Disclaimer: Ayahuasca is an intensely powerful (and potentially illegal depending on your location) introspective healing tool and should not be used for recreation. Ideally it should be used under supervision of a shaman. DMT is naturally occurring in the human body, found in large quantities in the cerebral spinal fluid. It’s thought to be produced in the lungs and in the eye. It’s also speculated that it’s made in the pineal gland (third eye).

I’ve been living here in Puerto Vallarta for six months and I have found Mexico to be a very healing country for me, full of incredible experiences, and is probably the main reason I decided to move here. I consider myself to be very spiritual, especially after my travel in India and Nepal, which sparked my interest in yoga and the history & overlap of world religions. I am also somewhat of a pyschonaut (sailor of the mind) in training, exploring altered states of consciousness, and like to engage in meditation, yoga nidra, sensory deprivation, hallucinogens etc.

As a child I was always very afraid of death, especially the concept of eternity, that it was inevitable and I had no clue what I would be faced with for potentially trillions of years. I had a fear of the vastness of the cosmos and genuinely hoped death was the ultimate. Just black and nothing after. After my brother David died suddenly, things started to click and my thirst for spiritual growth and knowledge grew. I realised I was using the Law of Attraction and manifestation. I felt like I had the building blocks of something huge and a direct line to the Universe/ Source.  When I came across the opportunity to participate in a traditional ayahuasca ceremony here in Puerto Vallarta I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

I was apprehensive approaching the house. I was also nervous that my preparation (no alcohol, drugs, foods high in MAOI, no negative media or stress) hadn’t been thorough and that I was putting my body and mental health at risk. My fears were totally unfounded and the ceremony was one of the most profound and beautiful experiences I have ever had. We started with a workshop, learning Reiki and playing with our own energies. At one stage, when my partner was using heart energy over my crown chakra a voice popped into my head and said “You have to forgive yourself“. This set the tone for the rest of my experience.

The set up included an altar of sorts, a mat in the centre of the room adorned with offerings; personal items, talismans, candles, instruments and flowers. The 15 participants lay on our blankets with pillows behind us, leaning against the wall. We were given tissue and bowls for purging (though had fasted for the day)

After the Reiki, we inhaled Grandfather tobacco rapé, listened to hymns and learned how to pray to Grandmother Ayahuasca for guidance. We stated our intentions. I was last to drink the thick, sticky, foul tasting medicinal tea. By then, my new friends were starting to trip. Hard. There was retching, vomiting, giggling etc. About 15 minutes in, I was unaffected, and getting annoyed and upset. There was no way I was spending 4 or 5 hours sober while everyone had life altering encounters with the afterlife. One of the guides told me I had to sit back, close my eyes and invite Abuelita (Grandmother Ayahuasca) in. Boom! We had lift off.

I began to “see”, like rips appearing in a black cloak, little flecks of prism light breaking through , then almost like a cliff face of tessellating, geometric granite/ diamond shine parallelograms with eyes and a mouth welcoming me… then whoosh, Chacruna was throwing up the psychedelic visuals; colourful, intricate, repetitious patterns beyond my imagination, at warp speed, overwhelmingly sickeningly so. It was kaleidoscopic, every changing and took my whole field of vision. Be careful what you wish for. I had to open my eyes a few times because it was too much to handle. The patterns were as I had seen in the Huichol native folk art. I was laughing with delight, wonder and fascination.

Once the ride of crazy colours and shapes began to subside and I was warmed up, Grandmother Ayahuasca took the stage and began bending me to her will. I instinctively knew that my body would have to go, for this was a spiritual journey. Suddenly I was so aware of my limbs, muscle tightness in my hips, lower back and psoas from stress and grief, my knee injury etc. I knew I was “dying”. My legs were shaking, twitching. I had a feeling of a malevolent and powerful snake, a cobra, being present. I emulated, rocking my body and hips on the floor like a serpent. My body began decomposing from my feet up, the blanket was cocooning me like dirt around a coffin. I freaked out, it was too much, a reminder of David,  I rejected it. I sat up, opened my eyes. There was no fighting it though. This was for my own good and ayahuasca was making me face it. My body began to contract intensely, I lay down in corpse pose, I convulsed and shuddered until all the pain and grief was expelled from my body, rising up past my chest, and heaved out in a huge sob. I covered my face and cried quietly. A voice inside said, “It’s ok to acknowledge your hurt, your grief. You don’t always have to be strong, you’ve been through a lot. Allow the sadness, accept the comfort, forgive yourself.

The ayahuasca knew I was ready then, but listened and showed me a gentler way. I was shown the Catrina skeleton in the hat & boa, neon fuschia and yellow, from Mexican Day of the Dead culture. It showed me clean bones, as if I was tiny and wandering through the rib cage. Exploring the white skeleton, I realised this was just our casing, and the cycle of life. My body began to fold in on itself zig zag like the stairs on an escalator, I was pliable and soft and then non existent. The ayahuasca, like a magician, showed me beautiful frivolous images; a world of ice cream, pink and gold glitter, whatever I could gleefully conjure up appeared in an instant. It was telling me not to have fear.

It was lulling me into a false sense of security.

Once I was open, my brain unleashed, I was bombarded with information, too much to keep up with. I was shown more images of colourful patterns, that geometric figure from the beginning told me to be ready to see what the other side is. I saw a side profile of a human face, superimposed onto each other like a trail of faces. I saw futuristic robotics and cogs within these hieroglyphic ancient patterns and codes. I was shown almost Egyptian like half animal/ half human figures, blue, and red with tendrils or antlers at the back of their head. They showed me scrolling concurrent horizontal timelimes of ancient civilisations and pyramids, since the birth of humanity.  It scared me so much. I wanted out, and my mind back. This was too real and traumatic, I didn’t want the afterlife and grand design of the Universe to be in the hands of a super advanced race of alien gods, surrounded by intense colour and robotics for eternity. I got up and went to the toilet. I could now see the hallucinations in reality, on the wall. I retched and heaved from my soul, and vomited up everything that I ever thought was real and true, everything humanity thinks it knows about life and death and where we came from. Hearing music from outside grounded me somewhat to this world.

The whole time this was happening, there were people around me moaning, mumbling, laughing eerily, gagging, retching, crying… there was so much pain and joy. The shaman was playing drums, rattles or flute, the helpers were singing ancient hymns (icaros) in different languages that I could understand on a soul level, and this all shaped my own visuals perfectly. As I was having my own trip on a higher plane, at the same time I imagined (?) from my surroundings (candle light, music, cold room, crickets, hard floor…) that we were the first people, the primordial in the desert with a campfire and all the indigenous ancestors were now watching over and guiding us.  The songs and chants blended the alien and futuristic perfectly with the ancient and sacred.

I came face to face with God and the afterlife. The Source was a bright, white, almost opalite tinged room with no up, down, walls… just space, I guess and some sort of control panel. I was aware of other energies but I couldn’t see them. I was solely my conscience having a telepathic conversation with what looked a flat topped, pointed angel-aura quartz crystal with a square face, prism coloured eyes and mouth crudely carved like a kindly pumpkin. Somehow I recognised this being as the Creator, like I had seen it online or in a book or somewhere before. I felt very powerful love, bliss and peace like nothing I had ever experienced.  Gradually I stopped trying to keep one foot in this realm and succumbed entirely to the ayahuasca and this wise and benevolent energy. In a flash, I had the mysteries of infinity, time, dimensions, societal structure, omnipotence unraveled before me on multiple layers, all at once. I was inside of technology and astrology, sacred geometry and astronomy. It knew I was afraid of eternity and explained that time is not linear here like on Earth. It demonstrated a marble dropping into thin air and it reappearing from several places, slipping through dimensions and back, almost at once, leaving a rainbow vibration trail like in some invisible marble maze. There is no concept of here, there, now, then, up, down outside of planet Earth. I was thinking “Oh, that’s an interesting trick” and it made complete, obvious sense. Whatever I thought to ask, Creator answered before the thought was finished, as we were one and it already knew. We zoomed out for galaxies and inwards again in an instant. I felt God like. I realised that humans are divine, we are miraculous, we are created in God’s image as the Universe is within us. We are infinite.

I knew it would only be a matter of time and I had been dreading it… I was gently urged and encouraged and told David wanted to be present. He appeared, in the form of his energy. His big brother, caring, happy energy. He showed me memories of his childhood, the bedroom where we hung out as kids (from above), playing football in the park with his friends, and him, through his eyes as a baby, in the bath looking up at my young mam and dad bathing him, such love and wonder in their eyes. He was so loved and happy during his time as a human. He appreciated it, and feels it still.  He isn’t alone or scared or lost. To him eternity is a second, or could be existing in and out of memories and dimensions. At one stage in “Heaven” I totally forgot about reality, and this world, the one I had been so afraid of leaving, and was so happy and blissful talking to Creator. I felt oneness, enlightened, connected. Going back to real life and responsibility seemed so heavy, so grey…. I was told I could return to Source at any stage.

I questioned what was the point of life then, and Earth. There was no reason, except that there is no reason. “Why not?” I guess, was the answer, to be flippant. If you can create, build, design anything anything at all, in an instant then why not? We are spiritual beings having a physical experience on this beautiful planet Earth, once this lifetime is over we won’t be able to feel sensations or a range of emotion (apart from peace, euphoria). Be grateful for every experience, because we only feel  in our human form. Embrace even the negative, as they are gifts. Show kindness to each other. Life here truly is so short. I had so much love and appreciation for this rock we call home in that instant.

There was lots of maternal energy from the presence of Abuelita (Coincidentally, or not so, I had lunch the following day with with my mother and two aunts, who were visiting Mexico at the same time!)  I felt as intensely loved and protected as a newborn infant by its mother; carrying, feeding, singing, lulling to sleep. And I realised that EVERY woman in our ancenstry did that for us. Generation after generation. It is almost too much to comprehend the magnitude that we are here today. I understood on a new level, the sacredness of babies and children, how precious and miraculous their very existence is, and how they truly appreciate and find joy in exploring this world. As this was happening, a participant was in extreme distress and emotional pain, moaning, almost talking in tongues. I felt kindness and patience and sent her loving energy. A guide chanted a beautiful lullaby “Porque te quiero tanto tanto tanto, con todo mi corozón hey ha na na wey..” (because I love you so much, with all of my heart) and we all joined in to comfort her. It showed that our ancestors and spirit guides love us unconditionally, that they passed down this wisdom and tradition and plant medicine to show us the way, the truth. I will never in my life forget the profundity of that song and the moment. As the song came to a close, all the knowledge, creativity, ancient wisdom, collective consciousness, galaxies, blueprints began to shrink down rapidly and downloaded into this little blue, white and green marble we call Earth. Like a reverse big bang. Silence.

At one stage when I was so sick, weak, shivering and purging, in my own personal hell, I was shown a seed. I knew it to mean cycles. That ayahuasca is ancient and many thousands have done it, for thousands of years, and have come through it. It does what it does. A cycle. I will get sick again. I will get better. A cycle. Every time I realised a new truth I puked. I prayed to Abuelita to go easy on me, I looked in my bowl of my bile, bark mixture and soggy tissue and saw her face as leaves on a tree. I was shown the memory of when I was so sick from sea pollution poisoning, puking bile in Morocco. It said “We were preparing you for this, be grateful. You got through that, you’ll get through this”. Then I saw soft pinks and yellows, my heart stopped hammering against chest and calmed. The shaman played the drum over me until the nausea and fear began to subside.  I kept having intense visuals, I saw Abuelita as an owl with luminous yellow eyes sitting in a tree in a jungle, watching over the world. I saw my spirit guide as a lion.

A new song began, and though I didn’t understand the lyrics, I interpreted that the solemn, forceful tone was driving out the ayahuasca and we were coming to the end of our journey. I saw this world of my subconscious begin to condense down and be put through a grinder, turned to slop. I felt like I had just been born and could barely move my heavy and bone tired limbs, I felt naked and vulnerable and imagined myself to look like Voldemort before his resurrection. It was wearing off, near the end, the cobra released me and slithered away. My third eye was tired and throbbing. I have no idea how much time had passed. It felt as though it could have been minutes or days. I managed to drift off to sleep finally.

We woke at dawn to discuss our experience. Everyone in the circle was so emotional after. A lot of pain, suffering brought up but we were shown such compassion, support and love. It was very healing for everyone. I realised that everyone is fighting an invisible battle. Be kind.

Like dark and light, night and day, dreams and nightmares, the constant cycles and balance of nature, ayahuasca was no different. Intense, gut wrenching, brutal, and scary in the way it made me realise the insignificant specks that I, and this planet are, but it was also comforting, joyful and loving by realising how special and miraculous we and this world are.