We live beneath many layers. Some are for our protection, and some are for our control.

Armed with only a simple intention to meet a shaman, I booked a two week trip to Costa Rica for early November at a spiritual retreat in the jungle of Guanacaste. I was calling around different hotels looking for the shaman, and everyone told me “There’s no shamans in Costa Rica, you should go to Peru or Columbia!” Unhindered, I was guided to try this place near the Guanacaste coast which had a reputation for alternative lifestyles. When I called them, they pretty much said the same thing, but knowing it would all work out and seeing that they had an awesome 5-day cleanse program, I went ahead and booked the trip. A few weeks later, one of the hotel owners who happened to have a great deal of experience with a Peruvian shaman called me back.

“Your vision was correct! A Colombian shaman is coming to Nosara the second weekend of your trip!” she exclaimed to me via Facebook. It was the first of many synchronicities that would shower me on the trip, as it was perfectly placed right after my 5-day cleanse. It is highly recommended that you take a minimalist diet leading up to an Ayahuasca experience to make the most of it. Lots of meditation also helps. It was so perfect that I spent the week prior doing a full body cleanse at a yoga retreat that observed daily silence sittings at 7pm. I was as ready as I’d ever be for such a journey.

Having never experienced an Ayahuasca ceremony, or an Amazonian medicine man, I was blessed to participate in a 3-night event. The practitioner came widely regarded by many with experience, and I was in good hands. I was told that his stuff was ‘super strong Columbian!’ and he was an easy-going, mischievous soul (much like myself). It couldn’t have been any more perfectly laid out for me. Hailing from the jungle of Columbia, he was first dosed by his grandfather at age 7 (who is still in his body and over the age of 100). The Tai-Tai-Man (as I called him) was trained by said grandfather and has been practicing for a while, very wise for his young age of 27. He discussed sadly the large number of hoaxers in South America, and was even poisoned by one of them, coming within inches of his life. His medicine was touted as specializing in ‘cleansing’ and once again, perfecto for me!

There is a checklist for a ceremony. First of all, if you are taking any pharmaceuticals, don’t even bother. You could actually die from the interaction, so don’t risk your life! However, your list should include a yoga mat, blanket and pillow, a roll of toilet paper, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts (you might get hot or cold), pants, and socks (especially if you are in the mosquito jungle), and somewhere to puke. You might also want a chair. I was warned the first night that first-timers have mixed results, and expectations should be kept low. In my case, I dealt with some baggage back home that day and my head was a bit anxious. Also, it was the last day of my full body cleanse and I got a ride from my cleanse retreat to Nosara that afternoon, so it wasn’t exactly ideal conditions. I showed up around 7pm to a group of about 7 people sitting in a pavilion in the jungle around an altar. It was (synchronously and unknown to me) the New Moon, which is apparently the prime time to do a ceremony, and people were chatting.

“I just took some Iboga the other day,” said one of the guys, referring to an African drug of similar notoriety and chemical composition as the “ahh-way” as they call it. “That stuff will cure any disease! Cancer, AIDS, the plague, whatever!” This guy was apparently in Costa Rica to try some different drugs and find himself. He and his son where there for one of the 3 nights.
“It’s really dangerous,” said Mia, one of the women with whom I’d share the weekend. “They charge 6 grand at Ibogahouse for a session with that! It’s super expensive!” Mia was an Ayahuasca veteran, but had never tried Iboga.
“Nah, I just had it shipped from Africa and did it in my hotel room with my son watching over me,” he calmly said. “That shit changed my life!”

After a couple hours of meditation and conversation, the Shaman suited up in his garb consisting of all-white clothing, an extravagant feathered headdress, various teeth, rattles, and jingle-bells. He was a symphony when he moved. He came with a satchel of many different substances including tobacco, honey, and various other concoctions. We lined up and he did the first of many blessings on each sacred cup of the tea, and we each got our first dose of the weekend. Traditionally, the way he does it is one dose to start the night and another sometime after midnight to ‘ring in the new day.’ After he eyed me up and poured a full cup, I drank the vile-tasting concoction (consisting of only two ingredients) and sat on my yoga mat. As he only spoke Spanish, I didn’t get lots of guidance, but intuitively, I felt best to sit up straight on my mat while my stomach churned with nausea.

Within minutes, one by one, people started puking over the side of the pavilion into the jungle. I was rather impressed at how long I was able to hold it down. After about 30 minutes or so (time was so hard to judge), I had this terrible feeling of dread that someone was breaking into my house back in Austin, and I immediately lost my ability to hold the ghastly-tasting potion in my stomach, upchucking into the forest. I was confused, but felt quite sober (though still nauseous). This unending dread that someone was breaking into my house took hold of me and I went to the B&B owner and pleaded with her to let me somehow contact someone at home. She was also partaking in the ceremony, and she was already tripping balls. She decided to ask the shaman what to do, and his response was that it was part of the journey and I should sit down and clear my head, and he would pray for me. It was terribly hard for me to do, and I basically felt helpless in the middle of the jungle surrounded by a bunch of spuntards feeling sober and nauseous thinking my house was being ransacked.

After some time, I was able to sort of let it go, and I even managed to fulfill my first intention of the weekend: who am I and why am I here? Yeah, that’s a big one, but I found the answer, simple enough. With great discomfort, I started thinking to myself and even verbalized “I want to go home!” This reminded me of a childhood experience when I was sick with a fever hallucinating in my bed and my dad came in to check on me, and I shouted to him “I’m going home!” before crying myself to sleep. It seems that home was not Austin (or even Pittsburgh), but some far away galaxy in a previous life. This was told to me in a previous Akashik reading, but I felt it with a ‘knowing’ this evening. Things were much simpler there, much more so than this sometimes overwhelming experience of being human. I asked myself why I was here. Why did I go through this trouble to be a human? Why did I go through this discomfort of drinking this tea? After a bit, it came to me. My mission in this life is to share love and joy and light with everyone… Simple as that. Pleased with this answer, I began to sing…

“We are love! We are one! I am love! We were meant to be here now! La La La! Let us be! You and me! He He He! All of we! Can’t you see!” I rambled and giggled in a very childlike high-pitched and mischievous voice. In between singing, I’d get up to some very violent purging of my guts over the railing. At one point the Iboga guy offered me some sweet drink that tasted like ass, and I continued the noise making, releasing so much energy and sound, I must have been driving people crazy. I was lying in the fetal position on the floor rambling and singing and Gwen (also her first time) came over and told me to keep it down because I was making it really intense and hard for her. I smiled and thanked her, then sat and lied down in various uncomfortable positions on the mat.

I’d get up and wander around the space aimlessly, and was eventually called up for the second round after midnight. After more puking came some hardcore shits (fortunately, the bathroom was nearby–this stuff really was a cleanser!) There was a sense that it facilitated cleansing that which the body does not want or need, and the cleansing seemed to go as far as I could handle… taking me to the edge as it were, but not over the edge where i might lose an internal organ or something.

I was called up for a 1 on 1 healing with the Shaman and he performed some rites on me and told me (via translation) that I had high energy and a good connection with nature. He then instructed me to lie down and rest quietly on the mat. For the rest of the night, I lied in various positions trying to but unable to fall asleep as the ceremony continued around me with music, dancing, and healing. It was rather uncomfortable and unpleasant for me, so I left the next morning a bit perplexed. At one point, I even came to the realization that I have all I need inside and I didn’t need this drug. The next day, the analysis began.

After I got back, I found out that my home in Austin was just fine. I then interpreted the feeling as the Ahhway ‘breaking into my consciousness’ and I was resisting it, causing myself some discomfort. Best to welcome the medicine, as it knows what to do, as does your body. They’ve been doing it for so many years… release control… we’re breaking through.

However, as the weekend progressed, another synchronicity unveiled itself. On Saturday (the second day) Kyle, one of the other participants, said that he also had a feeling that someone was breaking into his B&B room and stealing his camera equipment. Also, Gwen revealed that she had a weird feeling that first night as well and had taken all of her personal possessions to the pavilion for peace of mind. Then, on Sunday, someone actually DID break into Mia’s room and stole her tablet PC! This hadn’t happened in years at this B&B, so there was definitely something going on here. Did we manifest it, or did we predict it? Or, was it a combination resulting in this bizarre synchronicity?

Ayahuasca tastes even worse on the way back up, but oh what tales it has to tell!

The next synchronicity came with a chair. I showed up on day 2 knowing that I absolutely needed a chair so I could sit comfortably. On the way in, I saw a really nice rocking chair, but ended up grabbing a lesser patio chair and put my stuff on it in the pavilion before going up to the B&B rooms to chat with people. When I returned, an old Latino woman had stolen my chair and I was told that she “was physically unable to sit on the floor.” I was a bit perturbed, but I then remembered the rocking chair! I grabbed it, and immediately fell in love with it. We were meant to be together that night! The old lady ended up not participating in the ceremony, but only received a healing. It turned out, she was on her period and the Shaman found out afterward. This is apparently a slap in the face to nature to perform a healing when the body is already healing, so the Shaman, with repent, took the same dose as the rest of us that night (he usually takes a dose 8 times stronger due to his tolerance). This old lady was sent to us so I could get the rocking chair and the Shaman could be on the same ‘wavelength’ as us that night. So perfect once again!

I was much better prepared this night, both physically and mentally. I got good sleep that afternoon; I had my rocking chair; I even had some big cushions for my yoga mat. I was ready to go! I also came armed with an intention to work with the tea instead of against it. I took my drink, and this time, it didn’t really taste that bad! I must be getting used to it! With an intention to see something from a past life, I started repeating to myself a poem I wrote to open my Akashik records:

I call the spirits from above, to help me see the light
And touch and feel the breadth of flow, to open the infinite!

I repeated this and interspersed it with surrounding myself with loving white light and asking the Ayahuasca and my body to work together for my highest self and greatest good. This was key! Through the night, I would also tell my body, “You know what to do!” which was something I learned from my body cleanse–the body parts know how to do their thing without us being conscious of it, but intentions can help!

After the obligatory barfing into the jungle, I sat down in the chair and experienced my first visualizations of the weekend. I saw various symbols like the eye atop the dollar-bill pyramid and the symbol for the artist formerly known as Prince, as well as some other widely-seen Illuminati symbols. I realized that each of these symbols were living entities in and of themselves… Thoughts and concepts are things too! I then made the realization that it was easier to visualize if I didn’t try to visualize through my physical closed-eyes, but rather through my forehead via my third-eye. This then launched me on a trip through timespace into the universe. I ended up (what I believe was) astrally traveling to my “home planet” in another galaxy (thus answering the “I wanna go home” conundrum). The vision was astral, so I saw textures and colors (lots of reds and yellows) as opposed to actually seeing a physical space, but I could perceive nonetheless. I was able to deduce and feel the scale of things at this place was much smaller than here on earth. I felt myself in a ‘little body’ with other ‘little people’ on a ‘little planet.’ It was like everything was just a smaller scale. I felt much bigger in my human body, like a large mammal.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a large mammal.” ~Jim Morrison

After concluding this work, I then moved on to working on physically healing myself. I began to puke really hardcore. At one point, I’m convinced I threw up an unwanted chunk of something that was previously (and unwelcomely) attached to my stomach. Also, through the night, I’d hack up a bunch of phlegm and mucus from my respiratory system. I had a slight cold before I got there, but I felt like this clearing was much more than that.

Anyway, during that second night, I kept telling my body “You know what to do!” and “Go ahead and clean up whatever you need to!” I intuitively started bouncing and moving my body around, contorting into various yoga positions almost unconsciously. I felt the symmetry and focused on symmetry in my body. I was in full consciousness the whole night, but I would let my body tell me what to do and without resistance, I’d do it. I bounced to get my lymphatic system moving and felt sensations in my thighs moving down my legs into my feet–my guess was my lymph system was doing some cleansing and draining in the process. I could actually feel it draining down my legs through the vessels! Amazing!

I also set intentions to either hack up, puke out, shit out, or evaporate into the ether any other shit that wasn’t serving me. Lots of coughing and hacking that did wonders, and at one point, I went into the bathroom. There were two bathrooms in a separate outhouse that were next to each other in the same building. I spent what seemed like (and perhaps was) hours in there. I’d sit on the pot but nothing came out at all, so I assumed it was getting purged into the etheric, which was cool by me. I got preoccupied and spent lots of time pondering, sitting down and standing up with my pants around my ankles. People would come and go in the room next to me and I felt like we could see each other and communicate through the wall.

At one point, I came to a major revelation that will stick with me forever. I realized that every object–living or not–has its role, and we are all doing our individual ‘work’ that we were here to do… From the planets, to the beautiful wood that the structure was made out of and holding it together, to the person that built the structure, to the toilet paper, to the toilet, to myself and my organs. Everything in the universe was working together in harmony as part of the ‘oneness.’ Everything was doing its ‘work.’ It was the first time really was able to ‘experience’ the oneness like that. I would look at the wood and tell it “you are doing a great job!” and the toilet paper as I blew my nose: “You are doing your work very well!” I was wearing my peridot ring, which is known to have a calming effect and “heal the healer” and I thanked it for making this evening much more pleasant. I ruminated about everything, living and nonliving, as well as all the people i knew… we were all doing our ‘work’ to help each other in the ‘oneness’ of the universe. It was and still is to me very profound. I reflected on an experience when I was a child at Lake Erie, where I spent an entire day building a tunnel through the sand. I returned to that place years later and the tunnel was still intact. I thought of all the energy that flowed through it, like a portal to the stars, and all the people that marveled at my work, knowing I made a difference in the physical world, even as a young child. At one point, I feel like I zoomed in on the wood of the bathroom wall like an electron microscope, seeing the particles it was made up of doing their work. Eventually, Mia knocked on the door to ask if I was alright. “Absolutely!” I said. She then suggested that I come back to the center. “Great idea!” I exclaimed, as I returned to the pavilion around the altar.

The rest of the night was pure bliss. Every drink of water was heaven. Every lung hacking had deep meaning. I thanked every object in the universe for playing its role. I heard the ocean in the distance and used it as a sink to deposit any negative energy I shook away from myself, knowing the energy would be nicely dissipated by the vast sea. The shaman played his harmonica, percussion, and guitar through the night as we sang and whistled together. I threw down some awesome ecstatic dance moves, dancing with a grace and beauty I never thought this white boy had in himself. Gwen an I locked in, dancing and hugging each other as the shaman played. We manipulated the energy fields around the ether of the altar and each witnessed balls of energy flowing to and from us just by our intention. I saw the energy of the altar flow upward like a bonfire, even though it was just 5 candles, some sand, and a few crystals. The etheric energy fields were very apparent that night. At various times, the vibe would change to synchronized purging, as part of the symphony of sound. The energy flow reminded me of the tides and moon cycles, moving in waves through time. I saw why the ancients put so much credence in the flow of the planets and alignment, as certain conditions make things that are always possible more easy during certain moments… sort of a harmony of time. I naturally went into various yoga poses with an ease I never had, and breathwork came naturally. At one point, I got really warm and danced for hours with no shirt. The second night took the cake. It was an amazing experience that made the first night so worth it! I could feel the animals in the jungle around us, like they were out there watching us, spectating the ceremony and participating in the festive vibrations. Toward the end of the night, Mia asked for a third round, and I decided to participate by simply swishing some of the Ahhway in my mouth and spitting it out so I wouldn’t puke again. This is effective as well, as children are given the medicine under their tongue and it is absorbed well through the mouth. Damn, that stuff tasted so nasty! But it kept the vibe going for me a bit longer. At the end of the night, the Shaman did a ceremony for the monkeys that roamed the Costa Rican jungles and made their deep bellows in the morning. It was very entertaining. The spirits were pleased.

The third and final day started with my regimen of two daytime naps before my walk down to the pavilion of magic. After a brief bit of twilight mischief on the beach, we headed up to the hotel for a pre-ceremony chillax when we found out about the room being broken into. Mia was very gracious about it and telepathically thanked the thieves for not stealing her wallet and passport. Unbelievably right mind for such an unfortunate situation! Apparently, tablet PCs are a hot item in Costa Rica, so watch your stuff!

This time, I took my drink setting a specific intention for my future which I shall not reveal here. For, it is true that while one has the ability to manifest any intention, it is also true that external forces and people that cast doubt, fear, and hate can just as easily manifest a blockage of someone’s intention through their own jealousy, doubt, and hate. This is why it is often best to keep future intentions to yourself, especially those that might possibly be deemed impossible by others because they can add energy to the situation as well, even unconsciously.

I sat on my rocking chair and noticed that not only did the potion not taste so bad today, but I was also not becoming nauseous. This was somewhat alarming, but I assured myself that the Aya and my body knew what to do. After about an hour and no visible effects, I woke up the Tai Tai Man for another drink. Immediately, Mia and Gwen followed suit (Gwen reporting similar non-effect at that time). As soon as it touched my lips, the nausea was overwhelming. I went ahead and drank down the rest of it, but had to run to the edge of the pavilion to vomit over the railing, though I think most of the first dose made it to my intestines. I did more bouncing and shaking and then sat down in the rocking chair. After only a few moments, I saw a vision of a large sphere forming with many colors and rays extending out of it. It then proceeded to ‘download’ some sort of programming into me. It was really intense and hard to receive. I felt like the stream was throttling into me at a rate that was pretty much the maximum bandwidth I could handle without going totally insane. I felt that this was the program I needed to realize the intention I had set, and my spirit guides were gathered around the sphere watching the administration. I squirmed with discomfort, but knew it was somehow for my own good. Eventually, the download completed and I got up for another purge over the railing.

Calm again, I sat down and asked for maybe another download. This time, the image was of death and what I perceived to be evil. I saw a skull and crossbones, and I IMMEDIATELY rejected it, not wanting the evil to take hold of me. I was not afraid, but felt that I had to remove and release this evil, casting it into the jungle and the sea. It seemed to be a large and powerful evil entity, but i realized that I too am a large and powerful entity. I am a strong light worker with a good ability to conquer evil. I was reassured by myself. I am Shaman. Have no fear. I sent the entity love. I felt like in the process, it took a chunk out of the sphere of light I visualize to surround myself, and for a moment, the hole was there and darkness filled it. After a bit though, I realized that this hole was needed to allow me to regenerate an even brighter field of light underneath it, and thus dissolve the old shell so a new one could form, like the shedding of a snakeskin… The old shell was damaged, but the new shell forming under it was even stronger and brighter than the one before it! Everything was once again doing its role for the greater good, even the evil entities! The rest of the shell was intact as the new light bulged out of the hole torn by the entity, so the next couple of days, I spent some time using the doubt my parents had sent me when I explained some of my experiences to them to eat away the rest of the old light so that the new light could shine even more brightly. I am indeed a light worker!

I sat down again and saw some gentle visions, such as eyes looking at me, etc. All of my visions of the weekend were not like actual sightings you might see with eyes in daylight, but much more subtle. A skeptic could easily convince himself they are nothing, but I know better. At that point, the scene was pretty quiet. Rain fell on the pavilion with a soothing pitter-patter. Everyone was in their own little world and I got ants in my pants. I wandered for a bit, playing with the energy of the alter, unable to sit still. I started tapping on the floor and even hit a note on my melodica. Mia told me that my music was beautiful but I was disturbing the visions of others so I should go sit down and hear the music inside of myself. I’m so glad she did, it was the prodding I needed. Look within instead of always looking outside! I gave myself some rest and eventually fell asleep.

I had a couple of different dreams but the most notable was one where I was sitting in a building lobby. An old lady and two children walked through the lobby. The old lady asked if I was Russell and I replied that I was. She gave me a grave look and told me I was doing bad things. She said I was using vulgar language. She pulled out a book and showed me a page where I saw the word “PUSSY” on the page. She kept following me around, telling me that I was doing bad things. The message I interpreted afterward (and independently interpreted by the shaman) was that this was a motherly figure who was advising me to use better awareness in the future. I am a powerful force of energy, and I interpreted that, though I am definitely not a womanizer, I felt this tendency to bring girls close to my heart and then break their heart, and that I needed to use more awareness in my interactions with women so as not to hurt them. I have been feeling lately that I must remain single and unattached to fully actualize my life purpose, but it is so easy to develop a connection and fall in love with beautiful woman and they might fall in love with me. As I grow spiritually, I realize that with increased spiritual power comes an even greater increased spiritual responsibility.

In the dream, as she chased me around, I didn’t gain this understanding, as I thought she was just some evil crazy old hag. I inadvertently farted on her and she got really pissed and tried to throw me down the stairs. I ran to the sitter in my dream (we had a sober sitter that night for the first time), and the old lady chased me there and I awoke with a gasp that everyone in the room felt!

A few days later, I was flying home to Austin. I had a multiple-hour layover in Houston, but intentionally planned on catching an earlier flight once I’d arrived in Houston. What happened at the gate blew my mind. The old lady FROM MY DREAM showed up to talk to the girls sitting next to me, totally drunk from the airport bar, speaking with the same German/Eastern European accent as in my dream! As if that weren’t enough, by the luck of the draw, she ended up the person directly in front of me in the queue as we boarded the plane.

After the dream of the woman who manifested in physical reality two days later, the rest of the night was rather uneventful, but I got some great rest and didn’t feel sleepy the next day so i was able to enjoy a day at the beach and eating a full restaurant meal for the first time in over a week, as well as catch some of the Steelers game that next night. My sleep concluded with an insect biting me on the eyelid, waking me up abruptly again… Damn jungle. At that point, everyone else awoke and we concluded the weekend with some jamming, and someone got some really good video and pictures of me playing my melodica with the shaman. Everything was so perfect! We were told in the end by the Tai Tai Man that with each Ayahuasca experience, we continue to ascend, leaving the bad behind, strained through a colander. “Next time you do it, you will soar even higher!”

Overall, though the experiences of the weekend were nothing short of amazing, Ayahuasca is NOT a recreational drug. It is a medicine to be dispensed only by spiritually and chemically-qualified practitioners with the wisdom and experience to guide the participants through the journey. It is deeply spiritual, and I can now see why this is a religion, one that is even more valid than any regular old church. Through the weekend, the physical manifestations were unmistakable. Beyond the purging and thievery, Gwen reported the spirits even physically contorted her body like a chiropractor adjustment. I experienced much cleansing of my lungs, stomach, and even colon (even after a 5-day body cleanse the week before). The Ayahuasca performed further deep cleansing. I also felt really connected to the source and saw and experienced the inner workings of how we are all connected.

Every night was different. Every individual experience for every individual person and every individual dose is different. Keith reported going to a place where his physical existence as a human lost all meaning. It was beyond words in this realm. Gwen reported a CGI-looking spider at one point when she went to the bathroom that wanted to enter her. The Tai Tai Man said she should have let it because the spirits come in many forms. That morning, he acknowledged (via translation) “Don’t think your experiences are unusual or insane! I’m fucking crazy, man! I had a dream that the world was ending so I stole a sports car and drove it around really fast just to know what it felt like… the world was ending, and I wanted to know what it felt like to drive a sports car really fast!”

Ayahuasca is a powerful tool which has its roles and loves to work on connecting us. Of course, it is not ‘needed’ in life or growth, but it provides a rapid growth that would certainly take much longer without such guidance. Go into it with deep respect and invite it into your body and soul. Set firm and clear intentions, but do not set many expectations. The medicine and your body know what to do, so you must release control to break on through to the other side. Trust that the Ayahuasca knows what to do, as does your body. Strive for the light of love if fear is upon you, and be at peace with the occasional violent purge because it is for your own good. Namaste! God in me acknowledges god in all. Thanks for reading. Go meditate! — at Nosara. Costa Rica.

UPDATE: I get many requests on “where to find Ayahuasca” after writing this blog. The answer is: You don’t find Mother Ayahuasca, she finds you. Good luck on your journey!

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