On the first night of the ceremony we stood in a circle holding hands saying a blessing and then waited in line for our first cup of ayahuasca. There were about 40 participants total. The Brazilian shaman Roberto looked strangely into my eyes and then poured my cup. I looked at him gratefully and he seemed to be looking through me into my soul, into my intentions. I noticed something peculiar about his facial expression, a kind of jestful gleam in his eye. We sang for awhile around the candles, which reminded me of singing in church. Roberto directed us to walk around in every direction, to break from pattern, to explore bodily movements. Then we all joined together in groups of three and sat facing one another holding hands. We looked into each other’s eyes, the medicine began to work. The Brazilian musicians began to play their instruments and the shaman suggested we let out sounds of breath. Our audible breathing evolved into a chant and eventually into full blown song with voices overlapping, creating a heavenly choir. It was extraordinary how our voices weaved together in a tapestry of healing sound. I harmonized with the other two people in our trio. All around there flowed an ongoing music of voices. Singing brought tears to my eyes, my soul was expressing itself. The woman to my right would sometimes give voice to strange primeval noises, like strange animal or goblinish moans. After the song died down, the three of us embraced each other. We had shared a beautiful, sacred experience.
The medicine was coming on stronger now and many of us lay down on our mats. A series of lines and geometric patterns subtly appeared in my mind’s eye. The lines zigzagged and reminded me of Aztec or Southwestern Native American style designs. They grew in length and joined with more complex geometries. Many different styles of architecture appeared on display. Some were like gothic architecture, while others appeared rectangular with right angles. I saw jellyfish and amoebae-like organisms passing by with thin little antennae extending like delicate fingers. The thought crossed my mind that I was being shown a kind of exhibition of artistic styles. Perhaps each style grew out of a particular culture or was the expressive style of entire race of beings?
These architectural designs were replaced by more complete visions. The most memorable vision of this first ceremony was of a serpent moving across my field of vision. It had triangular patterns on its back and moved in a linear manner, making abrupt shifts, changing colors. The flying serpent morphed into a beautiful flying dragon. I vividly observed the contours of its majestic head. Then it transformed into a slightly different dragon, turning a metallic purple. Other notable visions I saw were these black and white, mischievous characters that I called ‘pirate clowns’. They wore masks and were a bit cartoony.
The second day began with everyone sharing their experience of the night before. It was helpful to hear from each participant about things they had learned and were struggling with. There was an amazing feeling of trust amongst us that allowed us to learn from one another and helped with the healing process. The ayahuasca brew was made stronger for this second ceremony. So there was a possibility to go much deeper than the night before. We were offered to drink three times throughout the day. I took the first drink and lay down on my mat, covering myself with a blanket. As the medicine began to work, a tunneled vortex opened before my mind’s eye and began to suck me in. The hallucinatory visions hit me so hard that my body was vibrating and pulsating with powerful electric currents. The visions were beyond anything I’ve ever experienced: dazzling fractal holograms bending and transforming in three dimensions. They consisted of all colors of the rainbow, especially blue, green, and yellow. Zigzagging fractals combined with a strong sizzling or cracking sensation. An incredible manifestation of energy — convulsive and probing— circulated through the different areas of my body. It was difficult to move. Much of the energy seemed to be directed at healing the ailments of my body (wrist, ankle, back, jaw, and sinuses). Throughout the day, I found my face wet with tears.
I observed a tapestry of geometric shapes and signs. One particular style reminded me of the Northwest Coast Native American tribes that you see on masks and totem poles (Haida and Tlingit art). The individual units of the designs could be used to build larger constructions. Other shapes were hieroglyphic and symbolic. While others were triangular and zigzagged, reminding me of ancient Aztec designs. I had the feeling that these interchangeable building blocks of design or expression were being downloaded into my mind. Was this how all ancient civilizations had developed their unique and characteristic forms of visual expression? Were the original artists of mankind given these stylistic forms during moments of ecstatic visionary trance?
A few times throughout the ceremony messages were given to me. The first message was, “Don’t waste the tools you’ve been given”. I thought about the gifts I’d been given and the skills I had developed and realized the importance of utilizing these ‘tools’ to help transform the world for the better. A second message that came to me was: “You were born to serve me”. This came as a profound revelation.
Another aspect of my journey was that I made contact with the people most important to me in my life. I saw my father and understood how much pain there had been between us, and I observed the healing process that had begun and the deep loving bond that connected us. I spent time with my grandparents and realized how special they were and how important a role they had played in my life. I saw my mother and looked into the deep pain that she carried. I felt her pain as if it was mine and cried for a long time. I felt a deep desire to wrap her in my arms and somehow lift her burden and bring healing to her. I saw how I had carried her sadness in my heart for many years. I saw my stepmom Sharon and felt a deep sense of tenderness and gratitude towards her for loving my Dad. I saw what an incredible woman she was. I spent time with my brother and a few of my best friends and communicated to them how important they were to me and let them know how much I loved them. In contacting each of these individuals who were dear to my heart, I realized how profoundly life matters and how much we impact one another. These relationships were sacred and connected to the deep fabric of life, allowing love to be generated. These connections gave life its meaning. In my gratitude for these life-giving relationships, I understood that the Divine Mother was revealing to me how much my own life force matters and that I participate in this powerful ebb and flow of love that connects us. I saw that my recent disillusion and thoughts about suicide would have caused an incredible amount of sorrow to my friends and family. In seeing how dearly I was loved by those people in my life, I realized that I played a vital role in the web of life-giving energy. I had lost sight of how important I was to others and felt the Divine Mother’s sorrow at how sick my soul had grown. She was healing me in the womb of her nest, removing the negative sense of hopelessness that had blinded me from seeing the beauty and meaning of existence. I had grieved the Divine Mother by the despair I’d fallen into. She was rejuvenating me with her love, showing me that my life has purpose and meaning.
During the final ceremony (day three), I decided to leave the group and be alone because I wanted to experience the medicine without the influence of the music. This was the most profound period of the three day workshop. Being alone in a quiet setting allowed me to go deeper and seek the healing that I so desperately needed.
I was given an incredible amount of knowledge, which centered around an encounter with the Divine Mother. I sensed the pain she felt for the sickness of the world. She was saddened by her misguided children who were not living in a right relationship with nature. Nature is divine, the spirit world is, in a sense, dependent on the material expression of creation. We are the offspring of the divine. Through the plant medicine the spirit beings are able to reconnect with us and teach us what we need in order to grow more fully into our divine nature. Each of us is an expression of the divine. The effects of the ayahuasca provides a temporal window in which these spirits are able to interact and work with us, which is why the experience can be so intense. The medicine gives the beings a rare opportunity to carry out rapidly assigned tasks on the human soul. They constantly update the system to make improvements (evolution, growth). Ayahuasca was being used to re-program me (updating my software). The spirits are also us, they are an aspect of us. We are all one and inseparable from this divine circuitry. We are the material expression of the spirit world. A message came to me which said: “the gods need us to have being”.
The divine circuitry is a system of networks that pulse with energy, which is love. This ensures that existence can flourish. This is how the Divine Mother cares and nurtures her offspring. I saw a great magic architecture that is the life of the cosmos. It involves a hierarchy of almost insect-like coordination where each being carries out specific tasks for the greater good of the hive. The hive might be thought of as the brain of God. This great beehive-like brain involves a technology that is absolutely breathtaking. Symbolically the brain (and the intricate network it represents) was represented to me as the flower of life or sacred geometry [image 1]. This brain-hive involves a higher order, a hierarchy of beings. Planets which sustain life are like eggs in nests. Each planet is cared for by a powerful divine being. The Divine Mother appeared to me in the form of a dragon and as the mother of the earth. Beings of a lower order, which are insect-like and task-oriented, work with the Divine Mother to care for us. Additionally, each universe (or conglomerate of worlds) is also like an egg and is looked after by divine entities of an even higher order. This hierarchy might be thought of as a tree of life and may involve ever higher levels of existence and beings [Image 2]. Within this higher order, I saw the ancient ones, the elders who teach us divine knowledge so that life can go on.
The work that was being done on me happened on many different levels. The death of my cousin Kevan which had caused a severe wound in my soul was of great concern to the beings. The Divine Mother allowed me to see Kevan and revealed to me the reasons why he died. “Kevan died for our sins” flashed through my mind. I was shown that his death happened because the world was sick. Kevan was a highly gifted individual of divine origin but he was damaged by the sickness of the world. He was unable to adapt to the insane society we’ve created. I realized that Kevan was ahead of his time. He was something of a magical person—and because of his highly sensitive character—he tragically suffered from the world’s sickness. I was shown that he and I were brought together for a reason. I could see Kevan, as if he stood in another world, and he came and embraced me. He held me for a long time and I wept profusely. He told me it was alright and that I needed to let go of the pain and use what I had learned to help bring healing to the world. The pain was washing away. After some time, I opened my arms and let Kevan go. It was as if a heavy burden that I had been carrying for a long time was lifted.
This process of letting go brought healing and made possible a further transformation in my soul. My spirit began to expand, and large, armored plates were installed on me. I was being transformed into a powerful, birdlike creature. My entire physical body went into strenuous convulsions. Incredible energy surged through me. I writhed under my blanket and couldn’t believe what was happening. My spine bowed as the crushing force of the metal plates were being fastened. I cried as the convulsions increased with intensity. I heard myself say ‘Oh my God’. As the process was being completed, I saw myself now as a giant supernatural bird, plated in metallic-blue armor. Some spiritual force of magic had produced an unimaginable transformation in my mind, body, and soul. I had been forged into a powerful hawk or eagle-like creature.
The reasons why I left Scotland and came to the Netherlands to take the medicine had become clear. I had lost my way and grown sick in my soul. The Divine Mother, through her love, had gathered me into her warm nest to renew my spirit, teach me knowledge of the mysteries, and realign me with the truth of creation. I felt her deep pain for the world and realized the profound nature of who we are. We are inseparable from the Divine Mother and heirs to a higher order which lies invisible to our senses.
The medicine began to wear off and I drew some pictures in my journal. One of the assistants, Jan, came to check on me and I shared my insights with him. He showed a keen interest in some of the drawings I had made and we had a good discussion about the interconnectedness of all life. Jan seemed excited about the things I’d shared with him and gave me a warm hug. Then I took a long walk outside on the farm and enjoyed the sunlight and cool breeze. After awhile I went inside the main room and joined the others in song and dance. Finally we gathered together, sharing our experiences and insights, and closed the ceremony with a blessing. Afterwards we enjoyed an outstanding dinner together.
Final thoughts: the medicine made aware to me that the spirit world is intimately connected, indeed it is one, with the material world. What we call ‘spirit’ on the one hand and ‘matter’ on the other are really two aspects of the same coin. Modern man has largely lost his connection with the divine, which is why all these terrible things are happening to the earth. Being disconnected from the spirit realm means being disconnected from oneself. The only possibility of healing the earth and bringing meaning to our lives is through direct connection with the divine. For the most part, organized religion has lost its roots with shamanism (i.e. ecstatic transformative experience) and therefore lacks the ability to connect people directly with the spiritual realm. In being cutoff from the source of life, masses of people are suffering from spiritual starvation. In not being connected to fundamental reality, we feel isolated and act in violence towards one another and towards the earth. The Divine Mother is mourning for her lost children. I am hopeful however, that a great awakening can and will happen. The very existence of this world is at stake. We must overcome and break free from the superficial, sham existence that we have created. Cultural conditioning is largely poison to the soul.
It’s worth noting certain changes in my lifestyle that transpired immediately following the workshop: I changed my diet to vegetarian and don’t feel a strong desire to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana. I’ve been re-wired and thus feel a deeper responsibility to take care of my body. I had neglected my health for so so long and now am learning to love myself, which means taking care of my body and not choosing destructive habits which lower my vitality and hinder my ability to communicate with spirit. I am a birdman and must use the tools I’ve been given wisely. There is a reason why we are here.