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A Different Ayahuasca Experience: Honoring the Mother Plant

ayahuasca-vine1Shamanic ceremonies entered my life three years ago when I ‘coincidentally’ received a massage from a woman training to facilitate them.  I instantly felt like we’d known each other before (MANY lifetimes, I now realize) and she was shy to discuss or start such work in our area where holistic practices aren’t yet widely embraced or understood.  I felt pulled to work with her and became her first private client.  She and the range of plants she worked with were gentle yet facilitated intensive spiritual and emotional exploration and healing.  Our sessions reframed the painful experiences of my past to reveal the love within everyone involved and the purpose and lessons behind them.  I was discovering and healing pain that had been unconsciously driving my life choices and decisions for years.

Yes, I said this was an article about ayahuasca and it is, but I began where I did to reveal the value of many different healing plants.  Not long after meeting my facilitator, I had an opportunity to travel with her, her shaman, and a full group of 70 people into the Peruvian Amazon for a ceremony.  I honored “la dieta” strictly for 30 days prior to prepare my body in case he chose ayahuasca for me.  The shaman did not and I was crushed.  He explained that I was not yet ready and it would really hurt me.  The plants he gave me and my entire jungle experience were profound, and I later grew in my understanding that the ‘mother plant’ can indeed cause deep depression, psychotic breaks and much other damage when given to someone in certain emotional states.  I love and revere him for respecting me when so many other shaman will give it to anyone who asks and pays them.

This year I finally received my first ayahuasca experience.  I had researched and was quite nervous that she would treat me harshly, cause me to vomit or lose control of my bowels, take me into dark scary places, or many other such intimidating warnings I’d read on the Internet.  However, I also instinctively knew she would be as gentle or harsh as I need her to be, and that my degree of resistance to her would shape my experience.  Preparation went beyond the diet as I crafted my intention for full surrender and trust.  My fear morphed into respect and I knew she would reveal my Highest good.   “Take me where you will.”

Surprise!  She didn’t take me anywhere at all.  She flowed through my body, filling me with profound presence and an unconditional loving acceptance for myself and all that I am right here, right now.  She knew that here is where I struggle to be and accept myself, and here is where she taught me.  Every sound, sensation, light, color, and feeling I had were intensified as she reflected back to me my own rich, abundant, exciting self and life.

I did not have hallucinations or any of the things they had described online.  I completely surrendered to her and she responded with soft, powerful love.  My body vibrated intensely for a long time, as it does when I have cold shivers only much stronger.  I felt her lovingly ‘cleaning my house’ and ‘making space’ as she worked to balance the imbalances and rewrite bits of my DNA.  At one intense part of my experience I was guided to ask the Universe for anything I wanted, excited that my heart’s deepest desire responded asking for guidance to live a fuller expression of myself, make the difference I came to make, and serve as a portal for the ascension of those seeking it.  I felt a even more filled with peace.

In a mother’s unconditional love, we can finally start to love and accept ourselves with all our flaws.  In this sense, she is truly the mother plant.  We also played as she taught me about the creative power of sound and more about my role with that.  I changed and played the crystal bowl a while and finally fell into a deep, restful slumber.  It was as if I were being cradled in a mother’s arms.

Will my next ayahuasca journey be this gentle or calm?  Will I get sick?  I don’t know but I will surrender to her fully and I believe she will be as gentle a teacher as she can be.  That said, if I need to rid my body of energy that is no longer serving me, she may guide me to be sick.  If so, I will.  The one thing I won’t do is take her when I cannot or will not fully surrender.   And that is all about self-love, the key I was severely lacking when the shaman lovingly withheld her from me before.

Our journey to self-love and acceptance is unique.  I know that the plants support us beautifully in expediting emotional and spiritual healing and empowerment.   In fact, the more we work with organic, nutrient rich plants in our food and as medicine for our emotional and physical well-being, the healthier we will be.  Plants grown in love and used in Divine ceremony help us navigate emotional and physical pain we are carrying (consciously or unconsciously) in our bodies. While all plants are invaluable for their roles, ayahuasca is the mother.

My intention in writing this is to demystify healing plants, particularly ayahuasca, so they may be treated with honor and respect, held in loving reverence, and their habitats protected and nurtured.  Let’s take care of those who naturally restore us!

With love and gratitude,

Sheryl Sitts, MPA, BA

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