Bucketlist: Ayuascha 

Last night we got to do Ayuascha in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro. The society that runs the sessions rarely does introductions so we have been waiting 5 months for this and it is only through the hard work of the project owner here that we were able to get an introduction. The sessions are all free as there is a religious element behind it (they actually follow the bible teachings to an extent) and everyone who works there is voluntary. The only person who is paid is the groundskeeper and the donations go to the upkeep of the land and building. 

So the scene….was weird. We arrived at a little rickety old looking building with some playground stuff outside. It looked kind of like a community centre in the way it was laid out. We said hello to the boss man and the staff started to get the room ready. 

When it was ready we walked in and took a seat. There were about 10 lay back chairs all facing the middle. We had blankets for when the sun went down and it got cold, and in case you wanted to trip balls and hide your face from the preist dude. It was weird. Imagine getting smashed off your face to the point of zero control in front of your priest or other respect figure. 

So they did some explanations etc then we drank half a cup each and sat down in silence. Everyone shut their eyes which was annoying because I wanted to know when everyone started to go nuts. After about ten minutes I realised I had no idea how long this was gonna take so I shut my eyes and thought about stuff. Ten minutes later I started to convince myself that it wasn’t going to have an effect on me. Before I came here I thought that doing ayuascha was going to transport me to outer space and I would probably wake up naked and lost with a search team after me. I then realised it may do nothing and I probably should have done more research 

Anyway time passed and eventually my legs started to feel tingly. That turned in to my whole body tingling and the feeling of being hit by balls of energy every now and then. There were no visual hallucinations but I felt completely smashed. It was more like an intense rush from your first pill but for ages, and so much better.

The details of what I was thinking and feeling are really difficult to remember but for the first half it was really good. It seemed to peak and trough and whenever I left a peak I would really want to go back to that peak, and after a while I really wanted another half cup. I contemplated asking for one but it was all so official I decided not to. 

Luckily, shortly after, I was offered a second half cup. I looked up and with a big grin I said ‘yes please’. Kinda like when someone says ‘shall we get 10 shots of tequila?…. 😀 yes please. My grin was not returned by the priest. So I guess he was a bit more serious about what we were doing. 

Anyway I got up and immediately realised I had very very little control over my legs. I could barely stand up but I REALLY wanted another cup so I stumbled to the alter and took it. Bart offered me some apple to take away the bitter taste. Unfortunately, said apple was outside so I said no and quickly returned to my seat before my legs gave way. 

I sat back down and entered phase two which turned out to be even more mental. There was no more peaks and troughs, I was sent up to the peak and left there, mentalling out for the next two hours or so.

The sessions are strange. They are meant for self reflection, everybody talks positively about them when they go regularly, so I am looking forward to doing more. But there are some negatives. For example, the priest every so often starts asking us questions. They were generally trivial but it really took you out of what could be an awesome trip, so you could never fully relax, but I guess that was their aim. Whenever he talked to anyone I would just be sitting there shitting myself hoping he didn’t try to talk to me, I put my blanket over my face and I was lucky this time. I had met him a couple of times before and had some awkward Portuguese exchanges with him so I guess he knew that I would be even worse at speaking now and luckily he left me alone. Every so often he would play some music though and THAT WAS SO SICK. Every song was incredible and it was like I could hear every instrument individually. 

I remember at some points lying under my duvet with my eyes shut and my mouth wide open through complete lack of self control and happiness. At many moments I was experiencing perfection in situations, the place was perfect, the music was perfect, the high was perfect. 

But then after the second cup properly kicked in it started to get a bit dark. I had an argument with Angelica that morning and we weren’t talking. And that was slowly taking over my mind space, I found myself wanting to jump out and say sorry for everything I had done, I was worrying about the results of what I had said and the more I tried to block the negative thoughts the more they became prevalent. After a while people started to come to and David spoke about his experience which sounded awful at the time, he got a bit upset and shortly after so did I. I started crying and it felt like I was emptying myself physically of a lot of sadness, the only way to describe it was that I felt like a bucket of water being poured away. The two things that occupied my mind were my Granny and Angelica. And after a while it was just Granny. I thought about how I had missed her funeral and how although I saw her just before she died, I never fully experienced her death. I had never really cried over her death as it was so expected but now it was all coming to the front of my mind and as I say it was like being physically emptied of all the sadness which I had never really felt. 

Even after the session when everyone had got up and was talking I had to take myself away as I was still upset. I felt weak and shaky and didnt want to go back to talk to everyone. After a while I felt I should so I went and sat next to a friend and we chatted about our experiences. I managed to tell them about Granny and not cry and slowly after that i started to feel more and more peaceful. After that, till I fell asleep all I could feel was peace and calm and it was beautiful

The journey home was incredible. We were sat in the back of the pick up truck driving through the mountains in the pitch black, the air was cold and we drove through the hills looking down on the city lights in the valley. I felt so completely at peace and relaxed and went straight to bed when I got home. 

I will definitely be taking any future opportunities to do Ayuascha but would like to try it in different situations. I felt this one had a bit too much pressure and talking when it would have been nice to listen to some music and go fly through space thinking about deep stuff

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