A mindful traveller, perpetual wanderer, part time meditator and newbie blogger

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Ayahuasca Ceremony – The drink

If you read my last post (Ayahuasca – The beginning), I may have left you in as much suspense and anticipation as I had been feeling the moment I left the shaman on that intense first meeting. Weirdly, back in January after the first meeting I was sick. Really sick. I rarely get sick, but the next day my body ached, my head ballooned and Adam road tripped to Mae Sai on his own. I was ill. All the way up to the day of the ceremony. I nearly cancelled. I should have cancelled. I didn’t cancel. I was ill, tired, and aching, but this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. I wanted to drink Ayahuasca.

I brought everything that had I had made strong associations with over the past few years. In particularly, my spoon. This was the scariest thing about the ceremony. I knew I had to surrender and let go, let my spoon go, but, my heart was holding on tight.

I was eager to ensure the butterflies flew in formation.

Me and Adam paid a visit to the market to buy fruits and flowers as offerings to the spirits (fluffy I know, but I was willing to try anything). Lilies I could not find, so I settled with a cheap bunch of bright yellow flowers and an assortment of fruit, including the smallest oranges EVER. We met at a guest house. It was weird. Situationally, it had a feeling of a tour or trek where tourists gathered to only be bundled in the back of a truck for an adventure out in the jungle of some kind. However, socially, people were inward. This was a going to be a solitary journey. This scared me.

We arrived at this amazing space. Crystals, statues, and paintings scattered the room. The medicine was being prepared, and the shrine built with the offerings.

The butterflies were swarming.

The sun fell, the night darkened. The shaman prepared us. He gave us all small crystals. These were our swords and I was a warrior of light. He described types of demons that we may encounter, some evil, some good, some that look evil, but are in fact good. At his point I was somewhat confused. However, one of the main messages was to surrender and accept. This is how the demons cannot harm you. They can eat away at your physical being, but your soul they cannot touch. Or at least this is how I understood it.

We mediated, we concentrated, we Aum’d. This was my first group Aum’in experience and weirdly, it had some energy I did not expect. I was feeling more prepared. I was feeling less anxious.

The butterflies were understanding.

Me and Adam were split. I was alone, but comfortable as I had gained a certain trust in the shaman whom I was near. I was one of the first to drink. The shaman performed a ritual everytime he passed the medicine. It was some kind of energy transference from himself to the glass containing the medicine. Once everyone had drunk, it was time to drink the second drink. It wasn’t the best tasting of drinks, however, we did have the chance to munch on some sweet tasty fruits after. As we finished drinking the medicine, the shaman visited each one of us one by one. Some for a few seconds, some for a few minutes. This was when I heard a few words that stayed with me for the rest of the ceremony.

Courage, patience and trust”.

I sat. I laid. I meditated. The medicine started to take effect. A feeling that I can only compare to having tripped on mushrooms or LSD previously where reality gradually goes from normal to a little weird, but good. I was anxious. The medicine had hit the butterflies and they were swirling and swarming around every part of my gut.. While my gut was filled with this chaos, patterns and images involuntarily popped up on my minds movie screen. My mind was active, my body was alive. Patterns, fractals, colours, snakes serpents and eyes domoinated the screen. Pleasure, pain, guilt and lust infected my body.

I was uncomfortable. My eyes opened. The space was weird.

Time to try again. I would meditate, lay down, close my eyes and very quickly my eyes would open once more. I took comfort in the surreal world around me. The distorted reality was my security. The medicine took me on a journey into my heart, mind and soul, this was somewhere I wanted to escape. I procrastinated. I played with my crystal, I drunk water, I went to the toilet, I washed my hands, I went to the toilet… again.

I was ready.

Once more, I laid down. A decision come over me and I decided I wanted to meet death. I held my wrists out as if they were to be slit and I was to slowly fall into death. A slow and gradual pain began at my wrists as if they were being cut and I was voluntarily offering myself to be sacrificed. I wanted to experience death. I wanted to visit another realm beyond our reality. I wanted to know the unknown. I had something to say.

Something wasn’t right.

Anxiety started to infect my body once more as I thought about burning my spoon. This wasn’t how I was meant to feel. I wanted to be ready to let go. I wanted to burn my spoon and release it back into the universe with no bounds or cages. I wanted both to be free.

I had courage, but no trust and no patience.

I resisted and I did not surrender. Disappointment rose with the dawn and I felt I let myself down. I had high hopes and expectations to come out of the other side feeling better, feeling healed, clean and stronger. But all I had was tiredness and disappointed as the ceremony came to an end.

. reflections to follow.

Fishies and the ‘big blue’ – Snorkeling on Koh Chang

I cannot put myself in a little bungalow situated less than a stone throw away and not get myself in the ‘big blue’. I love the ocean and as you know from a previous post, I love water. I love SCUBA diving beyond any words can express. However, there is something about snorkelling that I love. I guess its more natural cos as you dive to the depths, you soon need to resurface to once again breath. Like a dolphin, a whale or a turtle. I like this.

So, the day started the night before with making the booking at my guest house with Buzzas on Kai Bae beach. An awesome lil place with hammocks, clean tidy bungalows and right by the beach. And and and, they have puppies. Puppies are cute. I want one. Anyways, as I digress, we booked the Attipol Tour for a mere 500B. This equivalent price to a poound sterling included equipment, pick up, boat, drinks and drop offs. Amazing. Innit?

So, the day of the pick up and i’m getting woken up by the Thai driver because i’m not waiting where I should be, instead I was fast asleep in bed. Oops! I blame the heat rather than the laziness. So, tired, grumpy and wanting horizontalness, I jump in the truck and we proceed to pick up M&M. They jump in the front and off we go along the snaking coastal road towards the pier at Bang Bao. We fast forward through the Scooby Doo market and get directed onto a boat. A large boat. A large boat with lots of people and blue. We’re off. Woo! Hmmm…. a little weird. Normally my morpho is here and now I have my mum present. Weird. But but, good. I think… yeah a little weird.

As the boat chugs along at speeds slightly faster than my freestyle pace we finally arrive at an island that had been extracted from some tropical postcard. The sands were white and the shallows were unbelievably turquoise. I gather my equipment. Hmmm…. no fins. You cannot expect a turtle to go swimming with no fins, or a dolphin for that matter. All I have is a mask and snorkel. Disappointment arose as it did with a similar snorkelling trip on Koh Lanta. Wait… fins 100B extra. Sold. Done. On and in the big blue I go. I love jumping from boat to blue. The stripy fish immediately present at any sign of boat action (renamed by my mum as humbug fish).

As with most snorkel trips in Thailand, and South-east Asia, it was like the scene out of the titanic just as it sunk. Non-swimmers flapping and fluttering around in the waster with bright illuminous buoyancy aids on. Arrgh.. time to get out from this and go find some fishes on my own. I’m always on the lookout for the little odd fish I can find so once i’m in, my face stays in the water as I make the most of this tubed extension of my trachea. I remain on the surface unless I see or sense something that intrigues me and then my chin ducks, my waist bends and my legs raise in the air sending me 10m below the surface. You submerge quickly so equalizing the ears has to be done just as quick, something that makes snorkelling a littler harder than SCUBA diving. Some moon wrasse, barracudas and butterfly fish. Hooonk!!!. Out. Away we go. Next island please!

On, in and under. Again, quickly losing the titanic passengers (including my mum), I calmly fin away around the corner and eventually covering the whole of the island’s parameter. Parrot fish, traveilly, pipe fish. Awesome. Hoooonk!! Out. Away we go. This time its lunch. Always good for a mouth that has been tasting seawater all morning. Omelette, rice and stir fried vegetables and fruit to finish. Quick rest for the food to sink and then on, in and under once more. I lose M&M for 10 minutes and then come across my mum. We share some points at the fish and suddenly I have gone off on my own.

Hoooooonk!! Ahh shit i’m late. Back to the boat I go only to hear Mark shouting where’s your mum. We both look back and she is about 50m away coming around the corner. Everyone is on the boat accept us two. Hahaha. My mask and snorkel gets thrown aboard and I freestyle out to her, log roll her over on to her back, grab her bouyancy aid and tow her the 50m back to the boat. Win! We are both on board. Better late than never innit?

What now? One last stop at a beautiful beach and chance for the tourists (or Russians) to buy some refreshments at an overly priced (Banana shake 50B!!!) shop on Koh Wai. We sat, we chilled. Honk! Back to the boat we go and the boat slowly chugs back to Bang Bao pier as we tuck into some delish rice soup and get even more scorched by the burning sun.

Returneed. Satisfied. Alive. Win.