The date is now January 4, 2021 – some 20 years into the future timeline of these memoirs, and I have just arrived in Atlanta again after visiting Medellin, Colombia for the third time. This time I spent an entire month getting used to the valley and met interesting people who might have potential business interests that run deep in Colombia. All kinds of business. Of course, there was another reason for me going to Colombia this time. After doing some due diligence and research online, I discovered that there was an ayahuasca retreat located in Rio Negro, which is right next to the international airport in Medellin. If you don’t know what ayahuasca is, you should do a little personal online digging and research. It is the ancient mixture of some very special plant roots from the Amazon, combined with a particular type of tree bark that creates a hypnotic and psychedelic drink, that when consumed induces vomiting and what are perceived to be highly spiritual visions and sometimes life-changing paradigms over the course of 4-6 hours. This is not an experience to be taken lightly, or as a mere joke. You are essentially chemically resetting the cerebral cortex through the pineal gland with a showering of pure DMT. Psychologists and psychiatrists call this “the big reset,” from a psychiatric perspective because you are pouring the principal ingredient for spiritual hyperactivity directly into the socket for out-of-body experiences.
Ayahuasca has been around for almost 9000 years according to hieroglyphs, and Western medicine has only been operational under the rationality paradigm for about 400-500 years. Little is known by Western science about these properties or their effects because USA President Nixon categorized psychedelics as a Schedule I narcotic that had no redeeming medical value in 1969. The drink mixture has highly psychoactive properties, that include hypnotic moving sacred geometry patterns presenting in the mind of the patient. To properly do this medicine from the Amazon, it is required that you do a purging over a four-day period to cleanse your body and mind of all the impurities that still toxify the organism. My retreat was for five days. And I prepared by drinking lots of water and eating light foods while being forced to vomit repeatedly through the application of tree frog skin scrapings (called a Kembo purge) to intradermal punk stick burns on my neck. The retreat that I signed up for provided four overall ayahuasca treatments. Each treatment was unique and each experience was profoundly different and rather breathtaking. Some people are known to do extremely radical and life-changing things after experiencing ayahuasca. Some people sell all their life belongings and move to a remote destination somewhere else in the world. Some people’s marriages are cleansed and rekindled, and some divorces occur as a result of the visions and prophecies derived from the ayahuasca experience. As a psychoactive property, people should know what they’re getting into. The indigenous Amazon people consider ayahuasca to be serious medicine, and not to be taken recreationally for shits and giggles. This is ancient spiritual healing in their perspective.
My first day of the retreat was spent getting to know the family, staff, and other patients. We generally joked around and talked about what we might be experiencing later that night. As the sunset that evening an independent musician was playing Hare Krishna music to set the stage, and we all convened around the shaman for his speech about the beauty, elegance, and supernatural simplicity of the ayahuasca experience. We were all nervous. Could we die? What were we to expect? My turn came. And among the fog of palm smoke, Hare Krishna music, and bells and whistles I drank my 1st cup of ayahuasca. ayahuasca-ayahuasca. It tasted like moldy prune juice and was a little bit viscous. But hey! I swallowed it. For the next hour to an hour and a half, I laid on my back and stared at the stars across the moonless sky. In the background, soft guitar and peaceful Krishna tunes. Of course, I vomited several times. The shaman was good enough to wipe my face with a wet cloth, and we all huddled around the campfire for the show to begin.
Then suddenly, a pack of dogs came up to the campfire and started licking my face. I thought to myself, what the hell have I gotten myself into? But they were not a hallucination or a vision, they were actual dogs that the shaman shooed away. Then I started laughing. Giggling, actually. And then the patterns started presenting in my eyes. Ancient Masonic symbolism. Pyramids. Triangular geometry is arranged in highly symbolic and systematic sequences. Individual notes coming from the music started taking visual form, with interlaced colors and free-flowing visual significance. Old photographs that I had taken and were somehow still stored visually in my mind started presenting themselves on a reel for my personal review. Raw emotions, feelings, shame, embarrassment, trauma, everything that I’ve experienced in life started popping up in my mind seeking resolution and detente. My now-deceased mother and I spoke and communicated our undying support and love for each other. I knew that she was in a better place. My grandfather died of lung cancer and I embraced, and in my mind, I was at peace with their passing.
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