When I was 10 years old, a baby-sitter once told me: “Curiosity is a very bad flaw”. I felt really anxious for a second. But then I thought: “this is the most stupid thing I have ever heard”. Today, curiosity led me to an Ayahuasca ritual in Arraial d’Ajuda, Brazil. I could doubt it was a good idea. One thing I believe at least, is that you should not skip steps to get there before your own time.
Like so, don’t skip steps → If you’re new to this blog, start by reading the first article – as the first page of a book.
As you read this part, I invite you to listen to this audio. I recorded it at 3:00, just before falling asleep, convinced at that time that I wouldn’t get to meet the Plant, having drank the cha (tea) more than 3 hours before, without any effect.
Strong, vivid visions behind my close eyelids woke me up. A chaos on a black background, confused with the sudden palpitation on my frightened heart. It was her. A wild, salvage entity. I could feel her presence inside of me. Her motion, wave-like, such as a snake, or a liana. Her power. Her cruel personality.
I opened my eyes. It stopped. I pushed my palms onto my towel to sit.
What happened? I was asleep… Did I sleep? I couldn’t remember. When had I fallen asleep? 3:00. When had I drank the Daim? 23:00… Then 00:00… Yes, this is what happened. Then I talked to Scorpio. Told her nothing was going to happen. And then… I fell asleep. Yes, now I could remember, this what happened. Everybody had had their trips few minutes after drinking. I had nothing. Thought She wouldn’t take me.
I glanced at the grass around me. The herbs were apple-green tiny snakes, standing straight, staring at me with their black little eyes, waving from left to right and from right to left. Everything around was in motion. Snaky motion. She was everywhere.
I closed my eyes. Back into this chaos of black, and sounds, and vivid colors, and furious heartbeat. She waited. She took me when she wanted to take me. I didn’t need to take a second cup. It wasn’t about quantity. The plant didn’t want to meet me before that time: She decides the right time. Now She would do just whatever she wants with me. Her furious presence was whipping me, slapping me in the face, knocking me down. Flee! Open your eyes!
Opened my eyes. Looked up at the tree above the fire place. A very tall tree full of large leaves. A uniform forest green color. Its foliage became perfectly organized into circular and hexagonal shapes perfectly embedded one into another. Oh! That’s what they told me about in my Yoga Teacher Training and in The Silvestre dance training… So THAT is sacred geometry! I’m seeing it! … The foliage suddenly turned into a huge, pure, clean, shiny white mandala with bright, gleaming pink outlines. Beautiful.
- Close your eyes, She said.
- No, I want to see this. I don’t want to go back there.
- Close your eyes, insisted the plant, you’re tired.
I laid down on my towel, unable to resist somnolence. My eyelids shut. Chaos. Sharp colors and sounds on a black background. Who was She? Was she some kind of black spirit? An entity from lower energies or spaces? I remembered the Shamans prayer. Archangel Michael in front to defend me. Archangel Michael behind to protect me. Archangel Michael on my left and right to accompany me. She took me when she wanted. She could take me anytime now. She would come back anytime I would close my eyes from this day on. Archangel Michael in front to defend me. Archangel Michael behind to protect me. Archangel Michael on my left and right to accompany me.
I pushed into the ground, sat up, back into the regular grey of my regular world. Feeling dizzy. My throat was very dry. My bottle of water was few inches away, just next to my towel. I could reach it. I should just sit up straighter and stretch my arm. I could do it. Just a tiny more effort. I caught it. Feverishly unscrewed the cork, brought the bottle to my lips, took a sip of water, screwed it back up, drop it next to the towel in a last effort.
I gazed at the forest outside the sacred circle, not knowing what would happen next. I had been continuously shifting from a dimension to another – my grey world, the 3D world embellished with hallucinations and the Plant’s chaos, fighting my mental. I had totally lost control over time and my body. Shifting dimensions was wearing me out. I couldn’t take this much longer. I was scared to go back in, with the Plant. Archangel Michael in front to defend me. Archangel Michael behind to protect me. Archangel Michael on my left and right to accompany me. The leaves of the trees became very black on a very dark blue sky. The leaves were shaped as monkeys. Those were like the beautiful paints I had seen from the street artists in Pelourinho!
Back to my grey world. One of the guys dressed all in white kneeled down next to me, asked if I was ok. I probably didn’t look good at all. “Breathe smoothly and deeply, he said. Fix your posture, sit up straight.” I realized I was all torn. Was it his voice? Was it an inner voice? Was it my obsession with posture? I straighten up my spine all the way up. “Inhale with the nose and exhale with the mouth” he guided me. I prefer to exhale with the nose, I thought. In Ashtanga Yoga, we always breathe with the nose. I resisted his instruction… Why am I so stubborn? Why didn’t I try what he suggested? I inhaled, and exhaled all the air out with my mouth. Breathing was calming my heartbeat. Shoot, I must had been merely breathing for the last minutes! Touching the guy’s knee as he was talking to me, feeling a human presence with me, was making me feel safer. But felt I should not be so dependent so I removed my hand and tried to breathe alone. I closed my eyes. His voice appeared to me as an inner voice that would tell me what I needed to hear, whatever it is. The guy stood to leave me on my own. The thought of being alone with the Plant scared me. “Can you stay a little bit more?” I hardly articulated. He nodded and kneeled down again. I thought I should try to breathe alone. I thought I could listen to this inner voice alone; this inner voice, telling me how to breathe, how to calm myself down, could be within me, even if I was alone. Soon, my seated cross-legged position became exhausting. My pelvis muscles started shaking slightly. “If you’re tired you can lay down”, suggested the guy. How could he feel it? I nodded and laid down. He went away.
I closed my eyes, and was back into the Plant’s world.
- All is a lie, She said.
I knew what she meant. I suddenly felt ressourceless. All my world attachments were a lie: attachment to life, material, goals, career, relationships, even love, directed love for someone instead of a global love, for all world and union. I felt an intense tension in my head. A tension that was tearing me between what I knew I should be (universal love, no ego, no me, no mine, no one-on-one relationship, no goals, not even trying to improve humanity – just BE) and what I was (all what I was attached to that I wanted to live, that I wanted to experience here). I was teared, feeling the immense, terrifying gap in between. This tension between the two – what I should be, what we humans truly are, and what I was, ego creature, was cruelly tearing me. I was holding onto a rope that could pull me to the other side, the Truth, far from this world of lies. But I could not accept leaving my world of lies. It felt wrong. But crossing would feel like dying.
I remembered how much I had wanted to change. Remembered my trip to Mexico and my best friend reproaching me that I had not changed, that I was still attached to wrong things. We were reading OSHO a lot, trying to live his principles. At that time, 2012, I felt I had changed, at least some things in my mind, and was not sure, at some point, if changing more would help me or destroy me. How could I give up things I had wanted so much… and not yet attained? It’s impossible, had written OSHO. He had given me the answer I needed. We should not skip steps to enlightenment.
Today, I was having this same discussion with this powerful, scary Plant.
- I understand how I should be, I told Her. But it’s too much. I can’t do it, it’s too much. I can’t reach this in this life, it will have to be in a next one.
- All this is a lie, she said, but this material life, you have to live it. So live it and enjoy it. Enjoy the worldly pleasures and relationships. Enjoy love. ENJOY THIS LIFE.
I felt relieved from a huge weight. Felt at ease. Happy. I could go back into my worldly activities, relationships and love. I could live all that I had dreamed.
I opened my eyes on my grey world. Very grey. Very flat. Almost 2Ds. I felt dizzy. I asked Her not to have me vomit. Then I remembered the Shaman’s words: “welcome the cleansing process”. She would do what she wanted with me anyway. I surrendered. Didn’t have a second to stand up. Was puking few inches from my towel. Again. And again. I pressed my palms into the ground, on either side of my vomit. More was coming out. No much liquid – I had no more liquid inside –, but something was coming out with my saliva. I could taste the rapé, or Her, in my throat. I was in Cat pose. Pushing into the ground with my palms, into my knees, into my toes, rounding my spine towards the sky, rounding it infinitely, from my hands to the end of my rib cage. I wanted it all out. The Plant was with me, we were pushing it all out together. I was snake-like, my spine allowing itself to curve and undulate in a wavy motion, regardless of judgment. Felt I was an animal. It felt so good. The Plant and I were one.
I heard voices around. Realized I wasn’t alone. I realized I was very loud, shouting through the effort of each expulsion. Some of the others had joined the Shaman after their trip. They were talking pleasantly. Someone wondered why I was vomiting just now. That much. The Shaman commented about me receiving the work so late, which happens sometimes, and cleansing so much, which is very good.
I had stopped vomiting. A man dressed in white came with the bowl filled with water and red roses. He had seen him bring this bowl to the others earlier. I had wondered why he would not come to me. He offered me a bottle of water, cleaned my hands with it. Then he approached the bowl of water and roses. “Put your hands, wet face and arms.” I wanted so much to do it. I felt it would deliver me from the Plant. The smell appeasing. “Will it stop, now?” I asked the man. And feeling desperate, as if he could do something, I insisted: “I want it to stop…” He looked sorry for me, and I understood he could do nothing: I was alone in this with the Plant. “Now it’s going to calm down”, he said.
I asked the Plant to take care of me. Asked Her to help me get my water bottle if I would get thirsty, and help me cover myself as I would get cold. I laid down, wrapped myself into my sheets, feeling much calmer.
Then I would close my eyes and fall in a demi-sleep in the Plant’s language. I would open my eyes at times, hoping the sun would have rose, ending this interminable trip. My thought became much calmer. The cold was penetrating. I wrapped myself into more sheets and a blanket Scorpio had given me. Then I was having pleasant shivering.
Finally, I opened my eyes on the daylight. I heard the Shamans voice. He was about to start the closing prayer. Everybody, around the green, grassy sacred circle, was sitting. Everybody was feeling so good it was over. A spontaneous smile overwhelmed my face and my whole self. It was finally over.
When he finished talking, we all closed the session with an applause. I applauded our courage, our good will, our survival.
The Shaman kneeled down next to me: “Você fiz um trabalho muito bom hoge.” You did a very good work today.
I smiled. Not knowing what it meant, but sure he knew.
— SUBSCRIBE to the blog to be emailed the next episode.