My first four ceremonies with Ayahuasca were deep and intense, but also gentle and beautiful. These last three ceremonies in Peru were fucking hard, and painful.
I went on this second retreat to go deeper, as I left my last retreat feeling like there was still work to be done. I got exactly what I asked for, I was catapulted into an abyss of darkness. Sent to face all my fears. To feel pain I’d been avoiding. To open wounds that never healed.
I am now sitting here months after returning home from this life changing journey, and have nothing but gratitude. For Pachamama welcoming us to heal on her beautiful land. For all the hard, painful moments in ceremony that opened me up. For the spirit of Ayahuasca, that still sits deep in my blood.
Especially grateful for the sisters that brought us together to heal, and the sisters that were on the journey next to me.
While the journey itself was deep, the retreat center, facilitators, and other ceremonies along with ayahuasca, were something I never could have imagined. Every little offering we made, intention we set, and walk went on added so much to this experience.
One of the facilitators, who I now consider a sister, is from the Sacred Valley. She is one of the most incredible medicine woman I’ve ever met, and I feel lucky to have been able to heal with her guidance. She called in so many incredible healers to work with us on this journey.
We had a despacho ceremony, where we gave an offering, and asked for permission from pachamama to do the healing work on her land. We sat in a Temezcal ceremony, which symbolizes the mothers womb, and rebirth. We even went on a plant walk with a local mamita, to learn what some of the native plants are used for.
To be able to follow the Peruvian traditions in such an authentic way, was such a special part of this journey, and one I am so grateful for.
My other dear friend, and sister is the reason I had this opportunity. She offered us the most gentle and loving meditations, daily. She guided us with movement, in multiple yoga sessions. And she was the one I confided in, when my world felt like it was crumbling.
The retreat was held at Racies Inkas, in the Sacred Valley of Peru. This center felt like something out of a fairytale. The gardens were lush with bright flowers, and hundreds of little white butterflies fluttering around. The Maloca, was the most incredible place to heal and gather. All of the food was prepared with love, and fueled our bodies with local produce. Each room was decorated with Peruvian art, creating the coziest place to nest.
You can tell that the owner of Racies has poured her heart and soul into every square inch of this center.
The property has so many walking paths, and gardens to explore. With many lounge areas, to journal or read. Surrounded by so much nature to nourish your soul.
What ceremonies were like:
The ceremonies in this retreat were a bit different, than my ceremonies at Soltara. There was only five of us attending, all women. We were all able to tap into our femininity, and heal our deep sexual traumas, with minimal male presence.
Because there were only five of us, the icaros didn’t take very long. So, once ceremony with the maestros was closed, we shared music. It was such a beautiful addition to ceremony.
If you want more insight on terms like icaro, maestros, or you want to know what my previous ceremonies were like, I go into depth about it all in my post, First time sitting with Ayahuasca.
This photo is not how it is set up for ceremonies. This is just a photo of the beautiful maloca, set up for a sharing circle.
In my first ceremony I drank a pretty small dose, and was launched into space about two hours later.
Once the music started playing, after icaros were done, I was in deep. When the guitar was being strummed, I felt as though in was sitting inside of the guitar. When the drum was being pounded, I felt like I was the drum. My heart was racing at the speed of light. Yet, I was paralyzed. I wanted to yell STOOOOOOPPP, but there was nothing I could do but lay there.
…and then I turned into a single atom, melted into the floor board beneath me, and became nothing. In that moment realizing nothing is everything. I became nothing and everything all at once. It was terrifying and incredible at the same time.
As ceremony came to a close, my dear friend asked how I was feeling, and I lost it. I hadn’t purged in ceremony yet, other than a bit of shaking. I felt a pit of heaviness lodged in my body, needing to be released. The deepest sobs came through me and flowed out like a river.
Every time I inhaled I felt as though I was climbing the mountains that surrounded us. Every time I exhaled, I felt as though I had fallen backwards all the way down the mountain. It was a messy, snot running down my face, uncontrollable tear fest. It was the release I needed that night.
Another wave of Ayahuasca…
I thought was ready to leave the safe space of the maloca. So, I walked to my room. Got in to bed at about 1 am, thinking I would rest. Aya was like you ain’t done yet, and I continued to have intense visuals till about 5 am.
The visions this night were fast, and barley there. I saw snake tales hiding under bushes on a trail, then that trail turned into a dreaded hall way I was always scared to walk down in child hood. I had vision of writing my mothers obituary. Terrifying, because she was having brain surgery just a few days later. Fragments, colors, movement, it was all flashing quickly before me.
Safe to say this ceremony rocked me to the core.
In ceremony two, I drank a bit more than the first night. I didn’t have the extreme paralyzed feeling, or the haunting visions. I simply became an observer in the room.
In that moment, I was one with everything and everyone.
The medicine was gentle and loving.
After ceremony, I went to my room and looked at photos of my life. I felt an immense sense of gratitude for my partner, and the life I’ve lived. I was even able to sleep a few hours that night.
In ceremony three, I finally had the big purge I’d been waiting for… but not till after what felt like death.
I had what we called “the big boy” cup of medicine. It was a few gulps going down, and Mastra Tia put a special icaro into the medicine before I drank. The moment I got to the alter, I almost backed out, but my heart knew I needed this.
Little did I know it was going to be the most physically painful ceremony, I’ve ever experienced. I felt as though I had been poisoned, my body riddled in pain. I sat with my head in the bucket, basically begging to purge during my icaros, yet nothing came.
I found myself in fetal position for most of this ceremony, my womb was throbbing. I was sweating to the point of laying there in only my tank top, then I was freezing, wrapping myself up in all the blankets I could reach. I was uncontrollably shaking. I was dizzy when I closed my eyes, then I was dizzy when I opened my eyes. It was pure torture.
I don’t remember any visions, all I remember was pain. There is not much worse in ceremony, then wanting to purge, and nothing comes up.
In this particular maloca, there was a skylight, and I happened to be laying under it. Feeling poisoned, and paralyzed in pain, I remember looking up at the stars thinking “this is it.”
At one point towards the end of ceremony, my friend came around with a bell. At the time, I had my head in the bucket still trying to purge. When she rang the bell around me, I saw Tinker Bell, and pixie dust fell upon me.
And then.. I finally purged. The biggest purge, and I felt alive again. All the demons, and all the pain had left me.
One of my friends in the room said the purge was almost demonic, not because of the noise, but because of the amount of fluid that came out of my body.
That heaviness I mentioned in ceremony one, was finally released.
Unpacking the insight Ayahuasca gifted me:
I remember feeling like the life I thought I wanted for myself, was not the life I was meant for.
What a terrifying thought. To think you know what you want, only to realize you’ve convinced yourself that this was your story. Because the life that you are meant for scares you more than anything in the world.
Being a mom…
My womb hurt in all three ceremonies, I even got my period right before ceremony one.
Seeing myself writing my mothers obituary had nothing to do with her dying. It had everything to do with me letting go of all these expectations I had for her as my mother. It meant it was time to accept her for who she is, not who I wanted her to be. She was only doing the best she could in each moment. Just as most people are in the world.
Becoming a single atom, and becoming nothing at all. Showed me how consumed we are, as humans in this world. How much, and how little our presences really matters.
Seeing the snakes on the path in the forest, then that path turning into a hallway I always dreaded walking down. Was another reminder to let go, to lean into fear instead of run away from it.
The biggest purge, was the biggest release. Of all the pain, judgment, and fear I allowed to remain in my body.
The days after ceremony, I get this high. High on life kind of a feeling where the sky is bluer, and the grass is greener. Then you get on a plane and head back to reality, and that’s when the work really begins.
How does one take all this insight and integrate it into their current life? Well, I struggled.
It’s now been quite a few months. I attended this retreat in April of 2022, it is now September of 2022. It took me a long while to come to terms with all that Ayahuasca was trying to show me.
In the few weeks after returning home, I was not well. I lost sense of reality. I was confused. I was sad. I was lost. I felt like I could hardly breath.
Then I realize I had to let this version of myself die to become who I am supposed to be. I had to let the life I planned for myself, float off into the abyss for another lifetime. I had to accept the things I fear most, are probably the things I need most. I had to stop resisting the lessons Ayahuasca was there to teach me.
It’s a practice everyday, to be better than you were yesterday. To lean into fear, is to grow. It’s a part of this life long journey we are all on.
It’s a new awareness, deep inside my soul. That I am everything I need, because I am everything.
…and nothing all at once.
Well funny you may be wondering, what now.
Now I am living my life with the acceptance, that I truly have no control.
I have realized that anything and everything that comes my way is here to teach me something. Even in the hardest moments, the world isn’t happening to me. It’s happening for me.
I am so excited for the future coming my way, even though most of it scares me.
While overall, I feel amazing. I enjoy my days at work with my clients. My relationship is stronger, and filled with more love and joy than ever before. I’ve been communicating with my family a bit more. Physically, mentally, and spiritually I feel the most alive I’ve ever felt.
But moments are still hard. And that’s just life.
The difference is I now carry a deep awareness within me, along side the spirit of Ayahuasca.
If you feel called:
I want to start by saying, thank you. Thank you for reading my words, with an open mind and heart.
If you are on the plant medicine path, and feel called to sit with Ayahuasca, Congratulations! The journey is just beginning, and it’s going to be beautiful. I enjoyed my time here with my sisters so much, I would love for you to experience it for yourself.
Reach out to Pao at Kayarao@protonmail.com for all details.
If you are unavailable to sit in ceremony during Pao’s retreats, Soltara is where I had my first ceremony.
Insight into my first 4 ceremonies with Ayahuasca? Read my story here.
Would you like to know more about the preparation that goes into an Ayahuasca ceremony? Click here!
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