Healing through Aya & Temazcal

Sam (@Samwise) 6 years, 2 months ago

I wanted to share an experience I was both a participant and
an observer in earlier this year. In May I flew to Portugal with my girlfriend
at the time. I got a random email from Spain, on behalf of a shaman. Now, I
know this shaman, he was Ecuadorian guy with much integrity and experience, and
he was the first person I ever drank with in the UK, and I had done so twice
previous to this meeting. The email was concerning a weekend ayahuasca and
temazcal retreat happening in the mountains in west-central Spain. We were
flying to Lisbon, and it was a six hour drive, and it just so happened to be
taking place the day after we arrived. There was no possible way we could have
planned it any better, so we took this as a sign that we should be a part of
this.

Regrettably, my girlfriend and I managed to miss our plane! But we departed the
next day. This made getting there more stressful time wise, and we had to head
straight there with no rest and we got lost a few times. By the time we arrived
we were stressed, my girlfriend in particular. Now, at the last minute, my
sister had come out and joined us there. My mum had booked her a flight last
minute, and I was encouraging of her coming if sh wanted to. My sister was not
in a good place…a few months previous she had lost her beloved dog, severed
ties to her father, lost her flat, her job and her car and she was in a dark
place, and using both mephedrone and cannabis excessively, and she was on quite
a self destructive path. She had come off SSRI antidepressants around
Christmas, and had also been feeling the long term withdrawal side effects of
these which was exacerbating her symptoms. We had shared many psychedelic
experiences together and I’ve always had a great relationship with her, which
has strengthened greatly as we’ve gotten older. I’d always been open with her
about ayahuasca and iboga and my experiences with these, as I had the view that
these could help her, but I didn’t wish to force anything on her and wanted her
to seek them out if and when she thought she was ready.

We finally arrived at this place in the mountains in Spain after night fall, we
were a bit late and everyone was already settled. My girlfriend was stressed
and nearly walked out, after learning that we were going to be drinking
ayahuasca, prior to have a session in the temazcal. My sister and I settled her
mind, and everyone relaxed a bit. We drank aya, which for me was interesting..I
was highly sleep deprived, and found I was slipping into dream scenes, that I
would keep snapping out of. I had not experienced this with aya before. After
this ceremony, at around three in the morn, we went down to the Temezcal. It
was an amazing place to be, to be out in nature, the stars were incredible out
there. I thought the temazcal would be a half hour affair for some reason, and
something like a sauna. I was wrong! What proceeded was an incredibly intense
experience. Rocks had been put on a fire outside, and in the temazcal, a pit
had been dug. Even when the rocks were put in there, I was really feeling the
heat. Then the opening was closed, and it was pitch black, and we were all
sitting around in a circle, there was very little room to move. The shaman and
his helpers sung and drummed, and at intervals water was poured onto these hot
rocks. Every time this happened, it got more intense, and more oppressive. I
grew to be pretty uncomfortable, but just concentrated on my breath. We had a
few intervals were water was passed around, along with tobacco juice we could
snort. Afterwards, on exiting the temazcal, I finally purged, and felt good. We
batched with a large tub of water and a bucket, and then walked back up to the
ceremony room, to go to sleep. It was hard, but nothing on the next night.
After a good and much needed sleep, we had some wholesome food and met the
people. We were the only English people there, but we felt very welcome and at
peace there, everyone was very warm and welcoming.

That second evening, we did some body work, working on stretching and posture,
and some group exercises, often in pairs. Prior to drinking the ayahuasca,
psilocybe mushroom chocolates or a little pinch of San Pedro cactus powder was
offered to different people, according the shaman and their helper’s views. I
had a mushroom chocolate. We drank the aya, and after this went straight down
the temazcal. Same routine as the night before, but longer and more intensive.
We were in there for 4-5 hours. I found this very hard…this was by far the
hardest physical and mental experience of my life. My flight or fight system was
screaming at me, telling me to get the hell out of there, and a few times I
felt close to losing it. It was definitely a case of mind over matter, using
the power of the mind to keep charge over the more primal levels of mind and
body which wanted to get the hell out of there. Having everyone there going
through that together, and my sister and girlfriend, kept me strong. A few
people let out animal like howls or screams. If anyone complained, the shaman
would put more water on the hot rocks, and do another round of singing and
drumming. One Spanish guy was losing it, he was crying and calling out to the
shaman and his helper…”por favor…porrr faaaavor!!”…they had no
sympathy. He said he was dying and the shaman’s helper said “Well die then.”.
My sister and I did our best to comfort him, but it meant we had both given up
our already very limited space, and this made me more uncomfortable. Time
seemed to stand still, and this was absolutely like some kind of voluntary
torture. I was impressed with everyone to be able to withstand that, I was
impressed with myself, and my sister and girlfriend. If one can get through
something like that, it made you realise you could likely withstand mos things
life had to throw at you.

After we were finally free of the temazcal, some people were unable to move
much. Many of the others bathed, and we all drank lots of water and sat and
stood by the fire outside. Eventually we turned in for the night, and the next
morning I had incredibly vivid lucid dream, and I meditated in the dream,
which was the first time I tried this, and it was a very interesting
experience.

We all felt really good the next day. However the transformation in my sister
was incredible. She looked healthier than I’d seen her look, and she had this
vivid glow about her, you could see it in her face. My girlfriend and my mum
and people back home noticed it too, my mum could not believe the
transformation in her, after dropping her off at the weekend. She described
this weekend as a major turning point for her. She stopped taking mephedrone,
and cut down substantially on cannabis. She rethought some of her choices of
friends. She started taking up yoga and meditation, and is now passionately
into her yoga, and she has a vegan diet. She seems to have been empowered, and
has much more self worth, and is much more positive in her thinking and her
approach to life. Interesting to note the ayahuasca was gentle with her this
weekend, but it would put her on the path of plant medicines, and our next
shared ayahuasca encounter would be an amazing experience for her, where she
connected with the ayahuasca in in a very deep and profound way, encountering
it as a beautiful jaguar entity. I had heard of such experiences before, but
never fro someone I knew so well. Her transformation was a really amazing and
inspiring thing to witness, it was greater than I could have hoped for, and it
has forever changed my view of ayahuasca and how I wish to approach it in the
future.

September 20, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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