How Ayahuasca has changed my life

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Written By ArmandoPeterson

We are driven by the belief that stories can bridge gaps, that narratives can weave cultures together, and that every journey, no matter how big or small, has a story worth sharing.





I felt dizzy and confused from the medicine. I tried to ignore the echoes of crying and puking all around me. I had been experiencing intense visions for seven hours and felt out of control. However, I still hadn’t purged. I reached for the bucket and placed it behind my mat.

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It was almost as if I had switched a switch. I started to purge into my bucket, and I felt an instant release of energy.

Ayahuasca Why I felt called to try it?

Since the beginning of 2018, I felt called to be a part of an Ayahuasca ceremony. I only felt ready to do so in early 2018. I knew that I wanted to travel to South America in order to practice the medicine in a traditional setting. I followed rituals passed down by shamans for thousands upon thousands of years.

Ayahuasca attracted me initially because of the claims made by people who claimed to have beaten lifelong addictions in a matter of hours. Ayahuasca can be described as a night of therapy that is comparable to a decade. Nearly three years ago, I was feeling enslaved by the addictions that plagued me throughout my adult life. It was difficult to see a way out.

Over the course of those three years, I was able to begin a daily meditation practice. It almost made me give up on my desire to use drugs or alcohol to ease my emotional pain. It was a big step in healing the pain I have carried for most of my adult life. I learned to be self-aware, and to accept and love what I feel.

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My First Ayahuasca Ceremony

The first ceremony started at 6pm and ended around 4am when the last purges settled down. Around 7pm, I was given my first shot of Ayahuasca Tea. I didn’t think twice about whether I should have a full cup. Let’s get our bottoms up

I was shocked to find out that Ayahuasca taste terrible. This is despite reading about many Ayahuasca experiences online. It was not something I found repulsive, which surprised me. Half of me expected to gag and not be able to stop it. I was surprised, to say the very least.

Before the shaman made it halfway around with everyone’s first shots, I watched as wooden poles at the Maloka began melting. I closed my eyes, and laid down on my mat for the next seven hours.

“Breathe. Surrender. Breathe. To keep calm, I kept repeating this phrase repeatedly.

“What the fuck was my thinking?” It’s unbelievable that I was able to convince myself to do this. I will never again do Ayahuasca.”

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Yep. Yes. My ego wanted it all to stop. It was hard to believe it would end, but it wasn’t. In high school, I tried hallucinogens but nothing prepared for the overwhelming feeling I felt on my first Ayahuasca experience. This. Was. Intense.

I quickly remembered that Mama Aya had asked us to start a conversation by introducing ourselves. (Ayahusca can be described as a feminine energy. She comes to people in many ways — as a grandmother or mother, as an aunt, and as a grandmother.

I was so lost in it, I don’t know if she even answered my question with words. However, the visions calmed down enough to allow me to concentrate on the music. As the music moved the energy in my body, I felt a sense of relief and was able to redirect my attention away from fear towards awe.

I felt the most unconditional love and joy I had ever experienced in my entire life. I felt connected to everyone in the room, and could feel their pain. When someone cried or purgitated, I focused all my attention on them and sent them love. We were all in this together, and I felt like we had never been closer to one another.

It was a collective healing process and a time of growing.

If you feel this medicine is for you, my best advice is to find a retreat centre that emphasizes community. Although I thought Ayahuasca was a very personal experience (and the actual ceremony is often a solo one), I didn’t realize the importance of the community aspect to healing.

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We are not all in this together. One of the greatest things we can do to improve our society is to recognize that we are all in this together. There is no such thing as an isolated person. After my time in Ecuador, this has been very clear to me.