Everyone stated an intention for being there and solemnly thanked Julio for having us. I was a bit suprised when he also prayed to Mary and Jesus, but I think that was a small influence leftover by colonial catholicism incorporated into indigeneous rituals and added at the beginning of the ceremonies.
We all said ”Amen” , everyone hugged everybody else, even strangers. The time came to return to our hammocks and let the calm of the night take over the Maloca, these moments are kind of like the calm before the storm type of moment. Buckets were distributed around the Maloca in case you had to evacuate. Some people already seemed sound asleep when the time for the first cup of Yagé was distributed. Every person received a dosage equivalent to what the shaman perceives the person as being able to handle, also he takes into account if the person was a first timer or not, they are the drivers of the experience and we are but passengers on a their boat heading into the ocean of our inner universes.
I can’t remember the order in which everyone took it, but I remember Juan getting his cup just ahead of me. I stared in curiosity from the side of my hammock. The hammock is like a safe-haven in these ceremonies, kind of the cradle for your body and thoughts. The safety net that catches when you fall back from the peaks of your highness.
My name was called, I stood up, went to Julio, he poured the ayahuasca from a red gallon into my designated cup. I thanked him, drank it swiftly, then thanked him again. The taste was one of fermented plant, somehow it reminded me of something I had in the past, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The aftertaste was quite putrid. There was something delicious and something entirely nasty about the taste. It’s hard to describe, I guess you have to try it to know it.
I went back to my hammock and waited, after about 10 minutes Juan got up and ran outside and started puking, he puked so loudly it was quite frightning. He stayed out there puking for a long time. After about 30 or 40 minutes of drinking the brew my stomach started bubbling and I started feeling uneasy, nausea took over the best part of the next half hour until I had to run outside and it was my turn to vomit. It came out of me like a projectile. Right after puking I realised some weird kind of drunkness had taken over me. Distances were lightly distorted and it took me a while to feel better after emptying the little that was in my stomach, I was so hungry as the ceremony started that I basically had nothing but bile to evacuate.
Feeling weak, I slowly headed back to my hammock and a feeling of great calm and serenity took over me. Julio started chanting, dancing, humming , singing , playing his harmonica, jumping up and down and within that chaos the brew really started having it’s effect on me. What I saw in my mind’s eye was hypnotising to say the least, it was like a huge drawing of a shaman sitting crosslegged, colored in tones of Purple, Yellow, White and Blue on a backdrop of darkness, in 2D yet 3D in some depths of which the details were going in and out of, sort of like let’s say a moving psychedelic oil painting dripping but the drips not falling to the ground, instead orbiting around its own parts in a very organic pattern, and to the rhythm of the sound being played by Julio, fabulous !…and then I think it was Julio’s cousin who was laying next to Julio puked so loud it snapped me out of the trance hahaha, it jolted me out of my hammock, big WTf moment for me! :/// I went right back to my hammock and another vision that came to me was that of staring into the vastness of the cosmos above me with my eyes closed and giant crystalline like figures or beings, kind of transparent and emmanating light, there must’ve been 5 or 6 of them and they were hanging above me as true giants elongated into space and looking down on me as one would on an ant and they seemed like the bearers of important information, they were transparent but luminescent at the same time as covered in a transluscent gaz colored / multicolored layer , very angelic looking, nothing like i’d ever seen before…and then the same guy puked again and I jolted out of the hypnotic state again, I had a harder time going back to the higher level of trance after that jolt. That same guy kept puking extremely loudly throughout the night and never stepped out of the Maloca so he was in there with us sounding sick as hell. The thought came to me, this guy hadn’d paid too much attention to what he ate before the ceremony, and it was showing. Juan was outside somewhere and I hadn’t thought of it much but he told me afterwards that he had puked his guts out for what seemed like an eternity.
Comes a time during an ayahuasca session when one by one the members of the ceremony are called forwards to sit in front of the Shaman and a cleansing ritual is performed on them. When came my turn I remember going and sitting in front of him and his hostel looking little table that house all of his accessories he was using for the different processes he engaged in during the night or other things he would use to cleanse one’s body. During a cleansing, the shaman seems to go into many different processes such as chanting, saying incantations, calling out the ancestors, placing metal beads on your back in different places, spraying holy water on you, even spitting out violently that same water on the top of your head, playing harmonica and many others, a true spectacle and not for the faint of heart or anyone with an easy feeling of disdain. Also I forgot to mention he always has a dry bunch of Sage leaves in one of his hands and shakes them during most of the ceremoney and they create this kind of white noise which also sends your visions into all kinds of directions. Between me and him on the floor rested a big metallic bowl. I hadn’t really noticed it, until, towards the end of my cleansing he wrapped his hands around my head, he did what sounded like sucking the air out of his hands, what felt like he was extracting bad energy/darkness out of me and right after he absorbed it all as in inhaling expressively, he puked it all out( I’m guessing the bad vibes and toxicity of my body) into the bowl behind me and it splashed all over my back !!! Eww I was totally disgusted… yet, weirdly amused at the sight of all these machinations , I remember at the same time as this was going on, I had thought of my opponents in the sport wich I wished to beat, I think I was holding the thought very hard and wanting to go and do good on the Flatland scene at that moment. I didn’t have a particular intention going into the ceremony, but I know I was seeking clarity and didn’t think it had anything to do with riding, but seemigly so and I kept feeling like there was some sort of curse that was put on me and it was being lifted in that moment. weird huh ? Very weird. It’s like the uncontrollable flow of thoughts is such as can be so very harmful or beneficial for you depending what way you decide to send it towards. So much insight was gained that night, but I can’t even start to describe any of it, I guess I found what I was loooking for… The setting of the experience was a big part of how I was affected by the brew, Julio’s son went around spreading the smoke of Frankincense in a thurible, that metal container sphere looking thing at the end of a chain they wave around just like they did in church when I was a kid at my 1st communion or confirmation. The smoke combined with the gloomy bit of lights and candles surrounding the shaman really make a hell of an impression once you can distinguish the shapes such as the sight of his crown of feathers hopping up and and down to the sound of his chanting and harmonica fiddling.
Some moments when the chanting, singing and pounding the ground, harmonica playing, necklace and sage shaking by the shaman would become so intense and chaotic where you forget what sound is coming from where and what, and amidst that confusion he often would stop everything he was doing abruptly… and the effect of that abrupt stop would shoot me out into the universe so far away from where my body was seemingly resting. As if propulsed by deafening silence into the infinite expanse of nothingness.
All types of feelings I had never felt.
Towards the end of the night, after everyone had their turns at receiving a cleansing from Julio, I remember Fernando pulled out his guitare and sang for us in the scruffiest of voices, you could tell he was an experienced singer, but his voice wasn’t what it used to be, his struggle to put out the notes he wanted to as he strung this amazing lullaby on his guitar I will never forget. He gave us 2 or 3 songs that night, I travelled in my mind with the sounds he produced and tasted the notes and saw a diferent color for each note as I closed my eyes and let the sound of his strumming and singing carry me into more colorful visions and sink into the roots of where that music seemed to come from. I think he was singing some kind of Argentinian style of music. I think it’s called Musica Revolutionaria…not sure.
The ayahuasca’s effect seemed to fade away as the sun came up, Juan and I both tried to sleep for a while just laying there unsuccessfully, while others also slept or gathered towards a fire outside the hut and talked about what they experienced that night.
Later that morning, Fernando came to speak to Juan and I, he told us the yagé was telling him not to join in ceremonies anymore, that he was getting too old and it was getting dangerous for him, that he didn’t need it anymore. He even sang one more song for us and the sheer beauty of what came out of this song made me fall in tears, like sobbing tears, I don’t know where all this emotion was coming from, but in that moment is when it all came out of me, his singing was blissfull, you could hear the pain and suffering in his voice and the will to live in his strumming even at his older age, he told us of how he had once sang at some really impotant meetings of the states if I remember correctly,that part is quite blurry to me now, I’m not sure if it was at the UN or the senate or some kind of meeting of this sort in his prime time. We exchanged contacts.
It seemed like beauty lies in the most simple of moments, the shared moments, the unforced and natural moments in time when new people meet eachother and get along. Sort of like what Flatland always felt to me like. Yes. Sort of like that. Sort of like those easy sessions where everyone gets along, where everybody laughs and nothing is too serious.