As the conversation about mental health and emotional health is becoming more mainstream, the door to sharing holistic ideas and solutions, alternative healing modalities, and nutritional therapies is also opening up. On today’s show, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen dive into the myriad aspects and benefits of psychedelic plant medicines, particularly Ayahuasca, and how they heal us, to teach us, and nourish us. They also share their own personal experiences with Ayahuasca and why it’s important to take it at the right place with the right people. If you are fascinated about plant medicines and their healing properties, you wouldn’t want to miss this show.
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Mental And Emotional Healing Through Psychedelic Plant Medicines
Are you ready for this discussion?
I don’t know if I’m ready for anything anymore. I say yes to things and figure it out once I get in. What is ready anyway? I suppose I’m ready because it’s happening. That must mean I’m ready on some level.
Our topic for those reading is what?
Is it going to be one singular thing?
None of our episodes are one singular thing. The starting point perhaps, the theme and the premise is, Jason?
I had a journey with Ayahuasca for the first time, which was a decision to see how it would affect my mental and emotional health, in particular for the readers who have been up on our show or paying attention to some of the things that we share on social media, on the Wellevatr accounts or even my personal account. They know that I’ve had my challenges dancing with mental health issues for the past several years. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and had a lot of suicidal ideation. The last years, I have been dedicating a lot of time to not only researching how different plant medicines can affect my mental health and emotional health but through those experiments, doing my best to disseminate that information and share resources and knowledge with people who might also be struggling with that.
I think that this conversation about mental health and emotional health is becoming more mainstream, which is great. I also think that there’s a lot more room for us to share holistic ideas, solutions from different healing modalities to plant medicines, to nutritional therapies. I was researching that the nutritional psychology is becoming a thing. It’s a branch of medicine that people have a background in psychotherapy or psychology. They’re combining that with a nutrition background. That’s at the forefront. I feel speaking of things that are at the forefront that a lot of ancient medicines be they Chinese medicine, Ayurveda or these more psychedelic plant medicines that we have a symbiotic relationship with. Certainly, a lot of things on this planet, but I do believe plants are here to heal us, to teach us, to nourish us. I’m excited because as someone who loves plants and is fascinated by their healing properties to have experienced what I had just experienced, I’m still unpacking it. I’m still decoding it. I’m still sitting with it. It’s a lot.
Let’s back track. Explain what Ayahuasca is? What’s your definition of Ayahuasca?
It’s a vine that is native to South America and they take this extremely fibrous vine and they pulverize the vine to the point where they can make it into a liquid concoction where they reduce it.
The shamans who would prepare the Ayahuasca for ceremony. They’ve been doing Ayahuasca in Peru and other South American countries for many generations. A lot of the shamans and Ayahuasqueros and people who are facilitating or experiencing these things. There are certain nations that they acknowledge that Ayahuasca is part of a religious ceremony. It’s something that is not new. Certainly in the mainstream lexicon, if we look at how a lot of people have been experimenting with psychedelic plant medicines for mental and emotional healing. We can look back to the ‘60s to Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, who’s also known as Ram Dass. They were doing a lot of stuff with LSD, which was made from the ergot fungus. Even LSD has a natural origin of fungus.
Most things have a natural origin.
Some things are just closer or more unprocessed than others where all of our pharmaceutical drugs, for the most part, have a synthesis that were derived from a natural origin. They’ve been chemically processed, synthesized or created into a more complex chemical structure.
Isn’t that funny how a lot of people, at least in the US, that this Western mentality that we have seem to be very skeptical of Eastern so-called modalities, which is usually herbal? We associate herbal remedies with more of an Eastern perspective. It’s also interesting because I don’t know if we can necessarily call it Eastern anymore, because plenty of places all around the world are utilizing more natural, unprocessed plant remedies from herbs for example. It’s also interesting that we call it Eastern when in the United States it feels like it’s more of a Western US mentality and yet it’s still associated with Eastern in terms of a global perspective.
To me, what’s fascinating is that many people seem skeptical of simplicity and they would rather something complicated. Jason and I are big believers in being as simple as possible because a lot of times that is all you need. Sometimes, the simpler things have the most powerful effect. That’s also a big theme. You have a lot of knowledge about Ayahuasca. Did you brush up on that knowledge before partaking in the ceremony? Is this something that you’ve known for a while? Is this something that you’ve been thinking of doing for a long time? Where did that inspiration to do it come from?
I first heard about Ayahuasca in 2008. It seems like back in 2008, even in the holistic wellness circles and the circles we’ve run in for more than a decade, there weren’t a lot of people talking about it or even doing it. I had a couple of friends in Detroit who had experienced a ceremony and I was like, “What is this?” To that point, I had journeyed and experimented with other plant medicines. I was very curious because I’ve always found that when I’ve done psychedelics, I’ve had profound revelations whether or not it was during the journey or post-journey. There’s always been some element of like, “I needed to see that.” Something I needed to be shown. Something that needed to be relayed to me with clarity and love. When I first heard about it in a way, it was like, “What are Greg and Angela all about?” They were telling me about it and I was fascinated by it. It’s been on my radar for more than a decade. Certainly in the last several years, there’s been a momentum I feel, especially here in California where we’re at. I wouldn’t say it’s ubiquitous, but it’s a thing where it’s like, “I did Ayahuasca.”
It’s very strange if you hear someone say it.
You hear about Joe Rogan talking about it and a lot of the mainstream media discussing it. I saw a video about some soldiers that had severe PTSD that were going down to Peru to do it because of the psycho-spiritual effects of the violence, the pain and the death they have seen. It’s certainly something that is not this fringe hippy thing anymore. Whereas regular people who are having mental health struggles, PTSD, depression or suicidal ideation are doing it.
I guess anything’s possible, but does it feel like something that could become more mainstream or do you think it’s always going to be a bit fringe but maybe more accepted and wider known?
I think it’s fascinating. The way that the federal government classifies drugs, they lump things into schedules. It’s a schedule one narcotic or schedule two. These are based on degrees of severity that the government deigns how severe these drugs are.
The US government?
Yes. I find it strange that something like psilocybin mushroom, something that grows naturally that people harvest that are completely unprocessed. They dry the mushrooms and you eat them. We’ve seen a lot of reform with marijuana and cannabis, but things like Ayahuasca, Iboga which is a bark that is native to the Bwiti tribe in Africa have been using it for generations similar to Ayahuasca in terms of psycho-spiritual healing.
What’s the frog’s name?
What is that exactly?
It’s a frog venom that induces a profound detoxification in the body.
Would you classify that in the same category?
I haven’t looked at the schedules in terms of what the US government classifies in these drugs, but last time I checked, Kambo was not on their radar.
Because it’s super fringe.
My point with all this is to put something like heroin, crystal meth or cocaine in the same generalized category as medicinal mushrooms, Ayahuasca, Iboga or things that are pure plant medicine, there’s a fallacy here. It’s not correct because certainly something like cocaine or heroin is not inducing the same kind of psycho-spiritual potential for healing in the body that these other plant medicines do. I think there’s a lot of reform. There’s a great organization that’s based out of Northern California called MAPS. They’re all about political and social reform for showing the power of Ayahuasca, mushrooms, LSD, MDMA and Iboga for healing depression, PTSD, schizophrenia and certain severe mental disorders. There’s a lot of clinical research going on with LSD and with MDMA, also known as ecstasy. I’m heartened by the fact that mainstream researchers and scientists are revisiting this idea that this isn’t cocaine, heroin or crystal meth. These plants are relaying wisdom, messages, healing potential to the human psyche and the human body.
Is there a way to prove that’s what’s happening? Because I’ve never done Ayahuasca and I believe in it from what I’ve heard from Jason. A little background, I asked him to save a lot of his reflections and stories for this show. A lot of what you’re reading is what I’m learning from the very first time as Jason’s best friend. I’ve heard a lot. I know a number of people who have done it and I believe in it. I wonder almost with things like this, is it possible there’s a bit of a placebo effect based on our expectations of what’s going to happen?
I wonder if that ties into any misconceptions. We hear a lot of stories about what other people have experienced and what the potential is. I think there’s also a high chance of maybe somebody abusing it. Ayahuasca for example. I know for you, Jason, if I recall correctly, you’ve been hesitant to do Ayahuasca because you wanted to do it at the right place with the right people. I’d be curious to know how you made this decision to do it because it does feel a little bit trendy. We’re in Los Angeles, which is a city based on trends or a city that tends to start a lot of trends.
Especially in the wellness field.Different plant medicines can affect mental health and emotional health. Click To Tweet
It’s very possible in a lot of cases that when something seems appealing, there’s an opportunity to make money from it. There’s an opportunity to exploit something. We see this a lot in the wellness industry. Jason and I talk about this frequently, how people will just take information and repurpose it. They don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience in it, but they see an opportunity to position themselves as experts or to make money from something. It’s a fine line and there’s a lot of room for this gray area and not knowing whether something is true or not. I love to know how you made the decision to do it in Los Angeles. Is Peru the main hub for Ayahuasca?
In Costa Rica, there are actual clinical retreats with medical doctors on staff and there’s one called Rhythmia in Costa Rica. It’s not becoming bougie or posh per se, but it’s becoming where there are professional businesses that are running these things where to their credit, they’re taking a lot of care in making sure that people feel safe during the experience. It seems to me from what I’ve heard, like Peru and Costa Rica are the hubs of where most people will go to experience this.
I’m sure there too, it can become almost a tourist experience like anything else. It’s like, “Come to Peru and do Ayahuasca.” Maybe it’s used as a way to attract people to Peru for example, to boost tourism or something. It’s fascinating in general. You can see this with anything. We see nature being exploited a lot for tourism and we see medicine being exploited for money. How did you decide that this was the right place and the right time for yourself?
I had this idea in my head. I have an old friend who is a facilitator of this experience who I was pretty clear that I wanted my first time to be with her. She’s relocating to a different country and that’s influx. Also, the price point of that experience was not something that I wanted to invest in terms of going to a different country, taking a week off of life and work. I may do that someday, but it seemed to me that the confluence of events that played themselves out was very interesting because the first half of 2019 was hard for me. It was a lot of old painful stuff coming up mentally, suicidal thoughts feeling depressed. Part of it was the economic downturn in my business at the beginning of the year and losing a certain contract. It was this thing I felt like the herbs I was doing, the yoga and the meditation with my mental care regime, it got wrote to a degree. It was like, “I’m doing my meditation, doing my yoga, doing my supplements.” The body, like anything, it adjusts to things. I felt the protocols that I had been doing for my mental health weren’t as potent or effective as I would hope they would have continued to be.
I started taking lithium in the Summertime. The lithium was working. I could feel a little bit of a difference. I remember being on the phone with my mom. I’m frustrated with my state of being that none of these things seem to be giving me the boost or potency that I needed to adjust my brain chemistry. A good friend of ours had this opportunity to say, “I think this is the right person. The Shaman’s great. I think this container’s good, it’s safe.” She had done it and invited me and I felt the confluence of my frustration with all of the holistic remedies not feeling as potent. Someone I trust and love, someone you and I are very close to, extending that offer to join her. I think it was a timing thing and it was being invited by the right person. I had been invited to a lot of Ayahuasca ceremonies over the years like, “Come to Vegas and do it. Come to Ohio and do it. Come to Malibu and do it.”
Am I correct in remembering that you almost did it in Vegas one time?
Yes, this was several years ago. I tapped into the energy of who is sending me the invitation and it was like, “Something about it isn’t right.” I listened to my intuition. With this experience, when the invitation came along, there was no red flag or nothing in my intuition that said, “Don’t do this.” There was a part of me that said, “You said you were going to do this and go to Peru and do it with your friend.” It was like, “This feels like the right timing. It’s been on your radar for many years literally. Do it.” I did one night. The availability was two nights. I know that there are other facilities like Rhythmia at Costa Rica that you can go for multiple days.
Explain it, break it down for people that don’t know anything about Ayahuasca. What are the nights and the days? How does that work? What do you do?
I can’t speak for other experiences. I can only speak from what I experienced. With this, I arrived at about a 5:00 PM on a Saturday afternoon. I was integrating the space. It was a beautiful house in Hollywood. It was a small group, maybe fifteen people tops, very small and curated.
Maybe paint a picture of Hollywood. I think anybody who has not had a lot of experience in LA has a vision of what Hollywood is. Can you explain it because there are different parts of Hollywood for those who aren’t familiar?
This was in the Hollywood Hills. It was a modern house. It was a newer house, probably built in the last several years. Very clean and open, beautiful open spaces, beautiful views of nature, surrounded by trees, very serene. It was a modern, clean, beautiful house. It felt very safe. It was a lot of white and a lot of sunlight coming through a lot of light. I immediately felt pretty comfortable when I walked in.
For me, when I think of Ayahuasca, I have a vague vision of some of these houses where it happens. I remember one of Jason and I’s friends did it in Vegas and she was telling us about that. That was a female friend of ours. I remember hearing a story and I feel like a male friend of ours also did in Vegas. I don’t know that much about Vegas outside of the strip. Who knows what that environment was like, but I still imagined it being a fancy house like you’re describing. A lot of what I know of Ayahuasca, maybe other people may have seen videos of it, is I picture it out in the jungle. Whether it’s Costa Rica or Peru, I picture people are in a hut. I watched a documentary on it once and they were in a hut in a circle. It’s interesting to me that hut and jungle experience feels what I imagined Ayahuasca is. There’s this other world of people doing it in big cities and renting these fancy homes.
How did you feel going into a home versus the natural jungle type of environment that you could’ve chosen instead? Did it feel like you were doing something? There are two different ways that you could approach Ayahuasca. You were saying, the bougie version. To me, when you’re describing this, that’s what I’m imagining. It’s the higher-end and people that have money. I know that you had to dress all in white to go to the ceremonies. There are all these rules versus if you go to the jungle, it almost feels more rooted, old and traditional. Did it still have those feelings even if you were in this house? Did it feel like you were in some sacred ceremony? Did it feel like you’re hanging out with a bunch of people and doing some healing together?
It felt like both. I think that my ideal situation certainly would be in the middle of the rainforest.
Because I think that perhaps the energies would be enhanced or amplified in a different way by literally being in the middle of nature doing it. I’m curious to do it in that setting to compare how the medicine affects me. Because to your point, I think certainly like one in the past when I’ve done psychedelic mushrooms psilocybin. When I’ve been in nature, the effect has been vastly different than if I’m indoors. That nature, the communion, the energy, the relationship we have with nature, there is a spirit and a connection and an enhancement of experience when we are in nature doing anything. I would probably think that with an entheogen psychedelic medicine, that would be enhanced. I wasn’t feeling I was lacking anything, but to your point, I would like to experience it in the birthplace of it where it’s been done for literally generations and generations. The shamans there have been passed down through the lineage. There’s a different potential.
Describe that to me as well because when I think of a shaman, I think of this elderly person who maybe their whole family has been doing it or maybe they have to go and practice with a wise shaman. I picture it as someone that might not even speak English. They’re this wise person native to me in America, whatever that may mean. That’s how I’ve always pictured Ayahuasca. As we’re talking about this, I’m thinking of another example of someone I know that I did it in San Francisco. I remember hearing about their experience and thinking like, “It almost didn’t seem like that big of a deal.” I’m wondering for you too. I know that you, Jason, had this transformational experience, which you’re going to talk about, but you also left your house for a day, did it and went home. Versus when you go to Costa Rica or Peru, it’s this whole adventure, this whole journey that you go on and you’re going to the jungle. It takes so much. Whether that’s so much in terms of time, money and effort, versus a lot of these city Ayahuasca experiences feel almost effortless. It’s like, “I take a 24-hour period and I go to this house. Everything’s set up for me.” It’s so easy. I wonder is it as effective as going to the jungle? Neither one of us can answer that because neither one of us had been to the jungle, so we don’t have any place of comparison. Did that come up for you at all like this almost seems too easy and convenient?
It didn’t because the experience I had was very intense.
Do you think it would have been more intense in the jungle or you have no idea?
Potentially, I don’t know.
It’s not about the setting, the shaman, the facilitator?
Ayahuasca is not a consistent effect on people across the board. I took two vials of Ayahuasca. Some people take two and didn’t feel anything. Take three, didn’t feel anything. Take four, didn’t feel anything. Some people would double the dose that I had and I was in another reality and it doesn’t hit them at all. There’s not a standardized experience in terms of what one is going to see, what one’s going to feel, what a person is going to intuit in terms of wisdom or healing. Some people have an experience of dying or being reborn. It’s visceral, intense and insane. Some people literally feel nothing. The next journey, they’ll feel something completely different. It’s not a consistent measurable response. If I do a certain amount of cocaine and we do a control group, you’re probably going to see a consistent response physiologically between people.
Why would doing cocaine or another drug be any different?
Because they don’t affect you on a psycho-spiritual level like hallucinogens and empathogens do.
Maybe you could compare it more to psilocybin.
It’s the same thing. The last time I did mushrooms, there was a group of us doing it and everyone’s having a different experience.Plants are here to heal us, to teach us, and to nourish us. Click To Tweet
It’s all about your chemistry.
Your trauma, chemistry, history and DNA. We can’t fully explain it yet.
I’m thinking the more we talk, the more I think of people I know that have done Ayahuasca. There’s another person, and I remember her saying that she did out in Palm Springs or Palm Desert and said she didn’t feel anything. We have another friend who did it at the same place as you did it, and she said she didn’t throw up. It’s very common for people to throw up. Did you throw up?
I didn’t, but other things happen physiologically.
Let’s go back to painting the picture. You show up at this house. It’s all clean, white and bright. You’re wearing white, everybody there is wearing white. You had just done something called dieta.
I did two things. I did a dieta, which is preparing the mind and the body for receiving the medicine. No tobacco, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, refined sugar, masturbation and sex. The purpose of the dieta is to cleanse the vessel to receive the medicine.
For how long?
Ten days. Also, in the middle of that dieta, I went and did a colonic hydrotherapy because I wanted to be super clean.
For what reason do you want to be “clean?”
I have heard that if someone is particularly toxic if they’d been eating a lot of meat or alcohol, caffeine, dairy, sugar, the whole thing that the medicine has the potentiation to react with that acidic toxic type of food and you can potentially have a very cleansing reaction.
Could it potentially not work as well because there’s stuff blocking it? I can’t get into you as much, or perhaps that could lead to things like throwing up and other reactions that might be unpleasant.
I wanted to be as clean as possible. In my mind, it was between the dieta and colonic, it was an idea of I want to be in as open and receptive of a physiological and emotional place to receive whatever’s going to happen. I had no idea what was going to happen. In my mind I thought, “Why not be as clean as possible?”
For you, you already eat a plant-based diet for 21 years and you don’t drink caffeine that much. You’re not a coffee lover like me. You don’t drink alcohol. You don’t do other drugs. Was it hard for you to abstain from all those things? I feel a lot of our audience are similar to us, or at least have dabbled in similar diets and lifestyle as us. Did you find the dieta hard?
There were aspects of it. Here’s what I found hard about it. There’s a part of me that things were coming up inside of me of like, “Let me have a vise.” I don’t drink, I don’t eat meat. I don’t do dairy. I barely drink caffeine. I’m not a drug user. I take good care of myself. The resistance that was coming up in me was like, “I can’t masturbate off too? Thanks.” I realized that all of those things to a degree affect our life force energy, which is also known as Chi or Prana. A lot of these things, sex, masturbation, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, heavy foods, often are used as an emotional escape. People use these things to numb themselves, to distract themselves, to dull their life force. The purpose of the dieta as far as I knew was we want to make sure that your life force energy, Chi or Prana, whatever you want to call it, is open, free, flowing and not being dulled down by any of these substances. It gave me perspective on our culture is dominated by the glamorization of pornography, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, drugs and rock and roll and party like a rockstar. This is such a huge part of American Western culture. Look at social media. It’s our escape.
It taps into our primal need for pleasure, to feel good and have an easy life. One of the whole reasons that we called this show This Might Get Uncomfortable is because it can feel uncomfortable to let go of what we perceive as pleasure, our needs for it and our desires for it and abstain from things even temporarily. I think anytime you do a cleanse, detox or whatever, it gives you that perspective on it. It felt challenging for you the whole ten days or is it like any other cleanse or detox? It’s a few days of frustration then here and there. I’m sure that you felt grateful that you had done that and prepared for this experience. You walk in the house, you’ve been in dieta, you’re wearing all white. The purpose of all white was for visual simulation.
If we want to get geeked out here, the biophotons and how they affect the body is different depending on the colors you wear. There’s an energetic vibration depending on the colors.
Is it trying to make you neutral?
Pure, open or receptive.
You also did prepare a nest, which was one of my favorite parts of all these details. Tell us what is the nest and what did you put in it and what’s the purpose of it?
The nest is to create a safe, comforting environment for you as you’re going through your journey after you take the medicine. I got this wonderful plush camping rollout mattress from the internet that I knew that if I’m going to be on this thing the entire night processing on this medicine, whatever comes up, I need to be comfortable. It’s for comfort and a place for you to safely process whatever’s coming up for you on an emotional, physical or spiritual level when you’re on the medicine. Each person has their nest. Mine consisted of this beautiful, thick, comfortable mattress. I had several blankets, including my favorite blanket, which is an Abuelita’s in Mexico. They’re paid a fair-trade wage for making these native Mexican blankets. I brought the super fluffy blanket. I brought these beautiful orange chrysanthemums, beautiful flowers that were with me. I brought a lot of water, tissues and change of clothes.
Did they give you a list of suggestions ahead of time?
Correct. You’re supposed to fast too right before this happening. From noon onward that day, no food.
For me visually, you’re all on the same floor of the house. Are there different floors and areas?
Are there different rooms?
How many people are in the space? How many feet are in between you and the next person’s nest?
Some areas of the house were very close quarters. Someone’s literally right next to you. I was given a spot.
You don’t get to choose?
I did, but the spot I chose was already taken, so I got moved to a different spot. It was brilliant because I could literally outstretch my arms and no one was next to me. I had a lot of physical space around me, which felt great. I also was right next to the kitchen, which is one of my happy places. I felt instantly comfortable there. It all worked out.
Who chooses where you go? Is it like, “This spot’s taken but this one isn’t?”
I don’t know. It was unclear. I walked in, I didn’t know anyone and it was like, “I’m here for the ceremony.” Everyone was very sweet, very open and energetically, I already felt at ease. I scoped out this one spot near this open window and the shaman was like, “I’m sorry that spots are already taken. Someone’s claimed.” I said, “Okay,” and then I looked over and saw this spot right next to the kitchen. It was like, “That’s my spot.” That redirect from life as we get. Sometimes we have an idea or an attachment to how we want things to be, but that was immediate. Within three minutes of walking in the door was like, “Trust that if you don’t get the thing you thought you wanted, something even better is going to come.” I immediately already get messages on that.
I immediately set up my nest, getting comfortable in the space, talking to people, meeting them. We were hanging out on the deck taking this beautiful natural scene and it was a relaxing integration into the group. Some of the people, the majority I would say had been there from a previous ceremony on Friday night. I showed up Saturday afternoon, but the majority of people there had already been there for an entire day since Friday.In a lot of cases, when something seems appealing, there's an opportunity to exploit and make money from it. Click To Tweet
How many people were there?
15 to 20 tops. After the introduction, meeting the shaman and getting a lay of the land of the space, we started a group meditation around 8:00 PM as the sun was almost down. The first thing you do is you take an herbal shot that’s an MAO inhibitor. The enzymes in your digestive tract can subvert a lot of the acute effects of Ayahuasca, but by taking this herbal MAO inhibitor, it keeps it open. Those enzymes don’t have the effect of dulling the Ayahuasca on your body. You take this MAO inhibitor, which allows your body to fully receive the medicine because the enzymes in your body are not fighting it away. We took that and we were in a sharing circle talking about our experience and why we were there. We got welcomed in as the new people, which was sweet. We took our first dose of the Ayahuasca.
You’re not all in the same room?
In the beginning of the ceremony, yes.
Everyone goes through their nest afterwards. You’re sitting in a circle. Is there a shaman staying in the middle?
No, he’s not in the middle, but he’s in the position where he can see everyone. He’s at the zero point of the circle. He’s talking to everyone and I already love his energy.
How old is he?
He’s probably in his late 30s early 40s, probably around my age. We take this inhibitor and then after that, we’re discussing.
There’s also a psychologist on staff?
When you come in, do you have to submit stuff about yourself ahead of time or do you go in and you tell them about yourself? Because they have to figure out a dose based not just your body but your mental state, your goals, why you’re there. Is that true? Do they evaluate you?
To a degree. It’s not official paperwork or whatnot, but you discuss what’s going on with you.
Privately or in the group?
In the group.
In the circle, everyone goes around and says that. Is he taking notes or he’s paying attention and then deciding how much you’re going to get? Everybody got a different dosage. Is there a range?
After you take the inhibitor, you take the first dose of the Ayahuasca.
Everyone at the same time and the same amount?
Yes. If I had to guess, it’s probably maybe three ounces, like a large shot. The flavor is something to behold.
What was the closest you could describe it too?
Bitter, earthy, sludgy, sharp and with a consistency of liquidy but thick maple syrup.
What could you describe it as food?
You can’t. It’s ultra-bitter, sharp and earthy. I rolled it around in my mouth because I wanted to get the flavor profile because some people were like, “Medicine.” They wanted to get down as fast as possible. I was letting my palette absorb the whole thing. I swish it around and let it mix with my enzymes and getting the flavor because I wanted to be like, “What is this about?” It’s not something you want to drink leisurely. It’s not like, “Honey, I got home from a hard day at the office. Could I have a shot of Ayahuasca?” You’re not pulling up at the liquor bar with this thing. You take the first shot and you wait and then this is optional.Plant medicines relay wisdom, messages, and healing potential to the human psyche and the human body. Click To Tweet
How long do you wait?
Maybe 30 minutes.
What are you doing at that time in the circle with everybody?
Meditating and then they’re going around, the shaman and his assistants, and they are giving you, if you want to, a dose of hopi. It’s a native grown tobacco from South America where the purpose of this Rapé, they take a device and they blow it up your nostrils and it burns for about 20 to 30 seconds. Once you do, the level of mental clarity, it’s as if you took an energy shot but you’re not buzzy. Your mind is clear.
It hurts? That’s what I’ve heard.
It burns. It goes away. After 20 to 30 seconds, no more burn. That initial half a minute is like, “This is burning my sinuses like a MOFO.”
It’s like when you get a shot and it’s incredibly unpleasant, but then it goes away and you forget about it.
The Rapé comes with the idea of clearing the mind. Any incessant thoughts, any monkey mind chatters, the hopi is purportedly supposed to clear your mind.
Why would you turn it down? Because you don’t want the pain?
Some people maybe don’t like things being blown up their nostrils. I did it because I wanted the full experience. After you get the Rapé, I got a second dose of the medicine. I felt intuitively like, “Two doses, I want to see where that takes me,” because you can if you are doing it and doing the medicine at a certain point in the ceremony, the shaman will come around, check in with you and see if you want another dose. For some of those who aren’t feeling it, they can opt-in for a third dose if he also feels it’s appropriate.
You mutually make a decision about how much you take. It’s not like he says, “This is how much you’re going to take,” and you accept it.
You can say yes or no to anything.
You’re going there to be guided by someone, so you’re probably going to say yes to whatever they suggest, correct?
Yeah. Also, because there’s a lot of trust and the energy there is open and healing. I felt very cared for the entire time. Once you get the second dose of the medicine, you get up from the circle and you go to your nest. One of the co-facilitators there, he had a hung drum and a frame drum and all of these native instruments. As you’re doing it, there are all these candles lit. There’s no other artificial light. It’s nighttime. I’m laying on my back with my eyes closed meditating.
Are you feeling tired? What’s your body going through at that moment?
I’m curious. I took this medicine. I can still taste it in my mouth. It tastes bad. I had this tobacco blown up my nose. This is like nothing else. This is unique. I’m sitting there like, “This is fascinating.” I’m sitting in my comfortable nest. I’ve got my plan, my water, my stuffed unicorn cat named Huckle, that a dear friend gifted me as my spirit animal, my journey guide through the experience. In there starts playing this music. As the music’s going, I can feel the vibration of the drums and the music coming up through the floor into my body.
In a way that you would feel with or without Ayahuasca or this is the medicine starting to work?
The way the music is affecting my body is much more sensitive and acute. My eyes are closed and I roll on my side. If you asked me how much time has passed, I can’t even tell you. I have no idea. If I had to guess before the experience fully began, maybe 45 minutes to an hour. Music’s playing, he’s going around with these instruments and at the same time, they are playing this native music called Ikaros over the speaker system. The kind of music I’ve never heard before. It was very unique and very fascinating. There are these chants in a language I’ve never heard before.
The music from the speaker is recorded.
He’s also playing live along with it. There are layers to the musical experience. I’m laying down and it’s getting way deeper and way more intense. I’m feeling that the music is getting into my cells. The vibration is coming up through the floor into my body and these voices are chanting. I’ve never heard this language before. It’s not Spanish. I don’t know what it is. There are sounds and instruments that my brain is like, “What is that? Just go with it.”
Are you saying that was the reality or your brain was hearing it?
I don’t know.
At that point, you don’t know what’s real and what is in your head?
I’m pretty sure I have a grip on reality until I don’t. As I’m going deeper into the music and feeling the rhythm and like, “Go with it. You never heard this language before. This is cool. Ride on. I’m a musician, I dig this.” At a certain point, I am not here anymore. When you have your eyes closed, it’s like a movie screen. It’s like a blank screen. When we close our eyes, it’s like, “I’m looking at the sun. Maybe it’s a little bit red, I’m looking over here. It’s black. There’s maybe some pixilation, some dots.” It’s nothingness to a degree. I hit a level where the best way I can describe this, my first thought was, “I’m here again.” Many years ago, I smoked DMT for the first time, which is a very quick experience. It’s 10 to 15 minutes. You blast into a different reality and you blast back like a roller coaster. It’s fast and quick. You’re in a different world, back in the Earth realm.
DMT is something that the body actually manufactures. It’s in our pineal gland and it’s secreted when we’re born and it’s secreted when we die. The body has receptors and manufactures its own DMT. The body’s very receptive to plant forms of DMT, like Ayahuasca. I remember when I started to feel I’m slipping into a different world, my immediate thought was, “I’ve been here before.” There were elements of it that reminded me of the DMT experience I had many years ago. I find myself in a kaleidoscopic, multicolored technicolor. The vividness and brightness of these colors were purples, pinks, oranges, blues, greens, mauves and turquoise. There were colors and the thing that reminded me of my previous experience with DMT, was I was in a garden of some kind.
Are these plants or shapes?
There are roots, tentacles and plants coming up from this growing garden. There are these insectoid creatures, these alien creatures. It was like insects. I can’t even describe it.
Like a Dr. Seuss book?
Yes, maybe. I can’t describe it. They were alien insects, hairy, fluffy and things that don’t exist on Earth.
Like the Lorax?
Yes, but crazier than that. Stuff that is not of this planet.
Doesn’t that make you think that some of these authors must have done these drugs? How else would they have come up with that?
My frame on popular music, literature and art is completely different now. A lot of drugs are going on in the art world. I’m in this world that is this technicolor kaleidoscopic garden with insects and creatures. There are fractal patterns, geometric shapes and they keep changing. Everything starts getting faster and changing quicker.
Are you seeing it almost like a flat service, a television in front of you or you’re surrounded by it?
I’m in a 360 world.
It’s not an out-of-body experience. It’s like as if you are physically there. Do you know that you’re in the room or do you actually feel like you were transported?
As things are speeding up and as the fractal patterns are changing, the different creatures are running through, I’m observing them, the plants are coming and growing around me and it’s this geometric garden of creatures. It’s a technicolor kaleidoscopic geometric garden of creatures. That’s the best way I can describe this. I’m like, “Just go with it.” I feel like I’m going deeper into this world and it’s speeding up and changing quicker than I can comprehend. I’m trying to take it all in and I’m going with it and I’m trusting. I have a moment where the thought comes in my head, “You’re not breathing.” I was totally immersed in this world completely. I felt like I was sinking into a different dimension. The moment I had the thought, “You’re not breathing,” I took a breath. I’m breathing and I’m still in this world. I’m getting scared because I’m like, “Am I still here? Where am I? Am I in my body? What’s breathing me? Was I even breathing that entire time?” I felt like I was dying when I had the moment, “Am I still breathing? Am I dead?” then I took a breath.
Are there people in the room watching you? If you stopped breathing, would someone notice? Would they notice in time to resuscitate?
Yes, because there are enough people assisting the shaman walking around observing people. I do believe that’s true.
The closest experience I have to that was when I was a teenager and I had edibles for the first time and I thought I was dying because I didn’t know it was happening to my body and my brain. You experienced that. Were you actually in danger or it’s just your brain thinks you’re in danger?
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Anything could happen.
It was being so immersed in this world that it was a different reality, different dimension, different octave reality. I was not on Earth, I was somewhere else for sure. The moment that I became aware that my physical body wasn’t breathing, I stopped surrendering to going deeper into that world and got so scared because it was like, “Are you alive? Are you dead? Are you breathing?” I take a breath and I’m woozy and not fully in my body. I opened my eyes thinking that, “Open your eyes. Take in the room, put your hands on the floor.”
You knew in that moment that you were on Ayahuasca. It’s not like you forgot that you were on Ayahuasca.
I was very aware and I also realized that as I took a breath and I sat up, I was still in my body, but there were a few moments where I was like, “Am I dead? Am I still on my body? What is happening?”
You have no idea how long that period of time was? It could have been a minute. It could have been an hour.
I have no clue. I’m like, “Open your eyes and make sure you’re still here. Where are you?” I opened my eyes and the hallucinations do not go away.
How did you know your eyes were closed versus open? You could physically feel them opening up? Do you see the room or it’s like you open your eyes and it’s the same thing in front of you?
Yes, which then I got super terrified because I opened my eyes and everything is fractal bursts of light. If I were to look at your face, your face would be gone. The shape of your body would be there, but you would be a milky fractal light show where your body was. I start looking around and everything are points of geometric light. I can’t make out detail of anything.
You knew that it was the room, but it looks slightly different?
It’s way different.
It still had the framework of the room?
I was aware that I was in a house, but I’m freaked out because it was like, “You just open your eyes and the trip would be over.”
Did they tell you that?
I thought that and it was far from the truth. I got even more terrified because I was like, “You’re not getting out of this.” It was like, “I want to get off the ride.” Ayahuasca is a feminine spirit. It’s like, “I love you. You’re not getting off the ride.” At that point, I’m touching my face and it feels like my fingers are going through my skin. I’m getting even more scared because I literally look at my hand and it looks like my hand is dissolving. At that point I’m like, “What is happening?” I’m dissolving, everyone’s made out of points of light. My eyes are wide open and I’m hallucinating. I throw my hand up and they said, “If you need help, throw your hand up.” The shaman comes over I don’t even know how long.
What does the shaman look like?
He looks like Jesus. Even in that moment, as he came over, I could not make out his facial features at all. I saw the outline of this dark flowing hair.
Did he actually have dark flowing hair?
In reality, he resembled Jesus.
Yes, but even more so in the state I was. I was like, “This is intense.” He comes over and there are no words exchanged. He puts his hand on my head and my heart and he breathes with me in unison. I’m looking at him, he has no face. He’s this opaque melty being and I’m trying to breathe through it. Over the course of the night, two other people came over at points because I did lay down. I was blasted back into the crazy fractal insectoid garden. There were moments of surrender and fear. Throughout the night, I had moments where I would burst into violent, uncontrollable tears for no one explicable reason. I did not throw up. Although as we got deeper into the journey, I had pretty massive diarrhea. I was able to compose myself enough to get to the bathroom. I didn’t have any expectation of whether or not I was going to vomit or have diarrhea.
How close is the bathroom to you? Are there buckets?
I had a bucket in case of vomit, but the bathroom was a ten-second walk from where my nest was. There was a wall next to the kitchen and on the other side of that wall was the bathroom. I’m being held by the shaman. There’s a second shaman there who’s female who’s also facilitating, who also came over. As I’m feeling my body, there was a point where it literally felt like my nose was going to fall off. Parts of my body were dissolving. I could put my fingers through my face. My grip on reality is almost not there. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what’s happening. My body feels like it’s dissolving. Am I dying? What is happening? It’s so much confusion because there are many layers to what is happening that are way beyond what I experienced on LSD, DMT, mushrooms or any of the psychedelics I’ve done in the past.
This is a different beast altogether, my experience of it. As I’m emotionally processing, I’m crying, shivering, being held literally and being loved. There were moments where I didn’t even need to ask for help at certain points of the night, they just knew to come over. At a certain point, I could feel like, “I’ve got to go.” Over the course of the experience, the full evening, I probably went to the bathroom 6 to 8 times. When I was in there, it was an intense amount of release. When you’ve had a stomach bug or the flu, whoever’s reading can relate when you’ve had a bad stomach virus and it’s battened down the hatches were everything go.
Is it uncomfortable or painful?
It’s not painful but the sheer amount. It was to the point where I would have a release, I’d come back and then ten minutes later I’d be like, “I got out of the bathroom again.” At a certain point of the night, there was a lot of back to the nest, back to the bathroom. Releasing your bowels 6 to 8 times in a night is a lot.
It’s like if you had a food poisoning experience.
This is going to relate to our second half of this where I’m going to talk a lot about childhood trauma and childhood healing and how healing the inner child and little Jason and a lot of old stuff came up. When I was in the bathroom and I was releasing and having this diarrhea, the smell of it reminded me of medication I used to take as a child because I was a sick kid. I had very bad bronchial and respiratory problems. I had severe asthma to the point where at sometimes I needed to be rushed to the hospital because I stopped breathing. They were controlling that asthma when I was little with a lot of hardcore drugs, like corticosteroids, hardcore stuff. When I was defecating, it smelled like the drugs I took as a kid.
You hadn’t smelled that smell since you’re a child.
It was a trip, Whitney.
Do you think that that was that real smell?
It was real to me. I was thinking like, “What am I releasing?”
Every time. What came out of me was a dark sludge.
Different from the colonic?
Do you think it was related to the colonic and the fast, the Ayahuasca or everything combined?
I think all of it. The deeper layer of like, “That smells like the corticosteroids I took as a child.” That is a trip and it makes me wonder how many things we’ve taken throughout the course of our life that are trapped in the mucoid plaque of our intestinal lining, that perhaps there’s a specific amount of ferocity or depth that we need to purge and get to those deeper layers. That’s my interpretation of it. Through the colonic, through the dieta and through the Ayahuasca, I was releasing some ancient things that might have been embedded in there. It was fascinating. I think this is probably a good time to wrap up this episode. The childhood healing is a whole giant part of what I want to relay, the messages and the wisdom that was relayed to me during the experience of love, acceptance, healing and enoughness. Deep spiritual heart-healing happened.
This episode is all about the details and the experience setting it up, but the real depth of what you’re going to share is coming in the next episode. We did not plan it this way. It is literally a matter of the time that we need to stop. We’re going to pause here and pick this up on a different episode. That will be the next episode. Whatever we’ve discussed, whatever we think about that might be related, perhaps an Ayahuasca documentary. If you feel it’s useful, Jason will probably curate this. Maybe you’ll even put in the list of items that you put in your nest because they might not just be handy for Ayahuasca. They could be great for comfort, travel and all of that. That will all be at Wellevatr.com Jason, thanks for sharing this. I’m on the edge of my seat, literally, and I wish we didn’t have to stop here. It’s like we’ve been talking about there’s a reason we’re stopping here. We can pause and everyone can digest what has been discussed here. I look forward to picking it up whenever we continue.