My Ayahuasca/Huachuma retreat in Peru: Pre-Trip Introduction and rant

I’m feeling a nice little kick from the extended-release Niacin vitamins I took one an hour ago.  I take my highs where I can get them.  It was suggested to me that the mosquitoes in the Amazon will be repelled by this in my blood.  They tend to like sweet, sugary blood.  I have began my diet of all fruits and vegetables in preparation for taking Ayahuasca.  It is typical for people to purge, throwing up, or through diarrhea after taking the medicine.  When one’s body is well nourished with plant foods, the purge can be much less painful and allow one to go much deeper into the spiritual realm.  The preparation for optimal experience includes complete abstinence from sex and masturbation, no alcohol, no sugar, no meat, no salt for 2 weeks leading up to ingesting Ayahuasca.  The idea is that the Ayahuasca is sparking a purge of the physical and also the spiritual, the negative baggage that everyone carries.

I’ve been wading through the waters of ambivalence like a 13 year old on the verge of sexual maturation or an impotent 80 year old, however I choose to look at it. Is the glass half empty or half full? Am I on the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown? I’ve been paralyzed by inertia lately, but I have made a step toward pulling myself out of this hole.

The flights are booked. Fees paid.  In 4 days I am flying to Lima, Peru.  From there I will take a 3 hour flight to Iquitos, located in the heart of the Amazon jungle.  I will be working with a master healer/shaman with the sacred plant medicine Ayahuasca in the first week and the second week with Huachuma (derived from a cactus, active compound in it is mescaline-This is what Aldous Huxley details his experience of in The Doors of Perception). I have been researching the topic for about 4 years now and have sifted through multiple retreat centers and shamans to gauge their reputation and track record.   The misinformation, paranoia, and exaggeration surrounding Ayahuasca is abundant on the internet, so it is of utmost importance to thoroughly investigate and read all reviews.

It feels as if I am putting on hold starting my actual life: the ideal self I always fantasize about in the future with a sense of direction and purpose.  I have been reading accounts of Ayahuasca experiences for years and people continually report experiences of confronting their innermost demons and emerging with a window into the unfathomable love of the universe and experiencing some level of self-forgiveness.  The plant medicine can be extremely effective in beginning a deep process of healing people with depression, PTSD, past trauma, grief, addictions.

I have felt for the longest time that there is something stuck in me, something permanently lodged in my heart.  This obstruction has made me impervious to connection.  The feeling of separateness and apartness I have is so deep and profound as to make me think I will be permanently resentful and jealous of others. The last few years, completely independent of my isolation, depression or social anxiety I think, is this it? Is this everything the life has to offer me?  I know there is so, so much more to the “reality” that our minds perceive.   There really isn’t objective reality if you ask me, only subjective, as the stimuli of the world is filtered differently through each mind.

When trying to encapsulate my identity or personality, people typically will say I am intense and introspective.  With a frequency of about every 2 years, without fail, someone will recount to me how someone else said to them “Pete is so serious.” My greatest battle is with myself and my internal contradictions.  That is why I approach the sacred plant medicine with nervous anticipation and excitement.

The comedian Bill Hicks, was an alcoholic, who got sober and was sober for many years before his death at the age of 32 from cancer.  He was on the verge of mainstream recognition at the time of his death.  He had recorded a set to be broadcast on David Letterman’s Late Show, but Dave decided to not to broadcast it for fear of offending or being politically incorrect.  Hicks considered mushrooms (psilocybin) a completely separate thing from his sobriety.  He was a fearless explorer of consciousness and took “heroic doses” on many occasions and would recount his trips in his stand up sets, saying he would make contact with a higher intelligence, even extraterrestrial intelligence.  Most importantly, he said it allowed him to access this unconditional love and beauty that changed him profoundly as a person, making him more compassionate.  He considered himself a true patriot, someone who wasn’t afraid to speak out against the evils of our government.

Psychedelics (I can only speak for psilocybin personally) are a tool that can provide profound and lasting healing for those suffering from mental anguish, grief, substance abuse, depression.  The problem is that over the years we only hear of the negative stories, the dumbasses who jumped off their roof trying to fly that feed the ignorant rumor mill.  We never hear of the thousands of others healed from trauma, addiction or who reconnected with the universe and others.  Having taken mushrooms once, I know that it starts you on a path of higher consciousness, and this is what the people that have taken it experience, an awakening, they are shown what is important: love and their fellow man and woman.  Love and compassion doesn’t make oil tycoons and smarmy politicians richer, it doesn’t feed the egos of the mental midgets on Wall Street, so the government will continue to suppress and feed the populace propaganda. Pharmaceutical companies will viciously beat back any lasting, effective cure like this because it will erode their billion dollar industry of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications.

I have been on several of these anti-depressants (SSRI’s) over the years.  Of course everyone knows you need to take the pill daily and it will not start to work until 3 weeks on the drug.  In order for it to work, you will need to abstain from alcohol and other drugs.  The best analogy I can give is that it is like dulling a blade.  Mentally, the lows are not as low, but the highs aren’t as high. I was not able to become as genuinely happy or excited as I once did, and the times that I felt more outgoing and talkative, felt completely synthetic.  I even felt completely detached from my body and mind.  Think Soma in Brave New World.

Anti-depressants are effectively tranquilizers.  This is the stuff that is advertised on TV commercials.  They put the volume all the way up on their commercial (noticeably louder than the show you’re watching) and then the world’s fastest talker lists the side effects at the very end.   Here’s a teeny, tiny, little side effect that might concern you: THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE.

It is documented that a significant amount of people have killed themselves as a result of coming down off the drug, or simply being on a steady dose.   Yes, these people, being depressed are already predisposed to commit suicide but it is well documented that the drug has driven people to suicide.  Its hard to get a clear picture of the data as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) underreports cases of anti-depressant medication induced suicide.  It serves the FDA to sweep inconvenient facts under the rug and keep the money train going for the Pharmaceutical companies that pay them off.  The FDA are the informed organization that gave us the food pyramid that said pasta, bread, cereal, should comprise the majority of your food intake.

Its such a shame that millions will never go near these healing vehicles because they have been brought up in a culture of fear and paranoia in the good ole’ U.S. of A.  The strategy: Keep people afraid of the “War on Terror.” and stress that we are the “good guys.”  How many millionaires and billionaires has the “War on Terror” created? Profiting off the death of our own American soldiers?

Did Vice President Dick Cheney become a significantly wealthier man by sending our troops into Iraq? As he sat on the board of the most prominent weapons manufacturing company Halliburton. Halliburton made 39.5 Billion dollars as a result of the War in Iraq.  Hm.  Is 90% of Congress bought by a lobbyist before they even take the seat? Is every single president ever elected bought by wealthy donors before they even take the seat, simply following the orders of the gun lobby, the sugar lobby, the oil lobby because these lobbies put the real money in the pockets of the egotistical politicians who only make 100K a year.

The freedoms of living in the “land of the free” comes at a price.  People  slander Bernie Sanders as a socialist, yet what has capitalism brought us? Leaders who will sell you down the river if it means more money in their pocket.  They will lie, lie, lie and lie some more.   Our browsing histories have just been deemed acceptable for sale to private companies by the telecom giants (AT&T, Verizon, etc) in the US after a vote in Congress last week, bye privacy, hello police state! Who am I kidding? The government can already see every single one of my texts, calls, emails at the click of a button.  I wonder if a large amount of money changed hands before this happened. Hm.

I used to be into the idea of blind patriotism.  The rah-rah shit that America is always the good guys.  It’s what they were intending all along to have us rally behind their quests and campaigns for geopolitical control and influence in every single country.  There are no shortage of the nationalist confederate types in the South who don’t know how to read, yet they own ten guns and vote Trump.  Just to consider the fact that almost every single American president has probably killed hundreds or thousands of children in our bombings of foreign countries gives you an idea of “good guys”.   Its impossible to turn on a “News” channel in the US that doesn’t have a bipartisan bent these days, or read a publication that doesn’t have a bent towards liberal or conservative.  Its all corporations controlling the main news channels and using the puppets to bolster their agenda.

It is a known fact that the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, was a believer in psychedelics with massive potential for healing the masses of recovering alcoholics.  He tried it for the first time in 1956, before Richard Nixon declared all psychedelics Schedule 1 (the most heavily penalized and jailed) illegal substances.  Other Schedule 1 substances: Marijuana, Heroine, Crack-cocaine.  Does the punishment fit the crime in the freedom loving USA?

I am certain that the LSD experience has helped me very much. I find myself with a heightened color perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depression… The sensation that the partition between “here” and “there” has become very thin is constantly with me.

-Bill Wilson, founder of AA

Bill was enthusiastic about his experience with LSD; he felt it helped him eliminate barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one’s direct experience of the cosmos and of God. He thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered.

-from AA’s Official Biography, Pass it on

Its unfortunate that AA is extremely tradition based and dogmatic.  This is part of what makes it work for people: rules and steps to follow. The thinly veiled nudging towards Christianity you feel when they say “Our Father” at the beginning or end of the meeting.  People in AA there want safety, structure, community, just like the church-goers in Judaism, Christianity.  They want to be told the exact rules to live by and the exact way that they will be rewarded and then they call this “faith.”  They want us to believe a text that is 2,000 something years old.  Experience with Ayahuasca would scare these people because there’s no where to hide when you take it, it will show you all the bad parts of yourself and bring all the toxicity to the surface.

I can’t tell who is worse, the smug atheists who refuse to believe in anything, or the bible thumping religionists who fixate on the conception of God as a singular masculine entity with a beard.  They are both infuriating.  Case in point: Richard Dawkins- the snobbiest of snobby snob snobs, who has written 8,000 award winning books on the case for atheism, has never tried ayahuasca or any plant medicine and likely never will, so he is blind the spiritual realm and landscape that is intertwined with our souls.   These are called teacher plants, and some credit our rapid evolution as a species to early apes consuming them.  People want so damn badly to cling to their societal classrooms where the teacher can tell them “bad boy” and “good girl.”

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