Ayahuasca and Mental Inception – Rio de Janeiro Forest
Ayahuasca and Mental Inception – Rio de Janeiro Forest – March 15 – 2014
We were up early to meet a group of three other gringos at Central station at 10am. We were early. We were tired. We caught an air conditioned seat reclining nearly empty bus to somewhere outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was not in charge so I had no idea where we were going and I did not really care. I just knew that the road was taking me to a place I have never been to in my consciousness.
After lunch in a sketchy town outside of Rio in which I was told to not eat red meat to hopefully avoid probably future vomiting, us five gringos negotiated $14 Brazilian Real ($4.60 US) per person motorcycle taxi to take us very far out of the town and down a rocky dirt road into the forest. We had grocery bags of fruits and vegetables and I was carrying a tent to get through the next 30 hours. After the bikes took us as far as they could, we walked up a path through the forest in the heat of the day for about 15 minutes and then took a break on the side of the path. This is where my group introduced me to rapé. Wait, that looks weird. It is rapé, with an accent, and not just rape with something like a French accent. It is a different word completely. This was a weird journey, but not rapé weird. Rapé is pronounced ‘Ha-Pae,’ just so there is no confusion.
Anyhow, rapé is just like sniff snuff. It was widespread in Brazil until the early 20th century, but it is a big part of the ayahuasca/Santo Daime scene. The indigenous peoples of Brazil are thought to have been the first to use ground tobacco as snuff. They use an ‘V’-shaped applicator in which one end is loaded with the snuff. That end is placed against a nostril and someone blows on the other end to shoot the snuff into your nose. It seems that once you become handy at this practice, you can fill the applicator yourself and then blow on one end with your lips to shoot the tobacco up your own nostrils. It was an intense rush, and I was told that they like to use it because it opens up paths within you and gives a sense of clarity. I would say it clears your sinuses. It is a crazy surge no matter how you view what happens. It made me dizzy, my legs shook, and my eyes got very watery. I was told to ask for something when I took it. I asked for a positive experience. I am not sure if rapé is for me, but the rest of my crew really seem to enjoy rapé.
I took my belt off and put it in my backpack as we moved on. It did not seem like I was heading to a place to appropriately wear a ‘Bad Mother Fucker’ belt buckle, even after trying rapé for the first time. Then, at the end of the path, which was about another 30 minutes of walking through the forest, we passed a waterfall just before reaching the church. This was not a the church that just flashed though your mind with ‘big doors and a steeple.’ It was more like a building with a roof and walls, and in the center of the room was a pole with depictions of a cross on it. A gringo couple I was with had brought a painting of Jesus and a painting of Mary. The one carrying the painting of Jesus showed it to me on the way. He said, “Check it out. It has Jesus shooting lasers. Pretty cool hey?” I had never seen anything like it. I asked this friend how he had found ayahuasca/Santo Daime. He told me he had found it through someone he was with in narcotics anonymous in the United States. He said he met a spiritual native Indian there who directed him on this path.
Everyone in my group told me that they liked my spirit immediately and they told me that I will likely have a great experience. They asked me what I am looking for. I told them, “I want to see my inner spirit.” One of the veteran girls told me that is one of the best answers she has heard.
So, we headed to a rock just away from the church where we sat and sang hymns in Portuguese. They chose a rock to sit on the get in touch with nature. I was told that the hymns are channeled from spirits to people who translate them into words and write them down. After singing for a stint, we headed towards the waterfall for a swim to feel alive and to feel fresh from the heat of the day. Then we came back to the church to change clothes. I wore jeans and a rock and roll cowboy shirt. Everyone else was wearing matching white long sleeve dress-shirts and ties, men in slacks and women in long shirts. A woman had a hula hoop and we were having a go at it outside of the church, but we were told to stop. Having fun was not good for the future of mental conditioning. That seemed very churchy. Some locals came. There where children there. I later remembered to count the people in the haze that would follow.
We were segregated in a circle around the pole in the middle of the church, and there was a sort of line drawn on the floor to keep the women and their energy on one side and the men and theirs on the other. The lights were on in the room and a smokey scent filled the air. There was a little Jesus to be taken in. Candles were lit. The Santo Daime drink was poured into a small glass. Santo Daime/Ayahuasca is the result of taking the leaf from one plant and the vine from a different plant and boiling them together seven times. A three year old was given a small amount of ayahuasca while music and singing in Portuguese filled the air. Eventually, I was called up to the pole where the leader handed me the glass everyone had been using. It was a brown liquid, and there was about 125 ml in the glass. It had a bitter taste and I drank it down in one swallow. That was at 19:45 and I stopped keeping track of time.
After a short while passed and singing took place, my arms began to feel very heavy. It was dark except for the candle light and we all focused our energy on the pole in the middle of the church. I was told to not cross my arms or legs as I sat in my plastic chair, to keep the energy flowing as we were all as one. There were 14 of us when I counted, in the candle light with the crickets chirping around us.
These are the scribbles from my notepad, as my mind went to crazy places…
– I feel very emotional right now.
– We are now singing hymns to cover the sounds of vomit coming from the people who have had to get up.
– There is a mess inside of my head. I have been trying to keep it tidy for years. It is difficult to keep it organized and neatly filed.
– My legs were super wobbly as I headed back to my chair after the leader gave me another drink next to the center pole. We just had a second round of ayahuasca/Santo Daime in the candle light. It was 1/2 of the amount that we had initially consumed.
– I have very watery eyes.
– I just had a visual of being inside of my mind and wanting to smash the plaster castings of the shape inside of my mind that creates the prejudices and stigmas that I carry and use.
– It is very dark inside of my mind. I am in a little room of pointy angles of my imagination jetting out at me. They are animated points, like a cartoon lightning bolts and pointy cupboards in a house.
– I am totally insane right now.
– I have huge eyes and I see flashes of things that do not makes sense. For a moment, a book of hymns floats in the air. I blink my eyes and it disappeared from where it was.
– My eyes and nose will not quit leaking.
– I am delirious right now.
– I refuse to make eye contact as I furiously write words.
– We sit in silence, but when someone goes to vomit, everyone begins to sing hymns. A guitar plays and a drum beats with the words.
– It is hard not to fall into my mind, even though everything around me is very cool. People are chanting in the candle light.
– Sometimes a weird flash of a shape blasts though my thinking mind. Like I am thinking about my childhood, and then the image of a dinosaur shoots though my head. A brontosaurus, but it is ferocious. It is just an image flash, like a bump in the road, and then I go back to my childhood and continue with the same thought I had been on.
– I am weeping. There are dark parts of this experience because it takes you to places in your mind that you closed the door on a long time ago. There is a lot of reflecting. But, I have seen a lot inside of me that makes me smile that I really like.
– Around me, a grown man bawls. A woman cries. I am the smiling nutcase on the edge, with crazy darting eyes, writing like a maniac.
– I just started to make eye contact again. They just turned on the lights.
– This is full of weird childhood memory threads that I never completed, like looking at an apple tree in the yard at home as a kid, but then my childhood dog distracts me in that moment while I am looking at the tree and I never got to finish the thought in that moment due to the distraction. I have found the ends of a lot of those unfinished threads.
– There are a lot of things going on in my head.
– The lights are on and it is a beautiful moment of everyone singing together.
– I am on the verge of insane at this moment. It is awesome.
– An encyclopedia of things have just gone through my mind. It is hard to compress it into words. Some of the emotions do not translate into vocabulary.
– Sometimes I hallucinate that there are things falling out of my pockets.
– I spend about 15% of the moment conscious of what is going on around me. The rest of the time I am very deep into my mind. It is just so easy to be there right now.
– I wonder if I am becoming a little more insane as time moves on. But I do not want to seem like a strange case or a mad scientist some day. I always want to be a guy who sort of had his head on his shoulders.
– My mind trails off on other thoughts as I try to hold onto the thoughts I am writing.
– I am starting to leave a trail of hurt behind me. I never used to do that.
– I feel like I need to shut my mind off for the night.
– I have been though a lot mentally. My brain is exhausted.
– I try to focus on the moment around me but I keep drifting into my mind.
– All I want to do is go to my tent and go to sleep to shut off my mind right now because it is so tired.
– My brain never stops thinking about women, ever. There is always one lingering in my thoughts.
– I am drinking water from a glass with bugs in it. Jungle living.
– We are taking a break.
– So, now we have gone to the big rock to feel nature. People are blowing snuff up each other’s noses.
– There are a lot of people vomiting right now. We keep on singing hymns over the sounds of vomit. I have held it all of mine in. It is beautiful to sit here and sing.
– Back to the church to sing 12 more songs. We have sung between 50 and 60 hymns so far.
– We have just put the chairs away and we are dancing. We are in a segregated circle, and we are dancing and doing a little side to side step to the chanting hymns with the guitar.
– We have been on a really weird high together and we all went though crazy emotions together as one, battling though our minds.
– I just drank a tiny bit of the ayahuasca again. And wow it is ever bitter.
– It feels weird to not clap hands after a song finishes.
– We have finished and everyone is changing into leisure their clothing. Women take off their formal clothes to reveal a tattooed leg and some of the men have full sleeves of ink. It is funny. Everyone is here; a wacky Canadian woman who constantly craves attention, an English woman who lives in a tent, an American nightclub owner, this travel junkie, former coke addict Brazilians… Everyone had their reasons for who they have become.
– I told the guitar player that he has awesome Neil Young sideburns. He has never heard of Neil Young. But he also does not speak English, so it is hard to say which is which. I also gave a guy a thumbs up for his hot pink motorcycle helmet. He immediately pointed to his buddy to say, “It is not mine! It is his!”
– It is 5am we have headed back to the rock. I am going to bed. My mind is famished.
– Even seeing the darkness inside is good. It is all mental healing. My friend tells me that ayahuasca/Santo Daime is really good for helping people with drug addition because they see the insides of their minds. I think it is fascinating for seeing what make you you that you can be proud of and what you need to work on.
There was never a situation of blacking out or forgetting anything. It was more like my mind was in a different gear or state from the ayahuasca. I have seen parts of my inner soul. There are parts of it that need some work. There are parts of it that I am really happy with. What an experience it was to dive inside of me.