I’m sitting here amidst all kinds of strange jungle sounds; insects, night birds, moths, cock roaches, rodents, frogs and of course the trance music of Above and Beyond blasting through my speakers. Cannot imagine what a trip in the 40’s must have looked like. It was a difficult choice, whether or not to bring electronics, batteries, a solar charger, a speaker, an ereader, a smartphone and other western luxuries with me on this trip. In hindsight I am happy I did. It allows me to write this article in the middle of the night, to continue vlogging about my journeys and developments, to read many different books about shamanism, to improve my Spanish rapidly, effectively, and efficiently. Some nights I have watched a Spanish movie or a documentary about shamanism. This new laptop has a battery life of 10 hours, the battery pack that I brought charges all my other devices through USB. Times have definitely changed a lot over the last 10 years. When I was in Australia, all I had was a basic mobile phone that most of the time wouldn’t even have coverage. Electronics have become pretty affordable and of very good quality. Especially the operating times.
That’s not what I’m here for though. I’m not here testing electronics in a super humid, super isolated jungle area to test their durability. I’m here to learn from the plants. To connect deeper with myself, with my heart space, with my body (and in that sense I am not only referring to the physical body). The stories shared so far by local shamans, by my good guide and dear friend Ineke and by my dear friend Reinier who has been here before me, have given me the excitement and enthusiasm to dedicate myself to that process most of the time. Here shamans do long term ‘dietas’ in order to connect with the spirits of the plants, to connect with them for a lifetime, to learn songs from them and to have them assist during healing work and ceremonies. A dieta is what I have already done here and will be doing for much longer periods when I’m going to Pucallpa on the 25th of March. This way of learning from the plants is very normal and common here. It has also been normal in our western world, until the Inquisition decided to burn all at the stake that had these magical powers. I am hoping and it seems like it too, that we are going through a revival of these long lost deeper connections with nature. That the wisdom keepers around the world are finally sharing their knowledge with our disconnected cultures. It is imperative for our survival as a species, in my opinion, that we not just save the rainforest and the habitat of the indigenous wisdom keepers but also revive our own connection with Mother Earth and Nature.
Arrival in Iquitos was the best ever. I took a taxi to the port, a fast boat an hour down the Amazon River, to arrive in a little place called Tamishaku. There I was picked up by motor taxi and drove another 2.5 kms down a dirt road to arrive at the Avatar Centre, a medicine retreat run by two Canadians, Pamela and Brown. Way over my budget but for a short stay it was lovely. Amazing surrounding, just jungle, fresh rainwater showers, properly shielded with nets from insects, a local chef and a beautiful ceremony space on the first floor. This was the perfect place to land for a couple of days. To do a jungle walk now and then, to admire the Amazon from a place that was built in between the rainforest from only natural materials. So happy I didn’t stay in the city.
At the centre I met Allan, a wise Canadian chiropractor who came to Peru for 12 days to figure his life out. Brave I mentioned to him, to do that. He thought it didn’t have much to do with courage. This viewpoint I believe changed after his second Ayahuasca ceremony, for the third he felt anxious enough to need courage to journey into the energetic world again. I joined him just for the first session. Pitch black outside and the jungle fully alive at night. There was lightning in the distance all night which just lit up the whole skyline of which we had a 180 degree view from the ceremony space. The ceremony was led by a local curandero called Merdardo, quite introvert in the interaction yet singing such beautiful cheery and powerful icaros (healing songs). Brown also played away a couple of times. As usual, I had to drink quite a bit of medicine to journey.
Back home I have worked with an Italian couple during ceremonies, who brew their medicine here in Peru. It consisted solely of the banesteriopsis caapi vine and the chakruna (a bush) leaves, the most basic ingredients for the brew. This time more plants were added, including datura (locally called toe). I have read and heard quite horrific stories about this plant, which is not meant for beginners. One being that the guy drinking the brew of the plant was standing in a supermarket weeks after the session, moving in and out of the datura space during broad daylight. Not for the faint hearted. Even though I have participated in 40 or so ceremonies, I still do not consider myself anywhere near knowing what this stuff is about. Consulted with Brown, who also had his own medicine we could use, which was without datura. He emphasized that there was a very low quantity of leaves present in the brew and that this would not pose any problems. I checked in with myself and found that I was remarkably calm, which led me to choose for Merdardo’s brew. It was very hard to hold it in, as after the second cup I had to vomit within 15 mins or so. Still not journeying… an hour later asked for another round which also came out of the front within the same time span. The night was mainly physical, I didn’t experience any visions or energetic movements. Only when All started releasing, was I moved to work on him. I moved hands and started to make sounds, such as also have happened back home in The Netherlands.
The songs sung by Merdardo were just incredible. They made my body shake and shiver. I had a gentle Kundalini awakening, which I have also previously experienced with the medicine. Like I said, not so many visions, insights or teachings but enough physical bodily reprogramming. It was a nice way of arriving in Peru and to share this first journey with Allan. I heard from him that his second and third session were just magic. He learnt about the armour around his heart, got reconnected with his grandfather and forgave his father. He even came in contact with an alien race who have helped him heal his lower back problems. Being a chiropractor, he asked if he could call upon them again, whenever he would encounter difficult clients. They said “Sure, no problem” and he asked them what he should call them. “Just friends” he got back. Gotta love the extra-terrestrials’ answers sometimes. Very happy for All and his healing process. I am less and less surprised by the incredible healing stories of others. Yet at the same time I notice envy, a want to again experience this deep beauty of the medicine. My very first few ceremonies in my home town have been beyond expletory possibility. Probably this is what the plants are teaching me lately. To become more patient. To become more centred. To work on expectations more. To work on envy and jealousy. This is what I have been hearing over and over from ayahuasqueros: The plants will give you exactly what you need in this moment. Nevertheless I feel somewhere blocked or halted in my spiritual development. It is for this that I am in Peru, amongst others.
The next day I worked with some mushrooms from the Netherlands, together with my friend Ineke here. Pretty mad night, I had it easy though. Her story may be too private for the web and is not up to me to share. All I can say, it was very good that I was present, I don’t know what would have happened with her otherwise!!
I must say, it have been two very interesting weeks already. I worked with a herbalist called Jorgé Luis Wasabi, a 70 year old local curandero (healer) who has been working in a lineage of herbalist and shamans, both father and grandfather at least for as far as I know. Ineke had met the man a few times before and had a good feeling about him. We first worked with a plant called oje, to see if we could strengthen my digestive system which has been dysfunctional for the last three years. That did not intoxicate me or make me sick. Neither did I feel any change of my energy. For Ineke it was quite intense. Mind you, she has been living in the jungle for the last 3 years doing a lot of this work already.
Mr. Luis had prepared special flower and plant baths for me that I was to take for 3 days in a row at midnight, following the ‘oje’ and preparing myself for the next dieta (plant diet). Very beautiful experiences. It smelled wonderful and it electrified my hands and feet while coming back into the house. Definitely something happening there. Last Friday, 4 nights ago, I got administered a mix of chiric sanango and tobacco juice. This was much more intense. It pretty much numbed my face, made my body shiver and tremble, caused a severe around my solar plexus, made me really cold at night and caused enough discomfort and intoxication to not be able to sleep for a while. I’ve heard of two methods of working with this plant so far. Either a strong one time dose, or multiple weaker dosages over subsequent days. Apparently it was best for me to take a single strong dose.
At home and in Ireland I have been experimenting with the shamanic drum, to reach an altered state of consciousness. The same can be done with psychedelic plants such as magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca, Peyote, DMT, cannabis, Iboga and many more (synthetic) substances. With the plants I have mostly been able to journey, to arrive at these altered states to gain knowledge and receive teachings. New perspectives on life you could say. It allows you to open to doors between your conscious and subconscious mind to see what is blocking you from progressing in life, or to process traumas, or to simply learn new knowledge about life and the universe that you have never ever seen or heard before. The drum can also be used for this. Many tribes all over the world actually work with drumming, singing and dancing to reach altered states of consciousness for their wisdom and spiritual growth. Up until Peru, I have always had difficulty with having clear visions during these sessions. I have now only experimented three days and the visions have become clearer than ever before. Last night I met a Sumatran tiger, a leopard, a white lion on who’s back I rode through snowy landscapes, I morphed into an eagle to soar over the Amazon to finally shape shift into a German Shepard and chase tail with another dog of the same race, through European like pine forest.
My dreams have also become a lot more vivid and interesting. I remember almost all of it when I wake up. Super clear. In one dream I have been changing states of consciousness within the dream, while being aware of it. Don’t remember that happening before this clear either. Furthermore, I have been ‘attacked’ by dark energies on the second night after the chiric sonanga in dream time. As soon as I woke, I could instantly centre myself, radiate love and light and would calm down within seconds. I am very happy to have learnt so much already, now that I am here. The third night these energies, or others (hard to tell) came into my dream time again. There I recognised already what was happening in the dream, could focus my energy and apply a similar concept of love and light. I could see the light burst out from my heart space. The darkness soon dissipated. I am still unsure whether these are just my own shadows or whether they are also external energies. Listening to many experienced people, both with mythological archaic and western psychology backgrounds, both possibilities are feasible. Another thing I hope to get more clarity on in Peru. Only through direct experience one can learn.
I was planning on keeping a video blog mainly but the internet quality here has not developed as much as it did in the west. Maybe the spirits will one day teach me to turn a tree into a satellite transmitter. I do keep the vlog on a daily basis. Folks at home will have a lot to watch of my process, if they are interested and have the time.
Today in a shop we bought San Pedro cactus to do a ceremony during daylight tomorrow. It is beautiful to see that The Netherlands is not the only country where regulatory bodies are more accepting of people moving into altered states of consciousness. I believe it is up to ourselves to decide what we do with our consciousness and that is actually our birth right to have these experiences of expanded reality. For there lies the true understanding of who and what we are. For there lies our reconnection as a species with the plant world, the magick that we have lived for tens of thousands of years (if not much more) and which has gone lost since the coming of Christianity a few thousand years ago.