Until I can clear out some technical issues on eye end, the video about my experience will have to wait. For now, I will write a blog post about my trip for you all to read :)
Let me start off by saying, I have a lot of doubt, fear, and insecurities. I am very self conscious, have a pretty harsh internal critic a lot of the time, and have a hard time trusting the Universe. I grew up atheist, never believing in anything. Unconditional love wasn’t something I knew too well, so my perception of love was a bit off.
I’ve grown up thinking that looks & money are what matters, and without those, you're not important. Ouch, right? Who wants to view life that way?
I am familiar with the plant/psychedelic realm. When I was younger I took LSD for fun, and now I use substances for growing my awareness of myself and life. Have you ever taken mushrooms? If so, have you ever set an INTENTION before consuming them? For example, wanting healing from the medicinal plant? That is my favorite way of utilizing this amazing plant, is for healing. When I take mushrooms, I generally have a lot of release through screaming, tears, and sometimes laughter. I’ve had 2 very powerful, fear releasing mushroom trips, and they’ve cleared out A LOT of baggage…..
There are some things I can’t heal or work on myself, and that is where the plant realm comes into play.
So, Ayahuasca, toad, frog, lots of crazy names…
I went down to Peru with Mike on July 21st.
We flew from Detroit to Dallas (about 3 hours) then from Dallas to Lima, Peru (about 7 flipping hours….the worst plane ride EVER!), then from Lima to Cusco (about 1-2 hours).
The center we stayed at (Journey to Paqarina) arranged a taxi ride for us.
They have someone who works for them named Jimmy, who waits for you at the airport, picks you up and takes you to the center. This was AMAZING, considering I do not speak Spanish, and have no idea where I’m going.
Everyone on this staff is incredibly nice and easy going, a wonderful wonderful team.
That night, we were sitting at the dinner table and Pepe the Shaman came in, and was speaking Spanish with another one of the participants (there were 4 of us total). I started to feel really left out, really isolated and extremely uncomfortable. So I asked Mike to go lay down with me, and eventually when alone cried. We stayed in these little hut’s that had a bed, table, and bathroom in it. It got extremely cold at night, so they layered the beds with thick blankets.
The next day was Monday.
There were 7 days total of our retreat, 3 Aya sessions and 1 Toad (--DMT) session. I asked if I could arrange a Frog ceremony (Kambo), which was not part of the package. Felipe, the chef, contacted someone (Tamara) and arranged for her to come Friday for me to experience the medicine, which I’ll explain more later.
So, it’s Monday, day one of Aya. We do not eat dinner on the evening of Aya so the medicine has a greater affect.
There is a white, individual building they call the Maloca, which is where all the healing ceremonies took place. It was so beautiful, inside and out.
Before we all made our way in for ceremony that night, we met individually with Pepe and Kunti or Felipe so they could translate for us. Pepe only speaks Spanish. We met with him to tell him our intentions, so he could better help us throughout the experience. I told him some childhood stuff, how I never felt good enough, that I have a hard time accepting myself, and loving myself. I have difficulties with my mind… This was the first time Kunti and I got to talk to each other personally, and we instantly connected (she’s amazing).
After setting intentions, we gathered in the Maloca. We each had our own mattress with a bucket, some toilet paper, palo Santo, water, mapacho (tabaco) and any personal items (crystals, etc).
Pepe came around with the glass of Ayahuasca. It was thick and dark, and tasted like black strap molasses. I was told by everyone there that that was the best tasting Aya they have ever had (apparently it’s supposed to be super gross).
Once we all took a swig, the lights went out. Pepe began to whistle & sing us Ikaros from him Shipibo tribe. Ikaros are chants/songs sang by the Shaman, which is often the medicine working through them.
He sang to us for about 30 minutes, cleansed the space again with the mapacho, and asked if anyone would like a second glass of Aya. At this point I was feeling a little off, some energy was moving within me, and I felt nauseas. I felt the medicine could be stronger, so I was the first to say yes and grab another cup. I instantly threw it up when I got back to my bed, and sobered up after that (so it felt). After the second glass, Pepe would come around and sing personal songs to each one of us. He would sit in front of your mattress and begin to sing a special song for you (it was the medicine working through him, to help you in the way you needed). These powerful songs help to draw energy out of you, get energy moving, and helps in the healing process.
I was always the last one to be visited by Pepe, and I quite enjoyed that.
After drinking the second cup and feeling sober, I just laid there in the dark. I was very much battling some thoughts in my mind, trying not to play the victim role of “why is this not working, why am I not feeling anything” and so forth. I tried to be content with what was happening, the energy of the room, and hearing Pepe sing. Maybe that WAS the medicine working, helping me to recognize my thoughts. When he finally sang to me, I noticed afterwards my right nasal cavity cleared up immensely! I was able to FULLY BREATHE through both of my nostrils, and for me, that’s a big deal. I use to snort a lot of drugs in my right nostril, and am unsure if there are now problems from that, or from stuck energy. Either way, I could breathe, and I was content with that.
This was TOAD day….5-MEO-DMT to be exact. It is called ‘Toad’ because the DMT is extracted from the toads glands within the skin (the Sonoran Dessert Toad or Colorado River Toad). How anyone thought to do this, I have no idea.
This is the “god molecule” meaning you could potentially meet God from smoking this medicine. Kunti is the Medicine Woman, and she is the one who works with the Toad. She has a major respect for the medicine and the Toad, as well as has lived in the dessert collecting medicine in a respectful, pure way. She’s the real deal.
I was beyond terrified of smoking the Toad. I am very attached to the physical realm, this is all I’ve know, and the thought of that being ripped away freaked me the hell out. At this point, all of the attendees had smoked it, and had profound experiences. So, Tuesday evening, Mike and I both entered the Maloca. I was going to go first, and then him. Chris was also in the room as a helper and also to make sure everything went okay (not to mention he is in love with watching you heal through this medicine, his energy is very comforting). Kunti takes her time setting up her alter and preparing the medicine while I’m trying to relax my pounding heart.
She explains to me the process and what’s going to happen. She was going to give me a small dose to start, and afterwards give me a larger dose. The medicine is in a glass vial with a rubber stopper sealing it off, and 2 small tubes that run through. She lights the medicine and smoke fills the glass. She lets you know to exhale fully, and then to begin to slowly inhale the medicine. Once you can’t inhale anymore, you are to hold your breath for as long as possible. I was already scared I was going to die from all the fear that had built up about this, that I couldn’t hold my breath. I let it go pretty quickly.
I was in “the waiting room” somewhat out of my body, but not “blasted off” into whatever-land. I felt a huge shift in energy and just felt very different. My vision had gone and I was lying on my mattress. When I came back to ‘consciousness’ I was ready to do my bigger dose. At first I said no, and then I changed my mind and said yes.
I still had difficulty holding my breath (the taste and smell of the DMT is very distinct). My vision went as I held the medicine in, and once I exhaled I laid down on the mattress. I don’t personally remember this, but I was told I kept saying “I’m scared, I’m scared, I’M SCARED, I’M SCARED!!!” In a very child-like voice. They believe I was tapping into some childhood trauma and releasing fear.
Believe it or not, as the days passed, I began to hear “I’m scared” playing through my head in the little innocent voice over and over again.. My experience was definitely intense, but there was no meeting God.
We went on an amazing hike that day with a man named Raphael. He knew so much about the land, the plants and about energy. Something he said that stuck with me was “When you are walking on the earth, it is an exchange of prana (energy). Everything is always an exchange of energy”. He took us up a mountain and we walked along the edge of it along a channel of water streaming down from the glaciers, it was BEAUTIFUL!
Aya session number 2. Night time comes, and I feel more prepared this time for wanting healing. We all take our first glass, lay in the dark, and await the process. I started to feel some energy moving once again, and after the 30 minutes, I decided I’m going for another glass. I noticed that the first Aya brew ran out after my first glass, so there was now a different brew. This one was way more liquid-y, lighter in color, and pretty gross tasting.
After I drank the second glass I threw up a little bit, and then laid down in fetal position for most of the night. I started to see a continuous pattern of shapes and colors when my eyes were both open and closed. I felt an immense amount of energy and just tried to breathe deeply through it. Then I began to feel an overwhelming feeling in my chest, a fear of death. I then realized that I was connecting with my twin brother, Miller, who at this point has cancer and is going through chemotherapy.
I feel this energy moving around in my chest, fear of uncertainty, fear of death, fear of not knowing, and so on. It felt like it was his energy I was feeling, but I wasn’t 100% sure if any of it was mine. I sat with that for about 4 hours, just trying to breathe through the intense feelings of FEAR. It was powerful. I only threw up that one time, was trying to sit with terribly painful and uncomfortable feelings, and was awaiting the end of the evening. When the ceremony was over, they offer you tea and fresh fruit. I decided to go strait to bed instead, considering Mike and I had a full day planned ahead. Wednesday was my most profound Aya ceremony.
Thursday is Machu Picchu day. I wasn’t thrilled about this, I was exhausted and wanted to just rest. Not to mention, I started to feel this feeling of “somethings not right”. The feeling was so uncomfortable, and I didn’t understand it. All day that’s all I kept feeling and hearing in my head, was that something wasn’t right. I could only rationalize it by connecting it to my relationship with Mike, he was the only one I was with so maybe it had to do with us? I really didn't know, but I was panicking inside. I brought up a few times I was feeling off to him, and then mentioned I had the thought that maybe it was about us. He somewhat chuckled and said, whatever you’re feeling, that’s all YOU. There’s nothing going on with us in a negative way, that’s your own stuff.. and that made me feel way better..However, that feeling lingered for DAYS. I never quite understood it, but thought that it could possibly have been that what wasn't right was the way I view things. This trip had taught me that I have a pretty negative outlook on life…
So we spent the day touring, exploring and adventuring, and then finished the evening off with some pizza and potatoes. We had quite the journey getting home. Our cab driver only spoke Spanish. Instead of dropping us off at the arranged place (set up by Felipe) he stopped in the center of a road and started speaking to us in Spanish. I’m panicked, I don’t know where we are, I have no ones phone number from the center, I don't know what to do. Eventually, I somehow manage to get him to understand me asking him to call Felipe, and then he took us exactly where we needed to go. Phew, language barrier at it’s finest.
Friday! Kambo & Aya day. Kambo is a frog venom, that is placed on an open wound on the body (little burn marks made from incense) to allow the medicine to quickly enter the blood stream. Tamara is the woman Felipe arranged to come to the center. She is AMAZING to work with. She has a passion for helping you heal with this medicine, is extremely respectful to the medicine, and is very nurturing through the whole process. Next time I go down, I want 3 sessions with her.
Originally I was the only one going to do it. I knew about this medicine from Mike, from the 2 other times he had tried it before. He swells really bad when the medicine enters him, so he didn’t want to go through that again. Last minute, he changed his mind and joined me. Kambo is supposed to be really cleansing for the body and the mind. It excretes bile and toxins from your organs and you PURGE it all up. Literally projectile vomiting.
First we drank a ridiculous amount of water to help with the purge. Then she used the incense to burn 5 dots on my arms. Next she applied the frog venom onto the open wounds, 3 at first, and then all 5 dots. At first my throat glands began to heat up VERY fast, pulsing like a frog does when they ribbit. The intense heat began to travel down my spine all that way to my root chakra, and after that I began to feel nauseas. I started throwing up uncontrollably into the bucket, and then had to go to the BATHROOM because I couldn’t hold in the rear end, ya feel me? So she walked me to the bathroom, left me, and I made my way back after finishing. It wasn’t super horrible for me either, Mike’s however, was. He again swelled up like crazy, his eyes, throat, lips, cheeks, everything began to swell. I enjoyed the heat, and I wanted more healing. She said 3 sessions are recommended, but we only had time and money for one.
We took a shower, napped, and then came night fall. The last session of Aya. This time I drank the first glass and was feeling really nauseas (again this is the different brew than the first one). I decided NOT to drink another glass, A. because I physically didn’t feel good, and B. because I was drained and was tired of the “work”. So, I ended up not having the most profound healing experience, but just laid in discomfort most of the night. I did regret over the next few days not just making myself drink another one, but there was nothing I could do about it but try and let it go.
Party day. This was our last day together, so Jimmy brought ALL of us up to this beautiful lake in the mountains where we all drank Wachuma (San Pedro). I personally couldn’t stomach it. It was slimy, goopy, and just didn’t sit well with me. I felt a shift in energy, but all I could feel was the nausea gurgling up. Wachuma is supposed to be an extremely beautiful medicine that connects you with the Earth. I ended up throwing up, napping, and the stretching in the sun. I wish I felt the medicine more.
We saw a Condor flying above the lake, which can be a rarity there. The condor is a spiritual symbol for the Peruvian people.
The Incas considered the condor as the most sacred bird. Its large size and ability to travel long distances – from Lima to the Andes, for example – are some of the reasons why the Incas believed it to be the messenger for the heavens. It was one of the most scared animals in their eyes, because of its connection to the divine. It was considered the connection between the earth and skies and was believed to carry the dead on its wings to the afterlife.
That evening we had a bonfire, watched Felipe make AMAZING sushi, and spent our last night together relaxing. I went to bed early because I was exhausted and just needed to rest, I wish I stayed to hear Richards singing (another member or our group).
The final day. Mike and I requested to buy more toad, we wanted another session. We got to meet Simon this trip, the investor and creator of Journey to Paqarina. He is a very, very gentle soul. All 4 of the members wanted to pay for a second toad ceremony, so Simon graciously allowed it to be on the house. Thanks Simon!! (Seriously though, Simon is probably one of the most kind, gentle, pure souls I’ve met, he’s definitely someone to meet!).
So Mike and I enter the Maloca later that evening. Last time I went first, so this time Mike did. He had a very enjoyable experience. I however had a difficult one. I was able to hold my breath WAY longer this time. The medicine was much stronger, and I returned to that place of “I’m scaaaared!!!!”. When I take this medicine I get super confused, so I don’t remember if it was after the first or second round, but Kunti came up behind me with a stone - black obsidian - and placed it on the back of my heart chakra. It was instantly HOT, it was soooo warm and woke me out of where I was. It was amazing! I thought she placed a hot stone on me, but the heat was from my energy. Kunti then recommended me taking another dose (on the house). She felt I wasn’t quite finished with what had begun to open. So I took another big massive one, was rolling around on the ground and repeating the same phrase. I came out of it, and began to cry out of fear of having to go through that again. She reassured me I was safe, and everything was okay. I felt lighter and way better than I had that entire trip. I needed that last dose.
Our trip continued for a few more days, but that was the last day of plant medicinal healing. Mike and I plan to go down to Peru again and partake in toad and Aya once more, for we feel we can get a lot more out of it than we did this previous trip. I recommend this center for anyone looking for healing in all forms (sexual trauma, childhood trauma, verbal abuse, fear of letting go, you name it). The staff is incredible, the food is amazing, the energy is comforting, and the place is magnificent. However, now the toad and Aya are split up. So they are now offering Toad for one week (3 sessions) and Ayahuasca for one week (3 sessions) but not overlapping the medicine. If you want to experience both, you would go down there for two weeks, one week Aya and one week Toad. The Aya is very taxing on the mind and body, and the Toad is not. The day after Aya you feel sluggish and tired. After a toad ceremony all of your energy has returned, you may even feel lighter.
I’ve linked the website for Journey to Paqarina so if you’re interested, please reach out to Chris and mention my name. I wish you all healing, and hope this blog post was helpful in some sort of way. If you have an questions or comments, leave them in the comment box below or contact me personally.