the voice.
But I countered it.
"I have only had one dose this whole week," I said to my mind. "The whole point is to drink the medicine and work out whatever needs to be worked out. I should take advantage of the space. The energy."
"You are," said the voice. "It's one thing you've gotten really good at over the past few years."
I saw it. I got it.
I had changed. And was still changing. But instead of avoiding a connecting to energies - whether they be a location, a way I spend my time, or even true connections with people - I had begun rooting in...
Taking in wherever I was, in moments, and being in that energy.
It was a slow shift. And really, only one I've begun in recent months. Or at least noticed I was doing it.
Out with the superficial way I was doing things. In with being present with what I needed.
The taste of Sanango came up when I made that small revelation.
My face cringed. And my throat shook quietly. Then it burned a little.
My awareness felt more tuned.
The rest of the day was calm. I couldn't eat much at breakfast or lunch. One guy, didn't eat lunch at all. Instead, he'd had two breakfasts, spaced about 90 minutes apart. He wanted to fast from before lunch onward. This was to make the purging in the ceremony more gentle on him.
I wasn't sure how well that would work, given that the medicine could make you purge stuff you didn't know you had in you...
Black, tar-like substances. Energetic rainbows. Clouds.
I'd vomited or seen each of those vomited.
Prior to the pre-ceremony meditation, Terri stopped by my mat to check on me given the rough time I'd had the previous night.
"Are you going to drink tonight?" she asked me.
I knew my answer. I'd gone and told Matt when I walked into the ceremony house what my plan was, and he'd agreed with my logic.
"Since I didn't drink last night," I said, "I'm going to place one single drop on my tongue. To root me in with the aya before I leave."
She was surprised. Not that I was drinking, or drinking just one drop though.
"You didn't drink last night?" she asked.
I told her I hadn't. And she explained that she saw how affected I was by the ceremony space - with the icaros being sung and everyone (she thought) having took the medicine. It was a chaotic space. It usually is.
"You are sensitive to the medicine," she said, just as others had.
The meditation went by. And soon Maestro Alberto was walking on, and we were watching the ayahuasca be prepped for the final time of the week.
As he was whistling the icaro into the bottle, and as I watched others go up and get their dose, and as Matt whistled an icaro into the teeny 1/4 teaspoon he drizzled into my plastic cup... I kept saying the same prayer in my mind...
Ayahuasca & Sanango...
Please be gentle, and open me to receive the insights from you that I am ready for... In order to continue this journey.
Over and over again.
Everyone had their dose.
I stuck the middle finger from my right hand into the chocolate syrup-looking puddle in the crease of my tiny plastic cup... And magnetically drew a drop to it. I dropped it into the center of my tongue, further back - to get it down quickly.
My body shuddered. The taste. Familiar.
Many others gave a groan of, "Ugh!" after they downed their doses.
I stayed on the mat, and kept the bucket nearby. I sat upright in a meditative pose, and for a good hour, I stayed there.
The medicine was gentle, but was working as soon as the icaros quietly started. I focused on my breathing: Pranayama-like...
Deep inhale through the nose. Deep exhale out of the mouth. Taking in clean energy, then exhaling each last milliliter of energetic thought out of my lungs and stomach.
I had no maraceon with the ceremony.
There was plenty of chaos around me though. Lots of purging happening. Individual ventayadas being given because of how rough a time someone was having. I could hear the shower running at one point.
I was holding my space, and feeling things moving around in me. Energetically. I could feel areas in my Solar Plexus lighten up. The buzzing in my legs and spine were gone.
It was time for us each to receive a ventayada and be sealed up. The aya ceremony was over. I moved to my rocking chair to receive mine. And as with the last few tours, Maestro Alberto gave me my ventayada. He blew mapacho smoke on my five points, and I thanked him.
I went and laid back down on my mat while the other shamans walked around the room to igve ventayadas. The lanterns remained out for this portion of the final ceremony.
But as I laid on my mat, there was a quiet energy in the background around me. It was gentle. And sweet. Like I was connecting with someone or something. I was trying hard to quiet my mind and dial into it. But too many thoughts were running through my mind for me to come to a conclusion quickly. At one point, I had a vision of what it was, but it disappeared. I became distracted by Terri.
She was vomiting in a bucket nearby.
I'd only seen shamans vomit once before, and it was in the previous Sanango retreat I'd done. Matt had vomited up Sanango - having trampoline right out of him on the second night. I knew right when he did it that I would be vomiting mine up too, even though I was scared to.
Terri has been helping one of the other shamans work on someone, and whatever came out of them exhausted her energy... And she vomited. (Or at least that was what someone told me later.)
The chimes came out, as did other musical instruments... To calm the energy of the room and settle the remaining chaos.
It was after 10pm. And soon I was stepping out of the ceremony house and looking up at the stars again. And searching for the Moon, but new it was pointless. Because it it was a new Moon.
A new beginning, said the voice.
I went back to my bungalow, and felt my eyelids droop aggressively as I was writing in my journal.
I was ready to sleep. And the buzzing in my body was nearly gone.