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Best Selling Author does Ayahuasca 15 times

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#1 tregar



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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:18 AM

I was hoping we could drum up some more enthusiasm for Ayahuasca experiences...I've read many excellent reports from people in the older archives on ayahuasca here at Mycotopia, but haven't come across much here recently.

And if not even with Ayahuasca, then perhaps a report with oral dmt used with a 30gram caapi vine extract drink or even pure harmine (160 to 200mg) etc. Harmine is the main active found in caapi vine along with about half the amount of tetrohydroharmine (a very weak serotonin-reuptake inhibitor) and trace of harmaline. I took 200mg pure harmine hcl and experienced no ill effects. I ate buttered toast with fresh milk a few hours before. Fresh milk and dairy products are ok like cream cheese or cottage cheese and eggs....but aged cheese and wine and other substances which have high amounts of tyramine should not be consumed with MAOI's. Drugs such as SSRI's, antidepressants, dextromethorphan, amphetamines, demerol, etc. should not be consumed with MAOI's either. Ayahuasca is also known to refresh the user and leave them feeling better than before they took it for many days or even weeks after the experience.

I'll be working with 3 week old dried chacruna and caapi myself in near future, and I'll report what I experience--using the classic muriatic hcl extraction which worked well for Meteor, Sync and many others over at the Ayahuasca forums--also using buchner funnel and fine filter paper to filter out the sediments from the brew which are responsible for causing much of the nausea. Beginning doses will be 25 grams caapi and 15 grams psychotria, then move up to 25 to 30 grams caapi and 30 grams psychotria, or more depending on potency of materials. 1 liter corning ware pots with lids will be used to boil the material for 15 minutes at a time with 15 drops of hardware variety grade muriatic acid to 250 ml water proportions. 1 oz of water should be used per ounce of plant material, so that means 30 grams of psychotria leaf will require close to 1 liter of water for the 1st boiling along with around 60 drops of hcl to reach a ph or around 4.5. The liquid is then poured thru a 1-liter buchner filter, when vacuum filtering is done, then the plant material on the filter is put back into the pot for another 15 minute boiling using half the amount of water that was used before (500ml this time.), along with 30 drops of muriatic hcl. This is then repeated for a third final time...the water that is collected from the bottom 1 liter filter flask is then poured off into a glass or ceramic crock pot (no metal!) set to high for 6 or more hours, till the liquid has been concentrated to a lesser qty of water which is then poured off into a pyrex baking dish and evaporated off with a fan blowing over it to leave a powdery dry concentrated extract which is re-constituted with hot water and drunk with the caapi extract. The extract reported by Sync and Meteor does not cause nausea or the squirts because the tannin and other sediments in the brew (which cause the nausea) have been eliminated with the filter flask. The 25 to 30 grams of caapi is done the same way, with the caapi vine beaten with a hammer then put into a coffee grinder and ground to sawdust particle size, then put into 1 liter water with the 60 drops muriatic and left to sit in the corning dish of water overnight in the fridge after a 30 minute boiling is done, in the morning it is then filtered off thru the buchner funnel.

So in essence, a caapi dry extract and a psychotria dry extract are both re-combined in hot water and drunk. The hcl evaporates with the water as it sits in the pyrex dish with fan blowing over it, leaving a dry-hcl free extract which is scraped up. Only corning ware or similar glass/pyrex ware should be used to do the muriatic boilings and evaporation since hcl will react with metal or aluminum pots. The hcl-extracted plant material extract is also reported to taste much better.

I was amazed to see Graham Hancock put out a book (2006) which he entitled "Supernatural" concerning his experiences with Ayahuasca, dmt, ibogaine, and mushrooms. He previously authored many other books including the best-selling "Fingerprints of the Gods."

Graham seems most impressed with his Ayahuasca experiences, some 15 or more sessions. He experienced incredible visions with visuals of intricate geometric lattices, snakes, dragons, pyramids, Egyptian artwort, motifs, statues, an Egyptian goddess and architecture which he was able to fly over and examine in detail, classic alien beings, and more....

I have seen many of the same things that Graham has seen using high dose LSD many many years ago...such as the dragons, the snakes, pyramids, and intricate animated geometric lattice structures.

Here is a link to his fascinating interview on the George Noory/Art Bell Coast to Coast Am radio show (3 hours) from September 28 2006:

In it he goes into some detail concerning Ayahuasca and his theory of psychedelics and their effects on early man some 35,000 years ago:


Author and Ph.D Psychologist Benny Shanon of the Hebrew University studied Ayahuasca for over 6 years, and also wrote a 500 page book "Antipodes of the Mind" --an excellent book in which he describes his incredible experiences along with surveying thousands of other people who took Ayahuasca in order to write down what they experienced, and to describe the "School of Ayahuasca" which is a series of lessons taught by the brew to the drinker over a long time course.

Below is a very short sample from Graham's 400 page book in which he describes his Ayahuasca sessions with caapi vine and psychotria viridis leaves:

QUOTE (Graham Hancock, "Supernatural"):
The vine and the leaf

"I accompany the great shaman Francisco Montes Shuna to the place in the jungle where ayahuasca is prepared. Gathered there on the ground there is already a pile of cut sections of ayahuasca vine, which is a tough, liana-like creeper that hangs from the tall trees. Francisco selects several large pieces, each approximately as thick as my arm, consisting of three or four vines coiled around one another in long, tight knots like mating serpents. These large pieces are chopped into 22 segments each about a foot long. Then we pick approximately 300 fresh green leaves of Psychotria viridis from bushes nearby. Finally the 22 sections of vine are smashed with a heavy wooden club - methodically smashed, mainly by Francisco, although I inexpertly assist him with three of them.

Once macerated in this way the inner part of the vine is exposed. It is very fibrous but also damp and turning a red colour. Francisco places a thick layer of the smashed vine into the bottom of a large iron cooking pot, on top of this a layer of all the P. viridis leaves, then another layer of the rest of the vine. Next the whole mass is wedged down beneath two sticks jammed transversely into place and several litres of cold water from the creek are added until all the contents are covered. This is left to marinate overnight.

The following morning, around 8 a.m., I go to see the brew being cooked. It has already been on the fire for two hours and is bubbling steadily at a slow boil. This first water is eventually decanted into a second large iron pot and fresh water is added to cover the mass of vine and leaves once again. This will happen three more times. Then all the substance-rich water collected in the second pot, many litres, will be boiled slowly down to less than a litre of pure, concentrated ayahuasca. The vines and leaves from the first pot, having now served their function, are thrown away.

The ceremony begins

It is always night when the ceremony begins, around nine or ten in the evening. The rich velvet darkness of the rain forest envelops everything. The setting may be a small, simple hut out on the far edge of Iquitos, or the temple at Sachamama established by Francisco Monies Shuna, or a homestead beside a stagnant creek on a remote tributary of the Amazon, or just a clearing in the jungle. Sometimes I'm alone with the shaman; usually my wife Santha is there as well; frequently people from the local community who also want to drink join in.

The shaman is almost always a man, dressed in the nondescript Westernised clothes of the villages. You wouldn't notice anything special about him if you passed him in the street, but he knows a great deal about the plant medicines of the jungle and how they may best be harnessed for the benefit of human beings. As a practising ayahuasquero he is likely to have been drinking the sacred brew since childhood and to have travelled so frequently in the super*natural realms, to which ayahuasca affords a portal, that he is truly the master of all the strange experiences to be encountered there. He will long ago have acquired his own 'spirit animals' who meet him in the hallucinatory otherworld, act as his guides and protectors throughout the trance, and assist him in his vocation as a seer and healer. Sometimes also he has in his possession a number of 'power objects' - for instance pebbles of quartz crystal, a piece of magnetised iron, a bundle of feathers, and certain small statuettes of wood, bone or terracotta - which provide additional assistance to him in his struggles in the spirit world.

Wherever we hold the ritual, and whichever shaman is leading it, an essentially similar routine is followed. The shaman puffs on hand-rolled cigarettes of sacred tobacco and blows clouds of smoke over himself and the drinkers and into the neck of the bottle containing the ayahuasca. There is much muttering of invocations, brushing of the air with rustling leafy branches, and sprinkling of Agua Florida, a cheap cologne. The shaman clears his throat several times and spits. Then he begins to sing the icaros, ancient chants and whistles, handed down since time immemorial, to draw in the spirits around our circle.

Usually by the time the ayahuasca is poured more than half an hour has passed. Modes of preparation vary. In some cases - for example the UdV in Brazil - large glasses of a very diluted brew are served. More commonly the ayahuasca is concentrated by repeated boiling into a thick, dark, viscous liquid - of the kind I saw Francisco Monies Shuna prepare - and is presented in a small cup.

First in line at the very first session I attend is a middle-aged woman who wants to contact the spirit of her dead husband. She sips. Pauses. Looks down into the cup. Then drains the rest at a gulp. The same grubby china cup is used by all participants, with the shaman seeming to assess each individual carefully (body weight? aura?) before pouring out a dose. In each case he whispers incomprehensible words into the cup before handing it over to the participant. In each case the measure he has poured looks much the same as the last - roughly equivalent in volume to a double shot of spirits.

My turn. I'm sitting on my heels on the grass mat that is spread out in front of the shaman. His lined features are folded like leather into a beatific expression. He weighs me up, pours from the bottle into the cup the standard double shot of ayahuasca, whispers the incomprehensible words, passes the cup over to me.

I take a tentative sip of the vile-tasting liquid - so strong and bittersweet and salty, so dark, so concentrated and so textured as to be repellent. There are jangling discordant notes of cocoa, medicine and jungle rot. And there is the definite sense that I am partaking here of something formidable and elusive - a 'living spirit' as the old myths say - that announces its presence in the sheer mass and energised heaviness of the brew.

I raise the cup to my lips again. About two thirds of the measure that the shaman poured for me still remains, and now I drain it in one draught. The concentrated bittersweet foretaste, followed instantly by the aftertaste of rot and medicine, hits me like a punch in the stomach. I shudder. Will I throw up? Will I shit myself? I have heard that such inconveniences are always a risk with ayahuasca, which, as well as its unsurpassed qualities as a hallucinogen, is also an extremely strong and efficient purgative (indeed, one of the many names and nicknames by which ayahuasca is known throughout the Amazon is La Purga - the purge). Vomiting and diarrhoea are common amongst participants in ayahuasca sessions and one must simply deal with these effects if they strike. Feeling slightly apprehensive, I thank the shaman and wander back to my place on the floor.

Geometry and nets

Time passes but I don't keep track of it. I've improvised a pillow from a rolled-up sleeping bag and I now find I'm swamped by a powerful feeling of weariness. My muscles involuntarily relax, I close my eyes, and without fanfare a parade of visions suddenly begins, visions that are at once geometrical and alive, visions of lights unlike any light I've ever seen - dark lights, a pulsing, swirling field of the deepest lumi*nescent violets, of reds emerging out of night, of unearthly textures and colours, of solar systems revolving, of spiral galaxies on the move . . . Visions of nets and strange ladder-like structures. Visions in which I seem to see multiple square screens stacked side by side and on top of each other to form immense patterns of windows arranged in great banks. Though they manifest without sound in what seems to be a pristine and limitless vacuum, the images possess a most peculiar and particular quality. They feel like a drum-roll - as though their real function is to announce the arrival of something else.

I begin to pay attention to one image in particular, or rather to one area of my inner visual field where complex interlaced patterns of geometry prove on more careful inspection to be part of the skin of a snake - a gigantic snake, apparently alive not dead, with its head and its tail away from me. I zoom in for a closer view. I can make out the individual scales and the way that they overlap each other. They're rectangular, outlined in black, like windows. There's a circle in the centre of each rectangle. Zoom in again. The circles are purple, spinning like fireworks, glowing with the otherworldly dark light that I'm already getting used to here. Here? Where is here? Why is it a place where I see colours that do not exist in everyday life? Closer still. Focus on a single one of the spinning circles.

What is it? A sense of familiarity dawns before all becomes clear. It's the iridescent eye from the display feathers of a peacock . . . It's a spiral galaxy, swirling and turning in the darkness of space . . .
Then the shaman begins to chant the icaros again. His performance is very quiet at first but it builds up ... builds up. For what feels like half an hour, maybe more, the whole atmosphere rustles with melodious chanting and whistling, as though great wings are stirring, and I find myself relaxing into this sound-realm.

Something interesting begins to happen. Quite smoothly, like an automatic gear-change, the parade of patterns and unearthly colours that have assailed me until now, the geometrical pulse, the swirling lights, all begin to beat in time to the underlying rhythm of the chant. I have the sense of rising up through ethereal levels - as though the Gnostics of old were right that reality consists of a series of layers extending upwards from grossest matter to purest spirit.

My whole visual field gets less static and crystalline, more fluid and organic. Suddenly it feels like a night dive. I'm looking up from a bottom of a clear ocean at a mass of purple jellyfish bobbing at the surface. There are so many of them that they all seem joined into a single voluptuous fabric, each one - I now observe - with a ring of luminous pearls, like the landing lights of a miniature space ship, arranged amongst its undulating skirts. As the chants and whistles rise and fall, this vast repetitive pattern glides slowly and majestically overhead - strobing bright and dark, bright and dark, like a well-synchronised son et lumiere.

Other than these amazing visuals, I feel completely down to earth. I've experienced some intense moments of nausea, but the worst seems to have passed and I haven't thrown up yet. There's no particular sign that I'm going to shit myself. And if I open my eyes the visions instantly disappear — whoomph! — like vampires at dawn.

It's an unsettling sensation to see with my eyes closed a decidedly non-ordinary universe and with my eyes open an absolutely mundane world, and to be able, to a limited degree, to switch back and forth between the two - blink, ordinary, blink, non-ordinary, etc., etc. But I can also feel reason and measure reasserting themselves and already the quality of supernatural immanence that has characterised my experience so far is beginning to dull and fade.

I look at my watch. It is around one in the morning. Now even with my eyes closed the visions are weak and intermittent. I'm 100 per cent back on planet earth, sober, rational, not about to visit a parallel dimension. I reached the anteroom and saw the wallpaper there. That's the realistic assessment. I fastened my seatbelt and trundled down the runway but couldn't build up enough speed to take off. I stood at the doors of perception but didn't pass through.

Although the prospect is still daunting and horrible, although the mere thought of the taste makes me gag and retch as if I've inhaled mustard gas, I resolve to drink another cup of the brew.

I go outside, pee, look at the stars, come back in again, take off my shoes, have a few swigs of water. Drinking ayahuasca is an ordeal -everything about it is difficult, nothing is easy. Yet I have no choice but to persevere if I want to understand this mysterious substance. I know of several examples of people who have taken ayahuasca and experienced nothing very remarkable during their first two or three sessions, only to get the full return ticket to a parallel world on their third or fourth attempt.

I shuffle up to the shaman again, tell him I think I'm ready for a second dose. He pours out the usual double-shot measure into the cup and whispers the usual incomprehensible words into it before handing it to me to drink.

I intend to drain it in one gulp, because it's only a small amount after all. But once again it seems formidable - the way a toad might seem formidable if blended as a beverage and served in a cup. My flesh recoils from it and I hesitate, then take a preliminary sip exactly as before. There's something unique and indescribable about the taste: ayahuasca from the Amazon. The Vine of Souls. The rancid medicine of the gods ... I tip my head back, tilt the cup upright and swig down the remainder of its contents.

As I wander back to reoccupy my place on the floor I'm thinking that with the first dose still presumably in my system, and certainly not vomited out, is it reasonable to hope that this second dose will do the trick? I already know that the answer is 'maybe' and that it really does depend - because the effects of ayahuasca differ so much from person to person and from day to day, even from hour to hour.

After about 40 minutes the parade of images reappears - the geometry, the nets, ladders and banks of windows, the spirals, the swastikas spinning in the void, the furious zig-zags, the kaleidoscope of unearthly colours - and I find myself back in the anteroom to the ayahuasca realm. As before, sound and vision have effortlessly synchronised and the whole scene pulses and vibrates hypnotically. As before, I have the ability to zoom in on small areas of the scene. As before, I see what looks like the flank of a gigantic serpent and, when I come closer, the patterned rectangles of individual scales - each one of which proves to enclose a swirling, iridescent eye.

For a while not much else happens. Then suddenly, without preamble, I get a display of zig-zags, pyramids, tribal masks. One after the other, as though briefly illumined by the brightest spotlight, they seem to jump out of the darkness, then disappear. It's the grand finale of another visit to the ayahuasca anteroom. As the display fades, ordinary reality replaces it and my consciousness engages itself completely with the material world again.

During my second session I know things are going to be different when the opening parade of patterns and geometry gets overlaid with a lot of snakes, like a game of snakes and ladders. The snakes are very large and their whole bodies from head to tail are clearly visible to me. The main colours are browns and yellows.

I've been expecting them to show up. Reading round the subject before coming to the Amazon I've learnt that people from all parts of the world and many different cultures routinely meet snakes on the ayahuasca journey. The shamans say this is because the spirit of ayahuasca, like the vine itself, takes snake form. In my vision the snakes arrange themselves into patterns of interlaced wheels and spirals. Then they merge into one large mass and finally break apart into pairs of individuals that wind around each other like the DNA double helix.

The nausea comes on strong and I'm out in the dark, puking...vomiting racks me to the core until I'm drenched from head to foot in sweat and have only dry heaves left. I sink to the ground on hands and knees, slump against one of the support poles of the hut and then change my mind when I find myself face to face with a large poisonous spider. My head has cleared. I go back inside, take my place in the circle, close my eyes. More snakes, a recurrence of the geometrical patterns. Then suddenly two beings made all of white light pop up in my face, one behind and to the side of the other. They are quite small - three or four feet tall - but I'm only aware of their upper bodies from the waist up. I don't see their feet. Their white light faces glow like neon and are approximately heart-shaped with big domed foreheads and narrow pointed chins. Nostrils and mouths, if they have them at all, are just slits in their otherwise smooth features. Their eyes are completely black and apparently without pupils.

They seem to have business with me. They want to communicate. The communication, or communication attempt, feels telepathic, but somehow it is not getting through. I sense eagerness and . . . frustration on their part.

Then the nausea comes on again, really strong, and I'm outside for another protracted bout of vomiting and retching. Seated on a tree stump, looking up at the stars, I have a strange sense of being possessed by the spirit of my father, as though he's inside me somehow, merged with me and my consciousness.

On another night the visions begin very differently. After an initial bout of geometry and ladders I find myself inside a building - a huge structure a bit like the ancient Egyptian temple of Edfu at its entrance but opening out into something quite other. Fantastic architecture on an extraordinary scale. I have a computercam point of view and can fly around, zoom in or zoom out anywhere. I fly up into a vast dome, examine the patterns of nested curves that decorate its ceiling. Then the vomiting takes me again and the visions are gone.

Around the fifth night of my stay in the Amazon I drink ayahuasca in a natural clearing in the jungle. The name given by the Indians to clearings like this is supay chakra, which means 'the devil's farm'. Two makeshift benches have been set up by a huge ancient fig tree, and we hang hammocks and mosquito nets at the edge of the clearing. Dark falls, surrounding us with the sounds of the jungle night. We wait until around 8 p.m. to start the ceremony.

I begin to vision very mildly after about 45 minutes - a dreamlike state enhanced by the weird luminous glow given off by thousands of dead leaves carpeting the forest floor. When my eyes are open I see this real jungle with its glowing floor. When I close them another jungle appears - a jungle of trees, stems, shoots, each traced with a line of fire and overcast with strangeness.

I also see snakes again, not very large this time, but with wide-open mouths. Then a tiny mannequin appears amongst the high jungle plants. It has the outline and size of a gingerbread man, but is glowing all neon-white. It behaves like a puppet operated on strings by puppeteer who is so far above us as to be out of sight. The mannequin dances through the tall trees.

In the morning Don Alberto, the shaman, says that the spirit the chakra was with us, watching us the whole time, hiding behi the big fig tree. Apparently he was not happy that we vomited - a worse! - in his chakra. But Don Alberto reassures us that he intervened on our behalf to make everything OK with this ang supernatural being.

Then I meet a big boa constrictor. head alone is about two feet long and a foot high. It allows me stroke it and I hear myself saying in my vision, 'It's a beauty' or 'You a beauty.' Something like that.
I see a yellow and black spotted butterfly, the size of a dinner plate, flitting from plant to plant in the hallucinatory jungle. I follow it until we reach a clearing where a second huge serpent awaits. There is no butterfly now, only this immense yellow and black serpent radiating sentience and magical force. Before my eyes it spectacularly and mysteriously transforms into a powerful jaguar with yellow and black spots and confronts me face to face. There is a sort of telepathy. Then the creature abruptly turns away and vanishes. For what feels like a long while afterwards I continue to sense its presence still out there, camouflaged amongst the otherworldly jungle plants. At no point do I feel afraid of it or threatened by it.

Both it and the beautiful boa, the butterfly, even the plants, seem filled with vibrant energy and life and communicative intelligence. They also seem utterly and convincingly real - not stuff my brain is just perversely cooking up out of some hitherto unknown jungle-scenes image bank in my temporal lobes, but real perceptions of real beings that ordinarily exist outside the range of my senses.

The visions left me thinking and the following morning I wrote in my notebook:

Matter and spirit. As above so below. Science teaches us to believe that the material world is the primary and only reality. But from the ayahuasca perspective this is absolutely not the case. What we call the material world, our 'consensual reality', is only part of the pattern - probably not even the primary part. Viewed through the lens of ayahuasca, another 'world' becomes visible, another reality, perhaps many of them. And because these worlds interpenetrate our own, effects in this world may turn out to have causes in the other worlds. Perhaps the material world is indeed the creation of spirits but if so then presumably they made it because they need it (for their own experience/evolution/development?). The material world, if cut off from the spirit world, becomes meaningless and empty. So the material world needs the spirit world too. Ayahuasca, and similar 'master plants', appear to provide a direct means of communication with the spirit realm for sentient beings of the material world. The plants educate us by allowing us to experience in visions the reality of the supernatural — something normally impossible or very difficult for us to do as material-bound creatures.

Purple prose? A bit New Age and over the top? Even lunatic fringe? I don't deny it and in a way that's exactly my point. If I, with all the knowledge and rationalism of the twenty-first century at my disposal, could be so persuaded by the apparently supernatural realms and spirit beings that ayahuasca introduced me to, then what would our ancestors have thought if they had chanced upon similar hallucinogenic plants 30,000 years ago and seen similar wonders? What about the two elf-sized 'light-beings' I'd met? What would they have been taken to be in the Upper Palaeolithic? What about the serpent transforming into a jaguar? What about the geometry and the architecture? Wouldn't it have all come together as a seamless otherworld? Not the way we tend to see such scenes now - as some sort of derangement of perception devalued by the modern idea of'hallucinations' — but as a veridical experience of another level of reality?


24 January: Don Francisco pours me a generous cupful of dense and rancid ayahuasca which I almost throw up on the last swallow. The taste and smell are extremely strong and for some reason I feel nervous and out of sorts this evening. There are waves of nausea but I control them, breathe into them.

I suppose that half an hour passes before the visions become strong. Tonight I see predominantly snakes, most of them about three or four feet in length. Again the sense I get is that these are intelligent beings who mean us well, not harm. I experience none of the archetypal fear that snakes supposedly evoke. As usual my eyes are closed, but I can 'see' my legs and feet below me as though bathed in light. One of the serpents coils around my left calf and then rears its head up from knee
level towards my face. Its body and head are coloured a deep and brilliant gold. It seems to be inspecting or examining me but I feel no fear.

I meet a lot of these snakes, coiling round the vegetation and around each other. They are everywhere, in the foreground, and often the background, of all my visions.

There are patterns and lights. I see something that looks like a very large inverted bowl rising up into a purple sky, glowing with light. I witness a complex series of transformations of snakes into felines. I have a sense of flying, as though I am a bird (or riding on a bird?) accompanied by two other birds.

I go through what feel like long periods of intense introspection. Something in the ayahuasca leads me to examine my own moral failings and weaknesses in an utterly unsympathetic light - holds them up to my view and shows me how much, in how many ways, I am inadequate, venal, not good. In particular I flagellate myself mercilessly about my father. Why wasn't I with him those last five days of his life? Why did I feel so driven to go back and finish my work? There are no excuses. Plain and simple, I should have been there and I wasn't. Several times I ask to see Dad's spirit, to meet him again and to talk to him. But this grace the Vine of Souls does not grant me.

Aliens and dragons

21 January. The visions begin with 20 minutes of geometry; then suddenly I find myself looking, at very close range, into a shockingly 'alien' face, grey in colour, with a wide domed forehead and a narrow pointed chin - heart-shaped like the faces of the 'light-beings' I'd encountered a few days earlier. But this creature doesn't look friendly. Its eyes are multi-segmented like those of a fly. Frankly, it's the sort of image you'd expect to see adorning some far-fetched X-Files expose, and since aliens and ETs have never been interests of mine, I'm really puzzled to experience such a hallucination. In the part of my mind that is still dealing with reasoning I can already see the way that scep*tics who have never taken ayahuasca are bound to read it. They must argue that there is no mystery in the appearance of entities like this in my hallucinations because, regardless of my lack of enthusiasm for aliens, my brain has had the opportunity to borrow such imagery from popular culture. Still, I feel unaccountably shaken and perplexed by what I've just seen.

A short while later, out of a background of shifting geometrical patterns, a beautiful Egyptian goddess appears. I see only her head and headdress clearly. She's in full regalia. Then she vanishes as abruptly and mysteriously as she arrived.

29 January: Strange and terrifying (briefly), although it didn't start that way. I drink at 8.05 p.m. For the first half-hour, as usual, nothing much happens, just queasy and formless luminescences. Then I begin to see snakes, not a lot and not spectacular. By 9.05 I'm feeling intoxicated, giddy and nauseous. But still just snakes. Not many. Midsize. They're coiling and writhing around a bit more. I begin to wonder (foolish bravado) if this is all I'm going to get.

The nausea increases and the whole visionary experience ratchets up a notch and becomes more sinister. My eyes are closed throughout but when I 'look' up, the visions are 'up' and when I look' down they're 'down'. I have the sense of gazing through a tunnel - a tunnel of vision with serpents coiled at the side of it, close to my eyes, threatening to fall on me.

I throw up over the back of the bench I'm sitting on. As I shift position the serpents shift with me. The visions stay strong while I'm vomiting. As I stop and return to the seated position everything ratchets up another notch. The serpents morph into Chinese dragons with beards and long serpentine bodies. Serpents and serpentine dragons with beards and rows of teeth. It's as though a Chinese painting has come to life. And again - where did the ancient Chinese originally mine this imagery from, if not from the visionary world? I'm convinced it's not a matter of my vision being inspired by Chinese paintings - which I hardly ever think of. I'm getting a glimpse into the same visionary realm that inspired the Chinese artists - and countless other mythologies in which dragons feature.
Then another upwards crank of the ratchet. The overall atmosphere - I can't explain why - is now distinctly terrifying and sinister. I see the grey heart-shaped face of an alien again, but with an even stranger, harsher expression than before. And I see what could be space ships - flying saucers - associated with this commanding, unpleasant alien presence. What's frightening is something that would be easy to interpret as an abduction experience - the feeling that if I allow the vision to continue I'm going to be taken up into those metal ships. They rotate and pulse with light from beneath, seeming to rise through a tube or funnel in the universe. I distinctly don't want to be taken and open my eyes to stop what I'm seeing. But the strangeness persists. I'm back in the real world but just out of sight I can feel serpents, dragons, demonic aliens and space ships whirling all around.

There's a sense in which the serpents/dragons morph into the alien who dominates this vision, and a sense in which the alien is different - not so much a serpent/dragon as some sort of huge insect with humanoid features. I also see four or five other insect-like creatures associated with him. They seem more like 'workers' - less intelligent, or not intelligent. Like giant ants in a way. These worker beings -and they do seem to be working as a team on something - are about three feet high I would guess.

Two other images, both of planets, stand out in my memory of this complex vision. In the first the planet is immense and surrounded by rings or discs in the plane of its equator. In the second I see a transparent earth sphere with the fragility, texture and glittering iridescent colours of a soap bubble. Etched on its surface are the outlines of the familiar continents, and I can see through them from one side to the other. The sphere is rotating and seems to float in space between two cupped hands.

My final ayahuasca session in Peru is with an old Shipibo Indian shaman named Don Leonceo in his tambo in the jungle beyond Iquitos. As well as the usual ingredients of Psychotria viridis leaves and the Banisteriopsis caafivine, his ayahuasca includes datura, another well-known visionary plant, and tastes unspeakably awful.

I have a series of generally small and certainly not terrifying visions. There are a few snakes. Several times I see multiple rows of green pyramids laid out in long tapering strips. I seem to be flying over these strips. I also see a sphere, a cube and a triangle, and rows of serpent or alligator mouths full of teeth.

But the single most memorable aspect of my visions this night unfolds over what feels like just a few seconds. I seem to be inside a large, quite dark room with an opened doorway to one side. Light floods into the doorway and through it I can see a beautiful, spacious balcony overlooking what is perhaps a vast river, or a lake, or even the sea.

On the left side of the balcony, at the rear just outside the open doorway through which I'm looking, I suddenly become aware of the presence of a figure. It is an imposing statue, about six feet high and apparently carved in one piece from some green stone - perhaps jade.

The sculptor provided excellent detailing of fine robes, and a belt, and something - possibly a sword? - suspended from the belt.

At first this stunning piece of sculpture seems just that - a harmless, inanimate statue. I'm curious to see more of it and move my point of view a little closer to get a look at its face. To my surprise the statue is half animal, half human. It has the body of a powerful and well-muscled man but the head of a crocodile, like Sobek, the ancient Egyptian crocodile god. And now I suddenly realise it is alive - a living being, a supernatural guardian. At this moment its eyes swivel sideways and it is looking at me, taking note of me.

The look is intelligent, appraising, somehow sly, but yet not threatening. What is this living statue, this being of jade? The vision fades . . .

Shamanism comes to suburbia

After leaving Peru, Santha and I flew to Brazil so that I could attend a session with the Uniao de Vegetal (UdV) in the beautiful district of Ilha de Guarantiba, about one hour's drive west of the centre of Rio de Janeiro.

The mestre ~ Master of the ceremony - is Antonio Francisco Fleury. He's a distinguished, intellectual-looking gentleman in his sixties with a grey moustache. Altogether about 100 people attend. It is a family affair with age ranges present from babes in arms, young kids, teenagers, through to grandparents in their seventies. The UdV allows kids to drink ayahuasca (they call it their cha — tea) once a month from the age of 14, twice a month from age 18.

This is demonstrably a prosperous, middle-class group including many professionals such as doctors, lawyers and architects. The temple is in a specially dedicated villa overlooking magnificent countryside. It has a kitchen, a dining area, a patio, a large area to one side for cooking the ayahuasca (strictly Banisteriopsis caapi, Psychotria viridis and water), and the temple itself, a large rectangular hall with space for congregations of 100 or more, all comfortably seated.

What is striking is the extremely positive atmosphere of friendliness, support, rationality and love among the congregation. The session runs from 9 p.m. until about 1.20 a.m. I drink my brew at 9.20 p.m. and am having good visions by 9.45. The first hour after drinking - until 10.20 - passes in what feels, subjectively, like an instant. My visions are familiar and positive - perhaps more brightly lit (less 'darkness visible') than before. What I remember clearly are large snakes (again!), light-coloured boas, huge, coiling around each other and around branches. I also get pyramid shapes built around a lattice or framework of some kind.

But the best part of the evening is when the same Egyptian goddess whom I last saw in Peru reappears - this time on the left side of my visual field. At first she is concealed, in shadow. I look closely and see a slender female figure holding a dark blue mask in front of her face - one of those masks on a stick. Then she removes the mask and I see her face clearly in the instant before she vanishes once more. She glows the colour of molten gold.

Where the impossible becomes real

If I were to nominate the single defining quality of the visions I experienced under the influence of ayahuasca it would have to be their remarkable sense - no matter how 'otherworldly' they were - of being real. It is surprising enough to encounter something so improbable as a 'light-being', or an intelligent giant snake that transforms into a jaguar, or a hybrid crocodile-man, or an insect-man like my 'aliens' — especially when any thought of such entities is normally very far from one's mind. But to encounter them in all their strangeness, yet bolstered by an unassailable aura of certainty and solidity, is doubly disturbing and disorienting.

So some months before I met David Lewis-Williams, what I had learnt from personal experience in the Amazon had already begun to convince me of the force of his argument. If our ancestors in the Upper Palaeolithic had consumed psychoactive plants - and we'll see that there was an excellent candidate available in Europe in the Ice Age that could have produced ayahuasca-like effects - then because we share the same neurology it is safe to say that they would have had experiences rather like mine (not in every minute detail, of course, but broadly and with something like the same general atmosphere). It had begun to seem highly plausible to me, as Lewis-Williams suggests, that hallucinations could have given rise to early religious notions about supernatural realms and beings, and the survival of death by the 'soul'. Indeed, where else could our ancestors ever have acquainted themselves with such ideas in the first place if not in the visionary realms where the shamans of all cultures in all periods have always made their 'spirit journeys'?
There, as I'd already found out for myself, hybrid man-beasts, light-beings, transformations, and encounters with the deceased all become possible. Is the hard evidence for such encounters documenting the birth of religion really painted inside the deep caves of Upper Palae*olithic Europe, as Lewis-Williams claims?

Author's note: I had not seen any of Pablo Amaringo's paintings before experiencing my own ayahuasca visions. That I was later able to find similarities to my visions in several works by the Peruvian shaman reproduced in this chapter is an illustration of the astonishing common imagery and identical 'parallel worlds' that are reported by people from many different cultures who have experienced ayahuasca."

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:47 AM

excellent post, tregar :eusa_clap // still reading through now!
thanks for the additional links/media you endowed us with, as well :dance:

#3 mindovermycelia


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Posted 20 October 2006 - 04:39 PM

I know aya is cool and all, something I may try one day, and I like to read about it here and there . . . but 400 pages? I'd have to be real bored. I think I'd rather make some up and just try it first.

#4 Hippie3



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Posted 20 October 2006 - 04:56 PM

to each his own,
some intellectuals actually enjoy reading, if you can imagine.

#5 mindovermycelia


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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:39 PM

I didn't mean to dis the book or reading it or the poster who shared this with everyone. I'm sure I would've loved to read this when I was younger and info on aya was harder to find. But I've studied anthropological accounts in college and many stories from people who had an aya session or two here and there. He's not a bad writer but I just can't read through all those trips and all the interpretations right now, for some reason, it just seems tedious to me. Also, it is highly likely that this is in fact the longest book on tripping though it is likely the only one focused on just the aya rituals and detailed trip reports not included in a book on shamanism, or anthropology of religious beliefs among locals, or in a book devoted to psychedelics or the psychedelic experience in general.

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:45 PM

authors often get paid by the word

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:04 PM

I like your post Tregar,
I never really read to much unless
it interest me, and the info
here at topia rocks,
very nice writer you are indeed!

#8 tregar



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Posted 21 October 2006 - 01:15 AM

Thanks for the replies everyone. yes, it's true...I enjoy reading other people's vision reports...I am a scientist and artist at heart, and also a big reader...and nothing fascinates me more than reading about people's experiences. Benny Shannon has written the bible on ayahuasca, and if it weren't for his book and also the very helpful posts by many veterans here at Mycotopia I wouldn't have pursued this avenue, but I am thankful to all these people for sharing what they did. I am trying to make sense of the visions I saw many years ago, and when I read that Benny Shannon and also Graham Hancock were seeing the same things in their really got me thinking again...this is a bigger mystery than I can imagine....the visions I saw, and the 'voice' that spoke telepathically to me was more real than I could have imagined. These are not the same things that one sees when one is dreaming...they are things that I would never have imagined yet presented themselves to me. Why did I see incredible geometric lattices, cultural artifacts, landscapes, artwork, pyramids, angels, dragons, snakes? I saw these things with eyes opened even. What does this have to do with DNA or the 'other'? These are some of my questions. The visuals were so brightly lit for me as if a spotlight was shining out of the void on to them to show them in all their grand majesty and sparkling newness.

We only know about 3% of our DNA (which has to do with genes) yet Scientist call the other 97% "junk DNA". Graham suggest that perhaps this other 97% contains an interactive visionary instructionary program or language that is there for us to learn from, and that we are able to tune into this under the influence of psychedelics. Shaman's have been tuning into this frequency for thousands of years. And it is suggested that once Man acquired this capability via psychedelics some 35,000 years go that's when Man acquired culture, music, art, religion. Who knows? The interview is very good. These entheogens are very possible the 'ancient teachers of mankind' as Graham suggest. I know that during my sessions, I was not only seeing incredible visions but was also being taught very valuable lessons and information by an 'other' that cared very deeply about the individual self.

The earliest discovered cave art going back some 35,000 years ago shows a half animal, half human entity which Graham saids is how these beings appear to us to communicate. They are transdimensional and can take many forms. These drawings were made by man to communicate what they had most likely seen during altered states of consciousness. And not just Graham believes this, but also the mainstream Archaeologist believe that these were drawings done to depict things that were seen in altered states.

It is quite possible that high dose LSD acts the same as mushrooms and ayahuasca do in perhaps "tuning the brain" to another wavelength as Graham suggest in his radio interview with an alternate reality that is so incredible that it begs to teach us and inspire us. I saw the exact same visions with high dose LSD that people on Ayahuasca have visions of all the time. I seem to think there is some sort of re-tuning of the brain to this alternate frequency as well.

It's not very often you find authors who have actually tried the plants that they are writing about...but when you do, you are definately in for some great reading.

Benny Shanon has done ayahuasca over 130 times, Graham has now done it 16 times, and Terence has done ayahuasca many times also and has written very interesting accounts of these experiences in his book "The Archaic Revival".

For me at least, getting to this stage of remarkable visions and healing requires some is not easy to 'enter' the void. I often go through a short period of very uncomfortable body and mental feelings in the beginning (even with acid) which then give way to a very peaceful tranquil visionary heavenly experience the remainder of the session. I think it was Daniel Pinchbeck who said it best when an Indian at the Burning Man festival remarked to him that "White Man medicine make you feel good in beginning, bad at end...but Indian medicine make you feel bad in beginning and good at end."

#9 Hippie3



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Posted 21 October 2006 - 09:34 AM

I am trying to make sense of the visions I saw many years ago, and when I read that Benny Shannon and also Graham Hancock were seeing the same things in their really got me thinking again...this is a bigger mystery than I can imagine.

not really seeing as how we all share a common brain architecture,
seems reasonable enough that a specific drug should elicit similar responses in similar creatures, other drugs do it, amphetamine affects us all pretty much the same, why should DMT or psilocybin not do likewise ?

as for cave paintings most archeologists believe they were made during sensory deprivation, isolated in the silent darkness underground, not on any chemical compounds influence as wandering thru winding pitch black caves is pretty lethal if you're stoned.
as far as religion, culture, etc.-
these did not just fall into our hands 35,000 years ago after munching some shrooms but instead developed slowly over many more thousands of years, only about 6000-7000 years ago did we begin building cities which is the very definition of 'civilized'.
my problem with such authors is i think they exaggerate the importance of the things they love, i see some trying to credit drugs for everything,
from the bible to talking itself. i just don't think it's so simple and clear-cut. but i see them making $$ selling books to those already predisposed to believe so i think i understand why...

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