What is an Ayahuasca Trip Like?

Ayahuasca Trip Report, Pucallpa, Peru. Santuario Retreat.
Ayahuasca Trip Report, Pucallpa, Peru. Santuario Retreat.

I was given a UI (User Interface) to help me organize my life, had life long stress and negative thought patterns reduced. I saw a demon, the depression in someone close to me (as a weird spikey starfish) and pixelated energies all around me. On top of describing what I saw in my visions and learned I will also talk about how I have gone with integrating my intentions in the following 6 months after the ceremony.

My first trip took place 48 hours before the one I am describing in this post. In my first trip I felt like a rookie in that I didn’t understand how to ‘talk’ to Ayahuasca, I threw up too early and generally didn’t know what I was doing. Not that it ruined the experience, I only mention it because those jitters were out of the way for my second ceremony and I was about to embark on a very productive session with Ayahuasca.

My Intentions:

My intentions were very specific.

  • I wanted to take more control over what I call ‘scatter brain’. I find it hard to focus on one thing at a time.
  • I wanted to work on some negative thought patterns that I have had since I was a kid.
  • I wanted to get help with my back injury.

What happened during the ceremony?

I only drank one cup this time. The first ceremony I felt out of control and ‘drunk’ on Ayahuasca. I ended up eating my Mapacho cigarette so I thought maybe I’d take it easy this time. Within 20 minutes or so I was having a vision. I can’t remember what I was seeing at the beginning of the trip as I write this but I remember pink streaks of color and feeling very confident and calm. I started working on my intentions.

Intention #1: helping a tendency to be unfocussed:

My first intention was to see what Ayahuasca could do to help with my ‘scatter brain’ as I call it. I have difficulty focussing on one task at a time. I take on too many projects at once and sometimes don’t follow through with all of them.

From my first ceremony, I figured out that I couldn’t directly ask Ayahuasca about my intentions. I learned in my first ceremony that I should put my head down and just think on the intention and Ayahuasca would come to me and we would start to work on it. Immediately she understood what I was talking about and amazingly gave me a visual of how I should think about the various projects and tasks in my life. I remember thinking that it was like a ‘UI’ in software parlance or a User Interface.

I had a vision that had me standing up and feeling very tall, being able to see very far – all the way to the horizon. I was in an African grassland, I could see the grass before, me but my focus was on that horizon. I felt I could see everything for miles around? This was Ayahuasca’s way, it felt, of telling me to get a very good view of all of the things on the horizon, all of the things that would need to be done soon. A bit like a survey of all the projects.

In the vision, Ayahuasca showed me that I had this view I had to pick one and then put it, and it alone, in the center of my ‘screen’ and focus my attention solely on this. Ayahuasca then showed me and my focus to be that of a laser. Focussed, intent, serious, not to be fucked with. I could see the housing that produced the laser and the laser coming out of it.

The laser crashed into the task which was now represented in the center of my screen as some sort of card type icon. The laser focussed intensely on the card and as it did it burnt into it. As it burnt into it I could see the various tasks coming out that would comprise this project. As they came out and were understood (maybe completed) they were minimized and placed to the left side. I had a tremendous feeling of really understanding the tasks involved in intricate detail and how one leads to the next. I understood that I needed to understand in minute detail how one task could be completed and what steps were needed to complete it before I moved onto the next.

That felt good. I don’t remember the transition to the next intention but I remember feeling strong and confident the whole ceremony. I was on ‘fire’ as they say.

Intention #2: rewiring negative thought patterns:

My second intention was to understand some negative thought patterns I had/have (they are improving hence why it’s a little of both). When I was growing up I had an emotionally tumultuous relationship with my Dad. We were quite often fighting and it left its mark by giving me a lack of confidence in my abilities in some areas.

Ayahuasca gave me a vision. It took me back to a particular incident with my Dad that has always stuck with me. It ran me through the scenario that I had always remembered but showed me a different angle on it. One of empathy and of understanding why my dad was acting that way. Having a different take on this situation, which was just one of many, allowed me to see the problem of my negative thought patterns from arms length and I am now more aware of them such that I can ‘see’ it happening and choose to reframe my thoughts or correct them with a more realistic one in real time.

As a bonus, while I was seeing this vision of my Dad and I interacting I was also able to envision my Mother, who was present in the real-life scenario. When I visualized her she had what I can only describe as a spikey, starfish-like translucent creature on the top of her face. I instantly recognized it as not only an abnormality but later realized that it was a visual representation of her depression. My Mum has suffered from debilitating depression in recent years. I didn’t do much about it this ceremony but I made it a goal to figure it out in the next. Look for my other post on the 3rd ceremony to see what happened.

A demonic intermission:

Throughout the vision I just described I could hear moans and groans coming from two other of the participants in the ceremony to my left. I didn’t think that they were in that much danger but merely having a difficult ceremony. As time went moans became screams for one of them and he started moving around a lot, hitting the floor of the Malloca – with his head I learned the next day.

Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually quiet but this was something else. One of the Shaman’s apprentices went over to help. To be honest I am probably understating how much of a distraction this was. I felt quite comfortable, perhaps even blaze, about his situation. Whenever he became very loud I remember thinking, ‘it’s OK, he is in the right place to get help’ and continued on with my own trip. After a while, I realized that I couldn’t ignore it anymore as I was being too distracted. I later felt that perhaps I was being selfish. This guy was in pain and I was ignoring it. I decided at that point to stop trying to work on my own intentions and see if I could help him. In hindsight, I had no idea how, but this was my thought in the moment.

I intuitively understood that I could ‘go have a look at him’ not physically but in my mind’s eye. I should note that I am completely hallucinating but still felt in control – unlike in my first ceremony.

With this intuition, I energetically (perhaps is the right phrase?) went over to have a look at Jim (the screaming guy – not his real name). I was hovering above him looking down upon him and I could see and understand that Jim was not alone. Attached to his head and next to it was a large ‘black thing’. On seeing this, I understood that Jim was separate from the black thing which was the cause of all the screaming and pain he was going through. It was the cause.

I energetically went back to my bed and started to get angry. I wanted to stand up to the Black Demon as I will call him. I challenged him, I wanted to fight him. I didn’t do this physically but these were my thoughts. In doing so the Demon came over to me. I could see his face in front of me. He was up for the challenge. His face was not full of a lot of detail but he was various shades of charcoal pixels that made up a simple face like pattern. He actually reminded me of the Tranformer logo – it was that level of detail.

I chickened out, I realized that I didn’t know how to fight this Demon. I wish I did but I didn’t. At this point, I asked the Shaman, in my head not verbally, what we could do about this. Willing him to do something. I didn’t feel in danger but it definitely felt like a confrontation.

The Shamans side of the Malloca was various kinds of pixelated green squares. I was inherently buoyed when I saw green. Jim and his Demon were on the opposite side more or less and this side of the Malloca had the same pixelated look but various shades of red instead of green. The energies were struggling for control of the room and were more or less of equal size but perhaps the Shamans was slightly bigger and I felt more strength in it than the red side.

I decided that I should try to ‘build’ the Green Bubble of energy somehow simply by willing it on. I thought that if I could build the Green Bubble then eventually it would take over the whole room and the Demon would be defeated.

I don’t remember the Green Bubble taking over the whole room but I think it helped and it did grow and become bigger with my added efforts. At some point, I remember the Shaman saying “Muchas Gracias” to me – again in my head not verbally. I think he was thanking me for (finally) doing something apart from trying to have my own experience. I feel bad about not reacting earlier. If something like that happens to me again I will know what to do. Eventually, Jim calmed down to the point where the ceremony could continue.

Intention #3: healing my back injury

I carried on with my third intention which was to further heal my back. I remember Ayahuasca searching my leg, looking for the area of significance. It started with my lower back but then went down my left leg stopping in my left hamstring for a while before moving to my left calf. All 3 of these areas were problem spots I had known about previously and while they weren’t new to me I understood that Ayahuasca was searching my body. I didn’t get the feeling that she was fixing as she went but perhaps she was.

The next day the power in my left calf which was previously weak felt better with some more strength. I wrote in my post about my first Ayahuasca experience that the ‘stress’ in my lower back was significantly reduced. While Ayahuasca seemed to do well with this stress it did less well with the power in my left calf. While it was better it was perhaps 8% – 12% better if I was asked to put a number on it. I think of Ayahuasca as more of an aid to mental health and not to do with physical properties but it is obvious to me now that there is potential here too. I remember wanting more time with the medicine to explore this but it would most likely have to wait. I already knew that my third and final ceremony for this trip would be focussed on my mother and her depression – the spikey starfish must be eradicated I thought.

How I feel about these intentions 6 months later: integration

After any Ayahuasca experience, the proper thing to do is to ‘integrate’ those learnings in your life. Along with continuing to eat simple foods as per the Diet or Dieta you can also refrain from sex. We were advised to do all of this for a month after the experience.

In the 6 months since I did Ayahuasca I have applied the lessons I’ve learned a lot. I wouldn’t say every day but almost. Some ways in which I have been applying it,

  • For the first 4 – 5 months the UI I was given was not supremely useful to me but lately, I have been starting to conceptualize the things I have to do using some of the techniques Ayahuasca described to me in the vision and I find them useful. They steady me when I feel things becoming unclear, unfocussed of ‘scattered’.
  • My negative thought patterns have been helped by Ayahuasca. I see them at an arm’s length now and not ‘stuck’ in them as I felt before. When I see one forming sometimes I can catch it and reframe it in a different light. A more positive and realistic light. I can’t always do it but I can much of the time. This is something that has faded. Closer to the experience it was easier. This makes sense to me and makes me want to go back and do more Ayahuasca so I can strengthen this ability.
  • My back injury is still an issue but Ayahuasca improved it significantly. Mainly in reducing ‘stress’ in the lower back area but also by improving the strength in the lower left calf that I have issues with.

More learnings from integration:

I will probably write a longer post on this but on top of the above I have also,

  • Been able to use my ‘gut feelings’ more instead of over thinking and over-analyzing decisions in my life. Again I think this fades with time.
  • I have more empathy for people.
  • I conceptualize the ‘ego’ and the ‘analytical brain’ as separate from myself now and while I think these are very useful things I now can exercise more control over them. I feel I am at arm’s length from them and can more easily choose when to employ them or not. I liken this to driving a car with a manual transmission – sometimes 2nd gear is appropriate and sometimes 5th is more or less appropriate. You could stay in 2nd gear for most of the journey if you like and you will still get where you want to go but having higher gears means that you can more appropriately respond to the terrain on your route. Sometimes using a higher gear and sometimes using a lower. You’re in control. I feel like before I was stuck using gears 1 -3 and now I understand that I have a few extra selections that I wasn’t aware of.
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Joe S
Joe S
4 years ago

This blog is awesome, thanks for sharing your experiences Vinay! Can you recommend any books or podcasts for further reading for someone considering an ayahuasca experience?

Joe S
Joe S
Reply to  Vinay
4 years ago

Awesome, thanks for your reply. I have that R. Strassman book on my radar, it’s creeping up my reading list! Thanks for all of those recommendations, i see you’ve got a Resources page now too – great, that’ll keep me busy with reading and listening. Cheers.