NOTE FROM THE WRITER:
This is a story that is not like most stories in or about “daily” life, but that does not mean this taught me a lot (as it will for you). Whether the things I see are true or not. That does not matter.
I’ve finally decided. I’m going to drink ayahuasca. The plant medicine, as it is also known, has a very long tradition. It was already referred to in texts more than 5000 years ago. It is helping you grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A lot of people I’ve talked to say it’s transformed their entire lives. All sorts of stories of what you can see I have heard: triangles, snakes, ghosts, aliens and so forth. Each one has a different experience.
I only just recently heard about ayahuasca. In the yoga training, a woman is telling us about it. I have been listening closely. As she says, ‘You feel when the time is ripe’. At that time I was not up for it, but my interest was aroused and now I do feel it.
On the day of leaving, I have a battle with my ego. Am I absolutely convinced? I consider not going, but do not act on it. A strong inner feeling and curiosity wins from my ego. I choose to follow curiosity and not fear. It is not far from the beach, in the middle of the flower fields. There is a house with a big yard at the back of it. It is a Friday evening and I meet nine other people who are also taking ayahuasca. Five guides will be supervising the Ayahuasca ceremony. It feels unfamiliar, but I am there and I am certainly not leaving.
What I don’t know: with this decision and not to turn back, I have crossed the point of no return. As of now, everything is different. I enter a new world. Of which I cannot yet even begin to realise how this will be.
The Day Of Drinking
Before I know it, the time has come: today we are going to take the aya. We wait outside until the guides inside have done their ritual. What is about to happen to us? My nervousness – and that of others – rises. All of us are in white clothes for the ceremony. ‘How long will it last,’ asks someone. ‘Six to about eight hours,’ a more experienced drinker answers. ‘Six to eight hours! I cannot possibly imagine that we have so many more hours to go.
A guide walks out, we follow him into the room. The other guides all wear smiles on their faces. The room is dark due to the sheets in front of the windows. In a big circle lie all the mattresses. In the middle is an altar with beautiful statues, stones, incense and feathers. We settle down. We perform a wonderful communal ceremony, but I am not entirely present. What will this day have to offer me?
Following the ceremony, I am handed my glass. I am holding it with mindful awareness and gaze at a muddy substance. They say Ayahuasca is disgusting, so I want to drink it right back. No pondering. One, two, three. Upsy-Daisy. The slippery substance slides right down my throat. I swallow. Bleg. It’s disgusting, just not as awful as I had expected.
We start a chakra meditation, and I wait for the aya to start. It takes a while for the Ayahuasca to start kicking in, I’m told. Time vanishes, and before I even know it, the world appears to be moving slower. It gets harder to follow the meditation. I do not understand exactly what is happening. What is this? It is a bizarre feeling. I am wandering in the fog. My body gets heavier, and I lower myself slowly onto the thick mattress. Lying back feels like a relief.
My Shadow Sides And The Ego
I shut my eyes and immediately open them again. The world I see there is strange. Creepy. Alien. I close my eyes again. This is something special. All kinds of shades, eyes, diagonals, triangles, all intertwined in a beautiful pattern. It’s hard to put into words, really, so wonderful. I feel the mattress with my fingers. This is really the matrix. I am in two worlds. The world before my eyes. And the world of earth that goes on and on.
I feel my own energy. Wow, this is amazing. But now that I feel my own, there are foreign energies too. They’re draining my energy. As if seven black identities are attached to my legs. Who are they? I don’t get a clear response, but I feel these energies are hanging onto my body and sucking my energy.
What I don’t know then is that it happens pretty often. You face your own repressed mind first when you make the first steps into the unconscious world; this can be in your dreams but also in your Ayahuasca voyage. These are shadow parts of yourself. Your shadow archetype.
Although these weren’t very clear to me, they were fears that I wanted to deal with. I do not want any more worries. We hide those, and when you are ready, they appear. That it will happen is a fact, the question is how you will deal with it. In fact, the ego and shadow sides are the same.
You can not defeat your shadow sides with violence. And suppressing it doesn’t help either. Do you want to get rid of the unpleasant feeling? Then you want to embrace the feeling. This is called the opponent-process theory. It’s like skydiving. You have to feel the bottom to get to the top. Similar to the surface just before you jump out of an aeroplane. The emotions are rushing through your body. Then you jump, and the sentiments get more intense, but only in this way the opposite emotion can develop: a feeling of victory when you are landed. In doing so, the first emotion vanishes. In the jump is the magic. You are cleansing your body of emotions that don’t serve you. That feels counterintuitive, letting it become worse before it gets better, and that’s why it’s hard.
I’m totally unaware of this, but I’m sick of it: I do not want to feel negativity. No alien creatures on my leg. I face the demonic energy monsters, and they vanish like snow in the sun. As they go away, I feel that I get more energy. No more of my point leaks out of me. And gradually, I emerged from my first voyage.
It Comes in Waves
One of the guides, the most handsome of the bunch, comes over. ‘May I sit by you?’ ‘Yes, please,’ I say. He sits beside me on the ground. ‘It almost feels like I’ve run a marathon,’ I say. ‘You did,’ he says. ‘Really?’ To me, this voyage lasted for hours and minutes at the same time, but I have no idea. Time does not exist. ‘Yes, I think so,’ he replies. He looks at me, ‘but do you enjoy it?’ ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Well then, that is O.K.,’ he says. ‘You’re right,’ I say.
I close my eyes again because this voyage is not over. It just started. Ayahuasca comes in waves. When you go deep, you’re in the other world, then you come back to the “normal” world, and then you go back in again. This can go on for a long time. How many times I would not be able to tell, but for sure more than three times.
Meeting The Souls
Then it gets calm in the sight of my eyes. Emerging from some kind of fog, I see specks with enormous eyes. I know: these are souls. Of each soul, I know who it is, friends, former boyfriends or workmates. Each soul tells me something about their life.
My former boyfriend passed by; he has been a guide in my life, he explains. I smile. I can understand that. We have been together for seven years, and I feel that we were 1+1 during that time. Until our paths were separated.
I believe you have several guides in your life on earth. People who help you along the way. Some stay with you forever. Others are just with you for a short period.
The Lesson: Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy
Then the scenery changes. I arrive at an open meadow wherein in the distance, there is a lovely big tree. There is a young woman about my age. She beckons.
Somehow I know what she wants: to have fun. Only that’s not allowed after a certain age. Where is that limit? If people stare at you when you dance in the park, then you are too old. The woman keeps beckoning. I have to let go of this limiting thought. She wants to play.
When I get closer, she holds my hand, and we start running through the high grass. Like I once ran for hours with my little brother through the tall grass in the meadow we had in our backyard. That’s how I play with her now. There is nothing more than nature, the two of us and our little game. I absorb the blue sky and the leaves on the tree that have such a beautiful green colour. Never before have I enjoyed this so much.
We are laughing. This feels so good. When was the last time I had any fun? I do take everything seriously. Why? That is such nonsense. I know, and yet I’m doing it. If the truth is told, I’m afraid. Afraid of failing. Deep in my heart, I don’t want to be a failure. I no longer want to fight. It hurts to live up to society’s expectations. To do so is exhausting.
I also feel and know deep down that I only want to play. She is sending me that message: go play in the world. Please follow that feeling. It couldn’t be more relevant: I would like to explore the world and sell my house. But now I know why: to play and enjoy the beautiful planet.
The Responsibility of Being an Old(er) Soul
For a little bit, I look at the others in the room. Some are on their voyages, some are like me. In the room, but then different. Then I close my eyes again. If there are more stories to tell, this is the moment to hear them.
I sink back into it and see two young souls. I realise that they are my parents. They are gazing at me with a sense of puzzlement. I know that feeling. They never seem to understand me.
I am an old soul, they tell me, they are young(er) souls. I can, therefore, only blame myself for my lack of understanding them and my frustration towards them – that they don’t understand me. They don’t know. They are younger on a soul level. I have to be patient and explain what I am doing, just as you take time with children to explain things. I’ve never looked at it that way before. I feel relieved. The relationship feels lighter, and my parents are moving out of my field again.
This is the part that is hard to tell
Then my mother appears alone, or her soul, maybe more accurately. Heavily. I didn’t feel this coming. I feel death. Is she going to die? No, I hear. Then what is it? I feel death on her. I don’t understand it. I sense a deceased child. She is the girl I played with. She is a child of mum’s. I can’t grasp it. I don’t hear a voice. It’s a deep knowing. I know this is true.
Do I then have a sister? I have to cry. I see my mum with my aunt who once had twins, how she once told me she wants a third child, except dad didn’t. And I can feel the girl. I feel the lack of a sister. How much fun would my brother and I have had when we were three? And at the same time, I feel like she was there.
What’s your name? To ‘mama aya’, you can ask things they said before we started. Daphne. Is that a name my mother would choose? Not really; she chose her own name. Daphne plays, has fun and does whatever she feels like doing. She takes life less seriously. I want to be more Daphne. This is real. I feel that she is there.
This is how I learned more about myself by some extraordinary story; that is also my story. It might sound weird, and it is in a way, but realise that when this is about your own life, you get answers that you usually would never have. This – and the many other times I did Ayahuasca – helped me understand myself, my surroundings and enjoy the world more.
I am the last to go outside, where I find the group sitting and laughing in the sun. After a little bit, we started sharing. You don’t have to share anything, only what you feel is fitting. When someone is speaking, the rest of the group stays silent, asks no questions, and simply listens. When you are done talking, you say ‘AHO’.
The stories of others are lovely. A woman next to me told me she could go deep because I went deep too. I did see others those few times I was on earth but much passed me by. That is and was the deal: you respect everyone in their own journey.
I share that I have a sister and don’t know if and what I will do with this.
The advice is: wait six weeks before you do anything with your insights. Almost an impossible job. Things changed. I feel euphoric. The whole world is beautiful. For the first time, I can see the beauty of nature, buildings and art. I never see it as beautiful as it is now. It is nice to enjoy the things that are already there.
The Ego is Back
As I walk away to pack my things, a young man comes up to me who had wanted to participate in the Ayahuasca but decided at the last minute not to. He wanted to be there. ‘I have the same thing as you,’ he tells me. ‘My mother told me three weeks ago that I was actually a twin.’ He explains that he is in his early thirties and that this fact did something to him and how special it is that he is now hearing this for the second time in a short time.
On the way back – which is incredibly long, by the way – it does make me think. They said you can capture each other’s energy in space. Will I have seen his story then? What if it’s a fabrication of my mind? What if I don’t have a sister? I ask my mother if she has ever had a miscarriage, but the answer is clear: no. So then what? I don’t understand it, yet I don’t want to let it go deep down.
This is what they call: the refusal of the call. The ego (or what some call the mind) does not understand it and will deny it. Yet, I decide that it does not matter to me if this is true or not. Everything changed in a good way.
In the end, it will take me a long time to understand the whole story and message of this voyage, but I will tell you that story another time 😉