If you research the term Ayahuasca, you will find many articles, blogs, videos, and documentaries on this brew that has provided healing for so many. Influential people of our time, such as Joe Rogan, Jim Carey, Lindsey Lohan, and Will Smith, have had significant experiences with Ayahuasca. However, celebrities aren’t the only ones partaking in these healing experiences. Regular, everyday people are pushing past their fears and experiencing the profound healing that this plant medicine has to offer. After limited success with modern approaches to depression and anxiety, I decided to join the ranks of the fearless and experience this alternative form of healing for myself! This blog is about a woman of color’s journey with Ayahuasca.

What is the plant medicine called Ayahuasca ?

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Ayahuasca is a prepared mixture that consists of the Viridis shrub and Caapi vine. The brew is cooked over a fire and can also have additional ingredients, depending on who prepares it. The special brew is consumed in a sacred space with a Shaman that guides the ceremony. Now what’s unique about this brew is that it contains DMT, which has psychedelic effects. Once you take Ayahuasca, it will start to work in about 30-45 minutes. It just depends on the individual. Preparation must be done a week or two before taking Ayahuasca to get the most benefits. Some of this preparation includes eating a plant-based diet, abstaining from sex, avoiding caffeine, and taking a break from marijuana (if you partake). One must also fast for several hours before drinking Ayahuasca. If you are unfamiliar with this sacred mixture, please do your research. There’s a lot of available information about this plant medicine.

Ayahuasca brew being made

This Woman of Color’s First Ayahuasca Journey !

Back in 2019, I was at a very low point in my life. I was depressed, anxious, and had no clear direction or life path. Sure I had a great career, a loving family, a house, a dog, and a cat. But, I still felt empty. During this period, my unhealthy state of mind negatively affected all aspects of my life, from personal to professional. It was a challenging period, and I felt that things would end in fatality if I did not get help. 

I had been dealing with depression and anxiety for most of my life since 5 or 6. As I got older, my symptoms of depression and anxiety only got worse. Through the years, I sought professional counseling on many occasions. I’d been prescribed various medications. I have also tried TMS Therapy (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy) to address my mental health issue. But nothing I tried worked consistently.

I then began to seek alternative natural solutions to address my mental health ailments. During my research, I came across the plant medicine, Ayahuasca and began intense investigation surrounding its healing properties. As a Registered Nurse, and a patient, it was essential to conduct thorough research. My research led me to countless testimonies of how Ayahuasca, and the spirit of the plant (the Madre), had positively impacted the lives of so many. One particular testimonial (by a fellow ebony queen) forever changed my life, introducing me to Clay and CC, who facilitated Ayahuasca ceremonies. These two beautiful essences, and a few others, lovingly guided me through my very first experience with Ayahuasca.

I also experienced Hape (Shamanic tobacco snuff) for the first time, which was an experience of its own. CC’s delicious post-ceremony soup and fruit completed this magical experience, bringing each soul back from the night’s journey. I encountered, communed, and connected with essences that would positively impact my life and usher in a spiritual voyage to Peru, changing my life trajectory. Though Clay and CC no longer host Ayahuasca ceremonies, the healing they facilitated thru this plant medicine was special, beneficial, and much needed. So, glad my youngest brother was up for this adventure because the thought of a woman of color experiencing Ayahuasca in Arizona alone intermittently scared the shit out of me, lol!   

Ayahuasca In The Amazon Jungles of Peru 

My experiences with Ayahuasca in Arizona opened the doors for my pilgrimage to Peru. Though my Peruvian expedition lasted 14 days, the Ayahuasca retreat consisted of ten days and was held at the Yachaywasi Lodge, deep in the famous Amazon jungle. The Yachaywasi compound had much space with beautiful trees, flowers and wildlife. Accommodations for our group of 18 were simple but rural. Cell phone service was scarce, LAN lines- nonexistent, and the bathroom facilities were less than thrilling. But, we weren’t there for the glamorous side of transformation. We were there to do some serious shadow work and heal. Not only on an emotional and spiritual level, but also on a physical level. 

While on retreat, we participated in several Ayahuasca ceremonies. Fire ceremonies, flower baths (which smelled amazing), Icaros (healing songs in Quechua) classes, and a Kambo cleanse were also on the itinerary. The Kambo cleanse used secretions from the Kambo frog (one of the most poisonous frogs in the Amazon). It was a fascinating experience, to say the least. We also experienced a tobacco cleanse and dieted several other plants. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of detoxification of the body going on. In addition, we were on a plant-based diet for most of our stay in the jungle, which added to the detox process.  The many Ayahuasca rituals we participated in were led by the Shaman of the Yachaywasi Lodge, Eladio. He was a man full of love for people and for what he was called to do. 

Experiences of a Lifetime

Though we had many ceremonies, two were most epic and life-changing for me. About the third ceremony into our retreat, I experienced the gift of communing with Source, God, Universe, Oludamare, or whichever name you assign to this magnanimous energy. I was able to feel it through my entire being. I was also able to communicate telepathically, having questions answered even before I could assemble the question I wanted to ask (which blew my fuc*ing mind)!? But, even more remarkable than that was the fact that I received the assurance that Source would always be with me, never leaving my side. Of course, we always hear that we are never alone in our time of need. But, when you experience that level of reassurance, particularly when you are lost and feel empty inside, you are forever changed. 

The second pivotal ceremony on my healing journey in the jungle occurred at the very tail end of our trip. We were given the opportunity to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony headed by Ron Wheelock, aka the Gringo Shaman, at his retreat, El Purguero. This Shaman was a Caucasian gentleman originally from the U.S. but practicing and living in the Amazon jungles of Peru, so we were in for a unique escapade! For, it was during this ayahuasca ritual that I unblocked my throat chakra, which had been blocked for a long, long time. While under the medicine, I received Divine guidance to sing an icaro before everyone at the ceremony. I was so petrified to act on the Divine inspiration I was being given that I resisted by trying to ignore the information coming to me. For a while, I put up this fight until it was no longer bearable. Then I found myself rising to my feet, opening my mouth, and belting out the icaro ‘Pachamama’ in Quechua. I then started to walk and circle the room, blessing each present with the gift that I was instructed to share. When I sat back down on my chair in that ceremonial Maloka (sacred space for plant medicine ceremonies), I knew that I had reclaimed my vocal instrument and was ready to re-share it with the world on Divine terms. 

Conclusion To My Trip

        In conclusion, I am thankful I got to experience Ayahuasca in the jungles of the Amazon in Peru. Stepping outside of my comfort zone to face my fears of going to a foreign country with new friends to experience a plant medicine I had only recently become familiar with took balls. But I am glad I did it! I am so happy I listened to that inner voice propelling me to free myself of the confines of my self-imposed prison of fear. 

        If you are reading this article, I am going to assume it’s because you are curious about Ayahuasca and what this sacred plant medicine has to offer. If this is so, I implore you to follow those Divine nudges and adequately research retreats, facilitators, Shamans, and all things Ayahuasca. I am glad I did this, for it led me to the RIGHT experience for me. I will forever be grateful for the healing I’ve received through this revered plant medicine. May all that wish, have the opportunity to be blessed by the spirit of Ayahausca. 

Peace, Love & Light Always
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