I drank ayahuasca eight times over the course of two weeks at the Refugio Altiplano near Iquitos, Peru in August 2012. It was the most extraordinary, incredible, healing experience of my life. I plan to return in 2013.
I went to Refugio Altiplano to explore using ayahuasca as a cure for lifelong depression. Ayahuasca didn't completely cure my depression, but it did help. I got orders of magnitude more out of a single night's experience than I did in years of antidepressants or traditional talk-therapy. There were also some hyper-intelligent, interesting people at the retreat who helped in the healing. And a couple unusual (weirdos?) as well, but it was all OK. Different people come to drink aya for different reasons and it's not right for everybody. Maybe 5-10% of those at the retreat bailed out because they were not happy with what the medicine was doing for them.
Some ayahuasca nights -- or limited aspects of ayahuasca journeys -- were horrifying, like joevbanana says. But I still regard them as important and useful, and I don't struggle too much to ascribe to them meaning. Facing one's fears is necessary to destroy them, or at least to prevent them from secretly owning you. There's an old saying, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." Ayahuasca is like a mirror for the mind. Much of what you experience is a reflection of your psyche.
However, much of the experience also
feels like it originates in a helpful, external spiritual intelligence that wants to show you things. 'It' wants to help you. Under ayahuasca it was made quite clear to me that all beings are incarnations of God, and that the universe is an intelligent game of Hide and Seek. Divine intelligence plays Hide and Seek with itself. The fun is pretending that everything is something that it's not. I came back perceiving clearly that all beings -- from microorganisms to a blue whale -- are incarnations of God. They have only forgotten this as they get caught up in their various illusions and games in life. And for most of those beings, that's the fun, to pretend that they are separate from God and each other in an elaborate and sincere illusion.
Another aspect of the medicine that was fascinating is the intense sexuality it presents you. On several nights I had endless orgasmic orgies in my head, running on-and-off for several hours. It was like the movie "300," but all gay sex, every position imaginable!
I came away from those "wet dreams" with an unflinching belief that sexuality is the seat of power in this realm
. Respect it, own it, use it! If you're not happy sexually, you're not happy. Period. Happiness in this realm is largely founded on a healthy and satisfied libido. There is no shame in any sexual desire so long as it is not harming another person.
I bristle a little bit at the use of the term "drug" as applied to dimethyltryptamine (DMT) or ayahuasca, because the active molecule, DMT, occurs naturally in the pineal gland. It is theorised by Dr. Rick Strassman that DMT is released during birth and death, or during severe trauma such as life-threatening surgery or a car accident. Cane sugar and liquor are as or more deserving of the term "drug" than DMT, which occurs naturally in the brain.
It is curious that the body would manufacture and release a psychedlic molecule, isn't it? DMT is the only endogenous
psychedelic, or one the body makes itself. The molecule serves some
purpose, and people like Dr. Strassman believe it is to enable to soul to transition to/from The Void (or whatever you want to call the place on the other side of human life). Having spent ~70 hours in a trance state, I agree with Dr. Strassman that the molecule is one that helps smooth the transition of divine consciousness into, and out of, the human body. My consciousness merged many times with what I believed was God, Brahman, the Source... whatever you want to call it, many times this supreme intelligence and I became one. I felt a profound sense of peace, awareness, and compassion for all life.
One thing that helped me with ayahuasca was to have a fairly strong Buddhist foundation going into the experience. I felt more able to not get too wrapped up in the visions and experiences I had. I also feel this mindset of non-attachment and compassion for all beings help me reach enormous heights of personal insight. I have been vegetarian for many years and felt ready to face any aspect of my dark side the medicine wanted to show me. What I actually found was that most of what it showed me was divinely beautiful, intelligent, mathematical
, loving, and deeply fascinating.
Our lives are fairytales we dream into existence. Curiosity propelled this realm into existence. I am grateful for having being able to discover and afford the experience, and I hope my story helps others feel more able to experience the same for themselves, if they feel called to do so. Feel free to email me if you want to know more specifics -- I plan to put a testimonial video on YouTube in early 2013.
Peace and light!