05 March, 2014

going back in to the green womb

After bathing in the shimmering river that lead down to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean ocean, I started making the steep climb up to the small shack, a pentagon shaped hut with a thatch roof that promised to be my home for the next 24 hours. I was ready to delve in to a dimension never consciously voyaged before. This was where I was to join a local shaman with my friend a 66 year old gentleman, Norberto from Taganaga as we go to take what the people call here ‘la medicina’.

La medicina promised me a cleansing like no other and while I have heard and witnessed accounts of people’s experiences with this indigenous herbal concoction, words do very little justice to the experience I was to undergo as I delved in to the green womb of the Earth mother in what I can only describe as a journey through life and death.

Cleansing the medicine on the fire
Juan the shaman started the ceremony with a presence ritual while cleansing the medicine on the fire. He chanted an indigenous mantra while shaking a brush made of leaves and rattles in worship of the mother in prayer.

Juan, the Shaman, blessing the space
The mother, I thought, the mother that will undergo a pain unbeknown in order to create life. A suffering and pain that perhaps, I realised, I had not considered before and this ritual triggered an insight and appreciation for all the women on this planet who give so much of themselves for their children.

The medicine spread through my veins,  as I stretched and started to feel my insides grumble as the potent liquid hit my stomach. I realised that perhaps it was time I lay horizontal as the sun slowly said its farewell to daytime in Colombia.

In that dark meditative moment, as I lay in nothingness I began watching the most incredible five dimensional colourful pattern form through the back of my eyelids. An evolving beauty so colourful and vibrant. A mesmerising inspiration flooded my consciousness in disbelief. I need to see nature. Nature. She called me and I followed her as I opened my eyes and walked gently like a toddler finding her feet walking in to a spot of grass nearby. I sat there, eyes wide and finally saw her. She moved, grew and formed beautiful shapes that were swaying and talking to me. I touched her and gave her love as the colorful patterns of life continued to form in the shadows. Creating a sacred space, I formed a protective dome around my being with an intention that what joined me was only for my highest good. I saw darker formations appear beyond the protective force field around my being like trapped spirits of the underworld looking for their home. I told them; forgive, surrender, let go like a voice inside my head telling myself the very same thing.

And then the bowels finally spoke up. They told me to find a hole in nature to which I had to do my own letting go. Most inconveniently. Nevertheless I stumbled through the shadows, nature guiding me, swaying in the direction I needed to go while pointing out brambles as I balanced barefooted along the pathway. In the darkness a fear cast over me, I breathed deeply as I hastily located the hole in the ground. I was stumbling back somewhat exhausted from my ‘release’, when a sudden wave of energy struck me and before I knew it, a sickness from the depths of my stomach seized me like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed suddenly as whatever weight within wanted to escape from a depths I hadn’t been to before. It purged out of me in a moment that gave me no time to think or breathe.

I crawled back to my spot of nature and lay in awe once more, more intensely, as the sickness and darkness were forgotten amidst a present moment that welcomed a new light. Tears fell as I saw symbols upon symbols floating in colourful lights in trans-dimensional beauty. ‘Be gentle’ said nature. ‘Be gentle’ she held me. And from that moment I was in love absolutely truly in love like a child seeing the wonder of the world through eyes that not only saw but felt it throughout her being.

Juan the shaman visited me from time to time to check I was ok and we shared musical notes, deep ommmmmms and spontaneious outbreaks of laughter as I rotated between lying in awe staring up at the cosmos, with sitting up in admiration at the beauty that surrounded me as nature continued to converse and play with me.

Enough came up for me. So much came up for me, so many epiphanies, releases, acceptances and realisations. I found answers to some of the big questions that had hung heavily around my heart for too long and I met a child within to whom I fell totally in love with. She giggled spontaneously and had no fear. Sometimes she was intense in her joy but I loved finding her in my heart and loved her in a way that I suppose now I see, a mother might love a child. 

Norberto in surrender after the cleanse
I practice yoga regularly and have had many of my internal ‘samskaras’ (sufferings) relieved through various therapies and retreats. While Ayahuasca came to my attention and curiosity over 3 years ago, I am glad that I allowed this time to pass before entering the green womb. The journey between then and now has been more enlightening than I could’ve imagined and I don’t know if I could’ve handled it all at once. I recommend one to take care and be true with oneself should the green womb call and not to rush that journey. It crossed my path when I was ready, in mind, body and soul.

I don’t wish to create expectations in the minds of others reading this as there is so much more than words can even begin to explain and each experience is unique to each individual. Nevertheless, if there was one message that Nature would wish me to share with anyone reading this, it would be this; love mother nature and stop fighting with life.

To that my inner yogini can finally say; I surrender Mother. You don't always make sense, but you are awesome and I can say I live without regrets.

Here is an old post on my first shamanic write up and I want to send thanks and appreciation to Rak Razam who I met in New York and who guided me back to the green womb of "awe".

Below is an extract from philosopher and researcher Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution
The experience induced by ayahuasca includes extremely rich tapestries of visual hallucination that are particularly susceptible to being "driven" and directed by sound, especially vocally produced sound. Consequently, one of the legacies of the ayahuasca-using cultures is a large repository of icaros, or magical songs. The effectiveness, sophistication, and dedication of an ayahuasquero is predicated upon how many magical songs he or she has effectively memorized. In the actual curing sessions, both patient and healer ingest ayahuasca and the singing of the magical songs is a shared experience that is largely visual. 
The impact of long-term use of hallucinogenic indoles on mental and physical health is not yet well understood. My own experiences among the mestizo populations of Amazonas convince me that the long-term effect of ayahuasca use is an extraordinary state of health and integration. Ayahuasqueros use sound and suggestion to direct healing energy into parts of the body and unexamined aspects of an individual's personal history where psychic tension has come to rest. Often these methods exhibit startling parallels to the techniques of modem psychotherapy; at other times they seem to represent an understanding of possibilities and energies still unrecognized by Western theories of healing. Most interesting from the point of view of the arguments made in this book are the persistent rumors of states of group-mind or telepathy that occur among the less acculturated tribal peoples. 
Our history of skepticism and empiricism would have us dismiss such claims as impossible, but we should think twice before doing so. The chief lesson to be learned from the psychedelic experience is the degree to which unexamined cultural values and limitations of language have made us the unwitting prisoners of our own assumptions. For it cannot be without reason that wherever in the world hallucinogenic indoles have been utilized, their use has been equated with magical self-healing and regeneration. The low incidence of serious mental illness among such populations is well documented.

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