I sat anxiously on my mattress in the Moloka waiting for the ceremony to begin. Thirty of us had gathered around the world to take the sacred medicinal plant San Pedro in a Shamanic ceremony in the Andes Mountains Ecuador. San Pedro is the masculine plant to the feminine plant Ayashuca. The Shaman Santiago explained if ayashuca gives you the knowledge San Pedro gives you the wisdom. At 9pm we were all offered our first shot of the medicine. It took an hour to kick in. During that time Santiago blew alcohol in our faces to rid negative spirits and sang ritualistic songs with long leaves that acted as morockas. After the second cup was offered we were given the chance to ‘face the fire’ and individually place ourselves before the flames and the Shaman.
It was my turn to face the fire. To face the truth. I felt confident and strong as I sat down and crossed my legs on the leopard skin. Santiago asked me to say my name four times. I smiled obnoxiously trying to cover up my bouts of anxiety which were starting to swell in my chest. ‘Aimee, Aimee, Aimee….Aimee’. He looked at me so intensely it felt like he was staring into my soul, ‘Are you Aimee or is that who you pretend to be?’. The question felt like a burning steel sword had just sliced straight into my heart. I began to weep and then wail. My whole life I had been running away from myself, trying to be anyone else but my true self. He saw straight through my bullshit. The crying became so intense that I surrended to the pain in my heart and I began to feel like an old lady. I was dieing. My lips became dry, my face felt wrinkly and my body shriveled. Santiago told me we need to be reborn for a new beginning. After that I lost all sense of my body and I screamed as my old soul of self-hatred released itself out of fingertips…like being sucked out with a vacuum. I felt light, as if something that has haunted me for so many years was gone. My body became a female lion and my hands gave a paw sensation. My spirit animal revealed to me on the matt symbolising true strength and courage. A sense of peace washed over me…something I had not felt since childhood. His wife Hermaina then bend down next to me and gently put her hand on my heart. She told me I was an angel and lifted both my arms and I could feel white-feathered wings. I returned to my mattress in a state of both exhaustion and euphoria.
After that intense experience I enjoyed closing my eyes while the plant took me on a journey of a kaleidoscope of colours and holographics. Unfortunately no sacred geometry patterns…. I guess the universe didn’t think I was ready for that yet. I did however get images almost as enlightening including holograph visuals of smiling cat faces and Buddha as a rainbow potato with carrot arms. The medicine lasted a long time about 12 hours and the ceremony lasted till 11am the next day. Before Santiago closed the ceremony we blessed the water we were about to be given. Although we haven’t had a drop in 15 hours I felt so blessed and grateful when I did get to have that first sip realising how much I take it for granted. Without water I wouldn’t be alive and yet I waste it without giving it a second thought. Santiago was showing us that we have forgotten to be eternally grateful to the Mother we all share. Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate and we belong to her not the other way around. In just 15 hours I found my true soul under layers of old emotional pain and connected back with the earth. The ceremony forever changed the way I look at the world and myself…not with the mind but with the heart.