I am now at the halfway point of the retreat. The second Ayauasca ceremony was held a week after the first. It was after two days of break from any medicine – time for rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I felt open and comfortable going into the second Ayahuasca ceremony. Our family had only strengthened this past week and the energy in the community center was special.
After drinking the Ayahuaca plant medicine the meditation really allowed me to surrender to the moment and focus on my intention. Each ceremony you’re encouraged to have an intention. Mine was simple, ‘freedom from my mind and inhibitions’. I wanted to be sure to surrender to this medicine and be open to the journey as I felt my mind was holding me back. Within a half hour I was feeling the it, which was an accomplishment for me as I always seemed to be a ‘late bloomer’ taking hours for any sign of the plant medicine.
Grandmother Ayauasca was ready though and so was I. I went on a journey this night. It was so magical that I fear words cannot do any justice to it. It may only sound barbaric or foolish to this physical world. I will risk it though because knowledge and awareness should be embraced. I encourage you to give me and yourself the dignity to listen and remain open to new ideas and concepts.
As I lay peacefully on my mat next to Miguel, the shaman, I could feel his immense energy and the energy of the entire room. It was almost overpowering, light was illuminating from me. I could not have been more comfortable physically as internally I went on a journey with my ‘angels’ guiding me the entire way along different landscapes. Put beautifully by Medicine Hunter: “Ayahuasca opens up channels to the spirit world, and the participant bears witness to that landscape” ~ www.medicinehunter.com/ayahuasca.
First and foremost, I asked to be free of my mind, I kept repeating that mantra. The first task for my angel was to get rid of my mind. He took it from my head, as it appeared (in a box) above my head. I saw it and then he tossed it in the fire. That’s it – my mind was gone. Simple. I could surrender and I did.
I wanted to let go of a lot of negative emotion, a lot of it surrounding my heartache but also most of it delves into all aspects of life. So little by little on my journey, obstructions dissipated with ease. Attachment was tossed aside over a cliff. I saw it crash to the ground and disappear, similarly with anger, hurt, and resentment. It would be tossed in the air and completely dissolved with ease. They were all tangle objects that could be destroyed and it was all from within me. It was so easy and effortless. We are in control of our anger, hurt, pain, suffering as well happiness, joy, peace. We can shift that energy within us. If you can’t, who can? Ayauasca opens us up to feel that energy shift deeper and more obvious yet with more control somehow. It may sound anomalous but I could actually shift bad, painful energy to yummy beauty simply by being aware and literally making the choice. The challenge is to bring this awareness, these real experiences back to ‘real life’. It is inevitable though. A wise friend of mine says, “what has been seen cannot be unseen”. It’s true. It is ALL within us.
Needless to say, I had an incredible journey my second time round with Ayahuasca. It was still intense at times but overall I felt free, lighter. Things seemed clearer, simpler. My body was so relaxed. I held immense gratitude and love for our group, all the powerful energy, and for my journey. For everything! The medicine was still going quite strong when the ceremony came to a close and the food came out. We all hung out for many more hours around candlelight and fire – laughing, learning, loving, and sharing. It was such a charmingly exquisite time.
The immediate morning after, only hours later with two hours of sleep, it was time for another Mother Wilka ceremony with Miguel. Again, an optional ceremony but I was game as I greeted her warmly. Mother Wilka had guided me so elegantly previously and I have great appreciation for her. I only took half a shot, as Ayahuasca was still warming my insides slightly. The experience was perfect, my intent was right. Mother Wilka reassured me in everything I had learned the night before. It was comforting. There was one additional question I had for Wilka, ‘how do I find forgiveness’? Essentially I know finding forgiveness is within oneself and only you can hold yourself back by not finding forgiveness. But, how do you get there? Mother was speaking to me all the way and I became conscious that she was speaking to me in my own voice. She showed me where to find forgiveness, which will be left unsaid. A very insightful friend of mine said, “Authentic forgiveness is a mystical actualization requiring the presence of grace to proclamate you from the gripping and often pious chatter of the ego, which continually enforces a position of entitled anger or hurt.” I suppose I am now aware of that ‘mystical act’. I also realized that Mother speaking to me in my voice, is actually symbolic as it is myself speaking to myself. Once again it is all WITHIN us – the energy, the guide, the voice, the wisdom.
You may be a skeptic as this all sounds bizarre and unreal or even surreal but I urge you to remain open. There is a lot more to you, to all of us, than just this physical being we see and we know. The potential within us is spectacular.
Finally, San Pedro is a cactus that grows here in the Andes and all over South America; it is a teacher plant known as the grandfather medicine. “San Pedro is one of the most ancient of sacred plants in South America. The oldest known archaeological evidence of its use dates back to 1300 B.C. San Pedro is considered a potent medicine, useful in treating a very broad range of physical, emotional and mental disorders, and with applications for treating addictions.” ~www.medicinehunter.com/san-pedro-cactus. It is also a medicine, “to heal, grow and awaken to higher states of consciousness and realizing that we are all One.” ~sacred valley tribe website.
A San Pedro ceremony with Santiago, the shaman, is not to be missed. The fifth (or seventh if you’re counting Wilka) and final ceremony was the second to last day of the retreat on a Tuesday, the day after Wilka. It was held outside in the grass around the Sacred Fire. It was the earliest ceremony start by far at 8am. It was an easy one though as the sun shining bright brought great enticement. Also, the energy from ‘our family’ was radiating. It seemed we were all eager for this ceremony. Being outside and amidst nature really added another dimension to it with all its life and energy.
The ritual began with Santiago making a prayer to mother earth and nature, smoking the sacred tobacco. Then it is passed around the circle for everyone to make a prayer silently and to focus on their intent. My intent was simple, ‘to be present and to let this soul journey be whatever it is supposed to’. The celebration was blessed right away when Santiago opened the bottle of San Pedro, something he always prepares himself. The medicine when opened, completely fizzled out, like a gassy drink (there is definitely no carbonation in it), and half of it spilled to the earth. Santiago explained he rarely sees this and it’s a huge blessing to this earth and Gaia Sagrada. Christine had never seen it before either in all of her ceremonies. I am certain some of us were thinking, ‘will there be have enough medicine’? We drink the medicine one by one around the circle. Some people took small seconds and we, of course, had the perfect amount of San Pedro.
Prayers and chants and songs are offered around the Sacred Fire. The sun was shining. I had a clear view of the luscious mountain in front, and the family circle that surrounded me, the energy was intensifying. For myself, it takes a good few hours for the medicine to sink in and it’s a continuous gradual progression for many hours. I started to feel the effects as people started to take turns ‘riding the tiger’.
Santiago has a wildcat skin that he lays down in front of the Sacred Fire. Individuals take turns to have their own sacred time, on ‘the tiger’ as Santiago gives them his full attention, full shamanic energy. It is a powerful experience that almost doesn’t bare words. This time all the men went first (reversed to the first ceremony) and then the women. I was in no rush. I was completely enmeshed and satisfied with witnessing and feeling everyone else’s escapades on the tiger. Everyone goes through their own experience. Witnessing each person on the tiger was a true honor. It is emotional, exhilarating, sentimental, and surreal. I felt so much love for all these beautiful beings that were brought to me, my soul family. I was so grateful to be present for everyone’s turn. It was a humbling experience to feel such beauty and such intense magical energy within the circle. I was seriously vibrating from within, all the layers of my being, it was sensational; almost too much but just enough.
I eventually took my sit on the tiger, crossed legged; the heat of fire bursting through me. Santiago was standing over me, pacing a bit, holding his notable massive feather wand. I felt mystified on the tiger. My eyes were shut. Santiago he spoke to me and played his gong. He wrapped my whole being into the vibrations of his drum or gong. My insides were pulsating matching their limit. It was mesmerizing, hypnotizing almost. I could connect my own vibrations with the gong’s and with everything else; I was a part of the interconnectedness of the energy field. I am still. We all are. There was no separateness of energy. I was in a trance of beauty, music and the pure presence. It was powerful, with utter bliss. Santiago is outstanding. I returned to my mat perfectly mystified and still entranced with all the energy. Santiago would play the gong again and I would be locked willingly to the vibrations of the music and absolutely be taken over again yet with such freedom and peace. It was the most phenomenal feeling I have ever had in my life. Words cannot do justice. It was absolute presence in moments driven by pure bliss, energy, beauty and joy with only gratitude and respect. It ignited a euphoric ball of inner peace. What I call the trance. It was unreal.
The ceremony came to a close probably 7 or 8 hours after it began. Santiago said some prayers with tobacco and then one with water when we were all finally offered a glass. The heavens above decided to come pouring down on us at the closing – another grand blessing. It was especially symbolic as this was our very last ceremony altogether, the closing of the retreat. People were embracing the rain, each other, walking barefoot, feeling absolute connectedness and gratitude. It was a magnificent sight. A small feast was then brought out – fruit, nuts, bread, crackers, dips, chocolate. All was very much appreciated.
It wasn’t over yet though as grandfather San Pedro was far from done with us. The clouds were scattering once again as it was clearing; the sun was glowing once again. We were still feeling the medicine. Perfect. Now it was time for our own unplanned adventure. A handful of us remained at the ritual sight; the ones that were still basking in the glory and beaming uncontrollable energy and love. Five of us explored the acreage, went down to the reservoir, found the ‘Bodhi’ Tree and hugged it and loved it. We couldn’t absorb enough nature.
Our wee adventure must have taken hours yet we only wandered afar a bit. We came back up the hill taking many breaks, and laughing hysterically. We made one last stop at the gazebo for a much needed rest and more laughter. And photos!
It was now all us women, we were missing a couple. The raw energy of us simply sitting, being, laughing, embracing was arresting; it’s like none of us could break free nor did we want to. We all went to the kitchen together and continued our charming antics. We eventually made it out to the fire where the day turned into night. Many more hours passed as the fire remained. The guys emerged from the hot tub. All of us were around the fire again, our soul family. It would be the last time we would be together like this in this place. I think most of us didn’t want the day to end, nor the retreat. I know I didn’t. It was the most beautiful day in my life that I can recall. I was one of the last around the fire that took into the next day until 2am. What a truly ravishing day. What an alluring retreat.
It’s so rare to find a group so unique, so special, so unknowingly connected as our group was at Gaia Sagrada. The energy was overwhelming with this group. We were all different yet there was no segregation amidst any of us; we all intermingled and interconnected beautifully. Our openness, honesty and our love only widened through this process. The metamorphosis from strangers to family was apparent. We went through such an intense experience, so closely with fellow humans – you start as strangers, but come out as love, as a soul family. It is a deep personal experience to share. It was an honor to share the space and energy with my group, my family. They helped me immensely. They supported me, accepted me, and loved me. Thank you to all of you for your spirit and energy. You have incredible souls. The moments and memories will always remain within us, along with the love, peace and gratitude we found. Thank you to Christine and Bruce! Much, much gratitude and love!
The next few days brought the departure of everyone. I still remain here, after almost two weeks after the retreat. The tranquil grounds of Gaia Sagrada became even quieter and still prevail.
The journey at the retreat was life changing. I can confidently say that none of us, none of our ‘soul family’ left Gaia not transformed in some way. It was a privilege to be of witness to everyone’s evolution and growth. It was a sacred experience.
I prompt anyone to embrace Gaia Sagrada and let the journey unfold. I have let go incredibly. I have learned immensely. My heart has widened. My soul has been reignited. My spirit has found that spark again. I have fallen in love with life again. Thank you. I am forever grateful.
Have a good day. Have a good life.
Here are few additional photos of my wanders near Gaia Sagrada.