Yesterday was a day to recover. I needed it because I couldn’t sleep after the first ceremony. I didn’t sleep during the day but just rested. I listened to some music and wrote but didn’t feel like reading. The afternoon came and I suffered through a terrible headache before I relented and took an Advil. Today I feel good and was able to read for a bit after breakfast.
Tonight I will meet the Goddess again as promised. I’m torn between having expectations for tonight or just letting it happen. For some reason I have an expectation things will be similar but I know from reading other’s accounts that this is not so. You will be presented with different visions. Maybe the first session was Ayahuasca 101. I will enter tonight’s ceremony with some trepidation and much reverence. I told the shaman I was courageous and I want to be courageous again tonight. The respite between ceremonies has emboldened me.
We just finished the flower ceremony. I spoke with the shaman earlier and asked about the difference between the two cups of Ayahuasca I was given in the first ceremony. He said the first was a small dose to see how you do with it; like an introduction. The second was the powerful brew. This makes sense as the second cup set me off on a rocket ship right away. The shaman also said to not have any expectations for tonight as you never know what ayahuasca will bring. I’m sure I will have plenty to write about regardless.
Well it has been almost 24 hours since yesterday’s ceremony began. I couldn’t bring myself to write about it all day as it was such a negative experience. To hell and not back would be a good name for it. The euphoria of the first experience was replaced by hopelessness. There is something to be said for gut instinct. During the first ceremony my mind was trying to tell me it was okay not to do this again like it had an idea that it is not always pleasant. I now have the luxury of hindsight and have processed this experience to a degree but I will try to faithfully first document what I felt right after the conclusion of the ceremony.
I received a full cup of ayahuasca to begin with and the consistency seemed different than the first ceremony. Don’t know if it was coincident or we graduated to the next level or potency of the brew. After twenty minutes or so I started hallucinating and I was seeing these green and black flys eyes pulsating and surrounding me and coming at me. Eventually they came really close to me and went through me. Other stuff was entering into me as well but I did not find it unnerving and I did not fight it. The scene then shifted to this weird room; I feel like describing it as some sort of opium den, and there was an odd drone sound in it. It didn’t feel right; it felt sinister and it stayed. To my left I then heard a male voice in a loud whisper repeating Paulo, Paulo, Paulo. This freaked me right out like I have never been frightened like that in my life. I sat up, opened my eyes, and became paranoid. I thought I had this whole game figured out at that point. You are lured into the jungle away from civilization and any kind of help and then you are drugged. You are now at the mercy of the shaman. Fuck I thought, I have to get out of here. I remembered this from somewhere. Was it a dream? A short story? I don’t know but my mind is telling me this is all too familiar. I grabbed my flashlight and water bottle and made a beeline for the exit. José followed me trying to help me. I would have none of it. I staggered into the compound and started looking for my hut and trying to figure out how I was going to leave this place. It is the dark of night, I’m in a terrible state, and I can’t leave. José and his helpers try to point me in the right direction but I’ll have none of that. I felt they were steering me wrong and were going to lock me up somewhere. I sat down on the steps of some hut. I came to the realization they had already taken my stuff, money, credit cards, and passport. If I leave the center I can’t get anywhere. A sinking feeling comes over me as I realize my predicament and I puke all over the stairs to this hut that is not mine and then I try to get into this hut. I must have been sitting there for quite a while and lost track of time because the guy staying at that hut shows up and says “whoa buddy this isn’t your place. I’ll show you yours.” I still try to get into his place and I think he is a dupe that helps you out but really leads you to where they want you to go. I’m led to another hut which I know is not mine. I sit on its steps for a while and then I go inside. I don’t know where I am but I really have to go the washroom. The bathroom door is locked. I can’t hold it any longer and I crap myself. I come to realize this is my life now. I’m going to be a servant for some puppet master here and I’m basically a worthless piece of garbage. I crawl into the bed that is there that has no blanket or pillow. The mosquito netting envelops me. I realize they give you mosquito netting so as a slave you don’t get sick with a tropical disease and can continue to live in misery. I think maybe I can cut a deal and get back home like nothing happened. My life will slowly unravel and I’ll be at the mercy of the drug. Plus they can control me as I realize I’ve been setup for this for a long time. It is all clear. My wife is in on it; my friends I confided in are all in on it. My banker knew about it and cleared everything to get me here. This is a worldwide conspiracy and they control everything - the borders, the airlines, even the turbulence you feel on the airplane. They can make your plane crash if they want. This is a huge web I can never escape. My whole world feels like it is crashing down. Things are becoming clear. My wife is a gypsy selling me out. People were encouraging me to go to the jungle and they were getting payouts when I finally made it down here. I am now doomed to live out my life in servitude in crummy sleeping quarters eating little and tasteless food. I’ll be one of those cases where he just disappeared; don’t know what happened to him. One day he was fine and then he all of a sudden went to the jungle and never returned. I’m feeling such despair. The jungle noises are unnerving. That fucking bird is laughing at me again. At 45 years of age my life is done. I realize now why people who play these games with the dark side end up running for the refuge of the church. The church is the one thing left that gives them hope. Sleep does not come and the night is long. It is the long dark night of my soul. Finally day breaks and I look around. I’m in my hut; all my stuff is here and I get up and wander to the maloca to pick up my keys, blanket, and pillow. I come back to the hut and clean myself up. I collapse back on the bed somewhat relieved but still scared and very paranoid. I really trust no one at this point.
The shaman came around later that morning to discuss what happened. I told him I got scared and was still pretty shaken. They wondered if I wanted to leave. By this time I have calmed down a little and have some sense about me back. I tell them I don’t want to leave and I need to work through this and my delusions. I have tapped into my fears. Paranoia returns and I wonder if they are drugging the tea they make us drink? The siren call of ayahuasca has fucked me over. Again I think it was all too easy right? The entrapment, the encouragement, and doors opening for me. They prey on suckers like me. At best I’ll now live out my life a lonely alcoholic doing endless menial work.
As the day wore on I started to feel better. One of the participants who had a dreadful first ceremony mentioned to me I should really write about what happened as I will gain insight because of it. I remember him just prior to the second ceremony wanting to back out of it because of the negative feelings he encountered during his first experience. The second ceremony was wonderful for him. A similar story was shared by someone else. She was hating everyone after the first ceremony but the second was so great that she wrote and wrote and wrote about how elated she was. Upon reflection I can start to make a little sense out of the experience. I think it was my dark side trying to control me and it is something I need to heal myself of. There was the destruction of self when it was revealed I was a no good fraud. The fear of living out my life miserable and alone is very unsettling. And I was feeling that many of us are in the same situation as me but are just playing the game of life as best we know trying to scratch out a living. The shaman says this is all part of the healing and I need to have the intention to get rid of this demon. I did come here to meet the Goddess and confront this dark side that plagues me. I don’t have answers yet and I am feeling confused. I have to re-enter the dragon’s den tomorrow and get closure. I can’t end this journey on this note.
*It has been about four weeks since this experience now. I have been able to process more and more of what happened that night. In hearing about other’s experiences there is usually talk of an ego death or some kind of purging of bad mental states as well as the physical. I think in a way this was supposed to do just that. The sense of losing my identity was terrifying and I had no idea it would scare me like that. Once my dark side got control over me it pounded that thought home of how dreadful life could be made for me. Up until this point I thought of ego as a negative trait and something that is a product of a lifelong building project that masks the real you. I still do think of it that way but I have come to realize it has an important purpose. The ego is masking not only your good self, but also your shadow self. Do I really want ego death and have to face both aspects of myself? The answer is yes but there has to be preparation for this ego death. To confront it like this suddenly is horrible and scarring. The fear of losing my passport, credit cards, and money during this night is a metaphor for ego death. Losing those items that allows me to cling to my identity while lost in the jungle showed me how fleeting it all is. My secondary intention for this trip was to confront my dark side and use it in my life as a positive. I met my dark side and I ran like a coward. I still have to eventually face up to it. I wasn’t ready for the battle and I need to somehow prepare and get it done. If I stand up to my dark side I do have the strength and experience to best it and put it under my control to use as a positive. I'm convinced that is the lessons the ancient Egyptians were teaching with their myth of the Contendings of Horus and Set. The dark side Set was stronger at first and used this advantage to mess with the young re-born soul Horus. It got so bad Horus reasoned his mother Isis was plotting against him and cut off her head and then fled up the mountain where Set found him and gouged out his eyes. It was the love of the goddess Hathor that then restored Horus' sight so he could continue the battle. Eventually this battle produces wisdom, as in the great god of wisdom Thoth, that Horus uses to his advantage to eventually win this battle. With the ability now to dissect what happened in a better mental state, things are becoming more and more clear. I hope this is the wisdom I need. The Goddess has healed me and I am ready to continue to battle. I realized once my dark side got the upper hand it put the hammer down on this night and the experience. I’m actually pretty angry right now I let that happen. The full gamut of emotions hits me though as I do chuckle when I read my account of what happened and how I could so easily believe all the stuff that was going through my mind at the time. It quickly cycled out of control and I became a mess thinking everyone was out to get me. It seems so preposterous now in hindsight and this followed me into the next ceremony as I will detail.