November 7-11 – Challenges & Expectations

The 5 hour bus ride turned into an 11 hour adventure. One of unforseen delays and delimmas. Being the first night of ceremony, there was a sense of urgency to return to Pisac in a timely manner.

I remember feeling at peace most of the time, even during my moments close to death. It felt a total acceptance of the events as they were happening. It was as if Aya was teaching us lessons of life and death before meeting with her.

We made it back to Pisac around 6pm. Got to the lodge, and freshened up. The group met up for a collaborative session around 7:30, and then we set off to attend ceremony.

After a 10 minute hike about 200ft high, I found myself entering a Maloka hut. Inside, bamboo mats were placed along the perimeter, with some blankets and pillows on top. Seated inside was Filder, the Shaman I had participated in ceremony with the first time I met Aya; it was a pleasure see him again.

I sat. I drank. I journeyed.

The night shone a light on my attachments. In my pocket, I had Catawa, a plant that shows one their attachments. It had been given to us a few nights prior from another Shaman that joined us at Titicaca.

I thought of the handful of men that had come into my life the past couple of months, our interactions, and the lessons learned. I thought of trust, and how much self-trust affects the amount of trust you give to others. I saw and felt a handful of other things that can’t quite verbally be expressed. And then I purged.

The morning came brightly, shining through the straw hut in thin slits of sunlight met by particles of dust, and bird-songs.

Some of us shared stories, and then we set off to start the day.

That day was a day of forgotten memories. My body decided to keep purging, and for the first time over 6+ years, I got the hives. I believe that it was because of delayed stress; the events of the previous days had finally caught up to me.

I knew the next 3 days were a time for healing, meaning I wouldn’t be able to participate in ceremony. There was a sense of disappointment, but I knew that this was the self-care that needed to be done. I spent the next couple days with red, welty, itchy skin, and a tired, clouded mind.

I had no choice but to sit in it, to sit with it. There was solace in the idea that my body was ridding itself things that weren’t useful to me. And it was a reminder that this interaction with Aya wasn’t just for me, it was for my companions who came down here with me. I wanted to share the knowledge of the experience with others, and that’s exactly what I was doing, despite not being able to experience it for myself.

So even amongst the physical discomfort I found a place of peace.

The 3 days were up before I knew it, and I felt ready and eager to participate in ceremony again.

We happened to come across a Chilean couple in our hostel who planned on having a ceremony that night. I thought it was serendipitous and felt so eager to partake. That in itself should have been a reflection point for me to evaluate whether or not this would be the best idea, considering they weren’t Shamans, and had only been holding ceremonies for the past two years.

But my impulse got the best of me, and I went full speed ahead.

I wont go too deep into the details of the night, but let’s just say that it taught me to listen to my intuition.

The energy was awkward from the moment we met with the group, and the fire that was left burning throughout the night (which is not standard protocol when it comes to Ayahuasca) maintained a dense feeling of smoke in my lungs. The medicine was a dim glow compared to the glare of my surroundings.

The next morning felt better, but then again, it’s always good seeing light after dark. We played music and sang, and I felt a sense of community.

Although there was good that came from the experience, the space was not protected, so a cleanse was necessary.

If I am meant to meet with Aya again, It will be under better circumstances. Not from a place of eagerness or urgency, not from a place of expectation. But a place of openness, trust and security, and definitely with a Shaman who knows what he or she is doing.

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