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  • Because the ceremonies started at 8 pm and did not end often until 2 or 3 am, i was always exhausted the next day, in the afternoon, i would lie in my hammock, i would hear the rain, pelting the thatch roof of my tambo, sometimes my body would shake with spontaneous sobbing, or a wave of euphoria would cause me to dissolve like sugar in warm water, each day, there was a schedule, in the morning, we had plant medicine for our specific ailments, in the afternoon, we were bathed with flowers, yellow sweet scented little flowers that clung to our hair and skin, we would sit near the pond on a wood bench, coconut, banana trees, letting the sun dry our skin, here were scarlet dragonflies, blue iridescent butterflies, lime green lizards.

    Meals were simple. Rice. Sweet potato. Beans. Quinoa. A salad. Wild spinach. A blushing slice of turnip. Sometimes fresh fish from the river. Chicken. There was no electricity so we ate by the light of lanterns, our faces softly golden glowing as if we were in a dream.

    The toilet was a compost bucket, which we covered with sawdust after each use. When the bucket was full, it would be used as fertilizer for the papaya trees on the land.

    At the night, the jungle became fervent with life. A cacophony of sounds. Belching frogs. Insects. Whizzing. Buzzing. Ringing. Shrieking birds. All night. The sounds cascaded. Crescendo. And then again!

    There were twenty-three of us in the Maloka, five shamans (three women, two men) and three facilitators (2 men, 1 woman). We sat in a circle in the Maloka. One by one, we were invited to imbide the Medicine. After the last person drank the Medicine, the lanterns were snuffed. And in that darkness, you waited for the medicine to work upon you. There was often a feeling of seasickness, nausea, sometimes worse. You could hear your neighbors retching or fleeing their mat to go to the toilet. The medicine took about 30 minutes to have an effect. Each ceremony was unique. Each person's experience was unique. Vivid hallucination. Intense physical sensations. Sweating. Puking. Crying. Or Paralysis.

    By the end of the 12 day retreat, i learned so much about love. In one of the ceremony, I saw how everything in the world was a reflection of my own Self, and that Self was synonymous with Love, this Love, it pervaded everything, in every cell, atom, there was nothing that did not contain love.

    And the mystics, i understood why they laughed upon enlightenment, the biggest joke is to try to search for what you already are!

    I bow to the Shipibo people who have kept this sacred knowledge of ayahausca alive. My heart breaks to know that lumber companies, oil conglomerates are still stealing their land, polluting their water, the greed, the violence, i feel such sorrow knowing this is still continuing, but the shamans, they remind me that love is patient, love can never be vanquished, and we all must do our sacred work without expectation of when or how, but with steadfast faith that love will prevail.

    The Taoists believe that we have three brains, the head, the heart, and the gut. For most of my life, I have relied on my head, the analytical logical mind, that categorizes and divides and labels, but Mother Ayahausca has shown me how to live with my heart and gut, i am learning to be in my body, to listen to the whisper of my heart, the mind was always meant to be a servant of the heart, and now i can feel the Master returning, the rightful owner, and so i bow to Love, it has so many faces, including yours.

    Iraku!

    (*Thank you in the Shipibo language)
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