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What you need, not what you want

Read / lees in : Nederlands

near Iquitos / Perú
Roberto and Oliver, my new small big friends.

After I arrived with Clever at El Mundo Magico I had to be introduced to everybody of course. First to the other guests and the family that keeps things running at the site. That being the handyman Roberto and his wife Eloindo who cooked for us. Their son Oliver was waiting for his turn patiently with his world atlas under his arm. He wanted to know where I was from and immediately searched for the map, flag and key figures of the Netherlands in his book. Then he asked me the legendary question: ‘In which other countries have you been?’ We two had enough to talk about for a week, and it may come as no surprise that we became best friends. After that it was time to meet the shaman, Don Guido, an extremely friendly man. A shaman is really a medicine man, or like they say in Spanish: curadero. Don Guido grabbed my hands and determined that I was of good health and in particular possess a strong heart. Which is important if you want to take ayahuasca. During this intake conversation he and Clever kept referring to me as a patient. Apparently they consider every guest a patient. I explained them quickly that, as far as I knew, I was in good health both physically and mentally. And therefore hadn’t come to be cured from anything. A bit surprised they asked me why I had come then. That’s easy, like I explained in my previous post: pure curiosity.

near Iquitos / Perú
Don Guido has been doing it for forty years.

The ceremony

That evening at nine o’clock it was finally going to happen, my first ayahuasca ceremony. The shaman, the leader of the ceremony, begins with expelling the bad and inviting the good spirits. Then he blesses the ayahuasca and determines the right dose for everyone, which everybody then throws down the hatch as to taste as little as possible of this horrible concoction. He takes a little bit himself too, so he can get into a state of trance. After that all candles are put out, and the waiting for the effects to take hold begins. That takes about fifteen minutes, and often begins with vomiting the ayahuasca right back out. I was lucky, at least during my first ceremony, and didn’t vomit. I did however get pretty intense visions straight away, the ultimate goal of an ayahuasca ceremony. While you are lying there tripping, the shaman, who is in trance now, sings continuously his so called icaros. Those are so to speak mantras or prayers, with which he tries to achieve good things for the participants. Once during every ceremony he asks everybody to get out of his/her trip and off the mattress and to sit in front of him. So he can, for a minute or ten, dedicate all his energy and prayers to you. After about five hours the shaman ascertains that it’s over and someone takes you to your cabin in the woods. Once I arrived there I always had to go to the toilet first, having diarrhea. When I got that done I’d take a refreshing shower and brush my teeth before lying down on the bed to philosophise for a couple of hours about (my) life, while I was surrounded by the concert of the rainforest. I loved that!

near Iquitos / Perú
Every morning a nice breakfast and chat with Eloinda, and I was ready again for another hit.

The morning after

In the morning you get out of bed a bit debilitated because of the ‘purga'(the vomiting and shitting). But after Eloinda made me a big and healthy breakfast I always felt like a million bucks again. After breakfast we’d always sit together to share our experiences of the last ceremony. That’s when I found out that the other guests, who were there for four weeks already, had had their first visions only after a week or two. A bit jealous they heard me tell every day about bright coloured geometric shapes that had passed before my mind’s eye. Or about the wondrous plastic/artificial, almost like computer generated, worlds through which I had flown or walked. Everything in Ultra HD 4k picture quality with the shaman as accompanying soundtrack. Besides that, the ayahuasca made me think a lot about myself, my life and the people in it. The second day the shaman told me during this debriefing that he hadn’t detected anything bad or negative inside me nor any decease. Instead of curing me, he would therefore make sure that I would leave after a week, surrounded by good spirits, who would accompany me on my path and protect me from all bad things. One of the other guests however was a sick patient. According to him, and all other people on-site, his health had improved drastically. However he didn’t get ayahuasca every day like me, but he did get other medicines from the forest and lots of attention. Also he would go into the forest with Don Guido now and then to hug a healing tree.

Iquitos / Perú
A week is pretty doable, but after that you really start missing the spicy sex.

You get what you need

It was physically and mentally a big strain to hallucinate, vomit and shit intensely every night. Only to recuperate the next day and kill time until the next ayahuasca ceremony would start. That while the heat and the insects tormented me and I had to live in harsh conditions (no internet). But it was more than worth it. The beautiful hallucinations, the deep thoughts about myself and my life (ayahuasca retrieves memories and situations from your brain you have almost forgotten about), and the many interesting conversations (no internet, remember) with everybody present there were a mental boost. A week without alcohol and only organic food, prepared by Eloinda with love, surely has done me well too. The shamans say ayahuasca gives you what you need, not what you want. I for one did get what I wanted: answers to my questions regarding ayahuasca. On top of that I’ve had an amazing experience, furthermore I am now surrounded by good spirits who protect me from anything bad happening to me! What else could I wish for?

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