Being the holy grail of psychedelics, anyone who has entered the general space beyond cigarettes or alcohol sooner or later hears about this magical space.
As someone who has done mushrooms, LSD and DMT, it was on my mind as a bucket list of sorts.
At one point last year, my partners depression has reached a level at which point it could no longer be ignored and short of getting on anti-depressants (which are terrifying), we needed to try something drastic.
She had been thinking about the idea of doing aya for a while now as she has read about the healing effects it has on people with mental trauma and the subsequent depression.
The only question a logistical one, travelling to South America was very far and additionally didn’t feel really safe. A lot of people I had read about were really having a bad time, with many false shamans doing it for purely greed or often sexual perversion and a vampire like lust for control over the people in their retreats.
Its actually a huge deal to trust someone to lead/conduct such a ceremony and also vouch for the quality of the drink itself.
Through my browsing online I had come across a shaman named Thomas White Eagle, who specialized in VIP type ceremonies around the world in exotic places with a more personalized and intimate approach.
Granted it was not cheap, but I had reached out to him.
Long story short, I followed my intuition and wired him a rather large sum of money after only 4-5 emails and some whatsapp exchanges.
Thomas travels the world constantly and runs retreats in various countries. We had caught up with him on a retreat in Czech Republic.
Our first encounter with him was over skype.
The first thing that struck me about him was very unusual eyes, they had a certain depth that was not natural. He had a sense of humor and was generally very open about how everything was to happen.
He had laid some ground rules that we were supposed to start dieting a week before the beginning of the retreat.
The diet consistent of no meat, nothing spicy, fried, overly salty, overly sugary, no alcohol and what was interesting no cannabis consumption, ideally for 6 months before the retreat.
I had not anticipated that cannabis in his perspective was a bigger barrier to shamanic growth than alcohol.
Our first encounter with him was actually 3-4 days prior to the retreat, rather spontaneously.
The first meeting with him was definitely interesting.
We spent a good 2 hours discussing all kinds of things, including his history as a shaman, and how we came to do what he does.
There were some strange things that he would say that only later would make sense.
For example: “During the ceremony, all our energies would mix and theres the possibility of negative energy from one person affecting the others, which is why I am there to ensure this doesnt happen.”.
I had not really thought of the world around me as energies before that.
The Fast and the Tobacco Ceremony
The retreat itself took place in a lovely little village near the mountainous tatra range, in a rather large house surrounded by a very serene environment.
Upon getting to the retreat (there was only a total of 4 of us + Thomas), we had gone on a very strict diet, essentially eating very little.
In fact, a sense of hunger was something that was present throughout the time at the retreat.
The plan was to do 2 tobacco ceremonies and 3 aya ceremonies in a span of around 8 days.
In retrospect, it was truly a difficult 8 days, it was not a leisurely or relaxing experience.
After the first 2 days of basically eating some boiled vegetables and rice, we had started the first tobacco ceremony.
It was horrible.
Just thinking about it brings up a gag reflex in me.
Thomas had boiled up an enormous pot of amazonian tobacco and prepare matresses, jugs, buckets and some towels for us in the garden at the back of the house.
The process was rather simple, you drink as much of the vile tobacco as you can, throw it up, and basically repeat the process until you no longer can.
The liquid had a rather nasty taste, it was warm, making it harder to drink and made you nauseas instantly.
From an awareness point of view it actually felt like drinking a cigarette and feeling queezy afterwards.
What was interesting however was the color of the liquid that came back after vomitting. Mine had lots of blackish clots of sorts, even though going in it was a very clear and slightly brown color.
As per Thomas, from a cleansing point of view and infact from an anti-depression point of view, he preferred the tobacco to the aya, and he considered it to be sufficient.
I am not sure I share his sentiments on that, however I definitely found benefit from it later.
My First Cup – Ever
After 2 consecutive days of tobacco cleansing and on about the 4th day of the retreat, the time for our first aya encounter had come.
Essentially Thomas had laid out matresses on the living room floor and prepare a bucket and a blank for each of us.
Something interesting started happening before the ceremony which I still find very weird.
About 3-4 hours before the ceremony, before we had touched any substances, my partner had began violently yawning. And yes, the world violently was used intentionally because it was a very unnatural kind of yawning that you don’t come across in normal day to day life.
Strangely enough, Thomas had started yawning and really loudly burping at about the same time.
As per him, it was natural, since one was already committed to the ceremony, on a spiritual level it had already happened and these were demons/entities that were leaving her body.
It was a little bit creep in a way that is hard to describe with words.
At 8pm, we had gotten into comfortable and warm clothes and sat down on the matresses ready to drink.
Everything leading up to this experience is really nerve racking. Infact thinking about doing (before you have done) is in off itself a trip.
Things get very real when you are sat down and minutes away from drinking a cup that you know will take you on an unknown journey that will last an unknown amount of time.
Dosage & Texture
As per Thomas, the dosage is something that the shaman intuitively feels and just pours what he feels is right.
He had poured me more than double of what he had poured the others.
The drink itself doesn’t have that much of a tasty. Its very thick and hard to drink.
A full glass of it is definitely not an easy task to consume instantly.
I gulped it down, handed the glass back to Thomas, laid down, covered myself with a blanket and closed my eyes, mentally focusing myself on positive vibrations and preparing to embrace whatever is to come in a positive light.
The First Effects
Its a little hard to say with accuracy how long it took for the first effects to kick in, but I would say approximately 30 minutes.
Its rather gradual and its not instantly evident when you start to feel it.
One thing that happens is that you start to yawn a lot.
Next, you just start feeling your brain working differently and slowly you start seeing visuals.
Its almost as if your imagination starts to have a way to render itself.
As the effect started to come on, I began reflecting on my life, as if my entire life was a documented in a single movie and I was able to fast forward and rewind to anywhere and press play.
It was extremely powerful, being able to uncover certain memories from your past which you simply don’t think about. They are very vivid and feels like you are reliving them.
The majority of my trip was spent reviewing and analyzing different parts of my past and feeling a lot of empathy to my loved ones.
My partner, my parents, my dead grandmother, my little brother and even other more distant people.
I was overwhelmed with a sense of compassion and recognition of my mistreatment of people around me.
I was shown my un appreciation for the people in my life to the point of being brought to tears.
At a certain point the effect began escalating further and I was taken to another dimension. I began seeing visualizing the flows through my body as energies. Similar to beams of light/laser with certain balls of clusterization.
It was powerful. Really powerful feeling your body in a way that you have never felt it before, beyond even pulsating blood, but something more, that I cannot explain.
At some point I began to have something like a DMT trip, a sense of travelling through a tunnel of sorts, somewhere far away.
It was as if I had continued a previous DMT trip, but taken further, until eventually reaching a place which felt like the ultimate home. An dimension that conveyed a sense of ultimate belonging.
It felt like being in a vaccuum, and my logical me added to it the conclusion that it felt like the place where my soul was preparing to reincarnate.
At that point of the trip, it felt quite overwhelming, it was very intense and my body and my mind felt quite tense, although I was not at all panicking or afraid. It just felt tiring.
A Trip To the Washroom
Soon after what I would call the peak or close to it, I felt like i needed to go to the washroom, for a large number 2.
Once I got up, I instantly felt very much not in control of my body. My legs felt like they were not the same, similar to being very drunk but with a clear mind.
Strange mix of things.
The journey to the washroom was very scary and was in off itself an ego shattering experience.
The lights were off in the entire house and the washroom was outside the living room and around the corner, but since it was pitch black, trying to find the door and the adjacent to it light switch was extremely difficult.
I was stumbling around, with my hands out for a good 5 minutes, ready to shit myself at any minute.
Eventually I had found it.
One other thing that I noticed was that the faeces were not normal, it looked as though a lot of parasites have left my body. I was too scared to take a deeper glance however, flushed the toilet and made my journey back to the living room.
When I got back, Thomas had offered me another cup.
I didn’t take it.
Truthfully, I was really high already and I felt like I was on the edge of self control. I didn’t want to cross that line.
The feeling of the medicine lasted until noon the next day, it was very tiring as you are unable to properly sleep and feel very wired.