10 August 2015 has arrived!! We wake early as we are meeting the rest of the group at a hotel in Iquitos at 10:00AM. We stayed at the Flying Dog Hostel in Iquitos and had already met some of the others that would be on our retreat, mostly males, so I was wondering if there would be many females on this trip. There were two other females on the retreat (excluding the female facilitator so the group was made up of 12 males and 3 females (15 awesome Kapitarians). It took a while for everyone to get to the hotel and for the facilitators to organise everything. After everyone had arrived and paid their remaining monies it was time to jump on the bus to the boat. To get to Kapitari it takes a bus and a slow boat then an additional 40-50 minute walk. I was regretting the walk as my backpack is a little uncomfortable and it was quite hot that day, well most days in Iquitos, but thankfully the Kapitari staff carried our stuff. Crisis adverted!
Upon arriving at Kapitari we are given a lemongrass drink and we waited until the facilitators organised themselves so that we could be assigned to our new living hut, also known as a Tambo. We have a little bit of spare time before lunch is served and the group meeting where we get our induction to Kapitari. Our lunch will be the first official Kapitari Ayahuasca meal which in the coming days will be bland food consisting of protein (fish or chicken), rice, vegetables, salad and selected fruits. We are also allowed to drink water, selected teas and the lemongrass drink. We have our first group meeting which consists of meeting the two facilitators and going through the schedule for the week. We are explained that there will four ceremonies over the week, so we have two in a row, then a break, then another two, then a break before heading back to Iquitos mainland. We also have certain times for breakfast and lunch as well as tribe meeting, fruit, mud and plant baths and free time. It’s a pretty packed schedule and I would have preferred a bit more free time. The first ceremony is tonight so we have some time after lunch to get ready, have our plant bath and find our space in the Maloca (a big hut where all the ceremonies are performed).
I get there early to find my spot and try and calm my slight anxiety. It was recommended to us that friends and couples don’t sit next to each other as sometimes if distress is experienced it can be hard for them to not help and can interrupt their experience. Thus, Dave, Dan and I all sat away from each other. I choose to sit next to one of the other girls in the group and close to the door, for easy exits encase of any bathroom emergencies (thankfully none!). We are all just sitting in a dark room waiting in anticipation, then 7:00PM arrives and it is time for the ceremony. The ceremony had already started before I realised, everyone and everything is just so quiet. I didn’t even see the Sharman come in the room or the facilitators.
I am 4th last to have the cup of Ayahuasca and the anxiety kicks in a bit before I head up for my turn. I am repeating my intention over and over and trying to remain focused. I go up and am given a standard dose of ¾ of the cup. The Sharman, Don Lucho, pours the thick liquid, says some small words before blowing some mapacho smoke on it. He hands it to me and I have no idea what to expect but it didn’t look that appealing. I am pretty bad in general of drinking or eating things I don’t like the taste or consistency off (like chia pudding, YUK). I shot it and it wasn’t the worst thing but not the best. It is thick and warm and has weird flavour notes. They say the more you drink the worst it gets and they don’t lie. Maybe Ayahuasca is kind for first time drinkers and tricks us, magically, and disguises the bad taste that follows as the taste gets worse, much worse. So I sit back down on my mat and the rest of the group have their cup of Ayahuasca. Once everyone is done, including the facilitators and Don Lucho, the ceremony begins.
The first night it took some time before Ayahuasca really did much, other than sit in my stomach and make me feel quite unwell. I only purged (vomited) twice during the night and both were tiny and just felt like the drink itself and a bit of water and or bile. Once that went away and I felt safe and okay to sit back and relax it had started. Although I didn’t have a huge vision experience I had a few things and enough to get the feeling of Ayahuasca and how I was reacting to it. I will admit I was cautious as you just never know how you might react to something, natural or unnatural. So basically everything got louder, Nature’s voice e.g., the trees rustling, the wildlife and the crickets. At some point it felt super loud and a bit deafening but I managed to silence it a bit so that it didn’t feel so intense. Then, I just started getting images or visions of small, tedious situations that was like other peoples issues or problems and I was sort of like looking into them. The visions were kind of like imagery you would see, like in the movies, where they look into crystal balls. There was a vision about two people fighting over something so small that to me, looking in, I just was confused and annoyed by how stupid it was. There was another one about making decisions and the people not being about to reach a conclusion and it again was something so basic. I was started to get annoyed with all the tedious situations as there were quite a few of them. I decided that it was enough of that so I just said to myself that this was tedious and needed to move on. Once I did this the images would come but they would float by and I wouldn’t be caught up in them like before.
The only other visions I got that night was of a mother duck and her baby ducks and one was in trouble and she had to continue on to keep the others safe and one was getting left behind. She was very distressed trying to work out if she should come back or try and safe the others and herself. I could feel how distressed she was and could see she didn’t want to leave any duckling behind so I helped her duckling that was stuck and it caught up to the gang again. The mother duck seemed very delighted and I really, really wanted to hold one so she gave me permission to pick up one of her ducklings for a quick cuddle. Then they all went on their way safely. So after that the Ayahuasca began to wear off and I was just lying there, feeling a bit confused, exhausted and a bit brain foggy.
The ceremony didn’t come without some slight issues. We had a big group and some people had and hadn’t dealt with psychedelics before. This meant that some people’s reactions in the group to the medicine caused disruptions throughout the ceremony, which made it really hard to concentrate on myself and my experience. I don’t really want to blog about it as it was there experience and I don’t think it is appropriate to discuss it.
At around midnight the ceremony was over and Dave and I walked back to our separate Tambos and I laid there just thinking and listening to the jungle until I eventually dosed off to sleep.
What does it all mean: Good question and I still don’t really know. I think Ayahuasca was trying to tell me that I shouldn’t hold on to things that aren’t important and take up my time. I shouldn’t worry about other peoples issues or involve myself into them. I should let things go and stop holding on to things or thoughts that take up my energy. The situation about the duck I really have no idea. I was obsessed with the baby ducks at Kapitari so maybe they just found their way into my Ayahuasca experience.
Till next time.
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