Ayahuasca Part One

  Photograph taken by Christian Gross ( @by_mr_big)

Photograph taken by Christian Gross (@by_mr_big)

I do not condone the use of any mind-altering substances. The article you are about to read is based on my own experience. Please, do your research before deciding to embark on an Ayahuasca journey. It is important to note that Ayahuasca is illegal in some parts of the world so you might want to look into the legal status of this plant in the country you will want to do the ritual in. Follow all the safety guidelines and enjoy the journey within.


I have hesitated to write this post for many reasons. One is that any mind-altering experience is a somewhat controversial subject. I believe this is sensible. Ayahuasca is not a substance to be taken lightly. It has been an incredible way to heal and one of the most important experiences of my life. The benefits that I received have been undeniable. There is no exaggeration there. It has also been one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. As the by-product, summarising what I had to go through during my journey might put a lot of people off drinking the brew.


First of all, what is Ayahuasca? Ayahuasca a wine cooked with various plants that contain Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT compound. There are scientific studies that prove that animals, plants and even human produce DMT naturally. As I am not a scientist, but for my piece of mind, I found a couple of scientific studies as an example.* The rumours are that the human brain also produces DMT. Again, do not take my word for it. I am not a scientist; I have researched to understand this mysterious molecule. Please, do your extensive research. I am here to report on my personal experience.


Back to the Plant Medicine. Ayahuasca is a mixture of Jungle vine and other plants. The preparation process depends on the tribe and culture of the people who are cooking the wine. There are also many different versions of Ayahuasca. From my understanding, Ayahuasca is a specific medicine, but due to the popularity of the name, all other similar plant medicines fall under the category of Ayahuasca. What I had is called Yage. It is a medicine that comes from the indigenous people of Columbia. There are a few opinions on what the differences are between Ayahuasca and Yage. Many say that Yage is a lighter version of Ayahuasca. The Shaman that I worked with refers to Yage as The Grandfather Spirit, and Ayahuasca is commonly known as The Mother Spirit Plant. However, it is problematic to pinpoint the differences because each psychedelic adventure is individual from person to person and from experience to experience.


Why is there so much noise about Ayahuasca? There are numerous articles online that describe this trending healing method. People who embark on the journey understand that this is an exercise for the ones who truly need it. Ayahuasca promises to heal deep psychological problems like trauma or depression. It has also been knowing to treat physical ailments. The benefits that people receive are tremendous, and everyone comes back from it with something entirely different. The Plant Medicines work with your being, your psyche, thus you will get from it what you need not necessarily what you want. It is very much advised to go into the experience with an intention, but you might be surprised by what the medicine will teach you. Ironically, this was not the case for me. I came face to face with the fear I knew I had to overcome.


You see, when I first heard about Ayahuasca some three years ago, this is how my friend described it to me. It is a plant that makes you conquer your biggest fears and releases them in one night. Of course, now I understand that Ayahuasca is more than that, but it is an excellent description in a nutshell. I told my friend, “But I am terrified of spiders”. The thought of them used to make me crawl from under my skin. He responded, “Then, you will see a spider. A giant one at that.” My friend must be a prophet.


Weeks before the ceremony I kept thinking what if I see a spider. Some of you might think that I manifested the experience. Probably, did. To me, it does not matter for a minute. However, this magical brew works it transformed me. One day I would like to talk in detail about what happened to me that night, but for now, I want to explain what benefits I have been enjoying ever since then:


  Photograph taken by Christian Gross  (@by_mr_big)

Photograph taken by Christian Gross (@by_mr_big)

1.    The will to live. I used to be afraid of life. Depression has often presented dark thoughts to me. Now I have a much deeper understanding of what exactly I enjoy about life. I was anxious to meet people. Ever since Ayahuasca, it’s not about what people think of me anymore. Granted, sometimes I still worry and get shy. But for the most part, I remember that I am interested in getting to know new people a lot more than I am afraid of what they think of me.

2.    Creativity flow. I believe one of the ways that Ayahuasca works through symbols and metaphors. Hence the vivid images. The fact that I saw a spider during the ceremony is intriguing. Spiders were my biggest phobia, yes. You know what other intense anxiety I had? What people think of me. So I couldn't create even though I love to imagine. Weaving stories in my mind are my favourite things to do. Something was stopping me from writing. . . Here is what I learnt while I was integrating my experience. In many cultures the mythology explains, the spider is the symbol of creativity, she weaves the web of our world. After partaking in the plant medicine healing, I started my podcast, this blog and had been showcasing a lot more of my writing online. Coincidence? I don't think so. I know the poems and articles I write are not perfect. Regardless, I cannot stop. There is so much I want to create an experience, and I have been doing precisely that since then.

3.    Bad habits and a healthy lifestyle. This one I would not know how to explain. There are esoteric theories that Ayahuasca changes your DNA. Perhaps but one thing I know for sure I have always strived for a healthier lifestyle, but after the medicine, it has become easy. I crave healthier food and make better lifestyle choices. I am driven to wake up early, and negative thinking does not stop me. It may be hard to believe, but I am confident it has something to do with the medicine.  


Please, remember that these are my thoughts, my opinions, and my interpretation. Nevertheless, I hope you found this interesting


* Scientific articles on existence of DMT:

1. Wyatt, R.J., Saavedra, J.M., Axelrod, J., 2006, A Dimethyltryptamine - Forming Enzyme in Human Body, The American Journal of Psychiatry, v.130, p. 754 - 760 (https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.130.7.754)

2. Barker, S., A., Monti, J. A., Christian, S., T., 1980, Metabolism of the Hallucinogen N, N-Dimethyltryptamine in Rat Brain Homogenates, Biochemical Pharmacology, v. 29, p. 1049 - 1057 (https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-2952(80)90169-0)

Anastasiia Ryzhkova