The Ayahuasca Wave

I’ve been avoiding this post for some time, mostly because I have been unclear about how to talk about my experience publicly.

But here goes.

I do not take posting this lightly. I write this with great respect and humility. It is not my intention to sensationalize here. Rather, I want you to hear about my experience and then decide for yourself.

I thought about avoiding it some more, but my heart wants to tell you about what is serving me and my heart wants you to experience this if you are called.

I also consulted one of the shamans and asked about my intention to blog about the medicine. He encouraged me to share openly but avoid sharing who, where, when due to confidentiality and certain illegal properties involved. Made sense to me.

For the past 2 years, I have participated in semi-regular plant medicine ceremonies. Most have been with shamans who carry the sacred grandmother medicine known as ayahuasca.

For three years prior to my first experience of ayahuasca I avoided it and judged those who used it.

A personal account

Over a year ago, I had the hardest night of my life on this medicine. I shat myself, threw up on myself and thought I was going insane.  I was in a room with some friends and mostly strangers. I was crying out for help. I was dying. It felt like a psychotic break to the point where I lost all reference points and “me” totally disappeared.

I experienced deep terror that I don’t wish upon anyone. Fortunately for me, the inferno ended and I felt the deepest shame of my life that night. After many hours of hell, I came out the other side in bliss and ecstasy.

I crossed through a threshold that night that marked the true beginning of my ego death and spiritual emergence that is still going on today.

At this point, you might be wondering why I went back for more. But, for those of you who know me, you know that I am that devoted to uncovering the truth of reality.  And, while I have experienced the dark night, I have also see the other side, of blissed out LOVE.


Should you desire great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads. —Hakuin

The hero’s journey has always been my quest. I have been drawn toward raw, real, experiences all of my life.  In the past, I have explored “pushing through” and this is requires a whole different approach—receiving and surrendering.

Ayahuasca = love?

In my opinion, ayahuasca is essentially truth serum made up of 100% love.

Not the kind of feel good love you might think of however.

Many of us think that love is synonymous with good feelings. But from where I stand, love = giving me the opportunity to see myself (ego and my essence) and my games clearly.  Being loved in this way is showing me the utter rawness of reality with no filters or apologies.

Ayahuasca is not for everyone. In fact, I don’t recommend it unless you are very, very, very serious about waking up to the total truth of who you are.

If you are incredibly hungry for the truth and want to see the your own mind clearly, then it’s worth exploring under expert guidance.

If you participate more than once and welcome her into your life, she will show you more than you can ever imagine. Worlds beyond worlds. Painful and dark truths about yourself, cosmic love, past lives, your childhood, your future. If you work with her on a regular basis, you will potentially accelerate burning through your psychological blocks and other obstacles.

However, she comes at a very high price. Not monetarily. Your personality will suffer and you will see parts of yourself that literally make you vomit. Once she is in your system, there is no where to run or hide and you can’t get out of the experience until the medicine wears off, often 4-8 hours later.

If you resist her, you may feel nothing at all. Your unconscious might be too wiley and defended. Or she will amplify your resistance 100 times and make you feel how painful that is.

Everything you have ever avoided feeling will have to be faced. Everything you pushed down, stuffed. Everyone you have ever hurt, blamed, judged will be felt throughout your entire body.

If you come humbly with great reverence and ask and pray for deep healing, teaching and surrender, you will get what you ask for and then some.

I have never been so generously given to in all my life. Her love is unwavering and as big as all the cosmos combined.

Ayahuasca is a huge part of my spiritual path now. I am not a seeker looking for some one hit wonder that will take away my pain and show me a good time. Nor am I using this sacred medicine to avoid the day-to-day grind of the householder path I am on.

This is nothing like LSD, mushrooms, X, or even peyote. To compare them is simply inappropriate. To call it a drug is disrespect.

So what is it?

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is spirit accessed by a South America sacred plant medicine made by shamans that takes days to prepare. They mix two different plants, a vine and a leaf. Once the two plants are combined, DMT ( N,N-dimethyltryptamine) becomes active which gives the hallucinogenic effects. How shamans first discovered this still debated, but it’s obvious to me they spoke to plants and the plants spoke back.

Many folks use the name “grandmother” for this sacred medicine, thus suggesting it has a feminine essence. Traditionally it is known as yagé.  Some refer to ayahuasca as “the vine of death” because of the dying/rebirth process involved. Ayahuasca is considered a spirit that is called into the space by the actual brew and the shamans (see references and links below).

Ayahuasca is used traditionally as spiritual medicine to heal people, gain insight about the land, hunting information, and to receive guidance from the other side.

Ayahuasca as a brew is illegal in all states but two right now because DMT is a  Schedule 1 drug. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it is gaining momentum as a legitimate religious practice, specifically in the Santo Daime community.

Why is it becoming more popular now?

Why now?

I have no idea, but here are some guesses.

Ayahuasca is gaining more and more credibility in the medical world as a legitimate treatment for addiction. More on that here. Also, just google “ayahuasca addiction treatment” and see what you find.

It is also gaining ground as a legitimate spiritual path for Westerners.  Perhaps folks are tired of the guru’s human limitations. Perhaps with the growing consciousness movement and 2012 predictions, people are hungry for more immediate results and insights that address today’s challenges.

The clients I work with long for meaning and truths beyond books. People are in pain and have tried everything to relieve it or work through it and don’t see results. People are hungry for experiences that show them first hand what is really going on.

Some important words of caution

Ayahuasca used alone without working with your everyday relative reality has the potential of just being another spiritual bypass.  While I cured my sugar addiction with this medicine, it is not a magic bullet for your pain or problems.

Used in conjunction with ongoing integration work, group work, therapy, bodywork and being in a supportive community can further the development that happens in a medicine ceremony.

If your ego development is highly fragmented or fragile, you may run the risk of getting “blown out” and might have a hard time integrating your experience.

For the serious student, ayahuasca is gaining momentum in the States as a legitimate form of healing. It comes with risks. Do your homework and find the right shaman with legitimate credentials and experience.

If you want to see the nature of reality as it really is, I recommend this experience more than once.

References and links


A great recent podcast I did on the subject. Ayahuasca & Relationships.

This Wikipedia link is quite extensive and helpful for a big educational overview:

This post was orginally on the National Geographic website, but is “no longer available.” Interesting. But I found it here:

This is a new movie out in 2010 that looks quite good.

This short vid is worth the watch.

Another interesting video:

And great photo gallery of making the medicine:

Feel free to share your links and personal accounts below!


  • Clinton

    Reply Reply December 6, 2010


    This is great man. I've been curious about this medicine, but I am fearful of the social reprecussions (legal, professional, judgement from peers, etc). I'm also scared of what I would find down the rabbit hole, and fearful of the dying process.

    Props to you for the courage you are living and the responsiblity you are practicing.


    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 7, 2010

      Cool. No rush and keep trusting your own path brother!

    • Greg

      Reply Reply June 25, 2012

      Don’t be fearful of death because this fear you feel is only an illusion. Physical Death is an important element of your physical existence for it is necessary for incarnation and your spiritual growth. You are eternal for there is no such thing as death. Don’t allow world culture and all it’s illusions to fragment your psyche and soul. Once you take Ayahuasca you will fully realize all this. People of this world cannot teach you what ayahuasca will teach you, it’s an entirely different school from what you’ve known in your present consciousness and conditioning.

  • Bob Munro

    Reply Reply December 6, 2010

    I've personally done Ayahuasca on 4 occasions, with a Peruvian Shaman, and it was amazing. Once I did it 24 hours apart. My trips were not as difficult and severe as yours were but they were every bit as enlightening. Not all journey's are as difficult as what you had. I recommend it to anyone.

    BTW, no one has ever died from it or become addicted. I recommend you read a book called The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby, you can find it on eBay.
    Bob Munro Vancouver, Canada

  • Justin Park

    Reply Reply December 6, 2010



  • Rkymtgirl8

    Reply Reply December 7, 2010

    As a woman that has journey'd with this particular medicine over 70 times, as well as assisted in many ceremonies I can say that yes, she is an amazing healing plant on many levels. I mention my number of times to establish credibility. There is however an EXTREMELY dark side, an almost addictive quality to this plant. As we become spiritually mature our chakra's open like lotus flowers to receive more information and become stronger to protect us as they are more open. The Grandmother instantly opens these chakra's wide to receive much information but you are left “on that other side” exposed to the darkness (as there is equal darkness to the light of course) unprotected by mature, naturally opened chakras. Many I know never fully recover. At one time we “needed” this type of blast off to open ourselves. Now we have yoga, breathwork and meditation, as well as a population of people that are naturally energetically more open and more highly sensitive than decades ago. What this plant does to your nervous system FOREVER is something that should be seriously considered. I am not against it's use. I am 100% against the “trend” of communities coming together for these weekends without ongoing support or thought of the long term ramifications. Do I regret my use? Yes and no. I love the knowledge, the healings, the visions and the knowings that came. Do I regret what it did to my nervous system and the years of unwinding from the “static negativity picked up”? Yes. Very much so.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 7, 2010

      Wow, this is very helpful. I'm so glad you commented so honestly given all of your experience. I have often wondered what life might look like 70 ceremonies deep. I will walk with care. Thank you, thank you.

      Can you say more about the “static negativity?” What do you mean there? Help us get what is not helpful.

    • Robouroboros

      Reply Reply December 15, 2010

      A interesting 2-sided post….curious…

      Does “EXTREMELY dark side” result in the addictive quality? Seems counter-intuitive.

      “Many I know never fully recover”? recover from what? what is the implied damage done? Does “many” equate to the majority you know? Of these “many” how many times have they journeyed?

      “Now we have yoga, breathwork and meditation”? – wait, didn't we already practice those *before* being introduced to this plant medicine?

      Exactly what does this plant do to your nervous system that lasts FOREVER?

      What has happened to *your* nervous system? Is this the same results that the “many who never fully recover” are left with?

      With just four journeys under my belt I'm quite interested in your follow-up responses. There is a plethora of info out there on Aya, some of it possibly even legit. From what I've seen, yours is the first info that has proposed long-term negative ramifications from repeated use.

      Please, with your 70x wisdom, give us more concrete info! And thanks for your post.

    • Diana Johns

      Reply Reply October 13, 2014

      Greetings Rkymtgirl8, My name is Diana in Florida USA May I converse with you? I am questioning the Nervous System issues you mention and the years of unraveling you mentioned. Namaste’

  • Reuvain Bacal

    Reply Reply December 7, 2010

    Thank you for the very brave and highly important sharing about this sacred medicine that has been instrumental in my own growth and healing. I believe that your courageous and heart-full work supports the paradigm change that is now underway on our planet.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 7, 2010

      Thank you brother. Good to be on the path with you.

  • nina golden

    Reply Reply December 7, 2010

    we are the caretakers of the living library, and there is much to do!

  • Jesse Johnson

    Reply Reply December 14, 2010

    Thanks for your bravery in sharing your personal experience, not only with this plant-based love, but with your willingness to free fall into your own truth. As I read this, I experienced a mix of fear, curiosity, and excitement as I imagined taking my own plunge in this way. Thanks for providing the opportunity for me to look at myself this way. Well wishes on your continued path, brother.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply January 10, 2011

      Thanks man. Always good to have your voice in here.

  • Jway001

    Reply Reply December 15, 2010

    Awesome Jayson, I imagine posting this must have taken some real personal courage and trust. As a client of yours for the past few years and a current intern of an organization that uses ayahuasca in addictions treatment I feel relived and pleased to see this side of you coming through, this definitely seems authentic. Thank you for writing your thoughts and feelings.

    I agree with you that terminology like 'drug' is disrespectful, but I have also never 'hallucinated'. However, I do modify my consciousness regularly. I spoke with Dr.Mabit briefly today and I think he’s doing quite well after weekly ayahuasca sessions for many years, however he did express some feelings that allowing temporary visitors to participate in more than one ceremony was ‘too much’…I'll have to explore and clarify that further with him. His simple recommendation for working with modified states of consciousness therapeutically was the importance and necessity of a solid structure with a competent director.

    What is present with me right now in working with 'patients' is just how powerful their ayahuasca sessions can be depending on their level of vulnerability and the importance of processing these experiences via written work, art, awareness, and dialogue, etc. I think that is also important to note that ayahuasca is only one of many medicinal plants used here and that much of the cleansing and subtle work of these medicinal plants is a sort of cyclical reciprocation, which may be considered a commonality within some regions and cultures of Amazonia, yet not in areas where ayahuasca is not endemic.

    I’d be interested to hear if there is anything on the horizon for your personal or professional process involving Ayahuasca. Best wishes Jayson, hope you are once again a father by now and your family is doing well. Take care – peace

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply January 10, 2011

      Thanks brother! Great comments and good points overall. It's folks like you that are really going to take the medicine to a whole new level for healing here in the States.

      As for me, professionally I 'd love to use the medicine therapuetically and in an ongoing way for clients where it's appropriate. However, I think i'd need years and years of training with the right Shamanic teachers no?

      Blessings back,


      • Jeremy Way

        Reply Reply March 14, 2011

        Thought I'd look back at this post to see if you replied as I was on your site. So, yeah if one were ever to facilitate the ritual use of Ayahuasca years and years and dedication and really living that role as guide, as ayahuascero, i think is necessary…however you're trained as a therapist and not to place you in a limiting category but rather to point out what a key role to be in as intermediary in an individual's journey of the spirit and integration of the expereince back into modern and sometimes non-receptive cultural contexts. If that doesn't make sense I'm not advocating that anyone facilitate the use of ayahuasca unless you're prepared to dedicate a major part of your jouney in this life to living it, but am currently expereincing the importance of procesing ayahuasca sessions in a therapeutic context both from the professional side of therapist and from the personal side as participant. By the way thanks again for helping me process that session back the last time we met…keep up the good work, thanks Jayson, take care, peace

  • linda buzogany

    Reply Reply January 6, 2011

    Hi Jayson, read about your experience over on Elephant. Thanks for sharing it. I'm a licensed psychotherapist also, teaching college Psych. We spend a considerable amount of time in my Dreams/Consciousness class learning about ayahuasca; although I haven't experienced it myself, I am highly intrigued as are my students. My personal concern is using the drug out of cultural context, so I'm a bit on the fence right now about pursuing. I know you have to protect the details, but can I just ask: Is it in the US that you partook?

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply January 10, 2011

      Linda. Yes, in the US every time. It's quite available now depending on the town you live.

    • Drborg

      Reply Reply July 13, 2011

      There are a lot of ceremonies being run in Oregon. Go check out the scene up there. They are very tolerant (they being the local authorities) of the medicine. The SF bay area also has a lot of shamans coming in and out. Names and places must be withheld though!

      • Jayson

        Reply Reply July 13, 2011

        Also here in Boulder.

        • cree

          Reply Reply June 10, 2012

          Been searching for a meetup in Boulder for awhile, just wondering if you would mind letting me know where some are goin on? Thanks

          • Jayson

            June 17, 2012

            send me a private email using the contact form on this site!

      • Rachael

        Reply Reply June 14, 2013

        I’ve been looking for a group of experienced practitioners or hopefully an experienced shaman to try ayahuasca in the bay area since I can’t afford the trip to Peru. Please let me know if you have any information that could help, thank you for your time!

        • Karan Garg

          Reply Reply December 29, 2013

          Hi Rachael,

          Did you get ayahuasca in the bay area ? I am curious too to get in touch with a shaman or someone who has practised it.


  • Barefootdakini

    Reply Reply January 6, 2011

    As a member of the Santo Daime church I appreciate your thoughtful accounting of your experience. I do believe it is tremendously helpful for alcohol addiction and depression, if a long-term relationship is established. Thank you for putting this out there.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply January 10, 2011

      You got it. Curious how the Daime views other shamans using the medicine? I have only had one Diame experience, my first and it was unforgettable.

      • Santeri

        Reply Reply December 8, 2013

        Daime stresses that they use pure brew, and shamans add up also other ingredients to their brews. In my experience the main difference is that Daime deifies and worships the Grandmother, whereas shamans love and trust her as a friend.

  • jaclyne

    Reply Reply January 6, 2011

    I have had the blessing of working with this plant medicine for the last 4 months. It is a great teacher, that shows us what real Love is! I agree!! Humility of who we are is vital for the coming waves of energies to the planet. ..and I agree, it is time to reestablish the libraries. Thank you for sharing, and all that you do for this time on Mother Earth!!

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply January 10, 2011

      Thanks. I love hearing from other folks with experience.

  • Marblequeen

    Reply Reply January 10, 2011

    I have had my own ayahuasca experiences in Peru and I found this to be one of the more accurate accounts of what it's really like. It truly is medicine and not some recreational drug. It is nothing short of life changing if you are ready to take that on. Thanks for sharing!

  • Paulinho

    Reply Reply January 20, 2011

    Nice article, really well-considered and sober account. I've done the medicine about 100 times, about half with the santo daime and half in the peruvian tradition. Currently I'm on a weekly schedule – a daunting but highly productive routine. My main teacher, a taciturn peruvian woman, says only this: “Oh, it mainly helps us become better communicators.” In my own case, it has helped with a serious case of depression, plus cured migraines, and, oddly enough, fixed a bad back. It has instilled in my core a furious optimism where there was only despair, cleaned my diet, surrounded me with a group of absurdly positive and motivated friends, and has in every sense “turned my life around”. For this I appreciate every positive word on the medicine, and for the work of such an able and articulate journalist as yourself in explaining this incredible “ally of humanity” to the rest of the world.

  • Drb05g

    Reply Reply July 13, 2011

    So glad you drank. When I drank I thought nothing was happening, until when I was just about to purge, and thoughts of my relationship with my father came up. Let's say that the garbage of that relationship was purged.

    It never stops working, and the most important part is what happens and what you do after ceremony. Congratulations on drinking; these medicines do not wait for fools.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply July 13, 2011

      yup, you are most right. it ain't for everybody. in fact, i think for but a few.

  • Drb05g

    Reply Reply July 14, 2011

    So glad you drank. When I drank I thought nothing was happening, until when I was just about to purge, and thoughts of my relationship with my father came up. Let's say that the garbage of that relationship was purged.

    It never stops working, and the most important part is what happens and what you do after ceremony. Congratulations on drinking; these medicines do not wait for fools.

  • Drborg

    Reply Reply July 14, 2011

    There are a lot of ceremonies being run in Oregon. Go check out the scene up there. They are very tolerant (they being the local authorities) of the medicine. The SF bay area also has a lot of shamans coming in and out. Names and places must be withheld though!

  • Jayson

    Reply Reply July 14, 2011

    yup, you are most right. it ain't for everybody. in fact, i think for but a few.

  • Jayson

    Reply Reply July 14, 2011

    Also here in Boulder.

  • David

    Reply Reply March 5, 2012

    After reading your article and then these posts I’m curious to know what happened to Rkymtgirl8. After reading Robouroboros’s post I qas hoping that she would post a follow up post, but she seems to have disappeared. As someone who has drank about thirty times, some in Brazil with Santo Daime, but mostly
    in The jungle of Peru, I have never felt like it was doing any permanent damage. In fact, for me, for the most part I haven’t had any hallucinations or deep journeys, although I’ve had some really strong journeys that were very similar to experiences that I’ve had with mushrooms. I’ve also had some difficult times, but nothing too dark or scary.

    It feels like rhis person kind of dropped a bombshell and fhem just retreated to lwave rhe rest of us wondering wxactly what she was talking about.

  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 9, 2012

    I had my first ayahuasca experience last night. I have never been so humbled and uplifted in my life. No matter how much I wanted to hang on to my my ego, pride, arrogance, etc., she would have none of it. She is a tough mother, a loving mother, a stern mother, an angry mother, a gentle mother, a mother with a damn good sense of humor, etc, etc. Whatever you need, she gives you. It is the ultimate in tough love. She is showing you your real self and that we are all the same and we are all connected. She showed me that I need to love myself and that I can’t truly love if I don’t love myself. I went though an incredible amount of pain, guilt, sorrow, you name it. Every time I tried to hang on to anything material, vanity, lust, or basically any thing that wasn’t my true self (all of our true selves) she made me purge it all. I puked, crapped, and cried until I had no energy left. Then I puked, crapped and cried some more. She eventually showed me that I am her and she is me. WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. WE ARE ALL IN THS TOGETHER. And not just on earth. The whole universe.

    I won’t go into all the visions. They were numerous. Many beautiful but many painful when necessary. The third eye (the soul) was everywhere, the universe, the cosmos, etc. I even saw the third eye on a statue of jesus. The shaman had an alter with many guardians. Jesus, Buddha, the earth mother/goddess (can’t remember her name), and others. I eventually was told to pay reverence to all of them. But, she chose Jesus for my guardian. I had to need and pray in front of him, confess, and ask to be forgiven. I cried like a baby. By the way, I was baptized, and was raised catholic in my early years, but I never really considered myself a Catholic. With my eyes closed, at one point, I was told to put my thumbs and forefingers into the form of a triangle and raise my arms. I was them told to open my eyes. There was Jesus on the cross which was on the altar. Right in the middle of the triangle. Then she told me to lower my hands. They stopped right on a candle with the image of the Virgin Mary. And the candle light suddenly became some type of an aura. I was told that, yes, she is real. I felt an indescribable shame. I had always ridiculed christian teachings. I cried uncontrollably and apologized. I felt love. I was told to put my arms told with palms facing the altar. I began to feel vibrations like I did earlier in the experience. But at this point I had purged so much of the bad (ego) that I was able to truly feel it. I felt unbelievable joy and peace. Real love. No real words to describe it.

    So much more I could write about the experience, visions, etc. I even saw myself and women I have been with sexually in my life in the vomit bucket. And I mean a clear image. Mirror like. This was my purged ego I was seeing. I’ll stop now. I’m still processing everything. But one thing I know for sure, if one has not experienced ayahuasca, it cannot be fully understood. These are NOT hallucinations. They are real visions. It is not a drug. It is a gift. It is a spiritual medicine.


    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 10, 2012

      Mark. wow. right on brother! sounds potent, real, and transformative. thank you for having the courage to face truth. 🙂

  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 9, 2012

    Oops, meant “I had to kneel and pray”, not need and pray.

  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 11, 2012

    Thank you Jayson.

    I think I still have work to do.

    The shamans are I guess what one would call urban shamans. They know what they are doing. Lots of experience. The two of them didn’t always agree but they didn’t argue about disagreements. And they were relatively minor disagreements. They just kind of accepted each other. The older one was more hardcore with opinions. An intense personality. Saying that we wont go to bars and drink alcohol, eat meat, get excited about sports, women, etc, etc. after the experience. The younger one told us that he still meets with friends for a drink or two every once in a while, eats tacos every now and then (I live in Mexico), etc. The point, he said, is that you simply wont desire down a whole six pack and start hitting on random women or eat an enormous steak every day. That you will be happy just living and being healthy. I think I know what he means. I have a 7 year old daughter. When I went home that morning, the love I felt for her was bursting out of me. I just felt such incredible joy. When I looked at her, I felt how lucky I was to have this wonderful little miracle in my life. It was just happiness. I didn’t need any “stimulation”. Just being in that moment was good enough.

    The truth is after the experience I don’t even really have a burning desire to go out and party hard at bars. I do have a burning desire to go out with friends and just talk. Just be with people. Maybe at a cafe or something. And believe me, I am (was) the party hard kind of guy.

    People who I felt have hurt me, well, I just don’t feel hurt by their actions the same way I did before. I realize that their actions toward me were coming from their ego. There is one woman I was recently involved with who lied to me about things, other men, etc. I was so hurt and angry before. I wanted her to understand the pain that I felt. But now I just feel like I want to help her somehow. I have known her for almost 4 years. I love her. I don’t mean in the romantic way. I mean I love who she really is. I know she has a lot of fear based stuff going on and is in a lot of pain (father abandoned her at a young age, and lots of other issues). And I now realize that her true self isn’t the one who deceived me and would lash out at me. It was her protective shell, her ego. I wish I knew how to tell her all of this. I know in my heart that she could benefit from ayahuasca. Which brings up an interesting question. How does one bring up ayahuasca to loved ones? Maybe they just see the changes in you and begin to ask questions?

    Aya did talk to me about meat and alcohol and things like that. I asked her about alcohol. She answered kind of sarcastically. As if to say, “Do you really have to even ask?”. Often she would give me answers in way that was really telling me I already knew the answer. That I just have to look into my heart. Into my soul. I was told that our temporary shells. They were given to us as gifts and that meat is something are bodies really don’t need and shouldn’t eat. But I was given a feeling that if we chose to eat meat, we should take it more seriously than other food. We should do it humbly and with great thanks and respect. But, strangely enough, she told me that fish is totally ok! Still trying to get my head around that one.

    And I really want to understand why Jesus was chosen for me. I mean why not one of the other guardians? Bhudda, that earth goddess (cant remember her name), or one of the others on the altar? I just really want to understand. I never really considered myself a Christian before. Maybe that’s the point? Well, she knows best. The message was clear. She did show me that I have a really strong connection with that earth goddess/mother (Damn. Really wish I could remember her name). But Aya really made sure I got Jesus. The painting of the last supper above the altar even came to life. Jesus actually was talking to me. His mouth was moving! The message was in my head, but his mouth was actually moving! It was…. well, I have no words to describe that feeling. Her having me put my thumbs and forefingers into the shape of a triangle and raise my arms. Mind you, this is all with my eyes closed. Then she says, “open your eyes!”. And there is Jesus in the painting. Directly in the center of the triangle! (And what does that triangle mean?) And earlier in the experience there was an intense energy in my right arm. Like electricity almost. A vibration. It made my right arm lift up. Again, I was told to open my eyes. My hand was pointing directly at the statue of Jesus on the right side of the altar. Keep in mind that all the other spiritual leaders/guardians were there. She told me they all are guardians. But for some reason she really wanted me to get that Jesus was important for me. That he is in me. And that I am in him. And I was made to really repent and feel guilt, shame, etc. for denying his and the Virgin’s existence for so many years and for my, well, sins I suppose. And I was totally loved and forgiven. There were other examples of her hammering this point home. I wont go into them all, but the whole thing was almost miracle like. I know it sounds insane to most people. But this all really happened. I’m just really curious. I believe now. But why Jesus for me? Why Jesus for someone who was always such a non-believer?

    I still have many other questions. It’s like your whole life changes in one night. Trying to get my head around it. I wish the shamans had had more time afterward to answer questions. I have so many. I sent a message to one of them asking if he would get together for lunch with me or something and answer some questions. The problem is I’m leaving town for a over a month starting Friday. I guess it can wait.

    Anyway, thinks for “listening”.


  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 11, 2012

    I hate it when I mess up grammar. I had an “are” in there when it should have been an “our”. And some other mistakes. But why does it matter? I’m sure you figured it out. Maybe that ego of mine creeping in again! 😉

    Cool site BTW.

    • DebO

      Reply Reply September 30, 2013

      Hi Mark,
      Don’t know if you are still checking in here after your experience. But I am curious how you are doing and how you have integrated your experiences. I have never taken any hallucinogen ever, but I can actually really relate to a lot of the depth of what you have described. I am so happy that you shared your experiences with us, and they seem perfectly legitimate. THere are many ways to lift the veils of what we consider reality. There are many ways to spirit. There are many ways that spirit moves through us and guides us. I am not religious, or crazy, & like I have said I don’t do drugs, not that ayuasca is a drug… But I have seen some of these things too, through dreamtime, or trancework, or backpacking for a week with no clocks and no talking, and through dancing hard, or drumming…. The God Spot in the brain can be activated through repetitive cycling through drumming, etc… and a combination of coherent brain waves being created between right and left brain wave patterns synching up. I did my senior thesis in psychology on the subject. I should post the paper online some where. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing about the drumming part on
      Thanks Jayson for your beautiful, thoughtful exploration and writing in all of your posts. Just discovered your site tonight and loving your exploration of manhood and coupling and raising beautiful children. To be human in this body is truly a joy.

  • Help, please respond

    Reply Reply January 19, 2013

    Hey Jayson, I know this article is old, so I’m really hoping you’re still reading & replying to comments that people post these day… reason being, I am really quite interested in drinking Ayahuasca, but I’m really wary of a statement you made in your article:

    “If your ego development is highly fragmented or fragile, you may run the risk of getting “blown out” and might have a hard time integrating your experience.”

    I’m curious as to what you mean by “blown-out”, cause I used to trip on a lot of LSD (I’ve tripped around 30 times), & at one point I smoked crystallized DMT on a fairly large quantity of acid, & my ego started to die (more like unravel), & instead of letting it happen like I probably should have, I freaked out & halted the process shortly after it started to happen, & it left me with a fragmented ego. Each time I tripped after that, I became more & more fragmented, so as a result I stopped tripping, fearing for my sanity. Deep down, intuitively, I know I need to drink Aya. But like I said, your comment about getting “blown out” really has me worried. I really hope you read this.

    • DebO

      Reply Reply September 30, 2013

      This is a message to “Help please respond.” You can sit in ceremony without drinking. A good shaman will allow you to do that and will also ease you into the practice with small doses. You can also say when you’ve had enough of a dosage. I haven’t drunk ayahuasca yet in this lifetime but I have sat in on the song ceremony and it was extremely moving. I have also researched ayuasca a bit and based my senior thesis in psychology on some of the work in the field including the book, “Cosmic Serpent,” by James Narby which was mentioned in another reader’s post. I also have several friends who have drunk ayuasca, always with a shaman that they trusted that was referred by their friends. You can also speak to a therapist or psychiatrist who knows about the use of medicinal hallucinogens to get a second opinion. I hope that last sentence was ok. I have my degree in psychology, so I am comfortable with the concept of getting some guidance from a trusted person in that field, knowing that they too are fallible. Often, from personal experience when we are afraid of going crazy it is because there are big emotions waiting to come out. That being said if you have a history of bipolar, schizophrenia etc. in your family, I would be cautious and talk to someone in the medical or psychological field to discuss your concerns.
      Bless up

  • Reflexology chart

    Reply Reply October 27, 2013

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  • AQ

    Reply Reply December 1, 2013

    “Your personality will suffer and you will see parts of yourself that literally make you vomit.”

    What if you have already been going through this spiritual awakening process, ego death and seeing parts of yourself that do make you vomit WITHOUT Ayahuasca?

    Would your recommendation be that Ayahuasca is not needed or the way to go?

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 1, 2013

      Would need to know more, but sounds like you went thru something powerful and are on the other side. aya is only for those who are called. trust your own inner guidance.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply December 1, 2013

    I’ve been curious about Ayahuasca for a few years. But reading the comments to this article. People taking ayahuasca 70 to 100 times, weekly trips on it is disturbing and sounds more like drug abuse or getting a weekly fix than working towards some kind of personal spiritual evolution. It seems reasonable to me that we might look to something like ayahuasca to help us along our way, but there also has to be a point where we begin to figure things out for ourselves thru yoga, meditation, pranayama, or even just talk, sharing, conversation. I believe marijuana can help many people by expanding their consciousness, but most people who smoke it are just pot heads. It sounds to me like many of the people doing ayahuasca are similarly becoming junkies. So I suppose, I’m wondering: how many times is enough?

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 1, 2013

      Mike, I disagree. aya is not addictive. hardly the case. It’s brutal work and it requires a lot of practice to get to know “her.” anyone doing it weekly is on a shamanic path and perhaps they are called to train in administering it one day, or supporting a teacher etc. That can be “devotion.” And, yes, there are hundreds of ways to get to the same outcome down the road. IT’s not for everyone. I really don’t think aya can be abused. Dr. Gabor Mate has spoken at length about this.

  • Saranpal

    Reply Reply December 1, 2013

    As a yogini and ayurvedic practitioner and one who has been on a medicine path for more than 6 years, I agree that each person must take very seriously the care of their body and nervous system if they want to drink the medicine. It is a very severe path, and leaves very little room for error in terms of diet and lifestyle without big psychological and physical consequences. I agree that it blasts open our chakras, and then we are quite vulnerable and have burned up a lot of ojas in the process. Good clean lifestyle, time in prana building practices like yoga and plenty of rest through mediation and good sleep along with a clean diet are just essential if you want to explore this path in any depth. I have seen many in the churches and in the shamanic communites have very difficult times from over use of the medicine coupled with poor habits and insufficient integration activities (meditation, yoga, pscyhological work, group process, etc).
    I think the focus on dieta and retreat in the prana-filled jungles of traditional communities working with these plants needs to be practiced here in the west. Lots of time in Nature, etc….

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply December 1, 2013

      great points all around

    • Myke

      Reply Reply December 27, 2013

      Do you feel that Ayahausca in itself depletes Ojas? And that meditation, diet, and other life sustaining disciplines offer “remedial” supports…. for something that would otherwise be depleting unless attended to? It would be good to understand more about this relationship. Any more words on this would be appreciated and no doubt helpful. I guess I don’t know enough about ayurvedic principles and concepts, but I thought that the creation and preservation of Ojas is something one should honor and hold in high regard. It is the vitality one gains through living a spiritually balanced life of elevated consciousness and proper balanced diet. As well, having a good reserve of Ojas is the “means” by which one has the power to perpetuate such a life. Any more on what Ojas is and what it is for would be great to hear.

      Philosophically, I get a little confused by all this. As a meditator and one how strives (often struggles) to discern the difference between life-giving and life-sucking karma’s, I have also have felt the power and joy when I seem to be getting it right. I don’t like struggle because I “just rather not” if I don’t have to. But if “I have to “, half the spiritual endeavor seems to be about developing a healthy philosophical and emotional relationship with it. Certainly the struggles at the time seem like pure hell and quite “depleting”, but on the other side of the struggle, they seem like the lessons I needed to encounter. Hindsight is 20/20. Even doing what seems to be “good” karma sometimes knocks me out. No one likes a harsh lesson, but lessons we must learn.

      Which brings me to the lure of ayahasuca… In other words, the attraction is that it is a method that jacks the volume on a process I know all too well anyway – the struggle and the hopefully the big payoff. Whereas good disciplines offer many small chances on a daily basis to learn lessons of self care and wisdom, they often seem like long and drawn-out processes. On my more negative attitude days, “Death by a Thousand Cuts”. Perhaps this circles back to Jayson’s concern of integration. ayahasuca may be very good at delivering to me a powerful insight that defies my current capacity to make it relevant. And then maybe from an ayurvedic perspective, “Death by Hemorrhage”. But many, including myself, are thirsty for deep and powerful life transforming experiences. The times seem to calling this desire forth. The times in which we live can seem so extreme; and so we expect of ourselves to rise to these challenges with a much greater power having transformed ourselves. I have only had one experience with ayahausca. And although the feelings and emotions and knowings where deep and focused and powerful, they were not completely unknowable. They were powerful and even overwhelming but they were not unrecognizable. As well, the themes brought forth seemed to make pretty good sense. I wonder though if the integration work starts naturally as we become more clear of kind of world we desire to create, a clear aim and objective. “As I change, the world changes.” Not the other way around. If my intentions are noble, pure, and loving, then “going in” to a ayahausca ceremony or a meditation session, or a trip to the grocery store, I can trust to have a good outcome no matter how hard the journey might be. And if a make a mistake, I will bow to the lesson that needed to be learned.

      I find that being able to discern illusions require great attention. So I agree that it is better to learn how to keep constant vigil in a manner that does not create too much stress. Being able to feel the pulse of situations, see the warning signs, and working on developing my inner compass takes energy; vital force. No quick fix here. Being humble to my mistakes and picking up and moving on builds faith, resilience and true hope. There are many forms of attainments that are not true lasting attainments. All material life and even the roles I play can be but fleeting. Only that which is of spirit will last, and even then will last for eternity. This is my greatest inheritance from the Great Divine. Perspective balanced with joy and faith. Along the way, to cultivate love for myself and everyone I encounter; to have a mercifully heart. More simply; be happy, give happiness. And understand that it is the happy ones of this world how are the most fortunate.

      I like to think that having such clarity builds vital force. World transformation required vital force and a clear mind. Mother Ayahausca needs such allies, no? Who is helping who here? She must be very busy as the humble servant she is. As a mother would. I feel I should strive to be the same. A lot of work still remains to be done; and then, in a very short period if time. We are all this together so blessing all around. “Care of the self and others starts with love,” that was the clear message Mother Ayahasyca gave to me on my first meeting with her. She said, “These are your people…. can you look away? Go to them!”

      I like these questions. How do we integrate? What is our vision for our world? How do we care for ourselves and each other? I suspect the answer lies in learning how to be a humble instrument.

      Thanks for all you heartfelt sharing. Namaste. Om Shanti. Blessings to you all!

  • Now

    Reply Reply December 2, 2013

    I am working with Ayahuasca for 3 years, being also involved in dzogchen and zen practices for over 20 years. From my perspective and experience, Ayahuasca can be extremely powerful ally and has the potential to greatly accelerate one’s growth. But it is not an easy path and one of the main problems here is lack of knowledge or even misconceptions regarding process of spiritual maturation, equally among shamans and participants. Traditional context has its value and can be beneficial in the area of healing, but those who are approaching Ayahuasca as a tool for psychological and spiritual growth, often ends up in confusion, because traditional use of the medicine is not tailored for this kind of work. Until we integrate Ayahuasca with the broader context of human evolution, in such a way that respects specifics and complexity of our “western” psyche and includes knowledge of subtle alchemy and energetics of our bodies, one needs to be very careful and self conscious while walking this sacred path. We are yet to discover full potential of Ayahuasca.

  • Holly

    Reply Reply February 18, 2014


    Thanks for sharing this.

    I wrote a comment earlier sharing additional details, but somehow it didn’t save my security question and when I went back to resend my comment was gone in addition to the time I had to rewrite. In sum, check out the following:

    This is a good strong article that depicts that there are some true, serious dangers happening with this “Ayahuasca Wave.” Basically, fake shamans, evil shamans, people dying, getting raped, doped on false shit etc.

    This article got some pretty massive exposure and so there are as you can image tons of comments and feedback loops happening. One good point is that these “spritual” revered shamans that people are trusting perhaps are getting pulled into the “dark” side of this double edged sword. The Ayahuasca will not make you a better person, a more highly evolved soul etc., otherwise these religious leaders wouldn’t be capable of poisoning, raping etc. these people.

    Its a Very touchy subject and too many people are indeed seeking it out looking to reach higher levels of consciousnesses, burn negative karma, evolve, etc. and the bottom line is its not a fix it. Even Robert Valez warns against using his Shamans he widely supported and is still getting spread across the web like wildfire.

    I’m a mother and so of course I look at through such eyes, I certainly wouldnt want my young adult children running off to foreign countries, even with the best of intentions, without doing SERIOUS pre-work, assuring every resource is reliable, and knowing FULLY the dangerous of the country, the cultures and the side effects of such experiences.

    I think the word that keeps coming to me is “REVERENCE” we need to hold our minds, bodies, souls, fellow souls, consciousnesses, the earth, this plants protection etc, with a reverence.

    In my research I find much more support and hype about this with some mild caution, and almost legal sounding warnings, without a fair balance of spreading the WHOLE truth of the subject.

    Thanks for sharing your story Jayson. Peace

  • Alex

    Reply Reply October 22, 2014


    First of all, thanks for the article. Hoping you’re still active on here, I’ve done a decent amount of reading about Aya and am interested both in learning more and in potentially partaking in the process. I live in Denver and noticed you offered another commenter some private info on Boulder meetups. Very interested if you have any info about something like that or even know someone who might. Thanks so much.


  • Vadim

    Reply Reply January 19, 2015

    Hi, Jason and folk, I am looking for people in San Francisco or Bay Area, who may share their Ayahuasca experience with me. Please, help.



  • Collin

    Reply Reply May 12, 2015

    I am curious about this topic. I live in the Denver area and can’t seem to find anyone or place to possibly partake in this experience. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  • Carlos Ruiz

    Reply Reply March 19, 2016

    I am extremely interested. Any info for Denver Colorado?

  • Aza

    Reply Reply April 15, 2016

    Hi, Jayson.

    I am looking for Ayahusca ceremony in Colorado. I have taken the medicine before but not in USA. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you.

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