If you read this entire article, watch all of the videos and listen to most of the music I can say with real confidence that your healing process will have begun and if you haven’t taken plant medicine yet than I really hope that this acts as the catalyst for you to do so.
Over 2 years ago I got an email from Rythmia Life Advancement Centre inviting me as a guest to enjoy a weeks stay at their ‘luxury spiritual healing resort’. My initial reaction was one of indifference and a little confusion, I didn’t really understand what it was all about and especially didn’t understand what it meant when they said they were ‘the worlds first medically licensed plant medicine retreat‘, so If my memory serves me I think I may have politely declined their offer. But then something strange started to happen, I started to notice more and more people talking about plant medicine , more specifically Ayahuasca and one of its components DMT. People I respect greatly like Graham Hancock and Joe Rogan started to talk about their amazing journeys on this ‘medicine’ and it really peaked my interest. So I delved deeper into the subject and discovered the legend that is Terence McKenna who spoke about plant medicine in great detail. I was already aware of who Terence McKenna was but I had no idea about the sheer quantity and quality of content he had produced over the years of his lifetime on the topic of Psychedelics and their healing properties. So maybe around a year later after much research and watching countless documentaries and listening to what must be hundreds of hours worth of interviews I decided to email Rythmia back and ask them if their kind offer was still on the table and to my delight it was. So I agreed to visit their centre in March of this year (2019) which gave me a full 5 months to really prepare myself mentally and physically for what I was being told was going to be the adventure of a lifetime.
Further below is a short video of Graham Hancock explaining the physical as well as the visionary and beneficiary effects of Ayahusca.
For those of you who don’t know who Mr Hancock is he is truly an amazing human who also happens to be a British writer and journalist. He specialises in pseudoscientific theories involving ancient civilisations, stone monuments or megaliths, altered states of consciousness, ancient myths, and astronomical or astrological data from the past.
Graham Hancock ~ Ayahuasca
So as you can see from the above video this journey I was about to embark on was not to be taken lightly. So I started to take better care of my body and I went on the ‘Ayahuasca diet’ in order to maximise the benefits and effects of the medicine.
When I attended Rythmia I often heard people refer to the plant medicine as ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ and I was told that from the day you decide in your head that you’re going to take this medicine that Mother Ayahuasca already starts working on you. And I can really now see this to be true because it was as if I had made a spiritual contract with the medicine and that part of the small print in this contract forced me to start taking better care of myself.
So fast forward a few months and I was finally on my way from Glasgow, Scotland to Rythmia , Costa Rica.
On arrival I was greeted by a friendly driver at the airport and during the roughly 1 hour drive to the resort I was able to enjoy an introductory video starring my now dear friend Gerry Powell. I took notice of just how professional everything was and this theme continued when I finally arrived at the retreat and throughout my stay.
The staff here are all super friendly and they make a real effort to call you by your name which leaves a lasting impact, the place itself is immaculate and the attention to detail is second to none. I immediately felt very calm and relaxed surrounded by beautiful scenery and friendly faces and ambient music. The ‘rooms’ here are like their own little houses with private bathrooms and super comfortable beds. I had been put in room 23 which was located right outside the pool and just a 10 second walk from the restaurant aptly called ‘Roots’ which had amazing farm to table organic meals served throughout the day.
Me and my now dear friend Nicholas Lepore
So after enjoying a wonderful and much needed sleep I find myself on Monday morning doing Yoga for the first time. And what an amazing way that is to start the day, under the Costa Rican sun surrounded by beautiful nature and being led by an amazing yoga teacher.
Then shortly after some delicious breakfast I attended a class led by Rythmia Founder Gerry Powell where he tells you his own fascinating personal story that led him to creating Rythmia. I saw Gerry as the genuine article, and you can read all about his story in his book Sh*t The Moon Said.
Here is a short 3 minute video of Gerry talking about his journey.
After hearing about Gerry’s journey it really showcases how powerful this medicine can be and for me personally having had some troubles of my own in the past it gave me a lot of hope and courage to just surrender to the medicine that I would be taking very soon.
Between Gerry’s class and the ceremony that was due to start later that evening I had to take a medical where they ask me a series of questions and carry out some simple checks just to make sure I am okay to take the medicine. One thing I must stress to all of you is that if you suffer from any serious heart conditions or if you are on anti-depressants then you definitely need to consult with a doctor before even considering taking this medicine. It does not mix well with prescription drugs.
Throughout the retreat I kept coming across three plaques each with a personal intention written upon it. They read:
“Show me what I’ve become.”
“Merge me back with my soul at all costs.”
“Heal my heart.”
Over the course of my stay I found these intentions to become more and more powerful. The first thing you need to do before you can even think about changing is to see who you are really, only once you truly discover yourself ,will you be ready to’merge back with your soul’ , and only once you’re merged back with your soul can you even consider the ‘healing of your heart.’
Now before I write more about my own experiences on the medicine I’d like to share with you a video that really opened my mind and has my favourite speakers like Terence McKenna, Joe Rogan and Graham Hancock all talking in great detail about Ayahuasca and DMT.
I recommend you watch this video before reading about my own experiences so that your mind is more open to receive what I have to say.
Ayahuasca & DMT – Graham Hancock/Joe Rogan/Terence McKenna
Please click HERE to find out more information and book yourself in for the most magical week of your life.
Before I share with you in detail about my own personal experiences on the medicine I want to share with you some information on how, when and where the ceremonies took place.
So the ceremonies are held on four consecutive nights from Monday through to Thursday. The first 3 nights begin at 5.30 pm and usually run through to between 12am and 1am. The final night is a bit longer and starts at 7.30pm and ends the next morning at sunrise.
Although each night we are drinking Ayahuasca the nights are all very different, this is mainly because we are given a different variety of the medicine each night, there are also different shamans each night that facilitate and manage the energy in the room,and there are different ‘icaros’ (songs) that also determine what type of energy is felt in the room.
The Maloka (Temple) is the place where ceremonies are held. It’s a beautiful space that also has outside areas where you can connect with nature, there are hammocks and plenty of grass to walk around barefoot on. Me and one of my friends Samuel Austin (owner of Live Learn Evolve) who joined me on my second night at Rythmia would often joke about how the Maloka was in actual fact a spaceship or portal to another dimension and now after 4 ceremonies that is no longer said with such humour because we really believe that Temple to be a truly sacred space and it really is like a spaceship where everyone on board that takes the medicine is transported to another dimension.
That’s actually something that I think is super important when taking Ayahuasca – is the place and setting of where ceremonies are performed and that’s what made my experience at Rythmia all the more magical because the location and the energy of the building and the people within it all combined to make the experience I had all the more transcendent.
So if you are considering taking Ayahuascua for the first time a then for my there is no better or safer place than Rythmia.
On a little side note the music I listened to and experienced whilst on this journey will stay with me forever so I am sharing one of my new favourite playlists here and feel free to listen while you read on as it should add to the enjoyment and give you a better feel for the messages that I am trying to convey. I hope you enjoy the music and please keep an open mind when reading about my very personal experiences on the medicine.
Okay here we go …
So I enter the Maloka (Temple) and there are probably around at least 60-70 people attending this week and we have all met briefly in some way or another but most of us are complete strangers. Despite this, there is still a strong feeling of community as we all know we are about to embark on a very personal and trans-formative journey together. Naturally I am very nervous as this medicine I am about experience has been built up over the months and years and it’s hard not to have any expectations but I am trying to remind myself to breathe and just stay calm. I pick my mattress and make myself comfortable with my surroundings and the people around me, we all nod to eachother and smile and shake hands or even hug, it’s clear to see we are all apprehensive and find comfort in knowing we are not alone. Our beds come with a blanket, a bucket (for purging) and a roll of toilet roll. I just realised as I’m writing this I haven’t really spoken about purging, but during the healing people can often vomit, yawn, cry, laugh, or even get diarrhoea , this is all part of the healing process and the shamans say when they hear these ‘purges’ it is like music to their ears as this is the sound of healing.
So after some time the main two shamans (Brad and Uncle Scooter) call everyone over so they can speak to us. It’s Brad who does all of the talking and I couldn’t help but admire the way he carried himself and spoke, he really made us all feel extremely safe and I also noted how he doesn’t look like how you might think a typical shaman does. He is relatively young looking, with some very cool geometric tattoos. I am a 36 year old man and in the presence of these shamans I felt like a little boy looking up to people that seem to be connected to their higher-selves. These guys truly are on a different level having experienced so much in their lives. I am so thankful to each and every one of them for what they do.
Brad reminded us all why we are here , he spoke to us about the medicine and reminded us that if we start to experience anything difficult that we should try to embrace it and surrender to the medicine to let it do its work. After we got back to our beds I start to write my intentions in my diary that I brought with me. I think this is an important part of the process, because when things get tough it was important for me to able to remember my intentions and keep them in my mind whilst the medicine was doing its work.
Sitting in ceremony with or without an intention can be compared to sailing across the ocean with or without a compass. Without a compass you may be lost at sea but with a compass you have a sense of direction and clarity of what is happening in your ceremony. To understand more about setting intentions and their importance I suggest you click here
So before they give us the drink they give us Rapé (pronounced “ha-peh”), a powerful, cleansing snuff used by shamans in Brazil and Peru as part of important medicinal rituals. Its a powder that they blow up our noses. They gave us Rapé before every ceremony except the last one If my memory serves me correctly.
Benefits of Using Rapé
Rapé can help you in the following ways:
- Helps focus and sharpen the mind.
- Clears a person or space of distracting, bad energies in preparation for intention setting.
- Detoxes both body and mind and clears your energetic field. Because of this, rapé is often used in conjunction with ayahuasca ceremonies.
- Clears sinuses of mucus and bacteria, thereby helping to combat colds and respiratory ailments.
- Provides a calming, grounding effect on the emotions that lasts much longer that the initial sensation.
- Can be used in conjunction with other treatments for addiction and mental illness.
20 or 30 minutes after bring given Rapé we are called up to have our first drink of the night. The brew is poured into a small cup that reminds me of a shot glass which gives me some relief because a lot of people have been hyping how disgusting the taste is so my plan is just to knock it back as quick as I can. Before you take the drink you are supposed to whisper or think of your intentions so I did that and then down the hatch it went. My first thought was that the drink was not as disgusting as I had anticipated although I think the more you take it the more you remember how unpleasant it is.
I headed back to my bed knowing that there was no turning back now. We had been told that for the first 60-90 mins we are to sit in silence with no music and that during this time the medicine is getting to know us, it’s looking through our body and through our history and even the history of our ancestors if need be. With this is mind I just lie at peace and let the medicine do it’s work.
After around forty five minutes I start to look around for any signs or reactions from other people and I do start to hear people moving around but that’s about it. In all honesty at this stage I started to feel a little restless so decided to take a walk outside , I found a nice hammock that was next to a tree and I lay there for quite a while , i remember feeling at total peace whilst listening to the wind and staring at the stars but I couldn’t feel any effects yet so I went back to bed for a while. I must have lay for another 20 minutes or so but could still feel nothing so me being restless as ever I went back outside and found a nice spot which was still covered by the shelter of the maloka , when I lay down on the wooden surface the back my head sort of hung off the edge so my entire vision was taken up by the beautiful Costa Rican night sky , this spot was later to have a lot of significance to me as I often came here during each of my ceremonies to marvel at what the night sky had to offer . I remember there being a gentle breeze and I started to feel very comfortable here under the stars. I began to contemplate why I was here and what my intentions were, I think around this time there may have been some gentle music that started to play through the outdoor speakers. It’s around now that I started to notice something happening … as I stared intently at the stars I noticed how the night sky started to look more like a giant beautiful painting , and the stars got much brighter and the longer I stared I noticed the stars started to droop every so slightly. It was almost as if the paint in the night sky was still wet and the stars were slipping down every so slightly. Also, as I looked around the night sky I couldn’t help but notice the faces of Panthers looking back at me. The stars would form the eyes and then the space between the stars would become the face of the panther. As I could see one panther’s face staring back at me it would go fractal and the entire sky then looked like hundreds of panthers just looking down on me. This was a truly magical experience for me and I remember thinking how I felt completely a part of the universe in that moment and that I never wanted that moment to end.
Then out of nowhere I noticed an amazing woman(Adrana Ceara) who was clearly a professional dancer came to the outside area and just started dancing passionately to the music. I felt truly lucky at that moment to be able to lie under the most beautiful sky I have ever seen, and also admire the silhouette of this beautiful woman dance her heart out in the most graceful way. It’s definitely one of my most memorable and beautiful moments from the entire experience.
Art by @alfredozagaceta
Around this time I felt someone come into my peripheral vision and heard a voice saying they are now serving a second cup. So I got up and queued , as I stood there I could really feel the effects of the medicine, everything just looked different, I could see geometric shapes in the fine details of things, in my hands, on peoples faces, it was really an amazing and very weird experience, I was looking at everything in awe. I was like a baby seeing things for the first time. Standing in the queue I met someone who became a friend, his name was Ned and we spoke about our shared amazement at how wonderful everything looked and felt. I think one of the helpers asked us to obey ‘the sacred silence’ because our excitement was just too much to contain. So I took the second drink (special thanks to Uncle Scooter for helping me to ‘turn it up a notch’) and headed back to my bed and this is when stuff started to get really crazy. I remember the music being so powerful and beautiful yet also so strange at the same time, the music seemed to be controlling the energy in the room because whenever the music became more intense I could feel everything just change, my entire energy was in complete unison with the music.
As I lay down on my bed and waited for the second cup to kick in I could hear and see people purging all over the room. The Maloka was filled with the sound of people vomiting, mixed with uncontrollable laughter and tears it was quite the site to behold. This is about the time I started to get visions of my own, as I lay down on the bed , I got the overwhelming sense of other entities or beings hovering over me, I cant remember if my eyes were closed or open, I don’t think it would have made much of a difference because the visuals were so powerful. I could see bold colours and shapes forming and then these shapes started to constantly move and almost consume themselves over and over, the colours were vibrant and the noises were overwhelming, I really felt like I was somewhere else at this stage, It was as if my body had been anaesthetised , I could still move it but It was such a struggle that I just had to give into the medicine and lay there. I still had control over my head and could look left to right and up and down. It was like I was in another dimension but my body was still laying on the bed. A truly surreal feeling. , since this experience I have looked around the internet and I think the beings I experienced were what people call ‘Machine Elves’, they got right up in my face, I could almost make out their faces but they were constantly changing and the world I was in felt machine like. It was like I was thrown into an animation world where the rules of reality as we know it were thrown out the window. I remember feeling really scared and had to keep reassuring myself out loud that everything was going to be okay. I also started to say out loud my intentions over and over , ”reconnect me to my soul” – ”heal my heart” – ”show me who I have become”.
I remember feeling stuck in this other realm where time didn’t exist, the thought of time not existing didn’t compute with my brain and scared me because In that moment fear kicked in and I would panic about what if I got stuck in that realm and couldn’t return? This is one of the lessons I learnt on night 1, is that I needed to learn to surrender and not always be in so much of control. I think my fear of losing control may have hindered how deep I went on night 1. But back to my journey – one of the shamans Christian whom I built a very strong bond with over the next 4 nights came over to my bed and could tell I was struggling so he offered to give me a healing. It felt so surreal to see his face and hear his voice whilst I felt as if I was in another dimension, he really brought me comfort and I managed to follow him to his chair just a few yards away. I was on my knees ready to receive a healing (where they blow water on you and shake leafs all over you) when I started to feel sick, he rushed to get my bucket for me and I remember stumbling back towards my bed but I couldn’t make it, I remember falling to my knees in the middle of the Maloka and purging hard into the bucket Christian had managed to get for me just in the nick of time. Apparently the vomit that is purged is all the bad stuff that I don’t need anymore leaving my system, as I was helped back to my bed I looked into the bucket and it was like staring into another galaxy or even a black hole. It was crazy what was going on in that bucket, I remember being told earlier in Gerry’s class to try to ask the sick what it is and sometimes you may get an answer, I did that but I don’t remember getting any clear answers but I do remember staring into that beautiful bucket and saying the words ‘thank you’ a lot. Whatever It was that I was purging and clearing out of my body I remember feeling really grateful to Mother Ayahuasca for helping me to get rid of it.
I’m pretty sure I was crying and had to lay down to try and gather myself again. After a while I felt like going out to reconnect with nature, I remember walking around and observing everything and everyone around me, it felt like i was in a computer game, the grass was translucent green, the sky was shimmering and everything was just so beautiful. I want you to imagine a group of 2 year-olds wandering around a beautiful garden. That is what this must have looked like, people were crying alone , others were staring at the outdoor fire, other were wandering staring at everything in amazement, every so often I would stop to connect with someone and we would stop and smile , maybe talk a little and sometimes even hug and then go on our ways. I remember seeing one woman sitting by herself crying on the edge of the Maloka next to my spot. She looked cold so I gave her my blanket. She was in too much of a state of confusion to be able to thank me then and there but we shared a nice moment the next day. For me a big part of my journey was connecting with nature and with other people whilst I was in this state of ‘higher consciousness’ although I must stress that the shamans prefer us to spend much more time inside the Maloka near them where the energy is stronger and where they are able to help us more readily.
After my little trip outside I returned to my bed and to be honest this part of my memory is a bit hazy, I think I lay down and had some more visions and went deep but It’s hard for me to recall exactly what I saw during this period. I just remember seeing other people struggling with their own journeys on their beds and looking on almost with a feeling of helplessness but also comfort in knowing that they too were healing.
When the night came to an end there were a lot of happy faces, a lot of confused faces and some sad faces. But one thing was for sure , the next day everyone will have been healed in one way or another. The shamans did a closing talk and some people shared their experiences and it was really beautiful to hear what others went through and many shared personal details about their own struggles in life and how they feel this has helped them already to begin the healing process.
When I went back to my room, I remember feeling like I had just been through an exhausting journey, my mind was buzzing and my body was exhausted but I still had the time to have a cold shower and lay in bed and write some notes. I thought I’d share one page of my note with you all below:
(please excuse my bad writing)
The next day was full of little revelations for me. I woke up feeling renewed and everyone who felt like a stranger the day before now felt like a really close friend. I went to a class held by the wonderful Paola Castro, I found her classes really helped me to understand what had just gone on the night before , she is an excellent speaker, full of passion and knowledge and one of her strengths is keeping the listener engaged, I was completely glued to her class the whole way through.
So apparently almost all of us are separated from our souls at an early age. It could be as a result of any sort of trauma we experienced such as being the victim of sexual or physical abuse, it could even be witnessing someone we love being abused. Anything traumatic for a child can cause the separation of our soul from our body. This then manifests itself as we grow older , usually in the form of self harm such as alcohol abuse, or being in unhealthy relationships or even having an unhealthy diet. We fall out of love with ourselves and start to mistreat ourselves and that is what this medicine does, it reconnects us to our soul.
On this second day I kept remembering how everyone was wandering about like a little baby, or crying, or being sick , we were all helpless just as we were when we were children, we were being reconnected to our child like souls, and our ego’s were being crushed at the same time.
Another important lesson I learned about myself is my need to help others whilst forgetting about my own journey. It’s something I often find my self doing in my personal life and I was doing the exact same thing slap bang in the middle of my Ayahuasca journey, I was walking up to people who I felt needed my help or someone to talk to and in doing so I was forgetting why I was there – to heal myself. So this is definitely something I am actively trying to change in my own life, I am taking more time to work on my own self development so that I can help others from a much better place in the future.
Please click HERE to find out more information and book yourself in for the most magical week of your life.
So as we were all preparing for the second night we were told that on this night we would have female only shamans who would be singing live ‘Icaros’
Icaro (Quechua: ikaro) is a South American indigenous colloquialism for magic or alchemy, or any esoteric modality by which a practitioner attempts to channel their energy to manifest their will. Today, this term is commonly used to describe the medicine songs performed in vegetal ceremonies, especially by shamans in ayahuasca ceremonies to induce a profound state of healing, awareness or amazement.
I was really excited at the prospect of night 2 because the thought of divine feminine energy coarsing through the room got me hopeful for a more gentle and even more beautiful experience. I also felt more prepared as I had now some idea of what to expect and the one thing I had in my mind throughout this ceremony was to ”surrender to the medicine”. So I was really ready to go deeper and immerse myself in the healing and let myself go with as little resistance as possible and I think all of the above combined led to what I think overall was the most beautiful of the 4 nights that I was drinking Ayahuasca.
Today was also the day my now dear friend Sam Austin came to join me on my journey. He is a videographer and arrived in Rythmia to record my journey so we naturally spent a lot of time together and ended up being next to each other during each of the last 3 ceremonies which I feel has bonded us for life. So fast forward to the ceremony and as soon as you walk into the Maloka you can feel a difference in the energy with beautiful, powerful and graceful female shamans running the ceremony.
So on this night I choose a bed near to the front of the Maloka where the main two shamans are seated because I thought this would be a great location to be able to feel the energy of their Icaros during ceremony. I drank the first cup and went back to my bed and as expected had to wait around an hour and half to start to feel any effects. Again I decided to go out to my spot and gaze at the stars as I felt that this is what helped to trigger the visuals from the previous night. And it seemed to work because again just like the previous night the stars looks more beautiful than ever ,the moon was smiling at me as it was a crescent moon but it was on its side so it looks like a big cheesy Cheshire cat smiling at me which I just loved.
Again I saw panthers starting to form out of the stars and stare back at me. I was conscious tonight not to spend too much time out in nature so I went back to my bed and concentrated on just surrendering to the medicine and allowing myself to be healed. I remember being called up for a second drink around this time which was perfect timing for me because when you feel the first cup taking effect having the second one should really just take you to where you need to go.
What I’m about to say next might not register with many of you but I assure you that this is how it happened for me and I ask you to just keep an open mind whilst reading.
So as I am lying down I start to get visions of light beings or aliens or whatever you want to call them and I just decide to close my eyes and surrender to the medicine completely. It’s at this point I notice my jaw opening and I can feel pressure on my teeth. I am told that this is a type of ‘cosmic surgery’ that is very common when taking Ayahuasca. For me its actually a very funny memory because I remember jokingly saying out loud ‘good luck in there’ because I recently had some work done on my teeth and then I started laughing hysterically, I remember turning to Samuel who was lying next to me on his bed and I said ‘I think I’m being tickled by aliens’ , this caused both of us to just burst out into even more laughter and it was a totally surreal and hilarious moment that will stay with me forever. The next day speaking to Gerry about this he said that these other entities often have a sense of humour and if you joke with them they can joke back with you! So I really like to think that I have shared a joke with some form of being that exists somewhere out there in another dimension. It’s a truly mind blowing thought.
This type of surgery continued for a while and I could really feel like there was some sort of UFO or at least some kind of large object hovering over my body and I just had to embrace it and ‘surrender to the medicine’, so I did just that and I kept getting stunning visuals of being in some kind of machine like world or dimension , its almost impossible to put into words what I was seeing because language is just so clumsy when it comes to describing these other worlds but I did recently hear Terence McKenna try to describe one of his DMT trips and it’s the closest description to what I saw during my journey. He calls them ‘self-transforming elves’ I’ve set the video to begin at 7.30 where he describes what he encounters whilst on DMT.
For those of you who don’t know who Terence McKenna is he was an American ethnobotanist, philosopher, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and an advocate for paths of shamanism and the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. While we are on the topic of Terence McKenna now would be a good time to talk about when towards the end of the ceremony all of a sudden an amazing tune started to play and I thought I was tripping because I could hear Terence McKenna’s voice talking over it, so I looked over at my friend Sam and we both just sat in amazement and paid homage to the great man, we both sat there in the lotus position with our hands clasped to honor Terence McKenna in our own little way. Whilst we were honouring him It occurred to me that Terence McKenna probably spent more time in heightened states of consciousness than any other man on the planet and that if anyone could navigate their way through other realms after death it would be him. So that entire episode was just another beautiful realization and moment in my time at Rythmia that I will remember forever.
Something else strange kept happening to me during each of my last 3 ceremonies, when I was lying down and enjoying the amazing music that was being played very often I would feel the urge to lift my arms up and I would start doing the strangest snake like dance or movements with my hands and arms. It’s as if Ayahuasca was using my body and channelling a beautiful energy through me and I just couldn’t help but perform these serpent like very fluid movements with arms and hands. Surreal to say the least.
Shortly after this I remember feeling so full of energy and love that I had to grab my journal and go outside to find some light under a candle and just write lots of messages of gratitude and to also write down how I was feeling at that moment. I wrote down all of the names of the people I loved and care about and I scribbled a lot of other random doodles and things that just came out of me so naturally at the time. It’s nice for me to be able to look back at my notes and be able to almost feel what I was feeling at that during that beautiful time on the medicine.
A special mention has to go to both the amazing females shamans who sang throughout the ceremony and also to Candice and Christian , Christian is also a shaman who was always on hand throughout my entire stay to give me timely reminders and he had a way of telling me just what i needed to hear when i needed to hear it. Candice is a wonderful person, holistic therapist and thought leader who and acts as a helper or as I prefer to think as an angel during ceremonies to help people like me get through their journey and on this night we shared a beautiful talk together that really meant a lot to me on one of the most special nights of my life.
So as the second night was about to come to an end the shamans gathered us round to ask questions and I wanted to ask why I kept seeing panthers in my visions. I was told this there is chance this may be my power animal and that I should study them and how they move and think and that this would help me to better understand myself. I found this fascinating and the more I look into power animals and their significance the more fascinated I become. One thing that pretty much most if not all living things have in common is that we all produce DMT otherwise known as ‘the spirit molecule.’ If you want to learn all there is to know about DMT and you have a spare hour I suggest you watch this documentary below:
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
So at the end of night 2 I just sat with my friend Sam and we joked around and laughed about our experiences on Ayahuasca that night. I also remember looking around the room at all the people I was on this incredible journey with and I could feel my heart fill with love looking at all these brave and wonderful people who were each here on a journey of self healing. This wasn’t an easy journey but this night was truly beautiful in every sense of the word and I just recall having a great overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the shamans and also to everyone else at Rythmia.
The next day I woke up feeling amazing and thinking that the previous night had just felt like one big dream. I was having breakfast and the shamans from the previous night sat with us in the restaurant area and we all shared our stories from the previous night , some of us had beautiful experiences whilst others had more harder nights but we all still felt like the medicine was really healing us and that each of us was getting exactly what we needed at the right time.
To say I was looking forward to drinking the medicine again tonight was an understatement.
Please click HERE to find out more information and book yourself in for the most magical week of your life.
The Shamans tonight were a mix of females and males and the energy in the room was super intense. I’m pretty sure I was one of the first in queue to have my first drink of the night which shows how eager I was to get started so I was buzzing but boy did Mother Ayahuasca bring me back down to earth with a bang!
Tonight before ceremony we were asked to all stand outside the Maloka on the grass and hold hands and then a wonderful musician/singer by the name of Peia Luzzi stood in the middle of the circle and sang one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I saw a lot of tears and felt a lot of love during this beautiful song. Here it is:
The night started off the same as the others , it took a while for the medicine to kick in and I’m pretty sure I did my usual walk out in nature to look at the stars but tonight was different, I kept yawning(a form of purging) and felt like I needed my bed so I didn’t spend too long outside. I spent the next hour or so lying down trying to focus my mind on my intentions. I had some visions and as they started to get stronger we were called up to drink the second cup. I remember feeling faint as I stood up to queue and one of the shamans said they would keep an eye on me. I drank the second cup anyway and headed back to let the healing begin.
Once back on my mattress it didn’t take long for the medicine to really start taking effect. I got the strong sense of a large object (UFO) or something similar hovering over me and I started to prepare myself for more surgery similar to the night before. I could feel my jaw start to open again and felt lots of pressure on my teeth. This went on for a while , I tried to keep my eyes closed and just surrender to the medicine and I could feel myself almost going down some kind of tunnel and being surrounded by very weird looking cartoon like ‘self-transforming elves’ as Terence McKenna likes to describe them. But this experience was different from others , it’s as if I lost the ability to think, I was no longer aware of my own thoughts, and then every so often I would come round and become aware again and I had to remind myself that this was part of the trip, I even had to remind myself that I was in Costa Rica lying on a mattress and I had drank Ayahuasca and this was all part of that journey but then I got stuck in a loop of losing my ability to be aware of my thoughts, and I felt stuck in a realm where time didn’t exist and the lines between what I know to be reality and this other dimension became very blurry. It was as if I had lost all knowledge of who I was , where I was and what I was doing and then for a brief moment I would remember again and that’s when I started to think of my children and my girlfriend, I had to say their names out loud just to reassure myself that they did in fact exist and that my entire life was not just a part of some trip I was on. This was the scariest part of my whole experience and I just remember feeling extremely dazed and confused and I must have kept moving around , getting onto my hands and knees or flipping over onto my other side because one of the shamans had noticed I was struggling and came over to try and give me a healing , it definitely helped but only briefly as not long after I started to feel sick and kept getting lost in this other realm where I lost the ability to be aware of my own thoughts again. It felt like i was stuck in this loop for hours and hours but it may have only been an hour or even much less, I really have no way of knowing. It was around this time I think I had to vomit into my bucket, I remember being violently sick into it and not even having the energy to look into the bucket as I had on night 1. I just wanted this never ending loop to come to an end and thankfully slowly it seemed to be doing just that and I just remember saying out loud how much I loved my family who were waiting for me back home in Scotland. I was tearful and exhausted already. I was just glad to be surrounded by my friends Georgiana and Sam on either side of and also grateful to the shamans for their protection and help during what felt like one of the most difficult and mentally exhausting journeys of my life.
As I lay down trying to get myself together I remember looking to my left, I could see my friend Sam lying down with his back to me and his blanket was all ruffled up. Then I looked at his blanket I just started to see this huge white yellowish snake just staring right at me. I kept looking away and then looking back at it and it was still there. I never told anyone what I could see, I was a bit uneasy but I wasn’t petrified as you might expect me to be. I’m told ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ can often appear to you as a snake and that it could have many other positive interpretations.
I found the following excerpt from a site called ayaquest.com
”When looking at the snake in Native American culture, the snake can be seen as a sign of rebirth and transformation. The reason for this was because of the way a snake grows, it is shedding it’s old form in order to heal, grow, and change from what it was before into something new. It can also represent fertility and a creative life force.
Asides from being a symbol of healing in the spiritual aspect, it too can also be a symbol of medicine. It’s venom, much like plants and fungi in herbalism and mycology, can be used to either heal or bring harm upon the subject that finds itself at it’s mercy. In our medical enigma, the staff for the Greek god of medicine is on the star of life, it’s most notable feature being the snake. The one consisting of the two snakes intertwining is a reference to the Rod of Hermes as well in Greek lore.
So when it comes to animals in visions, seeing a snake isn’t a need to be alarmed. Despite the negative tags attached to it, it bears many more positives when it comes to world wide meanings. And, many also say that it is one of the forms Mother Aya takes in terms of trying to connect with those who seek her out. Regardless of what it may be, it can be safe to say that the meaning isn’t always as evil as it is painted out to be. That it could actually be a life changing sign.”
After all that felt like I needed some air so I went outside and just practised my breathing for a while. I went to the fire that was being kept lit the entire night by some of the helpers on hand . I remember being told earlier that day that fire was a spirit and that if you asked it with real intent it could take away things that you no longer wanted, such as bad habits like smoking or drinking. I spent some time standing there and then walked around the grass and just looked up at the stars when something amazing happened…. I kept focusing on just one star and the longer I stared at it a vortex seemed to appear around it and it was as if there was a tunnel between me and the star, I could see and feel energy being sent to me from that star, I saw vibrant colours , oranges, reds, yellows, greens and blues all being pushed out of the star towards me. It was truly an awe inspiring experiencing. Then I noticed the star split into two and they started to dance around each other in circles. I was completely mesmerised. I remember being told by a shaman previously that when we heal we are not only healing ourselves but we are healing mother earth, we are healing our ancestors and we are also healing future generations in our lineage. And that our ancestors way of showing us gratitude is through the stars. The thought of that made me really emotional and I remember being in tears under the stars standing there with my hands clasped , breathing deeply and showing gratitude to my ancestors.
As I went back inside I noticed that the tempo of the music had increased and that a bunch of people were up dancing together. There were people of all ages and all walks of life just dancing so freely together. I remember just sitting smiling and laughing the entire time they were all dancing and noticing how amazing the energy felt in the room at that time.
My attempt at a doodle of me talking to the stars
Very similar to how ancient Egyptians would describe their encounters with the stars,,,
I remember as the night came to an end I couldn’t help but feel like this was by far the hardest night I had yet. I couldn’t shake the feeling of confusion I had from when I went really deep on the medicine and got stuck in that never ending loop and the feeling that my kids may not even be real. I just left me a bit shook and confused. I even brought up the feeling the shamans during the end of ceremony talk and I couldn’t really get any answers then. I was just told that I should give it time and things would feel better tomorrow.
Even despite being told that I just felt so lost and emotional, I remember hanging around the Maloka just wandering around like a lost puppy. I even went back to my bed and just sat there thinking about things for quite some time. Eventually after maybe another forty five minutes or so I was standing outside looking lost when a new friend by the name of Chris came over to me. He just looked at me and asked me to breathe with him, he told me to put my hand on my heart and just breathe with him, I did that it made me feel a lot better, I was so thankful to him and remember thinking how hard it was to get this level of connection with anyone in our day to day lives.
Here if someone sees you are struggling, they literally stop you and do what they can do really make you feel better. I couldn’t and still can’t get over the feeling of family and community that I felt during my entire time at Rythmia.
After my healing encounter with Chris i walked back to my room when I seen a bunch of folk dipping their toes in the pool so i joined them and we spoke for a while before deciding to back in for a cold shower (the shamans recommend a cold shower to re-balance your energies) and write some more notes before I got myself some much needed sleep.
I woke up the next day feeling the same sense of confusion. I was a bit lost and couldn’t help but feel very emotional. It also just so happens that Sam and I had a couple interviews we were supposed to film on this day with the founder of Rythmia Gerry Powell and also with his dear friend and head of operations Dr Jeff McNairy PSY.D, M.P.H . I remember being worried about how well I was going to handle these interviews after being through such an emotional roller-coaster the night before.
Me and Sam did a little prep work during breakfast and then it was interview time, so went to meet the man himself Mr Gerry Powell in his house. We started the interview with Gerry and I couldn’t help but really feel so connected to him and the interview just flowed, we were both speaking from the heart and it just felt so natural. I remember leaving his house and me and Sam just smiled knowing that we just nailed it. The same happened at our next interview with Dr Jeff McNairy, it just flowed and all happened so naturally.
I remember being told that the journey we go on whilst at Rythmia is the journey from our head to our heart. It was on this 4th morning at Rythmia that I finally understood what that meant, before I came here I lived in my head, all my thoughts came through my head, but now it felt as if I was living through my heart. For the past seven years I have run my business Educate Inspire Change whilst behind the safety of a computer screen. One of my biggest fears has been the idea of public speaking or speaking to a large group of people, but whilst here in Rythmia I seem to have found the inner confidence to just speak from the heart and let the rest flow. I don’t think it is any coincidence that on my first night one of my intentions during ceremony was ” Help me to articulate myself better so I can communicate with purpose”
For the entire week this final night of the 4 ceremonies had been billed as the heaviest of all 4 nights. The medicine we take on this night is a strong purgative meaning it will almost force us to purge. It will get rid of a lot of toxins in our body that have built up over the years and the ceremony itself will take place over a much longer time period so for many of us we are expecting a difficult night with lots of healing.
The ceremony is due to start at 7.30pm tonight instead of 5.30pm but it goes right through until sunrise which is probably around 6 or 7am in the morning. We have a lot of free time today and much of it is spent just quietly relaxing and preparing ourselves for the long night ahead.
Throughout the week here in Rythmia we keep being told that the medicine or Mother Ayahuasca gives us ‘exactly what we need’. And I think after being through a particularly hard healing the night before she made a point of being extra gentle with me on this fourth night.
I drank the first cup and just lay in silence for quite some time. I didn’t get such strong visuals tonight but I could definitely feel the medicine working in my body and especially in my gut. I had to go to the toilet a couple of times and just spent a lot of my time lying down letting the medicine do its work.
I was anticipating the night to get much harder after the second cup, I remember drinking it and spending some time outside knowing that when this cup kicks in the healing will really begin so I wanted to get some night out in nature before I was confined to my mattress for the rest of the night. I spent time out by the fire again , I practised my breathing and lay under the stars. But tonight was different from the rest, I wasn’t getting as strong visuals and definitely felt like the medicine was working on me in other ways tonight. I had to go the toilet another time before I finally decided to just lay down. I remember talking to Sam telling him I’m really not feeling too much even after 2 cups , I think it was around this time I must have fell into a deep sleep because Sam told me that he tried to wake me up to go up for a 3rd cup later on but that I wouldn’t respond.
Apparently, some healing can only happen in our sleep. Ayahuasca had put me to sleep so that it could heal parts of me that might be too difficult to heal whilst I was awake. I remember waking up and noticing it was nearly day light. Tonight there was a huge healing circle in the middle of the Maloka with people sitting around next to eachother and all of the shamans were tirelessly dancing and performing healings to each and every person. It was truly a site to behold, I saw lots of people crying whilst receiving their healing and someone told me that If I had been up yet I should go and take my place in the circle.
I took my place and received my healing and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love as these amazing shamans worked tirelessly healing each and every one of us the entire night.
Special mention has to go to Mitra Politi who is an amazing shaman that is the teacher of all the other shamans that looked after us during our stay. He was running the ceremony on this night and I remember thinking I haven’t come across a man who appears so soft and gentle yet has such a strong and powerful presence at the same time. I went up to him at the end of the night to personally thank him for everything he did for us that night and I will always remember what he said back to me, he looked me in the eyes and thanked me for healing not just myself but healing my ancestors before me and my children after me.
You see pretty much all of us are caught in a cycle of pain or abuse, our ancestors suffered a great deal for us to be here and to be able to enjoy the comforts we have today. Many of them suffered poverty, war, and probably endured many different types of abuse, this has carried down over the centuries where perhaps your own grandparents and even parents suffered some form of abuse whether it be mental, physical or sexual and this will have manifested itself with different types of illnesses such as mental illness like depression. The fact that I was at Rythmia taking this medicine and healing myself I really got the sense that the cycle of pain ends with me. I no longer want to harm myself and I will ensure that my children feel nothing but unconditional love so that they will be able to live in a state of higher consciousness and hopefully as more and more people heal, we will notice that not just our children benefit but that the planet itself will begin to heal.
If you managed to read through my experiences on each of my four nights on Ayahuasca you will notice my overriding urge to stay connected with nature. I think this is something that is so important for all us to remember, that we ARE nature and the sooner we remember how connected we are to the planet the sooner we will be able to live more healthier and happier lives.
The next day most of us just went straight to breakfast and spent most of the day just gathering our thoughts. I remember feeling the need to walk very slowly everywhere I went, I felt as if I had some kind of heart surgery and my chest felt very sensitive. I think that perhaps that I went through some sort of spiritual heart surgery during my sleep.
Experiencing some kind of cosmic surgery is actually a very common occurrence when taking Ayahuasca. I think at least one third or more of the people who were with me on this journey claimed to have experienced some kind of interaction with other beings that felt like a type of surgery. It was usually performed either in the mouth, in the brain or in the heart but some people report also of feeling like someone or something was in their stomach too.
When I read back what I’m writing I know It must sound completely nuts to many of you but when you experience this for yourself it just fills you with so much healing and love that you can’t help but want everyone else to experience it also.
That is a big reason behind me wanting to share my experiences with you all. I came here with an open mind and no real expectations or understanding of what I was about to experience. All I had heard was all the hype around inter-dimensional travel and so forth but I knew I had to experience it for myself to truly believe it. And the same will go for you. If you in any way feel a calling to this medicine and to take this journey then I can assure you that when the time is right the medicine will find a way of reaching you.
My advice to you is to really set your intention to take the medicine, you might not be in a position financially to take the medicine or you might just not have any spare time but please make a promise to yourself that you will allow yourself to experience this healing, you deserve it as do your ancestors and your future generations.
It is by far the most transformational experience of my life and I am already itching to get back out there to be close to the medicine again.
I have never felt such a strong feeling of community or family or belonging as I did whilst at Rythmia. My only big issue has been actually transitioning back to normal life , for me it has been very difficult because I feel like I have changed a lot but everything around me is still the same. Taking this medicine really raises your consciousness and causes you to vibrate at a much higher frequency so anything around you that is on a lower frequency may no longer have a place in your life and there could be a period of turbulence after you take Ayahuasca so be prepared for that. I find comfort knowing that I am now living from my heart, I am trusting completely in my own gut and know that whatever comes is meant to be.
During my stay now dear friend Candice had invited Sam and myself to join her on a Facebook live on the Rythmia page so I thought I would share that with you all below. If any of you are a bit hard of hearing I suggest you wear earphones and turn the volume up.
On the final night of our stay we had the good fortune of being able to listen to the amazing singing of Peia one more time and we were also given the great pleasure of having the amazing Christo Pellani play the drums and sing alongside her. Christo who is now my dear friend uses the profound effects of drumming to create healing and transformation in people. You can find out more about him and his amazing work here.
Here is a recording of the Facebook live I took:
I had the best healing experience of my life and I needed it. At 36 years old I am at a stage where my soul has been crying out for some kind of help for a long time and I really feel like Mother Ayahuasca has allowed me to heal myself. For the first time in years I feel like a veil has been lifted from over my eyes. I think clearer and see clearer. I am more in touch with nature, I am more patient and I my thoughts are more pure in nature. Even although I have admittedly been struggling with integrating back into normal society I have a knew found sense of faith in both myself and the world.
I was born a Muslim, I then became Agnostic although still spiritual and I feel like this journey has almost taken me back to religion , but this religion has no name or label. It’s just a place that feels like home, I was able to touch it and see it whilst on the medicine and I no longer fear death because I have a confidence that we are much more than our just our bodies and the sum of our experiences in this life. We are each a part of one another and a part of this universe. I feel like it is my duty to keep trying to expand and raise my consciousness so that I can help others around me. For me this was a truly life changing experience and I know I will be working much more closely with both Rythmia and Plant Medicine in the future. And If you are even reading this then I know in my hear that you are on a healing journey of your own also.
If you wish to connect with me on Instagram you can here
If you have any questions you can email me at [email protected]
Pictures of my stay
My Rythmia Family
The amazing Candice and I
Me at my favourite star gazing spot
My magical notebook
BBB – Bed, Bucket & Blanket
Christian and I
Georgiana and I
Sam, Gerry , Kasim
With Zacharia Zenios
Out for dinner with some of my Rythmia family
Me, Jonathan, Felicia, Sam (photobomb from Chris)
Full of gratitude and love
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