Huachuma is a gift of divine grace. To go further into this statement is to say that when you learn to work with the medicine then you realize that to receive the gift is to approach life heart forward. I did listen to the plants and they taught me about heaven and hell in relationship to being in the heart and being in the head. Huachuma means removal of the head and when you lead with the heart then the beauty in the world is front and centre. The relationships you cultivate with other sentient beings and the natural world becomes charged and in some instances ecstatic. The grace comes from realizing this and harmonizing your energy field with another's energy field whether that is human, animal, plant, or mineral. The transactional exchange from this joining opens up a whole new world for you to explore. We make our world and there is magic. There is so much more to this life than what we normally perceive. The harmonization of energy fields is extraordinary to experience; beyond anything I ever imagined.
In addition to learning how to work with the medicine in the heart space comes the epiphany. It is the channeling of the supernatural which has happened enough now that I feel and recognize when it comes. I realize that to write about this may lead to raised eyebrows and others wondering who do I think I am, if not flat out wondering if I’m crazy. I’ll accept that but I’d be disingenuous if I did not write about these peculiar experiences I have while altering my consciousness. Huachuma envelops me and alters my frequency to such an extent I vibrate into a consciousness that goes beyond the ordinary confines of this reality. If it was a one off occurrence I’d question the whole trip and chalk it up to an experience that was different that I’d like to do again but am not sure I could. With Huachuma I know I can get into this state with a few prerequisites that involve a large enough dose and a particular set and setting.
This particular trip to Peru was a whole new consistent and elevated experience while drinking Huachuma. In total I participated in six ceremonies: two in the jungle based at SpiritQuest and then four in the Andes mountains around the towns of Chavín and Huaraz. My work on acceptance of myself during the four Ayahuasca ceremonies preceding were the most important events leading up to my experience with Huachuma this time around. The acceptance of the light and the dark all as me and me alone allowed me to throw off the chains of culture and any shame or misgivings I had towards my passions and desires that animate my existence. To not send them away repeatedly allowed me to explore them, to be honest, and play with them. Instead of suppressing them and then having them transform into bursts of pent up and uncontrollable energy that is the norm for myself and the world condition, I saw that the key to a healthy relationship with your dark side is to acknowledge, express, and release the energy before it transforms into an uncontrollable darkness and rage. Stomping upon desire ferments it and it comes back stronger. Ignoring it maximizes its potency and when the lid on the pot blows it is uncontrollable.
This blog post will cover my time in the jungle at SpiritQuest drinking Huachuma. I’m going to be honest about what I experienced so with that in mind approach this with an open mind before passing judgment on my sanity and depravity.
Day 11, Sunday February 23rd
The first Huachuma mesada is today, led by don Howard’s daughter Selva. I go into it leaving all expectations behind and my main intention is to explore the mental reality of creation and its relationship to dreams. My contention is that we are living in the dream of a higher being that is exploring their psyche through the universe they have dreamt into existence and this dream world is an extension of the cosmic dreamer attempting to self-reflect. Similarly we dream in order to look into our psyche. I’m going to explore this through the power within Huachuma to take me into the aspects of the dreaming mind with the aid of my ally Mapacho.
The Huachuma mesadas here at SpiritQuest are the best kept secret on planet earth. Experiencing the power of Huachuma once again leaves me in awe and perplexed at how something so heart opening that brings on continued exclamations of “this is the best day of my life” has not gone viral.
The sheer mastery of the mesa and command today of the water mesada by Selva was the stuff of legend. Parker told me she was extraordinary but I think he undersold her. This stunningly beautiful goddess in the don Howard tradition of the Mesada Norte stares you down in preparation for your turn to drink the medicine with a searing gaze that is backed by the power of 10,000 suns. The mastery of the rhythms of the Huachuma bells and feathers is next level as your consciousness alters. I felt so light as to start levitating at the head of the mesa prior to drinking the cup.
Before heading up to the mesa Selva reminded me to get out of my head and into my heart as she correctly intuited I hadn’t quieted the mind sufficiently. It had been almost two and a half years since I drank Huachuma and the taste was a great deal better than I remember it; a little syrupy but I had no problem downing the full cup. Within a half hour the effects came on strong and I knew it was going to be a powerful day working with the medicine. We headed out on the boats to visit a local tribe and I sang my heart out on the boat, fully embracing the heart opening aspects of Huachuma and the energy engulfed me as we arrived at the home of the Alamas tribe. The walk to their maloca got the energy fully moving and it continued as a group of us continued along a path through the local town. We stopped for some contraband, a man on a bike selling frozen fruit you eat like a popsicle, which was a piece of heaven for us that had been on a strict Ayahuasca dieta for over a week now.
Based upon my sum total of experiences, I finally connected all the dots. This is the god called Dionysos coming on from my depths enveloping me and I am becoming him. I confirmed this by starting to see representations of the god in patterns of the dirt which were unmistakably the liberator. I felt the need to let go of who I think I am and just accept who I am and once I did this a feeling of liberation washed over me. I sat down and felt the pure energy just totally engulf me. It grew stronger around my heart and started to flutter and buzz like I have felt once before when I had visions of serpents and this incredible and glorious light the second time I had ever drank Huachuma and at the time I was freaked out by it. This time I fully recognized it as a more sustained and pronounced kundalini energy being sourced from my heart chakra. I held out my hand for this woman beside me to touch and hold and she felt it surging and was so taken aback by this she point blank asked me if I was god. Ha ha I said you now know my secret! It was all so strange because I had felt the coming of the god Dionysos just a few moments before. The energy continued to course through me and I got up and walked around the centre of the maloca with her to try and dissipate some of the energy. I ended up sitting down between Parker and a staff member Augusta who has amazing Pachamama energy in order to try and ground myself. I walked around some more until I found Selva and I held out my hand for her so she could feel my energy and she smiled at me as her energy was in alignment with mine. She looked into my eyes and said “You look so good right now.”
Something strong and powerful was going on letting me know there is a next level to this medicine which is otherworldly that I was confirming in this first ceremony and was now something I could channel whenever I drink Huachuma. I envisioned refining this energy into a pure and controllable amount that defined the majestic and graceful sweeping movements of the butterfly. That is perfection come alive.
The boat ride back to SpiritQuest was a leisurely cruise that added to the whole living a lifetime in a day vibe.
Back at the sanctuary a shower felt so good and gave me a reprieve from the coursing serpent energy. We went up to the Star Deck and I immediately found don Howard in the night time sky as the brightest object in the heavens. The last time I saw him in November of 2017 I told him as I departed that the next time I see him it will be as the brightest shining object in the sky. As prophesied it all happened at that very moment. So surreal. I had a good ten minute talk with him. He is ecstatic not having a body and so proud of his daughter and Parker. I told him to save some of his wisdom and guidance for when I join him in the heavens. I remembered him saying at one time in reference to his deteriorating condition, “where do you think I’m going brother?” The answer was shockingly simple. The stars were electric, the Pleiades that house the smiling jaguar were 3D extruded, and I felt don Howard had cleared out a patch of sky to give us a celestial show. Selva and Parker then put on a performance for everyone around the Lanzon that was another tour de force in this magical evening. The mastery of sound and smoke was breathtaking and I felt my consciousness lifted up once again. We returned to the maloca and gathered around the mesa taking turns at the head of the mesa. Trance music was playing and I was deep into it. I was first up at the head of the axis mundi and felt the power of the mesa and projected that power. I entered beast mode and just emanated this freedom to be me. Fuck I’m so powerful! As I moved around the mesa I got into the rhythms of the music being played and stayed in my heart having a glorious time. We then retired to the dining maloca at 10pm for a feast. What a ceremony! We talked until 1am and then Parker and I went back to the Huachuma maloca to further de-energize and soak up as much of the experience as possible. Parker asked me about the experience and I explained it was mind blowing. The energy was off the charts the whole day and Selva is truly the Queen of the Jungle! She’s been doing this how long? I ended up in bed around 2am but didn’t sleep at all; instead I just let the energy flow and dissipate. It was truly an ineffable experience and just the first in a memorable sequence of Huachuma lifetimes in a day.
The energy the whole day and night was so tangibly present and becoming a conduit for it actually leads into my intention of exploring the energy that powers creation through mentation. I hardly had a thought in my head the whole day and was just in the body and heart with this ridiculous energy the whole time. This energy had sexual overtones but wasn’t overt at this time. I know there’s an element of lust that makes up this energy that powers all and I’m constantly aware of the sexual nature of existence especially in the jungle setting where it is pretty much in your face all the time as you can’t miss the continuous cycle of creation and destruction ever present on an accelerated basis as compared to my normal environment which is very seasonal. There was something present in the energy that felt like home. I understood it to be me but just on an attenuated scale that was potentiated by the medicine in combination with factors such as set and setting. I felt so liberated to finally express who I truly am after a lifetime of holding it in and I felt I no longer had to hide behind a persona I had crafted to avert the gaze of society. I felt this freedom to just embrace myself and live a life in accordance to my true self.
The couple of times I did enter into my mind I quickly came out of it and any delusions did not get far. That seems to be a pattern with Huachuma where if I think then it leads to delusion. The key is to be present and drink in all that is here now. It goes back to the meaning of the word Huachuma as removal of the head. From this insight I started receiving answers to questions I had posed seeking knowledge and guidance. The way to stay high and in a state of bliss is to lead with the heart and be yourself. Every time you enter into the head, start thinking, and let culture dictate who you are then you come down. As a corollary to this being in the heart space allows you to realize heaven on earth. Thinking, analyzing, projecting, and spinning thoughts in the mind will take you to hell. It’s all your choice.
Huachuma has been described as living a lifetime in a day or as the longest shortest day of your life. The lessons and moments of unfathomable bliss do indeed favour those assessments. It occurred to me that writing about the experience is akin to writing an autobiography. Not only that but it is a template for the rest of the story of your life. Huachuma gives you a taste of how you want to write the autobiography from here on in. It’s a priceless gift and like I said a gift of divine grace.
Day 12, Monday February 24th
I’m starting to reflect on this journey as I hit the halfway point of my sojourn. The message that is getting through to me the most is if you want to be happy then be yourself. I have realized that to be liberated is to throw off the shackles of culture and conformity and just be true to who you are. Expectations of role and function crush your soul and essence. Why do I have to be what somebody else or society wants me to be?
Another message has been about the mind. My mind has always been my go to and consequently my master. I have always listened to and trusted my mind and it leads me down the path of conformity and success. That’s not what I want though. I want to be happy and just naturally high. I realized finally that I feel awkward and self-conscious when I engage the mind. To find liberation from this nonsense is to live through the heart and not dwell so much in the mind. Turn the mind into a trusted servant but not the conductor of the human experience. To be in bliss is to not think.
The path to this realization is difficult because we believe that the answers will be delivered by the mind and its engagement with other minds. How preposterous is that? You are going to use your mind to find liberation from your mind? Seriously, that is never going to happen. I’m telling you if you want to live in bliss become a simpleton. Leave your mind at work and live happily at home in your heart.
Ram Dass tells a story about his guru Maharaji who kept a journal and wrote two pages in it everyday. When Maharaji passed away a trusted confidant was given his journal and Ram Dass asked to see it. Written everyday were two pages of “ram, ram, ram, ram, ram…” and so on. As well Ram Dass would relate that Maharaji would sit with his blanket and his counting beads just mumbling to himself, “ram, ram, ram, ram, ram…” all day long. I figured this was devotional. Maharaji was in a perpetual state of bliss and just naturally high. How’d he do it? He assigned his mind a never-ending task. The mind loves tasks and can’t refuse the challenge. So off to work the mind went and Maharaji, no longer a servant to that mind, lived in his heart in a perpetual state of bliss.
Day 13, Tuesday February 25th
Setting intentions today is to become a simpleton. Removal of the head and to live from the heart space is paramount. Also I intend to soak up the beauty of the jungle and to absorb its rhythms. There’s no need to think but to show gratitude. As always my offering is to be of service and help others find the liberation they seek.
To fully explain the experience of this blessed day I’d need to bottle it up and just share it because it is pure feelings and not words.
We started the ceremony at high noon and my intuition suggested I’d be one of the first to drink instead of the last. And so it was; score one for my gut feelings. The god came on strong and I knew I’d be in for another wild ride. I was well into the medicine at the conclusion of the the opening ceremony. I went back to my room for a brief period and jotted a few things down which in their raw form are pretty revealing of what I was feeling.
“I don’t think it matters anymore what day it is.”
“The ceremony: smouldering!”
“Here comes Dionysos."
“Live in the head, it’s hell.”
“Live in the heart, it’s heaven.”
On the boats heading off to the main Amazon river to visit the Murui Huitoto tribe I was so into the medicine and as high as the clouds. I was flooded with two sayings that summed up my bliss of forgetting who I was and how I was expected to act:
“Kill yourself in order to live.”
“The pious can go to hell.”
My intention revolved around learning now to stay in that high and loving state all the time. I sure got that answer and more all laid out for me. When I drank in the beauty of nature, of friendship, of the awareness of the wonderful world around me I was drunk in that state of bliss. When I engaged the mind at all it was clear that was the hell world. My thoughts went dark, I came down, I worried about the future, I wondered if I had the strength to complete this journey and so on. It was very unsettling. It was clear that it was a choice whether to live in hell or heaven and not even all that difficult a choice. Hey you! Give your mind a rest. The old “Be Here Now” choice; just live in awareness without spinning any thoughts or ideas.
The boat ride did not disappoint but then again when has it ever?
What a privilege to be able to partake of this experience and to do this multiple times. How does humanity not know about this? Why do we live lives of strife and separation when this is available? To open your heart and have this love and connection for everything is it. To feel, I mean really feel. This experience of life doesn’t get any better than this moment. How could you disparage and trivialize this experience? This is what, as feeling human beings, it is all about. Don’t you want to be flooded with love and feel what it's like to live in that state? The scenery was popping and I could see the face of the god everywhere in the trees. I put on my headphones and started listening to my Huachuma playlist. I had previously left off on a track called ‘Warrior’ by Anilah. Immediately I heard the line “Reasoning lets go” and I was reminded of don Howard being fond of saying there are no coincidences. In order to see the beauty, unity, and feel the love yes reasoning has to let go! I so love this world and this experience with Huachumita! We hit the open water of the massive Amazon river and the clouds came alive. The face of Dionysos formed in the clouds and then a part of the song belted out the line, “Warriors live gracefully” as eagles soared above in the sky, majestically gliding about as if part of a celestial army. We passed by some oil wells and I felt sorry for those dedicated to money and greed and thus entrapped in the hell world. I then saw a cloud in the shape of a bull as the god and so I flashed a bull’s sign with my two outer fingers representing the horns of the bull.
The idea of play came and just living for the moment formed with the idea that “you have to kill yourself in order to live” denoting that the persona you created has to go and you have to be true to your real self in order to be happy and live. This tied in with my Ayahuasca journeys where it was repeatedly revealed to me that my obfuscated dark side and desires are an essential part of the real me. Then I had the realization that those stuck in the predicament of creating a pious persona on some kind of a spiritual mission are really in a self-created righteous and judgmental hell and I came up with the line, “the pious can go to hell” which I thought was pretty funny. The god has enveloped me and he taught me about liberation, following your passions, living in the heart space, and loving all. I realized that all the world that lives in the mind created hell would be aghast at this advice and would call this hedonism and demonic. However it is the path to happiness and heaven on earth.
Feel the ecstasy. Give yourself up to wild abandon. Find connection with others instead of reasons to stay isolated.
The walk through the streets of the Amazonian town we had docked at and on through the jungle became the lesson today of living in the head space to which I struggled with for a while but it was a worthwhile lesson because it amped up how living mind first is fucking hell. It brings you crashing down from your high and I wanted to tell everyone to stop thinking so much; get out of the self-imposed hell world and through this you will always find your way back home and bliss. I knew Huachumita was as strong as ever because I started noticing shapes coming alive in the sidewalks and then figures forming in the dirt.
We reached the Murui Huitoto’s enchanted stream and within no time a bunch of us were in the water enjoying its cooling caress. It was a return to the Garden of Eden as I floated on my back and looked up into the trees and sky and saw a beautiful sight while many butterflies came within view, riding the wind almost on cue to celebrate that I had found the key to heaven.
The heat and intensity of the medicine was taken down by the coolness of the water however I still felt the waves of its powerful energy engulf me. Let me try to explain this energy: I’d close my eyes and intense waves of pleasure and lust would take me over and my feelings were inundated with extreme passion. Serpents filled my inner visions, lighting up in different colours as the rising kundalini serpent power penetrated all my chakras. This particular red colour filled my vision; it was a red I’d seen in Ayahuasca visions that was related to the sexual energy of the Goddess. This red was pulsing and I felt it within my whole body; thankful for being in the water so that I could experience it without melting down. It was like the energy pulsing within me had found a match and this created a harmonization I experienced as pure lust. I have been taken aback before by this energy not knowing what to think of it. This time however I just went with it and enjoyed the sensations. It’s all part of the process of acceptance and realizing this power I have within and it confirmed what I had suspected for a long time. At one point while just experiencing this raw energy I believed I could go underwater and not have to breathe for a while because the energy in my blood was so strong.
We had a cultural exchange with the tribe and then headed back to the boats.
The boat ride was pretty special as I comforted a woman having a tough time with the medicine as I remembered and fulfilled my promise to be of service. Later when the stars came out in the clear sky they were majestic and legendary in their grandeur. Two things that always wow me without fail in the Huachuma ecstasy are music and the night time sky. Back at the maloca, Selva prepared a three stage singado: for medicine, love, and protection which involves insufflation of a liquid preparation of Huachuma, Mapacho, Misha, and perfume which is always a tough ceremony, especially for first timers. Everyone got through the three rounds of it which was mighty impressive and something I’d never seen before. We then gathered around the mesa and blew into different pututus while taking turns at the axis mundi with a belt of stones representing unconditional love to light up the seven chakras.
We all blew our hearts out into those musical shells in support of a long life for the person at the head of the mesa. It was a ceremony that once again forged us all into such a tightly knit group. We feasted once again and then went up to the Star Deck to stargaze well late into the night. The spectacular display of stars were so clear and present in the sky while the planets were all ringed like Saturn. I soaked up as much of the energy as I could.
This ceremony felt like the culmination of tantric teachings where I learned when you get into the heart space and harmonize with all the energies in creation you feel a special connection and this is expressed in the passion and lust that all coalesces at one time. It felt like I was making love to nature.
We as thinking human beings vacillate between heaven and hell which I learned is a choice and what Huachuma does as a teacher is it amplifies the state you choose and it continually presents it to you. If you live within your head it is going to take you to hell by increasing negative thoughts, paranoia, and suspicion. All the crap that is going on in the world is going to be accentuated until you either freak out over It or maybe at some point you will realize it’s nuts to think this way and thus learn to not engage the mind as the first go to when you are presented with something that is troubling or something you have to move past. In addition you are challenged with not immediately going to the worst case scenario or thinking of motives for why you are in a particular situation. The other choice you have is to live within your heart and see the beauty in the world, the beauty in other people, and how we are all connected through this thread of love even though we bury it and don’t see it. All this instead of living these lives of separation which fosters and cultivates this us versus them attitude. When you approach things from the heart you create heaven on earth and it’s the greatest gift that Huachuma gives to those who can navigate and choose to live within the heart. The power of Huachuma as a teacher is the choice always remains yours; it doesn’t force any state upon you. You are not going to drink Huachuma and immediately get there; it’s something that you get hit with over and over again. At times it can be like a gentle feather or at other times it is the school of hard knocks where you are constantly tested. Before you catch onto the method it is difficult and you wonder why you are going through this when you have seen the beauty and you have seen the hell world and you are constantly alternating between the two. If you do it enough times eventually you see it and realize oh yeah it’s me; it’s not the plant medicine. The plant medicine is not taking me to hell; I’m taking myself to hell. So once you get to that stage it’s like aha I figured it out. I find it’s still instructive to engage the mind in Huachuma just so you can see how preposterous it is and then when you move past the block it’s like alright I have to get back to leading with my heart. You look up at the sky, the trees, and realize fuck this is so beautiful! In other people you see the love in and from them and the love you want to give to them and it’s such a gift of divine grace. To get there it takes work however in the end it is all worth it.
My time in the jungle with Huachuma came to an end however off to the Andes mountains I was to go for four more ceremonies with three people from my time at SpiritQuest: Parker, Cain, and Kylie. Having experienced once again the power of Huachuma I was eager to continue my exploration of the energy I had freed through internal acceptance and external expression. The jungle medicine journeys had taught me about acceptance of self and embracing what comes when I potentiate the energy that lies within along with instructing me on finding and staying in that state of bliss I sought, all with the simple admonition to stay within the heart. The message was simple and straightforward but the lessons hit with the weight of a heavy feather wielded by an annoying sibling intent on driving you to distraction. It worked.
Being of eternal service, Huachuma ultimately provides the template for living your life.
Being of eternal service, Huachuma ultimately provides the template for living your life.