(This is entirely a work of fiction done as a creative writing exercise. I have never done any hallucinogenic drugs)
I’ve wanted to do ayahuesca for the past several years. My main motivation was to find out about myself, get insight into prolonged career path frustration I’ve been feeling and to help me figure out a variety of personal issues which would be hard to explain in less than 20 or so pages. Factoring into this is the fact that I’m trans and I’m trying to understand issues related to this.
I’ve tripped before, although I’m far from an experienced psychonaut. I’ve done acid four times, shrooms once. The first two times were very beautiful, I felt I had profound experiences, the other times not so much.
Going to an ayahuasca retreat in Peru, a country where a tourism industry around aya has developed over the past few years, seemed a bit out of my price range, although I am considering it for the future. There are “churches” which legally perform “ceremonies” in the US. I’ve gotten an odd feeling from reading about some of these groups, they seemed to be attempting to almost create a monopoly over the experience. I got a good feeling from the Arizona Yage assembly. They host ceremonies around the US. Two years ago they came to near where I live. I spoke with them on the phone, they seemed really cool but it was a very bad time for me and I couldn’t do it.
I’m in a much better situation now. Several times this spring and summer I almost signed up for a ceremony with AYA. Still the logistics seemed too complicated, flying to Arizona and back from where I live, (while fasting) taking time off from work, etc. I decided to make ayahuesca myself. To my surprise I found a recipe online which seemed basic and straightforward.
The recipe was easy but time consuming, taking me three days to make. It produced a strong vinegar smell thoughout my house which was very annoying. I live alone, just me and my dog, Cupcake, and I’m in a semi-rural area, so I didn’t have to worry about neighbors. I’m having a contractor do remodeling on the other end of my house. He’s a hippy type guy, his partner is in the medical marijuana business so I was sure he’d be cool about what I was doing but I didn’t feel the need to tell him then.
Around 5:30 am of the second day I was cooking the brew my dog, who sleeps right next to my bed, had a seizure. I was worried it had something to with what I was making, the powerful smell of which permeated my house, although I’m certain she didn’t drink any of it. Later on in the day I took my dog to the vet. For obvious reasons I didn’t tell the vet what I was doing. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with Cupcake. I felt a bit guilty though.
The brew was finished on Sunday. I decided I would use it on Monday. I took the day off from work. I fasted. I’m not a food oriented person, but on the other hand I definitely feel it if I miss a meal and I felt increasingly faint and light headed though out the day. I ran errands, paid bills, and got supplies for the contractor. Thinking I’d be ravenous after I came down I bought several large bags of Chinese food from a local takeout. By late afternoon I didn’t feel I could drive anymore and I stayed home, mostly watching ayahuesca Youtube videos and listening to talks by Terrence McKenna ,an early advocate of DMT and ayahuesca.
I waited until 8 pm to begin the proceedings. Later I realized I hadn’t been as fully prepared as I should have been. I didn’t fully understand the importance of the icaro, the rhythmic shamanic drumming and chanting done in group ayahuesca ceremonies, to the journey. I relied on Youtube videos, which later proved to be a mistake. Cupcake was with me. She’s a great dog, incredibly cute and affectionate but also a very needy dog. This was to prove a problem. Also, I should have gotten something to put over my eyes, I used my hands instead. Okay..
I drank yage tea, as a MAO inhibitor, necessary so the psychoactive ingredients of the aya brew would take effect.. It was bitter but not nearly as bad as I had expected it would be. After the first two sips I immediately felt a very mellow buzz. I forced myself to down the cup and then ate the remaining dregs.
After about an hour I drank the half a cup of mimosa tea I had carefully measured out. It was very bitter with an odd hint of sweetness. It didn’t taste super terrible. I played with Cupcake, hoping she’d soon be tired out. I joked with some friends on Facebook messenger, although I didn’t tell them what I was doing. Ten o’clock rolled around, nothing happened. Then I had a feeling of nausea. It quickly passed. I waited another 15 minutes or so, then concluded that that was it, nothing was going to happen. I thought I probably screwed up brewing the tea. I was partly relieved, partly disappointed. I microwaved some of the chicken fried rice I had bought earlier in the day. After two spoonfuls I felt the nausea return. It was much worse. I hadn’t eaten all day and I was hungry. I had another spoonful .Its hard to explain but I felt as I someone was telling me “don’t do this”. Then I felt as if a voice was telling me, “I know you’re hungry, I’m not going to make you vomit and lose what you have in your stomach, but its important that you don’t eat anything else.” Okay. I put the food back in the fridge. Some degree of nausea remained though out the rest of the trip but most of the time it was in the background. I tried to figure out what time I had started this. I drank the yage tea at 8 pm and the mimosa at 9. It seemed to be very difficult for me to understand this. I started having trouble understanding the whole concept of time. Something was happening. I started to walk towards my bedroom, I don’t remember why. Then it hit, big time. I was definitely tripping, the first time I’ve tripped in over ten years.
I made my way back to the living room couch, set up the Youtube video with the icaro I had chosen, and lay down with my hands over my eyes. I started seeing geometric patterns, like the videos I had been watching earlier, then I seemed to be in some sort of highly mechanical tubular world . There were Lego like things moving and I felt, but didn’t see, gears cranking. I didn’t see the elves Terrence McKenna and others talk about (unless those were the Legos) but otherwise my experience so far correlated with what I’ve read and heard about ayahuesca..
Its hard to explain but I felt a voice, or some entity using my own mental voice, speaking to me. I had a strong feeling of this being as a teacher, someone whose purpose was to teach me. I experienced a period where my thoughts were echoed back at me. I would think something, and the thought would be thrown back at me, only with all its hidden ramifications shown, like a weird dialectical process. I don’t remember what the specific thoughts were. I got the feeling the entity was showing me this as introducing its teaching methodology.
The entity said, (or conveyed) to me that it had been trying to teach me in dreams. I briefly experienced a fragment of a recent dream. In the dream fragment were three entities, like giant mud creatures, but this receded very quickly. I couldn’t tell if the entity had been actually successful in teaching me in my dreams.
Back track a bit. Its a long story but I had a huge mouse problem in my house. Six months or so earlier it was really bad, I could hear them at night. I am currently dealing with the problem, I’m patching up entryways and I had an exterminator come several times. Because I have a dog I put out glue traps. A couple of times this didn’t kill the mouse right away, I could see them struggling on the trap. This weirded me out. It was disturbing and I felt very guilty about this. Okay…
After the experience of having seemingly random thoughts thrown back at me, I saw a mouse struggling. It was very vivid and disturbing. Then I saw a hawk picking up a mouse in a field. I felt it was as if the entity was trying to tell me, “don’t feel bad about killing mice. They’re killed by predators in the wild all the time. The bottom line is that I had a need to kill mice and I shouldn’t feel bad about this. Its okay to kill mice”.
Another back track; earlier in the summer I had a huge fly problem. For several weeks in July and then into August there were masses of flies in my house. I originally couldn’t figure out what was attracting them. I’m doing home renovation. Shortly after the fly problem started I realized I had left several bags of garbage outside next to the house which I’d forgotten about. Could this be drawing them? I took the garbage to the town dump. The flies wouldn’t go away though. At several points there seemed to be thousands of them at night. I would keep several lamps on in the living room at night and I’d find hundreds of flies gather around the lampshades. It was disturbing. I couldn’t tell what was drawing the flies. After my initial mistake I would make sure to always promptly take out the garbage and otherwise keep it away from the house. One day I swept the kitchen floor. The flies abruptly disappeared after this, although I didn’t think this could be the causal factor. I did nothing more than sweep the floor and the flies were gone. The whole episode was one of the strangest things I’ve ever encountered.
Okay, after I had the visions of mice the entity told me, “I brought the flies to you. The purpose was to teach you something”. I don’t know what the entity was trying to teach me. To be honest I haven’t been the world’s greatest housekeeper, I have been messy and not as clean as I could have been. My hunch is that I was being told I had to step up my game in this regard. Anyway since that event several weeks ago I haven’t found a single fly in the house.
Much of the rest of the trip seemed to be in a weird sort of cylindrical multi colored world, although the world itself seemed to be more in the background.
Several times at the beginning of the trip my attention flagged a bit. The entity said to me, “You went though all the trouble and expense to be here, don’t you want to see what I’m teaching you?” This happened twice. I thought about being hungry. The entity said to me something like, “you’re having this profound experience, and all you could think about was being a little hungry?”
The entity showed me that I have a lot of anger inside. I’ve had major issues with my sister over the past few years. I also have anger relating to being trans, the fact that I’m adopted, and a lot of other things going way back. The entity briefly showed me this but stopped me from exploring it, as if saying, “don’t get hung up on your anger, just be aware its there”. My anger towards my sister and others may be fully justified, I was told several times. “I’m not saying the anger isn’t justified, I’m just showing you its extent and what its been doing to you”. The entity was non-judgmental. It was as if I was in charge and was just being shown the “whole story” about the situation.
I was then shown that, related to the anger I was feeling, I’m very judgmental, of both myself and others. I’m adopted. This past January, after years of on and off searching, I found out who my biological parents were though two genetic testing services. Shortly after this I connected with two paternal step-siblings who I didn’t know I had until recently. The previous week I had an hour and a half conference call with them. It went well and I thought we had a good talk. Afterwards I felt a bit disappointed. My half-siblings seemed like nice people but they didn’t at all fit the image I had built up over the years of what they would be like.
The entity, in effect, showed me that I was being harshly judgmental and typing people a lot. My step-siblings were very nice people who had reached out to me, in an awkward situation, and I was harshly judging them in my own mind.
Related to this I saw I have been harshly judgmental towards myself. I’m constantly mentally putting myself down though out the day. There were several periods during the trip where the entity kept telling me, “you’re okay, you’re okay”.
At one point I sort of asked the entity for career advice. “What should I do?” The answer was to the effect that, “I’m just telling you what you need to know at this time”. I have an interest in Norse mythology and to some extent I identify with the Vikings, although I’m not really a Heathen or an Asatruer. I tried to ask for Freya or Odin. The answer I got was, “you can’t call on the gods, its strictly up to them if they want to make their presence known”.
For much of the trip I was bounced around between the several visions or teachings I described, which seem to be like “stations”.
I went though a period where I kept saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. Its difficult to describe. Much of the trip wasn’t really pleasant. I thought many times, “this is fu…g weird” but I can’t say what about it exactly was weird. I had the feeling it was disturbing and at times even terrifying, but I can’t say exactly why it was. Maybe it was the just the fact that I was tripping on a powerful hallucinogen. I did get a sort of vague “Christmas Carol” vibe, like the Ghosts of Christmas Past were visiting me. It seemed much of the information I had received was unconscious or subliminal. My life was being reviewed, much of it had been found wanting and I was apologizing for whatever it was that I had done in an attempt to make it stop. These are ideas I got a few days after the trip to try to make sense of the way I felt. I just remember that I kept apologizing to try to somehow make this thing stop.
As I mentioned, logistically I wasn’t as well prepared as I should have been. While having the visions, I could “resurface” and I was aware of the outside world. At one point I peaked out and saw my dog watching me. I thought it looked like she was aware that something was going on with me. A while later I heard her crying. This meant she had to go outside and pee and I was ignoring her. Cupcake is very much of a princess dog. She’s spoiled rotten. When its raining out, or even if there is a high pressure front and a hint of rain, as was the case that night, she simply won’t go out, no matter how badly she has to relieve herself. I have to literally pick her up and carry her out. Fortunately she’s a very small dog. So I picked up my dog and carried her outside. As I got up I was dizzy and felt an increase in nausea. I watched Cupcake in my driveway for a time. I thought about my nausea, centered around my lower gut. Was it psychosomatic or was it due to irritating my stomach, perhaps from the acidic teas I drank, on an empty stomach to boot? I kept going back and forth on this. For some reason it was important for me to figure this out. When I thought about the anger I had realized I had had, the nausea increased, when I stopped thinking about it I felt fine. I still couldn’t really decide which was the cause of the nausea.
I then thought I ought to ignore my dog and just go back inside and continue. I got back to my sofa. It wasn’t working. I couldn’t leave Cupcake outside the rest of the night. I again went out, got her, then lay on my bed instead of the sofa. I thought that there would be less of a chance of Cupcake disturbing me if I was on my bed. I set up an icaro video on my phone. Unfortunately the video I set up had ads. I got back into the visions but I was interrupted four times, the first three with an ad for a law firm specializing in medical malpractice and the third an ad for some dietary supplement. The first two times I got very annoyed, the third time I could see the ad, sandwiched as it was between hallucinatory visions, as hilariously funny. I finally got a video which looked like it would give me 90 minutes with no interruptions and I got back into the visions.
I saw how the icaro chanting/drumming was integral to the experience. I could feel the shaman, or shipabo, as the figure is termed in the Peruvian cultures which use aya, pulling me along in the chant. At several points it seemed to take me over. Twice I caught myself dancing in bed to the beat, with my feet bouncing rhythmically in one direction and my head in the other.
The entity scolded me several times. Once I was in a grassy clearing in a wooded area, at dusk. The entity said, “you really don’t have your shit together for this, do you?” Then it said, “you ought have planned this out better, but its all good, I’m very glad you’re here and let’s continue”. Another time the entity brought me to a sort of gate. It looked like the Stargate in the TV series and movie of the same name. It told me to the effect that that was the gate to the Hidden Realms. The entity didn’t use the term “Hidden Realms” but I got that feeling, this was the gateway to a higher level of what I was experiencing. I wouldn’t be allowed to go though it because I wasn’t prepared. Some time after this (of course the concept of time seemed to lose meaning in this visionary world) the entity just roundly scolded me. “you don’t have your shit together for this”.
I though about or saw a friend of mine, also trans, who is a severe diabetic. Recently she almost had a foot amputated. I saw myself with my friend in a coffee shop, my friend was drinking a huge chocolate shake. My friend is a very unhappy person, constantly complaining about her life. It occurred to me that she’s committing slow motion suicide. I realized that I had been avoiding my friend for quite a while, even though I live about an hour away because something about her was disturbing to me. I thought that I should try to reconnect with her. I’m not sure if the thoughts about my friend were from the entity or from myself, probably a mix of both. Thinking about her though the entity told me not to be harsh, judgmental or feel superior. “Back out, back out” , I felt the entity telling when I started to analyze what was going on with my friend.
As I mentioned much of the trip didn’t seem pleasant, especially towards the end of the experience. I said to myself several times, “when does this damn thing end?”I peaked at my phone. It was a little after 3 am, closing in on the end, according to my rough estimate.
I had strong feelings of gender dysphoria and saw sexual imagery which related to that. I finally felt myself coming down. Interestingly I still saw the sexual imagery for a while after I came down.
It was close to 4 am when I fully came down. I felt the entity was telling me I should take another dose. I didn’t. I said to myself, “I don’t want to go though another 4 hours of that shit”. I mean “that shit” somewhat jokingly, it was an intense experience and I’m glad I did it but I wasn’t anxious to go though it again, at least not right then.
I laid in bed for a while. I thought I had the day off from work and I wanted to spend the morning processing what I had experienced. I have several jobs. For one of them I work part time at a group home for developmentally delayed adults (its not as interesting as it sounds). I got a call a little after 8 am. It was my supervisor at the group home. Apparently several weeks earlier I had agreed to fill in a shift and the supervisor was wondering where I was. Oh shit! I quickly got dressed. I was okay to drive and the home was only about two miles from my house.
Over the next few days I had a feeling that the experience had been profound, amazing and intense. I had tripped before, years ago but this seemed magnitudes more intense. After a couple of days though this feeling wore off. Its hard to explain but I did carry with me a feeling of being “whole”, sort of rooted in the universe and I feel more accepting of myself. I have several doses left and I’m going to do this again in the near future.